Bill Maher tests positive for COVID-19

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CBS News 14 May, 2021 - 09:27pm 30 views

Maher's show, "Real Time with Bill Maher," said in a statement posted to Twitter that the host tested positive during a weekly testing of all employees. He is asymptomatic and "feels fine," the statement said.

As a result of the positive test result, Maher will not tape his weekly show this Friday. The episode will be rescheduled at a later date.

So-called breakthrough coronavirus cases like Maher's have affected thousands of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a "breakthrough" coronavirus case as a COVID-19 infection that occurs after a person is fully vaccinated.

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Bill Maher tests positive for coronavirus, ‘Real Time' taping canceled

Fox News 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

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In a tweet from the official "Real Time with Bill Maher" account, it was announced that the 65-year-old comedian has tested positive for the novel virus, resulting in Friday's May 14 taping of his show to be canceled.

"Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID," read the announcement. "He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine."

The statement added that the show's production has "taken every precaution following CDC guidelines."

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

Reps for the star did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

As he often is, Maher has been vocal about his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic, recently slamming blue states for keeping schools closed.

In his closing monologue in April, Maher took aim at the media's "panic porn" during the pandemic, citing a Dartmouth study showing that "nearly 90 percent" of U.S. national media coverage was negative in comparison to other countries even as conditions were getting better.

"[Democrats] also have a greatly exaggerated view of the danger of COVID to and the mortality rate among children, all of which explains why today the states with the highest share of schools that are still closed are all blue states," Maher lamented. "So if the right-wing media bubble has to own things like climate change denial, shouldn't liberal media have to answer for 'How did your audience wind up believing such bunch of crap about COVID?'" 

Maher also pointed to a Gallup survey that showed the vast majority of Democrats incorrectly overestimate the probability of being hospitalized from COVID, with 41 percent believing it's at least 50 percent while only 10 percent of Democrats correctly said that the probability is only 1-to-5 percent while 26 percent of Republicans said the same, stressing that Democrats were "wildly off on this key question."

"When all of our sources for medical information have an agenda to spin us, yeah, you wind up with a badly misinformed population, including on the left," Maher told viewers. "Liberals often mock the Republican misinformation bubble ... but what about liberals? You know, the high-information, by-the-science people?"

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2021 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Cancels This Week’s Show After HBO Host Tests Positive For Covid-19

Deadline 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has scrapped this week’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher after the comedian tested positive for Covid-19. Maher, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, tested positive during the premium cable network’s weekly PCR testing ahead of the show.

It is a blow for the late-night show, which was set to entertain astrophysicist and StarTalk podcaster Neil deGrasse Tyson as the top-of-show interview guest, and World War Z author Max Brooks and Hardcore History podcast host Dan Carlin as panelists.

“The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time with Bill Maher has been cancelled. Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date,” an HBO spokeswoman told Deadline.

Real Time with Bill Maher, which is in its 19th season on HBO, was the first major show to bring back a small live audience in September after a Covid break and a number of episodes filmed in Maher’s backyard.

The show is exec produced by Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen and Billy Martin.

After the story broke, Maher posted on social media that he was upset about ending his streak, going back to 1993, to have never missed an episode of Politically Incorrect or Real Time.

Thanks to all wishing me get well – hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.

— Bill Maher (@billmaher) May 14, 2021

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Bill Maher tests POSITIVE for Covid-19 ahead of canceling this week's episode of Real Time

Daily Mail 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

By Brian Marks For Dailymail.com

Bill Maher has been forced to cancel Friday night's upcoming episode of Real Time after he tested positive for Covid-19.

The 65-year-old comedian tested positive after receiving his weekly nasal swab test ahead of the taping, Deadline reported on Thursday.

Maher is already fully vaccinated against the virus, and so far he's reportedly asymptomatic. 

Postive test: Bill Maher, 65, has been forced to cancel Friday night's upcoming episode of Real Time after he tested positive for Covid-19, Deadline reports; seen in 2017

Maher was set to host Neil DeGrasse Tyson as his interview guest for the program.

World War Z author Max Brooks and Hardcore History podcast host Dan Carlin were also going to be joining him as panelist for the main portion of the show. 

'The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time With Bill Maher has been cancelled,' a spokesperson said in a statement.

'Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine. Real Time production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time. The show will be rescheduled at a later date.'

