The pace of new monkeypox cases reported in some major cities – and in the US overall – has started to slow recently, but experts say it’s too early to know if the trend will last.
On Friday, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that she is “cautiously optimistic” about the downward trend, but warned that the overall case count is still growing.
“The rate of rise is lower, but we are still seeing increases and we are of course a very diverse country and things are not even across the country. So, we’re watching this with cautious optimism,” she said.
Last week, there were an average of 337 new cases of monkeypox reported each day in the US, according to CDC data. That’s a 24% drop from two weeks earlier – a difference of more than 100 cases a day.
A few factors are “working together to bend the curve,” Walensky said, including vaccination, behavior changes and harm reduction messages “being heard and implemented.”
But many more factors are still in flux, leaving questions unanswered.
Key factors to watch
Local health departments say they are working hard to understand the factors driving case trends.
Washington, DC, has been an epicenter of the outbreak since the beginning; the city has had nearly 12 times more cases per capita than the country overall.
The local health department has seen a “slight decrease” in cases over the past week, but said that “education and vaccines” are two key factors that will drive trends going forward.