virus spreads TRANSCRIPT: 3/12/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Vivek Murthy, Jeff Merkley, Reed Caldwell, Richard Trumka, Cory Booker



Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are going to suspend production for the rest 

of the month. With massive quarantine efforts in Italy, historical sites 

commonly flooded with tourists are now almost empty. What has become 

abundantly clear is that while feelings of uncertainty of heightened, 

familiar comforts we rely on as a society are for a foreseeable future on 



Thanks for being with us. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next.








HAYES: The worst drop ever in the history of the stock market. A state of 

emergency declared in New York City. Major League Baseball suspends 

operations and mass school closures around the country. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All public schools in Maryland will be closed.


HAYES: Tonight, the latest on how to stop the exponential spread of 

coronavirus, what you need to know when you`re feeling sick, and what 

American workers should expect to get from Congress. 


REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): The deadline and the time for delay has passed. 


HAYES: And as America`s top public health expert admits our testing system 

is a failure – 



DISEASES: It is a failure. Let`s admit it.


HAYES: How to carry on with a president actively lying to the nation. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Frankly, the testing has been 

going very smoothly. 


HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.




HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. A lot is happening very 

quickly, a lot more is going to be happening as we try and deal with this 

pandemic. But before I start to give you the news today, I think it`s 

important to mentally prepare yourself for increasing amounts of social 

disruption. This is the phase we are entering into in our society, in our 

country, and we are all going to need to look out for each other, pull 



That said, here are where things stand tonight. U.S. cases continue to move 

up an exponential curve. There are over 1,500 cases including 40 deaths. A 

major obstacle right now to getting our hands around the scope of the 

problem continues to be a lack of testing. A private group that has been 

tracking the data says there have been 10,000 tests run in the U.S. so far, 

total, just 10,000. South Korea`s running 10,000 tests per day or more. 


Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy 

and Infectious Diseases, spoke very plainly before Congress about the 

abject testing failure.




FAUCI: The system does not – is not really geared to what we need right 

now, what you are asking for. That is failing.




FAUCI: It is failing. Let`s admit it. The idea of anybody getting it easily 

the way people in other countries are doing it, we`re not set up for that. 

Do I think we should be? Yes, but we`re not.




HAYES: The absence of more widespread testing, the biggest most important 

thing for state, local officials, and civil society is to move towards 

massively tamping down the sheer amount of physical contact we have with 

each other as human beings society-wide. That is the only way to curb the 

pandemic. That is the way to flatten the curve. 


Remember, this whole red part on the chart is what the epidemic looks like 

without public health intervention. The blue part is what happens when you 

take protective measures. The blue, the flat of the curve is what we are 

trying to get to. And that line for the middle is the capacity of our 

entire health care system. 


We need to be doing everything we can to avoid this dark red part above the 

line where there are more patients in the system can handle. We`ve already 

seen that in Wuhan and in Italy. And yesterday, a study was published using 

computational modeling that showed that even just reducing contact between 

people by 25 percent can reduce infection by 60 percent. Just think about 

that. Fairly small steps can yield huge results. 


This is what we`re all engaged in right now. This is why the future is 

going to be extremely disruptive. You`ve probably heard the news about how 

disruptive it is. In the past day, just since I spoke to you last night, 

every major sports is suspended. March Madness is not happening. All the 

shows on Broadway are shut down. New York has announced caps of meetings 

with over 500 people. Ohio and Maryland became the first two states to 

close public schools throughout the state. 


It is also the case that another inevitable thing will happen and that is 

people that are famous will contract the virus. Yesterday was the first 

example of that. Actress Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they have 

tested positive for coronavirus though doing well. Utah Jazz star center 

Rudy Gobert tested positive yesterday. Today, his teammate, All-Star guard 

Donovan Mitchell also tested positive. That resulted in the NBA suspending 

season until further notice. 


