Families whose loved ones have died of coronavirus complications are begging people to stop ignoring science and wear a mask as we get closer to the holidays.
"Heather left a brother and a sister, three of her own children," Deborah Steinberg of Riverside County said.
It's been eight months since Steinberg lost her 46-year-old daughter Heather Kidwell from COVID-19 complications. She said Heather’s agonizing death still haunts her everyday.
As the COVID-19 death rate continues to climb, surpassing 240,000 across the nation, the heartache of losing a loved one is being shared by millions of people, including the family of Redlands restaurant owner Leticia Silverio.
Over the summer the mother of three died from coronavirus complications.
"Every second of each month is very hard because she passed away August 2nd," her brother, Ignacio Silverio, said.
Months later, Leticia's brother said he is frustrated that the pandemic is getting worse, in part because so many people aren't taking the most basic safety precautions to stop the spread.
How Coronavirus Has Grown in Each State — in 1 Chart
This chart shows the cumulative number of cases per state by number of days since the 50th case.
Source: The COVID Tracking Project
Credit: Amy O’Kruk/NBC
"So many people are just ignoring good science, good hygiene recommendations, simply because it hasn't affected them yet," he said.
Heather Kidwell's mother says the simplest and easiest thing anyone can do is wear a mask.
"People need to get serious. Wear a mask and it isn't just for me it's for you," Steinberg said.
With the holidays quickly approaching, she said is hoping others follow her advice to help slow the spread by gathering with family by using Facetime or Zoom.
"Gathering in masses is just going to keep this blowing up, and it's out of control," she said.