CNN’s Erin Burnett could hardly disguise her emotion as she spoke to a New York woman who had just lost her husband to the coronavirus.
Burnett fought back tears during the live interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” on Friday as Maura Lewinger of Queens gave the heartbreaking account of how she said goodbye to her 42-year-old husband Joseph over FaceTime as he died.
“You and I were just speaking briefly before this began and not only am I so sorry, but of course it’s impossible to truly imagine the depth of your loss, the suddenness of it, the unexpectedness of it, but I know that you are on tonight to speak to people at this moment and that you have something you want to tell them,” Burnett said at the outset of the segment.
The mother of three responded by recalling their lives together and how her late husband, who was a high school assistant principal and coach of the basketball team, was loved by the community.
“He always has a listening ear, no matter what you’re talking about. Joe was always listening, always felt like you were the most important person in the room,” she said, mentioning how he left her love letters every morning in her lunch box.
With no pre-existing conditions, he began to show “mild symptoms,” Lewinger told Burnett. He had a low-grade fever that spiked around St. Patrick’s Day in March, creating issues with his breathing. She explained that over the next days and weeks, the couple “pretty much spent 24/7 on FaceTime, trying to meditate and calm him, trying not to let him feel alone.”
“The country is getting used to remote learning and we had to get used to virtual caregiving and virtual marriage and just being there for each other,” she said.
“They put him on a ventilator in the morning and transferred him to ICU, then I spoke to that nurse and he was very reassuring and I asked him to play music and he did,” Lewinger said, sharing that she continued to listen to their wedding song while waiting.
She recounted how the hospital called, saying they “had thrown the kitchen sink at him and I’m afraid he doesn’t have any more time.”
“Hurry in the room and get him on FaceTime,” she had said.
“And so she did. She did. And I thanked him, I thanked him for being the most amazing husband and for making me feel cherished and loved every single day,” Lewinger told Burnett. “I played our wedding song for him. And then that was it.”
“I think your love for him-,” Burnett began to say, before putting her head in her hands for a moment in tears.
“Sorry, made me cry… it’s a beautiful thing. But I also wanted everyone to know the love that your community had for your husband,” she finally said.
She asked about funeral arrangements which could not be made due to stay-at-home orders and bans on social distancing, though the community apparently held a funeral procession of cars and trucks in his honor. Lewinger urged people to abide by the guidelines and directives being given in dealing with the pandemic.
“People are just not being careful. People are being so invincible-feeling and they think it can’t happen to them,” she said. “You cannot, cannot, be with people that are not in your house. As sad and lonely and everything that is, you must, must stay with only the people in your house.”
Social media users were heartbroken at the tragic and unexpected loss of a young life, and at Burnett’s emotional reaction, and shared their feelings on Twitter.
Man Erin Burnett is breaking down in this incredibly sad interview and Im crying too.❤️😢
— Tracy R (@SNR4Life23) April 3, 2020
Erin Burnett @ErinBurnett is crying on air, I’m crying in my room, we’re all crying. This broke my heart. 💔 pic.twitter.com/EnUx2HOkus
— Michael Gold, Psy.D. (@drmichaelgold) April 3, 2020
I’m watching an interview on CNN with @ErinBurnett with Maura Lewinger who lost her 42 year old husband to coronavirus. It’s devastating and I’m sitting here crying along with Erin. This is heartbreaking. Everyone please stay at home. #ErinBurnett
— denise (@ddeenniissee59) April 3, 2020
Yes. And we are more at risk. I am gutted and terrified. And watching someone like Erin Burnett crying on camera is just frankly shocking. The tolls this is taking.
— Victoria Brownworth ☣ #StayHomeSaveLives (@VABVOX) April 4, 2020
Listening to Maura talk about her husband dying from COVID-19 made me cry. @ErinBurnett is crying too. This is an emotional time and I’m glad to see news anchors show these sides because they’re human too. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/AG7KoZhvah
— Melissa Gonzalez (@melissa_gon5) April 3, 2020
Wow. This woman is telling her story about saying goodbye to her husband over Facetime and Erin Burnett is losing it. pic.twitter.com/7nm5Rnf7av
— Rizz Exotic (@Rizzmiggiz) April 3, 2020
Is the entire world crying as hard as I am with @ErinBurnett right now? 😭😭😭
— Beth (@BethLaddDrickey) April 3, 2020
Today, CNN’s Erin Burnett interviewed a lady who’s healthy 42 year old husband died from the virus and Erin broke down crying, I was crying. Her husband sounded like super loving guy. That’s how you want to be talked about when you die. The beast is so random it’s terrifying.
— Ebony (@EbonyApplePy) April 4, 2020
This story on @CNN @ErinBurnett is crushing. Who is seeing this? Everyone is crying. Everyone.
— Patrick Duffy (@PatrickDuffy88) April 3, 2020
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