Duval County

‘I’m standing’: Woman in viral photo from Jacksonville antibody treatment center speaks out

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis says Jacksonville is leading the state with the number of free antibody treatments being given to COVID-19 patients.

DeSantis’ visit comes a little over a week after a picture of a woman lying on the ground went viral.

Toma Dean, 39, says she’s the woman pictured inside Jacksonville’s downtown Regeneron site.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: People pictured lying on the floor of Jacksonville antibody treatment site

Unvaccinated, Dean says she had been struggling with COVID-19 symptoms for nearly 10 days.

“I had probably 105 fever, 104, 105 fever in that photo,” she said. “Body aches. Sore.”

“Every time I see that photo I think, ‘If I hadn’t laid there on that floor, I wouldn’t have made it to get that treatment,’” she said.

But she did, and within 36 hours of receiving the monoclonal antibody treatment, she says her symptoms improved.

Now she’s here.

“I’m standing,” she said.

Dean joined a news conference alongside DeSantis and Mayor Lenny Curry.

“These treatments work,” Curry said.

“The site that we started in Jacksonville weeks ago was, of course, the first one. Jacksonville is still in the lead for the number of treatments that have been done,” DeSantis said.

The site downtown is just one of 21 state-funded Regeneron treatment sites in Florida.

In total, DeSantis says they’ve administered 30,000 treatments.

Before it moved downtown, the site out of Bay Street had administered 132 doses.

As of Monday, the site downtown has administered 2,724 doses.

But the treatment isn’t a cure-all.

“I still have a little bit of a cough because of the shortness of breath,” Dean said. “You cough to catch your breath. I still have sweats that happen once in a while.”

But Dean hopes she inspires others to consider getting it.

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“I hope that photo is displayed everywhere,” she said. “I hope they see it and think, ‘I don’t wanna be that girl, I don’t wanna be that sick.’”

This free monoclonal antibody treatment is available for people 12 and older who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have recently tested positive for the virus before the onset of serious symptoms.