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Friday, August 13, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushes antibody treatment for COVID-19 as cases continue to spike

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 10:19 AM

  • Photo via Flickr/Ron DeSantis

In hopes of providing relief to hospitals dealing with a surge of coronavirus cases, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced the opening of a mobile unit in Jacksonville to provide monoclonal antibody treatment to people with COVID-19.

DeSantis, who has rejected ideas such as requiring masks in schools, said monoclonal antibody treatment “is the best shot we got to keep people out of the hospital and keep them safe.”

The number of COVID-19 patients in Florida hospitals has skyrocketed over the past several weeks because of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. Jacksonville-area hospitals have been some of the hardest hit.

DeSantis has downplayed the spread of the virus, calling it “seasonal.” But he has touted the availability of monoclonal antibody treatment at hospitals and encouraged COVID-19 patients to seek the treatment, which can help reduce the chances that they will develop serious complications. The Jacksonville mobile unit is the first to open in the state, but DeSantis hinted more may be coming.

Florida reported 24,753 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to data on the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. It had a seven-day “moving” average of 21,156 new cases. Data for Wednesday had not been posted on the CDC website Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, hospitals reported that patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 filled 15,449 inpatient hospital beds on Wednesday. During a news conference Thursday, White House officials said they had increased shipments of monoclonal antibody treatments to Florida by 8 percent.

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