On Thursday, the star football player announced that he and his wife, Brittany, would donate $5 million dollars to the state of Louisiana to help in the battle against the coronavirus. The pair also said they would provide 10,000 meals each day as part of the relief effort.
The morning anchor expressed her thanks to Brees, adding her hope that it would inspire others to follow his example.
“I think a lot of things are contagious, including generosity,” Kotb poignantly said.
“Our hope is that because you let us know you made this big donation, I think other people [will] look and say, hey, maybe we can help out, too. Drew, we love you,” she finished.
“Love you too, Hoda,” the star athlete replied.
Kotb then tried to shift to the next topic of the day; but the sweet moment in the midst of these dire circumstances had an effect on the co-host, and she began to tear up.
“Sorry, sorry,” Kotb said, trying to shuffle papers while composing herself.
However, there was no need for apologies, as her colleague Savannah Guthrie joined her on-air to offer comfort.
“It’s a lot,” Guthrie — who has been self-isolating at home due to the virus — said.
“Hoda, I’m so sorry. Take a moment, hun,” she added. Guthrie continued to console her friend, suggesting she take deep breaths and then offering to read the tease for the next segment.
We love you, Hoda. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/rocZr8J4EE
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 27, 2020
The crisis in Louisiana is personal for Kotb, as she worked as an anchor at WWL-TV in New Orleans earlier in her career.
The state has become one of the nation’s hotspots for the coronavirus, thanks to the number of tourists and lack of social distancing brought to the city of New Orleans by Mardi Gras celebrations.
According to USA Today, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state increased by 510 to a total of 2,305 on Thursday. The virus has already claimed 83 lives, but health experts worry that the death toll will only grow due to the state’s large proportion of residents with pre-existing medical conditions and its lack of health infrastructure.
The touching television moment resonated with viewers, and the hashtag #Hoda soon trended on Twitter following the segment.
“Been watching Hoda for as long as I can remember. She’s probably one of the first reporters I really admired and looked up to. We’re lucky to have her. We love ya, girl!” wrote CNN reporter Devan Cole in a tweet.
“So moving. There are few nicer, more decent people in world television than [Hoda],” Daily Mail fixture Piers Morgan shared on the platform.
As reported by The Inquisitr, Kotb also recently penned a moving tribute to Larry Edgeworth, an NBC staffer who passed away from the coronavirus.