An Ohio man who called the state’s stay-at-home order "madness" and dismissed the coronavirus pandemic as a "political ploy" has died of COVID-19. According to a Snyder Funeral Homes obituary, John McDaniel, 60, of Marion County, Ohio, passed away on April 15 at Riverside Methodist Hospital from coronavirus complications. Diagnosed in late March, according to Ohio Health officials and first reported by the Marion Star, his death marked the first coronavirus fatality in Marion County.
The Sun reports that McDaniel’s death came after he had shared several posts speaking out against the pandemic and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's handling of it. In a post on March 13, he reportedly asked if anyone had "the guts to say this Covid19 is a political ploy" and encouraged people to "prove him wrong." Just two days later, on March 15, he commented on the state’s "bulls–" stay-at-home order, which mandated the closure of restaurants, bars, shops, and other facilities.
"If what I'm hearing is true, that DeWine has ordered all bars and restaurants to be closed, I say bulls–," he allegedly wrote. "He doesn't have that authority. If you are paranoid about getting sick just don't go out. It shouldn't keep those of us from living our lives. The madness has to stop."
Although McDaniel's posts were reportedly widely shared, his Facebook page has since been removed. In his obituary, his family asked for "everyone to continue practicing social distancing to keep each other safe." The family also thanked the nurses and staff at Marion General Hospital and Riverside Methodist Hospital "for everything they did to try and save Johnny’s life from Covid-19."
McDaniel's family remembered him as a "loving and loyal husband, father, son, brother, uncle, and friend" who "loved life and loved everyone he knew with his whole heart." They added that he "was an ornery son-of-a-gun and was often the first to crack a joke no matter the occasion" and that he "had an unwavering determination and he couldn't be stopped when he put his mind to something."
McDaniel is survived by his wife and two sons. A drive-thru visitation for McDaniel was held on April 22 and followed by a private celebration of life ceremony.
According to a New York Times database, Ohio had 28,455 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Tuesday morning. There have been more than 1,600 fatalities. The state has since begun to reopen after a months-long stay-at-home order.