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Culture

Herman Cain's death is a cautionary tale for anyone with COVID-19 risk factors

Herman Cain's death is a cautionary tale for anyone with COVID-19 risk factors

Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, former Republican presidential candidate, and icon of conservative values has died a month after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

Cain went to the hospital with serious symptoms on July 1st, after testing positive for coronavirus two days before. Thought it's impossible to determine where he contracted the virus, it's notable that he had attended President Trump's Tulsa rally on June 20, where he was photographed in close proximity with others in a crowded seating area where no one was wearing a mask. Others who attended the rally also tested positive, including some of Trump's own campaign team.

Any death from any disease is tragic. But it would be foolish and short-sighted to simply express sadness that Mr. Cain died from COVID-19 without also acknowledging that his death from the virus was likely avoidable. While many people who were actively trying to avoid getting infected have unfortunately still contracted the virus, Cain had been going about business as usual, attending crowded rallies and doing "a lot of traveling" around the time he caught the virus, according to his familly.



We've been told by public health experts since the beginning of the pandemic that older people and people with certain health conditions are at a much higher risk than others of dying from the disease and therefore need to take extra precautions. Cain was 74 years old—well into the age group at high risk. He was also a stage 4 colon cancer survivor. Though he has been cancer free for many years, he still may have been at a higher risk of suffering complications from the virus as a cancer survivor. As the American Cancer Society website states:

"Some cancer patients might be at increased risk of serious illness from an infection because their immune systems can be weakened by cancer and its treatments. Most people who were treated for cancer in the past (especially if it was years ago) are likely to have normal immune function, but each person is different. It's important that all cancer patients and survivors, whether currently in treatment or not, talk with a doctor who understands their situation and medical history."

We also know that Black Americans are many times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. While much of the reason for that is likely due to socioeconomic disparities, statistically speaking, being a Black man in the U.S. put Cain at even greater risk from the virus.

Cain's age, health history, and race were three risk factors that we know of for sure. Anyone with that many risk factors should absolutely be taking public health recommendations to socially distance, avoid crowds, and wear a mask when in public seriously.

Denial that the virus can and does kill people literally kills people. Following partisan narratives that the virus is a hoax, or that numbers are skewed, or that masks don't work or aren't necessary can literally kill people.

Some will call that fearmongering, but it's not fearmongering to simply state these known facts about public health. Some may call it disrespectful to use Cain's death as a cautionary tale, but it's not disrespectful to point out that a person who flaunted their refusal to follow health recommendations has died of the very thing those health recommendations are in place to avoid. It's truly a tragic irony. No one should take pleasure in it, but no one should deny it either. We're knee deep in a pandemic—a reality that far too many people are unwilling to fully internalize. It may be a slower emergency than we're used to, but it's an emergency nonetheless.

I hope Cain's loved ones are receiving the support they need to help them deal with his passing. And I hope everyone who has risk factors for COVID-19 sees his death as a warning sign to take coronavirus seriously and follow the guidance of public health officials whose entire job is to protect the public from exactly this scenario. Rest in peace, Mr. Cain.


Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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via Pexels

A couple celebrates while packing their home.

One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.

A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.

A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.

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Family

Professional tidier Marie Kondo says she's 'kind of given up' after having three kids

Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.

Marie Kondo playing with her daughters.

Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.

It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.

To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.

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Pop Culture

YouTube star MrBeast sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery to help them see again

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."

YouTube star sponsors 1,000 people's cataract surgery

Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.

Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.

"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.

After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.

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A mom makes sensory sand by putting Cheerios in a blender.

A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.

The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:

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Gaël Monfils makes tennis a must-see.

Tennis isn't always the most entertaining sport to watch, especially if you're not particularly interested in seeing a ball get slapped across a net at 1,000,000 mph approximately 17,000 times. You could probably get whiplash or eye strain if you focused too hard on it. While some people love the sport, others need a little more than grunts and sneaker sounds to capture their attention.

If you're in the group of people who need to be entertained, look no further than Gaël Monfils, a professional French tennis player that has earned the nickname, "The Entertainer." Monfils turned pro in 2004 and has multiple championship matches under his belt, and yet he still takes the time to be...extra while playing.

In a compilation video uploaded to TikTok, we see the 36-year-old tennis player dancing after hitting the ball across the net just out of his opponent's reach. But of course, he also doesn't hit the ball like your average player, either. In one part of the video, Monfils jumps up extremely high and bicycle kicks as he hits the ball with his tongue hanging out of his mouth.

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