First Dick Farrel, then Phil Valentine, and now a third conservative radio host who had spoken out against the COVID-19 vaccine has died of the coronavirus. Marc Bernier, a well-known 65-year-old talk radio personality in Daytona Beach, Fla., died Saturday night after being hospitalized August 7, Politico reports. He had been off the air the previous week because he was sick, and was diagnosed with COVID the day prior to his hospitalization, local media reported at the time. Bernier had long distrusted vaccines due to impacts he believed they'd had on people close to him, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. In December, he vowed on the air never to get the COVID vaccine, referring to himself as "Mr. Anti-Vax" when his friend and co-host questioned him about it.
Unlike Farrel and Valentine, there has so far been no report that Bernier changed his tune on the vaccine prior to his death; the last tweet he ever posted, from July 30, is an anti-vaccine tweet. In related news:
- An anti-mask organizer in Texas died of COVID on Saturday after being hospitalized July 30, KXAN reports. Caleb Wallace co-founded the San Angelo Freedom Defenders and had organized several rallies to protest mask mandates. While his stance on the vaccine itself is not clear, he was also reportedly against vaccine mandates. Earlier in his illness, his wife reportedly said he was taking ivermectin, the horse drug that has led to poisonings in people taking it for COVID despite FDA warnings not to.
- But a Texas pastor who was not vaccinated before he nearly died of COVID last month is now telling congregants how important it is to get the shot, NPR reports. "I was falsely and erroneously overconfident," he says. "I'm going to lay out lessons that I've learned ... And certainly I'm going to talk straight to our people about who we can and should be as God's people and what it really means to love our neighbor."
- Stories of unvaccinated people dying of COVID continue to abound; some of the most recent include a 36-year-old father of three, a 35-year-old father of two, a 37-year-old father of two with a baby on the way, a couple whose children are now orphans, a mother and daughter who worked in Florida schools, a worker at an assisted living facility who started a fatal outbreak, two daycare workers who were found dead at home, a 32-year-old woman who died days after giving birth, a 36-year-old police officer who died the day before his wedding, a state trooper whose wife is now urging others to get vaccinated, and a healthy 53-year-old woman who made a video pleading with others to get the shot days before she died.
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