Watch: DeSantis Speaks His Mind On Monkeypox

By Darren Nagel | Thursday, 04 August 2022 16:45
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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) accused fellow politicians of prompting concern in the United States over the monkeypox spread.

Parents were calling the governor's office over the fear of their children contracting the virus in school, DeSantis said during a press conference Wednesday, even though federal data show the most typical way of transmitting the virus is through men who have sex with other men.

“I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population,” DeSantis said, according to Politico. “We’re not doing fear."

Florida had 525 monkeypox infections as of Tuesday, according to a state database, which is an increase from the roughly 350 infections from late last week.

Florida has the fifth-highest number of monkeypox cases behind New York, California, Illinois, and Texas. Leaders in New York, California, and Illinois have all declared states of emergency. New York City, which has appeared as the epicenter of the outbreak, with 1,600 cases, declared a local state of emergency.

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The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox a global health emergency, with more than 25,000 cases reported in 83 countries. Seventy-six countries seeing monkeypox cases don’t typically have infections, according to the CDC. Monkeypox can be spread through skin-to-skin contact and the current infections are overwhelmingly among men who have sex with men.

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DeSantis, who is running for reelection as governor but is also deemed a strong contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2024 should he run, claimed Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) would use her authority in the state of emergency as a way to curb the freedom of her constituents.

“They’re going to abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom,” DeSantis said. “I guarantee you that’s what will happen.”

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DeSantis’ surgeon general, Joseph A. Ladapo, said on Wednesday during the same press conference that Florida has an adequate number of monkeypox vaccines, though he questioned the safety of two vaccines recommended for monkeypox by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He claimed very little data exists on their effectiveness.

Monkeypox usually spreads via skin-to-skin contact with such symptoms as headaches, fevers, swollen lymph nodes, and rashes, among others. There are two vaccines approved for use against monkeypox, but there have been issues with distribution. Critics of DeSantis claimed that dismissing the virus would be dangerous to Floridians.

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“While Governor DeSantis dismisses Monkeypox, at-risk Floridians still need better information, better testing, and access to vaccines for prevention,” a rival to DeSantis in the 2022 race for governor, Rep. Charlie Crist (D), said on Twitter.

The virus has spread to 48 states, with no cases appearing in Montana or Wyoming, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported 6,617 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases as of Wednesday evening.

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