Gov. Ron DeSantis gave some indication as to what his administration’s policy regarding monkeypox will be Wednesday, by way of insulting an old foe’s policy recommendations in a bygone era.
“We are not going to be like (Dr. Anthony) Fauci in the 80s, claiming that families could get AIDS by sitting and watching TV together,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Rockledge, where he and state health officials were addressing opioid treatment.
We have reached out to the Governor’s Office for clarification of DeSantis’ reference, and they sent a link to a long form 1983 interview with Fauci in which he said the “full extent of transmissibility” of the disease was not known.
They asserted that further clarification of the specific reference would be found in the Twitter replies of Press Secretary Christina Pushaw.
This is the latest reheat of what has been a durable feud for the Governor against the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. We will update when we get clarification of the remark.
While that comment about AIDS policy is new, Fauci critiques from DeSantis recur frequently. The Governor has cashed in on Fauci’s “flip flops” on issues, bashed him during interviews for doing too many interviews, and characterized him as “intimately involved” in New York’s decision to send COVID-19 patients back to nursing homes during the height of the pandemic.
DeSantis spoke for some minutes about the need to not succumb to “fear,” in comments reminiscent of previous comments from the Governor during various COVID-19 surges.
“You see any of these politicians out there trying to scare you about this, 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,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis vowed that anything the state does “from a public health perspective” will be rooted in “facts” and not “fear.”
States of emergency imposed in other states, he added, will lead to those states opting to “abuse those emergency powers to curtail your freedom.”
DeSantis also suggested that monkeypox won’t be the last public health threat, suggesting that more viruses could emerge from China.
“Who knows what they’re cooking up in Wuhan? You just never know,” DeSantis speculated.
“You’ve got to remain rational,” DeSantis added. “And do not use it for political gain.”
Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo echoed DeSantis’ “complete answer” and suggested that “headlines” are “trying to make you afraid of monkeypox or fill-in-the-blank.”
“These people are determined to make you afraid and do whatever it is they want you to do,” Ladapo said.
Ladapo said 500 known cases are in the state, with most of the cases being among men and transmitted via sexual contact. But these cases are not fatal at this point.