Hillsong Church member, 34, dies of Covid after publicly speaking out against vaccine
A member of the Hillsong megachurch who poked fun at the Covid-19 vaccine on social media has passed away after contracting the virus.
Stephen Harmon, 34, died at the Corona Regional Medical Center, Los Angeles, on Wednesday.
His death was announced by Hillsong founder Brian Houston, who said he had just heard the “devastating news that our beloved friend, Stephen Harmon has passed away from Covid. Heartbreaking.”
Mr Harmon was admitted to hospital last month after contracting Covid and pneumonia.
In his final days, he shared harrowing details of his fight to stay alive.
“Please pray y’all, they really want to intubate me and put me on a ventilator,” he said on Sunday.
“Even the slightest movements and my heart rate skyrockets and oxygen dependency increases. and please, I’m not asking for anyone’s opinion on intubation, I’ll make my own choice, I’m asking for prayer.”
He told how he was suffering from a skyrocketing heart rate, panic attacks, and at risk of losing consciousness and being intubated.
“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,” he wrote.
In his last Tweet on Wednesday, Mr Harmon tweeted that he had decided to go under intubation.
“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.”
Before falling ill, Mr Harmon had been a vocal opponent of the Covid vaccines, and joked that he would never get the jab.
“If you’re having email problems, I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one,” he wrote on June 3.
Cases of Covid-19 across the United States are rising at alarming levels, fuelled by the Delta variant.
The seven-day rolling average hit 40,246 on Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), a 46.7% increase from a week earlier.
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said more than 97% of current hospitalisations from Covid are of unvaccinated people.
"There is a clear message that is coming through: this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Dr Walensky said.
The Biden administration narrowly missed its target of getting 70 per cent of adults to receive at least one vaccine dose by July 4.
CDC data shows 68.6 percent of the population aged 18 or over have had at least one shot.
Reference:Independent: Bevan Hurley
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