Lester Holt Details the COVID-19 ‘Playbook’ and What Should’ve Happened

Lester Holt is investigating how the global COVID-19 pandemic should have been handled. The Nightly News anchor Zoomed with Ryan Seacrest on Friday, June 12, and detailed his new special, The Playbook, a Dateline NBC special in-depth and comprehensive look at whether the coronavirus pandemic that tore through the United States could have been contained or slowed had government agencies responded differently.

“Back in 2016 a group of White House insiders, experts, got down and decided let’s create a playbook if there’s ever a pandemic,” Lester explained on-air. “Kind of a step-by-step … 69 page document, playbook, [that] offers guidance and how to timely react to things as they happen and as we go through this, we got some sensitive White House documents and we got some emails, and [we] compar[e] what really happened versus what this playbook suggested should happen.”

Lester added they found that critical time was lost in identifying the virus as well as ordering protective gear like masks. 

The anchorman will also touch on the second wave that’s been warned about as states begin to phase into re-opening. 

“We’re beginning to see spikes in over 20 states right now,” Lester shared. “If you work the clock backwards, it takes you back into Memorial Day as a lot of states were beginning to open up things. … The warnings are not new; experts have been saying, ‘Look, this thing is not over.’”

He’s also helping families educate their children on the current events, including the riots and protests, with Nightly News With Lester Holt - Kid’s Edition.

“[We thought] why don’t we do a kids edition of the program?” Lester added. “We pivoted to find a way to try to speak to kids with going into as few of the grim details as possible to help them speak out about race and understand what the protests are about. …We felt as a broadcast we had to deal with it.”

Catch The Playbook on Saturday, June 13, on NBC. Listen back to the full interview above for more, including to hear how working from home has been going for Lester and also how he helps guide his son’s career in broadcast!

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