“Today” anchor Savannah Guthrie is pregnant and as a result will bow out of covering the Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro because of concerns over the Zika virus.
Surrounded by her colleagues Tuesday on the NBC morning show, Guthrie, 44, revealed that she and husband Mike Feldman are expecting their second child in December. Their daughter, Vale Feldman, was born in August 2014.
Asked by co-anchor Matt Lauer about how this would affect her plans for the Olympic Games, Guthrie said she would not attend.
“The doctors say that we shouldn’t (go) because of the Zika virus, so I’ll miss it,” Guthrie said, joking that Lauer would have to watch women’s beach volleyball without her. “Try to carry on.”
Brazil is among the countries hardest hit by the outbreak of Zika, a mosquito-borne virus that generally has a mild effect but has been linked to defects in children born to women who were infected during pregnancy.
The Games are a major platform and provide a reliable ratings boost to “Today,” which has been beating competitor ABC’s “Good Morning America” in the 25-to-54 demographic this season. “Today” typically sets up shop in the host country throughout the 16 days of Olympic competition. Guthrie traveled to London in 2012 and Sochi in 2014.
The World Health Organization has classified Zika as a global health emergency but has said the Games should not be postponed or canceled. Olympic organizers also have repeatedly downplayed the risk.
In a blog post for “Today,” Guthrie shared her excitement over the baby news. “The thought of getting to add to our family now is beyond every hope, dream and prayer I have ever had. It is not simply double the joy — it is joy multiplied infinitely,” she wrote.
Though she is bowing out of the Games, Guthrie, a former White House correspondent for NBC News, will be available to cover the presidential election as it gears up in late summer following the party conventions.
NBCUniversal has said it will not require employees concerned about the virus to travel to Rio.
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