A leading QAnon promoter who urged both her followers and strangers she passed on the street not to take the COVID vaccine died Thursday of the coronavirus, making her just the latest vaccine opponent killed by the disease.
Cirsten Weldon had amassed tens of thousands of followers across right-wing social media networks by promoting the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy under the screenname “CirstenW.” She was prominent enough to become a sort of QAnon interpreter for comedian conspiracy theorist Roseanne Barr and started recording videos about QAnon with her.
Weldon focused on attacking vaccines and other efforts to fight COVID-19, saying in one video that Dr. Anthony Fauci “needs to be hung from a rope.” She claimed the vaccine killed people and even recorded herself yelling at people standing in line to receive vaccines.
“The vaccines kill, don’t get it!” Weldon warned the waiting vaccine recipients in an undated video posted to one of her online accounts. “This is how gullible these idiots are. They’re all getting vaccine!”
In late December, however, Weldon started showing symptoms of coronavirus infection. In her last video, posted on Dec. 28, Weldon struggled through her remarks about the coming overthrow of the United States government, coughing and complaining that she was exhausted.
Three days later, Weldon was hospitalized in Camarillo, California. She posted a picture of herself wearing an oxygen mask to Instagram and claimed she had “bacterial pneumonia.” Weldon wrote in a post on the social media network Telegram that she refused to take coronavirus treatment remdesivir, calling it “Dr Fauci’s Resmedervir (sic).”
Weldon’s death from COVID is just the latest instance of a far-right personality who opposed vaccination being killed by the virus. On Jan. 3, radio host Doug Kuzma died while infected with the coronavirus. In August, QAnon promoter Robert David Steele died of the virus shortly after posting a picture of himself in an oxygen mask and vowing to still refuse the vaccine.
In September, a QAnon follower named Veronica Wolski became a cause celebre in QAnon circles after she was hospitalized with the coronavirus. QAnon fans besieged the hospital with phone calls demanding that Wolski receive ivermectin, the deworming drug used by some as an unproven coronavirus treatment. Wolski died of the disease later that month.
In the face of these deaths, their surviving friends and supporters have started to allege that the dead QAnon figures are being murdered, either because they were refused internet folk remedies like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, or because they were killed by the deep-state to cover up their conspiracy theories. In December, Kuzma and a number of other conspiracy theorists were sickened with COVID-like symptoms after appearing together at a conference. Rather than acknowledge that they had COVID, the far-right influencers suggested they had been targeted by an anthrax attack.
After Weldon’s death, her QAnon allies threatened to pursue violent action against staff at the hospital where she died. Scott McKay, a QAnon personality known as the “Patriot Streetfighter,” said he would publicize the names of doctors and nurses involved in treating Weldon, saying he wanted to “put the fear into these medical professionals” in a Telegram post. McKay proposed the hospital staff be sentenced to death, or be murdered in vigilante violence.
“If it’s not done in a military tribunal then it’s going to be done in the street eventually and not to my wishes,” McKay wrote. “That’s my greatest fear. But if it’s necessary, it’s going to be necessary.”