‘Today’ anchor leaves mid-show after testing positive for COVID-19 as co-anchor remains missing

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NBCToday” anchor Savannah Guthrie abruptly disappeared from the Feb. 28, 2023 edition of the show — with the network later announcing she had tested positive for COVID-19.

Guthrie started the show as normal alongside Shenielle Jones, who was filling in for Hoda Kotb. After the first commercial break, Jones appeared on camera, mentioning that Guthrie had to leave “a little early.”

Later in the show, Jones revealed that Guthrie had taken a COVID-19 test after she began feeling unwell. That test came back positive and she presumably left the studio and headed home.

This was likely done as a safety precaution to help protect the talent and crew.

While precautions such as sitting farther apart at the anchor desk have widely been lifted at major networks and local TV stations, COVID-19 is still spreading as new variants emerge.

Kotb has been absent from the show since Feb. 17, 2023. Neither she or NBC have offered any explanation.

Meanwhile, her social media has been active, including a Feb. 27, 2023 post of a graphic reading “Choose hope.”

Kotb’s absence has started circulating speculation as to where the anchor is and why she if off the air, with some wondering if she is ill. She may also be on a pre-planned vacation, though these are generally acknowledged on-air.

Her cryptic social media postings have also left some wondering if she is involved in some type of dispute with NBC or Guthrie.

There have been reports over the years that Guthrie and Kotb were not getting along off-camera, though that was never officially confirmed. “Today” has also been stuck in second place after “Good Morning America” for years.

There have also been unconfirmed reports that NBC is eyeing a shakeup at “Today” — possibly replacing Kotb or Guthrie with Craig Melvin, who typically joins the anchor desk after the first break.

Other reports have suggested NBC may move Guthrie to “Meet the Press,” though those have not been confirmed.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, Guthrie anchored “Today” from home while Kotb was in the studio under comprehensive COVID-19 safety protocols. Many networks and stations enacted similar setups and rules. In some cases, they were required under union agreements.

Some of those rules have since been relaxed or eliminated, though it’s not immediately clear what rules NBC is operating under.

Most networks allowed anchors to appear on-air without masks even during the height of the pandemic, but significantly limited the number of people allowed in the studio — in some cases, anchors were in the studio alone, with cameras controlled remotely via robotics.

Guthrie has contracted COVID-19 at least three times, according to on-air announcements.

Guthrie will likely be absent from the studio for at least the next several days, though it remains to be seen if she will anchor from home.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are highly recommended by multiple public health officials and experts. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters have undergone extensive testing and monitoring to ensure their safety. Scientific research has shown the vaccines and boosters to be very safe and highly effective any may help stop you from contracting COVID-19 or resulting in less severe symptoms and chance of hospitalization or death. For more information about COVID-19 and coronavirus, visit the CDC website. You can locate a free vaccination site or clinic near you at Vaccines.gov. As with any medical decision, you should always discuss your options with your doctor.