MSNBC host Rachel Maddow hasn’t appeared much on air the last few weeks, and now we know why: her partner, Susan, contracted COVID-19, and there was significant concern she would die from the disease that’s killed more than a quarter million Americans in 2020. The news came on Thursday night, as Maddow appeared on MSNBC and issued an impassioned plea for people to cancel plans and try to stay safe this holiday season.
Maddow appeared in a nearly 7-minute video on Thursday, explaining her absence and how two weeks ago, her partner, Susan Mikula, tested positive and was separated from the network host to fight COVID-19.
“My relationship with Susan at the end of the day is the only thing I would kill or die for without hesitation. And Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks,” she said. “And 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 said she’s getting better, and the host has managed not to test positive for herself. But it’s been a scary few weeks, a period of time that’s made her reflect on the way people in America need to “recalibrate” their understanding of the risks they take with contracting the virus as they head into the holiday season.
“I don’t know you at home, but just believe me: 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 will be fine for you and your loved ones,” Maddow said. “I’m just here to tell you to recalibrate that. Frankly, the country needs you to recalibrate that because, broadly speaking, there’s no room for you in the hospital anymore.”
Maddow referenced the fact that hospitalizations have increased in America by 50 percent in the two weeks since Susan’s illness, and there “isn’t room” for anyone new to add to that list as deaths, cases and hospitalizations keep rising.
“The only way to ensure that is to ensure that you do not get infected. But please also know that whatever you think of your own life and however much his you’re willing to take on for yourself, that’s not how this works. What you need to know 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,” she said. “Or who you may spend weeks up all night freaking out about and calling doctors over and over again trying to figure out how to keep that person breathing and out of the hospital.”
It’s an emotional plea from someone who has seen the impact COVID-19 can have on someone close to them, and it ended with a dire warning to do whatever you can to stay away from other people and stay safe.
“Don’t get this thing. Do whatever you can to keep from getting it,” Maddow said. “For Thanksgiving next week, you really are going to have to have it at home. Without people coming over. And yeah, that’s going to suck. But that is going to suck so much less than you or somebody in your family getting this and getting sick. Trust me.”