US anti-mask organizer Caleb Wallace dies of COVID-19

Wan Lixin
China's successful containment suggests that, given rigorously enforced preventive measures in light of science, the pandemic can be conquered in time.
Wan Lixin

According to media reports, 30-year-old Caleb Wallace, the organizer of an anti-mask rally early this summer, died of COVID-19 on August 28 after struggling for some time on a ventilator at a hospital in the United States.

Many are COVID-19 victims in the US, but apparently Wallace was a victim in more than one sense.

In his case his misguided notion about the pandemic and his prejudice about restrictive measures have proved fatal. Partly as a result of the misinformation and disinformation campaign in the West, there has been intent to politicize and stigmatize the containment measures first adopted in China.

Such measures as mask-wearing, social distancing, and lockdowns – the efficacy of which has been proven again and again in China – have been perceived as "draconian" or "tyrannical."

As one of the first countries to deal with the onslaught of the pandemic, China has gained a wealth of experience in its fight against the disease. If studied without bias, such experience would prove invaluable in leading to successful containment elsewhere.

Unfortunately, these measures have been described as too restrictive to suit those brought up on false notions about personal freedom.

Somehow Wallace became a known mask opponent and founder of the "The San Angelo Freedom Defenders," a group committed to educating and empowering citizens to make "informed" choices concerning local, statewide, and national policy.

Fed up with precautions

In an early interview Wallace said his group was "fed up" with mandatory coronavirus precautions in what was described as "COVID-19 tyranny."

His group organized a rally to fight for "the basic rights of breathing free air, moving about freely, going into businesses without being harassed about a mask."

Last November, at a San Angelo City Council briefing on the pandemic, Wallace reportedly said, "My health has nothing to do with you. As harsh as that sounds, our constitutional, fundamental rights protect that. Nothing else." He demanded that "San Angelo ISD rescind ALL COVID-related policies immediately!" But aspirations to freedom do not grant immunity against COVID-19. The virus has since mutated into many new variants, but there has yet to emerge a strain that can be killed by an exaggerated notion of freedom.

When Wallace first fell ill in late July, he at first refused to get tested or see a doctor, since he was unwilling to be a part of COVID-19 statistics. Instead, he treated himself with ivermectin, Vitamin C, zinc aspirin and an inhaler.

Soon, he had no choice but to seek medical treatment and was hospitalized.

His widow, Jessica Wallace, said, "He was an imperfect man but he loved his family and his little girls more than anything."

At the time of her statement, she was expecting the couple's fourth child within the month.

China's successful containment measures suggest that with determination and rigorously enforced containment methods in light of science, the pandemic can be conquered in time.

Nevertheless, if the virus has on its side the support of bigotry, bias, and misguided notions of freedom, then we have to be prepared for a lengthening list of casualties and ravages.

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