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Families Plead for Vaccinations

Rallies honor loved ones lost to COVID-19
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2021 5:30 PM CDT
Families Plead for Vaccinations
Louis Pabon, center, who lost his wife, Miriam, to COVID, attends a COVID awareness event with his family Saturday at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta.   (Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

(Newser) – On the day the US returned to averaging 100,000 new daily coronavirus infections, victims of the virus and their families held rallies around the country to encourage people to get vaccinated and wear masks. "If it saves one person from hurting, just one person, it would have been worth it," said Tanya Washington, who organized the COVID Survivors for Change rally on Saturday in Atlanta, the AP reports. Her father died of COVID-19 in March. In New York, a march across the Brooklyn Bridge included nurses and other health care workers. Participants planned to take 615,000 steps to mark the lives lost to COVID-19 in the US, but they topped 1 million, per WABC. The march was organized by a 15-year-old whose grandfather died of the disease in May 2020. "Losing him was the hardest thing I've had to endure," Hannah Ernst said. "Walking the Brooklyn Bridge was something I wanted to do with him."

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The nation first reached 100,000 average daily cases last November before the peak around 250,000 in January, per the AP. June was the low point, about 11,000 cases per day, but the average is now 107,143. At the rallies, participants pleaded for people to be vaccinated. In New York, the widow and son of Edgar Calvache Sr., who died in October, said they're suffering. "We're here because we want to honor him and we wanna make sure that everyone out there gets vaccinated," said his son, Richard, per NY1. "Don't wait to go through what we went through first hand." Participants in the rallies—which also were planned in Denver, Washington, and other cities—said they found comfort among other people who'd lost someone to the disease. "We all have a common ground," Calvache said. "Take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your neighbor by simply just wearing your mask and getting vaccinated."

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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