DeSantis giddy over giving people with COVID a treatment that doctors say is equivalent to a placebo

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Last month, after weeks of being MIA during an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases in his state, DeSantis held a press conference in Fort Lauderdale, where he spent much of his time dismissing COVID-19 vaccines as a help, downplaying the severity of symptoms of the omicron variant, and whining and complaining about how the federal government isn’t giving him the monoclonal treatment meds he’s convinced he needs. His stunningly anti-science surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, followed suit.

DeSantis, along with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, has been going on and on for months about how they’re begging Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to reverse course on the November decision to ration monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs for the outpatient treatment of COVID-19. The Biden administration finally caved and sent 15,000 doses of Regeneron to DeSantis. 

“Instead of keeping a stranglehold on monoclonal antibodies, the federal government must release its stockpiles to states who want them and allow states to purchase these medications directly,” DeSantis said on Jan. 3. 

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But here’s the thing: There’s considerable evidence that Regeneron and bamlanivimab do not work against omicron. Even if this monoclonal scam did work for the delta variant, for example, it’s reckless public health policy because these treatments are in short supply and do not reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

“When people are receiving monoclonal antibodies, they’re already symptomatic,” Tom Hladish of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida suggested to The Daily Beast. “And so they’ve already done most of their transmitting.

Following in the footsteps of Trump, DeSantis has been shifting blame and pivoting away from reality and into the open and welcoming arms of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists. He consistently downplays any forms of mitigation of the virus only to laser focus on treatment as the answer. 

He’s even gone so far as to take us back to Trump’s famous anti-testing rhetoric, and his bone-headed surgeon general supports him. 

 

When Politico asked DeSantis’ spokeswoman Christina Pushaw if the governor had been boosted, she danced around like a woman with her feet on fire.

“I am not privy to the governor’s private medical decisions and am unable to share information about his booster status,” Pushaw responded. “Governor DeSantis has consistently said that vaccination (and by extension, boosters) should be a personal choice, and anyone who has questions or concerns should consult with a health care provider.”

Trump has even dissed DeSantis for not being forthcoming about his booster status. We know he got the one-shot Johnson & Johnson, but outside of that, Trump called the governor “gutless” for his lack of transparency. 

When it comes to COVID-19, DeSantis—a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2024—has handled it like a total trash fire. He was accused of stockpiling 1 million COVID-19 tests in a warehouse, something he denied but then later had to admit.

In an interview with NBC’s WESH channel-2 in Orlando, a man said since both his wife and parents have COVID, he was glad the monoclonal antibody site was open in his area in central Florida.

“I don’t need the test to tell me that I have it. My wife had this [treatment] yesterday and last night she was feeling categorically better,” the man said as he drove off. 

Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of Infectious Disease at the University of Alabama Medicine, told The Daily Beast giving monoclonal treatments during omicron is “equivalent to giving them a placebo.”

She added: “We just assume there’s not going to be any benefit to using them … To me, it’s a diversion at best.”
 

Wednesday, NPR station WMFE reported that the Florida Department of Health put Dr. Raul Pino on leave after he encouraged Orange County Department of Health employees to get vaccinated. 

In an email on Jan. 4, Pino wrote to his staff about getting the vaccine: “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.” Shortly after sending the email, he was placed on administrative leave, NPR reports. 

The Florida Department of Public Health told WMFE Pino was put on leave because “the decision to get vaccinated is a personal choice that should be free from coercion and mandates from employers.”

DeSantis, being DeSantis, has banned vaccine mandates. On Tuesday, Florida clocked over 100,000 new COVID cases with a seven-day average over nearly 50,000 cases a day—and that’s just the cases we know about. It doesn’t include home tests. 





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