Jan 25, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 25

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 25
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsFlorida Governor Ron DeSantis COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript January 25

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus press conference on January 25. Read the transcript with updates on COVID-19 vaccine distribution here.

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Martin Goetz: (00:02)
Good afternoon. Welcome to River Garden Senior Services. My name is Martin Goetz and I am River Garden’s Chief Executive Officer. We are very proud to have Governor DeSantis with us today, having had opportunity to talk with him as a team to share with him our experiences around COVID-19 and the vaccination program. And so without any more from me, it is my privilege to introduce Governor DeSantis.

Governor DeSantis: (00:37)
Thank you.

Governor DeSantis: (00:41)
Well, I’d like to thank Marty for having us here to River Garden and really just to commend them on the great work that they have done. We were able to, of course, with the CVS and Walgreens, as part of the nursing home mission… The state’s obviously been involved supplementing that, but this was one of the places in December that was visited by Walgreens. They were able to do initial vaccinations and then they’ve returned to do the booster shots. And so 97% of all the residents have been vaccinated. Obviously, they’d been offering it for their staffs as well. I want to thank Marty for what he’s done and thank for a lot years of service. He’s going to be retiring soon. And so he’s really left a great, great legacy here.

Governor DeSantis: (01:25)
I also want to thank Emmett Reed, the Executive Director of the Florida Healthcare Association, for working closely with us, letting us know ways we could help support our most vulnerable citizens in long-term care facilities. And then Steve Bahmer, President and CEO of LeadingAge, Who’s also been helping us with these issues as well. And I want to thank everyone for being here.

Governor DeSantis: (01:45)
Today, I am able to announce that by the end of this month, a COVID-19 vaccine will have been offered to every resident and staff member at all of Florida’s nearly 4,000 long-term care facilities, which is really, really good.

Governor DeSantis: (02:06)
Where we stand, right now 97% of all skilled nursing facilities have at least one vaccinated resident or staff member, and the remaining are going to be finished by the end of the month. And assisted living facilities, we’ve done over 2000 assisted living facilities that have at least one vaccinated resident. That, obviously, is going to continue going over these next days for the rest of the month.

Governor DeSantis: (02:39)
This was an important mission. I said, I think at the beginning of December, when we knew the Pfizer was coming online, or we anticipated that, that the top priority for vaccination should be staff and resident of long-term care facilities. That has been where we’ve seen the greatest mortality with the long-term care residents. They are by their very nature and their age and some of the underlying health status… It makes them more vulnerable to severe outcomes from COVID. And so that was part of our strategy that that doses would go to those facilities first.

Governor DeSantis: (03:15)
The federal government had an agreement with CVS and Walgreens for them to be able to handle these facilities. And we, obviously, have sourced CVS and Walgreens, but at the beginning of this, when CVS and Walgreens needed a little more ramp up time, the State of Florida acted. In the very middle of December, we were the first state to begin vaccinations in nursing homes. We had over 105 nursing homes done in both Broward and Pinellas Counties, they have high concentration of these facilities, that first week of December. And that really led it off. And then CVS and Walgreens got more involved and were able to do it. But those initial state strike teams, I think were invaluable. They were able to get in there, provide vaccinations in two very, very highly populated counties with a lot of elderly people.

Governor DeSantis: (04:05)
And CVS, Walgreens continued the mission. But at the beginning of January, we looked at what was going on. And we said, “Look, we got about 4,000 facilities here. We believe that time is of the essence.” And so I activated additional support to be able to continue with long-term care facility. So as CVS and Walgreens continued what they were doing, particularly in the skilled nursing homes, we had our folks working with a lot of these different facilities. And Steve can tell you, there was one, I guess, in Fort Myers, he was talking about, and he could probably say some stuff. Those teams are doing a good job as well. It’s really been a team effort to get us to this point.

Governor DeSantis: (04:48)
I think the thing about it is not just protecting an individual against the virus, which is obviously very important because people’s health and lives are at stake, but this really is the way to get these residents back to normal. This allows them to do all the things they used to do. As hard as this is been in terms of the clinical consequences, this has also, the mitigation, caused a lot of isolation, loneliness, not being able to do all the things you want to do. We, obviously, believed that visitation was important. We were one of the first states to do that. But this is even beyond that this really can get us back to normal.

