Hana Horka, an anti-vax folk singer from the Czech Republic, died on Sunday at the age of 57 after intentionally seeking out the virus. According to family, the singer believed that she would receive greater immunity after contracting Covid-19, and simply wanted to be able to get a pass to attend bars and venues.

In the Czech Republic, many social venues, public transportation, and restaurants currently require either proof of vaccination or validation of a “recovery pass” that proves you just recently recovered from Covid-19 but are unvaccinated.

A member of the band Asonance, Hana Horka wanted to be able to attend social gatherings and play shows despite being skeptical of the Covid-19 vaccination. The rest of the group also previously stated that they were against vaccination. Established in 1976, the folk group mainly played Scottish and Irish folk songs. Hana Horka did not join until 1985 but played with the group’s ever-evolving lineup until her death.

Deliberately going out to get infected with the virus, she tested positive last Friday and was reportedly recovering. Two days before she passed, Hana Horka wrote on social media, “Now there will be theatre, sauna, [and] a concert,” listing events that she could once again attend after gaining a recovery pass.

According to Reuters, this week in the Czech Republic also saw a record number of new cases. 20,270 new cases hit the country on Tuesday, with over 1,000 hospitalizations. Only 69% of the country is fully vaccinated. Isolation times were also decreased to get people back to work sooner, while mandatory testing for employees at large companies also went into effect.

Hana Horka’s son, Jan Rek, tested positive for the virus over the Christmas holiday, along with his father. The family likely caught the Omicron variant, which spread rapidly over both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

According to Jan, his mother decided not to isolate, but instead spend the holiday with them with the intention of catching the virus, as well.

“She should have isolated for a week because we tested positive,” he said. “But she was with us the whole time.”

Anti-vax folk singer Hana Horka and her son, Jan Rek, who tried to convince his mom to get the vaccine
Anti-vax folk singer Hana Horka and her son, Jan Rek, who tried to convince his mom to get the vaccine. Photo Credit: Jan Rek

Early Sunday morning, she got out of bed and told her family that she was feeling better and wanted to go for a walk. Quite suddenly, her back was in a lot of pain, and she laid back down in bed.

“In about 10 minutes it was all over,” her son said, adding that due to the respiratory virus, “she choked to death.”

Though unvaccinated, the anti-vax folk singer was allegedly not into some of the more bizarre conspiracy theories about the vaccination. According to her son Jan, “Her philosophy was that she was more OK with the idea of catching Covid than getting vaccinated. Not that we would get microchipped or anything like that.”

He added that it was often just too difficult to discuss the idea of getting vaccinated with her as she would just get too emotional. Both he and his father were fully vaccinated.

“If you have living examples from real life, it’s more powerful than just graphs and numbers,” he said, which were hard to convince her. “You can’t really sympathize with numbers.”

Blaming the global anti-vax movement for her death, her son called on social media to curb the spread of misinformation online and for governments to do better at getting the facts out to their citizens.

“I know exactly who influenced her,” Jan Rek told reporters. “It wasn’t just total disinformation but also views on natural immunity and antibodies acquired through infection … It makes me sad that she believed strangers more than her proper family.”