CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The COVID-19 pandemic enters 2021 with no signs of slowing down. North Carolina is hitting grim records on a regular basis.
The high counts serve as a reminder that even with 2020 behind us, the coronavirus is still here.
Lost in the numbers are the names and faces affected by the pandemic.
"My mom was more than just a number," Shane Windmeyer said.
His mother, Diann Hall, battled coronavirus for 30 days in the hospital and passed away on Dec. 22. Shane described his mother as a hard worker, a caregiver, and a lover of Disney.
"My mom meant the world to me. She gave me the world. She says, 'I love you to the moon and back,'" Windmeyer said.
Windmeyer lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, while his mother lived in Kansas.
For 30 days, she battled a tough fight without her son nearby. Hall died at 68-years-old.
"She didn't have to die," Windmeyer said. "This was not her year to die and I don't think that's the part people understand."
For Shane, the loss has been painful. He says what makes him angry is feeling our country is not grieving the lives lost.
"People are either choosing not to see it or they're just so selfish it doesn't matter to them," Windmeyer said. "This is real, this is science, this is lives lost."
While Shane knows he can never get his mom back, he just wants people to remember: behind those numbers, are people like his mom.
"In 2021, I want to see people coming together. I don't want another mother, father, or child to suffer what I went through," Windmeyer said. "Just put on the mask. It's not a lot to ask for when you think about someone losing a loved one."
Shane hopes for more financial assistance to families impacted by COVID. He also hopes for a memorial to one day be created for all the victims of the virus.