Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reacted to recent action taken in response to the U.S. monkeypox virus outbreak, telling reporters in a Wednesday media briefing that his government is “not doing fear.”
The Republican governor said during a press briefing that Florida would, instead, “focus on facts.”
“I am so sick of politicians — and we saw this with COVID — trying to sow fear into the population,” he said. “We had people calling, mothers worried about whether their kids could catch it at school.”
“We are not doing fear,” DeSantis added. “And, we are not going to go out and try to rile people up and try to act like people can’t live their lives as they’ve been normally doing because of something.”
He claimed that leaders of states that have declared public health emergencies would abuse those powers to “restrict your freedom.”
“I guarantee you that’s what will happen,” he said. “We saw it so much with COVID.”
Govs. Kathy Hochul, Gavin Newsom and J.B. Pritzker — all Democrats from New York, California and Illinois, respectively — have declared states of emergency over the spread of monkeypox.
New York currently accounts for 1,666 of U.S. cases.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows 525 confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases reported in Florida and now 6,617 nationwide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox a global health emergency, with the virus spreading to tens of countries that don’t typically have infections.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal and often skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with objects and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.