An unvaccinated 33-year-old man from Georgia who died of COVID-19 pleaded with his friends and family to get vaccinated in a social media post just over a week before he died.
Kevin McKenzie, of Senoia, died September 2 at Piedmont Newnan Hospital after a “long battle” with COVID pneumonia, according to his obituary.
Just days earlier on August 24, he wrote in a Facebook post that he wanted his friends and family to take the vaccine.
“There is something I want everyone to do for me that I was too damn stubborn to do and that’s if you haven’t yet done so go get your Covid vaccine,” he wrote.
When he was first admitted to the hospital, four separate doctors told him that not a single vaccinated person had been admitted for the virus, he wrote.
“Trust me you don’t want to be where I am now and as soon as I get over this I’ll be getting my vaccine,” McKenzie wrote.
His fiancee, Lori Minatree, said she hopes his story will help save lives.
“He won’t even know how his story saved so many lives because the amount of people who are getting vaccinated after hearing his battle,” Minatree told Atlanta-based WSB-TV. “He was just 33 years old and had his whole life ahead of him.”
In his obituary, he was described as adventurous, outgoing and “a true friend to everyone.”
His death comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in the Peach State. On Friday, Georgia had a seven-day-average of 10,631 new cases per day, more than double that of a month earlier when the average was 4,570, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Just under 43 percent of the total population is fully vaccinated against the virus. The highly-transmissible Delta variant has led to an increase in cases nationwide.
Georgia has reached several grim milestones in the past week. On Saturday, the Georgia Department of Health reported that more than 95 percent of beds in the state’s ICU units were in use, according to WSB. In the western region—which includes the state’s second-largest city Columbus—ICU beds were at 115.4 percent capacity.
On Saturday, 5,893 people were hospitalized with the virus, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A report found that Georgia currently ranks second in the number of hospitalizations, according to WXIA-TV.
The state passed 20,000 COVID-19 deaths on Friday. It reported 106 new deaths, bringing the total to 20,041, according to the Georgia Department of Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to recommend the COVID-19 vaccine as a way to prevent infection. Even when vaccinated people contract the virus, cases may be more mild, according to the CDC.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick even after you have had COVID-19. Vaccination is an important tool to help us get back to normal,” the CDC’s website reads.