As the vaccination effort rolls out across the country after over a year of pandemic, many are surprised to find that there are still people out there who deny the existence of the pandemic or even the virus itself that has caused so many millions of cases around the world, and over three million deaths. It’s true, some have stuck to their guns about the whole thing being a “hoax,” though many have been forced to face reality after they or their loved ones came down with COVID-19.

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Along the way, people have been curious about what happens when a COVID-denier gets the illness. A recent entry on Ask Reddit requested stories like these from doctors who have had to treat these conspiracy theorists, and the answer is that while many quickly accepted the truth when face to face with it, some clung to the conspiracies all the way through.

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Others would accept that COVID-19 is real, but still managed to be really annoying about it.

“I’m pretty pleased to say that several of my COVID denying patients have completely turned their attitude around when they (or a close family member) contracted COVID,” wrote a family doctor. “Even if their case wasn’t severe, the sudden terror that they could wind up on a ventilator overnight really puts the fear of god into people.

“Unfortunately, I still have some patients who are still pretty obnoxious despite their covid diagnosis. They mostly dig in deeper into paranoia. If not about the virus itself, then about the circumstances surrounding them contracting it.”

This commenter followed up with examples of patients demanding various experimental or ineffective treatments pushed by Donald Trump when he was president.

Other healthcare professionals have said that COVID-denying patients have come in and lied about their symptoms and their exposure to others with the illness, putting the staff and other patients at risk because they didn’t want to accept reality.

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“Family members have come in with a sick family member and lied about exposure and/or symptoms (despite a member(s) testing positive),” wrote one commenter. “This can/has lead to inappropriate management, delay in treatmentt [sic], and exposure of staff. The family members then get angry when told to isolate.”

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Other stories had much more tragic results, including an older patient who refused treatment because he and his family insisted that it wasn’t COVID in spite of the whole family showing symptoms and the patient showing just 80 percent oxygen saturation. The family took him to a different hospital when the doctor would not agree that it was a “bacterial infection” and he was intubated and transferred back to the original hospital where they had the proper equipment to treat him.

Unfortunately, it was too late, and the patient died the next day. Even so, his wife refused to believe that COVID-19 was the cause.

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“Just before the family took the body away, I gave the widow the death certificate (that I filled out) and before walking away, she turns around and waves the certificate yelling ‘See! I told you it wasn’t COVID! It says here: “Death due to pulmonary pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2″! I knew it was a bacteria!'” The doctor says. “I told her: ‘SARS-CoV-2 is COVID-19, ma’am.'”

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*First Published: April 21, 2021, 1:52 pm