Gov. DeSantis touts monoclonal antibody treatment in Lakeland, Bradenton
Image via AP.

ron desantis
The promotion of the treatment sites comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Gov. Ron DeSantis made stops in Lakeland and Bradenton Saturday to promote two new sites that will provide monoclonal antibodies, touted as an effective treatment against COVID-19.

DeSantis visited the sites, one at Manatee Memorial Hospital Complex and another at Lakes Church, as part of a series of recent visits around the state to raise public awareness of monoclonal antibodies, a therapeutic available when a person at high risk for severe infection tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to the virus.

The Governor presented the treatment as just “one tool” to fight against severe complications from COVID-19, also pointing to vaccinations as a form of prevention for serious illness.

“This is just one tool, it’s not to the exclusion of anything else,” DeSantis said Saturday. “The fact that this is here should not mean that you don’t get vaccinated, and the fact that you’re vaccinated does not mean that you may not get infected.”

The state plans to open between 15 to 20 sites providing about 320 treatments a day by start of next week, DeSantis said. The monoclonal antibody centers are being placed across the state, and provide the treatment free of charge.

The sites are open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s been given the same emergency use authorization that the three vaccines have had, and its been used by our health systems in most parts of the state pretty consistently,” DeSantis said.However, it’s something that a lot of people didn’t know about, and so we’ve really helped raise the visibility of it.”

The promotion of the treatment sites comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

For several weeks now, Florida has led the nation in new COVID-19 cases, and those numbers have continued to climb. On Wednesday, the Florida Hospitalization Association reported a new high in active hospitalizations for COVID-19 with 16,721 people hospitalized in the state.

Treating people early can help keep them out of hospitals, which are filling up again as the delta variant resurges across the country.

“We’ve already done thousands of treatments at our various sites,” DeSantis said. “At the pace we’re going, we’re going to do a lot in the coming weeks and again, keeping people out of hospitals, reducing admissions to hospitals — that really is, I think the key, of course, saving lives as well.”

Lakeland Sen. Kelli Stargel joined DeSantis at the Lakes Church treatment site opening, sharing that she had received a call from Lakeland Regional Hospital stressed about the number of hospitalizations from the virus.

“I guarantee you it’s going to take the stress off of our healthcare system, we’re gonna be able to get back to business,” Stargel said Saturday, adding, “If we all do our part and try to be compassionate and considerate to those around us — wear a mask if you’ve been someplace or you are someplace where you make another sick. It takes all of it.”

DeSantis also emphasized the state has been able to scale up the program at some sites, like one in Broward County, where the demand calls for it.

The Trump administration bought Regeneron’s entire supply of their monoclonal antibody drug in January, making it free to those who take it. Former President Donald Trump received monoclonal antibodies in October when he was treated for COVID-19, promoting it as a “miracle” and a “cure.”

In the past month, critics have argued that DeSantis has promoted treatment over vaccines by touting the drug cocktail. But he said it’s not a question of treatment versus vaccines but that both are important, particularly as there are more breakthrough cases. He spent much of the first half of the year crisscrossing the state to promote vaccines.

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, has 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 Citadel would benefit if the stock price increased. 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.

Some critics have also started promoting the treatment. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who earlier this week said DeSantis cost the state by promoting treatment rather than prevention, helped open a Regeneron drug treatment center.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


19 comments

  • Alex

    August 21, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    You can’t talk about vaccinations loudly Ronnie.

    Your far right uneducated followers might think you’re going RINO, or worse, following the science.

    • Impeach Biden

      August 21, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Don’t know what your education background is but you really shouldn’t paint such a wide swath. A degree from a top University doesn’t always mean your are the smartest one in the room. I give you Blinken, who is a Harvard grad , just got his ass handed to him in Afghanistan.

      • Alex

        August 21, 2021 at 2:49 pm

        I remember you wanted to compare resumes.

        You do know it’s astoundingly stupid to post personal info on the internet right?

        Apparently you’re astoundingly stupid.

