CHICAGO — Veronica Wolski, the QAnon adherent whose recent hospitalization made her a cause célèbre for the controversial medication ivermectin, died in the intensive care unit of AMITA Health Resurrection Medical Center early Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said. She was 64.
Wolski’s social media followers said she was being treated for COVID-19, but the hospital, citing federal privacy laws, has declined to comment on her diagnosis. The Cook County medical examiner did not list a cause of death.
For more than a week, her supporters had besieged Resurrection with demands that Wolski be given ivermectin. The medication is typically used to treat diseases caused by parasitic worms but has been hailed as a COVID cure by some despite a lack of definitive scientific proof or government authorization.
Here is what you need to know about ivermectin
-- The FDA has not approved ivermectin for use in treating or preventing COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses for some parasitic worms, and there are topical (on the skin) formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral (a drug for treating viruses).
-- Taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm.
-- If you have a prescription for ivermectin for an FDA-approved use, get it from a legitimate source and take it exactly as prescribed.
-- Never use medications intended for animals on yourself. Ivermectin preparations for animals are very different from those approved for humans.
The hospital said last week that its doctors and clinicians, following the guidance of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, do not use ivermectin for COVID-19 cases.
Over the weekend, some of Wolski’s supporters tried to get the hospital to discharge her. A video posted Sunday night to the Telegram channel of right-wing attorney Lin Wood shows him demanding over the phone that the hospital release Wolski to a person holding her medical power of attorney.
“There’s an ambulance waiting for her outside; there’s a medical doctor waiting for her to treat her,” he said. “If you do not release her, you’re going to be guilty of murder. Do you understand what murder is?”
Another video posted on Wood’s channel shows a Chicago police officer outside the hospital speaking with a person demanding, unsuccessfully, to be allowed inside to perform a wellness check. A hospital spokeswoman said police “(assisted) in maintaining the order outside the hospital with a small group of individuals.”
Wolski was well-known for her political activism. She gained attention in 2016 by standing on a pedestrian bridge over the Kennedy Expressway with banners showing support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, but then switched her allegiance to the QAnon conspiracy theory. Her Telegram channel includes numerous posts showing a disdain for masking, vaccines and other mainstream approaches to avoiding COVID-19.
A separate Telegram channel devoted to her health struggles overflowed Monday with hundreds of messages of mourning and anger.