Governor DeSantis: (05:30)
I also want to let all nursing homes and assisted living facilities know that our agency for healthcare administration will be sending you a correspondence today. I’m encouraging the use of both the Eli Lilly and Regeneron antibody treatments, where they’re both highly effective in reducing the effects of COVID-19. Eli Lilly did a press release from last week. It explains the treatment and how it’s been effective, particularly in a nursing home context.

Governor DeSantis: (05:56)
Now, obviously if you have your people vaccinated, that’s where you want to be. Not everyone chooses to do the vaccine, so this can be another way to be able to deal with the effects of COVID-19. So, that correspondence is coming.

Governor DeSantis: (06:12)
But here today is the time also to reflect. I was able to talk to Emmett about some of the things that we’ve been working with them since the very beginning of the pandemic. It was very clear that if you looked at clinical effects, the mortality effects of this virus, it’s skewed overwhelmingly to people who are elderly, particularly those in long-term care facilities.

Governor DeSantis: (06:34)
In middle of March, I think we were the first state to prohibit hospitals from sending COVID positive patients back to nursing homes, because we understood the risks that that would pose to the other nursing home residents. We were the first state to create COVID only nursing homes. We did 23 around the state at the peak of the pandemic, over the summer for the State of Florida. This allowed a nursing home. If someone was COVID positive to have a safe place to transfer and isolate the resident, if need be. It also provided a hospital with a safe place to discharge a COVID positive patient without fear of infecting other folks in the facility. And so we were able to do that. That really helped us navigate the peak over the summer. And we worked very closely with all these facilities to be able to do that.

Governor DeSantis: (07:29)
We also understood that this was something unlike that we’re used to dealing with on a daily basis in facilities like this. In March, I instructed our Department of Emergency Management, help them with PPE. Not everyone had face shields and masks sitting around, certainly not enough to get us through this. Throughout the pandemic, just to long-term care facilities, the State of Florida sent 15 million masks, 5 million gloves, 3 million gowns and a half a million face shields, which has been very significant in helping to mitigate the spread within these facilities.

Governor DeSantis: (08:08)
I also deployed the National Guard and Florida Department of Health strike teams to test all residents of long-term care facilities. This was something that was going on in April and May and the beginning of June. We also were doing routine testing of staff members. These are hundreds of thousands of people in Florida because we have so many of these facilities throughout the state. And so this has been a priority for us, protecting vulnerable people.

Governor DeSantis: (08:36)
I’m just happy that we have places where you have the seniors that have gotten the shots. The reaction has been very good. I mean, both from an emotional perspective in terms of finally, this is really what we want, but also how seniors have responded in terms of the effects. It’s been very minimal. I asked… They haven’t had any effects here. This is something that I think is going to make a big, big difference, and I’m just happy to be able-

Governor DeSantis: (09:03)
… that I think is going to make a big, big difference, and I’m just happy to be able to be a part of it. And I really look forward to the day when the doors are open again, and everything’s back to normal. So I’ll say a few more other things about kind of the overall vaccine picture, but I want to give Emmett and Steve an opportunity to come up here and say a few words. So Emmett, do you want to come up and say a few things?

Emmett: (09:22)
Thank you, Governor. Thank you so much, Governor DeSantis, for inviting me here today. On behalf of the thousands of long-term caregivers that the Florida Healthcare Association represents, I want to thank you for your leadership. You’ve made long-term care residents and staff a priority throughout this entire pandemic. And most recently, you put us first in line for vaccines. That shows that you truly support our seniors and our healthcare heroes that are taking care of our seniors. Vaccine distribution represents hope and joy for our residents, their families, and our caregivers, and brings the long-term care community one step closer to defeating this dreaded virus.

Emmett: (10:15)
Since mid-December, Florida’s nursing centers have been engaged in a monumental, unprecedented effort to vaccine thousands of our state’s vulnerable seniors and their caregivers who reside in our facilities. Vaccination clinics have been coordinated by local health departments and Florida’s National Guard in Broward and Pinellas counties, and through the CVS and Walgreens partnerships and facilities outside of those counties. In addition, six South Florida facilities had their clinical teams directly administer vaccines to the residents and staff to pilot a program to show that facilities will soon be able to do this on their own in the future. First doses have been completed. Second doses are on the way, and our state’s 700 nursing centers and more than 3,100 assisted living facilities are also scheduled to get their first and second doses.