        • Impeach Biden

          August 21, 2021 at 3:17 pm

          I think you are the stupid one. You did vote for Biden right? I did not ask you to post your resume. You also have a reading comprehension problem. You are also not a board moderator that decides what content is appropriate to discuss. You act like you are the smartest guy in the room but probably just a know it all blowhard living alone n your mom’s basement trying to figure out what to do with your life in your 60’s.

        • Tom

          August 21, 2021 at 3:45 pm

          Manchurian U. Total bot blow hard.

      • Tom Palmer

        August 22, 2021 at 11:42 am

        Yeah, but if you don’t have a degree at all in the topic
        you’re speaking about, you may be competing to be the dumbest guy in the room.

    • EUGENIA DAVIS

      August 25, 2021 at 9:25 pm

      Are you such a small person that you have to be snarky to attract a bit of attention? If you should EVER get near the intelligence level of Gov. DeSantis you might want to try making an intelligent comment – you may luck up.

  • Amy

    August 21, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    Since I started with my online business, I earn $25 every 15 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t check it out. Learn more about it here… rb.gy/mpermp

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 21, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Yo Duffus Desantis with all of your schoooling. You didn’t learn Prevention! Wearing a mask is the simplest prevention success ! Those folks already have covid-delta!!!!!!!!! Prevention stupid! Duffus Desantis you ain’t notin but a damn drug dealer! Pharma paid you so you hustle their drug!!!!! Duffus Desantis you are willingly slaughtering Floridians and our Children! Lock him up!

    • Bob Marley

      August 21, 2021 at 3:24 pm

      Looking forward to the queen of marijuana harvesting in Florida, Nikki Fried, and her financial report from 2020 and the riches she now has with her boyfriend that somehow got one of the very few marijuana licenses in Florida. Support Nikki Sonja. Maybe you can share a bong hit with her.

      • Tom

        August 21, 2021 at 5:44 pm

        Yes, flip flopper Fraud.
        Really a Stalker!
        Cannabis Queen.
        Wait till they host hearings on her final
        Report. And have her testimony.

    • EUGENIA DAVIS

      August 25, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      You get the dumbest comment of the evening award. If there is one thing that is disgusting it’s when people try to be stupid..you should be ashamed of yourself. The last two sentences are statements that would prompt a sensible person to sue you for defamation.

  • Tom

    August 21, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    He is from Manchurian U, blow hard bot “pud”

  • Tom Palmer

    August 22, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Disease–medical pollution– is kind of like environmental pollution. Prevention is always cheaper and more efficient than cleaning up afterwards. Get the inoculation.

  • DIANNA DAVIS

    August 22, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.htmlI'm disabled bcz of LYME DISEASE.
    My education Neurologist brain diesese.
    I’m a VOLUNTEER COUNTY FIRE PREVENTION.
    I’m obligated to provide required information to our county.
    The information bout SARS DELTA VARIENT is all incorrect from
    County and city LEADERS
    JOHN
    Telling the public
    SARS found on DUCKS
    Ducks Chickens Goose
    Eggs are the CURE
    Sulfate Sulfur Sulfuric acid Bromanine Zinc Iodine salt SUGAR.
    Vaccination made from EGGS.
    SARS found and grows from
    ARSENIC
    Rodents POSUMS Bats Vultures Sloughs
    Homassasa Springs VULTURES POSUMS rodents
    ARSENIC.
    Pls consider to UP US HELP OTHERS
    $$$$ MONEY $$$$
    Medical Mismanagement Malfeasance can be made by CITY and COUNTY Leaders bcz of incorrect information.
    ( Theft personal and professional property. Real estate Auto )
    Baycareanywhere.org
    Download Physicians Teleoffice visit IPHONE App
    Prescription refills NO NARCOTICSNo cigarettes tobacco
    Linked to TALIBAN USA

  • Tom Palmer

    August 22, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    The politics is driving this. You can’t be a Republican in good standing if you tell people to get their shots. It’s like telling peasants in the Middle Ages to take baths. It is heretical.

    • EUGENIA DAVIS

      August 25, 2021 at 9:34 pm

      You should definitely move somewhere closer to Washington where your real friends are. Your comment is weak and nasty.

  • Cerys

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