Florida man who took viral photo of woman lying on Covid treatment centre floor says ‘this thing kills’

Witnessing patients so ill they could no longer stand up showed pandemic’s severity, says Louis Lopez

Helen Elfer
Friday 20 August 2021 16:20
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A man has described his harrowing ordeal at a Covid treatment centre, saying it showed the true seriousness of the pandemic.

Louis Lopez was waiting in Jacksonville’s main public library in Florida for a Covid monoclonal antibody treatment, when he witnessed patients coming in who were so ill they couldn’t stand up.

A woman suffering from Covid-19 symptoms lies on the floor of a monoclonal treatment facility in Jacksonville, Florida

He took a photo showing one woman apparently collapsed on the floor while waiting to be seen, while another person was curled up in the background. Mr Lopez’s wife posted the snap on Reddit, which then was widely shared on social media and news outlets.

“These people were in bad, bad shape,” said Mr Lopez.

In an interview with CNN, he said his experience at the library, which has been repurposed as a state treatment centre, made him deeply thankful to be fully vaccinated.

“I lost two cousins to Covid in San Diego,” Mr Lopez said. “If I was unvaccinated there’s no doubt in my mind it would have taken me out.”

Mr Lopez has been sick with Covid for more than a week, with symptoms including swollen glands, a runny nose and a migraine. He made an appointment to get a monoclonal antibody treatment that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has promoted this week.

“Don’t wait till you need to be hospitalised,” Mr DeSantis said on Wednesday during a visit to a facility in West Palm Beach.

“Do it early, go in and people do good and obviously keep out of the hospital, but it resolves the symptoms for a lot of people very quickly to where they feel a lot better and they maybe were not at a hospital-level initially, but they felt symptoms, this has a great opportunity to really resolve it and I think resolve it in a good fashion.”

Mr Lopez described distressing scenes in the library, with constant cries of pain coming from those seeking help. “As time went on, more people started showing up. And it became evident that they were taking walk-ins and appointments. Some of the people that were coming in were really sick,” he said.

He added: “That’s when I actually thought ... this thing kills,” he said. "If you die because of Covid, not only are you going to be alone, you’re going to be in a lot of pain. It really illustrated that for me.”

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