Rachel Maddow is not exaggerating when she says that now is the time to take the coronavirus seriously.
For the past two weeks, the MSNBC anchor has been off the air after a "close contact" tested positive for COVID-19. When she first went on her break, the newscaster didn't reveal who potentially exposed her to the virus, but now, the journalist has revealed that it was her longtime partner, Susan Mikula, who contracted the virus.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, Maddow returned to hosting The Rachel Maddow Show from her home and shared her experience with the virus in the hopes of preventing someone else from having to go through what she did.
Rachel explained how important Susan is to her, describing her partner as "the center of my universe." In fact, Rachel stated, "My relationship with Susan is the only thing at the end of the day that I would kill or die for without hesitation."
But then, Rachel said their world was rocked when Susan tested positive for COVID a few weeks ago, after which she got "sick and sicker." She added, "And at one point we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her."
And while Rachel said that she'd be willing to die for Susan, that wasn't an option in this situation. She told viewers, "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, or who you may spend weeks up all night freaking out about and calling doctors all over all over the place and over and over again all night long, trying to figure out how to keep that person, breathing, and out of the hospital."
"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 would still give anything for that," Rachel said, choking up. "But this thing does not give you that choice. You can't say I'm willing to just get it myself and play the odds, you don't get that choice."
She added, "It won't necessarily be you. It'll be the person you most care about in the world and how can you bear that? And all you can do to stop that is move heaven and earth to not get it, and to not transmit it."
Rachel acknowledged that many people may be willing to take an "acceptable risk," but as she put it, "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."
According to Rachel, Susan is now "recovering" from the virus, but she said that it was "scary as hell" to think she could nearly lose the love of her life.
As for the host herself, she will continue to quarantine even though she's tested negative for the duration of the past month. Additionally, she will broadcast from her home until "it's safe for me to be around any of my co-workers again in the future."
MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace sent well-wishes to Rachel and Susan, writing on Twitter, "We all loved @maddow before tonight, but this is next level love that I feel for my friend and colleague for opening her life and her home and her heart tonight."
(E! and MSNBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)