“You don’t want to get this thing,” actor Richard Schiff of “The West Wing” said of his recent close call with COVID-19.
“Listen to what I’m saying,” a somber, gaunt-looking Schiff told viewers during an appearance on MSNBC.
“You don’t have to get to the point where I am — being told that I might not be here next week — to appreciate the people you love,” Schiff said.
“And if you really love them you will take the steps to prevent this disease from getting to those who you love, and from getting to you,” he told West Wing alum and “The Last Word” host Lawrence O’Donnell.
Schiff and his wife, Sheila Kelley, were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Election Day while in Vancouver, where he was filming “The Good Doctor.”
His wife’s symptoms were minor, but Schiff had to be admitted to Vancouver General Hospital and treated with remdesivir, steroids and oxygen support, he tweeted mid-month.
Schiff is home now, and O’Donnell brought him on his show this week to share some surprise Thanksgiving well-wishes from his former “West Wing” cast mates.
“There’s a few friends of yours who you shared a locker room with for seven years who have a few words for you,” O’Donnell told Schiff, who broke into a smile as the taped greetings rolled by.
“We’re so happy and relieved that you’re on the mend,” said Martin Sheen, who played President Josiah Bartlet to Schiff’s White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on the long-running TV series.
“We have that much more to be grateful for,” said Sheen.
“Yay, Richard! I love you so much. I’m so glad you’re out of the woods,” Allison Janney said in her greeting, blowing Schiff a kiss.
“COVID is nothing to play with — you had us concerned there for a while,” said Dule Hill.
“I love you so much and I’m so relieved you’re ok,” said Janel Moloney.
“Richard!” said Bradley Whitford. “We are all so grateful this Thanksgiving that you are out of the hospital and on the mend,” he said.
“We love you, brother, and thank you for using your terrifying experience to get the word out to everybody about how dangerous this disease is and how careful we need to be this holiday season.
“I cannot wait for the day when I can throw my arms around you and tell you I love you in person,” Whitford added.
Schiff was clearly touched.
“They’re amazing people,” he told O’Donnell.
“It’s like having a family, and you go back for Thanksgiving dinner, and there are no fights. We just love each other unconditionally and it’s just great.”
Schiff told O’Donnell that people need to remain COVID-cautious just a few more months.
“We’re in a new hopeful time,” given the vaccines and new administration coming next year, he said.
“We have some hope coming down the road,” he said.
“Hold the line. Don’t get this now. Do not get this now. And encourage everyone around you, those who you love, to keep it at bay and help others keep it at bay.
“You don’t want to get this thing,” he stressed.
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