Again, this is the way the news is going to be. Prepare yourself for this 

kind of thing. We`re also going to get news of world leaders who have 

contracted it. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife are now 

self-isolating because his wife has symptoms. The press secretary for the 

president of Brazil today tested positive. 


And I should tell you that over the weekend that man met with President 

Trump. You can see the two of them here at Mar-a-Lago with a Make Brazil 

Great Again hat. The White House says despite this interaction, Trump will 

not be tested.


You can see the two of them here at Mar a Lago with a make Brazil great 

again hat. The White House says despite this interaction, Trump will not be 

tested. This is just the inevitable math of this pandemic. More and more 

people are going to get it. And today obviously, because there is going to 

be so much economic disruption, there are very real acute concerns about 

vulnerable populations.


People are going to lose their paycheck or barely hanging on. Also, and 

this is really important to stress here, detained population including 

people in prisons, and in jails and in immigrant detention centers, those 

are all significant concerns. It is unclear at this time if the federal 

government has a comprehensive plan for them. 


With all that, the major public health challenges remain. Getting testing 

up to capacity, creating surge capacity for hospitals, and mass social 

action to limit physical contact with each other. Here with me now, someone 

who understands the steps we should be taking, how to take those steps, 

someone who`s been on the front line public health emergencies, has made 

many of the kinds of decisions we need to make now, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He`s 

the former Surgeon General of the United States. 


Dr. Murthy, what`s – what is your top-line right now about what we need to 

be doing collectively as a society? And then we`ll talk a little bit about 

the federal response.



really unique moment in our country`s history, and really, in the world`s 

history. We have not seen a pandemic like this with the potential to expand 

and take the toll that it could take in about 100 years since the Spanish 

flu in 1918. 


And so, you know, this is an extraordinary moment that demands 

extraordinary measures. And there are two pieces of that. There`s a 

government response that we need, but there`s also a mass social 

mobilization that we need, a mobilization that changes how we behave in 

terms of personal practices. 


This is why we`ve been stressing it`s so important for us to wash our hands 

with soap to very least 20 seconds at a time. It`s important for us to use 

hand sanitizer often. It`s important for us to also wash common surfaces 

including your phone and your keys which can carry and harbor the virus. 

And also essential that we stay home if we`re sick and start implementing 

as soon as possible social distancing measures.


The social distancing includes everything from teleworking, instead of 

going into work, to potentially keeping kids home from school which we`re 

seeing in several states. That`s one of the more extreme measures but often 

necessary. But it also involves disbanding a group events. And you`ve seen 

many sporting events and festivals and conferences being canceled for this 



Now, these may seem extreme, they may seem incredibly disruptive, and make 

no mistake they are. They come with an extraordinary human and economic 

cost, but they`re done to reduce the chances that we bear an even greater 

costs down the line. 


So these are the measures that we have to take. We need a whole scale 

social mobilization. We haven`t seen this kind of mobilization since 

perhaps World War II, but it`s what we`re called to do right now.


HAYES: I keep stressing this every night because I want to sort of people 

distinguish between their own personal physical risk, the likelihood that 

they will get sick and die of coronavirus, which again remains low in the 

grand scheme of things, and the systemic risks that we`re talking about, 



On the latter part, when we talk about this social disruption, how should 

people be mentally prepared for the next month? I mean, my sense from 

talking to experts is that people should mentally prepare that for several 

weeks, maybe a month, and maybe more things are not going to be normal. Is 

that a fair assessment?


MURTHY: That`s a fair assessment. And we have to let go of the idea that we 

can live our lives the way we did a month ago or two months ago or three 

months ago. The truth is this virus, which is just as if not more 

contagious than the flu, and certainly much more deadly than the flu, at 

least 10 times more deadly, if not more, this virus has fundamentally 

changed the landscape, and it`s changed how we need to live our lives. 


