Families remember loved ones who died from COVID-19, 2 years since 1st case was detected in US

"I wish my dad was here."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It has been two years since the first case of COVID was detected in the U.S.

ABC7 news reporter Luz Pena spoke to people across the country whose loved ones died of COVID-19 and now are taking action to honor them. More than 800,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.

Tara Krebbs lost her dad Charles to COVID in 2020. She's grateful to all the medical workers who showed compassion and love during his last days.

"It's so hard on so many levels. There have been so many up and downs. The vaccines came out and I felt so positive. I volunteered at a vaccine site and cried while I was vaccinating seniors because I was like 'Oh my God I wish my dad was here,'" said Krebbs, Arizona resident.

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In June of 2020 Kristin Urquiza's parents got COVID. Her dad Mark Urquiza passed away shortly after. Out of pain and grief, Urquiza started "Marked by COVID."

"It came to me that we've been marked and for the rest of our lives we will be marked by COVID. That was both an inspiration from my father, but also wanting to create a name for an organization that could be a really big tent for people who have been impacted by COVID," said Urquiza.

"Marked by COVID" has given families who lost loved ones a new direction. Kristin called out former President Donald Trump for spreading false information that led to the death of her father.

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"I'm so grateful for the advancements that we've had. I'm so grateful, too, that we've been able to work on such a quick timeline to develop and bring to market the vaccine technology, treatments for folks, the new Pfizer pill," said Urquiza as she reflected on the last two years.

One of the members of "Marked by COVID" is Lucy Esparza- Casarez. She lost her husband and sister-in-law to COVID in early 2020.

"Within two months, I lost everything," said Esparza- Casarez.

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Now she is working with "Marked by COVID" on establishing a COVID Memorial Day.

"I feel like I have purpose now. Like, I found what I need to be doing. We can't just let the memory of our loved ones just go by the wayside. This was a huge tragedy," said Lucy Esparza- Casarez, Southern California resident.

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Deshira Wallace, is also part of the organization. She lost her uncle to COVID. She reflected on the improvements we've seen since the first COVID case was detected in January 2020.

"We are seeing some progress moving forward with the tests that have been going out and masks that are going out too. However, we need to make sure those are consistently available and free," said Wallace.

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