Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:
What Is Monoclonal Antibody Therapy? Here's What We Know
More health systems across the U.S. are offering monoclonal antibody therapy as a way of fighting COVID-19 infection, but how exactly do the treatments work, and how effective are they in reducing the effects of the virus?
The therapy is being touted by politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis amid a concerning rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases across the state, fueled largely in part by the highly contagious delta variant. States like Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas have also seen an alarming surge in cases and hospitalizations, making the need for vaccinations and other treatments more crucial.
Experts stress that while antibody therapy is an option, vaccination remains the most powerful way to combat COVID-19 infection.
Here’s what we know so far about monoclonal antibody therapy, how it works, and what health care systems are offering the treatment.
Federal Rental Assistance Slow to Go Out in South Florida
Many tenants behind on rent are turning to rental assistance programs for help.
NBC 6 Responds found much of the federal aid approved by Congress has not made it to the people who need it most.
The U.S. Treasury reported just 12 percent of the first round of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program totaling $25 billion was distributed.
State and local governments who administer the program have struggled to get the funds out.
At the State level, just 2 percent of the federal funds have been paid out.
Miami Beach Couple Arrested in Hawaii for Using Fake Vaccination Cards
A couple from Miami Beach was arrested in Hawaii last week after police say they attempted to use fake vaccination cards to travel into the island for a family vacation.
Enzo Dalmazzo, 43, and Daniela Dalmazzo, 31, were charged with falsifying a vaccine card, with Daniela facing an additional two counts for submitting fake documents for their two children, according to complaints filed by the Hawaii Attorney General’s office.
Court documents show the couple was arrested on Aug. 11 after an airport screener became suspicious about the children's vaccine cards due to their age. The two kids were born in 2016 and 2017, and are too young to have been inoculated with any of the three vaccines currently approved for emergency use in the U.S.
“The screener at the airport, when they came through, noticed an anomaly about the age of the children and the vaccine, and that’s how we got involved,” said Special Agent Joe Logan with the Hawaii Attorney General’s office.
‘Ghost Candidate' Will Testify Against Former Senator in Election Case: Attorney
The Florida man accused of running as a third-party candidate to siphon votes away from the Democrat in a close state senate race will testify against the man prosecutors say recruited him for the job.
Alex Rodriguez will take a plea next Tuesday and be a cooperating witness in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office case against former Republican state senator Frank Artiles.
“Alex Rodriguez remains profoundly remorseful for his actions and considers his decision to enter into a plea agreement as a necessary and proper act of contrition,” Rodriguez’s attorney William Barzee wrote to NBC 6 in a text message.
The two are accused of keeping tens of thousands of dollars off state financial records and lying on sworn residency paperwork, felonies under Florida law with up to a five year jail sentence each. Prosecutors accuse Artiles of recruiting and paying Rodriguez around $45,000 to run as a No-Party-Affiliate in Senate District 37 last November.
Rodriguez shares the same last name as former state senator Jose Javier Rodriguez. Alex Rodriguez received more than 6,000 votes. Republican Ileana Garcia defeated Jose Javier Rodriguez by 32 votes.
Woman Lost Family in Surfside Condo Collapse, Gives Victims a Voice in Lawsuit Hearing
A two-hour-long status hearing involving dozens of lawsuits stemming from the collapse of Champlain Towers South was proceeding along familiar, legalistic lines.
Then Raquel Oliveira took the floor.
"The day of the tragedy I traveled," she said, sobbing from the couch of a generous stranger who took her in after her rented condo -- and her life -- collapsed. "I traveled on Wednesday, but my husband and my son were there. They were going to meet me on the weekend. And I lost my husband and my five-year-old son."
Those in the Zoom status conference -- whether seeking justice for victims, or preparing to defend those whose negligence will be alleged -- watched in silence as Oliveira reminded everyone of the toll the condo collapse is taking on survivors of the 98 people who died nearly two months ago.
"I'm so sorry," interjected Judge Michael Hanzman, charged with overseeing all lawsuits involving the matter.
Vacationers Flocking to Homes Instead of Hotels As New Vacation Rental Option
It’s billed as an oasis in the middle of the city – a $1.5 million home in Coconut Grove is one of thousands of short term vacation rentals listed on Marriott’s Homes and Villas Program.
“Now we’re at 30,000 homes across Europe, the Middle East, about to enter Asia and across the Americas, with a heavy focus on the US and Canada,” said Diana Plazas, a chief sales and marketing officer for Marriott International.
Plazas said they started the platform back in 2019 and, despite the pandemic, they have seen lots of growth.
“We actually heard that the lift has been over 700% in visits to our site because of people that want to get away and they trust our brand,” Plazas said.
The Marriott brand is the latest option available for consumers looking to stay at a home instead of a hotel. NBC 6 found the Coconut Grove house on Marriott’s site as well as on Vrbo and Airbnb listed for between $1,000 and $1,500 a night.
“We are the only ones that have a key loyalty program as part of the home sharing,” Plazas said. “So you are able to earn points but then you can also redeem your points for it.”
Marriott said it only lists entire homes for rent and does not work directly with owners. Instead, Marriott works with property management companies that it says must go through a strict approval process which includes making sure they can provide 24/7 support.