Scott Apley, 45, frequently challenged mask wearing and vaccinations on Facebook, and was a fierce conservative. He even went as far as describing himself as a “verified harmful extremist”.
Before being admitted to hospital on Sunday, he had shared a meme that claimed: “In six months, we’ve gone from vax (vaccines) ending the pandemic...to you can still die of Covid even if vaxxed...to the unvaxxed are killing the vaxxed”.
The comments followed a change in recommendations from the US Centres for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) last month, after it warned both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans are at risk from the Delta variant of Covid.
GOP voters are among those who remain largely unvaccinated against Covid, and are believed to be more hesitant. The CDC’s director, Dr Rochelle Walensky, referred to rising Covid infections in a swathe of GOP states as a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”.
Mr Apley, his family wrote on GoFundMe, was taken to hospital in Galveston on Sunday with “pneumonia-like symptoms,” and was hooked up to a ventilator as his condition worsened.
He died in the early hours of Wednesday morning, leaving behind his wife, Melissa, and their infant son, Reid. His wife was also infected, but was not hospitalised with Covid. It was unclear if the family were vaccinated.
Responding to the death, the Galveston County Republican Party said it was a “tragedy” and that “Our hearts mourn for him and our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Melissa and their families”, ABC13 News reported.
Scott Apley liked a tweet against vaccine canvassing efforts, something that could have saved his life. pic.twitter.com/ZEVfVs5XlC
— Resist Programming 🛰 (@RzstProgramming) August 5, 2021
“Scott was a hard worker; and deeply committed to the betterment of his community, including his activities with the Republican Party. He was an advocate for liberty, limited government and the highest ideals of American Exceptionalism."