Emmett: (11:13)
I want to thank the Governor and Emergency Management Director, Jared Moskowitz, and their team, for amplifying those efforts with the CDR health contract, which has helped expedite that process for our ALF residents and staff. All of us are focused on encouraging as many people as possible to take the vaccine. We also know the need to continue to be vigilant until the widespread vaccinations are distributed. Wearing masks and other protective gear, that’s not going away anytime soon, but we’ve worked hard to protect our residents over these last 11 months. Have you worked hard these last 11 months? Great job. You’ve worked so hard these last 11 months, and over 97% of our residents and over 98% of our staff are now COVID-free. Can you imagine? Way to go. Great job, guys.

Emmett: (12:07)
Safety is your top priority. And this vaccine, it represents a light at the end of the tunnel. And as I heard earlier, that light’s not a train. That light is hope. The vaccine is our hope. And like all of us, our residents hope that we return to normal as soon as possible so they can gather for birthday celebrations, they can hug their loved ones, they can see their grandchildren, they can go to their houses of worship, their church, their synagogues. That day is coming when they’ll be able to hug their loved ones, and it’s because of this vaccine. It’s because we’ve got a governor that has led the way to make sure that these most vulnerable people are a priority. If you’re a healthcare worker and you’re still unsure about taking the vaccine, talk to one of your team members that’s taken the vaccine. Ask them how they reacted. Ask them how they feel, and let’s help be an example to others and put an end to this pandemic.

Emmett: (13:04)
Thank you again, Governor DeSantis, for everything that you continue to do for our healthcare heroes and the seniors that we represent. Thank you.

Speaker 1: (13:22)
Well, good afternoon. Thank you very much, Governor. Marty Goetz may not have said it in an attempt to be brief, but I’ll say it. We’re proud to have you at River Garden today, home to nine Governor’s Seals Awards for Nursing Home Excellence. It’s one of only a few in the state that have that level and that record of continued success and high quality. So we’re proud to host you today. Thank you. I’m also particularly proud to be here with the Governor today. River Garden is a founding member of Leading Age Florida. So what a wonderful event. Thank you for being here today and for recognizing the folks at River Garden and across Florida.

Speaker 1: (14:05)
I want to echo the remarks earlier in thanking you, Governor, for putting seniors at the front of the line, and for consistently keeping them a top priority, particularly as it comes to the vaccine. You’ve heard a lot today that I won’t repeat, but I will mention that the rollout is moving very quickly in long-term care now, and as you’ve heard, nursing homes are nearly done, and assisted living will be done in relatively short order. That doesn’t happen without leadership. It doesn’t happen without the willingness to take a look at the data and to continue moving the strategy forward to care for seniors.

Speaker 1: (14:38)
The progress in senior living, when it comes to the vaccine, has been nothing short of excellent. The Governor referenced a conversation we had just a while ago. I’ll mention to you just over the weekend, we had members with 300, 350 residents all vaccinated in a single day. Tomorrow in Fort Myers, we have a member who will have 900 residents vaccinated tomorrow, and 900 more vaccinated on Wednesday. It’s an astounding accomplishment, and we appreciate your leadership and making that happen, Governor.

Speaker 1: (15:10)
River Garden, and our members across the state, have been working very hard to continue educating staff and residents that the vaccine is safe. And as you’ve heard, they’ve had no side effects here. The staff at River Garden has participated in more than 150 educational sessions that we’ve put on just to try to help keep up with all of the changes in the environment.

Speaker 1: (15:32)
There are times when it seems the environment changes day to day, but at the end of the day, you see the results in a community like River Garden, where 97% of their residents have been vaccinated. And as you’ve heard, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again, that the vaccine is a ray of hope. It is not, indeed, a train. It is a ray of hope. It’s the opportunity for residents to hug their grandchildren again. It simply could not be more important. It is the path to returning normalcy, and we appreciate the governor’s leadership. We appreciate our partners at AHCA, the division of emergency management, the Department of Health. We are very much looking forward to the completion of vaccinations among Florida’s most vulnerable citizens and those who come to places like River Garden every day to care for them. Thank you again, Governor. Appreciate you.

Governor DeSantis: (16:18)
I Also just want to echo the thanks for the folks who are working in these facilities. I mean, we have a lot of different facilities, everything from skilled nursing to more independent living, but we oftentimes will thank the doctors and nurses in the hospitals, and rightfully so, but sometimes people don’t appreciate all the stress that they’ve been under at places like this, just knowing that this virus is out there, understanding that if you have an outbreak in one of these facilities, that that could cause really significant impacts. And I think that they’ve done a really, really good job. If you look at our demographics in Florida, we have the second oldest population in the United States, and yet our per capita mortality is less than the national average from COVID, and 25 other states have higher per capita mortality. I think part of the reason for that is because of facilities like this, who have people working to protect their residents and really dotting every I and crossing every T. So thank you guys for the work that you’ve done, not just here, but throughout the state.

