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SWFL congressman recovers from COVID-19, looks at stopping spread

One high-profile patient is helping us learn about COVID-19 as a medical condition. And he also happens to represent part of our region in Congress.

One minute, U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) felt as healthy as a horse. Then, things changed quickly.

“It was as if a ton of bricks had just landed on my head,” Diaz-Balart said. “Mostly, really, it was an intense, excruciating headache, what seemed to be a high fever because I had chills and pain and everything hurt, and then a relatively intense cough.”

Diaz-Balart recovered from COVID-19, so we asked if having the virus changed him and if it will impact his role as one of Collier County’s representatives in Washington D.C.

“It hasn’t affected my ability, my attitude, other than to just reiterate to folks out there, please take this very seriously; this is very nasty,” Diaz-Balart said.

There are fears that the $2 trillion stimulus package wasn’t enough. We asked the congressman if he supports a new bailout package.

“Look, this is not the time for partisan bickering,” Diaz-Balart said. “I’m hoping the Senate and the Democratic leadership in the Senate will come to their senses because I do not want to spend money that we shouldn’t be spending. But we are at war and right now. We have to do whatever it takes to defeat this enemy.”

After his experience with the virus, Diaz-Balart is looking to help others. Researchers are studying whether plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients can be used to treat those seriously ill with the virus. Doctors have told Diaz-Balart he must wait another week or two before he can start donating

“I’ve applied both with OneBlood and the American Red Cross to donate plasma because hopefully it can help others who are struggling through this disease,” Diaz-Balart said.

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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