A Czech folk singer died after intentionally catching the coronavirus, according to her son, who has condemned the anti-vaccine rhetoric that he says led to his mother’s death.
Hana Horka, 57, was unvaccinated and had posted on social media last week that she was recovering after catching the virus. Her son, Jan Rek, said she’d been sick for a few days but appeared to be improving, the BBC reported.
On Sunday morning, she was preparing to go for a walk, but went to lie down after complaining of a sore back, Rek said. Her conditioned worsened rapidly, and she died.
Rek said his mother intentionally allowed herself to be exposed to the virus when he and his father ― both fully vaccinated ― had COVID-19, so that she could get a recovery pass to access certain venues, the BBC reported.
Proof of vaccination or recent COVID-19 infection is an entry requirement for many public venues in the Czech Republic, including bars, restaurants and cinemas.
Rek, 23, said in a social media post that he blames Horka’s death on the people who spread lies about vaccines, according to The New York Times.
“You took away my mom, who based her arguments on your convictions,” he said of those people. “I despise you.”
Just 63% of people in the Czech Republic are fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country is facing a surge in coronavirus infections amid the spread of the highly transmissible omicron variant.
The Czech government had planned to implement vaccine mandates for certain workers and people over 60, but abandoned that plan this week so as not to “deepen fissures in society,” the prime minister said. Thousands of people rallied in Prague and other Czech cities earlier this month to protest the mandate, marching in the streets and chanting “Freedom.”
Rek said it was no use discussing the issue with his mom because it would get too emotional. He hoped that by sharing their story, he could convince others to get vaccinated.
“People are not interested in numbers and graphs,” he said, per the BBC. “Unless there is a legitimate reason not to get vaccinated, in health-related matters, I believe we can’t pretend it is a question of individual responsibility.”