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Prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist dies from Covid after saying only ‘idiots’ get vaccinated

The Independent logo The Independent 07/01/2022 Graig Graziosi
Cirsten Weldon, a prominent QAnon media figure who railed against vaccines, died of Covid-19 in January. - screengrab © screengrab

Cirsten Weldon, a prominent QAnon media figure who railed against vaccines, died of Covid-19 in January.

- screengrab

A leading figure in the QAnon conspiracy movement who said that only “idiots” get vaccinated has died of Covid-19.

Cirsten Weldon, who had tens of thousands of followers on right-wing social media networks, used her influence to drive people away from vaccines. She was a vocal critic of coronavirus mitigation efforts and at one point said that Dr Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, “needs to be hung from a rope”.

The Daily Beast reports that in one video, Ms Weldon harassed people waiting in line to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“The vaccines kill, don’t get it!” she yelled in the video. “This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting vaccine!”

Ms Weldon began showing symptoms that she had been infected by Covid-19 in late December. Her final video shows her coughing and struggling to get through a rant about patriots overthrowing the US government. During the video she complained that she was exhausted.

She was admitted to the hospital three days after the video was posted. During her stay at the California hospital she posted photos of herself wearing an oxygen mask, claiming she had a “bacterial pneumonia”.

In one post to the social network Telegram, she said she had refused to take “Dr Fauci's Remdesivir”.

On Friday, it was revealed that she had died.

Ms Weldon is the latest right-wing media figure to die from the virus after becoming prominent for denying its danger.

Another QAnon adherent, Robert David Steele, died from the virus shortly after he posted a photo of himself wearing an oxygen mask and claiming he would never take the vaccine.

QAnon booster Veronica Wolski also succumbed to the virus. Her fans swarmed the hospital with phone calls demanding doctors treat her with ivermectin, which is a dewormer and has not been proven effective at treating the coronavirus.

Rather than view the deaths from their community as evidence that the virus is deadly and that vaccines provide life-saving defence, adherents to QAnon and anti-vaxx conspiracy theories have determined instead that the media figures are being murdered during their hospital stays or refused the “real” life-saving drugs like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.

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A group of conspiracy theorists who attended the ReAwaken America rally in Dallas – which included prominent right-wing figures like Alex Jones, Eric Trump, and Michael Flynn – began exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms and claimed that they had been the victims of an anthrax attack.

One of the attendees, conspiracy radio host Doug Kuzma, died after being found passed out in his home. It was ultimately determined he died from Covid-19.

The delusions of the anti-vaxx and QAnon conspiracy theorists may prove dangerous to healthcare professionals forced to treat their beloved media figures.

Some of Ms Weldon's QAnon friends and followers threatened violent retaliation against the hospital staff that treated her. One individual, Scott McKay, who goes by the online handle “Patriot Streetfighter”, said the medical staff should be sentenced to death by military tribunal, lest they be killed in the street by vigilantes.

“If it’s not done in a military tribunal then it’s going to be done in the street eventually and not to my wishes,” Mr McKay wrote. “That’s my greatest fear. But if it’s necessary, it’s going to be necessary.”

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