On hold: 'The Friday, May 14th taping of Real Time With Bill Maher has been cancelled,' a spokesperson said in a statement

Doing well: 'Bill tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID. He is fully vaccinated and as a result is asymptomatic and feels fine,' the statement continued

Maher has been leading the way to return to normal operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

His comedy talk show was the first major series to come back with live audience in September.

Prior to that, the show had taken a multi-month break in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, before film some episodes from Maher's backyard with virtual guest appearances.

The coronavirus vaccines currently available in the US are considered particularly effective at protecting people against Covid-19, but like all vaccines there's still a chance of catching the virus.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that fully vaccinated people are more likely to have a mild course of Covid-19 if they do get sick.

Leading the way: Real Time was one of the first major shows to return to using a live audience in September, after taking months off in 2020 and filming some episodes from Maher's backyard; seen in 2017

According to Yale Medicine, the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95 and 94.1 percent effective in preventing someone from getting Covid-19 at all, though they're somewhat less effective for people 65 and over, like Maher.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 72 percent effective at preventing vaccinated people from getting Covid-19, which is better than scientists initially expected before the vaccines were completed.

It's even more effective at preventing serious complications from the disease, and it can help people who do catch Covid-19 from getting so sick that they go to the hospital or die.

It's not known which vaccine Maher took, but it may be able to keep him from having a rougher course with the illness than if he hadn't been vaccinated.

Strong medicine: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are around 95 percent effective at preventing one from catching Covid-19, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is around 72 percent effective

Reckless claims: Maher suggested in April that 'the medical establishment, the media, and the government' were exaggerating with a 'scared-straight approach' to scare people into Covid-19 compliance; seen in 2018

Maher has been a noted skeptic about coronavirus safety regulations in recent months.

In April, he suggested on Real Time that the government and news organizations were colluding to push worst-case scenarios to scare people into complying with safety recommendations.

He claimed that 'over the past year the pandemic has prompted the medical establishment, the media, and the government to take a scared-straight approach, to getting the public to comply with their recommendations,' Forbes reported.

He followed it up with a dirty joke about sexually transmitted diseases to suggest that doctors already lie to patients to make them take a full course of antibiotics.

Maher concluded his segment by adding, 'look, here's what I'm saying: I don't want politics mixed in with my medical decisions' and 'if you lie to people, even for a very good cause, you lose their trust.'

Coronavirus regulations skeptic: He continued, saying that 'if you lie to people, even for a very good cause, you lose their trust'; seen in 2017 in Beverly Hills

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Comedian Bill Maher Tests Positive For COVID-19

CBS New York 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

Bill Maher tests positive for COVID, forcing cancellation of Friday 'Real Time' episode

USA TODAY 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

Talk host Bill Maher, who's fully vaccinated, was found to be positive for COVID after a weekly 'Real Time' test. He's asymptomatic and feeling fine.

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The virus continues to spread, and the president continues to spread odd information. The comics break it down in Best of Late Night. USA TODAY

COVID-19 has sidelined comedian Bill Maher and, for one week at least, his HBO talk show, "Real Time with Bill Maher."

The "Real Time" Twitter account Thursday announced the cancellation of Friday's episode after the fully vaccinated host "tested positive during weekly staff PCR testing for COVID." The tweet continues that Maher "is asymptomatic and feels fine."

"'Real Time' production has taken every precaution following COVID CDC guidelines. No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time," the tweet says.

Maher, who most assuredly will comment on the situation when he returns to his show, tweeted thanks to well-wishers later Thursday, while noting that he doesn't feel sick. He also lamented missing an episode, ending a streak that he says started in 1993 with an earlier show, ABC's "Politically Incorrect," and extended to "Real Time," which premiered in 2003. 

Thanks to all wishing me get well - hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.

"Thanks to all wishing me get well - hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point," he wrote.

Friday's show was scheduled to include a one-on-one interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, with the weekly in-studio roundtable panel featuring national security expert Max Brooks and podcast host Dan Carlin. It will be rescheduled at a later date. Original episodes of "Real Time" air on HBO Fridays at 10 EDT/PDT and also stream on HBO Max.

