There was something actually frightening about the death of former US Presidential candidate Herman Cain last week. Not about his death itself, from COVID-19 complications, or even the lead up to it, with people suggesting he caught the virus at a rally for Donald Trump in Tulsa, Alabama. What’s frightening was actually his social media accounts in the days leading to his death.
As he lay dying of complications from COVID-19, his staff was busy maintaining his social media, and in doing so they also happened to post plenty of articles that were dismissive of the disease, dismissing the efficacy of masks, and generally trying to downplay it as a threat to anyone’s health. The man was dying, and yet his staff was so committed to pushing the idea that the threat was overblown and nothing to worry about. The clearest evidence of the world that they were wrong was right in front of them, and they persisted.
It had become a political issue, and the party line was that the virus is no big deal, even as evidence clearly showed it definitely was. Just remaining stubborn through a crisis is a frightening way to go, and that’s how Cain went out.
The message through all of this was simple, take it seriously and hopefully it goes away fairly soon. The reason it hasn’t gone away is that people haven’t taken it seriously, and the result is it still has plenty of people to get infected and spread it amongst themselves.
The scary thing now is that people who know exactly how scary it is - the staff members of someone dying from the disease - are not only not taking it seriously, but encouraging others to not take it seriously as well. This was happening the day before the man died, they were still trying to downplay the seriousness of the virus. Why? To what gain? A dead man can’t gain anything.
It’s scary to think that this pandemic will continue to stretch on because people are not only not taking it seriously, but not changing their mind long after they not only get it, but have serious complications. They could be going out and spreading it, they could be encouraging others to avoid taking precautions, and they will be the cause of the pandemic stretching out, and harming the sensible among us.
There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind. In this case, when he got sick, this man should have realized the seriousness of it, changed tactics, and directed his staff to go in the other direction. There’s nothing weak or shameful about realizing you made a mistake, and using new information to help people take care of themselves, and help the world finally get over a serious disease.
The people who chose to politicize the disease, they’re killing people, full stop. It’s not a political statement to not want to catch a virus, it’s basic self preservation. In the case of Herman Cain, he managed to kill himself, and who knows how many supporters, by following the party line and insisting that the disease was no big deal. Take the politics out, they have no place in disease control.