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DeSantis criticizes states that issued emergency declarations over monkeypox

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. Africa’s public health agency says it doesn’t know how many of the continent's reported monkeypox cases this year are in men who have sex with men, and it warned Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022 against “any stigmatization” that might delay case reporting and affect the outbreak response.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner
The virus causes similar symptoms to smallpox, like a rash, fever and headache. It's transmitted through close physical contact and it's rarely fatal.

The governor says the declarations by California, New York and Illinois are only ways to “restrict people’s freedom.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis, asserting Florida is “not doing fear,” said that states issuing emergency declarations over the monkeypox outbreak are only trying to “restrict people’s freedom.”

The governors in Illinois, New York and California recently declared states of emergency over the disease to devote more resources to testing and vaccinations, including accessing funds designated for emergencies.

Speaking at a press briefing in Brevard County on Wednesday, DeSantis drew parallels with how some states handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

“(If) you see any of these politicians you see out there trying to scare you about this, do not listen to their nonsense,” he said. “I am so sick of politicians – and we saw this with COVID – trying to sow fear into the population.”

DeSantis added that those states are “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.”

Monkeypox has been spreading across the U.S. since May. As of Friday, there have been over 5,100 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data from the Florida Department of Health show that 525 cases have been reported as of Tuesday, with more than 350 combined in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo said none of the cases have resulted in death. He also said “90 percent, maybe 99 percent” have been men and almost all transmitted through “basically” sexual contact.

Although anyone can get infected, the outbreak appears to have largely affected men who have sex with other men, according to health officials. In addition, there is a vaccine available for the disease.

Ladapo said the state has received about 24,000 doses of vaccine and distributed about 8,500 to local health departments.

“We are not doing fear,” DeSantis said. "(We are) going to do facts and we’re not going to go out and try to rile people up.”

The virus causes similar symptoms to smallpox, like a rash, fever and headache. It's transmitted through close physical contact and it's rarely fatal.

Information from WMFE’s Danielle Prieur and News Service of Florida was used in this report.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.