Governor Ron DeSantis spoke Friday morning at Ocala Regional Medical Center to discuss a new monoclonal product developed by AstraZeneca for pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19.
Scott Rivkees, the previous standing state Surgeon General, made a standing order in August for the Regeneron and alternative monoclonal antibody treatments to be available for any residents who needed it. DeSantis claimed that the early treatment was important to treating and lessening the proliferating spread of COVID-19.
Amid the outbreak of the Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus that is disrupting the sporting world across several continents, DeSantis sought to provide clarity to the viral transmission level within the state. Concerns have arisen surrounding the uptick of cases in the northeast region of the country and whether or not cases will trickle into the state along with visiting snowbirds.
“If you think about it, between now and May, we’ll probably never have a day with fewer than 25 million people in the state with all the snowbirds, all the tourists, and everyone coming in,” said DeSantis. “So, we are committed to doing the monoclonals to the extent demand goes up, and we will work to make sure those sites are available.”
DeSantis also claimed that the early studies conducted in developmental procedures of the monoclonal treatment have shown that it can have the same efficacy as Pfizer’s vaccine trial findings, though this claim has not not been supported by any licensed medical professionals.
Notably, DeSantis stated that he expects an uptick of cases within Florida in the winter months, but remained strong on his attitude toward lockdowns.
“You know, we do anticipate higher levels on January 1st than November first, but the rise and the peak is happening the same as it happened then [winter of 2020],” said DeSantis. “Fortunately, we have the ability to combat it with a variety of these tools. We are not going to indulge in any of the insanity that you are seeing happen again in certain parts of this country.”
DeSantis said other states are making residents ‘go through hoops’ to get treated, extending the amount of time a person may harbor a viral load. The governor said that the delay being eliminated would help get treatment to more patients in time to make a difference, with a positive effect on hospitalizations for COVID treatment.
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo joined DeSantis, where he echoed similar sentiments.
“What’s working is what we’re doing here, which is thinking about sustainability, thinking about flexibility, and thinking about options,” said Ladapo. “In addition to that, we’ve thought about treatment … This new product is a product that is effective for patients who are immunocompromised and can’t receive the vaccine because of allergies or otherwise.”