'I couldn't be there': Elizabeth Warren's tells the heartbreaking story of her brother's COVID death

'I couldn't be there': Elizabeth Warren's tells the heartbreaking story of her brother's COVID death
Elizabeth Warren // MSNBC

It was a year ago, on March 11, 2020, that the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 coronavirus to be a global pandemic — and although then-President Donald Trump downplayed its severity, the death toll in the United States continued to increase in the spring. One of the fatalities was Sen. Elizabeth Warren's oldest brother, Don Reed Herring, who was 86 when he died from COVID-19 on April 21, 2020. Warren, 11 months later, remembered her brother's death during an interview with MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace.

Warren remembered when Herring first tested positive for COVID-19, telling Wallace, "He said, 'They tested me…. for COVID. But I feel fine.' He says, 'It's ridiculous'…. Every day, I called him. I'd call him in the morning, I'd call him at night. And every day, he'd say, 'Nothing. I'm fine. I'm good'…. And then, I called one morning, and he wasn't there. And it turned out, in the night, he'd been taken to the hospital — and I never got to talk to him again, and neither did his wife or his two boys or my brothers."


Warren's description of her brother's death showed how erratic COVID-19 can be. At first, Herring didn't appear to be one of the more severe cases of COVID-19.

The Democratic Massachusetts senator told Wallace, "We got what we could through the nurses, and God bless them. But they were stretched to the edges…. They would say, 'He's better.' And then they would say, 'He's worse. He's not going to make it through the night.' Then they'd say, 'He's better.' And then, he took a turn for the worst — and they called us and told us he was gone.' And nobody was with him — not any of us."

Warren's description of Herring's death also underscored the fact that relatives of COVID-19 patients have been unable to visit them in the hospital.

"I don't know how he died — I don't if he was cold, or if he was thirsty," Warren told Wallace. "All I know is I couldn't be there to tell him how much I loved him, and neither could the rest of our family. And that's hard."

On Twitter, Warren first announced her brother's death on April 23, 2020, posting:


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