And so think about what we can expect here. Number one, people should 

expect that your contact with other people, including family, friends, and 

even strangers will be needs to be more limited than it was before. We 

should also assume that our traditional recreational practices of maybe 

going to concerts or to ballgames or going out with friends or to crowded 

bars, that that will be something we need to curtail, especially if we are 

older, or if we have chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, 

which places a greater risk of complications with COVID-19. 


And this may last a while. You know, we`d like to all – we`re all hoping 

that in the warmer weather months, that the COVID-19 will decrease and that 

we`ll see less spread, but we don`t know that for sure. And even if that 

happens, there`s – it`s possible just like has happened with the Spanish 

flu, that they will be a resurgence later in the fall. Yes?


HAYES: I just want to – I want to ask about the testing. This is – 

there`s been a sort of group sourced effort starting with some reporters at 

the Atlanta To try to track total number of tests. It looks like we have 

about 10,000 cumulative, several thousand a day. It is just astonishingly 

below the rates in every other country. Do you understand why this is the 

case, what can be done to fix it, and what the effects are?


MURTHY: I certainly understand what the effects are. But I do not know why 

we have run into this problem. Because the truth is we have demonstrated as 

a country that we can actually deploy a large number of tests in a 

relatively short timeframe. When we dealt with H1N1, for example, when we 

were dealing with the Zika virus a few years ago, at a time when I was 

actually serving a Surgeon General, we were able in these circumstances to 

test and to get tests out across the country. 


Something broke here. I don`t think we have clarity about what exactly it 

was. But here`s one point I think in fairness, it`s important to mention, 

which is it every time you have a response like this to something that is 

you know, up to that point not seen or not understood like the novel virus, 

something is going to go wrong, like in the response.


You`re going to stumble, something is going to break. that`s inevitable. 

What matters is how you respond to that, how quickly you get up, and how 

efficiently you correct your mistakes. And I think the worry that many of 

us have, and especially frontline health care workers is that we need to 

move faster when it comes to getting tests. 


Just today, I was talking to the doctors and hospitals in Florida, in 

Boston, Massachusetts, who were telling me that they`re struggling to get 

tests for the patients they need. I was talking to a mayor from a large 

city in the south who told me that in his entire state, there are only a 

couple of hundred tests for millions of people. 


These are not the numbers we need to hear. You know, what matters is not 

how many tests we`re shipping out. What matters is how many patients who 

need the test can get it and get it quickly. 


HAYES: Yes. And right now, that is not enough. Dr. Vivek Murthy, that was 

really, really excellent. Thank you for all of that. 


MURTHY: No problem. And, Chris, if I could one last thing. 


HAYES: Sorry, we – there – House Democrats – oh, we have you back. I 

didn`t want to cut you off there. Please say what you`re going to say. 


MURTHY: One last important cost that I think we are not talking about that 

we should keep in mind. As people distance themselves socially, we will 

also be headed for a social recession. We were talking about the economic 

recession. But we know that loneliness and social isolation are huge 

problems in our country that come at a great cost. That people who are 

lonely have shorter lives, higher risk of heart disease, dementia, 

depression and anxiety. 


And those problems are going to increase potentially unless we`re aware 

that there`s a greater risk of loneliness unless we mobilize ourselves to 

reach out to friends, make sure we`re staying connected to family and stay 

connected and supporting of each other. 


HAYES: It`s a great point. Fire up that group text. That`s been the one 

I`ve been getting through Dr. Vivek Murthy. Thank you so much for all of 



MURTHY: You`re welcome. 


HAYES: House Democrats are working right now to pass an emergency 

coronavirus relief bill, as Mitch McConnell just sent the Senate home for 

the long three day weekend. What you should expect from your federal 

government during a growing pandemic next.




HAYES: The House is now considering an emergency aid package for Americans 

affected by coronavirus. It would include things like paid sick leave, free 

testing, and help for food security programs. Today, Senate Republicans 

insisted they would not pass any emergency legislation until after the 

recess. Senator Lamar Alexander, a close ally of Republican Leader Mitch 

McConnell told reporters, “The Senate will act when we come back and we 

have a clearer idea of what extra steps we needed to take.”


