When COVID-19 infections began to rise in her city earlier this year, Julia* retreated to the relative safety of the country.
She lives with a primary immunodeficiency and damaged lungs, which makes her vulnerable to respiratory infections and puts her at increased risk of serious illness should she contract one.
Julia's partner made the move with her, yet shortly after, he started to raise bizarre theories about the crisis.
Watch: How to talk to someone who's against vaccinations.
The unfolding pandemic, he argued, had been deliberately unleashed as a means of population control, and the disease wasn't as widespread or dangerous as health authorities claimed. In his view, COVID-19 public health measures like city lockdowns were simply part of an ongoing quest to make citizens submit.
Julia was stunned.
They've been together for roughly a year, and he'd raised controversial opinions before; theories about a secret organisation controlling the world, about coordinated attempts to divide communities along wealth, race and political lines. But this hit too close to home.
"I reacted very badly," she told Mamamia. "I actually got really triggered, and had a panic-attack type response — very fight or flight," she said.
"I was like, 'What I'm hearing is that you want me to die.'"
The rise of conspiracy theories.
Mamamia communicated with several people who've found themselves grappling with a friend or loved one who's adopted COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
We've kept them anonymous to preserve the privacy of all involved.
"My best friend believes COVID is a conspiracy," one woman shared. "We've had a few heated talks about it, which end up trailing off. I never bring it up anymore, but now she's messaging me COVID conspiracy articles... [I] love her very much, but it's putting a strain on our relationship."