A conservative radio host who downplayed vaccines on his show is on an oxygen machine after a severe COVID-19 infection

Ecmo
Registered nurse Erin Beauchemin monitors an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine connected to a patient in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Washington, on May 8, 2020. Elaine Thompson/AP
  • Phil Valentine, a conservative talk-show host, is battling COVID-19 on an oxygen tank in the hospital.
  • The hospitalization comes after his remarks downplaying both the coronavirus and the vaccines.
  • Valentine, for example, has previously said the only people who need a vaccine are those with “underlying health issues.”
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A conservative talk-show host who downplayed the coronavirus has contracted a severe COVID-19 infection that now requires that he be on an oxygen tank.

Phil Valentine, host of “The Phil Valentine Show,” which airs from Nashville, Tennessee, was diagnosed with the disease earlier this month.

He has since been hospitalized and is on an oxygen machine, brother Mark Valentine wrote in a Facebook post on Friday.

“Phil made it through the nite. He needs to be on an EKMO (sic) machine which is lung part of a heart/lung machine,” he said, referring to an “extracorporeal membrane oxygenation” (ECMO) machine, which acts as an artificial lung and heart for the body.

“We’re trying to get him to a hospital with that equipment via helicopter,” his post continued. “The protocol requires he be able to be on his back for several hours which I didn’t think he could do…but he did!”

In another update posted Saturday morning, Mark said Phil is in “critical but stable” condition.

“All of his vital signs are great and the vent is doing its job,” Mark’s Saturday post read. “We get more optimistic each day!”

On his radio show, Phil suggested the coronavirus is not as serious as health officials have made it out to be.

“I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m just using common sense,” he said in a December blog post. “What are my odds of getting COVID? They’re pretty low. What are my odds of dying from COVID if I do get it? Probably way less than one percent.”

Phil has also said he believes that the only people who needed to get vaccinated against the coronavirus are those with “underlying health issues.”

“If you’re not at high risk of dying from COVID then you’re probably safer not getting it,” he said.

Health officials like those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have previously said that adults with underlying medical conditions have a higher chance of contracting more severe COVID-19 symptoms.

But a COVID-19 vaccination can help curb the spread of the virus and offer protection to others as well.

Since his hospitalization, Phil, 61, has reversed course on his stance, according to Mark.

Now that he’s contracted the disease, he “regrets” his comments about the vaccines, his family said.

“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine’, and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” Mark said in an earlier Facebook post.