ABC, CBS and NBC’s Chief Medical Correspondents Are Taking These Measures to Stay Safe Off-Camera

By A.J. Katz 

For the newest installment of our #AskNewser feature, we caught up with chief medical correspondents from the big 3 networks to find out what safety precautions they’re taking off-camera, and how their approaches to the coronavirus pandemic have changed since back in the spring.

CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook: “I’ve been doing the same things I’ve been telling my friends, family and patients to do: Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, and remember that outdoors is generally safer than indoors. Masks and good ventilation are especially important indoors, now that we know the virus can spread across a room through the air—even beyond six feet—in small, aerosolized droplets.”

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton also provided us with some thoughts. Life has changed quite a bit since we chatted with ABC’s chief medical correspondent back on March 2.


“For me, the two greatest safety measures I am taking since the pandemic and especially since May are: being outdoors as much as possible and opening windows for maximum ventilation when indoors,” Ashton told TVNewser. “And two: have not gone to a restaurant (even outdoors) since February. Seeing patients and going to the studio both involve exposure and risks in just doing my job, so for me, taking additional risks are just not worth it.”

What is NBC’s chief medical correspondent Dr. John Torres doing to stay safe?

“I practice the four W’s with one add-on,” Torres told TVNewser. “The four W’s consists first of wearing a mask whenever I leave my house. Even if I am going on a mountain bike ride or a hike, where I don’t encounter many people, I have a mask with me that I put on if I am within talking distance to anyone I pass.”

Torres said the second W is, watch my distance. “We now know that social distancing of six feet is important to minimize our chances of getting or spreading coronavirus, but also now understand that six feet is a starting point,” said Torres. “If possible, based on where you are and what you are doing, the further away you can be from others the better.”

The third W, he said, is to wash hands. “Although contracting the coronavirus from surfaces isn’t the likeliest way you’ll get the virus, it is one way you could still get infected. I try to make sure, as best as possible, to wash my hands, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, after touching anything outside my house, especially before touching my mouth, nose or eyes.”

W No. 4: windows. “Perhaps one of the biggest things we’ve learned about this virus and how it’s spread is the role of ventilation. Windows is a reminder I use to open windows to let fresh air circulate whenever I can, to make sure when I’m out and about that the places I go to ventilate as best they can and to do most of my activities outdoors whenever I’m able to.”

Torres says he has also avoided large groups. “One thing we know about this virus is that the more people we are around, the closer we are physically to those people and the longer we are around them the more likely it is that we will catch or spread the coronavirus. So minimizing how many we are around, making sure the space we share with them is big enough to allow social distancing and minimizing how long we are with them will cut down our chances of getting or spreading the virus.”