Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the opening of a COVID-19 antibody treatment site Wednesday in Pembroke Pines as he continues to tout the use of monoclonal antibody treatments as cases and hospitalizations spike in Florida.
Starting Wednesday, C.B. Smith Park will start offering the antibody treatment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. The site will be able to treat over 300 patients a day.
DeSantis has been flying around the state promoting a monoclonal antibody treatment sold by Regeneron in an attempt to decrease hospitalizations in Florida.
DeSantis — who has been criticized for opposing mask mandates and vaccine passports — ramped up the call for Floridians to seek out monoclonal antibody treatments in August as coronavirus cases spiked. He’s held news conferences at treatment sites and a Tampa hospital touting the effectiveness of the drug if people receive treatment soon after testing positive.
“Early treatment with these monoclonal antibodies – Regeneron and others – have proven to radically reduce the chances that somebody ends up being hospitalized,” DeSantis said Monday at a treatment site in Orlando. “Reducing hospital admissions has got to be a top priority.”
Experts agree that keeping people out of the hospital is a top priority, but say vaccines — not treatments for people after they get sick – are the best way to do that. The Regeneron drugs, when given within 10 days of initial symptoms, have been shown to cut rates of hospitalization and death by roughly 70%. The vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have been proven in large, real-world studies to be 95% effective against hospitalization.