David Hart's husband of 28 years, Dr. Joseph Costa, died in his arms after working on the front line of treating COVID-19 patients.
And now he has a response to President Trump's recent declaration, "It is what it is," regarding the high mortality in the United States from the deadly virus.
"Can you imagine if my husband, Joe, walked into a room of COVID patients, and said, 'Oh, it is what it is,' and just shoved their beds into the corner and walked out?" Hart told Anderson Cooper in the Tuesday broadcast of the gay anchor's CNN program.
Cooper had asked Hart to respond to comments made by the president in a shocking Axios interview in which he expressed a fatalistic reaction to COVID-19's death toll of 1,000 Americans daily.
"I still can't process that. 'It is what it is,'" Hart continued. "It is unbelievable. I mean, I want to say to the president, 'Get off your ass, drive 20 blocks, and spend 15 minutes in an ICU with a COVID patient who's dying. Do that.'"
Hart himself was in the ICU when his husband, the chief of the critical care division at Baltimore's Mercy Medical Center, died Saturday at age 56 surrounded by 20 colleagues. In his interview with Cooper, Hart revealed why he took off his personal protective equipment -- a tragic requirement for those witnessing the hospital deaths of loved ones from the virus -- during Costa's final moments.
"At the time he was dying, I was just not going to not be able to touch him with my bare hands with my cheek," said Hart, who had already contracted COVID-19 from his husband. "So I took everything off. I just took it off. I know I wasn't supposed to do that. But at that point, it was what I wanted to do for him to help support and comfort him."
Hart also mourned that his husband's colleagues at the ICU "didn't have the privilege that I had" in being able to comfort of doing the same. "They had their hands and blue gloves on his body, which is a very poignant moment for me," he recalled.
Hart also shared remembrance of his husband with Cooper, including the memory of an early date in which he mistakenly prepared a pasta meal with Ragu sauce for the Italian-American.
"Joe is a fantastic uncle. He was a loyal and generous friend. He was a beloved son, an engaged brother. He was a humble, enthusiastic, and lived-in-the-moment mentor to many folks. And he was also a gay man who worked on a Catholic institution," Hart said. "You know Joe was many things, but he always did and went about his life in a very quiet, calm way. He would hate, hate, that I was on TV right right now talking about him. But it's all right. He'll forgive us at the end of this."
"I was just not going to not be able touch him with my bare hands, with my cheek," says David Hart, who removed his PPE to touch his husband, Dr. Joseph Costa, as he lay dying. "I just took it off... I wasn't supposed to do that... but it was what I wanted to do for him." https://cnn.it/2BZlJoN