DeSantis touts monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19, says it's 'underpublicized'

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday announced the opening of a state-supported site at Camping World Stadium in Orlando where up to 320 people a day can receive monoclonal antibody treatment to help fight COVID-19 infections.

DeSantis, who promised that additional sites would open in the coming days, said he wanted to promote the availability of the treatment and to expand access to it. 

DeSantis said hospital officials report that "well over 90 percent" of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 aren’t vaccinated, but they also have not had monoclonal antibody treatment to help fight the infection.

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The treatment provides a temporary but immediate boost to the immune system.

DeSantis called the treatment a "tool in the toolbox" that should be used but said he thinks it has been "underpublicized."

Former President Donald Trump received the experimental treatment in October after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

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DeSantis opened a similar site in Jacksonville last week.

The governor’s Orlando announcement came as Florida hospitals reported nearly 84 percent of their beds were filled and that nearly 24 percent of the patients in the beds have COVID-19, according to data maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As of Monday, Florida had 15,962 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections, and 37 hospitals reported having critical staffing shortages, according to data hospitals report to the federal government.

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