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Fox News co-host Juan Williams tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, prompting the other co-hosts of “The Five” to broadcast remotely and Williams to go into quarantine.
Rumors circulated about the 66-year-old Williams’ diagnosis after he was not seen on Thursday’s episode “The Five,” and two sources informed The New York Times that he had tested positive that morning at Fox News headquarters in New York City.
A Fox spokesperson declined to confirm whether Williams had tested positive for COVID-19, citing employee confidentiality, but Williams confirmed to The Hill that he had contracted the virus and is quarantining at a hotel in Washington, D.C., to avoid spreading the illness to his wife. He added that he is experiencing “flu-like symptoms” such as chills and headaches.
“I’m not great but I’m not dying or anything,” Williams told The Daily Beast. “I’m worried about myself and my family. My wife doesn’t want me to come back to the house right now. On lots of levels it’s concerning.”
“I’m just worried about my health and my family at this juncture,” he added. “You have to guard against vagrant dark thoughts. The thing is what can do for you until things get bad?”
“Since the start of the pandemic, Fox News Media has implemented strict company-wide protocols adhering to all CDC and state guidelines, including regular testing of all in studio on-air personalities, mask mandates and daily health assessments for all employees entering the building,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement. “We will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of our staff, including broadcasting The Five via home studios for the foreseeable future.”
“The Five” had been broadcasting remotely since the widespread outbreak of the pandemic in March but had returned to in-studio filming in September, albeit with approximately seven feet between each co-host. Williams had been in-studio as recently as Wednesday, a few days after having returned from a vacation he left for on Nov. 18.
Since Williams’ diagnosis, the show will be remote for the foreseeable future.
Williams and other Fox News employees have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 before, perhaps most notably in September at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, which took place days before President Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. Also possibly exposed at that event was Fox News anchor and debate moderator Chris Wallace, who later tested negative.
Williams is a routinely left-leaning voice on one of Fox News’ highest-rated shows, where he often engages in heated disagreements with his more conservative co-hosts such as Jesse Waters and Greg Gutfeld. On Wednesday, Williams and Waters got into a back-and-forth over Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election, during which Williams called Waters’ support for the president’s assertions “shameful.”