One of the co-hosts of the weekend edition of President Donald Trump's favorite morning show, "Fox & Friends," revealed Thursday on Instagram that she had tested positive for COVID-19.
"I know I've been a little MIA," Jedediah Bila wrote. "I'm actually at home recovering from Covid-19. I'm very much on the mend, so please don't worry. My husband is also recovering well at home and Hartley luckily did not get sick (Thank you, God, I am forever grateful.) This is a crazy time in the world, full of so much anxiety and fear. I've learned so much this past week and done so much thinking."
She added, "Know that I'm sending love, peace, and good energy from my family to yours. I'll be sharing more in coming weeks. Thank you for your messages. I love and miss you all."
The right-leaning network confirmed Bila's post to Salon as it pointed to a number of measures it has taken to safeguard its employees, including limiting the number of staff who can appear in office. Employees have also received memos issued by Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott on working from home, self-quarantining and how they can acquire information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fox News told staffers last week that an employee in its Washington bureau had tested positive for COVID-19. "Fox & Friends" is filmed in New York.
"As soon as we learned of the test result, we contacted all staff who may have been impacted and mandated that the employee's direct co-workers/team begin self-quarantining for the appropriate period of time since last contact at the direction of our medical professionals," Bryan Boughton, senior vice president of the Fox News Washington Bureau, wrote in a separate memo obtained by The Hill. "We have been deep cleaning all areas affected and will be continuing all disinfecting efforts throughout the entire bureau."
Bila is not the only cable news personality to test positive for COVID-19. Two prominent figures from CNN, Chris Cuomo and Brooke Baldwin, have also tested positive for the disease. Cuomo has continued to host his primetime show while under quarantine at his home.
Fox News is reportedly concerned that its early coverage of the pandemic, which downplayed the severity of the virus, could result in "legal action." One group in Washington state, the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, has already filed a lawsuit against the channel. The suit requests an injunction against the network in order to prevent it from "interfering with reasonable and necessary measures to contain the virus by publishing further false and deceptive content."
The network's general counsel Lily Fu Claffee said in a statement that the suit is "wrong on the facts, frivolous on the law. We will defend vigorously and seek sanctions as appropriate."
"Fox & Friends" has downplayed the coronavirus pandemic on a number of occasions. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt complained last month, during a weekday installment of the program, that the nationwide lockdown made it difficult for women to get manicures.
"Women — all my friends are saying — you know, this is not a priority. People are dying, and I realize that. But they can't get their nails done," Earhardt said at the time.
On another occasion in March, Earhardt touted a malaria drug, saying that when combined with Z-Pack "they're supposed to make a remarkable difference in folks that are having these symptoms. So it's great news." Trump has also hyped the unproven drug treatment for the new coronavirus in spite of the warnings of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci later told "Fox & Friends" during an appearance on the program last week, telling them that a small Chinese study that found hydroxychloroquine could help treat coronavirus "was not a very robust study." He also commented on a poll which found that 37% of doctors feel the drug could be beneficial by observing, "We don't operate on how you feel. We operate on what evidence is, and data is."
Another co-host of "Fox & Friends" downplayed the possible danger posted by in-person voting during the pandemic earlier this week when Wisconsin headed to the polls.
"Ladies and gentlemen, what's the big deal?" Brian Kilmeade asked viewers from self-quarantine. "Keep your social distance, wear your gloves, have election workers take care of everything is sanitary and get used to it. This is the way it's going to be. We're going to incrementally get back to normal. I salute Wisconsin for doing it."