The federal government is set to slash Florida's allotment of monoclonal antibody treatments to fight COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday.
Speaking at a news conference at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, DeSantis said Florida is expected to see a "dramatic reduction" in the number of monoclonal antibodies from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state will have to make up for.
"To just spring this on us, starting next week we're gonna have to do that, there's gonna be a huge disruption and patients are gonna suffer as a result of this," DeSantis said. "So we're gonna work like hell to make sure that we can overcome the obstacles that HHS and the Biden administration are putting in us."
HHS officials said they are changing the system for allocating monoclonal antibodies to maintain an equitable distribution of the treatments.
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DeSantis has heavily promoted the use of monoclonal antibodies in recent weeks as an effective early treatment for patients with COVID-19.
The governor noted Thursday that the state has seen hospital admissions and emergency room visits for COVID-19 dropping in recent weeks, which he attributed partially to the use of the antibody treatments. He said more than 90,000 treatments have been administered at the state's 25 monoclonal antibody sites.
"If you look at the declines we've seen, clearly we've kept thousands of people out of the hospital who were able to get the early treatment," DeSantis said.
DeSantis said Florida has used a lot of the monoclonal antibody treatments because the state has made them a priority.
"I think if the federal government from the beginning had said, 'get vaccinated but then if you get infected, here's a great thing,' I think we could have averted in this country a lot of people going to the hospital, and I think it would have saved a lot of lives," DeSantis said.