Maher, 65, who has often discussed COVID during show interviews and in his topical standup bits at the start of each "Real Time" episode, conducted many episodes from his home during the early months of the pandemic before eventually moving back into his Television City studio in Los Angeles as restrictions were gradually relaxed. Over time, "Real Time" added a limited number of studio audience members, all tested for COVID and wearing masks, as Maher noted during the show. He welcomed the audience's return.

The host has been especially happy in recent weeks as rising vaccination numbers and dropping COVID case numbers meant the impending return of standup comedy dates around the country.

HBO did not comment beyond the show's tweet. 

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Bill Maher thanks fans following Covid-19 diagnosis

CNN 14 May, 2021 - 08:20pm

Updated 3:09 PM ET, Fri May 14, 2021

Thanks to all wishing me get well - hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it! Most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode. Oh well, even Cal Ripken had to sit one out at some point.

Bill Maher's Positive Test Ends 28-Year Show Streak

Newser 14 May, 2021 - 05:06pm

(Newser) – It's not just within the New York Yankees organization that vaccinated people are testing positive for COVID. Bill Maher has also tested positive despite being fully vaccinated, HBO said Friday, per Variety. The Real Time host "is asymptomatic and feels fine," the company added. Friday's episode of Real Time, to have featured astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, World War Z author Max Brooks, and Hardcore History podcast host Dan Carlin, was shelved, per Deadline. HBO said it would be rescheduled. In a tweet, Maher said he was "most upset about ending my streak going back to 1993 of never missing a Politically Incorrect or Real Time episode." He added, "Thanks to all wishing me get well—hard to do since I feel perfectly fine, but I appreciate it!" (Read more Bill Maher stories.)

Do breakthrough COVID-19 infections seen in the Yankees and Bill Maher mean vaccinated people should still wear masks?

MarketWatch 14 May, 2021 - 04:01pm

HBO host and comedian Bill Maher revealed Thursday that he tested positive for the coronavirus despite receiving the vaccine. And this comes on the heels of eight vaccinated New York Yankees members also testing positive for COVID. 

Most of these cases are asymptomatic, which suggests that the vaccines are doing their job: reducing the severity of COVID illness if one does get infected, as well as lowering that person’s risk of spreading it to others. 

But some people have expressed concern on social media that perhaps the CDC was premature in recommending that vaccinated people don’t have to wear masks inside. “Now we learn Bill Maher has COVID? He is fully vaccinated. This is why I will still wear a mask,” reads one tweet that has been “liked” more than 1,000 times. 

So MarketWatch spoke with a couple of health experts to answer questions about breakthrough infections and their implications for easing mask guidelines. The bottom line: a small number of breakthrough cases were always expected, and there is no need to panic over them. But it is important to get vaccinated and stay vigilant, and to follow public health guidelines. Keep in mind that this information is subject to change as we learn more about the virus that causes COVID-19 illness.

“Despite being vaccinated, you have a low but still existent risk of becoming infected,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University. “Now, the great thing about the vaccines is that they prevent you from becoming severely ill.” So if you do still catch the coronavirus, even though you were vaccinated, “chances are you will have a mild illness, you will not end up in the hospital … and your chance of spreading it to anyone else is very low,” said Wen.

Read more: An Israeli study says a COVID-19 variant can still infect vaccinated people — here’s what Fauci says the research means

Besides the fact that no vaccine is perfect, breakthrough infections might also occur if a person is immunocompromised, or if their age or medications might weaken their immune system. 

“If you are a cancer patient on chemotherapy, or you are on immunosuppressives for a kidney transplant, you also will have a much higher chance of becoming infected despite being vaccinated,” said Wen. 

The COVID-19 variants from the U.K., South Africa, India and Brazil may also be more resistant to the vaccines currently available. Immunity also wanes over time, which is why people need to get annual flu shots to boost their immune response to influenza year over year. And infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has noted the possibility that a shot could be damaged due to a storage issue, which could lower the effectiveness of a vaccine dose. 

Breakthrough cases are rare. As of April 26, 2021, more than 95 million Americans had been fully vaccinated against COVID, and of that 95 million, 9,245 breakthrough infections were reported to the CDC. Among the breakthrough cases, 27% were asymptomatic, 9% went to the hospital, and 1% died. 

“Even if people do get infected, which is very, very rare breakthroughs, they virtually never get severe disease,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told MSNBC on Friday.

