The View Cuts Studio Audience Due to Coronavirus Concerns: 'This Is Unprecedented'
"It’s a historic day," moderator Whoopi Goldberg said on Wednesday's episode of The View, where coronavirus concerns led the ABC talk show to perform without an audience
“It’s a historic day,” moderator Whoopi Goldberg began, sitting alongside Hasselbeck, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin and Meghan McCain. “The coronavirus situation is still developing and for the first time ever, as you can see, we made the decision not to have a studio audience.”
Cameras then panned the crowd to show the studio’s completely empty audience.
“This is unprecedented, this has never happened on The View,” Goldberg added, noting that even after the show returned following the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks, the show returned with an audience.
The View wasn’t the only daytime show to go on without an audience. Syndicated shows Live with Kelly and Ryan and The Wendy Williams Show, both of which tape in New York City, also cut their audiences beginning on Wednesday, too. Both shows, unlike The View, had their production staff sit in the crowd instead.
On Monday, PEOPLE confirmed that both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will not have in-studio audiences during tapings amid the outbreak.
A source told PEOPLE that the decision was made out of concern for the shows’ senior audiences, who are said to be the most at risk for complications associated with COVID-19.
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s health was also taken into consideration, as the longtime TV personality currently has a compromised immune system due to his ongoing fight against stage 4 pancreatic cancer, making him more susceptible to the virus.
As of Wednesday morning, there have been at least 1,015 cases of coronavirus in the United States confirmed by lab tests and 31 deaths, according to a New York Times database.
Out of fear of spreading the virus, musicians like Miley Cyrus, Madonna, BTS, Green Day and Pearl Jam have all canceled concerts amid the concern over COVID-19. Music festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach have been postponed due to the outbreak, as has the SXSW festival in Austin.
The World Health Organization officially declared the ongoing coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday, officials urging world leaders and citizens to take responsible action in helping end the spread of COVID-19.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, in a press conference. “It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death”
said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, in a press conference.”
Describing the situation as a pandemic — defined as “the worldwide spread of a new disease” — does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus, Ghebreyesus said.
“There’s been so much attention on one word,” he stressed. “Let me give you some other words that matter much more, and that are much more actionable: Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership. And most of all, people.
“We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world,” he said. “It’s doable.”