This infection was not just of Costas' eyes; it spread into the fabric of a nation's spirit. His burden was all of ours, and as it lifts so we all do rise.
Update, February 14: "It's an honor to fill in for [Costas],'' Meredith Vieira said on Today this morning. "You think about the Olympics, and you think the athletes, and then Bob Costas."
Then you think Matt Lauer, and then you think Meredith Vieira.
Matt Lauer said this morning that he is exhausted and sleep deprived after three nights covering for Costas. NBC casts the announcement of Vieira as history-making, in that she will be the first woman to ever anchor NBC's prime time Olympic coverage on her own. Hannah Storm, Mary Carillo, Gayle Gardner, and Jane Pauley have anchored daytime and late-night spots.
Having broken his historic streak of 157 consecutive Olympic broadcasts, Costas is establishing a new streak for nights missed due to eye infection: four.
Update, February 13: A dark turn, NBC announced that Costas will be taking a knee for a third night. The fanfare surrounding the announcements is growing progressively quieter, as if interest in his condition is waning. Joke to sympathy ratios are plummeting. Ophthalmologists who have weighed in on the prognosis say that a one to two week course of disease is not unusual.
Costas told Ryan Seacrest in a radio interview this morning that his sensitivity to light has become incapacitating. But, Costas said, "I'm hoping that I’m back by the weekend, and I certainly think I’ll be able to do the second half of the games."
Update, February 12: Costas has called Matt Lauer "out of the bullpen" again tonight. Costas, a sportscaster in the throes of ocular illness, seems unable to conjure any metaphors that do not involve sports. He otherwise appears well and said on Today from Sochi that he does not feel too bad. Costas will spend another night off air recovering from his conjunctivitis tonight.
"It's an eye infection, and my eyes are so blurry and watery and become so light-sensitive that even in dim light they're constantly tearing up," Costas said on air, by phone from an undisclosed location. "I can't possibly be in the studio."
Lauer joked to Costas about his unclean state, saying that he arrived early to sanitize the studio so as not to contract Costas' eye infection. Costas countered with an offer to Lauer that in return for sitting in for him, Costas would "step in on the next 10 'Steals and Deals' and 'Ambush Makeovers.''' Those are recurring segments on Today. Costas was essentially mocking Lauer for having to endure their banality by joking that he was so indebted to Lauer that he might temporarily deign to do the same. Good times.
The Internet and late-night television have become overrun with Costas-eye jokes and meme attempts, especially Photoshops. I have come to regret my own (below). Well, not entirely. I believe I speak for every American in saying that if he feels up to it, we would wholeheartedly support Costas hosting tomorrow from a very low-light setting with a tear bucket and eye gear of whatever opacity NBC deems marketable.