Man needed double lung transplant, wishes he'd been vaccinated

A 24-year-old Georgia man who contracted COVID-19 and required a double lung transplant, and who remains hospitalized, has expressed his regret he did not get vaccinated for the virus, which has so far killed more than 607,000 Americans. 

Blake Bargatze had told his parents he was putting off receiving a COVID-19 vaccine because he felt uncertain about its possible side effects, WSB-TV in Atlanta reported

“He wanted to wait a few years to see, you know, if there’s any side effects or anything from it,” said Paul Nuclo, his stepfather. “As soon as he got in the hospital, though, he said he wished he had gotten the vaccine.”

Bargatze was the only member of his family who passed on getting vaccinated, Cheryl Nuclo, his mother, told Fox 5 Atlanta. Once hospitalized, however, he asked to be inoculated. 

“The night before he was intubated, he wanted it,” Nuclo said. “So it was a little bit too late then.”

Bargatze, who had no preexisting medical conditions and has endured prolonged intensive care stays at hospitals in three different states over the last three months, believes he contracted COVID-19 during an April visit to Florida. 

“He had called me that Friday when he got the results,” Bargatze's mother told WSB-TV, “and he’s like, ‘Mom, you’re going to be mad. I got COVID.’”

A GoFundMe page set up by Bargatze’s friends is raising money to help cover his medical bills. 

Blake Bargatze (GoFundMe)
Blake Bargatze. (GoFundMe)

“He was initially admitted to ICU at St. Mary’s in West Palm Beach, FL on April 10th, and then he was air transported to Piedmont Atlanta Hospital on April 24th to be placed on ECMO,” the GoFundMe page states, referring to an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine. “Many complications occurred during his hospital stay that caused extensive damage to his lungs, requiring the need for a double lung transplant to survive. Blake was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center on June 12th. He remains on the ventilator and ECMO as he waits for the lung transplant.”

Thanks to the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the number of new cases has increased nationwide by a staggering 109 percent over the last two weeks. Deaths from the disease, which had fallen precipitously as more Americans were vaccinated for it, have also begun ticking back up as vaccination rates have stalled. 

Bargatze’s mother said her son wants vaccine skeptics to learn from what happened to him and to get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

“Maybe if some people were kind of on the fence and swaying, he wants them to see what might be the extreme of what can happen,” she told WSB. “Not using a fear tactic — but it can happen.”



Historians Give Trump A Damning Place On The List Of Presidents In New Survey

Official White House presidential portrait. Head shot of Trump smiling in front of the U.S. flag, wearing a dark blue suit jacket with American flag lapel pin, white shirt, and light blue necktie.

Historians are already forming a consensus over where Donald Trump ranks among U.S. presidents and it’s not at the bottom of the list.

But, it’s pretty close.

The C-SPAN survey of historians placed Trump at 41st out of 44, behind only three 19th-century presidents: Franklin Pierce (1853-57), Andrew Johnson (1865-69) and James Buchanan (1857-61). Trump even finished behind William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia just 32 days into his presidency. 

C-SPAN previously conducted the survey in 2000, 2009 and 2017, with Abraham Lincoln ranking first in all of them. George Washington has finished second and Franklin D. Roosevelt third in each of the last three surveys. In 2000, however, Roosevelt took second and Washington third. Theodore Roosevelt has finished fourth in each survey. 

C-SPAN said 142 historians and “professional observers of the presidency” participated in the survey ― a 50 percent increase since 2017 ― “reflecting new diversity in race, gender, age and philosophy.” 

Rather than simply rank each president, the historians were asked to rate each one in 10 different leadership characteristics. Those ratings were then used to form a score for each

Ronald Reagan scored the highest of presidents from the past half-century at 8th, with Barack Obama in 9th place. Bill Clinton finished in 19th place, George H.W. Bush at 21st, Jimmy Carter at 26th, Gerald Ford at 28th, George W. Bush at 29th and Richard M. Nixon at 31st.

“This year, people compared which is worse: Watergate or the Trump impeachment?” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University said in a news release. “The word ‘impeachment’ probably cost Nixon a few spots downward this year, and maybe Clinton, too.”

The biggest change over the years? Ulysses S. Grant, who has moved up to 20th after debuting at #33 in the 2000 survey. 

“Grant is having his Hamilton moment,” Brinkley was quoted as saying. 

Darnella Frazier, Teen Who Filmed George Floyd’s Murder, Wins A Pulitzer Award

Darnella Frazier George Floyd

“She was the one who recorded a motion cinema picture that set the world on fire,” said George Floyd’s brother, Philonise.

Darnella Frazier, the teenager whose video of George Floyd’s murder went viral, fueling massive protests against police brutality around the world last year, has been awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize.

In an announcement Friday afternoon, the Pulitzer Prize board commended Frazier “for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd,” highlighting “the crucial role of citizens in journalists’ quests for truth and justice.”

Frazier was just 17 years old on May 25, 2020, when she pulled out her cellphone to record Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

In the words of George’s brother Philonise, the video “changed the world.”

“She was the one who recorded a motion cinema picture that set the world on fire,” he said just over a year later, after the video served as a key piece of evidence in Chauvin’s trial and conviction.

Frazier would go on to testify in Chauvin’s trial, where she was overcome with emotion as she recalled Floyd’s terror and fear and pain, which she shared with millions of people via her cellphone.

In a social media post on the first anniversary of Floyd’s death, she reflected on the moment she filmed, describing a trauma that’s reverberated through every aspect of her life.

“Although this wasn’t the first time I’ve seen a black man get killed at the hands of the police, this is the first time I witnessed it happen in front of me,” Frazier wrote. “Right in front of my eyes, a few feet away. I didn’t know this man from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered. I knew that he was in pain. I knew that he was another Black man in danger with no power.”

Frazier said the trauma has manifested in panic and anxiety attacks, insomnia, having to leave home over safety concerns, and “closing my eyes at night only to see a man who is brown like me, lifeless on the ground.”

“A lot of people call me a hero even though I don’t see myself as one,” she said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. Behind this smile, behind these awards, behind the publicity, I’m a girl trying to heal from something I am reminded of every day.”

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