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Rachel Maddow shares partner’s struggle with COVID-19 and makes an emotional appeal to viewers: ‘Don’t get this thing’

The MSNBC host, in a live-feed broadcast from her home in Western Mass., delivers a strong and personal message.

Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."Steven Senne/Associated Press

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow returned to her primetime cable news show Thursday night after two weeks away to explain her absence, deliver an emotional tribute to her partner, Susan Mikula, who is recovering from COVID-19, and to plead with viewers, “Don’t get this thing. Do whatever you can to keep from getting it.”

Maddow, who lives in Western Massachusetts, said Mikula, her partner of 21 years, tested positive two weeks ago, and at that point, Maddow entered quarantine. The two separated from each other that day, and Maddow said she has “tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her.”


“She’s not only been positive over this time, she’s gotten sicker and sicker while I tried to care for her while still staying physically apart from her,” Maddow said. “The bottom line is that she’s going to be fine. . . . But it really didn’t feel like it was going OK at the outset. . . . At one point, we really thought there was the possibility it might kill her, and that’s why I’ve been away.”

Maddow also said that she has repeatedly tested negative and is nearing the end of her quarantine but will broadcast from her home until it’s safe for her to be around colleagues again.

It was an emotional tribute to Mikula, an artist and photographer. Maddow described Mikula as the center of her universe, and said, “My relationship with Susan at the end of the day is the only thing I would kill or die for without hesitation.”

Maddow went on to implore her viewers to consider their loved ones when calculating their own risks, to stay home this Thanksgiving, 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.”


“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 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.”

She added, “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,” Maddow said.

“Don’t get this thing,” she said. “Do whatever you can to keep from getting it.”

Diti Kohli can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.

Diti Kohli can be reached at her @ditikohli_.