The number of monkeypox cases reported in the United States has tripled in the past three weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the virus strengthens its hold on the country.
More than 2,300 cases had been confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon, up from 700 on July 8. Cases have been reported in 43 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. Washington, D.C., leads the nation with about 19 cases per 100,000 residents, followed by the states of New York, Illinois and Georgia.
Nine states recorded their first cases in the last two weeks: Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
In the last three weeks, New York City’s case total rose eightfold from 87 to 711, according to data from the state’s health department. New York state’s cases outside the city rose from 9 to 45 in that same period. California cases, meanwhile, more than tripled, from 111 to 356, according to an analysis of CDC data.
The first U.S. case of monkeypox this year was reported May 12 in Massachusetts. Illinois, which now has more than 200 reported cases, was an initial hot spot of the outbreak, following an international leather conference held in Chicago at the end of May.
Health officials in Texas attributed a spike in new cases there to a large LGBTQ event in Dallas over the July Fourth weekend. The state has seen cases rise from seven to 81 since the start of the month.
The rapid spread has prompted pessimism among some public health experts.
“I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed. If it hasn’t closed, it’s certainly starting to close,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday on “Face the Nation.”
More than 15,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 71 countries — 65 of which had not historically reported monkeypox — this year, according to the CDC.
A monkeypox vaccine has been approved by the FDA, but the distribution of vaccine doses has been plagued by supply shortages and technical issues. The Department of Health and Human Services ordered 2.5 million additional vaccine doses this month, deliveries of which will arrive into 2023, and more than 191,000 doses have been distributed to states.