Mercader, 54, succumbed to the CCP virus in a New York hospital that was not disclosed. She had been on medical leave for an unrelated issue since February, the network said, adding that she had battled against cancer and related health problems for decades.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.
“Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit,” said Susan Zirinsky, CBS News president, in a statement. “Maria was part of all of our lives. Even when she was hospitalized—and she knew something was going on at CBS, she would call with counsel, encouragement, and would say ‘you can do this.’ I called Maria a ‘warrior,’ she was. Maria was a gift we cherished.”
“Maria was a friend to all,” added Laurie Orlando, with CBS News’s talent department. “It’s nearly impossible to be someone EVERYONE loves, but Maria was. She always had a warm hug, a word of advice or support and a big smile for everyone in her life. She was a bright light and will be sorely missed.”
Maria Mercader, our beloved CBS News colleague, died from COVID-19 on Sunday at 54.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) March 29, 2020
About two weeks ago, CBS News confirmed that it shut down its headquarters in New York City after two unnamed employees tested positive for the virus. Other employees were told to work at home or in other offices until the New York offices are cleaned and disinfected, reported The Associated Press.
The CBS obituary noted that Mercader started working with CBS News in 1987 and worked on a number of big stories.
“The Maria we are privileged to call family and friend knew better than most the power of relationships, loyalty, faith, kindness, perseverance and a smile, even when a smile defied the darkness of the moment,” said Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, the CBS News vice-president of Strategic Professional Development. “Her notable professional contributions are part of the CBS Archives, but it is her magnificent human spirit that touched so many of us, that will stay with us forever.”
Several other New York-based news outlets, including AP, said they would allow employees to work from home if they are able to do so.
Meanwhile, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell confirmed in a statement last week that he tested positive for the CCP virus earlier this month.
“I recently have been feeling under the weather and just learned that I have tested positive for COVID-19,” Shell wrote to his staff members. “Although the virus has been tough to cope with, I have managed to work remotely in LA and am improving every day.”