After a two-week absence, Rachel Maddow appeared last night in a live-feed broadcast from her home. As the show began, an emotional Maddow talked about the reason for her quarantine. Via the Washington Post:
Her partner of 21 years, the artist and photographer Susan Mikula, tested positive for the novel coronavirus almost two weeks ago and then became seriously ill.
“At one point, we really thought there was a possibility that it might kill her,” Maddow said. “That’s why I’ve been away.”
In telling her family’s own struggle with covid-19, Maddow pleaded with viewers to stay home for Thanksgiving and reconsider any activities that might put them at risk of catching the coronavirus or spreading it to others.
“Don’t get this thing. Do whatever you can to keep from getting it,” she said. “For Thanksgiving next week, you really are going to have to just have it at home without people coming over. And yeah, it’s going to suck, but that’s going to suck so much less than you or somebody in your family getting this and getting sick. Trust me.”
She also reminded people:
“There isn’t room for you in the hospital anymore, broadly speaking, so for the sake of your country you really can’t get sick and need to go to the hospital right now,” she said Thursday. “And the only way to ensure that is to ensure that you do not get infected.”
As a covid survivor, I know what Maddow is trying to convey: It's very, very hard to watch people carelessly risking this. Eight months later, I'm starting to feel somewhat normal -- but "normal" after covid is a relative term. And I'm doing a lot better than most long-haul covid survivors. I can actually walk across the room now without needing a nap to recover.
But even if you're not a long hauler (and God, I hope you're not), there is nothing quite as scary as struggling to breathe through airways that feel like they're filled with cement. And scariest of all, I am reading more and more about covid carriers who just ... drop dead weeks after apparent recovery.
You can't be paranoid enough about an airborne virus. (For one thing, it makes public restrooms very risky, because every time someone flushes, they're spreading microscopic particles into the room.) I caught it in a mostly empty hospital, in an empty emergency room! (Experts suspect it's spread at least in part through ventilation systems.)
Watching Maddow describe what she and her partner have been through was upsetting -- but not as upsetting as actually living through it. Don't take unnecessary chances, because if you do get it, your life may never be the same.