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Bill Maher Cancels ‘Real Time’ Again This Week After Positive Coronavirus Test

“Real Time with Bill Maher” will be back on HBO next week

HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” will be off again this week as the show continues its safety protocols following the host’s COVID-19 diagnosis.

Maher revealed last week that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus during the show’s routine testing process. It was expected he’d need to take at least two weeks off before returning to the program.

Maher, who is vaccinated and asymptomatic, is now slated to return to his HBO slot on May 28. Instead of running a new “Real Time” episode this week, HBO is filling the slot with an encore of the fifth episode of “Mare of Eastown.”

Asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus can still pass it on to other people in close quarters. One of the dangers of being an asymptomatic carrier is the person with the virus often doesn’t realize they have it until they’re tested, and by then, they could have unknowingly transmitted it. It’s been estimated that up to 50% of people who test positive for COVID-19 don’t have symptoms.

Thankfully, HBO’s COVID-19 testing protocols caught Maher’s diagnosis early and he was able to quarantine — even though it meant two weeks off from “Real Time.” In a tweet after his May 13 diagnosis, Maher said he was disappointed he’d missed a show for the first time since 1993, but said he’s been vaccinated and felt “perfectly fine.”

People with both doses of the coronavirus vaccine can still contract the virus, but that’s not exactly proof that vaccines aren’t effective against it. The CDC reports post-vaccination infections — dubbed “virus breakthrough cases” — are rare but to be expected as more people get the vaccine. The CDC said in late April that less than 10,000 breakthrough cases were reported, compared to over 95 million Americans who got fully vaccinated.