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Covid-19 patient at centre of QAnon campaign for ivermectin treatment dies in hospital

Veronica Wolski became noted for hanging banners trumpeting bizarre theories on a Chicago bridge

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 13 September 2021 20:24 BST
nti-masker who died of Covid filmed herself in stories
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A woman celebrated by QAnon believers and other conspiracy theorists for her personal campaign against Covid-19 prevention and treatment measures has died in hospital of the very disease whose severity she questioned.

Illinois woman Veronica Wolski, who was known for flying pro-QAnon banners to motorists over what she referred to as the “people’s bridge”, passed away in intensive care after several weeks in hospital. She had previously boasted about never having worn a mask or getting vaccinated, and had posted videos of herself clashing with retail workers while entering their stores unmasked.

While Ms Wolski was in intensive care, conspiracy theorists and QAnon followers who had come to view her as a heroine bombarded the hospital with phone calls demanding that she be released and be treated with ivermectin, an anti-parasite medicine that some on the American right are hailing as an effective Covid-19 treatment. The FDA has warned that it can be very dangerous to take the drug, especially in formulations intended for animals rather than humans.

Among those leading the charge to end Ms Wolski’s care in favour of ivermectin “treatment” was pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood, who over the last year has become a key figure in the far-right firmament. In the days before her death, he shared a video of himself phoning the hospital and telling the woman answering the phone that Ms Wolski must be discharged – and that if she wasn’t, the hospital would be guilty of murder.

After her death, sympathetic supporters began circulating a two-minute tribute video featuring clips of her protests intercut with military memorial salutes.

Mr Wood became one of the ex-president’s most high profile public outriders after the 2020 election, appearing on stage at “Stop the Steal” rallies alongside figures such as “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell. He has since been the subject of legal actions to examine whether he violated professional conduct rules with his pro-Trump lawsuits, one of which saw him try to avoid undergoing a mental health evaluation.

Mr Wood has been banned from major social media platforms because of his false claims about the alleged “theft” of the 2020 election. He is now using his Telegram channel to call on his supporters to engage in “non-violent civil disobedience” over Ms Wolski’s death.

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