19-Year-Old Anti-Mask Councilman Gets COVID, Says He ‘Feels Terrible For Not Being Able To Breathe’
On Wednesday, a teen anti-mask councilman in Alabama was hospitalized with COVID-19 after acquiring pneumonia after voting to repeal his city’s mask law.
The unvaccinated 19-year-old is the youngest person ever elected to the Decatur City Council. Since being elected in August 2020, Hunter Pepper had been adamantly opposing mask requirements and had called vaccines a personal choice. He is now struggling to breathe from COVID complications.
Pepper added in a now-deleted Facebook post Thursday, “I am still shallow in breathing but my oxygen remains acceptable for now” (according to the Washington Post). “Not being able to breathe is excruciating.”
On Wednesday morning, Pepper tested positive for COVID, and by the evening, he was in the ICU with problems breathing. His CT scan revealed he had COVID Pneumonia, which he described as “extremely horrible” in a social media post.
“Everything in me wants to tell myself it is something different but every way I look it’s COVID this, Covid that’ and it has terrified me and my family,” Pepper said. “The media continues to report on COVID-19 and explains ‘Death’ each time they do. That is honestly terrifying to me but I have faith in the lord.”
Alabama is one of the states with the lowest vaccination rates in the country. Currently, 52% of its population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, while 41% are fully vaccinated.
Alabama recorded the greatest number of coronavirus cases since the outbreak began on Sept. 1. Though the number of cases in the state has declined since then, it is still at a level not seen since January.
Despite his COVID experience, Pepper told The Washington Post that he still feels masks should not be required, but he does encourage people who choose to wear them and get vaccinated.
“I will do as I can to encourage folks to wear a mask as well as get vaccinated because I can say it is terrible,” he said in an emailed statement. “This virus is NOT Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or Independent. It is its very own thing that is destroying our country but people still bring [politics]into it when they should not.”
On Friday morning, Pepper told The Post he was discharged from the hospital but was being treated for extreme shortness of breath since he was still “extremely sick.”
“I wouldn’t wish this virus upon anyone, even my worst enemy,” he said.