A popular Czech folk singer who deliberately caught COVID-19 has died, her son says. Hanka Horka, who was not vaccinated, caught the virus from her son and husband, who are vaccinated but still caught it over the holidays, according to BBC News.
The 57-year-old purposefully did not stay away from them and exposed herself the virus, which she caught. Horka posted on social media January 14 that she had recovered from the virus – but her son told BBC News she died two days later.
“She should have isolated for a week because we tested positive. But she was with us the whole time,” Jan Rek said of his mother’s deliberate exposure to the virus.
In the Czech Republic, many public places like theaters and bars require either proof of vaccination – or proof of recovery from recent infection, according to BBC News.
Rek said his mother got infected on purpose when he and his father had the virus, so she could get a recovery pass to access certain venues.
After she thought she recovered, Horka wrote: “Now there will be theatre, sauna, a concert,” according to BCC News.
But soon after, she was getting dressed for a walk and felt her back hurting. She went to lay down and in “about 10 minutes it was all over,” her son said. “She choked to death.”
Horka was a member of folk group Asonance. The band announced her death on their website. CBS News has reached out to the band for comment and is awaiting response.
Rek also posted about the anti-vaccine sentiments that appear to have lead to his mother’s death. “You took away my mom, who based her arguments on your convictions,” he wrote, according to the New York Times. “I despise you.”
Horka did not believe in conspiracy theories about COVID-19 vaccines, although she was not vaccinated herself, her son said. “Her philosophy was that she was more okay with the idea of catching COVID than getting vaccinated,” Rek said. “Not that we would get microchipped or anything like that.”
Rek said discussing the issue with her got too emotional. He hopes sharing the story helps others choose to get vaccinated, BBC News reports. “If you have living examples from real life, it’s more powerful than just graphs and numbers. You can’t really sympathize with numbers,” Rek said.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges people who are eligible get the vaccine as soon as possible. “Millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in US history,” the CDC says.
The Czech Republic says people who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for five calendar days and people with symptoms will have to extend their five-day isolation and wait at least two days after the symptoms fade out. Masks are also required in most settings.
The Czech Republic, also referred to as Czechia, has recorded almost 2.7 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins. The country recorded 28,564 new daily cases on Wednesday and 245,696 this month, according to the university’s Coronavirus Research Center. About 63% of the country’s population – 6,744,187 – are vaccinated.