- Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried on Monday held a press conference addressing the spread of monkeypox across South Florida
- On Twitter, Fried stated that she is hosting the event due to Gov Ron DeSantis’ inactivity on the matter
- As of last week, Miami-Dade and Broward counties confirmed 247 cases in aggregation
- Fried wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requesting additional vaccines, stating that her department is standing by to assist as needed
Commissioner of Agriculture and gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried on Monday morning held a press conference addressing the ongoing monkeypox outbreak across South Florida and the state at large. In holding the event, Fried attacked Gov. Ron DeSantis, stating on Twitter that she is speaking on the matter “because DeSantis won’t.”
With a stated goal of raising local awareness of monkeypox, Fried spoke alongside Robert Boo and Dr. Zachary Henry, offering updates on the disease spread across South Florida. Currently, Florida accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. cases and has seen a rapid increase in cases over the last month, with the highest concentrations found in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
As of July 26th, the pair of counties collectively identified 247 cases, with state data now showing infected individuals in 17 Floridian counties, a jump up from 12 just two weeks ago.
Because DeSantis won’t, this morning I’m holding a press briefing to discuss the monkeypox outbreak in Florida and detection and prevention.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) August 1, 2022
The World Health Organization last week deemed the outbreak to be a global health emergency. While most cases have been identified in Europe, Florida is experiencing rapid transmission, causing state leaders and medical experts to raise concerns.
“It needs to be a statewide approach. [The disease] doesn’t know any borders,” said Boo. “Just because it’s here in Broward County doesn’t mean that it’s going to stop at Miami-Dade or Palm Beach Counties. With South Florida being such a tourist destination, this is quickly growing across the state. Unless we contain it, monkeypox will continue to spread.”
Fried during the event stated that last week she wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell requesting additional vaccines and testing resources.
“Given the troubling spread of cases in South Florida specifically, I urge you to expedite the Florida Department Of Health’s recent request for additional vaccines under your case-burden allocation strategy,” wrote Fried. “Testing, while greatly improved due to efforts by HHS, is still not widely accessible to many Floridians and continues to limit the state’s ability to identify outbreaks and protect vulnerable populations, making vaccines all the more important. My department stands ready to provide assistance during this global health emergency, including amplifying federal awareness efforts to the people of Florida.”
At the time of Fried’s letter, the federal government allocated 25,000 vaccines for use within the state. Despite the assistance, demand is currently outpacing the available supply.