'You're lying, it's a hoax': Disbelief of the coronavirus is driving a wedge through American families — even those who've been infected

Texas-based Kim Enriquez said catching the coronavirus didn't change her support for President Donald Trump. Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
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Political rifts surrounding the coronavirus divide American families.
Spurred on by President Donald Trump, some people are denying the severity of the pandemic even if their own family members get the coronavirus.
We spoke to two women who both had the coronavirus to see how it is affecting their lives and if it changed their choices for the 2020 elections.
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COVID-19 is tearing families apart.
Political rifts have led Americans to argue about the severity of the coronavirus and how to deal with the pandemic - even among those infected with the virus.
Even though more than 210,000 Americans have died from the virus and the president infected himself with it, disputes over the coronavirus persist across the country over mask mandates, bans and business restrictions.
We spoke to two women on different sides of the political spectrum, who both survived COVID-19 this year, to see how the virus affected their lives and choices in the 2020 election.
Cindy Nichols-Harigel has been sick for more than five months.
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
But many of her relatives do not believe that she contracted the virus.
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
She said it was difficult "for the family to look you in the eye and say," You are lying "instead of trusting and believing that your family member had the experience they describe, just because you did it don't want to believe it. "
"Every time we tried to talk to them about it, it was, 'You're lying, it's a joke, it's a joke, you're full of it,'" she said. "But for the same reason, not a single one of them will come around us. So if it's a joke or a joke, why are we being shunned like the plague if it's not the plague? Makes no sense."
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Cindy has had a fever, chills, and brain fog since April. She also had a persistent cough, which she believed was made worse by her decades of smoking cigarette habit.
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
Yet many of their family members deny the existence of the virus altogether. "Every time we tried to talk to them about it, it was, 'You're lying, it's a joke, it's a joke, you're full of it,'" she said. "But for the same reason, not a single one of them will come around us. So if it's a joke or a joke, why are we being shunned like the plague if it's not the plague? Makes no sense."
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
The arguments got so unbearable that Cindy blocked several of them on social media. "When they started calling me a liar and a hypochondriac," she said, "you know what? Block. You're done. You're not a family to me."
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
It was especially frustrating for her to see the President repeatedly rejecting the gravity of the disease. She didn't vote in 2016 but now she is voting for Joe Biden because she believes this will save lives.
Joe Biden shares health care remarks during an election freeze in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on June 25, 2020. REUTERS / Mark Makela
But she is in the minority in Pensacola, Florida, where Trump received more than half of the statewide vote in 2016.
Armando Gallardo for Business Insider Today
Trump himself has alerted experts with his public stance on COVID. He has admitted downplaying the virus since February and was rarely seen wearing a mask before testing positive. He recently took off his mask to wave cameras while he was still infected with the virus.
President Donald Trump watches Marine One from Truman's Balcony as he returns home after receiving treatment for COVID-19 at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center October 5.
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He has spoken out against any shutdown. Many of his supporters have followed suit and, despite restrictions on large gatherings, have gathered en masse at the President's rallies.
People cheer as Vice President Mike Pence speaks to supporters before President Donald Trump took the stage during a Keep America Great rally on February 20, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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Kim Enriquez from Little Elm, Texas is part of Trump's loyal base. She contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. Four months later, she still has a fever, tiredness, coughing, wheezing and stomach problems.
The story goes on

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