It was a little bit reality TV – a little bit pandemic theater – Friday on the set of "The View."
The show had landed a big-name guest, Vice President Kamala Harris. The studio audience, wearing masks, was in their seats. The hosts, not wearing masks, were in their places on the set.
And then came the big reveal.
Host Sunny Hostin and guest host Ana Navarro were informed – on live TV – that they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Quick, cut to commercial.
Thankfully, it appears that Vice President Harris was not exposed to the virus, at least not by the show's hosts, Friday morning. She went ahead with the interview, but did it remotely from a room at ABC studios in New York.
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Amid a horrific pandemic that continues to claim far too many lives in this country and around the world, this not-ready-for prime time moment will fade fast. Media reports noted that the show's other hosts, Joy Behar and Sara Haines, bantered with the audience even after their colleagues had learned they have an illness that's killed more than 675,000 Americans.
The show must go on, indeed.
And while I wish Hostin and Navarro a quick and full recovery (reports say they're both vaccinated), I also can't help but feel – from my bunker deep in the heart of fly over country – that this is another example of America's elites acting as if "the rules" are beneath them.
Two weeks ago, East Coast elites gathered for the annual tribute to excess known as the Met Gala. More than a few party poopers noted that while the hired help all wore masks, the beautiful people pranced and swirled for the cameras sans masks.
On Sunday, West Coast elites gathered to award themselves trophies at the Emmys. Several hundred celebrities, not wearing masks, shuffled inside a tent where they sat toasting each other's brilliance for several hours.
After actor Seth Rogen pointed out the hypocrisy of his peers' "we're above it all" behavior, the show's producers blasted him for going off script. They also noted that the guests had to show proof of vaccination before they were allowed inside for the awards ceremony.
Bully for them.
But I'm vaccinated and still wear a mask, largely for the sake of others, while buying coffee and yogurt at the grocery store.
Maybe the rich really are different.
Tim Swarens is deputy opinion editor of USA TODAY.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The View hosts positive for COVID: Do rules not apply to elites?