Governor DeSantis: (17:28)
So here’s some overall vaccine progress. So in the State of Florida, as you know, we’re putting seniors first. We believe that our parents and grandparents need to be first in line to get the vaccine. So we’re focusing on our 65 and up population. As of this morning, we’ve reported roughly 22% of all seniors 65 and up have received a vaccination shot. We are basically almost at a million reported, and I remind people what’s reported is lagging. I mean, you really need to give it-

Governor Ron DeSantis: (18:03)
Time, people. What’s reported is lagging, you really need to give it three, four or five days. Almost assuredly, we’ve done, much in excess of a million seniors already, and we’re going to continue to be able to do that. We have done more senior vaccinations, 65 and up, than any other state in the country, and it’s not even close. We are hundreds of thousands ahead of our next closest competitor, which is good, but then also, we’re a big state, so you think we’d have more. But we’ve done a higher percentage of our total vaccinations for seniors, almost 70% of every shot given in Florida thus far, has gone to a senior citizen, and that number is going to continue to grow. And as I mentioned, we’re 22% of all seniors, 4.5 million have received a shot. That is usually first or maybe second in the nation, us and West Virginia are kind of neck and neck.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (18:59)
Obviously, West Virginia has done a really good job, it’s a much smaller state than us. But we feel great about being at the top of the pack and not just the most vaccinations for seniors, but getting through a higher percentage of our senior population faster than just about anyone, and we’re really only just beginning. To put this in perspective in how these doses are working, as of this morning, the 25th of January, 0600, they may show that we’ve received this week’s shipment, but we haven’t. That’ll show up today, probably tomorrow, in different places. As of this morning, the state had received about 1.7 million first doses since the beginning, that’s Pfizer and Moderna combined. We’re reporting, as of this morning, 1.25 million reported vaccinations happening. But as I mentioned, many more are going to be reported because of the lag in reporting, and obviously, you’re going to have 50 to 80,000 shots done today as well.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (20:01)
When you look at it from the perspective of the first doses, we’ve done a very high percentage of them and we continue to go even higher. For example, the week of January 4th through January 10th, the state received 253,350 first doses, Pfizer, Moderna combined. We’ve now reported there during that week, administering 351,260. This past full week, January 11th through the 17th, the state reported receiving 254,825 first doses. We’ve now reported administering, just first doses during that week, 447,209. So if you would have looked at that number a week ago, it would have been probably in the 300,000s. It just shows you, you got to keep looking back to see how the reporting lag affects it. We’re getting about 266,000 first doses a week. We clearly have the capacity to do much, much more than that.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:06)
What I’ve said, from the Federal Government’s perspective, I think the only thing they need to be focusing on is increasing the supply of these doses for our seniors. If you get us more supply, we’re going to be able to get that into people’s arms. Now, if you look at the second doses, if people say there’s unused doses, those are mostly second doses. So as of this morning, we had received about 964, 000 second doses. We’ve reported giving about 157,000, but that is going to change dramatically because people are going to start coming due on their Moderna, more every day that we go by. Remember, most of the Moderna got dumped right at Christmas time. Some was going on then, by kind of that Christmas/New Year’s period, and then once we got over the new year, January 4th, that first Monday, you start to see it really go.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:58)
There was a lot of Moderna happening and that’s continued to accelerate. The second doses, as we get through this week, but particularly in the next week, you’re going to see those start to go higher, and you’ve seen that go higher as we go on. But I think it’s important to point that out because we believe in following the EUA of doing two-dose regimen. A lot of seniors have asked, “Hey, I went to Publix, or I went to the hospital, or I went to a drive-thru site. I got a card to say to come back, are there going to be second doses for us?” We’re marking the second doses, we’re sending them to the places where you got your first dose, and we 100% believe that you need to get the two doses. That’s how you get the 95% effectiveness.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (22:42)
What you’ll start to see as we get through this week and into next, you’re going to start to see more and more second doses done. The good news is, we have capacity to do more second doses and continue to do more first doses. In fact, you look, there are days where we did, total shots the 13th of January, over 101,000 total. Last week, even with the reporting incomplete, 86,000 on the 20th. I think you’re going to continue to do it. Second doses are going to be there for seniors, we believe it’s really important. There should be no doubt about Florida’s policy on that. I know people talk about maybe just having people use second doses for first doses, we really believe that we don’t want to miss the second dose.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (23:27)
As those are sent to the places that have administered the first, they’re going to have it marked as second dose. They’re going to be able to administer it if it’s at the hospital, if it’s at Publix, if it’s at a drive-through site, County Health Department, very important. If we get more first doses, then you will see, add another lane to some of the drive-through sites, can do more public stores, more hospitals, they can increase what they’re doing, County Health can do more. There’s all types of things we can do, the key issue is getting more vaccine to the states, particularly to the state of Florida. If we can get 500,000 a week, instead of just 266,000, we’re going to be able to vaccinate that many more seniors, that much more quickly. We hope that we’ll be able to figure out a way to do it, but in all the things that can be done, that is really should be the Federal Government’s sole priority.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:23)
They’re in charge of the doses, we can only distribute what they send us. Everything they send us gets distributed. If we get more of those doses, we’re going to be in good shape to be able to give more shots in people’s arms. But I want to thank everyone for coming, I want to thank River Garden. I want to wish Marty well, and yeah, I’m glad they mentioned all the great awards that they’ve gotten here because they deserve it, they’ve done a great job. Thank you, Emmett. Thank you, Steve. We’ll be happy to take a few questions. Yes, sir.

