For the Biden White House, there is no bigger boogeyman than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. President Joe Biden is frustrated Mr. DeSantis has refused to issue school mask mandates, has condemned vaccine passports, and opposes COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students.
“The worst kind of politics,” Mr. Biden said last week about Mr. DeSantis’ COVID-19 stance. “It’s putting the lives of citizens of their states, especially children, at-risk…I refuse to give in to it.”
Yet, Mr. Biden is playing those exact politics with Mr. DeSantis. Mr. Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services dramatically cut off the Sunshine State’s supply of monoclonal antibody treatments, which are being used to treat COVID-19 patients. Florida’s supply has been cut from 72,000 to 30,950 treatments per week, putting the lives of thousands of Floridians who have contracted COVID-19 at risk.
The White House defended the move, citing their supply is limited, and it’s necessary for them to be “equitable” with the distribution. It reeks of partisan politics. On Sept. 9th Mr. Biden promised he would send 50% more supply of monoclonal antibodies to states, yet he’s cutting supplies in red states by about the same amount.
“Monoclonal antibodies are lifesaving therapies that are used after infection to prevent more severe outcomes,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained last week. “So clearly, the way to protect people and save more lives is to get them vaccinated so that they don’t get the COVID to begin with.”
And there you have it – the real reason why supplies are being cut. Mr. DeSantis and his fellow red state governors are simply not doing enough to push Mr. Biden’s universal vaccination policy, individual choice be damned.
There have been no reported cases of lack of monoclonal antibody supply. The states facing the highest outbreak of COVID-19 cases should be prioritized for distribution, not punished, by some sort of health care rationing.
Moreover, at the Broward Country monoclonal antibody treatment sites, in Fort Lauderdale, 52% of its COVID-19 patients getting treatment have been vaccinated. For those 65 years and older, the percentage of vaccinated breakthrough cases is much higher.
Mr. DeSantis has been aggressive in pushing monoclonal antibody therapies and attributes the therapeutic for the steady reduction in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state. Florida has opened 25 treatment sites statewide, and as of last week, more than 90,000 Floridians with COVID-19 had received the therapy free of charge.
“The results have been really positive,” Mr. DeSantis said on Thursday, speaking of the therapy. “We’ve seen really, really significant reductions in hospital admissions, in the hospital census, in visits to the emergency department for COVID-like illness. We think having the availability of the early treatment has made a big difference.”
The number of COVID-19 related hospital inpatients in Florida has declined each of the past 24 days, with the number of new COVID-19 cases peaking in late August.
To maintain supply, Mr. DeSantis said he would seek to purchase the treatments directly from pharmaceutical company GSK, circumventing the HHS process and Mr. Biden’s “equitable” allocation.
For many sick Floridians, that will come as a relief. Mr. DeSantis has been working to give Floridians a choice in their health care all along, which translates as a political threat to Mr. Biden, whose vax or nothing strategy could be compromising the health of millions.