My friend Steve was hospitalized with COVID-19 in November.
His wife, Mary, had a milder case of the virus and soon recovered. They talked on the phone every day, and his doctors were good about keeping her informed about his condition.
But she never got to see Steve again. He died in early December.
The son of a newspaper editor, Steve spent his working life as a copy editor at the South Bend Tribune. His days were spent reading articles and writing headlines to ensure readers got the clearest, most accurate account of the news possible. Several years into retirement, he was a healthy 75-year-old beloved for his kind, quiet demeanor, keen sense of humor and impressive breadth of knowledge.
It isn't known how Steve became infected. He and Mary took all reasonable precautions to avoid the corona-virus, but he still did the family shopping once a week and occasionally encountered unmasked residents when he took their basset hound out for her daily walk.
I think of Steve often, and of the loved ones and friends who were devastated by his death.
I thought of him last week when I read that one of the anti-masker parents at a Northwest Allen school board meeting said of COVID-19: “This is not a killer virus.”
Denying COVID-19's lethality has proven a particularly alluring and dangerous delusion. Steve, who cared deeply about people and cared deeply about the truth, might have said just that.
Tim Harmon, a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame, is a retired editorial writer for The Journal Gazette.