Anti-vax Italian priest, 51, dies from coronavirus

Anti-vax Italian priest, 51, who thought Covid jabs contained the cells of aborted embryos dies from coronavirus

  • Don Paolo Romeo, 51, was a parish priest at Santo Stefano Abbey in Genoa 
  • He died of complications from the virus after spending a month in hospital 
  • Don Paolo endorsed the conservative beliefs that vaccines had embryo cells  
  • An anti-vax priest in Italy who said Covid jabs contained the cells of aborted embryos has died from coronavirus

    Don Paolo Romeo, 51, was a parish priest at Santo Stefano Abbey in Genoa, northern Italy. 

    He died of complications from the virus after a month in hospital.

    Before his death he endorsed the conservative beliefs of followers of French Catholic archbishop Marcel François Marie Joseph Lefebvre, namely that some Covid vaccines were made from cells taken from aborted embryos. 

    Don Paolo Romeo (pictured), 51, was a parish priest at Santo Stefano Abbey in Genoa, northern Italy

    Don Paolo Romeo (pictured), 51, was a parish priest at Santo Stefano Abbey in Genoa, northern Italy

    The Santo Stefano Abbey wrote a tribute to him on Facebook which read: ‘Today our beloved Don Paolo has risen to Heaven surrounded by the affection of his relative and the prayer of all his faithful. 

    ‘May the Lord reward him for all the good he has done here on this earth and may he forgive his shortcomings even if there were any. 

    ‘Let us remember Don Paolo with these words of Saint Paolo the apostle, whom he loved: ”I fought the good battle, I finished my race, I kept my faith. 

    The Santo Stefano Abbey wrote a tribute to him on Facebook which read: 'Today our beloved Don Paolo has risen to Heaven surrounded by the affection of his relative and the prayer of all his faithful'

    The Santo Stefano Abbey wrote a tribute to him on Facebook which read: ‘Today our beloved Don Paolo has risen to Heaven surrounded by the affection of his relative and the prayer of all his faithful’

    ”’Now I only have the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous judge, will deliver me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all those who eagerly wait for his manifestation”.’ 

    The news of Don Paolo’s death came on the same day an elderly anti-vax couple died from the virus within half an hour of each other at a hospital in Villafranca near Verona.   

    Irma Gilioli, 86, and Annibale Meneghelli, 93, died from complications with the virus 16 days after being hospitalised.  

    Just last Monday another anti-vaxxer in Italy died Covid after he tore off his oxygen mask and insisted he did not have the disease.  

    The man, named as Luigi Cossellu by local media and who was admitted on January 16, reportedly denied the existence of Covid-19 and had refused to get the vaccine.

    The man, named as Luigi Cossellu (pictured) by local media and who was admitted on January 16, reportedly denied the existence of Covid-19 and had refused to get the vaccine

    The man, named as Luigi Cossellu (pictured) by local media and who was admitted on January 16, reportedly denied the existence of Covid-19 and had refused to get the vaccine

    Doctors immediately recognised the severity of the 28-year-old’s condition upon his arrival at the Santa Maria Goretti Hospital in Latina, found south of Rome.  

    They diagnosed him with acute respiratory failure due to coronavirus, and transferred him to an intensive care ward on his second day at the facility. 

    However, Cossellu refused treatment, and tore off his oxygen mask.

    Doctors were able to persuade the man to put the mask back on, the general manager of Latina’s ASL (Local Health Unit) Silvia Cavalli told Italy24news.

    Doctors diagnosed the Italian with acute respiratory failure due to coronavirus, and transferred him to an intensive care ward on his second day at the facility

    Doctors diagnosed the Italian with acute respiratory failure due to coronavirus, and transferred him to an intensive care ward on his second day at the facility

    But his cooperation was too late. His condition deteriorated, and he succumbed to the disease on his fifth day in hospital.  

    Alessio D’Amato, the councillor for health of the Lazio Region, urged young people to get vaccinated, pointing to the 28-year-old’s death. ‘Covid also hits young people hard. vaccination is important,’ he told the news outlet.

    Italy24news also reported that a 28-year-old pregnant anti-vaxxer died overnight between January 20 and 21 in Rome.

    She was reportedly in her 31st week of pregnancy, but was not vaccinated.

    The news outlet reported that she had symptoms for 10 days, and was having difficulty breathing, and within a week her condition had dramatically dropped off, forcing doctors to perform a Caesarean section to deliver the baby.

    But despite their best efforts, they were unable to save the woman, who later died. 

    A number of Italian anti-vaxxers have hit the news throughout the pandemic, particularly since the government introduced a vaccination mandate for over-50s that will come into power from February 1.

    At the end of last year, a fervent Italian anti-vaxxer who gained a cult following after his regular phone-ins to a popular radio show was killed by Covid-19.

    Maurizio Buratti, 61, known to his fans as Mauro from Mantua, had boasted of being a ‘plague spreader’ after deliberately going to a Carrefour supermarket without a mask while feeling ill and having a temperature of 38 degrees, just days before his hospitalisation.

    Maurizio Buratti (pictured), a fervent Italian anti-vaxxer who gained a cult following after his regular phone-ins to a popular radio show, has died from Covid

    Maurizio Buratti (pictured), a fervent Italian anti-vaxxer who gained a cult following after his regular phone-ins to a popular radio show, has died from Covid

    He said he was ‘defending the constitution’ by ignoring public health advice, and refused to get tested because he believed the swabs caused the virus.

    The frequent caller to the Zanzara radio station – who also promoted anti-Semtitic conspiracy theories – was eventually intubated and later died.

    In another instance last month, Italian police  thwarted a gang behind a huge anti-vax scam that helped people sign up to get the vaccine only to have it thrown away and not injected – in a ploy to get a vaccine passport.

    According to the investigation, a network of dozens of people involved bringing people from all over Italy to the vaccination centre in Ancona where they paid up to €400 (£330) for a fake jab.

    The nurse who was supposed to inject them would squirt the dose into the rubbish bin before she would put a plaster on the patient and give them a ‘green pass’, which shows proof of vaccination.

    A vaccine mandate in Italy requires anyone over the age of 50 to be vaccinated from February 1. The unvaccinated risk paying a large fine or losing their jobs. 

    Under the mandate, the only alternative to getting the vaccine is to recover from Covid-19, due to the body’s development of antibodies during an infection.

    This has also prompted people to host ‘infection’ parties, where people would pay to be in close proximity to those infected with Covid-19, in the hope they would catch the virus, go on to recover, and thus become eligible for the exception.  

    The news of the man’s death comes Italy appears to have reached a peak in the number of Omicron infections, with cases of the highly contagious variant now on the decline, the country’s Covid Emergency chief said Monday. 

    ‘There is good news: it seems that we have reached the plateau of the curve for what concerns Omicron and it is going downhill,’ commissioner Francesco Paolo Figliuolo told journalists in Milan.

    Police in Italy arrested a nurse (pictured) who took bribes to give people fake proof of vaccination

    Police in Italy arrested a nurse (pictured) who took bribes to give people fake proof of vaccination

    Italy was the first European nation to be hit by the pandemic in early 2020 and remains one of the worst affected, with the EU’s highest reported death toll, with nearly 144,000 victims. 

    A large proportion of the deaths have been in wealthy Lombardy in the north, which recorded the first case.

    ‘In the past two days, even in Lombardy the number of admissions to the hospital is lower than the number of discharged. This bodes well,’ Figliuolo said. 

    The Omicron variant, which is very contagious but generally leads to less severe infection among vaccinated people, is now the dominant variant in Europe. 

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