The making of a Coronavoter

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The making of a Coronavoter

As the U.S. presidential election looms, a new cohort of voters has the potential to tip the scale against Donald Trump: Republicans for whom the coronavirus was the last straw, and Democrats and independents who don't always vote but tell pollsters the pandemic will summon them to the booth come November.

Grant Hall of Georgia is one of those Coronavoters. In 2016, he was uninspired by the candidates from both parties, and like many of his college-aged peers, chose not to vote in his first presidential election.

Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

Photographer: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg

Fast-forward to 2020: After 2 1/2 years abroad with the Peace Corps, Grant returned to the U.S. in December and moved in with his family. Hell soon broke loose. Grant, his sisters and his parents started showing symptoms of Covid-19 in late March. His father didn't get better.

Doctors put Grant's dad, Stuart, on hydroxychloroquine, but the drug made his heart race. "It was 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning," Grant recalls, "and he was visibly not OK. Me and my mom rushed him to the hospital. It turned out once we got there that at some point that night he had been having a heart attack." While large-scale studies have failed to find a benefit from the drug in treating the coronavirus, it has been associated with elevated heart risks. As night turned to day, Grant sat in the parking lot, Googling the survival odds for his father, who was in surgery. 

The Hall family lived from phone call to phone call over the next few weeks as Stuart remained on a ventilator. "That was the same period in which Trump said he'd been taking hydroxychloroquine for weeks, that it was a wonder drug," Grant says. "We knew how many other people could potentially be in our shoes, and to have our leader promoting bad science was really maddening."

Stuart has since returned home to his loved ones, and his health is improving each day with physical therapy. But Grant remains frustrated that science has been overpowered by politics. Come November, the 25-year-old is going to make his vote count. "It's easy not to care until it personally affects you," Grant says. "If it hasn't hit close enough to home yet, look no further than my own."—Riley Griffin

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Shoppers looking for space push up demand pretty much everywhere else.

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