If you like to start your week by watching the Today show, you’ll undoubtedly notice two big differences on Monday morning — or, to be more specific, two big absences. Al Roker and Craig Melvin will not be present during their typical 3rd Hour Today segment after a fellow staffer tested positive for coronavirus. Co-anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie updated fans first thing Monday, confirming that the Today show is dealing with their first official Covid-19 scare.
Addressing the coronavirus pandemic at the onset of the Today show, co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb explained the reason their audience wouldn’t see Roker and Melvin later in the program. “On a 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. 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,” said Guthrie, adding, “But caution is the order of the day.”
Kotb underscored, “We’re just trying to play exactly by the rules, and we hope and wish that they come back soon.”
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
Both Roker and Melvin took to Twitter after their co-hosts’ message to reassure fans they are okay for the time being. “Feeling great this am. Thinking about our friend and colleague. Thinking about everything grappling with this right now. I’ll be fine. So will we,” Melvin asked. “Feeling fine. Don’t worry about us. Thinking about our colleagues and all those who are really suffering. And God Bless the health care providers and #FirstResponders helping,” Roker tweeted.
The 3rd Hour Today‘s two other co-hosts, Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones, presumably won’t have to endure self-quarantine at this point since they’ve both been away from the show for several weeks. Dreyer has been on maternity leave (she gave birth to her second child in January), while Jones is still recovering from surgery to remove lesions from her vocal cord.
Although several shows have announced that they are suspending production over escalating coronavirus concerns, Today didn’t mention any plans to do the same yet. “We are fully supporting our colleague, who is experiencing mild symptoms and receiving medical care, and I know you join me in sending our very best for a quick recovery,” said NBC News president Noah Oppenheim in a statement on Today.com.
As of press time, the morning show is slated to air according to schedule this week. It is, however, working to identify any employees “who were in close proximity to the affected staffer” so it can ask them to self-quarantine like Roker and Melvin.
Before you go, click here for ideas on keeping kids busy during coronavirus school closures.