‘When you saw me cry, you witnessed my rage’: CNN reporter shares why she broke down during a live report on victims of COVID-19

“Please listen to what this family is saying. Don’t let this be you.”

CNN reporter Sara Sidner is sharing how she felt when she broke down in tears Tuesday while doing a live report on a family that has lost multiple members to COVID-19

After the pre-recorded interviews with hospital staff in Los Angeles and a family that was forced to hold a funeral for their matriarch in a parking lot was shown to viewers, Sidner became overcome by emotion on-air, choking back 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 really hard to take,” she told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. 


Sidner went on to say “no family” should be going through what she has witnessed in her reporting. 

“Please listen to what this family is saying,” she pleaded with viewers. “Don’t let this be you, do whatever you can to keep this from killing your family members and your neighbors and your friends and your teachers and your doctors and your firefighters. All of these people are here to help you, but you have to do your part.” 

Sidner later penned a piece for CNN explaining further “Why [she] lost it on live TV.”

“I felt raw and exposed and embarrassed all at once,” she wrote. “I have long been taught as a woman ‘never let them see you cry’ — not in public and especially not at work. But I did that Tuesday. I cried. I couldn’t control my tears. I couldn’t use my words.”

The reporter wrote that what moved her to tears was rage, specifically toward those who “won’t take our ills seriously and those who are actively fighting against the truth” when so many families, like the one whose story she shared Tuesday, are grieving and struggling in a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted communities of color and the country’s most vulnerable. 


“When you saw me cry, you witnessed my rage,” she said. “I care about my country. I worry about the new and old ills facing us. And I feel like my country is on life support.”

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