“The primary purpose of the vaccine is really to make sure that, even if there is a rare possibility that you get COVID-19, that you don’t get seriously ill from it,” said Dr. Shobha Swaminathan, associate professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and the medical director of the infectious diseases practice at University Hospital. “And it significantly reduces your risk of getting hospitalized or having serious complications or death.” 

The Moneyist: No, you’re not crazy. Yes, CDC mask guidelines are confusing — and they have been from the start

In the cases of Maher and the Yankees, for example, only one person showed COVID-19 symptoms; the rest were asymptomatic. “We don’t know how these players and coaches would have done clinically if they hadn’t been vaccinated,” said Swaminathan. “We don’t know if they would have gotten much sicker.” In fact, 99.75% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and April 13 were not fully vaccinated, the Cleveland Clinic reported. And the CDC notes that asymptomatic people are potentially less likely to spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, although this is still being investigated. 

Health experts say that the real question to ask before deciding to mask up or not is whether you have been vaccinated. If you’re vaccinated, “You’re very safe,” Fauci said on MSNBC on Friday. And the fact is, when you go into a restaurant, store or another place, “you’re not gonna know who’s vaccinated or not,” he added. “But we felt that, all things considered, given the high degree of effectiveness of the vaccines, that you’re OK [to remove your mask indoors if you’ve been vaccinated] because your risk is very, very low.”

Now, could wearing a mask while vaccinated further reduce your risk of getting a breakthrough infection? “Yes,” said Wen, making an analogy to a thunderstorm; the more layers of protection you have, like a raincoat and an umbrella instead of just one or the other, the less likely you are to get wet. Similarly, being vaccinated and wearing a mask can provide extra protection against infection. It’s a personal decision — unless your workplace or a private business keeps a mask mandate on the books.

Read more:  Despite new CDC mask guidelines, vaccinated people may still need to mask up when shopping or going to work — here’s why

“The key to your decision-making should be, are you unvaccinated, or are you around people who are unvaccinated?” said Wen. “I’m not worried about being in a room with other people who are fully vaccinated. I’m worried about going into a crowded room with a bunch of people who are not vaccinated and not wearing masks.” 

What’s more, Wen says to consider whether community transmission is high in your area, which puts you at higher risk of getting infected whether you’re vaccinated or not, as well as whether you or someone in your household is immunocompromised. In these situations, you should check with your healthcare provider about whether you should still wear a mask indoors, even if you’ve been vaccinated. 

Getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you should stop getting tested for COVID-19. Quite the opposite; even though we’ve been living with it for more than a year, this is a new virus that health officials are still learning about. So any information about breakthrough cases is vital. “Get tested so we know the type of viruses and variants that are circulating around, so we can have more knowledge and see if [vaccines] need to be fine-tuned and modified,” said Swaminathan. “It’s really important for us to keep an eye on variants, and to see if people will need [vaccine] boosters.” 

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath, or other signs such as nausea, extreme fatigue and a sudden loss of taste or smell, it’s important to test for COVID-19. Here is the CDC’s current list of symptoms. So if you or someone in your household is showing COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or contact your local health department (check out this list of websites to find yours) for guidance on where to get tested and what to do next. 

“It is right to be concerned and to be on the lookout, but not to be alarmed,” said Swaminathan.

Many workers in states that are cutting benefits 'will be desperate to keep body and soul together,' said Stephen Wandner, a senior fellow at the National Academy of Social Insurance

Bill Maher Taping Canceled After ‘Fully Vaccinated' Host's Positive Virus Test

NBC New York 14 May, 2021 - 12:41pm

A taping of Bill Maher's weekly HBO show was canceled after the host tested positive for COVID-19.

Maher, who is fully vaccinated, is “asymptomatic and feels fine," according to a statement Thursday from HBO. “No other staff or crew members have tested positive at this time,” the channel said.

The taping of Friday's episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher” will be rescheduled, HBO said. Guests were to include astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and podcast host Dan Carlin.

Maher was tested as part of the Los Angeles production's weekly protocol for staff, the channel said, adding that “every precaution” is taken in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding the coronavirus.

The comedian and political gadfly moved back to in-studio shows with a limited audience late last summer, after taping episodes at his home in the early months of the pandemic.

TV and filmmaking gradually resumed after last year's pandemic-forced shutdown, but despite strict safety rules there have been other production holds caused by a cast or crew member's positive virus test.

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