July 28 update: Conservative radio talk show host Phil Valentine, who is currently hospitalized with COVID-19, has now been placed on a ventilator.
According to a tweet from Nashville’s SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, the move to the ventilator was made “out of an abundance of caution.”
RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The brother of a well-known conservative radio host originally from North Carolina is pleading with people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying his brother “got it wrong.”
Phil Valentine, who grew up in Nash County and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, was admitted to the hospital earlier this month. His brother, Mark, said while he’s not on a ventilator, he needs “a lot of help” to be able to breathe.
“He’s still very, very sick. He’s not by any means out of the woods,” Mark Valentine said. “When the inflammation starts to recede, then we can say he’s turned the corner. That has not happened yet. But, we’re certainly hopeful that it will.”
On his show and in his Facebook posts, Phil Valentine has frequently expressed skepticism about the COVID-19 vaccine. Soon after revealing he tested positive, he posted about “effective alternatives” to the vaccine, under which Facebook included a link to the World Health Organization for information from health experts.
On June 24 he posted, “Common sense told us that if you weren’t at risk for COVID, you shouldn’t get the vaccine.”
Mark said his brother recognizes the influence he has on people who have chosen not to get vaccinated either.
The two have been able to communicate periodically through text, Mark said, while his brother is being treated.
When Phil Valentine is able to resume his show, Mark said, “You’re going to see the most pro-vaccine guy you’ve ever seen.”
“In his inability to make this statement for himself, I’ll make it for him. Please quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about the conspiracies. Quit worrying about all that stuff and go get the vaccination,” Mark said. “I’m trying to get the word out to try to rectify the situation because the fact of the matter is, and this is not something you hear from Phil very often because it’s not very often true, he got it wrong.”
Since news of his brother’s condition broke, Mark said he and other family members have heard from fans now saying they are getting vaccinated. He said one person told him about going to a vaccination site and having five other people there tell him they were also getting vaccinated because of Phil Valentine being hospitalized.
With the Delta variant spreading and cases rising once again in North Carolina and other states, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) has been trying to promote the vaccine as the pace of vaccinations has slowed since the spring.
“The biggest challenge we have now is deliberate disinformation and its effect on people, deliberate lies,” he said at an event last week.
After his brother got seriously ill, Mark Valentine got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He referred to an update by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on July 16, when she noted more than 97 percent of people in the hospital due to COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.
“To me, that shuts the conversation down completely,” he said. “(Phil’s) wish is for people to quit worrying about it, quit speculating about it, quit arguing about it, and go get it.”