A vocally anti-mask, anti-vaccine woman in California has died of Covid-19.
Kristen Lowery, 40, was the mother of four school-age children in Escalon, California. In her Facebook posts, she proclaimed herself a “free thinker” who was “unmasked, unmuzzled, unvaccinated, unafraid”. In one photo, she held up a protest sign reading “Give a voice to the vaccine injured”.
In September, her sister wrote that Ms Lowery had been hospitalised with the coronavirus.
“My sister, Kristen, is in the hospital fighting for her life against Covid and pneumonia,” she wrote. “My sister has a long life left. We need you here, sissy. Your kids love and miss you so much. Please don’t give up.”
The sister also added a warning.
“I do not care about your opinion on vaccinated or not [sic],” she wrote. “This is not political.”
On 15 September, multiple family members announced that Ms Lowery had died, and a GoFundMe was set up for her funeral expenses.
“My beautiful niece has lost her battle against Covid,” an aunt wrote. “My heart is breaking for her 4 kids ... So many people need her here, but God must have special plans for her in heaven.”
The tragedy is one of many such deaths, as Americans refusing Covid vaccines succumb to the virus. The latest stage of the pandemic, fuelled by the highly contagious Delta variant, is almost entirely limited to Americans who have not been vaccinated. According to a Times analysis, as few as 0.1 per cent of the Covid hospitalisations in some states have been of fully vaccinated people.
And yet, enough Americans have refused vaccines that some states are facing their worst rates of Covid hospitalisations and deaths since the pandemic began. At this point, as many Americans have died of Covid-19 as from the 1918 Spanish flu. About one out of every 500 Americans has died of the virus.
All three of the Covid vaccines authorised for use in the US – produced by Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna – have proven highly safe and effective. Many vaccine refusers who died of Covid have expressed regret at not getting the shot.