Republican running for governor of Texas in hospital with Covid-19

By Rachel Pannett
Getty Images

Allen West, a tea party firebrand who is seeking the Republican nomination in the Texas gubernatorial race, is in the hospital after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Mr West, a former Republican congressman from Florida, is unvaccinated. His diagnosis on Saturday came days after he attended a crowded political fundraiser at a yacht club in Seabrook.

From his hospital bed, he issued a string of tweets attacking vaccine mandates and promoting controversial treatments, vowing that if elected, he would “vehemently crush anyone forcing vaccine mandates” in Texas.

“Our bodies are our last sanctuary of liberty and freedom, I will defend that for everyone,” he wrote.

Mr West also said that he and his wife, Angela, who is vaccinated, had received treatment with monoclonal antibodies - a move that a number of people argued on social media was at odds with his remarks against vaccines that he said were “enriching the pockets of Big Pharma.”

Monoclonal antibodies are proteins created in the laboratory to mimic the human immune system. The Biden administration last month announced it had reached an agreement to buy another 1.4 million doses of the only authorised antibodies from the pharmaceutical company Regeneron for $2.9 billion (£2.1 billion), or $2,100 (£1,540) per dose. The most expensive coronavirus vaccines are about $20 (about £15) a shot.

The antivirals’ use has surged in recent weeks in states where the delta variant of the coronavirus has been skyrocketing; and in most cases where the states have lower-than-average vaccination rates.

Mr West said that his wife was released from a hospital after the monoclonal treatment. He was admitted overnight Saturday because of concerns over his oxygen saturation levels, hours after tweeting that he was suspending in-person events because he had pneumonia.

In a separate tweet, Mr West, 60, said he had taken the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the anti-parasitic ivermectin, also a popular animal dewormer. Neither drug is approved for the treatment of covid-19. Mr West didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment Sunday.

Mr West, a conservative who once called for President Barack Obama’s impeachment, had a short stint in Congress for Florida from 2010 to 2012.

He later moved to Texas, where he has become a vocal opponent of Covid-19 restrictions. In October 2020, he led a protest at the mansion of Texas Governor Greg Abbott against now-expired mask mandates and lockdowns.

Mr West announced in July that he would challenge Mr Abbott, who is running for a third term in 2022 and has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

On Sunday, Mr Abbott tweeted well wishes for Mr West and his wife, saying, “You are in our prayers. Get well soon.”

The Washington Post


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