After California politician dies of COVID, battle breaks out on Facebook

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Ernby, a vocal opponent of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, has died at age 46 after contracting COVID-19.

Ben Chapman, chairman of the Greater Costa Mesa Republicans, tweeted Monday, “My heart is broken and I’m in tears. I lost a dear friend to Covid complications. I love you @KellyErnby! You’ve been nothing but an inspiration to many of us here in Orange County.”

The district attorney’s office later confirmed her death.

Ernby ran for state Assembly in 2020 and was poised to do so again in 2022. According to Cal State Fullerton’s student newspaper, Ernby had given a speech railing against vaccine mandates on campus in which she drew “parallels between the 1960s and present day” and “said that in the 1960s, people faced losing freedoms to socialist ideas.”

After her death spawned headlines in national publications given her opposition to vaccine mandates, some seemingly left-leaning users went onto her Facebook page and Twitter profile to leave comments mocking her. They did the same on her husband’s Facebook page, while a seemingly right-leaning user alleged — falsely, according to her husband — that she was vaccinated, and subsequently suffered from blood clots.

“She was NOT vaccinated,” he wrote. “That was the problem.”

COVID-19 vaccines are highly protective at protecting against severe illness and death.

Not all of the messages posted on her husband’s Facebook page were terrible, however.

“Condolences,” one user wrote. “Thanks for clarifying vaccination status. This 24/7 online information war continues. Disregard the mean vicious comments. People are just lashing out. Strength to you and your family.”


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