Nearly 300,000 Redditors are in the r/HermanCainAward subreddit, and it's still growing rapidly. In it, Redditors posts story after story of Covid deaths, and the subreddit serves as a grim reminder of the virus's continuing dangers. ward subreddit, and it's still growing rapidly. The name derives from Republican fast-food giant Herman Cain who died of Covid some weeks after attending a Trump rally maskless in the summer of 2020.
The subreddit's posts, for the most part, follow a predictable format: first, photos and screenshots show a person's egregiously irresponsible Covid behavior. Then, the post has evidence of a person contracting and struggling with the virus. The stories of the Covid deaths come from Facebook screenshots or personal stories, and they show a close-up picture of what having the disease is like. One notable feature of the subreddit is the flairs: a hospitalized person's flair is "nominated." If they die, it changes to "awarded." Here's the community description:
Nominees have made public declaration of their anti-mask, anti-vax, or Covid-hoax views, followed by admission to hospital for Covid. The Award is granted upon the nominee's release from their Earthly shackles.r/HermanCainAward
While the Herman Cain Award brings attention to the importance of Covid safety, it may wade into the dangerous territory of mocking those who die of Covid. A rule of the subreddit is "Don't be a dick. Don't root for nominees to be awarded." Still, some posts and comments may contain elements of schadenfreude.
The good news is that it's pretty easy to make sure you won't win a Herman Cain Award. Get vaccinated and wear a mask in public spaces, unless you'd like to be presented with one of these upon your death.Gita Jackson for Vice