- Florida’s confirmed monkeypox count saw a significant increase in August, rising by almost 1,400 cases
- Miami-Dade and Broward counties continue to lead the state in cases as South Florida harbors an endemic breakout
- Gov. Ron DeSantis in early August stated that he would not issue a state of emergency order unless necessary
- DeSantis additionally stated that public health proceedings will be dealt with using “facts, not fear”
Confirmed cases of monkeypox in Florida have more than tripled this month from the 525 cases reported through Aug. 2 to 1,913 cases as of Monday, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.
With 704 cases in Miami-Dade and 578 in Broward, the two counties comprise a majority of the state’s cases of monkeypox. With 150 and 124 instances, respectively, Orange and Hillsborough counties had the next-highest number of cases.
Though the White House declared the outbreak a national emergency on Aug. 4th, Gov. Ron DeSantis has committed to not declaring a state of emergency unless necessary.
DeSantis during a press conference in early August stated that he sought to avoid stoking fear in Floridians while the case count for monkeypox remains relatively low. Referring to such states as New York and California, which did declare a state of emergency, the governor claimed that such measures would be used to “abuse emergency powers to restrict freedoms.”
“Any of the politicians trying to scare you about this, do not listen to their nonsense,” he said. “We’re not going to go back to Fauci in the ’80s trying to tell families they are going to catch AIDS by watching TV together. Anything we deal with from a public health perspective, we are not doing fear. We are going to do facts.
DeSantis additionally stated that anything dealt with from a public health perspective would be dealt with “facts, not fear,” but elected not to expand upon how the Department of Health is working to combat the outbreak.
Top Democrats including Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried, and Sen. Shevrin Jones have pushed to force the issue to the forefront of Florida politics.
Jones (D-Miami Gardens) in August called on Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky to expand accessibility to the monkeypox vaccine across Florida.
“Sadly, the monkeypox virus is already rapidly spreading throughout our communities, and the vaccines will arrive too late for many,” said Jones. “Therefore, I call on you to work with other federal agencies to cut as much red tape as possible to speed the prescription and distribution of antiviral medications like TPOXX that can effectively treat the virus, but require significant paperwork and regulatory hurdles to prescribe.”
As of Aug. 5th, the federal government sent 65,960 doses of the Jynneos vaccine to Florida, according to available information. The federal government has delivered 109,284 doses to Floridians overall.