H Scott Apley was put on a ventilator after testing positive for COVID. His wife and young son have also tested positive.
The global pandemic continues to rage on, even in the United States where vaccine rollout is fiercely underway. Unfortunately, opponents of the COVID-19 vaccine and other precautionary measures such as masking up are slowing down the process of containing the virus. For instance, GOP leader H Scott Apley spent several weeks discounting the benefits of vaccines and masks. On Wednesday this week, the Texas politician succumbed to COVID. The Dickinson City Council member was admitted to a Galveston hospital with "pneumonia-like symptoms." After testing positive for the disease, he was sedated and put on a ventilator before his passing, The Washington Post reports.
Patrick McGinnis, chairman of the Galveston County Republican Party, said in a statement that Apley's death was a "tragedy magnified by his youth, his young family especially his very young son." Just a few days prior to his passing, the GOP leader republished a Facebook post claiming that vaccines do not work. A month prior, he took to Twitter to denounce Baltimore’s former health commissioner celebrating great news: clinical trials displayed the Pfizer vaccine was effective at fighting COVID, including one of the virus' recent variants, for at least six months. Apley stated, "You are an absolute enemy of a free people."
Irony is alive and well.— Æ Humanist Engineer (@AtheistEngineer) August 5, 2021
H Scott Apley is not. https://t.co/mKhUiVB94c
The council member's party posted about his death on social media. On an even more tragic note, Apley's wife and young son have also both tested positive for the illness. However, neither were taken to the emergency room according to a GoFundMe page initially set up to fund medical costs. Income generated from the fundraiser will now go towards covering the GOP leader's funeral costs. Of the $50,000, the campaign has raised $37,564 thus far. John Barton, the individual organizing the fundraiser, wrote in an update, "I am very saddened to report that H Scott Apley passed away last night at about 3 am. He leaves behind his wife, Melissa, who is COVID positive, as well as their infant son Reid. Your donations are greatly appreciated and will help the family as they get through this difficult period."
Darwin Award nominee 2021 H. Scott Apley. pic.twitter.com/JiT0XoktJy— Pittsburgh Pete (@TherealPeteyT) August 5, 2021
Apley has had a long history of conservative political activism, as per a statement released by Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi. This is evident in his social media posts. For example, when officials at the NRG Park Community Vaccination Center in Houston started offering goodies like NFL and Disney on Ice tickets to encourage people into taking the vaccine, he strongly admonished the incentives. He affirmed in a Facebook post about the initiative, "Disgusting."
The GOP leader is one of the dozens of conservative voices continuing the fight against the country's vaccine rollout. These individuals, like Apley, pay the biggest price. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, for instance, claimed he felt guilty about signing a bill into law in April that banned local officials from imposing mask mandates. He has since called for a special session to reevaluate the ban, particularly as the state experiences a surge in new cases. Brytney Cobia is a doctor in Alabama, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. She shared, "One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late."