By Abigail Adams July 24, 2021 01:55 PM
A California man who publicly opposed COVID-19 vaccines has died from the Coronavirus.
Stephen Harmon died on Wednesday at the Corona Regional Medical Center, according to a tweet posted Thursday by Brian Houston, a pastor at the Hillsong Church in Los Angeles. He was 34.
In his last tweet from his now-protected Twitter account, Harmon asked his followers to “please pray” for him shortly before he was intubated.
“I’m choosing to go under intubation, I’ve fought this thing as hard as I can but unfortunately it’s reached a point of critical choice & as much as I hate having to do this I’d rather it be willingness than forced emergency procedure. Don’t know when I’ll wake up, please pray,” he wrote, KCBS-TV reported.
Six weeks ago, Harmon was at the forefront of vaccine hesitancy on social media. In one Twitter post, he wrote, “I got 99 problems, but a vax ain’t one.”
In another, Harmon mocked President Joe Biden’s efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities: “Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork.”
Dr. Oren Friedman, who treats COVID patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in L.A., told KCBS-TV that Harmon’s death is “unbelievably demoralizing.”
With numbers at his hospital increasing tenfold, Friedman said “virtually every single person” sick enough to be admitted is unvaccinated.
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“I can tell you that for the respiratory therapists and nurses and doctors that are having to go into rooms and take care of patients who are this sick at this stage — and to know that it’s preventable if people simply had taken the vaccine — it is an awful feeling of [post-traumatic stress disorder] and frustration,” he told the station.
Harmon also shared photos of himself from his hospital bed on his now-private Instagram account, claiming that he had pneumonia and was at risk of brain damage from low oxygen levels.
Houston called Harmon “one of the most generous people I know,” but added that the man’s views of coronavirus vaccines “were his own” and “do not represent the views and thoughts of Hillsong Church,” which Harmon was a member of.
“Many of our pastors, staff, and congregation are fully vaccinated and more will be when vaccines become available to them in their countries,” Houston wrote on Instagram.
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COVID-19 numbers are increasing in California and across the United States due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, which is now the most common strain in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unvaccinated individuals make up the large majority of new cases and hospitalizations.
On Friday, the California Department of Public Health reported nearly 8,000 new cases from the day prior. The state’s seven-day testing positivity rate jumped to more than 5%, up from less than 1% a few weeks ago.
More than 608,000 people nationwide have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to the CDC. 48.9% of the country is fully vaccinated.
Hillsong founder says vaccine is ‘personal decision’ after member dies of COVID
Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston responded to the death of unvaccinated congregant Stephen Harmon by calling the COVID vaccine a “personal decision.”Getty Images; Instagram
The founder of controversial megachurch Hillsong has defended a recently deceased congregant’s fatal refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by calling the choice a “personal decision.”
“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,” said the Australia-based church’s founder, Brian Houston, in a statement to CNN following the July 21 passing of 34-year-old Stephen Harmon, who died after contracting the coronavirus.
“On any medical issue, we strongly encourage those in our church to follow the guidance of their doctors,” Houston’s statement further noted, “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.”
The statement followed Houston’s announcement of Harmon’s death on social media.
“Stephen was just a young man in his early 30s,” Houston, 67, wrote in a now-deleted post. “He was one of the most generous people I know and he had so much in front of him. He would always turn up to our grandkids soccer games and he will be missed by so many,”
Indeed, Houston has since deleted the majority of his tweets from the month of July, as well as his Instagram post memorializing Harmon.
Harmon, who attended Hillsong’s Los Angeles location, had made multiple social media posts mocking the coronavirus vaccine.
“I got 99 problems but a vax ain’t one,” he wrote in a June 13 Twitter post.
“Biden’s door to door vaccine ‘surveyors’ really should be called JaCovid Witnesses. #keepmovingdork,” he wrote in a separate tweet last month.
After being hospitalized for pneumonia and critically low oxygen levels at the Corona Regional Medical Center, located approximately an hour east of Los Angeles, Harmon informed his followers he was still in no hurry to receive the vaccine.
“I’m not against it, i’m just not in a rush to get it,” he wrote in a July 8 Instagram post, CNN reported. “Ironically, as I continue to lay here … in my covid ward isolation room fighting off the virus and pneumonia.”
Comment: So was it the virus or the Pneumonia or some combination of the two that killed the man? And of course with all these types of reports, there is no mention of the patient’s comorbidity.
After being placed on a ventilator, he again took to social media, this time to ask his followers to pray for him.
“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 on Twitter three days before his death.
Following the announcement of his death, his social media profiles were made private.
A COVID-19 doctor at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles called Harmon’s passing “unbelievably demoralizing” and noted that almost exclusively unvaccinated people are dying of the virus.
“Virtually every single person that is getting sick enough to be admitted to the hospital has not been vaccinated,” Dr. Oren Friedman told KCBS-TV.
Hillsong did not return The Post’s request for comment.