A Florida man who was convinced COVID-19 was a hoax has tragically lost his wife to the virus.
Both Brian Lee Hitchens and his wife, Erin, contracted the virus earlier this year, but while Brian made a full recovery, his wife sadly passed away.
The taxi driver had read conspiracy theories online that said the virus was similar to the flu and was linked to 5G, so believed that it wasn’t as serious as officials were making out.
Because they believed the conspiracy theories circulating the internet, both Brian and Erin ignored the social distancing advice that was given at the start of the pandemic, with Brian continuing to work as a taxi driver. Erin, who was a pastor, had existing health problems including asthma and a sleeping disorder.
The couple also failed to seek medical help after they both fell ill with the virus back in May. Speaking to , Brian said he wished he had listened to advice given at the time, and hoped his late wife would forgive him.
He continued, ‘This is a real virus that affects people differently. I can’t change the past. I can only live in today and make better choices for the future.’ Brian added that his wife is now in peace and ‘no longer suffering’. Despite missing her, he said he knows Erin is in a ‘better place’.
Following the two falling ill with the virus, Brian took to Facebook to warn others to not be be sucked in by online conspiracy theories and said the virus is ‘not something to be messed with’.
This thing is nothing to be messed with please listen to the authorities and heed the advice of the experts. We don’t have to fear this and by heeding the advice doesn’t mean that you fear it that means you’re showing wisdom during this epidemic time. Looking back I should have wore a mask in the beginning but I didn’t and perhaps I’m paying the price for it now but I know that if it was me that gave it to my wife I know that she forgives me and I know that God forgives me.
Whether man forgives me or not that’s out of my control but as long as I have the assurance that God forgives me and my wife forgives me I am good. So just think about what I said and if you have to go out please use wisdom and don’t be foolish like I was so the same so the same thing won’t happen to you like it happened to me and my wife.
Dr Samar Mahmood, who has worked through two pandemics during his career, said that debunking conspiracy theories has been one of the most frustrating parts of battling the current health crisis.
He said to
The biggest frustration is having to debunk the nonsensical and often nasty conspiracy theories about the virus being a hoax, or doctors colluding with the government to over-report the death rates, or how the virus has spread (cue references to China, Muslims, 5G masts). It’s going to take a collective effort to beat this pandemic, but I firmly believe we will – as long as we stand united rather than allow the seeds of hate and division to flourish.
The World Health Organization WHO has a ‘myth-busting‘ section on its website to help the public to sort fact from fiction.