Anti-mask activist who organized protests in Texas dies of COVID-19

An anti-mask protester.
An anti-mask protester. Jeff Dean/AFP via Getty Images

Caleb Wallace, the 30-year-old founder of a group called the San Angelo Freedom Defenders who protested against masks and business closures in Texas, died on Saturday of COVID-19.

His wife, Jessica Wallace, who is pregnant with their fourth child, announced his death on a GoFundMe page. Wallace lived in San Angelo, Texas, and in July 2020 organized an event called the Freedom Rally, where participants demonstrated against lockdowns, the media, and the science behind COVID-19, The Associated Press reports. In April, Wallace demanded San Angelo's school district get rid of all of its COVID-19 safety protocols.

Jessica Wallace told the San Angelo Standard-Times that on July 26, her husband began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, and instead of going to the hospital to get tested, he started taking high doses of Vitamin C, zinc, and the anti-parasitic medicine ivermectin, which is used for livestock. Health officials have urged people to stop taking this medication for the coronavirus.

On July 30, Wallace was admitted to the emergency room, and eight days later was put on a ventilator. Jessica Wallace wrote on the GoFundMe page that her husband was "an imperfect man but he loved his family and his little girls more than anything." She said to those who "wished him death," she is "sorry his views and opinions hurt you. I prayed he'd come out of this with a new perspective and more appreciation for life. I can't say much more than that because I can't speak for him."

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