NORWOOD PARK — A Northwest Side woman who contracted COVID-19 and whose QAnon supporters harassed a local hospital when she said doctors would not treat her with a parasite medication has died, according to county officials.
Veronica Wolski, 64, died Monday morning at AMITA Resurrection Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. Wolski’s cause of death was “pneumonia due to COVID-19 infection with hypothyroidism as a contributing factor,” a spokesperson from the office said.
Wolski, known for demonstrating on a bridge over the Kennedy Expressway, was hospitalized at Resurrection two weeks ago, according to VICE. Documenting her hospitalization on Telegram, Wolski said she asked a doctor to administer ivermectin and was refused, VICE reported.
Ivermectin is a medication for humans and animals approved by Food and Drug Administration to treat infections caused by parasites. Much like hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin is gaining traction in some circles as a rumored cure for COVID-19, but it is not authorized or approved for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
The FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Medical Association and the drug manufacturer have warned against using it to treat COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel also has determined there is insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of any viral infections.
After she said she was refused the medication, her friends urged supporters to protest outside the hospital. Then, a prominent QAnon influencer encouraged people to call the facility and demand physicians agree to Wolski’s request for ivermectin, VICE reported. Hospital spokeswoman Olga Solares told Block Club the hospital had received “hundreds” of “phone calls and emails associated with this patient’s care.”
People self-medicating with ivermectin has resulted in overdoses, misuse and adverse effects because doses of the medication some people are taking are intended for animals, not humans, according to the CDC.
Wolski was publicly against COVID-19 vaccines, the Sun-Times reported. A recent sign on the Kennedy overpass read, “Ax the vax.”
By Monday afternoon, an American flag was draped over the bridge that she used to frequent. Also tied to the fence were balloons and three bouquets of flowers.
A blue wristband that said “stormisuuponus,” was also left on the bridge, a reference to QAnon.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said 95 percent of Chicagoans hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19 are not vaccinated. The city’s top doctor has urged people to take precautions, like wearing a mask indoors in public, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Last week, she urged people not to take ivermectin to treat COVID-19. People have been reported taking ivermectin in very large doses, leading to liver problems, nausea and “all kinds of issues,” she said.
“In no case should anybody try to take a veterinary formula, ever, of any medication. And, unfortunately, this is what we’ve been seeing: People have been trying to buy veterinary formulations of this deworming medication … It’s dangerous and it can really be a problem,” Arwady said. “… I am a little surprised, I guess, that there are people who want to take a veterinary medicine that is not FDA-approved but then don’t want to take the vaccine that has had really widespread human trials and is approved.”
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.
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