1 million deaths: Families continue to grieve loss of loved ones due to COVID

"My husband was due for his vaccination the day of his funeral, so he never had the opportunity to get vaccinated."
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Over the last two years, 81,220 people have died because of Covid-19 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The impact on the families still grieving the loss of a loved one is immeasurable.

"My husband was due for his vaccination the day of his funeral, so he never had the opportunity to get vaccinated," said Octavia Tokley, who said goodbye to her husband, Erin Tokley in February of 2021.

He was 47, a 24-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department and a community minister.

She last saw him when the ambulance took him to the hospital. Their last words were said over FaceTime.

"I would go to the hospital just to FaceTime him to let him know I'm right here. I can't come inside, but I'm right here with you," Tokley would tell him.

She said he was a loving man, a light in the darkness and he was a friend to everyone.

Covid has impacted families across the country for the last two years.

In Philadelphia, 5,110 people have died from the virus. In Pennsylvania, there have been 44,789 Covid deaths, 33,503 in New Jersey and 2,928 deaths in Delaware.

Dr. Marci Drees of ChristianaCare says getting the vaccine is the best thing you can do.

She says it's hard to predict if we'll get to a point where Covid becomes a thing of the past.

"We know that people are tired, they want things to go back to normal. We just have to figure out what that new normal is going to be. It's not going to be the same as 2019," explained Drees.

For many people including the Tokley family, it's a reminder that life is short.

Unfortunately, losing someone to Covid is a pain she can relate to, but she continues to honor her husband every day.

"We have a garden in the front of our house and it's a memorial garden where we plant flowers and things that are representative of him," Tokley said.

Tokley has since created a support group. She encourages anyone to reach out who has lost a loved one to Covid.
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