Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday the state was ultimately undaunted by the White House decision to “cut severely” shipments of monoclonal antibody therapy while the delta variant raged in Florida.
“Fortunately now, our infections are so low and the demand is so low for early treatment that even reduced amounts will get us to where we are now,” DeSantis said. “That wasn’t necessarily the case a month … a month and a half ago.”
Previously, supplies weren’t so certain. DeSantis noted that just weeks ago, the state had to source an alternate supply of monoclonal antibody therapy doses from Glaxo Smith Kline.
“(A)s we got into the middle of September, the Biden administration decided to cut severely the amount of Regeneron monoclonal antibodies that was being sent to the state of Florida, as well as Texas and some other disfavored states. That was something, you know, we were very concerned about because we knew there was a demand for it,” DeSantis said.
Indeed, the Governor spent much of September slamming what he called a “punitive” decision by Biden to lower Florida’s allocation of the Regeneron therapy. But events have allowed for a softening of the sharp rhetoric.
Hospital admissions are down 80% from the summer peak, with Florida in the bottom five of cases.
“We’ve now done, I think, over 135,000 treatments of individuals since the middle of August,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Fort Myers. “We’ve saved thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people from being admitted to the hospital.”
The state was providing up to 5,000 treatments a day, DeSantis said, but numbers are now in the 700 to 800 range.
With cases in decline, and capacity going unused, changes are coming to the state-run sites.
“We’re going to look and see how we may change our footprint coming up over the next few weeks,” DeSantis said, suggesting a potential shuttering of sites with low usage may be coming.
Speakers who had benefited from monoclonal therapy extolled the availability of the life-saving therapy and had sharp words for the White House.
“The Biden administration has done everything to thwart your lifesaving initiative,” said one speaker, Michelle Albergo.
Doris Cortez offered a similar sentiment, saying that “without our Governor and what he has done, my husband would not be standing here today.”