Ron DeSantis continues to promote early COVID-19 treatment as critics call for prevention
Ron DeSantis at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Image via Scott Powers.

Ron DeSantis
Monoclonal antibodies can help reduce the severity of COVID-19 cases in people who are at higher risk.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is promoting a COVID-19 treatment that could reduce hospitalizations for the disease.

The Governor’s push for monoclonal antibody treatment in Orlando Monday comes as Florida continues seeing heightened hospitalization rates with the delta variant. Meanwhile, other officials are focusing their messages on wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the injectable antibody cocktail as an early treatment for COVID-19 infections in people who are at high risk for severe infections, such as those who are immunocompromised.

“At the end of the day, reducing hospital admissions has got to be a top priority,” DeSantis said. “If you reduce those admissions, people don’t go to the hospital to begin with. They’re going to recover.”

Orlando can treat up to 320 patients each day at the new facility at Camping World Stadium, DeSantis said, standing behind a podium with a sign reading “early treatment saves lives.” The Governor unveiled a similar facility in Jacksonville on Thursday.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller was on hand in the City Beautiful to promote the treatment. Her daughter, who is immunocompromised, caught COVID-19 less than two weeks ago and received monoclonal antibodies three hours after testing positive, she said.

“When we left the infusion center, her fever was 105. By 10 o’clock the next morning, her fever had dropped to 99,” Marstiller said.

DeSantis has made a push in recent weeks for people to seek monoclonal antibody treatment if they catch their COVID-19 infection early. In that time, critics have attacked the Governor for not dedicating public appearances to encouraging people to get vaccinated.

The FDA has not approved monoclonal antibody treatment as an alternative to vaccinations.

“(DeSantis) comes to our City, doesn’t communicate (with) local officials that he’s coming or why, announces expansion of monoclonal antibody treatment for when you test positive for COVID, barely talks about vaccines (and) doesn’t even mention masks. (Whatever) happened to prevention?” tweeted Orlando Democratic Rep. Anna V. Eskamani.

As of Friday, 12.4 million Floridians had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. That’s 65% of the eligible population, 12 years old and older, and 57% of the state’s total population.

More than 270,000 Floridians received a shot in the week leading up to Friday as more people seek protection against the resurgent pandemic. Florida leads the southeast in vaccination rates but still trails Democratic-leaning states like on the west coast and in the northeast.

DeSantis frequently promoted vaccines when they became available, particularly for the state’s older population. And while he still promotes them, they have not been the primary thrust of any of his appearances in recent months.

“I know no Governor did more public events than — I did over 50 public events with this,” DeSantis said, following reporters’ questions about vaccines.

Early treatment and vaccinations are not mutually exclusive, he continued.

“If somebody tests positive, if they’re unvaccinated, the vaccine isn’t going to treat it, they need it to be treated,” DeSantis said. “So do both, but just understand, people who are vaccinated are still testing positive. People who are very high risk, the vaccine is reducing their exposure to serious illness, but it’s still something we want them to know.”

DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, continued the Governor’s retort Monday afternoon.

“People know about vaccines, because (DeSantis) promoted them relentlessly for months while Democrats criticized him for prioritizing seniors,” she tweeted, adding that many don’t know about monoclonal antibody treatment. “Also, vaccines and monoclonals are proven effective in clinical trials. Masks are not. Governor DeSantis follows the science and promotes proven effective interventions, not pseudoscience or political virtue signaling.”

Most medical experts agree masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


8 comments

  • Alex

    August 16, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    If you get monoclonal antibodies, you still have to get vaccinated.

    If you get vaccinated, likely you won’t need monoclonal antibodies unless you’re immunocompromised.

  • Tom

    August 16, 2021 at 7:24 pm

    Once again Alex has no clue.
    Of course he should. Make all options and meds avail. Share info and help offer options.
    Educate on vaccine and help those who may have reasons not to with alternatives. The strike force announced last week is brilliant by the Governor.
    Team Biden has done nothing besides wasting time losing to America’s Governor and building him up as a legend. They’ve accomplished nothing but demean people who have natural tendency or health reasons not to. He still hasn’t named a FDA commissioner. I mean really We have a pandemic. . We have well over 100,000,000 million Americans who have taken the vaccine and we still don’t have non emergency vaccine approval, really?
    They didn’t initiate the vaccine nor brilliantly pay in advance the drug companies
    to produce vaccine in advance. All companies participated. We have illegals invading with covid at about a 20% ratio per DHS. But we can’t protect Afghan translators and support.
    What a ball club. So sad.

    • Tjb

      August 17, 2021 at 9:52 am

      Are the Monoclonal antibodies fully approved by FDA? Curious to to see the DHS report stating the 20% ratio and the size of the sample group. Yes, we can do more to support the Afghan translators and families. We can welcome their relocation to Florida.

      • Sean

        August 17, 2021 at 2:57 pm

        No, the monoclonal antibodies have not been approved by the FDA. The company is connected to Desantis by a very large donation to his campaign.

  • Anna

    August 16, 2021 at 7:52 pm

    My neighbor’s aunt makes 62 every hour on the internet..i she has been without work for eight months but the previous month her revenue was 19022 only working on the laptop 5 hours a day..

    check this….. http://SwagTip.com

  • Becky Madonna

    August 17, 2021 at 6:47 am

    Produce the evidence that masks work. Show the studies. Saying “most medical experts agree masks slow the spread” is about as valid as toothpaste commercials saying “9 out of 10 doctors use Crest”.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 17, 2021 at 9:01 am

    So Duffus Desantis absolutely wants you to get covid or be exposed to covid! Stfu. Prevention is possible! Duffus Desantis you are willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children! Lock him up! Get out Desantis!

  • Judiyee

    August 19, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Oh my god, people! The monoclonal antibodies have the same approval from the FDA that vaccines have! Why should Desantis say any more about getting vaccinated? Aren’t there enough PSAs on TV and “News” programs hourly??? And…. If we are truly wanting to help all people who might get this illness, TREATMENT should be front and center along with vaccines. There are very effective treatments that no one knows about because of “agendas”. Let’s use whatEVER is available. Use it all!! You will want that when you have your “vaccine breakthrough” Covid.

Comments are closed.


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