By Meredith Barack

CHICAGO (CBS) — The one million COVID cases in Illinois is not just a number.

CBS 2’s Meredith Barack shows us some of the faces of COVID-19.

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“A lot of people didn’t make it. The first whole month, I do not remember it. Anything at all.”

Wayne Kusta spent months in the hospital with COVID-19. Since coming home in July, his health has improved, but one thing remains the same.

“Right now, it’s like a curse. I get up and I think about it. Noon time, I think about it. Evening, I think about it,” he said.

It’s something Yuli Diaz also thinks about often.

“The virus did take a lot from me, but it’s the motivation to keep going,” she said.

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The two survivors are proof that the virus can impact you regardless of your age, your spouse or your plans for the future.

“My family could have been honestly, having a funeral or burial for me,” Diaz said.

Saying goodbye has been a reality for many families, like the Lopez family.

“My mom said goodbye to my dad on FaceTime through glass. It was the same for my mom, when she went to the ICU on November 20. Every bone in my body told me she wasn’t coming home,” said Erica Lopez. “I lost my father Guadalupe Lopez, Jr.  He was 58 years old and he passed away on November 16, 2020. And then my mom, Maria Lopez, passed away at 56 years old on December 4, 2020.”

As thousands continue to test positive each day, Kusta has one wish: that others have a homecoming like he did.

“I came a real long way, and I just thank god everyday. And I go to bed praying for these other people that they survive it.”

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Meredith Barack