The obituary for a man who died of COVID-19 takes aim at anti-maskers
via Becker1999 / Flickr and Price and Sons

One of the major themes that arose out of World War II was how America's national character helped propel the Allies to victory over the Axis powers. Americans came together and sacrificed by either picking up a rifle and heading "over there" or on the homefront, they did whatever they could to help the war effort.

They bought bonds. They turned their businesses into factories. They rationed items such as meat, dairy, fruits, shortening, cars, firewood, and gasoline.

After living through nine months of COVID-19, one wonders whether today's Americans would be adult enough to make the sacrifices necessary to win such a war.


While many people have sacrificed during the pandemic, for some, getting them to social distance and wear a mask has been like pulling teeth. This reluctance to sacrifice for the common good has led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Courtney Farrar lost his father Dr. Marvin Farr, 81, to COVID-19 on December 1, and used his obituary to illustrate the difference in attitudes between those of the "Greatest Generation" and the selfish anti-maskers he believes contributed to his father's death.

"He was preceded in death by more than 260,000 Americans infected with covid-19. He died in a room not his own, being cared for by people dressed in confusing and frightening ways. He died with covid-19, and his final days were harder, scarier and lonelier than necessary. He was not surrounded by friends and family."

via Tim Dennell / Flickr

The obituary draws a sharp comparison between those who heard the call of duty when their country needed them versus many today who confuse inconvenience for tyranny.

"He was born into an America recovering from the Great Depression and about to face World War 2, times of loss and sacrifice difficult for most of us to imagine. Americans would be asked to ration essential supplies and send their children around the world to fight and die in wars of unfathomable destruction. He died in a world where many of his fellow Americans refuse to wear a piece of cloth on their face to protect one another."

Marvin Farr had a doctorate in veterinary science, which stands in sharp contrast to those who've chosen to promote the spread of the virus.

"He chose life over death. The science that guided his professional life has been disparaged and abandoned by so many of the same people who depended on his knowledge to care for their animals and to raise their food."

After the obituary went viral, Courtney lashed out at those who've played down the deadly virus.

"I've spent most of this year hearing people from my hometown talk about how this disease isn't real, isn't that bad, only kills old people, masks don't work, etc," he wrote on Facebook. "And because of the prevalence of those attitudes, my father's death was so much harder on him, his family and his caregivers than it should have been. Which is why this obit is written as it is."

He also pushed back against those who criticized him for turning his father's obituary into a political statement.

"Well, his death was political," Courtney Farr wrote. "He died in isolation with an infectious disease that is causing a national crisis. To pretend otherwise or to obfuscate is also a political decision."

Courtney Farr isn't the only person to use a family member's obituary to speak out against those responsible for spreading the pandemic.

In July, Stacey Nagy, 72, blamed the death of her husband, David W. Nagy, 79, on President Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abott, and "the many ignorant, self-centered and selfish people" who refuse to wear a mask.

"Dave did everything he was supposed to do, but you did not," Stacey Nagy, 72, wrote in the tribute to her husband. "Shame on all of you, and may Karma find you all!"

"Family members believe David's death was needless," the obituary reads. "They blame his death and the deaths of all other innocent people, on Trump, Abbott and all of the other politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives."

When the history of America's reaction to COVID-19 is written, the story won't be about how America's heroic national character shone through and helped the country beat the disease.

Sadly, it'll be about how a lot of Americans didn't stand up and sacrifice for their communities' health and refused to listen to science until it came up with a vaccine, then they were all ears.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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