On Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., urged President Donald Trump to deploy at least 10 million rapid COVID-19 antigen tests to the state of Florida in light of the recent announcement that the federal government has procured approximately 150 million rapid tests made by Abbott Laboratories.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Mr. President:
I write with regard to the recent announcement that the federal government has procured approximately 150 million rapid tests made by Abbott Laboratories.
The recent development in COVID-19 testing, especially rapid testing, is exactly what the State of Florida requires to open our schools and businesses safely. Abbott’s BinanxNOW test promises to deliver these results in 15 minutes, without the requirement for a laboratory. At a price around $5, deployment of this test throughout the state would further the goal of slowing the spread, and allowing my constituents to resume some much needed normalcy.
Although Floridians have risen to the challenge of slowing the spread, ultimately, rapid, affordable and widely available testing is required to further our mutual goal of controlling the virus until effective vaccines are available. As the third most populous state in our nation, with more than 21 million residents, I respectfully urge you to provide at least 10 million tests, initially, to the State of Florida.
The fair distribution of these tests could have far-reaching benefits. Florida, an economy largely based on tourism, has suffered a great deal of financial harm during the pandemic. Both our large industries, and the small businesses that benefit from them, continue to feel the effects of diminished travel and patronage. Providing a means of affordable and fast testing could be the difference in those businesses shutting their doors for good, or being able to resume operations.
I understand the demand for these tests is high. However, the State of Florida, which welcomes visitors from all over the country, presents a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the test’s efficacy. With the winter months fast approaching, we expect more travelers to enjoy our state’s warm weather and sandy beaches. Deployment of these tests, commensurate with our population, could allow Florida to efficiently combat COVID-19 and save countless lives. Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to working with you on behalf of all Floridians.