Ron DeSantis berates ‘reprehensible’ disinformation while promoting monoclonal antibodies
Ron DeSantis at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Image via Scott Powers.

Ron DeSantis
The Governor's spokesperson spent much of Tuesday attacking The Associated Press.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is attacking the media and critics for promoting “disinformation” regarding a COVID-19 treatment that could reduce hospitalizations for the disease.

The Governor has spent much of this month promoting monoclonal antibody treatment as Florida continues seeing heightened hospitalization rates with the delta variant. Critics argue DeSantis has prioritized advertising the treatment over vaccination during the latest surge.

At a new monoclonal antibody treatment site in Broward County on Wednesday, DeSantis said “corporate press” have spread misinformation about the treatment option, including that it could cost a person thousands of dollars when it’s actually free.

“That is a lie that is being disseminated for political purposes to try to dissuade people from seeking lifesaving treatment,” DeSantis said. “And honestly, that’s reprehensible.”

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 the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. The FDA has also approved the drug for use when people are exposed to COVID-19, even before they test positive.

But DeSantis says public awareness has been lagging, and getting people early treatment at treatment sites could “take pressure off hospital admissions.”

President Donald Trump used monoclonal antibodies last year when he was treated for COVID-19, promoting it as a “miracle” and a “cure.” The federal government purchased 1.25 million doses of Regeneron’s version of the drug in January, making treatment free to patients and to states.

Vaccines are also free and significantly reduce the chance of infection. They reduce the chances of hospitalization and death even more.

But DeSantis says receiving vaccines or monoclonal antibodies isn’t mutually exclusive. Moreover, a vaccine won’t cure someone who is already infected.

Critics have been pushing political agendas and trying to gaslight people with misinformation about the treatment, DeSantis said.

“This is no place for those phony narratives, for political posturing or for partisanship,” he continued.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate hoping to challenge DeSantis in 2022, said Wednesday that Floridians already have wide access to lifesaving treatment, referring to vaccines.

“It’s going to cost us so much more money per day than if he just had been proactive in utilizing his bully pulpit and his power and his influence to go around the state today, asking Floridians to get the shot,” Fried said.

Florida is expected to open 15 to 20 treatment sites, each offering the drug to up to 300 patients per day. The Governor hopes to make it available to the state’s major population centers.

DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, attacked The Associated Press Tuesday evening for publishing a story highlighting that the CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund with Regeneron shares, donated $10.75 million to the DeSantis campaign since 2018.

Citadel’s investment in Regeneron is a tiny fraction of its overall $39 billion in investments, but if the stock price was to go up, Citadel would benefit. Pushaw noted that Citadel has far greater investments in Moderna and Pfizer, which manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. And Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times reported that it doesn’t benefit Regeneron for the Governor to promote it.

But the relationship has generated a buzz on social media, as Democrats question the relationship.

“Claiming that there is somehow ‘corruption’ by promoting the baseless political narrative that Governor DeSantis supports Regeneron over COVID vaccines (completely false, but that is another topic) is not even logically consistent when you examine the SEC filing,” Pushaw said in an email. “Citadel holds far more shares of Pfizer and Moderna than Regeneron.”

The Governor didn’t mention that article in his remarks Wednesday, but he did attack “corporate press.”

“Let’s not try to pursue partisan agendas that may have the effect of dissuading somebody from seeking a treatment that could potentially not only keep them out of the hospital but could actually save their lives,” DeSantis said.

____

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Republished with permission.

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.


12 comments

  • tjb

    August 18, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Ron DeSantis quote “That is a lie that is being disseminated for political purposes to try to dissuade people from seeking life-saving treatment,”

    Who is saying that Ron DeSantis?

    What you are upset about is that health professionals and media outlets are calling you out for not giving more focus and emphasis on the importance of Covid 19 vaccinations and masks as preventive treatments.
    The phony narratives are coming from you and Christina Pushaw., not from the people you accused. Let us try to stop Covid 19, so there is a limited need for Regeneron as a treatment.

