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COVID Patient From Viral Photo Joins DeSantis To Promote Antibody Treatments In Jacksonville

Governor Ron DeSantis (at podium) speaks at the Duval County Health Department in Jacksonville on Monday, August 30, 2021.
WJCT
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Duval County Health Department in Jacksonville on Monday, August 30, 2021.

The governor appeared with Toma Dean, the woman seen on the floor of a state-run Regenron clinic in a viral photo. Dean said that she believes the treatment helped keep her alive after she caught COVID.

Gov. Ron DeSantis was back in Jacksonville on Monday touting monoclonal antibody treatments for people with mild cases of COVID-19. . The treatments are available at free, state-run sites across Florida.

He was joined by Toma Dean, an unvaccinated mother who was seen on the floor of Jacksonville’s state-run Regeneron clinic in a viral photograph. Dean said that she believes the treatment helped keep her alive after she caught COVID.

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Toma Dean appeared with Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, two weeks after she was photographed sick on the ground at the Regeneron clinic in Jacksonville.

“I was headed for an ICU bed,” Dean said with belaboured breath. “There was not a doubt in my mind. You can tell, you can tell by your body and you can tell by your breathing. So I  received Regeneron and within about 24, 36 hours I knew I was gonna make it.”

Dean said she is planning to get vaccinated against COVID once she is eligible, which will be 90 days after receiving Regeneron.

The federal Centers for Disease Control said COVID vaccines are significantly more effective than monoclonal antibodies at reducing the severity of COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies also do not prevent catching COVID.  Regeneron is only available to those who have contracted or been exposed to COVID.

DeSantis’ visit to the Duval County Department of Health building came as the vaccination rate is plateauing in Duval County. The lowest number of people got vaccinated last week since mid-July, according to the weekly data report from the state Department of Health.

Meantime, DeSantis told reporters his office plans to appeal Friday’s court ruling that school districts can require masks in classrooms to protect against COVID.

“I think we're gonna have really good grounds to appeal in terms of the first District Court of Appeal,” DeSantis said. “At the end of the day, what the Parents Bill of Rights requires, in our judgment, is that parents be given the right to opt out, if they think that's in the best interest of their kids.”

 Contact Claire Heddles at cheddles@wjct.org, (904) 250 - 0926, or on Twitter at @claireheddles.

Copyright 2021 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.