Soledad O’Brien to Host COVID-19-Themed Special “Outbreak: The First Response” for Hearst Television

Soledad O’Brien is taking a closer look at the country’s COVID-19 crisis…

The 53-year-old half-Afro-Cuban American broadcast journalist and progressive executive producer has been tapped to host a one-hour special for Hearst Television premiering on Friday, June 19, that looks at the response to the early outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.

Soledad O'Brien

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, and will air in the first hour of primetime on Heart’s 33 television stations.

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 Arcedirected 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. She previously has served as an anchor/talent for CNNNBCMSNBC and HBO.

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