US bus driver who complained about a coughing passenger in viral video dies from coronavirus

Barely eleven days since a video by a Detroit, United States bus driver ranting about a woman coughing on his bus went viral, Jason Hargrove, 50, succumbed to coronavirus this week.

The incident comes days after a video in which Hargrove could be seen ranting against a woman who had coughed several times on his bus without taking any precautions. Authorities are as yet ascertain how Hargrove caught the virus.

“For us to get through this and get over this, y’all need to take this seriously,” he said with an expletive thrown in. … There’s folks dying out here,” Hargrove said in the video, which was shot on March 24 on the day the woman coughed on his bus.

According to a report in CNN, the driver started to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms just four days after the video.

The rant went viral on social media, drawing attention to the lack of protection or safety provided to bus drivers. Doctors in Detroit had previously protested on March 17 about lack of protection and were provided masks and gloves thereafter.

Hargrove’s death, which was announced by Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday, has caused widespread outrage. Following the announcement, the Mayor referred to Hargrove’s video and implored everyone to watch it. “Everyone in Detroit and everybody in America should watch it,” he said, adding, “I don’t know how you can watch it and not tear up.”

The mayor also pledged to provide increased protection against coronavirus to all public bus drivers at par with the safety measures provided to Detroit’s police officers and firefighters.

The news caused an outpouring of grief and anger on social media.

Much like medical professionals, police officers and other providers of essential services, public bus drivers face maximum exposure to strangers and require equal safety measures such as protective face masks, sanitisers and other gear to protect themselves. The safety of bus drivers during the coronavirus pandemic has been an issue not just in the US but also in the United Kingdom after five London bus drivers succumbed to the virus.