Florida Man Who Believed COVID-19 Was A Hoax Loses Wife To The Virus

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 25 Aug 2020 09:00
Florida Man Who Believed COVID-19 Was A Hoax Loses Wife To The VirusFlorida Man Who Believed COVID-19 Was A Hoax Loses Wife To The VirusBrian Lee Hitchens/Facebook

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.

Brian Lee Hitchens/Facebook

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 BBC News, 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’.

Brian Lee Hitcehns/Facebook

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’.

He wrote:

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.

face masksface masksPexels

He said to UNILAD: 

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.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Health, BBC News, Conspiracy Theories, Coronavirus, Florida, Life, Now, Pandemic


BBC News
  1. BBC News

    Man who believed virus was hoax loses wife to Covid-19