Al Roker Was Given the Morning off Over Coronavirus Concerns


Mar. 16 2020, Updated 11:36 a.m. ET

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As the coronavirus sweeps the nation, even those whose job it is to deliver the news have been impacted by the virus. Al Roker, one of the staples of Today for over 20 years, was absent from the show this morning amid concerns that the weatherman might fall ill. 

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Is Al Roker sick?

Although he isn’t showing any symptoms yet, Al was absent from Today this morning after a staffer on the third hour tested positive for the novel coronavirus. According to The Daily Beast, NBC is currently working to trace the contacts of the staff member, who works out of 30, Rockefeller Plaza. 

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Noah Oppenheim, the president of NBC News, reportedly emailed employees on Sunday explaining the incident, saying that a member of the team was receiving medical care for “mild symptoms.” 

Is ‘Today’ going to go on hiatus amid coronavirus concerns?

Although Al and Craig Melvin were given the morning off, the show will reportedly continue as planned. All members of the third-hour editorial team were told to work from home on Monday while the network works to identify those who had close contact with the individual. 

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The third hour of Today is usually hosted by Sheinelle Jones and Dylan Dreyer, along with Al and Craig. In their absence, the show continued, with host Savannah Guthrie making the announcement that Al and Craig “have taken the morning off so we can trace their contacts, see what's going on with them. We promise to keep you posted... They feel good. Caution is the order of the day.”

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‘Today’ is taking additional precautions to keep the coronavirus from spreading.

In addition to keeping Al and Craig home, the hosts were also sitting exactly four feet apart for social distancing. The Daily Beast reports that in the overnight memo Noah sent to staff, the CEO said that NBC was working to reduce the spread of the virus. “As you know, we have been preparing for this possibility and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our teams, which includes multiple deep cleanings of our offices, control room, and Studio 1A,” Noah said. 

Noah continued: “Additionally, we are identifying employees who had been in close proximity to the affected employee and — while not required to do so by the NY Health Department — are in the process of asking those who had close contact to self-isolate.” 

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Oppenheim is also working on a policy that will allow employees to work from home, and said that the health and safety of employees was his chief concern. He also said that they were continually “assessing the best and safest practices for us all.” The show had already closed Rockefeller Plaza to fans, and suspended all live audiences for the show. 

The news of infections at Today follows reporting that six employees at CBS News have tested positive for the coronavirus. That reporting, which comes from CNN’s Brian Stelter, also suggests that most of the company’s staffers in New York City are now working from home for the foreseeable future. 

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