A Southwest Airlines flight attendant has died of COVID-19 at the young age of 36, leaving behind a bright legacy and a heartbroken family.
Vaccinated Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Dies Of COVID-19
Maurice “Reggie” Shepperson, a New Yorker who joined Southwest Airlines in 2014, contracted COVID-19 in July. It is not clear how or where he contracted it. He was double-vaccinated.
Shepperson spent a month in a Las Vegas hospital fighting it, including being placed on a ventilator. Sadly, he lost the battle last Tuesday. It isn’t clear if he had any pre-existing conditions that made COVID-19 hit him harder.
A colleague at Southwest Airlines told USA Today that he faithfully wore a mask, wiped down surfaces, and took hygeine precautions very seriously. She has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funeral expenses, noting:
Reggie was a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and he loved his job! His personality, wit and humor were just a few characteristics that everyone adored. He was one of the kindest most giving people I’ve ever known. If you needed him, he’d be there with no questions asked. Now he needs you to help make his transition a bit easier on his mom, Dawn, whom he loved dearly.
His mother, Dawn Shepperson, noted:
“It hurt me so bad because it was just so quick. I didn’t have time to really even acknowledge what is going on. This is mind-blowing. It’s not real. It’s not real. It’s not real.”
Sadly, this is real. It’s also a reminder that our days are numbered and to cherish time with family and friends while we still can. In June, Shepperson and his mother took a trip to Hawaii together.
A Southwest spokesperson added:
“We are heartbroken over the loss; the Southwest Family is supporting each other, and our Employee’s family, during this difficult time. Out of respect for Reggie’s family, we do not have additional details to share.”
Breakthrough Cases – Wait, He Was Vaccinated?!
Before anyone turns this into a debate over the efficacy of vaccines, read this story which recently appeared in The Atlantic:
Full vaccination (with the mRNA vaccines, at least) is about 88 percent effective at preventing symptomatic disease caused by Delta. Breakthrough infections are possible but affect only 0.01 to 0.29 percent of fully vaccinated people, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Breakthroughs might seem common—0.29 percent of 166 million fully vaccinated Americans still means almost 500,000 breakthroughs—but they are relatively rare.
And though they might feel miserable, they are much milder than equivalent infections in unvaccinated people: Full vaccination is 96 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations from Delta, and unvaccinated people make up more than 95 percent of COVID-19 patients in American hospital beds. The vaccines are working, and working well. Vaccinated people are indisputably safer than unvaccinated people.
I’m not willing to entertain discussion here that the COVID-19 vaccine is somehow dangerous or not effective because of rare deaths amongst vaccinated people that were expected to occur from the very start.
As I’ve said before, vaccines are not our salvation, but a very effective tool in our tool kit to coexist with coronavirus. Don’t read this story as a justification to avoid the vaccine, which offers immense protection from both COVID-19 and a severe case of COVID-19 in case of a breakthrough.
I send my love to the Shepperson family today. Losing a son is something no mother should ever have to bear. COVID-19 is a tragic way to die and a reminder that we are still fighting a lethal virus.