Although people should be concerned about recent monkeypox outbreaks in the United States, the disease is not as risky as the coronavirus pandemic, President Joe Biden said Monday.
The assurance walks back comments from the president on Sunday when he told reporters in South Korea that “everybody should be concerned” about the spread of the disease, which has seen confirmed cases in two states so far. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring six people in the U.S. with possible cases of monkeypox, and the agency confirmed two cases, with one each in Massachusetts and New York.
MASSACHUSETTS CONFIRMS FIRST CASE OF MONKEYPOX IN US THIS YEAR
"We have had this monkeypox in large numbers in the past. We have vaccines to take care of it," Biden said during a visit to Tokyo on Monday. "I just don't think it rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with COVID-19."
The monkeypox outbreak, which has also been reported in several European countries, has raised concerns it may be the largest outbreak of the disease the world has seen outside of Africa. However, experts say the disease is less viral than COVID-19 because it can only be transmitted through close contact with the skin lesions of someone who is infected or through contaminated materials.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
The smallpox vaccine is considered to be effective against the disease, prompting the CDC to consider offering the vaccine to healthcare workers and others who are at high risk of exposure.
The flu-like illness typically lasts two to four weeks and is most commonly reported in parts of central and western Africa, where people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals. Those with the illness typically develop a rash on their face and body.