Texas gubernatorial candidate Allen West was released from the hospital after three days of treatment for COVID—and promptly told his followers not to be afraid of the virus that has killed more than 700,000 Americans.
“Do not fear COVID,” the former GOP congressman said in a video posted to Twitter.
West, 60, did not get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and when he got infected with COVID, he developed pneumonia and an oxygen-saturation rate low enough that he had to be admitted to the hospital.
His wife, Angela, who was vaccinated, did not have to be hospitalized.
The couple both got monoclonal antibody therapy after testing positive. West said he was also treated with IV and nebulizer steroids, blood thinners, and oxygen.
When West first fell ill over the weekend, he told his followers he was already taking hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin—two unproven drugs that have been touted as preventative therapies in anti-vaxxer crowds.
Even though the medications did not stop West from getting infected, he promoted them in a Twitter thread from the hospital and also ranted about public service commercials that urge people to get a vaccine proven to prevent severe illness.
West called the ads—which feature the loved ones of pandemic victims saying they wished they had gotten the shot—“propaganda,” “manipulative deception,” and “nefarious.”
“The innocent blood of Texans are on some dirty, corrupt hands,” West said in a particularly florid and inscrutable tweet.
West’s hospital-bed tirades were blasted Monday as a public-health menace.
“Twenty-two thousand lives were needlessly lost because we didn’t achieve high vaccination coverage, in part because of phony rhetoric like this,” Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert and Daily Beast contributor, told CNN.
West opposed vaccine mandates even before he got ill, but has stepped up his criticism of them since contracting the virus.
The man he is running against, Gov. Greg Abbott, signed an executive order on Monday that bars any entity in the state—including private businesses—from imposing a vaccine mandate.