Zika Prompts Pregnant NBC Anchor Savannah Guthrie to Pass on Olympics Assignment

Evan Agostini/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP
Evan Agostini/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP

Pregnant TV anchor Savannah Guthrie took advantage of NBC Universal’s decision not to require employees to attend the Olympics because of the Zika virus to announce on Tuesday that she will pass on the trip to Rio.

The Hollywood Reporter described Guthrie as the “most high profile TV personality” to back out of the Rio games due to the mosquito-borne disease.

For those who contract Zika, the illness is usually mild, with symptoms of fever, rash, and joint pain lasting for several days. Normally, the virus does not require hospitalization and rarely causes death. However, in the case of the virus infecting women during a pregnancy, Zika may cause microcephaly and other developmental problems for the offspring. Guthrie, 44, does not want to risk any complications for her second child in making the trip to South America.

Guthrie, speaking on NBC’s Today, stated: “I’m not going to be able to go to Rio, so you’ll have to go to beach volleyball without me.” The 44-year-old added, “I’m looking forward to the campaign season.”

Breitbart News reported on Monday that 2012 multiple Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas offered an entirely different perspective on Zika. “It’s the Olympics. Mosquitoes? Like, whatever—I’m going. This is my shot. I don’t care about no stupid bugs.”

Her potential teammate, Simone Biles, shares Douglas’ sentiments but admitted that she doesn’t plan on getting pregnant before the games. “We’re so young,” she remarked. “None of us are trying to get pregnant.”

Tejay van Garderen an American cyclist, who’s wife is expecting, withdrew from consideration for the games in Rio, not wanting to risk contracting Zika and passing it on to her. Third-ranked golfer in the world, PGA Tour player Rory McIlroy, expressed his concerns about playing in Rio in for the Olympics. He told the BBC last month, “I have been reading a lot of reports about Zika and there have been some articles coming out saying that it might be worse than they’re saying and I have to monitor that situation.”

Marc Leishman from Australia already said he will not be going to Rio because of Zika, not wanting to risk bringing home the virus to his family. Last year, his wife, Audrey, nearly died from toxic shock syndrome.


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