Roughly one year after COVID-19 was first reported in America, the U.S. is about to record its 500,000th death from the coronavirus pandemic. This grim reality struck Brianna Keilar hard, and the CNN anchor couldn’t maintain her composure during a live broadcast on Monday (Feb. 22). After showing stories of Americans who lost loved ones to the disease, Brianna, 40, urged viewers to not give up hope, but even she wasn’t unaffected by what she just saw. “Even as a nation, when many have become numb [at] this astronomical loss,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes, “I know that these stories of our fellow Americans puncture that armor that is natural to have accumulated over the past year. And that’s okay.”
“We need to remember the people that we have lost, even if we didn’t know them personally,” she added. “I know it is hard. I hear it from so many of you. I know you’re tired. I know you’re tapped out. It has been more than a year since the first reported coronavirus case.” From there, she recounted all the sacrifices and trials her fellow Americans had endured over the past twelve months.
5 for me. It’s still pretty numbing.
— Nancy Duncan (@ndduncan59) February 22, 2021
“The quarantining,” she began, “the hoping that this would subside to only realize that it wouldn’t anytime soon, the struggling to make ends meet, the worrying that if this is the day you might spike a fever or start to cough, the juggling your job while homeschooling your kids, being afraid to see your grandparents, being afraid to see your grandkids, knowing that there’s a vaccine that you or your loved ones can’t yet get, struggling with mental health, and for almost five-hundred thousand Americans this past year, losing their lives.”
“This is a collective loss,” she added. “We’re taking this moment to acknowledge that. You are not alone. If you are lucky enough to still have some fuel in your tank today, it is a good day to remind someone in your life that you are there for them.”
500,000 is a “number almost too large to grasp,” according to the Washington Times, who attempted to break down what this death toll would look like. It is greater than the population of major cities, as if Kansas City, Missouri, was wiped off the map. The coronavirus has killed more Americans in any war in U.S. history, save the Civil War.
As genuine as they come..
— Eyes to the future………. (@CoreyAn87057299) February 22, 2021
Brianna’s emotional breakdown came the same day that Meghan McCain found herself facing backlash over comments she made on The View. “The fact that I, Meghan McCain, co-host of The View, don’t know when or how I will be able to get a vaccine because the rollout for my age range and my health is so nebulous, I have no idea when and how I get it,” said Meghan, 36. Though her intent may have been to express frustration with how a celebrity is still in the dark about when she would be available for vaccination, the comment was taken as a “Do you know who I am?” statement and elicits “Karen” insults online.
Meghan also said she was “over” Dr. Anthony Fauci after he said he couldn’t, at this point, give concrete advice to vaccinated grandparents (a high-risk demographic) about when it would be safe to visit their grandchildren. McCain called for President Joe Biden to “remove” Dr. Fauci and replace him with someone that “does understand the science,” which drew the ire of her co-host, Sunny Hostin, who said that after four years of Donald Trump botching the COVID-19 response, the last thing anyone should do is “disparage scientists.”