A 28-year-old man in Alabama who believed COVID-19 was a “hoax” has died from the virus — and now his family is urging people to get the vaccine.
Curt Carpenter lost his battle with the bug after spending 51 days in the intensive care unit at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.
“I know that if Curt had survived, he would have made sure everyone knew how serious this disease is, and how important the vaccine is,” his mom, Christy Carpenter, told the newspaper.
Christy said her son did not take the threat of the pandemic seriously before he was hospitalized with the virus in March.
“Curt thought COVID was a hoax and did not take it seriously, until he could not breathe without the oxygen. The same day he was put on the ventilator, he told us, ‘This is not a hoax, this is real,’” Christy said.
She said Curt was overweight but had no other pre-existing conditions that would put him at increased risk for a serious case of the virus.
“It’s very difficult, especially when it’s a young person who had no health issues,” she said of his death on May 2. “It’s what COVID does to the body. It’s a horrible, horrible, horrible illness.”
She said she and her daughter have now made it their mission to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“I know [Curt] would be very passionate about people getting the vaccine,” Christy said.
“If we can encourage people to get the vaccine, and if we can save just one more life, it’s all worth it. If Curt were here today, he would be doing that. We feel we need to honor his memory and do the same.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has said that recent case surges in the country have been driven by people who have not received the vaccine.
“This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Walensky said earlier this month.
Currently, around 99.5 percent of COVID-19 deaths and 97 percent of hospitalizations in the US are among unvaccinated Americans, health officials said.