Yesterday, we told you about NBC’s Savannah Guthrie choosing not to go to this August’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro citing her pregnancy and concerns over the Zika virus. Apparently, she is not the only NBC employee who has elected not to go to Brazil.
NBC says a “small handful” of employees have chosen to stay in the United States over health concerns. Zika has hit Brazil particularly hard and it can cause birth defects such as abnormally small heads. Guthrie said her doctors advised her not to go to Brazil and she announced that she will remain n the U.S. to cover the Presidential election.
An NBC Sports spokesman issued the following statement on those who have decided to remain in the U.S.:
The safety of our team members is always our first priority. NBCUniversal’s medical department has advised all of our Olympic personnel to consult with their personal physicians, and continues to provide the latest information from the CDC and WHO, including basic prevention steps. No NBC personnel assigned to work in Rio will be required to travel if they believe their personal health or safety is at risk.
NBC is sending 2,000 employees to Brazil to cover the Olympics. Many of those who have elected to stay will be based in NBC Sports headquarters in Stamford, CT which will handle some of the online Olympic streams and there will be others who assist with some of the TV production of the less popular sports.
And while Zika has been widespread in Brazil, the Olympics will be held during what will be winter as the country is located below the equator so the seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere. New research has found the risk during August will be low, but the World Health Organiztation still plans to convene a special Zika emergency committee to examine the risk of the virus.
But as the risks are still being researched, some NBC employees have decided just any risk is too high and will stay in the U.S. when August comes.