Wendy Williams Show Won't Have Live Studio Audience 'Until Further Notice' Due to Coronavirus
Wendy Williams‘ talk show will not have an in-studio audience until further notice.
The move comes amidst growing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Wendy values her co-hosts and their daily participation but in light of the current health climate, The Wendy Williams Show will not have a live studio audience until further notice,” a spokesperson for the show said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“We will continue to produce a daily live talk show and look forward to welcoming the studio audience back when the time is right.”
On Wednesday’s show, staffers filled the audience.”These are the people who support me and this entire production every day,” Williams said, looking to about three dozen people in the audience seats “And the ones who aren’t here, it’s only because they’re in the control room pushing buttons or answering the front phone.”
PEOPLE confirmed on Monday 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.
CNN announced Tuesday that it will not include a live audience in its upcoming Democratic presidential debate in Phoenix on March 15.
Miley Cyrus, Madonna, BTS, Green Day and Pearl Jam have all canceled concerts amid the concern over COVID-19, as has the SXSW festival in Austin. Both the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have been postponed due to the outbreak as well.
A top Centers for Disease Control official said Monday that “there’s a good chance that many will become sick” in the United States as COVID-19 continues to spread.
“It’s fair to say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States, will at some point in time, either this year or next, be exposed to this virus. And there’s a good chance that many will become sick,” said Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, at a press briefing.
Because it’s a “new virus,” Messonnier said that there is “essentially no immunity” against the “highly contagious” COVID-19.
The majority of people will experience mild symptoms such as coughing, sneezing and a fever.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends basic forms of hygiene including careful hand washing, avoiding touching the face, moving away from people who are coughing or sneezing and staying home at signs of illness.