Fried, DeSantis Both Endorse Monoclonal COVID-19 Treatment

Rare moment of bipartisanship in Florida politics

Jim McCool
Jim McCool
August 19, 2021

Recently, Florida has been the center of all things COVID-19, especially Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).  However, Democrats like Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried (D-FL) have (finally) followed DeSantis' lead on the endorsement of monoclonal.

Today, Commissioner Fried announced she is behind a new COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy treatment site at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. The Fairgrounds is operated by the Florida State Fair Authority under the supervision of the Commissioner of Agriculture, pursuant to Florida state law.

"Vaccination remains scientifically proven the most effective way to prevent infection from COVID-19, with up to 95 percent effectiveness against severe COVID-19 disease. Vaccines are free, strongly encouraged by health experts and state and federal officials, and widely available to all Floridians over age 12. An estimated 92 percent of those hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida are unvaccinated. Wearing of masks is also strongly encouraged as a highly-effective tool supported by science and medical experts to prevent COVID-19, particularly in schools and other close-contact indoor environments." - Fried's office on vaccines

Monoclonal treatments are free to the public, will ease symptoms, and have proven effective within the first few days after COVID-19 diagnosis.

"To be explicitly clear: vaccines remain the absolute number-one way to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and prevent severe disease, hospitalization, and death from the virus – proven by science and backed by the medical community."  Adding "The massive spikes in COVID-19 cases driving our hospital system to the brink is largely by unvaccinated individuals. I continue to encourage every eligible Floridian to take advantage of this free, easy, and effective way to stay safe – get your shot today, not tomorrow,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “For those who unfortunately test positive for COVID-19, monoclonal antibody therapy may help reduce symptoms when treated early, so we’re pleased to make the Florida State Fairgrounds available for those needing this treatment."

Additional information and locations will be available from the Florida Department of Health COVID-19 treatment website, which also contains information on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, a vaccine locator, and testing locations. Floridians are also encouraged to follow tips from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Be SMART Florida campaign: social distance, mask up, avoid crowds, wash hands, and throw away disposable masks, gloves, and other PPE.

However, DeSantis' team takes issue with Fried's newly endorsed COVID-19 treatment, saying she has "jumped on the bandwagon" after discovering the treatment is effective and of the Hillsborough County location where DeSantis was to make the announcement.  Commissioner Fried only has authority over the fairgrounds statutorily. It appears as if she is trying to take credit for DeSantis's work.

Fried has been DeSantis's strongest critic, so don't expect her to agree with him on many things.

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Jim McCool

Jim McCool

Jim is a graduate of Florida State University where he studied Political Science, Religion and Criminology. He has been a reporter for the Floridian since January of 2021 and will start law school in 2024.

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