The US is averaging 250,721 new COVID-19 cases per day, a striking statistic that has imbued many with a sense of collective grief. On Jan. 12, CNN correspondent Sara Sidner was overwhelmed with this feeling of heartache as she broke down in tears on live TV. “It’s just not OK; it’s not OK what we’re doing to each other,” she said during coverage of a grieving California family who were forced to hold a funeral in a parking lot.
Juliana Jimenez Sesma’s entire family were struck by COVID-19 in December, resulting in the death of her mother, who had lung disease, and stepfather, who had asthma and diabetes. With funeral homes backed up due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles area, Sesma’s remaining family had to wait three weeks before the parking lot funeral could take place. “Waiting to bury her, that felt like torture,” Sesma said of her mother. During the report, Sidner tearfully took the opportunity to remind viewers that the Sesma family’s story is not an anomaly.
“This is the 10th hospital that I have been in, and to see the way that these families have to live after this, and the heartache that goes so far and so wide . . . it’s really hard to take,” Sidner said, pausing mid-sentence to compose herself. “These families should not be going through this. No family should be going through this. So, please, listen to what this family is saying. Don’t let this be you.”
Sidner’s heartfelt plea is a necessary reminder that COVID-19 is not an issue to be taken lightly. Those who disregard their community’s COVID-19 guidelines are playing a dangerous numbers game that’s a threat to themselves and everyone around them. We cannot cross our fingers and hope for the best. To flatten the curve, we must be considerate of all those around us and follow the advice of licensed medical professionals. “Do whatever you can to keep this from killing your family members and your neighbors and your friends and your teachers and doctors and firefighters,” Sidner said. “All of these people are here to help you, but you have to do your part.”
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