In a sobering and heartfelt monologue on Thursday, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow announced that her partner of 21 years, Susan Mikula, had been so sick with COVID-19 that they thought she might not survive. The newscaster has been quarantining since Mikula tested positive two weeks ago, she said.
Maddow, who remains negative for the virus, began the seven-minute segment by telling viewers that if they know one thing about her outside of her work, it’s that Mikula is the "organizing principle" of her life.
“My relationship with Susan, at the end of the day, is the only thing that I would kill or die for without hesitation. And Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks. At one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her, and that’s why I’ve been away,” Maddow continued. She was returning to hosting her show from home Thursday after having had substitute hosts since Mikula's diagnosis.
At a time when rates of the deadly virus are rising exponentially, Maddow explained that she and her partner have been separated since the day Mikula received the positive test result.
“She’s gotten sicker and sicker while I tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her,” Maddow said.
“She’s recovering. We’re not scared like we were,” she added.
Then Maddow delivered a pointed message to viewers to take the virus deadly seriously.
“Whatever you have calculated into your life as acceptable risk, as inevitable risk, something that you’re willing to go through in terms of this virus because statistically, hey, probably it will be fine for you and your loved ones, I’m just here to tell you to recalibrate that,” she said. “Frankly, the country needs you to recalibrate that, because, broadly speaking, there’s no room for you in the hospital anymore.
“We’ve got more people in the hospital right now than we’ve had since the beginning of this epidemic. It’s gone up 50 percent in two weeks. … So, for the sake of the country, you really can’t get sick and need to go to the hospital right now. The only way to ensure that is to ensure that you do not get infected.”
Maddow then appealed to those considering gathering in groups for Thanksgiving next week at a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against traveling and is encouraging people to celebrate the day with others virtually.
“What you need is that whoever is the most important person in your life, whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world, that’s the person who you may lose. Or who you may spend weeks, up all night, freaking out about, calling doctors all over the place over and over again all night long trying to figure out how to keep that person breathing and out of the hospital.
“I’m guessing that you might be willing to risk yourself, after all these months and all this time, it’s so frustrating. I would have done anything. I would have moved mountains for it to have been me who was sick these past couple of weeks instead of Susan. I still would give anything for that. This thing does not give you that choice.”
With a final appeal to viewers to stay safe and to keep others safe, Maddow said, “This thing is scary as hell. Whatever you’ve been willing to do to risk getting it, don’t do it.”