Jim Piggott: (24:51)
Governor, Jim Piggott with WJXT, you’re talking about some good numbers here in the long-care facilities and what’s happening there, but there’s a lot of frustration in Duval County because they’re already closing some sites where they were administering the vaccine to seniors at the Senior Citizens’ Center, the availability, it’s just not there anymore. And we’re not vaccinating on that first shot, as many as we had been. That’s where people are angry and they’re calling us and they just don’t understand. What are you doing as Governor to make sure that that is going to be there, that the seniors not in facilities are going to be vaccinated?

Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:25)
Exactly what I said. We are telling the Federal Government, they’re in control of this, we don’t have a big cache sitting around at the state. We only get what they send us. The sole focus for the Federal Government should be increasing the number of doses available for the states. We want everyone to use all the first doses they have. Don’t keep them on the shelf, put it in seniors arms, absolutely. But if we’re capable of doing 450,000 to 500,000 first doses, and we’re only getting 266,000, you’re going to see that there’s going to be shortages very quickly. Our capacity far outstrips what we’re being given by the feds. They’re in control of this. We were told weeks ago that we would start to see increases now, and we haven’t seen it. We’ve been very stagnant this whole month.

Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:10)
In fact, there’s only been one week where we got more than 300,000, and that was the Christmas week where we got almost 500,000 between Pfizer and Moderna. The average since then, has been about 250,000, 260,000 a week. We have capacity to do a lot more. So I’d tell the seniors, write your congressmen and your senators, and tell them, talk to the administration, have them send more Pfizer and Moderna to the states, and we will be able to do that many more. But we’re at the mercy of what the Federal Government sends us, and right now, we’re able to go through it quicker than what we’re receiving in it.

Speaker 2: (26:48)

Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:48)
Yes, ma’am.

Speaker 2: (26:48)
[inaudible 00:26:52]. Like you said, the city runs nice, they’re really praised for their efficiency and that things are going well, why were they not chosen to get more of the vaccine and then what can the state learn from the way things [inaudible 00:08:59]?

Governor Ron DeSantis: (27:03)
Well, we’re…

Speaker 3: (27:05)
What can the state learn from the way things [inaudible 00:27:03]?

Governor DeSantis: (27:06)
Well, we’re trying to replenish everybody but when we were at 500,000, we were sending to hospitals at a certain level. When it gets down to 266, there’s just going to be less that’s going to be able to go around. But if I double it, everyone will get more. That’s just the reality. So we’re really at the mercy of whatever’s being produced and whatever’s being sent here.

Governor DeSantis: (27:27)
But I think a lot of places have done a really good job. I’ve been to a number of drive-through sites. We did the Hard Rock Stadium, converted that. The villages. I’ve been places like Vero Beach. I’ve been all over. We’ve seen county health departments, we’ve seen hospitals do a great job. We’ve seen Publix, I’ve been to a number of Publix’. People are very happy with it, and I think most places have a good process now. I think it’s just a matter of supply, getting more supply so that folks can get the shot very, very quickly.

