Back in May, a South Florida husband and wife who thought that the coronavirus was a hoax were hospitalized with COVID-19.
The husband, Uber driver Brian Hitchens, recovered. His wife, Erin, did not.
The 46-year-old pastor — who reportedly had asthma, a sleep disorder and heart complications — died last weekend, reported the BBC, which had interviewed Hitchens in July as part of a series on COVID misinformation.
After he had gotten out of the hospital, Hitchens had been updating his followers on his Facebook page, writing that he had come to a place of acceptance that his wife of eight years might die.
Many people still think that the Coronavirus is a fake crisis which at one time I did too and not that I thought it wasn...Posted by Brian Lee Hitchens on Tuesday, May 12, 2020
In the BBC interview, the rideshare driver, also 46, told the news outlet that he wishes that he and his wife had taken the illness more seriously.
The Jupiter couple came across stories on the Internet saying that coronavirus was a mild flu or a government conspiracy, Hitchens said in a different May interview with local station WPTV.
“I’d get up in the morning and pray and trust in God for his protection, and I’d just leave it at that,” he told the West Palm Beach station, adding they did not take proper precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing. “There were all these masks and gloves. I thought it looks like hysteria.”
Hitchens has a message for those who don’t understand the severity of the illness, which has claimed more than 176,000 lives in the United States alone as of Wednesday.
“This is a real virus that affects people differently. I can’t change the past,” he told the BBC. “I can only live in today and make better choices for the future.”
Hitchens did not publicly update his Facebook page about his wife’s death yet.