Fitness Influencer Didn’t Believe In COVID-19 Until He Died From It

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A Ukrainian fitness influencer, Dmitriy Stuzhuk, who had publicly denied the existence of the Coronavirus several times has recently died from complications of the virus. In his final post on Instagram, he spoke to his followers to spread awareness about the severity of COVID-19.

Video Produced by: Henry Kueppers

What Happened

The 33- year-old influencer explains to his followers that he didn’t believe the virus was real but it’s nothing to take lightly. Translated from Russian he says, “I want to share how I got sick and to strongly warn everyone. I was one who thought that COVID does not exist…until I got sick. COVID-19 IS NOT A SHORT-LIVED DISEASE.” 

He is a fitness influencer who seemed relatively healthy. According to his ex-wife Sofia, he contracted the virus while on vacation in Turkey. When he returned home from vacation, he was rushed to the hospital for treatment. 

On his second day in Turkey, he woke up in the middle of the night because he was having a hard time breathing and his neck was swelled. He didn’t have a fever the next day but did have a cough. 

At the time, Dmitriy assumed the symptoms were a result of travel or activities he was doing while there. It wasn’t until he got back from Turkey that he took a bunch of tests. Unsuspecting of Corona, he decided to take a test anyway that ultimately came back as positive.  

He was given an oxygen machine for his low oxygen levels and felt it would be “more convenient and comfortable” to continue treatment from home. Sofia explained on social media, the Dmitriy was unconscious and wasn’t in good condition. Dmitriy suffered from heart complications and eventually passed away this weekend. He is survived by Sofia and their three children.


On her Instagram, Sofia wrote, “Yes, we didn’t have a good relationship. Yes, there were many problems. But this relationship gave us so much. We have lived and experienced so much with you. You were there in sorrow and in joy… I will remain grateful to you for the rest of my life for our three beautiful children.”

It’s quite admirable that Dmitriy took the time to let his followers know the importance of taking COVID-19 seriously. There are many people who like him, don’t believe in it, and out of a result of carelessness, get sick. What he experienced is scary and could happen to anyone.

Reactions To The News

Many people used the influencer’s story to spread awareness. People pointed out that regardless of how you feel about this virus, you can still get sick from it.


Influencers False Information

Misinformation regarding the virus and conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of COVID-19 are rampant on the internet and cause many people to downplay or simply not believe in the coronavirus. And unfortunately, according to a study done by Oxford University, politicians, celebrities, and influencers account for the majority of engagement with coronavirus falsehoods.

Just to reiterate, people are listening to information about the Coronavirus from their favorite social media influencers as much as they are with our elected officials.

Since March, President Trump has taken to Twitter to voice his opinions on COVID-19, many of which helped spread falsehoods surrounding the virus. He once tweeted, “the fake news media and their partner the democrat party is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater) to inflame the Coronavirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant. Surgeon General stated, “the risk is low to the average American.”

Then celebrities like Wiz Khalifa, Woody Harrelson, and John Cusack tweeted out messages that confirmed and encouraged the false 5-G conspiracy theory.

The theory essentially is that the faster 5G internet is either causing or rapidly spreading COVID-19. It’s unsure where the theory rumors were started but it is believed that the theory started in early March. The long the pandemic goes on, the more conspiracy theorists continue to believe it.

John Cusack even tweeted out confirming his belief in the theory. 

It is worrisome that there are so many people out there who are misinformed about the virus but stories like Dmitriy can help open people’s eyes. He is an example of someone who was seriously misinformed about the virus and suffered the consequences. It helps present people with the harsh reality of it. 

Going Forward

With all the different outlets out, it can be difficult to know where to get the correct information. It’s important to remember to always do more research. When reading information on social media always double-check where it’s coming from. Be aware of different perspectives on issues to be able to make informed decisions. But when it comes to public health issues, it’s best to get your information from public health experts and not influencers on social media. 

Dmitriy Stuzhuk is just one of the many people that lost their lives to this virus. His last message to the world was the importance of this virus and his experience with it. It’s a good lesson for those who doubt the severity of this pandemic. Always make sure you are getting your information from a credible source because when it comes to this like this it quite literally puts your life on the line. 

What are your thoughts on the ever-growing issue of the coronavirus pandemic? What kind of media are you consuming and where do you get your facts and information?

Video Created By:
Henry Kueppers

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