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Interview: Ocala mom filed lawsuit, attempting to block Trump rally

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An Ocala mother of three filed a lawsuit trying to block a Trump campaign rally from being held Oct. 16 at the Ocala International Airport.

Chanae Jackson

Chanae Jackson’s lawsuit claimed the rally is a case of reckless endangerment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a nuisance detrimental to her health and the health of others in Marion County, the lawsuit says.

But the judge denied her request for an injunction.

In an interview over Zoom, Jackson told 90.7’s Joe Byrnes that her children battled COVID-19 this summer and she has known others who died from the virus.

WMFE: Chanae, thanks for talking with us today. I wondered if you could tell me the story of your family’s battle with COVID-19.

JACKSON: In July, my two children were diagnosed and what happened is it happened pretty quickly. My daughter started to have like allergy symptoms and so we thought it was and that was on a Saturday. By Tuesday, she was sleeping all day long. She was really exhausted. And then my son, my 19-year-old — who’s never sick, he’s only had two colds in his life — he started to feel bad. He texted me the middle of the night, because I was out with a client, because one of the things I do is home health. And at that time he was, like, I really don’t feel good me or (her daughter) don’t feel good at all. We’re vomiting, we’re on the toilet, we’re sick.

So we kind of said okay, maybe they ate something bad and kind of proceeded forward. By Tuesday, they were really sick. He couldn’t hold his head up. He could not talk. So I made a telehealth appointment with our physicians. So we made the telehealth appointment, and the reason I went ahead and made that because my daughter had no taste, no sense of taste or smell, which I knew was textbook COVID.

And so one of the things I want people to understand is, I was actually working at the hospital in the emergency room, and actually quit in the middle of COVID. After my children get so deathly ill, I would not go back. So, as we went, we got tested on they did the rapid testing, and we got the results on the very next day.

WMFE: She says her son’s ordeal lasted for more than a month.

JACKSON: The worst part of it lasted for 11 days, but from the time he got sick to the time he was actually able to get a move around was almost five weeks.

WMFE: Chanae, I want to ask how your son is doing now.

JACKSON: He is better now. And he still has a cough, and they said that can go on for months or that it actually may never go away. So he’s always clearing his throat where it seems like it’s either postnasal drip or like a non-productive cough. He has transitioned back to being his normal self. It took 11 days but I didn’t know he was actually going to live through it because it was that bad.

Lawsuit fails to stop Ocala Trump rally; thousands line up not wearing masks

WMFE: How does it make you feel to see people going to a rally and disregarding social distancing and mask wearing?

JACKSON: People think words come to mind like frustrating. I feel extremely sad. I feel sad because I can’t believe how many of us don’t have any regard for other people. So there seems to be a great amount of selfishness. And then for me, like, a lot of people said, well, we have choices, I do believe that even being the president who won’t actually, you know, tell people we need to have regard for human life, we need to protect each other. That’s what America — they keep saying that is what America is about. So if that’s what America is about, then why are we not looking out for each other?

WMFE: If you could speak directly to President Trump about these rallies that he’s holding, what would you tell him?

JACKSON: My first question will be why. I mean if he’s here and he’s advocating for the American people and he wants to show that he is here for all of us, then why have the rallies, why not do virtual rallies, why not find creative means in order to show that he cares for each of us. That would be my question. And then I would ask him, you know, even for him, if COVID wasn’t as bad as he proclaims, is it OK that I had to suffer through and watch and see, wondering if my child was going to die. And I actually do know people personally that died. So I would like to know, those over 210,000 lives that were lost, is it worth it?

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.