A man from Ohio who posted to Social Media that he refused to wear a mask to help stop the spread of coronavirus has succumbed to the disease.

Heavy.com did a story about Richard Rose's Facebook posts, following his progression from refusal to wear a mask through his diagnosis and up to his death.

One of his early posts said that he wasn't buying a (expletive) mask because he wasn't buying into the "hype". Rose wasn't, and isn't, alone in his refusal: just scroll through any social media site and you'll find post after post of people who either claim that wearing a mask is against our Constitution or cite some non-scientific reason for their refusal.  There are even people on the national stage who refuse to wear masks, like MLB-er Aubrey Huff and President Donald Trump (though the President finally caved to mounting pressure to set a good example for our country).

Wearing a mask has become politicized in America. It appears that many people who support President Trump or identify with the "right" are non-maskers, and many people in the center or on the "left" side of the spectrum are willing to mask up. The Guardian explains how a simple piece of cloth (or paper) has become a political issue. (Again, not ALL left/right are maskers/non-maskers. Many, but not all.)

The sad story of Mr. Rose is going viral because there is so much back-and-forth about the wearing of masks. The article on Heavy.com chronicles Mr. Rose's activities (through his social media posts), which included going to parties attended by many people in close proximity to one another (one of which, admitted by Mr. Rose, is where he believes he contracted the virus). According to his posts, Mr. Rose began to feel ill in late June, so he was swabbed for the coronavirus. He received his diagnosis on July 1, and succumbed to the disease just 3 days later on July 4, 2020, according to his obituary.

 

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Some non-maskers cite the CDC and the WHO both suggesting early in the pandemic that masks were only necessary for healthcare workers or those tending to someone with the virus, that they weren't for everyday wear. Now that more is known about the disease, both agencies have changed their stance to encourage everyone to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth while in public. Even this, though, is just more conspiracy theory fodder for those who still refuse to wear a mask ("Even the experts can't make up their minds about the masks - it's all an effort to control us" is how one of my social media "friends" expressed her views on the matter).

It appears to me that the only thing the CDC and the WHO is trying to control is the coronavirus, and their recommendation as to how YOU can help in that endeavor is to wear a mask when in the presence of others.

My heart is saddened for Mr. Rose and his circle, as it seems he was an incredibly nice, fun, and well-liked man.

Would him having worn a mask have helped to prevent his death? We will never be 100% certain, but science tells us "probably".

May he rest in peace.

(The Atlantic, The Guardian, Cross Funeral Home, Etsy)