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PORT CLINTON, Ohio (WJW) — Family and friends are mourning the loss of a war veteran who died after contracting COVID-19.

Richard “Rick” Rose, 37, was diagnosed on July 1 and passed away three days later.

“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.” said friend Nick Conley in a tribute post on Facebook.

He told FOX 8 that Rick had been vocal in the past about being anti-mask, which has since been brought up by some critics commenting on Conley’s post. He said it’s sickening that instead of showing empathy and compassion, they are instead making light of his death with one user writing “he should’ve worn a mask.”

“The biggest thing I’d like to see is for people to learn from his mistake, but also for people to put politics aside and come together to help defeat this problem,” said Conley.

Last month, Ohio officials reported a troubling spike in COVID-19 cases among younger people. Data shows 60% of the new coronavirus cases in the state are from those between the ages of 20 and 49.

“We don’t want people to think that, you know, just because they’re young and healthy, that they’re invincible,” said Kevin Brennan, communications officer for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

He said it’s important for the public to continue wearing masks and practice social distancing.


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