Bill Maher tests positive for COVID-19; HBO says late-night host is fully vaccinated, feels fine

HBO host and comedian Bill Maher has tested positive for COVID-19, causing the network to call off Friday’s taping of his weekly TV series.

The host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the contagious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and hasn’t shown any symptoms, the HBO program announced in a statement it shared on social media Thursday.

Mr. Maher, 65, said he feels “perfectly fine” and is more upset about missing a taping — a rarity he said last happened in 1993 when he hosted “Politically Incorrect” on ABC.

“Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point,” Mr. Maher said on Twitter.

The statement from “Real Time” said that Mr. Maher learned of his COVID-19 diagnosis as the result of weekly testing of the show’s crew and staff.

“Real Time” said the show has taken every precaution to produce the program during the pandemic and that it has been operating under guidelines put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time,” the statement said. “The show will be rescheduled at a later date.”

More than 118 million Americans — over a third of the nation’s population — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the CDC, substantially but not completely defending against infection.

“Some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get sick because the vaccines are not 100% effective. When this happens, vaccination might help keep you from getting seriously ill, based on data from clinical studies,” the CDC says on its website. “Even though a small percentage of fully vaccinated people will get sick, vaccination will protect most people from getting sick.”

Previously, Mr. Maher and other late-night hosts retooled their shows as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and began taping portions of their program from their respective homes instead of studios.

“Real Time” subsequently resumed taping in front of a limited studio audience in September.

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