Mount Ayer, Iowa – An Iowa woman whose husband died of a successful COVID-19 infection is blaming Americans who refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated.
“It’s the kind of attitude that killed my husband,” said Ardith Keplinger, whose husband, Dr. Gary Keplinger of Mount Air, was buried this month. Des Moines Register.
in his obituary, the family wrote that his life was “unnecessarily cut short.” He described the retired school superintendent as “one of several victims who had recently been infected by an unvaccinated, unvaccinated individual.”
His widow said he had a chronic autoimmune, neuromuscular condition called myasthenia gravis, which made him particularly susceptible when he attended a gathering of 50 to 75 extended family members in a rented hall in July.
Ardith Keplinger said the couple were avoiding crowds, but they were exposed at the event with relatives, many of whom had not been vaccinated.
“Within a week, 11 of our family members had COVID,” she said, adding that she was one of them, but recovered.
But her husband and a cousin, who had attended the party, both died of COVID-19 on August 11.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that vaccinated people make up just 10% of those treated for the disease in the state’s intensive care units, even though 64% of Iowa adults have received the shots.
Dr. Patricia Vinokur, an infectious disease physician and vaccine researcher at the University of Iowa, told the Des Moines Register that most of the people who are getting very sick despite vaccinations are elderly or have serious immune system problems.
Vinokur said that elderly people and people with certain health conditions may get less protection from vaccines, as their immune systems are less strong.
He said his chances of being healthy would be much higher if everyone around him was also vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Experts say this is why it’s important for everyone, including young, healthy people, to be vaccinated, wearing masks indoors, and taking other precautions.
“I think our communities will protect each other,” Vinokur said.