Viewers that turned to MSNBC at 9:00 last night may have been surprised to see Nicolle Wallace on their screens first, instead of the hour’s usual host, Rachel Maddow.
Wallace informed the audience that the out television host was at home quarantining, but she was fine and the decision to do so was precautionary. She then preceded to host the hour before turning over the continuous 2020 election coverage to Lawrence O’Donnell.
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Earlier in the day, Maddow announced the decision in a image post to Twitter. “Everything happens, all at once. I have had a closet contact test positive for COVID,” she wrote.
“I’ve tested negative thus far but will be at home quarantining ’til it’s safe for me to be back at work without putting anyone at risk.”
Maddow suddenly bowing out temporarily means that she will likely be unable to see the final results of the 2020 Presidential election through in-studio. This was after leading the cable network’s primetime coverage of the ongoing count for four straight nights prior, alongside Wallace, Joy Reid, Brian Williams, and out political correspondent Steve Kornacki.
It also serves as a stark reminder that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, and the deadly virus is still a risk to any and everyone. Yesterday, November 6, the country added 126,000 confirmed new cases to its total, topping the previous day’s record – and the day before that’s record – of confirmed cases in one country in 24 hours.
In New York alone, the state confirmed 3,209 new cases – a height not reached since May. Of those, 1,202 were recorded within New York City, where Maddow resides mostly with her partner, Susan Mikula. The twitter account for the staff at The Maddow Show, @MaddowBlog, shared information about these updates constantly in the last day.
“It is terrifying,” they tweeted about the numbers at one point.
120,000 new cases in the past 24 hours is not only a new record for our country, but the previous record was set yesterday and was the first time that we had crossed 100,000 cases.
And so for us to blow past that by 20%, it is terrifying. pic.twitter.com/rbbpaH7Ndi
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) November 6, 2020
It was also learned yesterday that President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, had come up positive for COVID-19 after repeatedly trying to persuade Americans that Trump would not try to “control” the virus. Meadows has led the Trump White House where they seem to have done anything but follow precautions over the last few months, especially since the election, hosting a large group of Trump campaigners & family in small, confined spaces of the President’s residence – just weeks after Trump himself was hospitalized over the virus.
Maddow is far from the first out television host to take precautions. In March, CNN’s Anderson Cooper began recording his show remotely due to a staff member turning positive, and Bravo’s Andy Cohen had to quarantine and temporarily halt his late night series whilst having the virus.
While all of the network’s talent interceded airtime throughout the last few days, it was Wallace, Reid, and Maddow who led election coverage from around 7pm until Brian Williams typically took over at 11pm since Tuesday night. The 3 women have drawn close to 5 million viewers every night, coming in third to CNN and Fox News among the cable networks.
Since taking over the 9pm hour in 2008, Maddow has become the most watched news anchor in MSNBC’s history, and in cable overall.
How long Maddow will be quarantining was not immediately announced, but she did say to viewers in her statement that “[y]ou will be in good hands tonight with Nicolle and Joy and Brian and the Great and Good Mr. Kornacki and the whole MSNBC crew.
“See you soon! Wishing everyone patience and calm; may these remarkable times bring out the best in all of us,” she concludes.
Many people wish her well and hope she gets through quarantine safely.
Wishing you well Rachel. Stay safe — can’t wait to have you back.
— Rep. Malcolm “Biden/Harris WON” Kenyatta (@malcolmkenyatta) November 7, 2020
I wish you well. We need you.
— Daniel Summers (@WFKARS) November 7, 2020
We will miss you. Stay safe.
— Wanda Sykes (@iamwandasykes) November 7, 2020