Ron DeSantis: COVID-19 death reporting questions are partisan distraction
Ron DeSantis. Image via AP.

The state's treatment apparatus is 'the real story.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ statewide tour promoting monoclonal antibody therapies for COVID-19 has continued into September, as has scrutiny over how the state reports COVID-19 deaths.

The Miami Herald on Friday reported the Florida Department of Health had reworked how the agency tallies COVID-19 deaths, reporting them by the date the people died rather than the date the deaths were reported. As Florida Politics reported a month before, that has the effect of decreasing the count of fatalities in the “Previous Week” column on the state’s weekly reports.

“It’s just a totally false, partisan narrative. We are working hard to bring the admissions down in hospitals and the emergency rooms and the hospital census. This is helping to do that,” DeSantis said, referring to monoclonal antibody sites. “I mean, this is really the story.”

Florida has opened at least 21 sites offering monoclonal antibodies, a therapy available to people at risk for severe infections when they test positive. However, that antibody cocktail was hardly known to the public, at least until this month, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the use of the drug.

“To try to say that doing reporting the way many other states do and which is the most accurate is some type of problem when it’s been something that’s been going on for a long time is absurd,” DeSantis said. “But I think it’s an attempt to kind of distract from the fact that we had shortcomings in terms of the knowledge of this. We’ve come in and filled it in.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democratic candidate hoping to deny DeSantis a second term, has previously questioned the way the state reports its death data. After hosting a moment of silence Wednesday honoring the 44,561 people who have died with COVID-19 in Florida, Fried said the Governor shouldn’t focus on trying to change the narrative.

“The fact that he has such a depraved indifference for human life should be the story, the fact that we’ve lost 45,000 Floridians, and that there’s a question about information that’s coming out of the Department of Health, that has been a consistent drumbeat, he is trying to change this narrative,” she said.

Florida has seen positive results because of promoting monoclonal antibodies, DeSantis noted. Each site can offer treatment to at least 300 individuals.

Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody therapy has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization and death among people at risk for severe cases by 70%. The drug also holds up against the delta variant, unlike Eli Lilly’s version.

The Governor has been criticized for not promoting vaccines with the same vigor lately, but early in his speech, DeSantis called vaccinations a “core feature” to the state’s COVID-19 response.

“The vaccinations are necessary but not sufficient,” DeSantis said. “You got to have something on the back end, too. You got to have treatment options.”

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.


  • Alex

    September 1, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    If he’s so busy why do it then?

    And of course the “story” just happens to reduce the number of deaths reported, not raise them.

    So fucking obvious.

  • Tom

    September 1, 2021 at 1:44 pm

    Yes, as if you know the science.

    • Alex

      September 1, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      8 time proven liar who says we’ve lost constitutional rights in the pandemic can’t name a single one.


      • Tom

        September 1, 2021 at 5:14 pm

        You dum ass idiot, call your reinforcement Manchurians.
        You liberal Socialist cocoon world evaporating. DeSantis by 10.
        POTUS free fall, in low 30’s.
        New Repub majorities coming.
        You idiot Alex. Fourth amendment rights have been eviscerated. Do you know what that means. You are a fool.
        Go play in your sandbox u kid.

        • Alex

          September 1, 2021 at 6:07 pm


          The government unreasonably searched you and kept your brain you stupid fuck?

          It’s so frickin obvious you just pulled an Amendment out of your ass and hoped I wouldn’t answer.

          You are the dumbest person I’ve ever seen online.

          Oh, and that makes lies #9 and #10.

          • Tom

            September 1, 2021 at 8:09 pm

            F your self.
            Any scholar will tell you, even a demented ass as yourself is under attack. I’ve had cases as such.
            You know nothing bout government or constitution.

            Critics are one thing Palmer. Press ridicule is another.

            Alex, You complete dumb ass.
            You offer nothing but hate.
            Go scratch yourself.

          • Alex

            September 1, 2021 at 9:21 pm

            So explain how the government took your right to not be unreasonably searched and have your possessions seized?

            Yeah, we know you’re a liar, but this is beyond idiotic.

            Congratulations stupid fuck.

        • Alex

          September 1, 2021 at 8:50 pm

          You are owned boy.

          By me.


          • Tom

            September 1, 2021 at 9:14 pm

            You are a piece of crap.
            It’s 10-0. Slaughter.
            Go wipe.

  • Tom Palmer

    September 1, 2021 at 6:40 pm

    Critics and people who ask uncomfortable questions are always “political” in Gov. DeSantis’ world. Nothing he does, of course, is ever political.

  • PeterH

    September 2, 2021 at 10:31 am

    At the current rate of about 260 Covid deaths per day in Florida about 7500 people will die per month regardless of the small number of people who somehow manage to get the Regeneron cocktail. Let’s keep in mind Regeneron lessens the virus impact in 70% of patients who get infused early in their Covid discovery ….. but it not a cure.

    Every day the virus is hunting down unvaccinated people is another day for a new variant to take the virus in a new and possibly more virulent direction.

  • TJC

    September 2, 2021 at 11:57 am

    The monoclonal antibodies treatment DeSantis is pushing is the real distraction. Sure, it can save lives — the lives of the dumbasses who didn’t get vaccinated — but as soon as that covid patient got infected he/she began spreading it around. So, sure, once they get the monoclonal antibodies they have a good chance of beating the virus, but that doesn’t mean they have helped anyone else, just themselves. DeSantis knows that, but he has invested all his political capital in sucking up to Trump and not doing or saying anything about the pandemic that might offend His Orange Self.

    • Tom

      September 2, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      Two liberal fools, peter h and TJC.

  • Jack Spit

    September 2, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    the real story is that florida’s dashboard will trot out numbers that suggest the number of daily deaths from covid are in the 50’s when in fact they’re approaching 300. tomorrow’s report will probably be north of 46k covid deaths in florida. last week’s report was just about 44k. somehow around 2k reported deaths will become “400 people died from covid last week” with the unreported part being “and that 350 we said last week turns out to be more like 1200 and that 250 we said the week before is more like 1500 now”. this is what they consider “accurate and transparent”.

Comments are closed.


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