Biden administration health official Ashish Jha said Sunday he expects that monkeypox will not have widespread impact in the United States.
“I feel like this is a virus we understand,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Speaking to host Martha Raddatz, the White House coronavirus response coordinator said monkeypox is far different than coronavirus, since it is not something new and treatments already exist for it.
“We have vaccines against it,” Jha said, “we have treatments against it. And it is spread very differently than SARS-CoV-2. It is not as contagious as Covid. So, I am confident we’re going to be able to keep our arms around it.”
But Jha did agree with President Joe Biden that the situation bears watching: “I think the president’s right: Any time we have an infectious outbreak like this, we should all be paying attention.”
Cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in recent days in a number of European countries, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia, suggesting that the disease might have become more transmissible than before. Monkeypox is related to smallpox, though less deadly.
Jha also spoke of the Biden administration’s continued concern about Covid.
“What we know,” Jha told Raddatz, “is that this virus is evolving very quickly and every iteration of it has more and more immune escape.”
Jha said there are now a lot of tools that can be used to fight Covid, including vaccinations and therapies, but that different and better vaccines still need to be developed.
He added: “We also are planning for a variety of scenarios including a wave of infection this fall and winter and making sure that we have a new generation of vaccines that are being worked on right now, that we have availability of treatments and testing and we have the resources.”