A teenage agency member in Morgan County, Alabama, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday after railing against mask mandates, said he is now battling coronavirus-related pneumonia at the hospital.
“I’m still low in the air, but my oxygen is staying okay right now,” Decatur City Councilman Hunter Pepper, 19, wrote on Facebook Thursday. He received a CT scan Wednesday night that confirmed he has COVID pneumonia, “which is absolutely awful,” he wrote.
On Wednesday, Pepper – who repeatedly slammed masked mandates and refused to be vaccinated – said he took two quick tests and a PCR test for coronavirus after starting to feel sick on Monday.
“Well, it’s finally happened to me. Unfortunately, this morning I have confirmed two positives [tests] for Covid-19, ”Pepper wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. Everything in me wants to tell myself that it’s something different, but in every way I look, it’s Covid this, Covid that ‘, and it’s scared me and my family. ”
Pepper wrote that he was “horrified” by the way the media “continues to report on Covid-19 and explains ‘Death’ every time they do,” adding that he has “faith in the Lord.”
“Maybe this will work out soon, and the symptoms of this disease will not develop, as I can tell you, it feels awful not being able to breathe.”
He later told Decatur Daily News that on Wednesday he had started to show a “massive amount of symptoms” on the virus, and that his oxygen levels “held up a little well, and I’m not feeling well at all.”
Pepper’s diagnosis has raised concerns about whether he may have exposed other local officials during a city council job earlier this week.
Carlton McMasters, a councilor who sat next to Pepper at the personal meeting, told the outlet that he had had no symptoms.
“I’m completely vaccinated,” McMasters said according to the episode. “I try my best to follow the CDC’s guidelines.”
Pepper, who is training to become an emergency medical technician, has routinely challenged pandemic-related restrictions as a city council member, both slamming mask mandates and choosing not to be vaccinated against coronavirus, the outlet reported.
“I do not think you should be forced to do such a thing, it is wrong and it is the government’s oversight,” Pepper said in April as the city considered lifting a local mask mandate, according to WAFF.
“Me wearing a mask should be my choice,” Pepper said, days later, in a vote on April 9 to end the city’s mask order by. WAAY.
Last month, Pepper, who became the youngest person elected to Decatur City Council last year, promised he would “fight to the end” against yet another city mask mandate.
Only 41 percent of the county’s eligible population has been vaccinated, CDC data show.
“Everyone at City Hall is over 18 and old enough to make their own medical decisions,” he declared at the time.
On August 18, the Alabama Hospital Association said there were “negative 29” ICU beds available in the state, meaning dozens of people in the emergency room were waiting for beds to be left for treatment, the WBRC reported at the time.
As the Delta variant flew through the state over the summer, Alabama saw a massive increase in COVID-19, with more cases recorded in August than in any month since the pandemic began.