Late-Night Hosts Take on Coronavirus Fears, Mike Pence's New Role

Stephen Colbert Late Show Trevor Noah Daily Show Seth Meyers Late Night - Publicity - H 2019
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS; Sean Gallagher; Lloyd Bishop/NBC

"The coronavirus is more diverse than the Oscars. Everyone gets a chance," 'The Daily Show's' Trevor Noah joked about the virus.

Late-night hosts took on the growing fears about the coronavirus outbreak during their respective shows Thursday night.

The virus (COVID-19) has infected more than 80,000 people and killed over 2,700 worldwide.

Stephen Colbert kicked off his Late Show monologue by admitting that he was panicking about the virus. He took off a pair of bright blue medical gloves and instructed an employee to burn both the gloves and "the person who burned them."

The host explained that employees on Wall Start are especially panicked, noting that the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 2,000 points. Donald Trump later held a press conference to reassure nervous investors that everything will be OK. Colbert added that the Dow then fell 1,191 points.

"That must be so hard for those guys down on Wall Street. If only they had access to some sort of drug that would make them feel better," joked Colbert.

The CBS host then shared that a new case of the virus was found in the United States, though the person did not travel to countries hit by the virus and had not been exposed to a known coronavirus patient. In response, Colbert started ringing a bell and shouted, "Plague!"

The Northern California patient was not immediately tested, which means there are likely other people in the country who have been infected. The host added that some of the testing kits came up with inconclusive results. "Inconclusive is not good for a test that's important," he said. "That's why when people want to find out if they're pregnant, they don't pee on a Magic 8-Ball."

Circling back to Trump's press conference, Colbert shared that the president announced that Vice President Mike Pence will spearhead the fight against the virus.

"This is the greatest crisis of Trump's presidency and his first response is, 'Mike, you're up,'" said Colbert. "The vice president does have experience with outbreaks, specifically making them worse, because when he was the governor of Indiana, Pence's refusal to implement a needle exchange program led to the worst HIV outbreak in the state's history. But you know what they say: If at first you don’t succeed, welcome to the Trump administration."

Colbert said that Pence has his work cut out for him because the coronavirus is having a huge impact on people across the globe. While many schools in the U.S. have canceled study abroad programs, some restaurants in China check customers' temperatures and wipe down ordering screens after they are used.

Procter & Gamble found that 17,600 products could be affected by the coronavirus in China, including Charmin, Dawn, Bounty, Crest toothpaste and the artificial sweetener used in Coca-Cola.

The host then shared a fake ad for a new Coke recipe that avoids using artificial sweeteners, which is a savory soda made with beef bouillon.

The Late Show also shared a PSA about the virus that they think Pence would approve of.

Set to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain," a man sang, "We will understand the virus when we die."

Joined by two others, the group continued to sing the song. "Don't bother to watch your hands/ Gay marriage is a sham/ The virus has a reason/ And it's all part of God's plan/ Don’t test vaccines on rhesus/ Put your faith in Doctor Jesus," they sang.

Over on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the host thanked his audience for coming to the show despite the spread of the virus. "The stock market is down and the coronavirus is up," he said. "The planet is going to Purell in a handbasket."

Kimmel added that Trump is concerned that the drop in the stock market due to the virus will negatively impact his chances of being re-elected. "It’s virus versus virus right now," the host joked.

He added that Trump putting Pence in charge of the outbreak is hypocritical. Back in 2014, Trump criticized Barack Obama on Twitter for appointing "an Ebola Czar with zero experience in the medical area and zero experience in infectious disease control."

"There's a tweet for everything. It's almost like Donald Trump from the past is trying to stop Donald Trump in the future and it's just not working," said Kimmel.

In an attempt to help Americans avoid the virus, the host shared a fake video from the White House that showed how to prevent getting sick. The mock video featured a narrator instructing viewers how to wash their hands, while the actions were demonstrated by a pair of tiny orange hands.

Seth Meyers took on Trump's response to the virus during Late Night's "A Closer Look" segment.

While many people in the world are scared about the virus, Meyers shared a clip of Trump in India stating that the coronavirus "is very well under control in our country" and that he hadn't heard much news about any new cases.

"Man, that trip to India really screwed you up," said Meyers. He then imitated Trump and said, "You know, the problem is I'm still on India time, which is 10 hours ahead, so a lot of this stuff that's happening in the States hasn't happened for me yet because I'm in the future."

Meyers added that Trump was more concerned with the stock market than the developments about the virus. "Trump cares about the stock market. For one thing, it's very easy to understand. There's no reading involved. All you have to do is look at that little arrow at the bottom corner of your TV and see if it's red or green," he said.

The host added that Trump is trying to "will the problem away" in an attempt to guarantee his re-election. "For example, Trump keeps comparing coronavirus to the flu," said Meyers, before noting that Trump insisted a doctor was wrong about the coronavirus having a fatality ratio 20 times higher than the flu.

Trump also said that he expects the virus to go away when the weather gets warmer. "It will go away when it gets warmer? We're talking about a possible pandemic, not winter skin," responded Meyers.

The host later criticized Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf for not knowing how many cases the country should expect and how the disease is transmitted. "The better question would be, 'What do you know?'" said Meyers. "We don't have a vaccine yet, but what we can do is AirDrop calendars into every city in America so they can count the days until April when the disease will miraculously go away, in theory."

Meyers also took on Pence's new role as the leader in the fight against the virus. "What medical experience does Mike Pence have? At best, he looks like a CPR doll that won't let you do mouth to mouth on it," he said. "Although I guess it makes sense that he's in charge of diseases now because he always has an expression that looks like number six on the pain chart."

Trevor Noah also addressed the virus on The Daily Show.

News coverage showed how countries around the world are responding to the pandemic, including Japan canceling school for a month. "Quick, America, now's your chance to catch up in math," joked Noah.

The host noted that "it doesn't matter where you are in the world" and that anyone can catch the disease. "The coronavirus is going after everybody. Which is really scary but also really woke," he said. "The coronavirus is more diverse than the Oscars. Everyone gets a chance."

Noah next touched on Pence's new role. "I know it seems ludicrous, but maybe the plan is to just have Mike Pence bore the virus to death," he said. "Just be like, 'My second favorite book in the Bible would have to be Leviticus. I always think—' and the coronavirus is like, 'I'm going back to China.'"

The host explained that many stocks for activities and restaurants have gone down, while the stocks for companies that have products that allow people to stay inside have risen.

"I still think these companies need to innovate to keep up with the virus," said Noah. "Usually if you've been binging Love Is Blind for 10 hours, a screen pops up and asks, 'Are you still watching?' Yeah, but going forward it should probably say, 'Are you still alive?'"