Family of First Child to Die From Coronavirus in Michigan Express Support for Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Lockdown

The family of a 5-year-old girl in Michigan who died after testing positive for the coronavirus has thanked Governor Gretchen Whitmer for implementing the state's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order which has seen mass opposition.

Skylar Herbert is reported to be the first child to die from COVID-19 in Michigan after she was taken off a ventilator on Sunday, reports The Detroit News.

Skylar tested positive for the virus in March after complaining of headaches and experiencing a fever. She was later admitted to hospital on April 3 after relapsing and experiencing several other symptoms including seizures.

She was then diagnosed with meningoencephalitis, a rare complication of the coronavirus, which caused swelling of brain tissue and a lesion on her frontal lobe.

After spending two weeks on a ventilator at Beaumont Royal Oak, her parents—both of whom are first responders—decided to take her off.

"We decided to take her off the ventilator today because her improvement had stopped, the doctors told us that it was possible she was brain dead, and we basically just knew she wasn't coming back to us," LaVondria Herbert, Skylar's mother, told The Detroit News.

Beaumont Health also issued a statement on the 5-year-old's death.

"The loss of a child, at any time, under any circumstances, is a tragedy," a spokesperson said. "We are heartbroken that COVID-19 has taken the life of a child. We extend our deepest sympathy to Skylar's family and all others who have lost a loved one to this virus."

Skylar's death occurred days after mass protests took place opposing Whitmer's extended lockdown order which is set to remain in place until April 30.

The rally, named "Operation Gridlock," saw thousands defy the order and congregate on the streets to voice opposition to the lockdown on April 15.

Protesters also stopped their vehicles outside the state capitol building in Lansing to hold placards demanding an end to the lockdown. Whitmer condemned the demonstration, attended by people waving Confederate flags and showing support for President Donald Trump, as a "political rally" that would "endanger people's lives."

Trump appeared to show support for the protest, tweeting "LIBERATE MICHIGAN!" on April 17 while continuing to attack Whitmer for her response to the coronavirus.

Speaking to The Detroit News, Skylar's parents said they supported Whitmer's order, adding that her efforts are helping to save lives in the state.

"I want to say thank you to the governor for making people go home," LaVondria Herbert said.

Speaking to Newsweek previously, Whitmer said she hopes people will eventually realize why she is imposing the order and refusing to back down amid pressure from critics.

"People might not appreciate how dire the situation here in Michigan is and understand why I'm being so persistent," Whitmer said. "But at the end of the day, I'm pulling out all the stops to try to get the help for the people that I represent. That's all I'm doing."

There are 36,887 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, with 2,291 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University. In total, over 70,300 people have managed to recover from the virus in the U.S.

People protest against quarantine measures during the coronavirus pandemic at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on April 15, 2020. JEFF KOWALSKY/Getty

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.