Florida health officials agreed to receive remdesivir from New York before DeSantis dismissed offer
Florida health department officials were aware of New York’s desire to send a shipment of the experimental coronavirus treatment drug remdesivir to the state before Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) publicly dismissed the state’s offer.
According to emails obtained by The Hill, New York officials from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) first reached out to Florida’s health department on Tuesday to ask if the state needed additional doses of remdesivir.
Florida health department officials readily agreed to the help, and by the next day had determined that New York would be able to send about 1,750 vials, or enough to treat 280 patients.
The drugs were slated to arrive on Saturday to buy Florida enough time until a new shipment from the Trump administration arrives.
But during a press conference on Thursday, Florida’s Gov. DeSantis dismissed any idea of receiving help from New York, saying the state had offered ventilators, which they did not need. He did not mention anything about remdesivir.
“They’re not helping us,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “I think that someone reached out to our office on ventilators. We’ve got 6,000 ventilators just, you know, sitting idle, so we don’t necessarily need it.”
Cuomo announced the remdesivir shipment to Florida on Friday.
Cuomo said his goal was to return the generosity extended to New York by other states earlier this year when it was the epicenter of the disease’s outbreak in the U.S.
Florida is dealing with a massive spike in coronavirus infections. The state is setting near daily records for new cases, and the death rate has been rising.
Officials reported more than 10,000 new cases on Saturday, and 96 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths for the week to 496.
DeSantis has yet to acknowledge that New York donated remdesivir. On Friday, DeSantis said he had personally secured an additional supply of 17,080 vials of remdesivir from the Trump administration.
State health officials said they use 16,000 vials a week. A treatment course of remdesivir is, on average, 6.25 vials.