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“I want to just, so our viewers know, I think your love for him,” Burnett said before tearing up. Apparently struggling to get her words out, Burnett apologized and said it made her cry.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” she told Lewinger. “But I also wanted everyone to know about the love that your community had for your husband.”
“I know that at the procession yesterday, because you couldn’t have a funeral, there were at least 100 cars and many of them with these beautiful signs,” Burnett added, as CNN aired footage of the procession.
Lewinger’s husband Joe had died just days after testing positive for COVID-19. He was an assistant principal and basketball coach at a Catholic high school, where he had worked for 20 years.
The two reportedly said goodbye to each other over FaceTime due to rules surrounding social distancing. After he lost his pulse, Maura played their wedding song for him. “I played our wedding song for him. And then that was it,” she said, according to CNN.
Lewinger told Burnett that her husband was “such a giver.” She added that he “gave every part of him to every part of his life — his family, his friends. That was Joe, and everybody meant the world to him.”
This wasn’t the first time COVID-19 prompted an emotional moment on television. The virus, which has killed thousands in the U.S., has affected states across the nation.
NBC anchor Hoda Kotb similarly broke down after an interview on the virus’ impact in her home state of Louisiana.