‘I Don't Want Her to Be a Statistic.' Mother Loses Daughter to Coronavirus

"It's about kindness and respect toward other people -- toward humanity."

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A Riverside County mother whose daughter died of COVID-19 says everyone needs to wear face coverings to help stop the spread of the deadly virus.

"My mind is just blown over it...the fact that Heather is just gone," Deborah Steinberg of San Jacinto said.

She is still mourning the heartbreaking death of her daughter Heather Kidwell.

"It's like stopped my life almost," Steinberg said.

Heather, a 46-year-old woman who was put on a ventilator after contracting coronavirus, died on May 11.

"My child, I don't want her to be a statistic. I don't want her to be a number. We went through hell," Steinberg said.

She said she doesn’t want anyone else to suffer her deep pain. But she fears more and more people will as COVID-19 continues to spread. She believes that spread could be snuffed out if everyone wore a mask in public.

"It could save your life, anyone in your family's life," she said. "It's about kindness and respect toward other people -- toward humanity."

Health experts also say it's about science.

"Masks are not a cure-all. They don't stop transmission 100% but thy significantly reduce the likelihood that you will either pass it on to someone else or that you'll get the infection," said Riverside County Dr. Geoffrey Leung.

Leung says face coverings can reduce the chance of passing on coronavirus by 60 to 80%. That's because he says COVID-19 is mostly transmitted through the eyes, nose, or mouth.

"When we exhale we have water droplets that come out of our mouth. Anytime we breathe, we cough, we sneeze, we sing. So the mask actually captures those water droplets before they get further away, protecting the people around us," Leung said.

Still Dr. Leung says despite the medical benefits of wearing a mask, some people choose not to wear them and that makes Steinberg furious.

"People are just not heeding the scientific warning for this. I feel like they are the 'you're not the boss of me' people,'" she said.

Steinberg says covering your face isn't about politics or your constitutional rights. It's about saving lives.

"If people don't like wearing masks how are they going to feel about wearing a ventilator?" she said.

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