Rachel Maddow makes emotional return to TV after partner's battle with COVID-19 nearly killed her

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Rachel Maddow returned to The Rachel Maddow Show on Thursday, after taking leave on Nov. 6 to quarantine due to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. That “close contact” turned out to be with her partner of more than 20 years, Susan Mikula, and Maddow opened her show by discussing the whole ordeal.

“My relationship with Susan is the only thing at the end of the day that I would kill or die for without hesitation,” said Maddow. “And Susan has been sick with COVID these past couple of weeks. And at one point we really thought that there was a possibility that it might kill her.”

Maddow admitted that she has grown frustrated with all of the safety measures, social distancing and life interruptions. She even implied that she was complacent when it came to contracting the virus herself. But after watching and worrying about Mikula as she battled the virus, her perspective changed.

“Whatever you have calculated into your life as acceptable risk,” she said, “As, you know, inevitable risk, you know, 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.”

“Whoever you most love and most care for and most cherish in the world,” she said later, “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 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.”

Maddow implored viewers to exercise even more caution going forward, as cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. Based on the outpouring of positive messages on social media, at least some people appreciated her message.

The outpouring of support led Maddow to respond on Twitter, saying, “Thanks to everyone who’s said such kind things after I talked about Susan’s COVID experience tonight. Prayers are very welcome. If there’s one other thing we could ask, it’s to please find new ways to show support for health workers where you live. And slow the spread. Please.”

The Rachel Maddow Show airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on MSNBC.

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