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Politics

Truth gets the final word

Leonard Pitts Jr., Tribune Content Agency on

“The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” — Rush Limbaugh

“One day, it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.” — Donald Trump

“The risk to the average person does remain quite low” — Laura Ingraham

The American death toll from the novel coronavirus will soon pass 250,000. That’s a quarter of a million people lying with a Buick parked on their chests, swimming in their own sweat, feeble as an August breeze, head pounding like a bass drum in the devil’s rock band, dying.

And for some, denying it to the end. As Jodi Doering, an ER nurse in Woonsocket, South Dakota, puts it, “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real.’”

“And when they should be spending time FaceTiming their families,” she adds, “they’re filled with anger and hatred. I just can’t believe that those are going to be their last thoughts and words.”

 

Doering was explaining to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota how she came to pen the tweet that made a small-town nurse internet famous. It was Saturday. She had the night off and was planning to spend it on her couch with her dog and some ice cream. But work kept intruding on her thoughts.

“I can’t help but think of the COVID patients the last few days,” she tweeted. “The ones that stick out are those who still don’t believe the virus is real. The ones who scream at you for a magic medicine and that Joe Biden is going to ruin the USA. All while gasping for breath. ...They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real.”

She says patients insist they must have pneumonia. Even lung cancer. Anything but the disease they’ve been convinced does not exist.

“This can’t be happening,” they insist, even as it’s happening. “It’s not real.”

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