Governor DeSantis: (27:58)
But as of now, just so people understand, we’re scheduled to receive today, tomorrow, the same level, about 266,000. So that’s going to go pretty quickly over this next week. Again, we have the capacity if you see what we’ve been doing just in those last full weeks. Now we’ve already reporting for last week over 300,000. That’ll grow as the lag catches up, but I do think it’s going to be less than the week of the 11th through the 17th, just because of supply. And at the end of the day, that’s where we find ourselves. Yes, sir?

Speaker 4: (28:31)
[inaudible 00:01:40].

Governor DeSantis: (28:46)
So well, one, I don’t know that CDC, I haven’t seen their guidance on it. I did not follow CDC when we put seniors first. CDC recommended to do workers ahead of elderly. The mortality statistics did not bear that out and I felt you needed to get to the vaccine to the folks who were at the greatest risk of severe COVID outcomes. And so that’s what we’re going to do. As we get beyond that, I think obviously people that are in the workforce are going to be top priorities.

Governor DeSantis: (29:14)
I think though that the way we’re going to be able to do it, if everything’s on track with the approvals is to have another vaccine introduced by the time we’re in that situation. So Johnson and Johnson is submitting data I think anytime now for their one dose regimen. And so it doesn’t require the deep freeze. It doesn’t even require to be frozen. You just put it in the refrigerator. We think the efficacy is probably going to be less than Pfizer and Moderna, but for younger people and people in the workforce, it’s going to be pretty strong and probably pretty good.

Governor DeSantis: (29:50)
So if that gets approved, that could be another supply that comes online probably sometime towards the end of February. And then all this stuff we’re dealing with here, where we’re fighting to get more, all of a sudden you have a much bigger area of supply. When you’re doing 266,000 a week, and I have 4.5 million seniors, there’s just no easy way to get everyone done right off the bat. It’s a process where we got to wait to get more and then we do more. If we were to get dropped, they say J&J’s producing a hundred million. I don’t know if that’s going to be ready on day one, but let’s say they have 25 million on day one. Florida would get a decent chunk of that and we would be able to get that out to school districts, to police departments and to some of the places where I know a lot of folks are interested in getting it.

Governor DeSantis: (30:41)
So we want to do that. It’s supply dependent, it’s approval dependent, but I’m actually optimistic. The more and more I hear about the J&J, I think it is going to be a viable alternative. It may be something that is probably better for younger folks. Maybe not. We’ll see what that is, but we hope to get the data on that and we hope to get the results and the approval of that very, very soon. And there’s AstraZeneca, there’s some other stuff in the pipeline and I’m not… Maybe those will be important, but I think right now, if we look at what we have, we have the Pfizer and Moderna where we just need more of it. I think it’s working well for people. People have had good responses and then we have the J&J. So you get J&J, then the supply increases.

Governor DeSantis: (31:24)
But by the time we get down the line with some of these other vaccines, I mean, I think the virus will be receding. Now it could come back in different seasons, but I think now is really the time where you want to get as much stuff going as you can. We are seeing a decline in hospitalizations across the country, including in Florida. I mean, we’ve really had a sharp decline, like the last seven or eight days we’re down 10, 15%. We want to continue to see that. I think the vaccine, as we get into maybe February, you may start to see some effects on that with reduced admissions. Certainly by the end of February, I would expect to see a significant effect on that. And I think that’ll show that the seniors first was the right way.

Governor DeSantis: (32:04)
But really time is of the essence on this stuff. We want to get it now and the sooner that we’re able to do that, I think the better. So stay tuned for J&J. Once we know what we’re dealing with, I think we’ll be in a better situation to be able to assess what the next step is. But clearly if I got twice as many doses for Pfizer and Moderna than I’m getting now, I could get through the seniors that much quicker.

Governor DeSantis: (32:28)
Look, we’re happy to be at almost a million reported. We’ve obviously administered more than a million because of the reporting lag. We’re happy that we’re either one or two in the nation for percent of seniors that have been vaccinated. But I also know we could up those percentages very, very quickly and we don’t know how many seniors are going to want it. It’s not going to be a hundred percent, but we think the vast majority are going to want it. And so out of 4.5 million, if we’ve knocked out a million, we have at least a couple more million that we got to do. The more vaccine we have the quicker that’ll get done. Thanks everybody. We’ll see ya. Thank you. Great job. You guys are doing awesome.

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