Phil Valentine (died August 21st, aged 61)
FM radio station WWTN revealed on Twitter that its employee Phil Valentine died after battling COVID-19. A conservative radio talk show host, Valentine recently made headlines for his public skepticism regarding the dangers of the coronavirus. But in July 2021, he became severely ill with the disease and was put on a ventilator. By August, he was sustained with an ECMO machine for several weeks before he died.
On his program on WWTN, Valentine had repeatedly downplayed the importance of getting a vaccine against the virus, saying last December that he believed his personal odds of dying from COVID-19 were “probably way less than one percent.” His message, however, changed in late July when he had been hospitalized.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’, and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” Valentine’s brother Mark said in a statement last July. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. And that he regrets. This is a real threat; it is a real public health crisis and it is something that if he had to do over again … his cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.”