Ohio Man Who Refused To Buy Face Mask And Called Pandemic ‘Hype’ Dies Of Coronavirus
A 37-year-old man who refused to wear a face mask because he thought it was a ‘hype’ has died from complications due to coronavirus.
Richard Rose, from Port Clinton, Ohio, openly dismissed the use of face masks in a Facebook post made in April, in which he stated: ‘Let’s make this clear. I’m not buying a mask.’
Though state lockdowns were somewhat successful in initially slowing the spread of the virus, a rush to re-open the US and residents’ refusal to wear face masks has led to a dramatic increase in the spread.
Cases in the country have hit record-breaking levels in recent weeks, with 3,364,547 confirmed cases and 135,615 deaths recorded at the time of writing, July 14.
Rose’s Facebook post came after health officials encouraged lockdowns and social distancing measures following the outbreak in March, and he made it clear he felt a mask wasn’t necessary, writing: ‘I’ve made it this far by not buying into that damn hype.’
A couple of months later, on July 1, Rose was diagnosed with coronavirus and announced he would be in quarantine for the next two weeks.
He had no known pre-existing health conditions, but sadly passed away at his home in Ohio on July 4 at the age of 37, Cleveland 19 News reports.
Posts from Rose’s Facebook page indicate he visited public places before he fell ill, and without a mask to help protect him the 37-year-old increased his risk of contracting the virus.
Rose’s friend Nick Conley, said his friends and family were ‘blown away’ at the news of his death. He added: ‘You hear about this virus and you don’t expect it to affect people, younger people like ourselves.’
Conley’s comments are reminiscent of the views of many young people who may believe they’re healthy enough to withstand the virus if they get it. However, it’s vital to remember the disease can take its toll on people of all ages and conditions, and every effort made to avoid it is worth doing.
Rose’s Facebook post about not wearing a mask has now been shared more than 10,000 times, and Conley made clear that he disagrees with his friend’s thoughts on the topic.
It’s horrible that we lost Rick but the even more tragic part of that is, who else became infected because of the actions that he chose?
In spite of their differing views, Conley urged people to remember that a man lost his life, saying Rose is being ‘slaughtered online right now for his decision that he made not to wear a mask’.
He added: ‘That’s not right. We should still be compassionate whether we agree with someone’s beliefs or not. Someone has passed away and we should have some compassion towards that.’
Conley is hoping Rose’s story will serve as a warning to those who are dismissive of the seriousness of the virus, explaining he wants people ‘to see it [is] real’ and therefore be more cautious.
In a post on Facebook, he wrote:
Rick was healthy as far as we know and was only in his 30’s. Rick was like a lot of my friends, and didn’t feel the need to wear a mask because he was young and healthy. Please know that this virus is real. Just because you don’t personally know someone effected yet doesn’t mean it’s not real. [sic]
Rose was said to be very active in helping homeless veterans and in preventing veteran suicide. He served in the US Army for nine years, during which time he did two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our thoughts are with Rose’s friends and family. Rest in peace.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, please don’t suffer alone. Call Samaritans for free on their anonymous 24-hour phone line on 116 123.
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CreditsCleveland 19 News and 2 others
Cleveland 19 News