Former presidential candidate and current Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) announced on Thursday morning that her oldest brother, Donald Reed Herring, had died, apparently due to complications relating to COVID-19.
Prior to Warren’s announcement on Twitter, it was not yet publicly announced that her brother had contracted the disease. His initial diagnosis reportedly came three weeks ago.
Herring was 86 years old.
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“My oldest brother, Don Reed, died from coronavirus on Tuesday evening,” Warren wrote in her Twitter post. “He joined the Air Force at 19 and spent his career in the military, including five and a half years off and on in combat in Vietnam. He was charming and funny, a natural leader.”
In subsequent tweets, Warren also explained how her feelings of sadness and loss were compounded by the fact that she was not able to be near Herring at the time of his passing.
“I’m grateful to the nurses and frontline staff who took care of him,” Warren said, “but it’s hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say ‘I love you’ one more time — and no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close. I’ll miss you dearly my brother.”
Warren has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic. Hours before announcing the death of her brother, Warren had called for an inquiry into the actions taken by the president and his administration.
“He’s misled the public from the start. He’s allocating resources based on which governors he likes best. His family and their cronies are making policy decisions in backroom deals,” Warren wrote. “Enough is enough. We need an investigation into Trump’s pandemic response.”
More than 843,000 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the United States so far, with 46,859 deaths reported, according to tracking from Johns Hopkins University.
Massachusetts, the state that Warren represents in the Senate, has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. As of Thursday morning, it had the third-highest number of COVID-19 cases reported, and the fourth-highest number of deaths in the country, with 2,182 being identified.
In deaths per capita, Massachusetts ranked fifth-highest overall, with 32 individuals out of every 100,000 reportedly dying from the disease in the state.
While some areas of the country have “flattened” their curves of infection, the nation as a whole hasn’t seen the same trend happen yet. And as the president makes plans to end social distancing measures, in what he’s been calling an effort to “reopen” the nation’s economy, most Americans overall are wary of doing so.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released this week found that 58 percent of Americans are more worried about the potential to end social distancing rules too soon versus having concerns that the economy might be hurt by those measures. On the opposite side of things, only 32 percent of Americans worry that the economy might “reopen” too slowly.