About two weeks ago, Detroit Department of Transportation bus driver Jason Hargrove went live on Facebook, upset because a passenger on his bus had repeatedly been coughing without covering her mouth.
“This coronavirus…is for real, and we out here as public workers doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families,” Hargrove said at the beginning of his video.
“For you to get on a bus and stand on the bus and cough, several times, without covering up your mouth, and you know that we in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care,” he added. “This is real. . . .For us to get through this and get over this, man, y’all need to take this s— serious. There’s folks dying out here.”
On Thursday, the president of city’s bus driver union, Glenn Tolbert, confirmed to the Detroit News that Hargrove passed away from COVID-19 on Wednesday night.
According to Tolbert, Hargrove started feeling sick on March 24, four days after the infuriating incident on the bus that prompted him to share his frustration.
Tolbert says that city drivers are now even more fearful, despite the current safety practices put in place—such as passengers entering and exiting the bus through the rear doors and busses operating on a reduced schedule.
“They’re obviously scared,” Tolbert said. “They’re up in arms. It’s the fear of the unknown.”
Mayor Mike Duggan is encouraging people to watch Hargrove’s passionate plea to take the situation seriously.
“If you haven’t seen Jason Hargrove’s post on Facebook—everybody in Detroit and everybody in America should watch it. He was infected before we closed the front doors,” the mayor said at a news conference on Thursday. “Some of his language is graphic, but I don’t know how you can watch it and not tear up. He knew his life was being put in jeopardy. . . .Now he’s gone.”
There are more than 10,791 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan as of Friday morning. Of those, more than 5,069 cases are in Wayne County, for which Detroit is the county seat.
A recent report showed that Black Americans account for 40 percent of the deaths as a result of the virus in Michigan.
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