Tommy John Jr., the famous baseball player and pioneer of elbow surgery, has contracted COVID-19. But even as he receives oxygen while battling a case of the deadly disease, the Hall of Fame nominee and his chiropractor son cast anti-vaxxer views.
From his hospital bed near his home in Indio, Calif., The 77-year-old former Yankees pitcher told The Daily Beast he was not experiencing any symptoms after being diagnosed while in hospital with a fall. recent. “I would leave right away if they let me out,” he said on Tuesday.
Later, when asked if the diagnosis made him nervous about his health, he replied, “You must piss me off.”
“You are going to live or you are going to die,” he added.
Perhaps that was a predictable response from the king of curves, who returned to the field for 14 seasons after undergoing then incipient ligament replacement surgery in 1974. But so was it, according to his longtime girlfriend. Cheryl Zeldin, not the whole story.
As Zeldin recounts, she and John were on a trip to Nashville in early December when the former All Star suddenly lost control of the engine. Back at the hotel for dinner that night, she said, he could barely get out of the car. He needed several people to help him get off the plane when they returned to California the next day, she added.
On December 13, the day after their return, he was rushed to hospital, where he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
John has been hospitalized two more times since then, according to Zeldin: once, shortly after the first incident, when his oxygen saturation dropped dangerously, and a third time in late December, when he was too lethargic. to get up and walk. She hasn’t been able to see him since, she said.
Faced with this contradictory account, John admitted that he had been put on oxygen – that he was, in fact, currently on oxygen – but that he hadn’t mentioned it earlier because he didn’t think he really needed it. (“Those people here would put you on anything!” He exclaimed.) He also confirmed to have been hospitalized several times, although he said he couldn’t be sure his symptoms were. linked to COVID. He also accused the journalist of “making a mountain out of a molehill” before hanging up the phone.
“The last time I was vaccinated was when I was about 8 years old. Does it make me bad?“
– Tommy john
John’s jaded stance toward the virus is perhaps not surprising given the sentiment of his eldest son, Tommy John III, a chiropractor in San Diego with a prolific presence on Facebook. On his two Facebook pages, one of which refers to him as “Dr. Tommy John, ”the 43-year-old is making conspiracy theories claiming that the virus does not exist and that the whole pandemic has been orchestrated by an anonymous“ they ”.
John III recently posted a video of himself writing an ordinance to “the people of the world” to “stop hiding your children!” (Chiropractors cannot legally prescribe drugs in the United States) And don’t even start getting vaccinated.
“Germs don’t cause disease. Vaccines Kill Nothing But Healthy Children, “Younger John Wrote Wrongly Jan 3 Between” Spinal Hygiene “Videos and Roasted Vegetable Recipes with bacon. “And this scenario is much worse than an actual pandemic. Prepare. ”(Vaccines targeting the coronavirus have been shown to be extremely safe and effective in clinical trials.)
On December 30, two weeks after his father’s hospitalization, the chiropractor said COVID-19 was just an “idea” that “there was no virus”.
“You don’t have Covid 19. Never. Stop giving it permission and power by acting like it’s a real thing, ”he wrote.
The younger John did not respond to calls, texts and emails asking for comment.
At least Elder John doesn’t seem to suffer from the illusion that the virus he’s infected with doesn’t exist. But he seems to share some of his son’s anti-vaccine feelings.
When asked if he would be vaccinated, Elder John replied that he was “not a person of the vaccinated type” and “was not going to be vaccinated”. (Around this time, seemingly increasingly frustrated, he also asked this reporter if she was blonde. She considers herself more of a light brunette.)
“The last time I was vaccinated was when I was about 8 years old. Does this make me bad? John asked.
Dr Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, said celebrities and sports stars have limited roles to play in this phase of the vaccine rollout. The conspiratorial rantings of his son, who poses as a health expert, could be more toxic right now, Omer predicted.
But ultimately, public figures like John will have a role to play in standardizing immunization for the general population.
“We will come to a point where our strategy will have to shift from trust to [establishing a] social norm, ”Omer said. “At this point … it helps to have models that approve the vaccine.”
At this point, however, John could very well have already been vaccinated – at least if his girlfriend has something to do with it.
“He understands, trust me,” said Zeldin, who was diagnosed with the virus around the same time as John.
Later, referring to her son, she says she told him, “We’re not going to tell Tommy you have it, but you have it.”
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