Home / World / DeSantis downplayed coronavirus help from New York after the Florida Health Department praised it

DeSantis downplayed coronavirus help from New York after the Florida Health Department praised it

DeSantis spoke to reporters last Thursday, expressly denying that New York had helped his state’s Covid 19 response, and said, “They are not helping us.”

“I think someone contacted our office about ventilators – we have 6,000 who are only idle, so we don’t need it,” added the governor. “We are working with the federal government on some remdesivir.”

However, a series of emails, initially reported by Politco and later reviewed by CNN, show that New York’s offer to send remdesivir to Florida was well received before DeSantis took on the role of the state in securing the delivery of the drug rejected.

A member of the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo had an email on Wednesday to a DeSantis employee with the subject “Florida needs remdesivir?”


This message was sent to a Florida Department of Health worker who replied, “Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.”

“Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need additional information,” said the person.

Cuomo said in a statement on Friday that it would support, saying that New York would “use remdesivir to help Florida care for patients while it is waiting for further federal care.”

“We will stand by our fellow Americans every step of the way as our nation fights COVID-19 together.”

DeSantis did not mention Cuomo during a press conference on Saturday, however, and instead praised Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar for helping to secure the Florida Remdesivir.

A DeSantis spokeswoman, Helen Ferre, told CNN Sunday: “It is not uncommon for state health agencies to communicate, especially during a pandemic. New York has turned to Florida and the Department of Health has responded appropriately.”

Florida has seen dramatic increases in some cases in recent weeks. The state reported 15,299 new Covid 19 cases on Sunday, the highest number of new cases reported by a state in a single day since the pandemic started. The test positivity rate in Florida is currently 19.60%, according to Johns Hopkins University.

In recent weeks, the state has broken several records of daily highs in new cases and reported another 10,360 new infections on Saturday. Around 40 hospitals across the state have no beds in the intensive care unit, and more than 7,000 patients across the country are hospitalized with the virus, state data showed on Saturday.

Remdesivir, the only drug known to work against Covid-19, has been in high demand in recent weeks due to the ongoing pandemic.
Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency approval for the drug, an intravenous antiviral that has been studied to treat Ebola and is now used in hospitalized patients with Covid-19. While a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is not a blockbuster drug, it does show that it shaves four days before hospitalization.

CNN’s Christina Maxouris, Holly Yan, Elizabeth Cohen and Arman Azad contributed to this report.

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