Anti-Vaccine Doctor Who Called Mask Wearing 'Dangerous' Dies of COVID-19

Dr. Christopher Foley, who criticized mask-wearing and spread false information about a COVID-19 vaccine, passed away from complications of the virus.

The Minnesota doctor pushed back against continued use of masks, writing on his company website that they are "downright dangerous" if worn for extended periods of time. He was also critical of the vaccine, calling it a "human experiment" and advocated for the widespread use of ivermectin and vitamins to cure COVID-19.

Foley's obituary said he passed away from an "unexpected illness," but his son, Logan Foley, confirmed at his funeral that his death was the result of complications from COVID-19.

"Was he vaccinated? No, he was not," Logan said. "If he'd only been vaccinated, wouldn't he still be here? Obviously, we'll never know."

Logan questioned how his father, a "mountain of a man who had never been sick a day in his life" could suddenly pass away, just after talking on the phone with his son. He chalked it up to his father being "so busy taking care of the rest of us that he didn't leave time for himself."

covid-19 doctor death coronavirus
Dr. Christopher Foley, who criticized wearing masks as being "dangerous," passed away from complications of COVID-19. Above, people wearing face masks walk along the sidewalks in Solvang, California, on December 20, 2020. George Rose/Getty Images

After 22 years working in a medical system as a physician and internist, Foley founded Minnesota Natural Medicine and became a natural medicine doctor. The doctor started posted on his practice's website about COVID-19 in March, 2020, where he asserted that the virus was "likely a bioweapon" and suggested homeopathy, an alternative medical practice, could be "one of the better weapons" for fighting COVID-19.

Foley criticized experts for not pushing the use of vitamin D and other nutrients, as well as not promoting ivermectin as a treatment.

"If one simply adds the benefits of vitamin D and the other micronutrients that we KNOW prevent morbidity or serious illness with this Wuhan virus to the effect of ivermectin and carrageenan—all easily obtainable and inexpensive—why would anyone fear going about their business even in high density, 'risky' environments?" Foley wrote.

Ivermectin is approved for fighting parasites and has been studied as a potential treatment for COVID-19. While there's anecdotal evidence of it having success in some cases, studies have been plagued with flaws and the drug hasn't shown widespread success in the real world. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it as a treatment for COVID-19 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) doesn't recommend its use.

In other blog posts, Foley called the vaccine a "human experiment" and criticized lockdowns for causing "breathtaking damage" to businesses, economies and children's education. The doctor also railed against wearing masks, calling it "unnecessary and useless" and said they cause more harm than good for people who wear them while exercising.

"Additionally, they are not very effective indoors either and are downright dangerous to the individual (especially children) if worn for extensive periods of time," Foley wrote.

After his death, multiple people posted tributes to the doctor on Facebook, crediting him with helping to heal them and their families from various ailments. One woman said he saved the lives of herself, her husband and her father.

While acknowledging his father's beliefs about COVID-19 prevention methods, treatments and the vaccine, Logan Foley said his father helped successfully treat over 50 people for COVID-19 and spent "countless hours" researching the virus.

"So if he had to do it over, would he do it differently?" he said. "He knew the risks on both sides better than anybody and he played his hand."

Some of Foley's blog posts waded into the debate about government intervention with public health. His son touched on the subject during his speech at the funeral, saying his father had a "deep sense of love" for his country and that "individual liberty coursed through his veins."

Rachel Moran, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Washington Center for an Informed Public, told MPR News that "vocal opposition" to vaccines from doctors can be particularly harmful to the vaccination effort.

"If you can go online and find a medical professional who aligns with your political viewpoints about masks or a vaccine mandate, and offers up seemingly legitimate medical advice, that's going to cement your vaccine hesitancy and it's not going to provide you with the information that you need to make a sound decision," she said.