A bus driver who was attacked by passengers in France on Sunday has died. The altercation resulted from his insistence that passengers wear masks to ride the bus, which they refused to do, despite being mandatory on public transportation in the country.
59-year-old Philippe Monguillot had been left brain dead after the assault in the city of Bayonne in southwest France. "We decided to let him go," his daughter Marie told AFP News on Friday, via the BBC. It was a decision the doctors agreed with. Monguillot was set upon after he reportedly asked three of the men to put on face masks and also tried to check another man's ticket.
Five people have been charged in total over the incident. Two men in their 20s were arrested and charged with attempted murder on Sunday, following the assault. Two other men were charged with failing to help a person in danger while a fifth man was charged with attempting to hide a suspect. The mayor of Bayonne condemned the "barbaric act", while thousands of people took part in a protest march in the city on Wednesday. The assault also caused server disruption to regional bus services, with many drivers refusing to work in the wake of the attack.
The attack in France is one of the more extreme examples of the outcry over masks, which have been recommended by health experts the world over as a means to slow the spread of coronavirus dramatically. In the U.S., there have been many incidents involving people refusing to wear masks, sometimes violently, while others have resorted to spitting on food, licking doors and otherwise coughing on people in response to requirements that people wear face masks.
There's also been a robust anti-Asian sentiment, including once incident in Seattle, Washington that's under investigation by the Seattle Police Department. Back in May, an Asian couple was harassed and attacked by a man about the coronavirus pandemic. In an altercation that was captured on video, a white male believed to be in his 30s is seen violently pushing the couple as they walked down the street, retreating only to return several seconds later.
As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University reports that there are more than three million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. alone, with nearly 12.5 million worldwide. Following efforts to reopen businesses, which began in some states around Memorial Day weekend, several have started to reverse course on their decisions as cases continue to surge.