CNN’s Sara Sidner Tears Up Amid California COVID-19 Reporting: ‘It’s Just Not OK’

by Joseph K. Clark

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner was overcome with emotion on Tuesday morning as she reported on the grim reality of surging COVID-19 cases and deaths in California.

The veteran journalist appeared on air to discuss her recent reporting, including her conversation with Juliana Jimenez Sesma’s grieving woman. Jimenez Sesma was forced to hold a funeral service for her mother in a parking lot because funeral homes in the state are overwhelmed due to rising coronavirus deaths.

Sidner also talked about her recent visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles. Some patients have had to receive care in the facility’s gift shop, chapel, conference rooms, or in tents set up outside the hospital to address the influx of people needing care.

Amid California

“You know, this is the 10th hospital that I have been — I’m sorry, this is the 10th — I apologize, I’m trying to get through this,” Sidner said during Monday night’s segment as she fought back the tears. “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 tough to take.”

As of Sunday, California had 2,710,801 confirmed coronavirus cases and just under 30,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, the state’s department of health announced Monday.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County alone had surpassed 12,000 as of Monday. Hospitals across the county have declared internal disasters as they run out of oxygen, leaving health care workers to make bleak decisions as resources at medical care facilities dwindle.

Dr. Kimberly Shriner, an infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital, told Southern California Public Radio that her hospital has formed a special committee to make difficult decisions about who receives care with limited resources.

The COVID-19 crisis, which has led to a grim “backup of dead bodies” in Los Angeles County, has disproportionately devastated communities of color.

“It’s just not OK, it’s not OK what we’re doing to each other,” Sidner said elsewhere in the segment, adding a call for people to do their part in helping to stop the spread of the virus.

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