UPDATE, 3/18/20, 11:10am ET: Though she got permission to be at work amid the coronavirus pandemic from her doctor, Whoopi Goldberg is choosing to work from home for the time being. Whoopi Skyped in to the March 18 episode of The View after getting her health evaluated by her physician, and seemed in good spirits. She told her co-hosts that she’s not confident about returning to the studio yet, due to conflicting information about the pandemic from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. “Once they figure it out, I’ll be back,” she said.
ORIGINAL: After a life-threatening battle with pneumonia in 2019, Whoopi Goldberg made the decision to visit her doctor and see if continuing to host The View amid the global coronavirus pandemic will endanger her health. Whoopi, 64, was absent from the March 17 episode of The View, and co-host Sunny Hostin explained at the top of the show what was going on. “Just to be extra careful, Whoopi is consulting with her doctor today. She wants everyone to know she feels fine, and plans on being back here tomorrow,” Sunny said. Whoopi’s departure comes just five days after Joy Behar, 70, announced that she would be stepping back from the The View for at least a week amid the pandemic, citing the heightened risk to elderly people.
Guest co-host Dr. Mehmet Oz praised both Whoopi and Joy for taking COVID-19 seriously. “These are two iconic women who are doing the right thing,” Dr. Oz said. “I spent a good part of last week calling friends of mine — senior citizens or mature folk — just saying ‘please, stay out of Dodge for a little while. Let what’s happening happen.’ I applaud both of them for doing the right thing.” Sunny assured viewers at home (they are airing without an audience right now) that Whoopi is completely fine (as is Joy), and not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. “We know that Whoopi had pneumonia, and was not in a good place. So, she just wants to get checked out and make sure that it’s smart for her to be here every day.”
In fact, Sunny said later in the show that Whoopi had called her to complain that Dr. Oz had called her a “senior citizen.” Whoopi’s concern about contracting coronavirus is absolutely valid. At the time that the March 17 episode aired, over 5000 people in the United States had been diagnosed with COVID-19; 94 people have died from it. The United States has a dire shortage of testing kits, and health officials expect the actual number of infected Americans is much, much higher.