The media has gone wild reinforcing to people that he died of COVID even with the vaccine (John Roberts giddily pointed out that this will make people more resistant to vaccines), so you're right, this will have a very bad impact.
Unfortunately the CDC and WHO (with their sometimes muddled messaging) have been no match for the likes of What's App and Facebook. Even YouTube just recently started disabling accounts that had been promoting snake oil cures and misinformation. And most of the earliest headlines mentioned that he was fully vaccinated without mentioning his multiple ailments and how that could figure into things.
The media is also not helping the fight against misinformation.
This is NOT an unpopular opinion: Linda Borgeson is one of the worst actresses ever cast in a major soap role. What did TPTB see in her auditions that she couldn't project in her actual scenes?
Replacing George Reinholt was more difficult than might have been expected. There aren't that many actors who have the dark, brooding, romantic quality that Reinholt had.
I would have been happy with Rachel and Mitch as a couple. Espy had good chemistry with actresses as different as Trish Stewart and Victoria Wyndham, or would Trish Stewart and Linda Dano be an even greater contrast?