Given the rate of epidemic growth, that is frankly deranged. That`s days 

from now. But then hours later, Mitch McConnell was forced to walk it back 

and cancel the recess to work on passing bipartisan legislation. Though the 

Senate did just leave for a three-day weekend as the House right now at 

this very minute works out a bill. 


Here with me now a U.S. senator from the state that is feeling effects of 

the pandemic, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon. Let me first start 

in your state. How things are there, what you`re hearing about what the 

federal government should be doing?


SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D-OR): Oh, absolutely. Well, things are getting worse. 

We had about 10 additional cases in the last two days. And, obviously, a 

lot of concern, a couple of those cases are on a veteran`s home. So you`ll 

started to see a very vulnerable population that might suffer a severe 



One of the big failures is the testing operation. And just to give some 

sense of comparison, as of a couple days ago, we had tested five out of 

every million Americans, while South Korea had tested close to 4,000 out of 

every million South Koreans. And that lack of testing means we don`t have a 

firm grip on the spread of this disease among the population. 


And it also means that people who want to get tested can`t get tested. 

Their doctors are telling them, just stay home and let us know if the 

symptoms become worse, or you can have an appointment one or two weeks from 

now when we have time. That system doesn`t work. 


So what we heard today from scientists in the administration was, we need a 

whole new strategy for testing based more on what South Korea has done, and 

that is to have people be able to go directly to a drive-up test site, get 

their tests, get their results within a day, not have to go through a 

lengthy process at a doctor`s office.


HAYES: You tweeted something about something that the governor of your 

state Governor Brown had asked for. Nine days ago, you tweeted Oregon 

Governor Brown wrote to the vice president, urgently requesting masks, 

gowns, gloves and other equipment to contain coronavirus. Not only has 

Oregon received none of that equipment, they haven`t even gotten a 

response. No plan, no urgency, no leadership. Is that true that they never 

got a response? 


MERKLEY: Well, that is – that is correct. And so when I – when I heard 

about that, last night, I made it the first question this morning. They had 

sent a request on March 3rd, followed up on March 5th, had heard nothing, 

of course, this is March 12th a week later. As a result of raising it, we 

got it into the right hands of the right person at HHS. They`ve now 

connected with this strategic supply, if you will. And hopefully, by 

tomorrow morning, we`ll know whether they`re able to help Oregon out. 


But we have an urgent need in Oregon for mask, for clothing, and for 

gloves. And now the request seems to be in the right place, but it was – 

it was in fact – somehow it got lost in the bureaucracy.


HAYES: The House right now is trying to work out the details of this deal. 

Unemployment Insurance, food security, mandated free testing, paid sick 

leave. All these are sort of parts of that package. McConnell basically – 

his allies declared it dead on arrival and sent the Senate home. What do 

you think?


MERKLEY: I think it`s absolutely crazy. I mean, this House bill is family 

focused. It says, listen, the tests are going to be free, so get tested if 

you have any of the significant symptoms of this disease which are cough, 

or a fever, and aching, those three things. And if you get tested, then you 

will know whether you need to take yourself out of action, to self-

quarantine, if you will, for 14 days, and you`ll be highly motivated to do 

it. And people can check in with you. 


But you`re going to lose your pay. So we need to make sure that there`s 

national sick leave so that you can, in fact, afford to stay home. We know 

folks are going to go to work to make their mortgage or their rent or their 

utilities if they`re not getting paid. And this looks at other issues like 

providing food to families in need of – 


HAYES: One question. I want to jump in there on the policy standpoint of 

paid sick leave. My understanding is it`s a mandate for paid sick leave for 

employers over 500 which I think makes good policy. But it just seems to me 

an argument that in a time when every business in America is going to be 

cash crunched, shouldn`t the government just pay for that?


