Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday waved off the idea of declaring a state of emergency in response to a nationwide outbreak of the monkeypox virus.
Data from the Florida Department of Health shows that 525 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the state as of Tuesday, with the highest concentration in South Florida.
DeSantis on Wednesday criticized states such as California, New York, and Illinois, which are led by Democratic governors, for issuing emergency declarations amid climbing cases of the virus.
“You see some of these states declaring states of emergency, they’re going to abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom. I guarantee you that’s what will happen. We saw it so much with COVID,” DeSantis said during a press event in Brevard County.
“You see these politicians out there trying to scare you about this? Do not listen to their nonsense. I am so sick of politicians trying to sow fear into the population,” said DeSantis. “We had people calling, mothers worried about whether their kids could catch it at school. And we’re not going to go back to Fauci in the eighties where he was trying to tell families they were all going to catch AIDS by watching TV together.”
Monkeypox can cause flu-like symptoms and progress to a rash on the face and body, according to the state Department of Health.
As of Tuesday, 237 cases have been logged in Broward County and 135 cases in Miami-Dade County.
State Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, appointed by DeSantis last year to spearhead the state’s response to the coronavirus, said Wednesday that none of the recorded monkeypox cases in Florida have resulted in death.
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“We have about 500 known cases, but only heaven knows how many actual cases there have been. Out of those cases, probably somewhere around 98 percent, maybe 99 percent are in men. Just a handful of cases in women. Almost all of those cases have been transmitted by physical contact, basically sexual contact,” he said.
Ladapo added that the state has received about 24,000 doses of vaccines for monkeypox and has distributed roughly 8,500 of those doses.