Remembering 2 Valley lives lost as U.S. surpasses 500,000 COVID deaths

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The sound of bells rang out from the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. Monday evening.

That ringing was followed by a moment of silence at the White House, in remembrance of more than 500,000 Americans, who've died from the coronavirus.

That number is roughly the population of Fresno.

"As we acknowledge the scale of this mass death in America, we remember each person and the life they lived," said President Joe Biden.

Registered nurse Oliver Isleta was among the many who lost their battle with the virus.

RELATED: Nurse at Community Regional in Fresno dies from COVID-19 complications

He was working on the front lines at Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center, before he died of COVID-19 complications in September.

"We have been trying to cope with the fact that he is gone," said Juan Carlos Santamarina, Oliver's nephew.

Oliver leaves behind a wife and son in the Philippines.

His niece recently gave birth to baby girl she named Zaylee Olivia in honor of Oliver.

"He was very kind and a loving uncle for us. He would visit us at our home," said Santamarina.

Brenda Sanchez of Dinuba survived a rough battle with the coronavirus, but it took her mother's life.

RELATED: Dinuba woman mourns loss of her mother as family members contract COVID-19

Her mom Maria was a kidney transplant recipient, making her vulnerable to the virus.

The loss has been immensely traumatic.

"I know that I am going through depression since I lost my mom, because it is not easy to lose a loved one at all," she said.

Sanchez contracted COVID-19 last summer and nearly seven months later she's still recovering.

She suffers from shortness of breath and brain fog.

Sanchez is urging people to protect themselves and their loved ones by masking up and taking their safety precautions.

"For all those people out there that have a mother and a father treasure them," said Sanchez.

There is some positive news - with more vaccines rolling out, the average case rate in the U.S. has dropped 74% since January.

The average number of dea
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