Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested President Joe Biden should have included monoclonal antibody treatment in his six-point plan to combat COVID-19 the White House unveiled Thursday.
There’s just one problem with DeSantis’ critique though — the plan’s improved care section is largely dedicated to the therapy.
The Republican Governor has spent more than a month crisscrossing the Sunshine State to promote and open sites to administer 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. President Donald Trump received monoclonal antibodies when he tested positive in October, but the treatment had fallen off the radar until the latest surge.
“It’s surprising that — given the numbers we’ve seen now in Florida with this downward trend — that this early treatment wasn’t part of the six-point plan, because I think that this is something that clearly there was a deficit of knowledge of,” DeSantis said. “The federal government had not promoted this in any meaningful way for this whole year. Here, we have now done it, and people can talk about how they’ve done.”
However, two of the three sections within Biden’s sixth point, “improving care for those with COVID-19,” are dedicated to monoclonal antibodies. The first highlights getting the “life-saving” therapy to those who need it and accelerating shipments across the country. The second is to launch monoclonal antibody strike teams.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Regeneron’s version of the drug for emergency use in November 2020, and the federal government purchased their entire supply in January. The drug is free for people to get and for the state to administer.
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%. Despite that, and the free access, DeSantis said the drug has been “neglected.”
“We’ve obviously tried to fill that void here,” he added, “but man, as we get into the fall and winter, you start to see these delta waves in some other parts of the country. They should have these treatment centers set up and ready to go.”
Biden’s six-point plan is headlined by a vaccine mandate for federal workers and workers in businesses with 100 or more employees. In a speech Thursday afternoon, the President told unvaccinated Americans, “your refusal has cost all of us.”
DeSantis believes the federal government shouldn’t mandate vaccines, and it doesn’t have the authority to regardless.
“I’d imagine that you’re going to see a lot of activity in the courts if they tried to do that through an executive action,” DeSantis said. “Congress has never legislated this. This would just be him doing it on his own, and that’s not, I think, the way to do it.”
DeSantis has been a rising star in the GOP as the party looks for a challenger to Biden in 2024. However, he has dismissed 2024 speculation as “nonsense.”