A leading Norwegian conspiracy theorist who denied coronavirus was a dangerous disease has died from the virus after hosting two events at his property.
Hans Gaarder, 60, was found to have tested positive for COVID-19 after he died from the virus on April 6, just days after he hosted an illegal gathering in Gran municipality, around 40 miles north of the Norwegian capital Oslo.
Gran municipal chief physician Are Løken said the preliminary autopsy report confirmed his death was due to having the deadly virus.
Local newspaper Hadeland reported that at least 12 people had been infected with the virus after they attended the illegal gatherings.
Events were banned in the municipality from March 16 in a bid to drive down cases of the disease, which has killed 688 people in Norway since the pandemic began last year.
Police are now attempting to learn how many people attended the two events at Gaarder’s barn on March 26 and 27.
In a statement on the Gran Municipality website, a spokesperson confirmed a man in his 60s had died.
It read: “A man in his 60s, living in Gran, has died after being ill with coronavirus. The person was not tested for coronavirus before he died, but it is confirmed afterward that he was infected with the virus.
It continued: “Gran municipality has become aware that two events were held, Friday 26 and Saturday 27 March, on the man’s property. We do not know how many and who have participated in the event, but ask the participants to take a corona test as soon as possible.”
A statement attributed to Løken on the website read: “This was a sad message to get and our thoughts now go to the relatives. We are again reminded of how dangerous the virus can be and how important it is that we endure the strict measure for a while longer.”
Gaarder was a prominent conspiracy theorist and regularly promoted views that COVID-19 was comparable to a cold.
In a March 18 post on his Facebook page, Gaarder said: “What could be the reason for the measures ‘to prevent infection’ for something that will be like a cold or mild flu? Could it be to camouflage that coronavirus is not transmitted from person to person?”
He also shared posts about the Illuminati and conspiracy theories that U.S. President Joe Biden stole the election in November on Facebook and his website.