Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he won’t declare a state of emergency over monkeypox, as an increasing number of states have begun to do, despite his state having over 500 reported cases.
DeSantis said in a press conference that he doesn’t believe that Floridians should fear the disease nor does he think a public health emergency is necessary.
“Any of the politicians trying to scare you about this, do not listen to their nonsense,” he said. “Anything we deal with from a public perspective, we are not doing fear. We are going to do facts.”
DeSantis argued that states that declare emergencies are going to eventually “abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom. You have to deal with this rationally and do not use it for political gain.”
Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo, who was with the governor, said that the “efficacy” of the Jynneos vaccine being given out as protection from monkeypox “remains uncertain.”
“You should know there’s very little data on this vaccine,” he said. “We need to learn more and we need to make rational decisions.”
Ladapo did concede that a small study done in Africa in the 1980s showed the Jynneos vaccine was at least 85 percent effective against monkeypox and reported that Florida has received about 24,000 doses of the vaccine from the national stockpile, distributing about 8,500 of them.
The monkeypox vaccine consists of two doses four weeks apart.
California, New York and Illinois, the states with the three highest case counts, have declared states of emergency over the monkeypox outbreak. Emergency declarations are designed to help with logistics and coordination between state and local levels.
Prior to their states announcing emergencies, San Francisco and New York City both announced that they would be placed in states of emergency.
“The declaration helps us ensure we have all the tools available to augment our outreach, testing and treatment, especially to the LGBTQ+ who remain at highest risk for Monkeypox,” San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said in a news release.
Florida has 525 reported cases, including 372 concentrated in the Miami-Dade and Broward County areas, making it the state with the fourth highest case count. However, it is worth noting that Florida has the third largest population among U.S. states with just under 22 million people.
Ladapo said “he is certain there are many more unknown cases,” with most being male.
“Somewhere around 98 percent, maybe 99 percent, are men. Just a handful of cases are women,” he said. “All those cases have been transmitted by physical contact, basically sexual contact for the most part.”
“There have been some reports of cases in kids that are connected with adults who have acquired the infection probably from sexual contact,” Ladapo added. “In Florida, we have one case of a health provider who contracted it through a needle stick. There have been no fatalities.”
The Biden administration has yet to determine whether or not it will declare a public health emergency over the outbreak, but it did announce a “monkeypox response team” to combat the disease.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.