Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the concern surrounding the current monkeypox outbreak is overblown, accusing politicians of “trying to sow fear into the population.”
As of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 7,102 confirmed cases in the U.S. with 577 in Florida. On Thursday the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a national health emergency.
"We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said to reporters during a press briefing Thursday.
Meanwhile DeSantis said at a press conference in Orlando: “I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with Covid, trying to sow fear into the population. We’re not doing fear.”
DeSantis also railed against other states and governors, who have declared a state of emergency over the monkeypox outbreak.
“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,” DeSantis said.
Rep. Charlie Crist, who is running for governor, shot back at DeSantis on Twitter: “While Governor DeSantis dismisses Monkeypox, at-risk Floridians still need better information, better testing, and access to vaccines for prevention. Get it done!”
In Broward County, where the outbreak has hit hard, LGBT organizations and health officials are working to vaccine gay, bi and other men who have sex with men. Those populations have been disproportionately affected by the outbreak.
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“DeSantis has yet again failed the people of Florida! He lacked leadership in addressing the COVID pandemic that devastatingly impacted thousands of lives being lost and now shows his lack of caring by slacking on proactively addressing the monkeypox crisis, negatively impacting communities across the state,” Ebonni Chrispin, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Manager of Legislative Affairs & Community Engagement, said in a press release. “Access to vaccines and other critical resources are needed across the state to get in front of the virus continuing to spread and declaring a state of emergency is what is the right thing to do to keep the people of Florida safe. As a patient-centered organization, we are very concerned about the Governor's actions. It is deplorable that he continues to put his selfish desires for political gain over the people he was hired to serve and keep safe.”