Despite the number of individuals infected by the novel coronavirus and the increasing deaths as a result, individuals nationwide continue to dismiss the virus as a hoax. As the pandemic continues to spread across the U.S., stories of those who openly denied the virus only to be infected by it are increasing.
While some of these stories come from individuals who survived the virus, many of them follow the deaths of those who did not. The virus is far from over and these stories shed light on the importance of abiding by COVID-19 safety measures, including wearing a mask. In the list of those who denied the virus only to be infected is Tony Tenpenny, a Republican former Nashville Council Member who died Sunday.
An active Donald Trump supporter and anti-masker, Tenpenny represented the 16th Nashville Metro Council from 2011 to 2015. He ran for reelection again last year but lost to current Council Member Ginny Welsch. According to The Tennessean, he died after being hospitalized for more than a month and after being placed on a ventilator earlier this month.
"It is with a very heavy heart that I let you all know, Tony passed away yesterday. Please pray for me, our son Ira and family as we process this tragic loss," Robbie Tenpenny, his wife, said in a Sunday post on Facebook.
Prior to his diagnosis, Teneppy mocked COVID-19 and its severity openly on social media. On Facebook, he not only questioned the use of masks but shared articles criticizing safety measures and lockdowns in place by states in addition to other conspiracy theories calling the virus a political tactic.