According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Curt Carpenter died on May 2, after spending 51 days in the ICU at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I know that if Curt had survived, he would have made sure everyone knew how serious this disease is, and how important the vaccine is,” his mother, Christy Carpenter, told the newspaper. “My daughter and I are now carrying out that mission in his memory.”
Prior to contracting the virus, Carpenter said she, her son, and her daughter had been hesitant to get vaccinated because of how quickly a vaccine became available. She added that Curt didn’t take the virus seriously until he was hospitalized in March.
“Curt thought COVID was a hoax and did not take it seriously, until he could not breathe without the oxygen. The same day he was put on the ventilator, he told us, ‘This is not a hoax, this is real,’” Christy said. “If we can encourage people to get the vaccine, and if we can save just one more life, it’s all worth it. If Curt were here today, he would be doing that. We feel we need to honor his memory and do the same.”
The news comes as Alabama ranks last in the country for overall vaccination rates. No county in the state has reached 40 percent coverage, according to Alabama Department of Public Health data on the percentage of residents who have completed their vaccine.
Amid the state’s low vaccination rates, Albama’s public health officials are urging people to re-consider getting the vaccine.
“How much more information do we need to say that we can do this in Alabama?” Dr. Karen Landers, Assistant State Health Officer for the Alabama Department of Public Health, told reporters last week. “We have vaccine that is readily available, it’s free, it’s safe, it can be given at any time. What else can we do? We’ve done everything we need to do, and these trends are not looking good. We could be in a really bad spot within a couple of weeks.”