CNN host Erin Burnett broke down in tears during a live interview with a New York City mother-of-three whose 42-year-old husband died from coronavirus.
Tears streamed down Burnett’s face as she listened to Maura Lewinger share her indescribable grief after losing her husband Joseph Lewinger to the killer virus, live on CNN Friday night.
The devastated widow of the beloved assistant principal at The Mary Louis Academy in Queens described losing her husband and begged New Yorkers to follow stay-at-home orders.
Lewinger told how she was with her husband on Facetime when he died and played their wedding song down the phone to him.
CNN host Erin Burnett broke down in tears during a live interview with a New York City mother-of-three whose 42-year-old husband died from coronavirus
‘They put him on a ventilator in the morning and transfered him to ICU then I spoke to that nurse and he was very reassuring and I asked him to play music and he did,’ she said.
The next day she was told by doctors that they were ‘concerned’ so she Facetimed him ‘and I saw him and I begged him not to leave us and told him we all needed him’.
Later that day, the hospital told them they ‘had thrown the kitchen sink at him and I’m afraid he doesn’t have any more time and I said “I need to be on Facetime with him again,’ Lewinger recalled as tears streamed down her face.
‘I thanked him for being the most amazing husband and for making me feel so cherished and loved every single day… so yes I was with him when he passed.’
Burnett choked back tears as she tried to ask Lewinger questions about the impact on her family and the wider community.
Tears streamed down Burnett’s face as she listened to Maura Lewinger share her indescribable grief after losing her husband Joseph Lewinger to the killer virus
The devastated widow told she was with her husband on Facetime when he died and played their wedding song down the phone to him
‘I think your love for him….,’ Burnett started, before putting her head in her hands and crying.
‘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 said.
Burnett managed to recover enough to ask her Lewinger about the funeral procession the community had held for her husband.
Stay-at-home orders and bans on social gatherings meant the widow was unable to hold a funeral to say goodbye to Joseph.
‘You and your three children have this incredible loss,’ Burnett said. ‘But he had such a huge impact on his students. We talk about 20 years at that school and being a coach.’
The community rallied around and held a procession of 131 cars and fire trucks with signs in his honor, Lewinger said.
Social media users took to Twitter to respond to the powerful moment which had also moved them to tears
But the inability to hold a funeral makes the grieving process more difficult, she said.
‘It hasn’t 100 percent set in of course as we can’t go through the typical pomp and circumstance that we’re used to,’ she said.
‘My six-year-old also said “Wait Daddy can’t have a wake?”‘
The heartbreaking segment went on to show video tributes from the well-loved teacher’s students, who nicknamed him ‘J-Lew’.
Joseph had worked as a teacher, basketball coach and then Athletic Director and Assistant Principal at the school in Queens.
Lewinger described her husband as ‘such a giver in every respect of the word.’
‘He loved to make people happy and make people feel loved and everyone around him did,’ she said through her grief.
The mother-of-three spoke of the heartbreak within the family as she and Joseph’s three children struggle to come to terms with his premature death.
Their youngest, a six-year-old daughter, has been ‘acting out’ and is ‘mad’ following the incomprehensible news.
‘She said out of nowhere “I’m mad, I’m mad at God, I’m really angry” and “I said that’s okay, you’re allowed to be angry, you’re allowed to be angry at whoever and whatever you want. We’re all angry and we’re all upset”,’ said Lewinger.
She went on to make an emotional plea for New Yorkers to take the killer virus seriously and stay home.
‘You cannot be with people who are not in your house,’ she said.
Social media users took to Twitter to respond to the powerful moment which had also moved them to tears and echoing the devastated widow’s pleas for people to follow the lockdown rules.
‘Wow. This woman is telling her story about saying goodbye to her husband over Facetime and Erin Burnett is losing it,’ one viewer commented.
Another person tweeted urging people to listen to Lewinger and ‘stay home’: ‘I have never seen @ErinBurnett breakdown in an interview before, and she has interviewed some victims of some of the worst things imaginable. This was the most powerful interview I have ever seen. Peoples families are being destroyed. Please stay home people.’
‘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,’ another viewer posted.
The heartwrenching interview came as 23 people die every hour in New York from coronavirus.