A California man who mocked COVID-19 vaccinations in his social media posts died from the virus in a hospital, his pastor announced.
Stephen Harmon, 34, of Corona, died at Corona Regional Medical Center, KCBS reported.
Hillsong Church global senior pastor Brian Houston announced Harmon’s death on social media this week, CNN reported Saturday. Harmon attended the Los Angeles church.
“Stephen was just a young man in his early 30s,” Houston wrote on Instagram. “He was one of the most generous people I know and he had so much in front of him.”
Harmon had joked about the vaccine and rewrote the lyrics to a Jay-Z song in a social media post, tweeting, “I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one,” according to KABC.
On July 8, Harmon posted: “Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses,” The Associated Press reported.
Harmon used his Twitter and Instagram accounts to chronicle his hospital stay, KABC reported.
His final tweet from his now-protected Twitter account was written Wednesday before he was intubated, according to KCBS.
“I’m choosing to go under intubation,” Harmon tweeted. “I’ve fought this thing as hard as I can but unfortunately it’s reached a point of critical choice.
“And as much as I hate having to do this, I’d rather it be willingness than forced emergency procedure,” Harmon added. “Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray.”
Harmon died later that day.
According to KCBS, Harmon tweeted three days before his death that, “If you don’t have faith that God can heal me over your stupid ventilator then keep the hell out of my ICU room. There’s no room in here for fear or lack of faith!”
Harmon was a graduate of Hillson College, the television station reported.
“I can’t even emphasize how unbelievably demoralizing this is,” Dr. Oren Friedman said, who treats COVID-19 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told KCBS. “Virtually every single person that is getting sick enough to be admitted to the hospital has not been vaccinated.”
In a statement to KCBS and CNN, Houston said that “any loss of life is a moment to mourn and offer support to those who are suffering and so our heartfelt prayers are with his family and those who loved him.”
“On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors,” Houston added. “While many of our staff, leadership and congregation have already received the COVID-19 vaccine, we recognize this is a personal decision for each individual to make with the counsel of medical professionals.”
Health officials said most of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are among people who are not vaccinated.
”If we didn’t have 5.3 million people fully vaccinated in L.A. County, we would probably be seeing almost double the number of cases today,” Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Public Health, told KABC. ”As cases continue to rise, many of us are trying to figure out what steps to take to minimize exposure to the virus. For those eligible and not yet vaccinated, now would be an important time to get your vaccine because our three vaccines all offer a lot of protection to the vaccinated person and also slow down the spread.”
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