Reporter's moving on-air tribute to mum after Covid death

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read

One death is a tragedy, but a million deaths is a statistic. 

The famous quote is often attributed to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, although it's thought he was quoting from a 1932 essay by German journalist and pacifist Kurt Tukholsky.

Regardless of who said it first, the dark sentiment underpinning the quote could certainly apply to the world's coronavirus deaths during the pandemic.

The United States has recorded more Covid deaths than any other nation – each one its own small tragedy as CNN anchor and veteran journalist Fareed Zakaria highlighted in an emotional on-air tribute following the death of his mother. 

On his GPS program on Sunday (local time), he asked for the "indulgence" of his viewers as he revealed "something very personal".

Pictured is CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria. He revealed on-air he had lost his mum to Covid-19.
CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria revealed he lost his mother to Covid-19 while on air. Source: Getty Images

"We are approaching three million Covid deaths worldwide and people have often pointed out that behind these statistics are human beings," he said.

"This week my mother, Fatma Zakaria, became one of those statistics. She died of complications related to Covid."

She passed away in a hospital in India, where Covid-19 cases have exploded in recent weeks.

Journalist mourns 'utterly devoted mother'

Mr Zakaria paid tribute to his 85-year-old mum, who herself was a trailblazing journalist in India.

In an emotional segment, he remembered her for being "utterly devoted as a mother" and spoke of the difficult truth behind so many immigrant success stories – having to leave loved ones behind in order to start a new life.

"I feel that sorrow of distance this week because thanks to the pandemic I was not able to see my mother for the last time... or bury her," he said.

"Which is why I thought I might take this opportunity to say, Goodbye Ma, I love you."

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New Covid-19 cases surged in India to 152,879 on Sunday (local time), the sixth record rise in seven days.

Authorities have blamed the ferocious resurgence of the virus mainly on crowding and a reluctance to wear masks.

As the situation spirals out of control, India now leads the world in the daily average number of new infections reported in more than two weeks, accounting for one in every six infections reported globally each day.

Two graphs showing the rise of new daily coronavirus infections and deaths in India.
New cases have shot up dramatically during April in India. Source: Reuters

Deaths have also surged, with the health ministry reporting 839 fatalities on Sunday – the highest in more than five months – taking the total to 169,275.

India’s tally of more than 13.35 million cases is the third-highest globally, behind the United States and Brazil. India’s new infections have soared nearly 18-fold since hitting a multi-month low in early February.

with Reuters

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