NEW YORK - As of Thursday, New York City’s monkeypox caseload has topped 2,000 cases.
New York City Council members who are a part of the LGBTQ Caucus unveiled what they say is the first major legislative package in the nation to address monkeypox.
If approved, the measures would require the city’s health department to immediately publish comprehensive data on monkeypox in the city.
That would include the total number of available monkeypox vaccines at the start and end of each day, the total number of tests available, the total number of cases, and the total number of vaccinated city residents.
The legislation would also require the health department to conduct monkeypox education and prevention efforts and to establish an online portal for vaccine scheduling.
New York City and the country as a whole has been struggling to keep up with the number of monkeypox cases due to the limited number of vaccines.
Right now, the majority of people being impacted are men who have sex with men.
On July 30th, the health commissioner and Mayor Eric Adams declared a public health state of emergency.
In a statement to FOX 5 News, the city's health department said, "We have tried from the beginning to prioritize urgency, getting shots in arms, and equity. We talk a lot about these large vaccination sites, similar to what we did for COVID, mass vaccination sites, but what's talked about less are the thousands of doses that we're reserving for community-based organizations that serve men who have sex with men, that serve communities of color, that serve the LGBTQ community that were reserving appointments for them, in order to ensure that equity is built into this approach."
But city council member Crystal Hudson says the city, state, and federal governments need to do better.
"Though it is most commonly transmitted via sexual activity, it can also be transmitted from elongated contact to surfaces touched by infected areas, meaning anyone including folks that did not identify as queer can contract it," Council member Hudson explained. "That means folks in congregate settings are particularly at risk. It's vital that the council passed these laws with urgency to help us address this public health emergency and any future ones with the science and data compassion and understanding and care and love we know we're capable of giving."
Council members said they are also pushing to make sure incarcerated individuals receive access to the monkeypox vaccine.
According to Hudson, at least two correctional officers have tested positive for monkeypox so far.
A spokesperson for the correctional officer’s union confirms that at least one captain has contracted monkeypox.