On March 21, Detroit bus driver Jason Hargrove posted a video expressing his frustration over the lack of cough etiquette amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 50-year-old specifically called a female passenger who allegedly coughed several times on the bus without covering her mouth, potentially exposing him and others to the deadly virus.
"This coronavirus shit is for real, and we out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families," Hargrove explained in the now-viral video. "But for you to get on the bus ... and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know that we in the middle of a pandemic, that lets me know that some folks don’t care ... Listen, I’m mad right about now, because that shit was uncalled for and I’m trying to be the professional that they want me to be, and I kept my mouth closed."
Nearly two weeks after the Facebook Live broadcast, the Amalgamated Transit Union announced Hargrove had died from coronavirus.
"Jason Hargrove of Local 26-Detroit, MI, a Transportation Equipment Operator for the Detroit Department of Transportation, has been a member since 2016 and leaves behind a wife," the ATU tweeted Thursday.
Union leaders say Hargrove was placed under quarantine four days after the stream, though it's unclear when he was infected and diagnosed.
Glenn Tolbert, the president of the city's bus driver union told WXYZ on Thursday that 100 of the 530 DDOT drivers were under quarantine and seven of those drivers had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Detroit bus drivers went on strike on March 17, protesting their unsafe working conditions. A day later, the city complied with their demands and implemented measures that would reduce exposure risks; these included extra cleaning of city buses, directing passengers to enter and exit from the back doors, providing gloves and disinfectant wipes for drivers, as well as waiving fares.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan addressed Hargrove's death during a Thursday press conference, stating the driver was infected before the front bus doors were ordered to remain closed.
"Everyone in Detroit and everybody in America should watch [Hargrove's video] ..." Duggan said. "I don’t know how you can watch it and not tear up ... He knew his life was being put in jeopardy, even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day, but somebody just didn't care—somebody who didn't take this seriously and now he's gone."