For the first time in weeks, Savannah Guthrie, Craig Melvin and Hoda Kotb were together in the Today studio Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sitting a safe distance apart to allow for social distancing, Melvin noted that "this is the first time I've seen you in person since early March." The trio are scheduled to host a primetime special on the network Tuesday night.
While Kotb has maintained her spot in Studio 1A, both Melvin and Guthrie have spent some time away. After a staffer on the 3rd Hour of Today tested positive for the virus in mid-March, 3rd Hour co-hosts Melvin and Al Roker were pulled from the NBC morning show "out of an abundance of caution." After checking in several times, Melvin returned to the studio to host the 3rd Hour of Today on March 25, at the time noting that the studio, which is "usually teaming with people," was empty."
Guthrie, meanwhile, had begun hosting the Today show from home on March 18. The move came under the advice of NBC's medical team after she began to experience "a mild sore throat and runny nose." She returned to the studio following a two-week self-quarantine, with Kotb noting that "I was going to say, so many things are not normal. But in this moment, right now as I'm looking at you, something finally is. It's good to see your face."
Guthrie, however, eventually returned to her makeshift home studio on April 6. Explaining her decision, she said that "my family's upstate, and so I'm sticking close to the family and coming to the city less and less. So I'm trying to work from home, and also frankly that's what these officials are telling us to do, so that's exactly what I'm gonna do."
The social distancing measures come as networks experience the first-hand effects of the pandemic. Along with stations like ABC, NBC announced on March 20 that they had lost a member of the NBC News family, longtime Today show cameraman Larry Edgewater. Edgewater's death was tearfully announced on-air by Guthrie and Kotb.
"When Larry Edgeworth said he had your back, you knew you were covered," Guthrie recalled. "It wasn't just knowing that he'd deliver on the sound, it was that, in any situation, he was on-guard to make sure you were OK, mentally, physically. He was a protector. He was a bear of a man, and a teddy bear at the same time."
As of Tuesday morning, a Johns Hopkins database reported that the total number of confirmed cases in the United States had surpassed 582,000. There have been more than 23,500 fatalities.