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Woman In Viral Photo Feeling Better After Antibody Treatment In Jax

Jacksonville woman regeneron.jpg
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Toma Dean said she was too out of breath to keep standing while waiting for injections of monoclonal antibodies. She says she would be in the ER had she not received the treatment.

The woman seen in a viral photo lying down at a Jacksonville clinic for COVID-19 monoclonal antibody therapy is feeling better and crediting the treatment for keeping her out of the hospital.

“Had I not received that therapy, I would be willing to bet anything I would be hospitalized right now,” Toma Dean said.

Dean, 39, is speaking out so that people who get infected will know about this treatment and seek it out before things get any worse.

She said she was too out of breath to keep standing while waiting for injections of monoclonal antibodies.

“The line was long,” said Dean, who appeared to be in distress at the time. “In order to make it to the front, I knew that, if I stood, I'd be back at the ER. So I just laid down.”

The photo was taken Louie Lopez. He was also in line for the treatment, which has been touted by Gov. Ron DeSantis for those with mild symptoms of COVID-19.

DeSantis and health experts say the antibody treatment should not be considered a replacement to vaccination.

Lopez, who also reported improvement from his symptoms after the treatment, said the nurses were friendly and were doing their best, and the patients were all friendly, despite the two-hour waits they were suffering, often while ill. Some patients shared the limited chairs that were available.

The photo went viral after it was posted on Reddit last Wednesday by user Suzieb2220.

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").