(FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA) Friday, August 5, 2022 – As the number of cases of new diagnosis of monkeypox continues to grow throughout the state of Florida, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the world’s largest, non-profit HIV/AIDS service organization, with a strong presence in Florida, is calling on Governor Ron DeSantis to exhibit leadership in proactively addressing this growing public health crisis and join other states, like California, New York and Illinois that are experiencing increases in new diagnosis, and declare a state of emergency in Florida.
Given the growing number of new cases of monkeypox across the globe, the World Health Organization recently declared the virus a global health emergency. Now having the fourth-highest number of new cases in the country, since May 2022, Florida, has seen a consistent increase in new cases, particularly in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, now having 372 of the states 525 recorded cases. In a recent article in the Sun-Sentinel, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, stated that he is certain there are many more unknown cases across the state. Earlier this week, the Governor stated that he would not declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak. In the same article, DeSantis referred to it being “nonsense” and that politicians that were taking leadership in addressing monkeypox, were “trying to scare you about this.”
“Governor DeSantis has yet again failed the people of Florida! He lacked leadership in addressing the COVID pandemic that devastatingly impacted thousands of lives being lost and now shows his lack of caring by slacking on proactively addressing the monkeypox crisis, negatively impacting communities across the state,” stated Ebonni Chrispin, AHF Manager of Legislative Affairs & Community Engagement. “Access to vaccine and other critical resources are needed across the state to get in front of the virus continuing to spread and declaring a state of emergency is what is the right thing to do to keep the people of Florida safe. As a patient-centered organization, we are very concerned about the Governors actions. It is deplorable that he continues to put his selfish desires for political gain over the people he was hired to serve and keep safe.”
AHF directly serves over 20,000 clients, many living with HIV/AIDS, in its 19 healthcare facilities across the state. The state of Florida is in critical need of more vaccine and a plan to ensure access to vaccine for all communities. As a leading people-centered, public health and advocacy organization, AHF is planning on-going advocacy initiatives to address the Governor’s lack of responsiveness and is actively working on convening an emergency summit in Miami on monkeypox.