Before experiencing the virus, Farrel constantly mocked the pandemic, referring to it as the “scamdemic.” Farrel’s Facebook page, which has since then been made private, consists of numerous posts advocating against vaccines including one that called Dr. Anthony Fauci—long-time National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and the nation’s leading coronavirus expert—a “power tripping lying freak.”
“Why take a vax promoted by people who lied 2u all along about masks, where the virus came from and the death toll?” a post read. “Vaccine Bogus Bull Shid!, Two peeps I know, got vaxed, now have Corona, hospitalized critical,” he wrote in another post on July 1. “Thank you Moderna, FOR NOTHING!”
He even called face masks, which have been proven to significantly stop the spread of the virus, “face diapers” and “face pantys.”
Farrel also claimed Democrats were plotting to make the pandemic ongoing in order to take control of the country, and shared these and many other conspiracy theories before contracting the virus himself in July. In June, Farrel was calling pro-vaccination people “power trip libb loons” and urged people not to get vaccinated, but by August the radio host’s attitude had changed; he pleaded with his friends to get vaccinated before it was too late.
“He fought like a tiger. Please don’t put off getting attention for this illness,” Farrel’s partner, Kit Farley, wrote on Facebook. “Yes, for some it has minimal effects, but others it is deadly. We will always love Dick Farrel, always appreciate his spirit, and miss him greatly.”
Farrel, an avid Trump supporter and COVID-19 denier, fought the virus for about three weeks in the hospital, WPTV reported. His death came as a shock to his loved ones and as a wake-up call to some of his friends who shared his beliefs.
“I was one of the people like him who didn’t trust the vaccine,” Hair told WPTV. “I trusted my immune system. I just became more afraid of getting COVID-19 than I was of any possible side effects of the vaccine. I’m glad I got vaccinated.”
Farrel’s death comes just as Florida breaks the record for the most new reported COVID-19 cases in a day on Friday, with 23,900 cases for the third time in a week. His death also comes as multiple other anti-vaccine advocates have contracted COVID-19 and changed their position on the vaccine. Since the start of the pandemic, individuals who have contracted COVID-19 have expressed regret for not taking it more seriously and following simple, inexpensive safety precautions—including wearing face masks and getting vaccinated.
But while Farrel and some others were able to change their position prior to death, many others didn’t have that opportunity. Prominent anti-vaxxers, including Texas Republican H. Scott Apley, who died five days after posting mask-mocking memes and questioning the vaccine, never got that chance. Neither did Stephen Harmon, a California megachurch-goer, who died after joking that he had “99 problems but a vax ain’t one.”
Hospitals are filling up in record numbers again, this time with a surge of unvaccinated people. According to reports, more than 90% of COVID-19 related deaths are among unvaccinated people. Many are begging for the vaccine upon admission into hospitals. Unfortunately, that’s too late.
According to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, “nearly every death we are seeing now” in the country could have been prevented with vaccines. People in influence need to realize the power they have in advocating for what’s right.