    • Tom

      August 19, 2021 at 9:09 am

      You are a liar Tjb,
      Gov Ron once again provides leadership and alternatives.
      Monoclonal offers help and alternative. Thank God we do, with the likes of you, Alex, Frankie, Hoffman and other Manchurians. Dictators like you. The Gov said, “consult your doctor on vaccine”
      Your POTUS Still hasn’t appointed a FDA commissioner. Well Over 100,0000,000 Million shots and no approval on vaccines. That’s the way to create confidence.
      But all of you hacks know better.
      America’s Governor suffers fools gladly and your manchurians are st the top of the list.

      • Tjb

        August 19, 2021 at 10:15 am

        DeSantis is pushing a COVID-19 antibody treatment (Regeneron). Experts say Regeneron is an effective treatment for Covid.
        However, one of DeSantis’s largest donors is Citadel CEO Ken Griffin. Citadel, a hedge fund company, is invested in Regneron Pharmaceuticals.

        Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis. This makes him one of the largest donors if not the largest donor to our governor.

        I appreciate that the governor is pushing this treatment, but with such a large amount being donated to his campaign there is the stink of “Pay to Play”. I wonder if I had a mask company and donated $15 million to his PAC, would he be preaching the wonders of wearing a mask

  • Alex

    August 18, 2021 at 6:03 pm

    If you need monoclonal antibodies, it’s your fault for not getting vaccinated already.

    Duh.

    • tjb

      August 18, 2021 at 6:25 pm

      Alex. dud, I did not say not to get the shot. And you do know even with the covid vaccinations, you can still get Covid 19. Regeneron appears to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate cases of Covid, but again the emphasis should be on prevention so hopefully, you don’t need treatment.

      • Alex

        August 18, 2021 at 6:38 pm

        I was commenting on DeathsAnus’s disinformation, not anything about you.

        • tjb

          August 18, 2021 at 6:42 pm

          My apologies Alex.

  • Tom

    August 18, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    Two Dum tards in spirit.
    Polls showing your clowns losing bigly.
    America’s Governor kicking ass.
    Team Biden falling apart.
    Major foreign policy blunder in 50 to 75 years.
    Governor Ron showing the way with monoclonal therapy. New centers opening everywhere scores the state. The ex soldier, now Governor offering strike force to help Floridians. Creative leader and ready to jump into action. Compared to a blundering POTUS. Alex you hater, it fell apart for you in last 72 hours. LMAO. Your guy in Cali on the brink of losing. What a joke. Wipe it all off you stink.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 19, 2021 at 3:29 am

    Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians and our children! The vaccines are for PREVENTION ! Lock up Duffus Desantis for his criminal negligence for money for his political bs!

  • Tom Palmer

    August 19, 2021 at 10:31 am

    There was a small matter reported elsewhere that the media stories did not say what DeSantis said they said.

  • Alex

    August 19, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Our Governor is a virtual fountain of misleading information purely for political purposes.

    He NEVER simply says plainly the the best overall strategy for your health, your family, your community, the country, and the human species is to GET VACCINATED and WEAR A MASK WHEN APPROPRIATE.

    He’s pushing some nonsense about rights, but NEVER NAMES any rights we’ve lost.

    Because we haven’t lost any.

    So BOO FUCKING HOO if you have to get a couple simple free injections and wear a mask.

    Babies.

    • Tom

      August 19, 2021 at 1:06 pm

      You idiot, that’s because he has not restricted them unlike your incompetent Dum Govs. Are you in such a liberal cocoon you are not aware. How ignorant can you be.
      Try NY, Mich, N Jersey, Pennsylvania, and your hero California Newsom. How bout Hawaii. They are still doing so.
      New low Alex. Your POTUS hasn’t named a FDA commissioner six months later. Well over a million shots and no approval of the vaccines. How demented are you.

Comments are closed.


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