Soledad O’Brien will host a one-hour special for Hearst Television premiering on Friday that takes a look at the response to the early outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.
The special, Outbreak: The First Response, will have exclusive access to the Seattle and King County public health director. It will look at how they treated the early days of the pandemic, and how they tracked and isolated those who became ill. The project looks at the experiences of the homeless and the elderly, among the most vulnerable populations.
The project is a special presentation of Hearst’s weekly public affairs program Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien. Most of the Hearst stations will air Outbreak: The First Response in the first hour of primetime in their local markets. The 13 Hearst stations that are ABC affiliates will carry ABC News’ primetime Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming and will air Outbreak immediately following their late local newscasts on Friday, and then again on June 24 in the first hour of primetime.
The project was produced by O’Brien, with support from the de Beaumont Foundation, which has a mission focused on community and public health. Rose Arce directed and Hearst’s Rita Aleman, director of special projects for Hearst, spearheaded its production.
In a statement, O’Brien said, “Public health has been underfunded and ignored in this country for decades. Yet during a crisis like this, it is public health workers who are on the front lines educating the public about how to stay safe. We were able to follow their response to this crisis in real-time as they struggled to safeguard vulnerable communities.”
O’Brien has hosted Matter of Fact since 2016.
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