UPDATE: May 12 ― Rep. Maxine Waters’s told The Grio that her sister has died of the coronavirus.
The California congresswoman revealed on the House floor last month that her sister was dying of COVID-19.
“It is one of the most painful things that I’ve ever had to experience in my life,” Waters told the publication in an interview on May 7. “She had suffered. And so we are going through a very difficult time. It was not easy, but in many ways, I’m so glad she’s out of pain.”
The congresswoman said that her sister was living in a nursing home, noting that long-term care facilities have been especially vulnerable to outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.
“The nursing home is the only place we have for many of our seniors, many of whom have outlived their families,” Waters told The Grio. “That’s where they go. And now these nursing homes are like a Petri dish for the continued development of this virus that is killing us.”
The congresswoman, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, discussed her sister’s condition while speaking in support of the latest coronavirus relief bill, which passed in the Senate earlier this week and passed in the House later Thursday.
“I’m going to take a moment to dedicate this legislation to my dear sister who is dying in a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, right now, infected by the coronavirus,” Waters said.
The congresswoman, who grew up in St. Louis with 12 siblings, did not name the sister who has COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, during her speech in the House chamber.
The legislation allocates an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program designated for small businesses. The initial rollout of the program drew criticism after it was revealed loans went to some large businesses and chains before the program ran out of money.
The new bill also allocates $75 billion to health care providers for expenses and lost revenues related to the coronavirus pandemic and $25 billion to expand testing.
“What made him extra special was his smile — quick and crooked, it always seemed to generate its own light, one that lit up everyone around him,” Warren tweeted on Thursday.
She noted in a later tweet that she was “grateful to the nurses and frontline staff who took care of him.”
“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,” she added. “I’ll miss you dearly my brother.”
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