Gov. Ron DeSantis Blames Biden For Surge Of Covid-19 Cases In Florida
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida) has blamed the Biden administration for the Covid-19 surge in his state, while simultaneously accusing other state leaders who impose health safety measures of succumbing to “hysteria.” Florida currently has one of the highest new Covid-19 case rates in the country.
After Florida Covid-19 cases flew to unprecedented heights in the last month, DeSantis said at a conference on Monday, “In terms of Florida, you look what’s going on in other states, they’re letting hysteria drive them to doing really damaging things. We thought that people had learned.” As infections surge throughout his state, he added, “They’re closing schools; they’re doing things that should not be done. That is not the way you deal with this.”
DeSantis has claimed multiple times that the threat of the virus has little scientific basis. He has also continually promoted monoclonal antibodies, following former President Donald Trump‘s promotion of the treatment. However, hospitals are greatly reducing their recommendation for these treatments, as evidence suggests that they are much less effective against the omicron variant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that the omicron variant was responsible for 58.6% of new U.S. cases in the week of Christmas.
Despite the reduction of benefit from these antibodies, DeSantis voiced concern that there was insufficient supply of the treatments. He said, “It’s something that we actually have seen applied with Omicron patients and we have seen symptoms resolved.”
Throughout the pandemic, the conservative governor gained a reputation for opposing coronavirus prevention measures, such as his opposition of quarantines or mask mandates. He has particularly criticized the CDC and prominent health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying that their health safety recommendations are “not ultimately really sound science.”
Florida’s Surgeon General, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, criticized the Department of Health and Human Services last week for reducing the distribution of the monoclonal antibody treatments. However, the administration has been providing doses of sotrovimab, which evidence has shown to be much more effective against the omicron variant.
On Monday, Ladapo discussed the fact that he does not support vaccine mandates. He said, “It’s important people are making decisions they want about vaccinations, and enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity.”
Last week, the state reported more than 298,000 new cases of the virus, with a test positivity rate of 26.5%. Despite this, Ladapo said that he believes Florida should test for the virus less.
Ladapo has been criticized for his views. Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious-disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, said that his attitude was “consistent with an anti-public-health approach to the pandemic” and that he has promoted a “me first, forget everybody else” mindset.