Florida Govenor Ron DeSantis ordered One million doses of hydroxychloroquine to fight the Coronavirus pandemic as the state anticipates reaching its peak in COVID-19 infections weeks sooner than initially projected.
Florida is expected to reach its peak of coronavirus infections on April 21, when about 242 people in the state could be dying per day, according to revised projections from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine released Monday.
The university’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which has been used by the White House coronavirus task force to form its coronavirus response, initially predicted the outbreak in Florida to peak about two weeks later, on May 3, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.
Shipments of the drug originally developed to prevent and treat malaria will arrive at select Florida hospitals mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough counties, according to Florida’s emergency management office.
“This is something that a physician recommends under supervision,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a video conference with a doctor from Broward County who has used the drug to treat COVID-19 patients, according to WPEC in West Palm Beach.
Amneal Pharmaceuticals was sending a massive shipment of hydroxychloroquine to Florida. Teva Pharmaceuticals is also shipping hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, an antibiotic commonly known as a Z-Pak, to Florida from India, WPTV in West Palm Beach reported. India initially blocked its export last week. Both drugs combined have been used to treat COVID-19 patients in the state.
“I think we need to have every option that’s available for these patients,” Dr. Sunil Kumar with Broward Health said at the press conference. “Some of these patients are very, very sick.”
DeSantis said Florida has tested nearly 140,000 people for COVID-19 with the help of the state National Guard, Department of Health and Division of Emergency Management.
Florida had the eighth highest number of infections in the country, and the tenth highest number of fatalities by Wednesday morning, recording at least 14,747 confirmed cases, with at least 296 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
As the debate over the efficacy of using an anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19 patients continues, DeSantis is taking precautions to ensure a sudden surge in coronavirus cases doesn’t cause shortages in medical supplies and overwhelm hospital staff.
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