It’s Tuesday, January 4th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on the federal government to distribute more monoclonal antibody treatments and vowed that schools in the state will remain open amid the surge in the fast-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19.
DeSantis made his comments during a news conference at Broward Health Medical Center Monday morning. The governor said the Department of Health and Human Services announced Sunday that they'd be sending more treatments and said the state will likely receive between 30,000 and 40,000 treatments. The department said last week that supply of the drug is "extremely limited." But DeSantis said any treatments Florida receives will likely be quickly used, and said the state plans to open more treatment sites in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and central Florida, but will need more treatments from the federal government, since the state can't get them directly from pharmaceutical companies.
No. 2 - Florida added more than 85,000 new COVID-19 cases this past weekend, following a record-breaking week of infections amid an increase in testing and the fast-spreading omicron variant.
The state reported 45,838 cases on Saturday and 39,797 cases on Sunday, pushing Florida's total to more than 4.3 million since the pandemic began, according to figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, Florida set records for daily cases for five straight days, peaking with 75,902 on Dec. 30. It was one of four days last week where Florida reported more than 50,000 new cases. The record-breaking numbers came as the omicron variant surged in Florida and across the country amid the holidays.
No. 3 - Omicron has thrown another wrinkle into the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration announced recently several rapid antigen tests people can purchase at local pharmacies cannot identify the omicron variant of the coronavirus, creating another crunch in supplies.
Dr. Aileen Marty from Florida International University said people should get a rapid test if they’re getting together at a large gathering, but make sure it can detect the latest variant. Currently, the Abbott BinaxNOW tests that are distributed at county and state facilities can detect the variant. However, a nasal swab RT-PCR test remains the most accurate test, Marty said. One major reason why there aren't enough rapid tests out there is that the FDA has a lengthy, thorough and expensive approval process. To find out why not all tests are created equal, click here for the story from NBC 6 investigator Phil Prazan.
No. 4 - Quarantining at home can mean following different guidelines for mom, dad and kids.
“Stressful" is the best way mom Angie Bradley describes life at home since testing positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 31. Her husband and sons — ages four and one — have not tested positive at all, but they’ve had varying symptoms. Bradley's husband stayed home from his culinary job, and Bradley is still keeping both their sons home from preschool. It’s a shifting reality other South Florida parents are facing as well: a separate set of protocols for each parent’s job, and another for schools. Click here for more in a report from NBC 6’s Julia Bagg.
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No. 5 - Residents in Pompano Beach were outraged over the recent arrest of rapper Kodak Black, who authorities took into custody over the weekend and charged with trespassing.
According to court documents, Broward Sheriff’s deputies responded Saturday morning to a ShotSpotter alert at a public housing complex near 10th Drive. A responding officer recognized the rapper and knew that Black — whose real name is Bill Kapri — had a cease-and-desist order from the Pompano Beach Housing Authority. Residents at the complex — which is where the rapper grew up — were outraged and believe the ShotSpotter system was set off by mistake. Click here to hear what they said in a report from NBC 6’s Cristian Benavides.
No. 6 - A wild pair of bald eagles hatched two baby birds in Miami-Dade over the weekend.
The bald eagles — named Ron and Rita after Zoo Miami Wildlife Expert Ron Magill and his wife — built a nest last year that was destroyed in a storm. They have since returned, this time to a more stable platform for their nest and laid three eggs. Zoo Miami's Ron Magill built the artificial platform despite some experts telling him the eagles wouldn't return. After months of waiting, the first egg hatched Saturday night and the second on Sunday morning. The Magills are now patiently waiting for the third eaglet, but Ron says it’s unlikely all three will survive.
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