Healthcare officials and news outlets have sounded the alarm in recent weeks about an uptick in monkeypox cases across the country, but not everyone shares such heightened anxiety.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who became a hero among many conservatives for his measured response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is taking a similarly low-key approach to the latest supposed public health emergency.
During a recent media briefing, he asserted that he is “so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population.”
RON DESANTIS ON MONKEYPOX: “Do not listen to their nonsense. I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population." pic.twitter.com/TOHtorjxLh
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) August 3, 2022
DeSantis said state officials have “had people calling, mothers worried about whether their kids could catch it at schools” amid public advisories about monkeypox.
“We are not doing fear and we are not going to 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 added.
The GOP governor took aim at his Democratic counterparts in states such as New York, Illinois, and California, all of whom have declared states of emergency and proposed additional measures meant to limit the spread of the disease.
“They’re going to abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom,” DeSantis predicted. “I guarantee you that’s what will happen.”
As of the most recent estimates available, Florida has reported 525 cases of monkeypox, which is roughly the same number as Texas and Illinois. New York leads the country with more than 1,500 confirmed cases and California follows with 826.
Even some experts interviewed by mainstream media outlets seem to agree that monkeypox does not pose a significant public health emergency. As Dr. Michael Osterholm explained during a recent CBS News interview, the disease “is primarily a sexually transmitted infection, just like herpes or syphillis,” that is spread most commonly through sexual contact between men.
Although he stressed that there is no need for panic, Osterholm advised that “not everyone gets it from sexually transmitted routes” and that monkeypox can be spread through “contaminated bedding or towels, or even physical contact.”
White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been one of the most prominent COVID-19 alarmists over the past two years, also spread panic in response to the rise in monkeypox infections.
“We’ve got to understand the modality of transmission, the manifestations, also the risk for people like children and pregnant women,” he said. “There’s really a profound risk.”