New Yorkers Remember Loves Ones Lost To Pandemic

In New York City, once the epicenter of the pandemic, many are remembering family and friends who were lost. CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reports.

Video Transcript

WIANDY SANTIAGO: It's horrible, and one person is too many.

JENNA DEANGELIS: Wiandy Santiago lost her older brother Willmar to COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic in April-- a day she will never forget.

WIANDY SANTIAGO: It's been hard for the family, because we weren't able to be there for him. We weren't able to hold his hand.

JENNA DEANGELIS: Holding on to memories of the 65-year-old-- his love of music, the Yankees, and most importantly, his family.

WIANDY SANTIAGO: My brother didn't have a lot of material things, but he was rich in love, and compassion, and friendship, and I want him to be remembered that way.

JENNA DEANGELIS: Rima Samman also remembering her brother Rami, who passed away on Mother's Day. Since, she replays the last voicemail he left her.

RAMI: I just wanted to say I love you and thanks for your support.

RIMA SAMMAN: He would do anything and everything for anybody, whether it was a stranger or a neighbor.

JENNA DEANGELIS: She started this Memorial in Belmar, New Jersey, on January 25, which would have been his 41st birthday. It grows every day, now honoring 1,100 people, each name written on a rock, among the nearly half a million lives lost to the coronavirus in our country, a heartbreaking milestone, more than doubling early predictions.

RIMA SAMMAN: I don't think people really understand the magnitude of the losses. That each name is attached to somebody's sister, or somebody's son.

JENNA DEANGELIS: Among the grief, there are glimmers of hope, with vaccinations up and hospitalizations down. But Dr. Anthony Fauci said on CBS this morning, we can't get complacent.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: We really can't declare victory quite yet, because we have vaccines that clearly are the light at the end of the tunnel, but we know that there are variants out there.

WIANDY SANTIAGO: Wear the mask, do the social distancing, let's push a little harder so that no one else has to lose a loved one.

- Dr. Fauci said if we continue to go into the fall and winter and there's a level of virus in the community, we could be continuing to wear masks into next year. But now today, the focus in Washington is remembering all those lives lost. We're live outside Bellevue Hospital, Jenny DeAngelis, CBS 2 News.

- OK, Jenna, thank you.