Maxine Waters Loses Sister To COVID-19
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congresswoman Maxine Waters has lost her sister to the novel coronavirus. According to local NBC affiliate KSDK, 86-year-old Velma Moody passed away at Grand Manor Nursing Home in St. Louis on May 1. 

In an interview with The Grio, Waters shared the disappointing update and lamented on the fact that the establishments designed for elderly living have in the case of COVID-19 become hotbeds for the spread of the novel disease. “The nursing home is the only place we have for many of our seniors, many of whom have outlived their families,” Waters said. “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.”

Grand Manor, where Waters’s sister was residing, has seen protests recently from staffers demanding that workers receive paid sick leave if they contract the coronavirus. According to reports, an undisclosed number of residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is one of the most painful things that I’ve ever had to experience in my life,” Waters told The Grio about her sister’s battle and subsequent death from the virus. “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.”

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On April 23, Waters got candid on the House floor while speaking in support of the $484 billion relief aid package that was passed to aid small businesses and hospitals. “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 at the time

Since the start of the pandemic, Waters has been particularly instrumental in ensuring that the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the Black community remains at the forefront of legislative conversations. She told The Grio that losses from the health outbreak have made it even more pertinent for Black people to prioritize their health.

Velma Moody’s life is expected to be celebrated this week with a visitation service at a St. Louis funeral home, KSDK reports. A private service will take place for the family on Thursday.