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Remembering 5 people who have lost their lives to the coronavirus

As the pandemic delivers another week of gut-wrenching loss of lives, we take a moment to share the stories of five remarkable people who have died from COVID-19.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now, as we do every Friday, we take a moment to share the stories of five extraordinary individuals who have fallen victim to COVID-19 in this country.

    Brandon McCray found a niche in music as a young boy, his brother said. He played the guitar, violin and bass, but was best known for his skills as a gospel saxophonist. He taught music and recorded an album in the 1990s.

    Brandon was a devoted Christian, his brother said, and played at many church events, including funerals, adding that the music had a way of encouraging families in their time of need. Brandon was 52 years old.

    Lorintha Umtuch was an ambitious, driven woman, her daughter told us. She went back to school in her 40s and received a degree in political science. Lorintha spent more than two decades as a tribal court judge on reservations around the West Coast.

    She was the first woman from the Yakama Nation to serve as mayor of Toppenish, a city in Washington state. The 73-year-old was an active member of the Baha'i faith and was passionate about teaching it to children, her daughter said.

    Seventy-eight-year-old Shabbir Hamdani loved to interact with people, his son told us, and that's exactly what he did for about 40 years as a cab driver. A native of India, he moved to England, and then to the U.S., landing in the Dallas area in the 1980s.

    He was adventurous, gregarious and outgoing, his son said. For the last few years, Shabbir was volunteering at the information booth at the Dallas Airport, where his son said he enjoyed answering travelers' questions.

    Abel and Aida Busque came to the United States from the Philippines in the 1970s and settled in Detroit. They were pioneers and worked incredibly hard, their son told us, Abel in financial services, and Aida as an OB-GYN nurse.

    Their children often saw them as a single, complementary entity. Abel was stricter and sometimes stern. Aida was soft and giving, their son said. Both 73 years old, the Busques died about a week apart, just months before their 50th wedding anniversary.

    It was a kind of beautiful poetry, their son told us, like they couldn't bear to be apart from each other.

    And we thank all the family members who shared these stories with us. Our hearts go out to you, as they do to everyone who's lost a loved one in this pandemic.

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