In a bizarre incident which should scare the living daylights out of even the most disbelieving of coronavirus critics about the virulence of the pandemic, an Egyptian man who had posted a video earlier this year on social media claiming that the coronavirus outbreak was "fake news" died of virus earlier this week.
According to local media reports, 29-year-old Egyptian tourism worker Mohamed Wahdan succumbed to coronavirus on Tuesday, May 12, weeks after he downplayed the global threat posed by the pandemic in a video which he posted on Facebook saying that the coronavirus was just a story fabricated by the US to damage the Chinese economy.
'Carry on with your lives'
In the video posted on March 16, the Egyptian man who lived with his wife and daughter in the Governorate of Munefeya, located north of Cairo, urged fellow Egyptians to not to worry about the "fake news" and carry on with life as normal.
Wahdan also criticized the "stupid people" who gave into the conspiracy and hoarded food grains and the government for closing gyms as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. However, things went downhill for the man soon after he downplayed the seriousness of the virus, as he started showing symptoms was admitted to hospital south of Cairo where after testing positive for COVID-19. Wahdan had reportedly even infected his brother and father.
'Don't take the virus lightly'
Merely two days after being taken to the hospital, his health started to deteriorate. However, when he was alright, he had posted an apologetic video on his Facebook page where he admitted his mistake, explaining the dire nature of the virus, whilst urging fellow Egyptians to stay home.
"I was told to stay at home and not to go out, but I didn't take such warnings seriously as I was pursuing a false life," he said realizing his failure to comply with the World Health Organization and Egyptian Health Ministry's guidelines on coronavirus.
"Please do not take the virus lightly because it is a fatal disease that destroys every part of your body."
"Hunger will not kill you. Do not risk your life. The disease is spreading in Egypt especially in Munefeya. Unfortunately, my siblings contracted the virus from me. Stay in your homes because this is a lethal disease. Please kindly pray for me from your hearts that I be cured soon of the virus. God bless you all," he added.
The most disturbing footage is from Wahdan's last post before he succumbed to the virus, where he could barely speak and just said: "I'm dying." Wahdan's funeral was held in his home village of Taha Shobra in the Munefeya governorate on Tuesday, May 12.
'I wonder who will be next?'
Meanwhile, after his father contracted the disease from Wahdan, he had taken to Facebook and posted: "Please pray for my father Nady Wahdan who is currently in the chest hospital, because he has coronavirus. He is in bad shape. Please, God, help us through this. I wonder who will be next?"
Wahdan started posting online videos from quarantine after he became infected. Despite being unable to speak in some of his videos due to high fever, he kept documenting his sufferings and used the platform to warn people of the dangers of neglecting the virus. In most of his videos, he was seen panicking and fearful. Mohamed Allam, the Vice Chairman of an isolation hospital in Matrouh governorate said the fear and panic showed by Wahdan in his video posts were due to the constant pain and fever he could have been experiencing.
"No one should face the beginning of the disease while in a state of surrender thinking that they will eventually die. Only God knows when we will die. There are very high rates of recovery. Of course, the disease has defeated some people but still, they are few who have conquered the disease." Allam wrote in a Facebook post. Meanwhile, both Wahdan's father and brother who had contacted the disease from the deceased are in a stable condition and were being treated in a hospital.