Anti-vaxxer, 28, dies of Covid after tearing off oxygen mask in Italy

Anti-vaxxer, 28, dies of Covid after tearing off his oxygen mask and insisting he did not have the disease while being treated at Italian hospital

  • The man, named as Luigi Cossellu, reportedly denied existence of Covid-19
  • He, along with his 55-year-old father, are said to have both been unvacinated
  • Mr Cossellu was admitted to hospital last Sunday with acute respiratory failure
  • He initially refused treatment, tearing off his oxygen mask in the hospital
  • Doctors were able to persuade him to put it back on, but he later passed away 

An anti-vaxxer has died of Covid-19 after tearing off his oxygen mask and insisting he did not have the disease, while being treated at a hospital in Italy.

The man, named as Luigi Cossellu by local media and who was admitted on January 16, reportedly denied the existence of Covid-19 and had refused to get the vaccine.

Doctors immediately recognised the severity of the 28-year-old’s condition upon his arrival at the Santa Maria Goretti Hospital in Latina, found south of Rome. 

The man, named as Luigi Cossellu (pictured) by local media and who was admitted on January 16, reportedly denied the existence of Covid-19 and had refused to get the vaccine

They diagnosed him with acute respiratory failure due to coronavirus, and transferred him to an intensive care ward on his second day at the facility. 

However, Cossellu refused treatment, and tore off his oxygen mask.

Doctors were able to persuade the man to put the mask back on, the general manager of Latina’s ASL (Local Health Unit) Silvia Cavalli told Italy24news.

But his cooperation was too late. His condition deteriorated, and he succumbed to the disease on his fifth day in hospital. 

Cossellu’s 55-year-old father – who is also an anti-vaxxer – is also in hospital currently in a serious condition on a ventilator, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

This was also confirmed by Silvia Cavalli, who reported the man’s father is also being treated in the same hospital.

According to Italy24news, both men refused to get their Covid-19 vaccinations. 

Mr Cossellu was from nearby Terracina and was engaged, according to his Facebook page.

Doctors diagnosed the Italian with acute respiratory failure due to coronavirus, and transferred him to an intensive care ward on his second day at the facility

Alessio D’Amato, the councillor for health of the Lazio Region, urged young people to get vaccinated, pointing to the 28-year-old’s death. ‘Covid also hits young people hard. vaccination is important,’ he told the news outlet.

Italy24news also reported that a 28-year-old pregnant anti-vaxxer died overnight between Thursday and Friday in Rome.

She was reportedly in her 31st week of pregnancy, but was not vaccinated.

The news outlet reported that she had symptoms for 10 days, and was having difficulty breathing, and within a week her condition had dramatically dropped off, forcing doctors to perform a Caesarean section to deliver the baby.

But despite their best efforts, they were unable to save the woman, who later died. 

A number of Italian anti-vaxxers have hit the news throughout the pandemic, particularly since the government introduced a vaccination mandate for over-50s that will come into power from February 1.

At the end of last year, a fervent Italian anti-vaxxer who gained a cult following after his regular phone-ins to a popular radio show was killed by Covid-19.

Maurizio Buratti, 61, known to his fans as Mauro from Mantua, had boasted of being a ‘plague spreader’ after deliberately going to a Carrefour supermarket without a mask while feeling ill and having a temperature of 38 degrees, just days before his hospitalisation.

Maurizio Buratti (pictured), a fervent Italian anti-vaxxer who gained a cult following after his regular phone-ins to a popular radio show, has died from Covid

He said he was ‘defending the constitution’ by ignoring public health advice, and refused to get tested because he believed the swabs caused the virus.

The frequent caller to the Zanzara radio station – who also promoted anti-Semtitic conspiracy theories – was eventually intubated and later died.

In another instance last week, Italian police  thwarted a gang behind a huge anti-vax scam that helped people sign up to get the vaccine only to have it thrown away and not injected – in a ploy to get a vaccine passport.

According to the investigation, a network of dozens of people involved bringing people from all over Italy to the vaccination centre in Ancona where they paid up to €400 (£330) for a fake jab.

The nurse who was supposed to inject them would squirt the dose into the rubbish bin before she would put a plaster on the patient and give them a ‘green pass’, which shows proof of vaccination.

A vaccine mandate in Italy requires anyone over the age of 50 to be vaccinated from February 1. The unvaccinated risk paying a large fine or losing their jobs.

Police in Italy arrested a nurse (pictured) who took bribes to give people fake proof of vaccination

Under the mandate, the only alternative to getting the vaccine is to recover from Covid-19, due to the body’s development of antibodies during an infection.

This has also prompted people to host ‘infection’ parties, where people would pay to be in close proximity to those infected with Covid-19, in the hope they would catch the virus, go on to recover, and thus become eligible for the exception.  

The news of the man’s death comes Italy appears to have reached a peak in the number of Omicron infections, with cases of the highly contagious variant now on the decline, the country’s Covid Emergency chief said Monday. 

‘There is good news: it seems that we have reached the plateau of the curve for what concerns Omicron and it is going downhill,’ commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo told journalists in Milan.

Italy was the first European nation to be hit by the pandemic in early 2020 and remains one of the worst affected, with the EU’s highest reported death toll, with nearly 144,000 victims.

A large proportion of the deaths have been in wealthy Lombardy in the north, which recorded the first case.

‘In the past two days, even in Lombardy the number of admissions to the hospital is lower than the number of discharged. This bodes well,’ Figliuolo said.

Italy – which has adopted strict measures to curb the virus’s spread, including obligatory vaccination for the over 50s – reported 138,860 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday, and 227 deaths.

The slowdown comes as the World Health Organization said the the planet can end the Covid-19 emergency this year by ensuring equitable access to vaccines and keeping restrictions in place.

The Omicron variant, which is very contagious but generally leads to less severe infection among vaccinated people, is now the dominant variant in Europe. 

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