Families of COVID-19 patients are asking hospitals to rethink visitor policies a year and a half into the pandemic that has so far killed approximately 700,000 people in the U.S. The relatives say they're being denied the right to be with loved ones at a crucial time. Doctors also are increasingly telling hospitals to relax restrictions to allow patients to see their families. Hospitals in at least a half-dozen states have loosened restrictions governing visits to COVID patients. Others, however, are standing firm, backed by studies and industry groups that indicate such policies have been crucial to keeping hospital-acquired infections low.