DeSantis ‘So Sick’ of Politicians Fearmongering About Monkeypox

August 3, 2022 Updated 12:43 PM ET

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Gage Skidmore).
Governor-elect Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Gage Skidmore).

August 3, 2022 Updated 12:43 P.M. ET

ROCKLEDGE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday he is “so sick” of politicians trying to “scare” people about Monkepox.

“You see any of these politicians you see out there trying to scare you about this,” DeSantis said. “Do not listen to their nonsense.”

California, New York and Illinois have declared states of emergency because of monkeypox. DeSantis said Florida has received calls from mothers worried about whether their kids could catch monkeypox at school.

“I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population,” he said.

The Florida Department of Health pointed to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that said 98% of the monkeypox cases are among males who have sex with other males. The health department said it works on the local level to message and provide help to those at risk.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo piggybacked off of the governor’s comments and said media headlines are trying to make people afraid of monkeypox.

“These people are determined to make you afraid and do whatever it is they want you to do and I hope that more and more people choose not to do that,” Ladapo said at a press conference Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the department said it is “very difficult” to transmit monkeypox. Human-to-human transmission generally requires prolonged face-to-face contact, direct contact with an active rash, or indirect contact with an active rash through contaminated items, such as contaminated clothing. 

Ladapo said Florida has about 500 cases with approximately 98% of them being in men. Almost all of them have been transmitted by sexual contact, he said. There is one case of a healthcare provider contracting monkeypox from a needle stick. There are no fatalities.

“There have been some reports of cases and kids that are connected with adults who have either acquired the infection probably from sexual contact,” Ladapo said.

The surgeon general said Florida received about 24,000 doses of vaccines for monkeypox and distributed about 8,500 of them. Ladapo added that there is “very little” data on the vaccine as it was given Emergency Use Authorization.

“We need to learn more and we need to make rational decisions and not fear-based decisions,” he said. “There’s very little known about it. It’s believed to be effective but, you know, we need to collect the data.”

The Florida Department of Health told Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to stay out of public health after she hosted a press conference about monkeypox.

“Knowledge is power. Anyone can get monkeypox, so it’s important for everyone to be educated on what it is, what to look out for, and the resources available to help treat and prevent the virus,” Fried said

Florida Dept. of Health Tells Nikki Fried to ‘Leave Public Health to the Public Health Officials’ After Monkeypox Messaging

“Because we now have parents and moms reaching out to us and thinking they’re at risk and their children are at risk for monkeypox,” FDOH Spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said. “And that’s just not really the case. The overall risk in Florida, and really, in the United States, for the general population is still extremely low.”

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