A staffer who works on the morning program’s third hour has been determined to have the novel coronavirus, “Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie told viewers Monday prompting NBC News to take co-hosts Craig Melvin and Al Roker off air for the time being.
“Personal note, for this show: Last night we learned that a colleague of ours on the third hour of ‘Today’ has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus,” said Guthrie. “So out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al have taken the morning off, so we can trace their contacts, see what’s going on with them. We promise to keep you posted. Both are fine right now. They feel good. But caution is the order of the day.”
“We’re just trying to play exactly by the rules. said “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb. “We hope and wish that they come back soon, said co-anchor Hoda Kotb.
They did not disclose when the exposure to coronavirus, or COVID-19, occurred. “Today” suspended the live audiences that typically gather around the show at 30 Rockefeller Plaza starting on Thursday, March 12.
We learned late last night a colleague on the 3rd hour of TODAY tested positive for COVID-19.
Out of an abundance of caution, Craig and Al are taking the morning off while we map that colleague’s close contacts. pic.twitter.com/aVHJpMU1Fj
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2020
The development is the latest incident of the nation’s TV-news outlets having to change procedures as the coronavirus works its way around the nation. Morning anchors are some of the network’s most recognizable personalities. But as the contagion works its way through the populace, it will affect TV anchors as well. CBS News had to urge employees to work from home last week after a handful of employees tested positive for the virus, sending some hosts of “CBS This Morning” down to Washington D.C. to anchor the show from there. The effort to slow the spread of coronavirus has prompted dozens of shows to delay or halt production altogether.
“We are missing something that’s really important to us on this show and that’s our crowd that we normally would show you at this time,” said Guthrie on Thursday. “But we are following the guidance of health officials, and we are suspending live audiences here at our plaza — for now — just trying to do our part, but we miss you and we hope to invite you back soon.”