The Death of Herman Cain: When Will We Take COVID-19 Seriously?


This week, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain died from complications of COVID-19. The discussion about his death seems to miss an important point.

Herman Cain, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, died this week.

Cain spokesman Dan Calabrese posted the news to Cain’s website. He said they knew when Cain wound up in the hospital with COVID-19 that it would be a “rough fight.” At 74, Cain fell into the age range that put him at a higher risk. But there was more than that.

“Although he was basically pretty healthy in recent years, he was still in a high-risk group because of his history with cancer,” his website states.

Cain became ill in late June, testing positive for COVID-19 nine days after he attended a rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa. Photographs showed Cain sitting in the crowd close to other high-profile Trump supporters at the rally.

None in the photo wore face masks. Scientists and doctors repeatedly urged people since March to wear protective face coverings to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Too few listened.

Worse, at this point, months into the pandemic, too many still refuse to listen.

Can you blame Trump’s rally?

Those who dislike Trump may find satisfaction in doing so. Critics claimed it was irresponsible to hold rallies amid a pandemic. Cain’s critics claim it was even more irresponsible for someone at high risk to attend at all, much less attend without wearing a mask.

Trump told reporters he felt confident his rally is not the reason Cain became ill.

What else is he going to say?

But many people ignore an important point here.

I heard an interviewee claim the other day that he couldn’t have gotten COVID-19 at the rally because everyone “tested negative” at the rally or they weren’t let in.

That is patently false. Unless, of course, there’s an instant test that scans for the virus and gives results within seconds. (I’ll save you some research: they don’t have that.)

The people who attended the rally surely had their temperatures checked. If they did not have a fever, they were allowed inside. But not having a fever does not mean testing negative.

I’m shocked at this point that people don’t seem to understand this.

By now, nearly everyone has heard — whether they admit it or not — of people infected with COVID-19 who are asymptomatic. The little A tacked on to the start of the word means they are without symptoms.

Temperature checks work well…for people who have symptoms. But if you have a mild case and do not have symptoms, guess what? You probably won’t show a fever. Because, you know, that would be an actual symptom.

It’s entirely possible that no one had a fever but that at least one of them had a mild enough case not to be symptomatic.

It’s also possible that if Herman Cain, someone considered at greater risk, wasn’t social distancing and stayed close to people who weren’t wearing masks, he could have been infected at the rally.

There’s no way to know.

But it’s possible.

If you use the common sense God gave you, you take precautions, even when you assume everyone around you is safe.

Since asymptomatic COVID-19 is a thing, you can’t know who’s safe.

And that’s the whole point.

I wouldn’t wish COVID-19 on anyone.

I’ve talked to a few people I know who’ve had it and have, fortunately, survived. They all talk about feeling miserable for weeks, not days.

Some aren’t that lucky.

More than 1,500 have died in my state of South Carolina. That’s 1,500 too many.

If you’re not taking COVID-19 seriously, I have to wonder: At this point, what will it actually take? Who will you have to lose before it sinks in?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.