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Responding to recent measures taken in response to the US monkeypox virus outbreak, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters in a media briefing on Wednesday that his administration was “not scaring.”
The Republican governor said during a news conference that Florida would instead “focus on facts.”
“I’m so sick of politicians – and we’ve seen that with COVID – trying to instill fear in the population,” he said. “We’ve had people calling, mothers worried about their kids catching it at school.”
“We’re not scaring,” added DeSantis. “And we’re not going to go out and try to upset people and act like people can’t live their lives the way they used to because of something.”
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He claimed that leaders of states that have declared public health emergencies would abuse those powers to “restrict your freedom.”
“I guarantee you that will happen,” he said. “We’ve seen it so many times with COVID.”
Governors Kathy Hochul, Gavin Newsom and JB Pritzker – all Democrats from New York, California and Illinois respectively – have declared a state of emergency over the spread of monkeypox.
New York currently accounts for 1,666 of the US cases.
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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 statewide.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox a global public health emergency, with the virus spreading to dozens of countries that normally have no infections.
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Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, and often skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with objects and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.
A pregnant person can transmit the virus to their fetus through the placenta.