Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed NIAID Director Anthony Fauci during a press conference on Tuesday after Fauci criticized recent remarks that DeSantis made.
DeSantis made the remarks when a reporter began to ask, “Governor, you recently said that unvaccinated individuals had no impact on numbers, and Dr. Fauci was quoted saying that — ”
“That’s not what I said. No, no, no, that’s not what I said,” DeSantis fired back. “Not that I ever expect to be quoted properly. What I said was, if you’re going to force vaccine mandates on people, just to understand that what the data is showing us about the vaccine, the data is showing us you’re much less likely to be hospitalized or die if you’re vaccinated. That is true. And I think you see it in the statistics.”
“However, the vaccinations have not created herd immunity,” DeSantis continued. “So if the idea is that having herd immunity, you force everyone to do this, and that will create a herd immunity, that has not happened. It’s still spreading. People who, I mean, obviously in Florida, we’re going down now which is great, but that’s not what the issue is, is it creating a herd immunity? Fauci also said if 50% were vaccinated, you would not see any surges anymore. Well, that isn’t true. Look at obviously the Sunbelt, look in the Pacific Northwest, look at Hawaii, huge surges that you’ve seen.”
In an interview with NPR’s “Morning Edition” in December 2020, Fauci was asked by NPR’s Rachel Martin how many Americans would need to get vaccinated to impact the number of COVID-19 infections. He replied, “I would say 50% would have to get vaccinated before you start to see an impact.” He added that if “75 to 85%” got vaccinated, we could achieve “that blanket of herd immunity.”
.@GovRonDeSantis hits back at Dr. Fauci, who criticized him this AM on CNN: “Fauci said if 50 percent were vaccinated you wouldn’t see any surges anymore — well, that isn’t true" pic.twitter.com/8f0kPDkAGs
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 7, 2021
REPORTER: Governor you recently said that unvaccinated individuals had no impact on numbers and Dr. Fauci was quoted saying that —
RON DESANTIS, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA (R): That’s not what I said. No, no, no, that’s not what I said. Not that I ever expect to be quoted properly. What I said was, if you’re going to force vaccine mandates on people, just to understand that what the data is showing us about the vaccine, the data is showing us you’re much less likely to be hospitalized or die if you’re vaccinated. That is true. And I think you see it in the statistics. However, the vaccinations have not created herd immunity. So if the idea is that having herd immunity, you force everyone to do this, and that will create a herd immunity that has not happened. It’s still spreading. People who, I mean, obviously in Florida, we’re going down now which is great, but that’s not what the issue is, is it creating a herd immunity? Fauci also said if 50% were vaccinated, you would not see any surges anymore.
Well, that isn’t true. Look at obviously the Sunbelt, look in the Pacific Northwest, look at Hawaii, huge surges that you’ve seen. And so, but just understand what you’re doing. If you’re forcing somebody to show proof of this to eat at a restaurant or to do basic tasks, go to the grocery store. There are some places around, if you look at some of these places that have really gone off the deep end they say, to go to the grocery store you should have to do that. So we’re not doing that in Florida. But the theory behind it is that if you make everyone have to do this under penalty of law, that somehow you wouldn’t have spread, and I think we just have to be honest about what it’s doing and what it’s not doing. We had hoped that if you had 50%, then you wouldn’t have that.
We had hoped you could build herd immunity that way, but that just hasn’t happened. It’s not happening in Israel. It didn’t happen in the UK. It’s not happening in the United States. It doesn’t mean that there’s not positive impacts. But the positive impacts is mostly reducing the vaccinated individuals a chance of being severely ill. Also, I would say, if you look at what we’ve done, we’re leading the nation and pushing early treatment for people with COVID. And that’s people that are not vaccinated, but it’s also people that are vaccinated who are high risk, who still see some of them ending up in the hospital. So we were able to do that.
This has been available since December. We found that most of the people that were going, being admitted to hospitals, yes, most were not vaccinated, but almost none of them got the monoclonal treatment, the antibody treatment early on in their illness. If they had done that, a lot of those people would not have died. So we’ve done stuff. We’ve done the one here in Polk County. It’s seen 2,800 patients, it’s administered treatments, and what you’re finding is we’re seeing the hospital census decline rapidly. We’re seeing the emergency room visits for COVID-like illness decline. We’re seeing daily hospital admissions decline.
So those are very, very good trends, but that’s about understanding where there was a need for action, and then we did this in … I mean, we were able to put together a lot of sites very quickly. We’re going to open up a couple more, so we’re going to have, by the end of this week … We’ll be up to 25 sites throughout the State of Florida, all of them being able to do up to 320 infusions a day. Now most of our sites don’t have that much demand, but I would say the one here in Polk is probably doing between 150 and 200 every day. Some of the other ones like Bonita Springs, they do 300 a day pretty consistently, and then others do around a hundred. But the point is, is that by doing that, getting it early, we’re keeping thousands of people out of the hospitals and that’s obviously better for their health. It’s saving lives, for sure, because not everyone that gets admitted to the hospital recovers, and it’s also helping relieving a burden on the healthcare system because we had had higher levels of COVID patients. Now that’s going down, so we’re going to keep this going in that direction.
But one of the reasons why we thought that this was something that needed to happen was because yes, people just didn’t seem to know about it, even though it had been available since December, so we’ve raised the spotlight. Now other states are following Florida, but it was based on the fact that you were still seeing people who were fully vaccinated test positive. Again, we didn’t see the herd immunity that we had hoped for, and so in that situation … We’ve already had great testimonials about this. Very elderly people who’ve been fully vaccinated for months get COVID, are symptomatic, and then they get the infusion, and either they stay out of the hospital … some of them do get admitted, but I can tell you we’ve had a number of these folks who get discharged and the doctors are saying, ‘Had you not gotten the monoclonal, you probably wouldn’t be getting discharged right now.’
So it’s been a big success and it’s something that we’re going to continue to do, but it is something that we recognize that this stuff… People were testing positive, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, and so in terms of hoping to just get herd immunity and all of a sudden that has not happened anywhere yet in our country or in some of our other countries, particularly those that have been highly, highly vaxxed. You just got to look at the data, and you got to make judgments on the basis of that, but I think we filled a real need with what we did with the monoclonals.
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