60-year-old John McDaniel of Marion, Ohio, was one of those who spoke out against the social restrictions put in place by Governor Mike DeWine. In screenshots of Facebook posts that have circulated widely on the internet but have since been deleted, McDaniel called closing all bars and restaurants “bulls—t” and said that paranoia about the disease shouldn’t stop people from living their lives, adding that “the madness has to stop.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep living your life when there’s a highly contagious disease out there trying to take it, and that’s exactly what happened to McDaniel, who died of coronavirus on April 15, just a month after calling the virus a “political ploy.”
It’s a surprisingly common belief, and protests have been breaking out around the country by people eager to return to the status quo and hoping to limit the damage to the economy.
Protests have been seen in places like California, Illinois, Washington, Michigan and North Carolina. Florida made headlines when it reopened its beaches on the condition that people use them for exercising and other “essential activities” and respect social distancing guidelines; photos quickly emerged of crowds gathering on the beach and people walking in large groups without face masks.
Kentucky reported its highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases after protests were held there urging the lifting of lockdowns. Protestors there tried to disrupt Governor Andy Beshear’s coronavirus briefing, shouting things like “Open up Kentucky.”
Last week, DeWine announced that he plans to start loosening restrictions in the state on May 1. However, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned that opening so early could be problematic, warning that limitations on testing could make it hard to prevent new infections. Until something efficient and reliable is in place, he believes it’s too soon to resume normal life.
Marion County has already seen 1,834 confirmed cases of coronavirus. McDaniel was reportedly the county’s first fatality. Ohio has 12,516 cases overall and at least 491 deaths.
Upon hearing of the case, British broadcaster Piers Morgan tweeted his condolences but added: “Let his death be a warning to everyone else who wants to be ‘living our lives’ & ignore lockdowns – it may END your life.”
His family stated in his obituary that the Ohio State University fan was a great storyteller full of love for everyone who enjoyed the water. He was described as a loyal husband and father to two sons, and he had been looking forward to retiring. In his obituary, his family thanked the nurses and staff at Marion General Hospital and Riverside Methodist Hospital for their efforts to save his life.
They also reminded everyone to practice social distancing, and that’s really the best thing that can come from this story. If it wakes up those holdouts who still think this is all somehow some sort of scam or joke and makes them realize that not believing in the disease doesn’t make you immune to it, perhaps something positive could come from his death.
Sources for this article include: