GMA's Robin Roberts Working from Home Due to 'Underlying Health Conditions' as Coronavirus Spreads
"New York City, there's an escalation right there and because of my underlying health conditions, my doctors thought it best that I work from home," Good Morning America's Robin Roberts said on Wednesday
The 59-year-old newscaster anchored Wednesday’s episode of Good Morning America not from the ABC morning show’s Times Square studio, but from a makeshift studio in her home.
“A short commute down to the screening room in my basement … like so many, under these circumstances, [I’m] working from home,” Roberts said at the top of the show.
She went on to explain in a video posted to her Twitter account that the decision to work remotely was made by her doctor, who urged Roberts — a cancer survivor who also battled a rare blood and bone marrow disease — to stay away from the Big Apple, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.
“New York City, there’s an escalation right there and because of my underlying health conditions, my doctors thought it best that I work from home,” Roberts said.
Up until Wednesday, Roberts has been working in studio alongside the rest of her GMA team: Michael Strahan, George Stephanopoulos, Amy Robach, and Lara Spencer.
Though she’s not at work, she brought two things home from her dressing room with her: a Good Morning America mug and a “Hope” photo frame featuring a picture of Gina DeJesus, one of the women held captive for almost 10 years by kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro in Cleveland, Ohio.
“She never gave up hope. And we never should give up hope either,” Roberts said. “Have a blessed day.”
Roberts is not the first member of the GMA staff to be working from home.
Chief meteorologist Ginger Zee has been providing reports from her home too since Tuesday after two staff members at her 4-year-old son Adrian Benjamin’s school tested positive for coronavirus.
Adrian had a fever himself, Zee said on Twitter on Monday, but is on the mend. “We are all feeling great now but will #StayHomeFor everyone else and follow [CDC] guidelines,” she wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, over on NBC’s Today show, Savannah Guthrie has been co-anchoring the daily broadcast from a virtual studio set up in the basement of her home.
Guthrie made the decision to work from home just before the March 18 broadcast, telling viewers on air that she had come down with a “mild sore throat and runny nose” and wanted to self-isolate out of “an abundance of caution” and to “really model the vigilance that the CDC is asking of all of us right now.”
“I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but we are in different times aren’t we?” Guthrie said.
Since then, Guthrie has continued to appear on Today remotely, while co-anchor Hoda Kotb works from NBC’s Studio 1A.
Al Roker, another Today personality, has too been working from home, doing his daily weather reports from his kitchen. Roker, who also hosts the 3rd Hour of Today, began doing his job remotely as a precaution after he was informed a staff member of show had been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Craig Melvin was working from home but returned to the studio on Wednesday.
“[It’s] surreal,” he said of being back. “Everything about it is surreal. The drive in, just about every other part of this country right now, streets are empty, sidewalks are empty. You know this studio is usually teeming with people. It is me and [two other people]. That’s it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“We’ll get through it,” he insisted. “We’ll get through it.”
Meanwhile, as of Wednesday morning, at least 53,852 people across every state in the United States, plus Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to The New York Times.
New York State accounts for about half of the country’s known coronavirus cases.
On Tuesday, the White House urged anyone who had traveled to New York to self-quarantine for 14 days to stop the virus’ spread.
“You may have been exposed before you left New York,” said State Department doctor Deborah Birx at a White House news conference on Tuesday. “Everybody who was in New York should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others.”
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