A conservative radio host has become the third who publicly criticised the coronavirus vaccine to die from Covid-19 after battling the disease for weeks.
It was announced that Marc Barnier, 65, who was a long-serving talk-radio host in Daytona, Florida, had died on Saturday night by WNDB, the radio station he had worked with for three decades.
Barnier called himself ‘Mr Anti-Vax’, telling a guest in December: ‘I’m not taking it … Are you kidding me? Mr Anti-Vax? Jeepers.’
‘It’s with great sadness that WNDB and Southern Stone Communications announce the passing of Marc Bernier, who informed and entertained listeners on WNDB for over 30 years,’ WNDB wrote on Twitter.
‘We kindly ask that privacy is given to Marc’s family during this time of grief.’
The death of Mr Barnier follows those of Dick Farrel on August 4 and Phil Valentine last week – both of whom were also conservative radio hosts who questioned and criticised the coronavirus vaccine.
It has been announced that conservative radio host Marc Barnier (pictured), 65, has died from Covid-19
Barnier was known for inviting guests with different viewpoints onto his show, such as Democrats, but he had publicly spoken out against vaccines. Both liberals and conservatives praised the host for being fair, regardless of viewpoint.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, Bernier had been hospitalized since August 7, with friends of the host expressing their sadness at the news of his death.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, a frequent guest of Bernier’s show, told the Journal that he was ‘numb’. ‘To me, this is a death in the family,’ he said.
While Chitwood acknowledged the pair didn’t always agree on every issue, they never let their disagreements get into the way of their friendship.
‘We had the ability to do that give and take,’ Chitwood said. ‘You don’t have to agree with everything a person says for them to be your friend. I don’t think a lot of people get that.’ He added every conversation ‘started with how our kids are doing’.
Earlier this month it was announced that conservative host Dick Farrell has also died after having caught coronavirus in Florida.
Farrell, who was an outspoken critic of Dr Anthony Fauci, is said to have told friends ‘I wish I had gotten [the vaccine]’ before he passed away aged 65.
The right-wing host had described Fauci – the top immunologist and chief medical adviser to the president – as a ‘power-tripping lying freak’ who conspired with ‘power trip libb loons’.
Farrel was an ardent Trump supporter, and perpetuated the unsubstantiated conspiracy theories of election fraud in the 2020 election that saw Joe Biden elected
He had urged people not to get the vaccine as recently as June, but reportedly changed his opinion about Covid vaccines after falling ill and later being admitted to hospital, where he died on August 4.
Weeks later, it was announced that another conservative host – Phil Valentine from Tennessee.
Valentine’s death following a month-long hospitalization was confirmed by Nashville radio station SuperTalk 99.7 WTN in a tweet on Saturday.
Valentine had expressed skepticism of coronavirus vaccines, though his family insist he was not an ‘anti-vaxxer’.
After he tested positive for COVID-19, and prior to his hospitalization, he told his listeners to consider, ‘If I get this COVID thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?’
If so, he advised them to get vaccinated. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he had a ‘very low risk of dying’.
Valentine had been a skeptic of coronavirus vaccines, questioning their safety and saying he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he had a ‘very low risk of dying’
After Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother regretted that ‘he wasn’t a more vocal advocate of the vaccination’.
‘I know if he were able to tell you this, he would tell you, ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories’,’ Mark Valentine told The Tennessean on July 25.
‘He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data,’ he said.
His family revealed late last month that he was ‘in very serious condition’ and was suffering from ‘covid pneumonia,’ along with other side effects of the virus.
Portable morgues (pictured in file photo) have been sent to 14 hospital systems in Central Florida as hospitals and crematoriums hit capacity due to a surge in Covid cases linked to the highly-contagious Delta variant
The news of Barnier’s death in Florida comes as it was revealed portable morgues have been sent to 14 of the state’s hospital systems.
The Central Florida Disaster Medical Coalition said each hospital system will be sent different amounts of portable morgues depending on the size of the facility.
Three will go to Advent Health and Orlando Health while only one will be sent to Orlando Health, Leesburg, HCA-East Florida, HCA-North Florida, Steward, Cleveland Clinic and Health First.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings also confirmed hospital morgues are at capacity and announced a seven-day extension of the state of emergency order at the 150th COVID update since March of last year.
According to the mayor’s Covid update more than 16,700 people are currently hospitalized in the state of Florida and 36 per cent of those patients have the virus
‘Fifty five per cent of those in the ICUs, or intensive care units, have the disease,’ Demings reported
During a COVID-19 update on Thursday Demings said: ‘The Florida Hospital Association is reporting over 16,700 people are currently hospitalized in the state of Florida. The Hospital Association also reports that this number is nearly two thirds higher than the previous peak of hospitalizations in July of 2020.
Despite the inflated number of infections and hospitalizations Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued executive orders banning mask mandates and vaccine passports for certain businesses.
Only 53.8 per cent of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated.
Kimberly Mitchell, the owner of Mitchell’s Funeral Home – a crematorium in Orlando – told WKMG: ‘COVID has never gone away. As you can see the hospitals are starting to run out of room.’
Mitchell also said that the funeral home is running out of room in the refrigerators used to store dead bodies.
‘It is still important that we pull together, get vaccinated and mask up to get a handle on the surge that we’re presently experiencing,’ Demings said.
‘There are now more than 192,000 coronavirus cases reported in Orange County… But for the first time in quite a while now, our new cases are under 1,000 in one day,’ he added.