Viewers knew Rachel Maddow had contact with someone with COVID-19, hence her two-week quarantine beginning Nov. 6. But until Maddow's return to MSNBC on Thursday, they didn't know just how close that contact was. Broadcasting live from home, Maddow told viewers that "the center of my universe," her partner of 21 years, artist Susan Mikula, had been diagnosed with COVID-19, per USA Today. Not only that, but Mikula, 62, fell seriously ill, said Maddow, 47, who tested negative. "At one point, we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her," she said. "That's why I've been away." And to illustrate just how difficult that prospect was, Maddow noted that "my relationship with Susan is the only thing at the end of the day that I would kill or die for without hesitation."
With Mikula now recovering, Maddow took the opportunity of asking viewers to put themselves in her shoes. "Whatever you think of your own life and however much risk you are willing to take on for yourself, that's not how this works," she said. "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." "All you can do to stop that is move heaven and earth to not get [COVID-19] and to not transmit it," she went on. That means not traveling for Thanksgiving. "Yeah, it's going to suck," she said, per the Washington Post. "But that's going to suck so much less than you or somebody in your family getting this and getting sick. Trust me." (The CDC is offering the same advice.)