US marks grim milestone: 500K COVID deaths

Each death has left untold numbers of mourners, like Tommy Gonzalez, whose father was among the first casualties of the pandemic in the Chicago area last March.

Video Transcript

- The United States has reached a grim milestone. 500,000 people have died from COVID-19. And each death has left untold numbers of mourners like Tommy Gonzales, whose father Louie was among the first casualties of the pandemic in the Chicago area last March.

TOMMY GONZALEZ: He was my best buddy, that was a big thing. Me and him were best friends.

- It was st. Patrick's Day weekend when Louie Gonzalez was rushed to the hospital. The 60-year-old could barely get out of bed, finding it hard to breathe. Finally his wife called an ambulance.

TOMMY GONZALEZ: When he went into the hospital, I knew something was more serious, because he was more of a "I don't need doctors or anything."

- Gonzalez was put on a ventilator, but after a couple of days, he died. His loss, devastating for his family and their surrounding community. Gonzalez coached football teams at schools and their Northwest side neighborhood, and last summer as a tribute, a food pantry was named after him.

TOMMY GONZALEZ: He was always there for me. I had a fantastic relationship with my father.

- Gonzalez says he's not sure how his father, on medical leave from the Chicago Park District, contracted COVID, but that it's hard to see the death toll continue to rise. He says he hopes people continue to take steps to keep others safe.

TOMMY GONZALEZ: People should do what's right for their surrounding people.