The Delta variant of coronavirus continues to ravage the world, and in the United States the south is unquestionably a virus hot spot as large portions of the population refuse to get vaccinated. Recent days have seen a number of news stories emerge about people who had publicly railed against masks and vaccines.
A number of conservative radio hosts have died of COVID after casting skepticism on mitigation efforts or even being skeptical of the pandemic’s existence. But the biggest is Phil Valentine, a Tennessee radio host who mocked vaccines with a parody song. His death was announced by his station on Saturday.
We are saddened to report that our host and friend Phil Valentine has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/vhXpE7x0oX
— SuperTalk 99.7 WTN (@997wtn) August 21, 2021
According to the Daily Beast, Valentine had a late change of mind about the vaccine while on his death bed. But he spent a lot of time in life downplaying the risks of the virus and the efficacy of vaccination.
Though Valentine downplayed the efficacy of vaccines and even went so far as to record a parody song mocking them, he reversed his opinion while in the hospital, advising his family members to get the jab.
He had said of the vaccine, “I have a very low risk of A) Getting COVID and B) dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” He also said at the time that he had been taking the anti-parasite medication ivermectin, which is meant for animals.
This is a tweet, for example, that Valentine sent out last month.
Ah, but I'm sure their vaccine is perfectly safe. Don't worry about it.https://t.co/mNC7Sj4XpV
— Phil Valentine (@ValentineShow) July 15, 2021
His last retweet, in fact, is pretty grim as well.
— John E. Bozeman (Johnny B) (@NhojNamezob) July 16, 2021
The disconnect between what conservatives are saying about coronavirus and the reality of dealing with it is jarring. And the more it continues, it seems inevitable that more stories like this will continue to make headlines.