Social media schadenfreude: Reddit’s Hermain Cain Award derides anti-vaxxers who died of COVID

“The Herman Cain Award subreddit became, for me, the most graphic and eye-opening description of what dying of COVID looks like. And it is very sobering,” says Slate staff writer Lili Loofbourow. Photo by Brian Hardzinski/KCRW.

Herman Cain, one-time Republican presidential candidate and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, died of COVID a year ago. He spent weeks in the hospital, and the public will never know where he contracted the virus. He did attend a big Trump rally — maskless, indoors — in Tulsa nine days before testing positive.

A month after he died, his team tweeted, “It looks like the virus is not as deadly as the mainstream media first made it out to be.”

That tweet and the circumstances of Cain’s death inspired Reddit users to create a page known as the Herman Cain Award. It tracks people who died or were hospitalized after they were vocally anti-vax or anti-mask online.