Florida Officials Push Back against Media’s Monkeypox Hysteria

Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against the mainstream media’s growing monkeypox hysteria and said Florida would not be declaring a state of emergency.

During a press conference Wednesday, DeSantis compared the developing monkeypox outbreak to the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, arguing that — then and now — politicians were only interested in creating fear in order to restrict people’s freedoms.

“I am so sick of politicians, and we saw this with COVID, trying to sow fear into the population,” DeSantis said. “We had people calling, mothers worried about whether their kids could catch it at schools.”

“We are not doing fear,” the Republican governor 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.”

DeSantis’s comments decrying the country’s response to monkeypox come as a growing number of states, including New York, California and Illinois, declare states of emergency over the viral outbreak.

The governor’s comments also came just one day before the Biden administration announced they were declaring the outbreak a nationwide public health emergency. During the press conference, DeSantis said such responses were intended to “restrict your freedom.”

“You see some of these states declaring states of emergency. They’re going to abuse those emergency powers to restrict your freedom,” he said. “I guarantee you that’s what will happen.”

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo echoed the governor’s message, arguing that the mainstream media is “determined to make you afraid and do whatever it is they want you to do.”

“It’s really been just kind of remarkable to see some of the headlines, and the headlines that very clearly are trying to make you afraid of monkeypox or fill in the blank, you know — because if you’re not afraid of this, there will be something else after that and something else after that,” Ladapo said.

As of Saturday, the United States has confirmed 7,510 cases of monkeypox, including 633 in Florida. No deaths have yet been reported in the country, and the viral disease is considered to have a fatality rate at or below 1%.