Stephanie Ruhle is using her family's experience with the novel coronavirus to spotlight inadequacies she sees in the U.S. government's handling of the global health crisis.
The MSNBC anchor revealed on-air Monday that she, husband Andy Hubbard and their three kids recently contracted COVID-19, saying she is now broadcasting from home after recovering over the last two weeks.
"I want you to know I did all the right things — I wore a mask, I kept my distance, but still, I got COVID. And I realized that 'doing the right thing' isn't enough," said Ruhle, 44.
She went on to recall how her husband tested positive "the day before Thanksgiving" and that the rest of her family eventually tested positive for the virus, as well.
"We were one day away from unknowingly potentially being super spreaders," Ruhle said. "We are so lucky that we got tested so quickly. We are so lucky to be privileged. But betting on luck is a failed national strategy."
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Ruhle explained in a personal essay about the experience that her husband "woke up with a headache and a minor sore throat." And while normally they would've "chalked those symptoms up to a hangover or just general malaise," they decided to get him tested given the upcoming holiday.
"My husband immediately went back to our New York City apartment to isolate. I stayed in our New Jersey home with our three kids, who are 14, 11 and 7, and I self-quarantined in a guest room above our garage, separate from my kids," she wrote. "Just having this type of housing arrangement is a privilege. I didn't see them for an entire week. They were forced to take care of themselves while I was isolated. Our generous neighbors and family dropped off meals at our doors; I am incredibly thankful — and lucky — that we have that kind of support system."
Ruhle had tested positive "by the end of the week," with symptoms that changed daily but overall "mostly just felt like a terrible flu." And even with their support and privilege, "parts of the process failed," she said.
"The urgent care clinic never gave me my test results. My husband figured out which lab it used and created a patient profile online. My husband's first PCR test was never processed, or it got lost," Ruhle said in her essay. "When he went home to New York, he paid $250 for another test from a private lab — again, a luxury available only to those who can afford it."
In both her essay and on-air, Ruhle stressed the reality for many who have to go into work regardless of their health because they have no other choice — and called out "people who may know they are spreading the coronavirus and simply don't care."
She also slammed the federal government for what she believes to be inaction.
"This virus isn't over, and now is not the time to get complacent," she said on MSNBC. "Please, this is our reality. And what is most concerning is that our government is doing very little to make these guidelines any easier to follow. The 'right thing' is a lot easier the more privileged you are."
Ruhle pointed out in her broadcast that "COVID doesn't care if you're rich, poor, Black, white, young, old. COVID doesn't care if it's Thanksgiving, Christmas or your birthday. But how we manage this virus is a whole lot easier if you're lucky to have the privilege of support."
"The only way we can get through this is if we have a system that works for everyone, and after having COVID-19, I'm convinced that we do not," she concluded her essay.
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