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California governor, Gavin Newsom today declared a statewide state of emergency over monkeypox. The virus has been spreading rapidly and the state’s health departments and medical facilities have a very small amount of vaccines available.

Newsom said the declaration which might include a new lockdown was necessary in order to provide a whole of government response to protect Californians from the Monkeypox virus.

He said he would use the emergency to request more vaccines from the federal government and ordered state health agencies to start community outreach efforts to educate Californians on the threat posed by the mutant version of monkeypox.

The state has more than 790 cases of monkeypox, most of them in the Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Local health departments are being told to increase testing and contact tracing. Some agencies have begun seeking partnerships with local governments and health officials throughout the state.

Currently vaccines will be made available almost exclusively for the most vulnerable group that makes up 90% of cases.

The disease causes painful blisters throughout the body and flu like symptoms. You can get by physically touching a person who has it and is exhibiting symptoms and by touching or using anything they touched while they are symptomatic. The virus has been shown to have a very limited capacity for airborne spread but WHO and CDC both said they are looking into those cases. It has been spread by sharing of clothes with someone infected or by trying on clothes at the store. While monkeypox is not lethal for most people, the new version has killed people in Spain and England. No deaths have been reported anywhere in California.

Most victims of monkeypox are part of the LGBTQ group but of those, only 4 of the victims in LA County are transgender, the rest were gay White men or gay Hispanic men with White ancestry.

The declaration of emergency authorizes first responders or emergency room personnel to give people vaccine in emergency situations. The statistic has led to fears that the epidemic will cause employers to terminate or suspend their LGBTQ employees in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading to other employees or to customers. However not all cases were the result of contact of LGBTQ people, several California victims of monkeypox got it from straight heterosexual people with poor hygiene habits.

State legislators are working on a bill that would dedicate at almost $39 million to combat monkeypox and stop its spread into the general population. The emergency declaration currently does not include a lockdown nor a mask mandate.

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