MERKLEY: You know, I absolutely agree with that. There`s a discussion we`ve 

had on the Senate side. That`s a suggestion I put forward with my caucus 

that if we can possibly modify that. The government should pick up this 

cost. We`re going to be spending a lot of money to stimulate the economy 

during this moment. That`s a way we can do it that helps both the families 

and the businesses.


HAYES: In terms of the timing here, I`m not trying to sound absurd, but how 

is it possible that – I mean, every 24 hours changes the situation 

appreciably. We`re walking up an exponential curve. Is the Senate just 

going to just chill for three days? Like I just don`t understand how you`re 

– how you`re going home?


MERKLEY: No, this is – this is unbelievable. It`s absolutely – it`s 

insane that we`re leaving D.C. at this moment. I mean, here we were, say a 

day and a half ago, talking about 14 cases in Oregon. Now we have 24. Now 

we have an infection that`s inside a retirement home for veterans. Things 

are unfolding so fast and every part of the country, each day feels like 15 

major announcements occur that should affect our urgency and the policy. 

And Mitch McConnell is sitting on his hands for three days. It`s 



HAYES: All Right, Senator Jeff Merkley, thank you for making some time 



MERKLEY: Oh, you`re so welcome. Thanks, Chris. 


HAYES: All right, a really big practical problem I`ve been thinking about a 

lot of people been asking you about is what you should do if you feel sick, 

especially if you`re not sure what the source of the illness is. The chief 

of a major emergency department is going to join me to talk through that 





HAYES: As we move forward through this public health crisis, there seem to 

be two competing impulses that people have in their head right now, 

understandably. One is that we know, we listen to experts, that coronavirus 

is more serious than the flu. So you want to take it seriously. If you can 

tract it, you definitely want to stay away from other people. 


The other impulse is just that, you know, well, people get cold, they get 

sick, they get the flu. So what do you do if you are symptomatic? What 

should you do if you were feeling ill? To answer that question, I brought 

an emergency medicine specialist Dr. Reed Caldwell, Assistant Professor of 

Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health. It`s great to have you here. 



having me. 


HAYES: All right, so this happened to me the other day, someone that I 

love, I came home and that person said, I feel I have a bug coming on. And 

there`s that kind of terror moment like, oh, oh. A lot of people are going 

to feel that. What do you do if you have this – if you have symptoms?


CALDWELL: Well, as has been discussed, first, the most important thing is 

prevention. So we know that this is a virus that spread by droplets, which 

means coughing and sneezing. So anyone who`s coughing and sneezing should 

be sure to cover their face and should have prompt and cleansing. 


We`ve talked a lot about – everyone has been talking a lot about social 

distancing and self-quarantine, so those are really imperative preventative 



HAYES: OK, but if I have a fever, and I have a cold, and I feel like I have 

a flu-like symptoms, which is going to happen to a lot of people, what do 

you want me to do as a person who runs an emergency room?


CALDWELL: Right. So what I want you to do first is distance yourself from 

those people that are well, particularly people that you know are 

immunocompromised and the people at extremes of ages. We know that our 

elderly population is at most risk and it`s up to all of us to help to 

protect those people. 


Secondly, it`s important to maintain good health habits, good sleep, good 

hydration, taking ibuprofen or Tylenol for fever and really working to 

manage your symptoms and make yourself feel better.


HAYES: OK, so let`s say I feel sick. I go way down to the basement of my 

house. You know, we separate from the rest family and other people, and I`m 

down there and I`m still feeling sick. Do you want me to call my primary 

care physician? Do you want like – and how do I know when it`s time to go 

to the E.R. if I start to feel really bad?


CALDWELL: Right, so as was mentioned earlier, is we`re all keeping an eye 

on the overall capacity of the healthcare system, both locally and in the 

United States. So it`s going to be really important that everyone works to 

match their level of symptoms with their level of care. 


So for example, people who are well or have very mild symptoms, it`s going 

to be really important to go to sites like the local health department or 

the CDC to understand what`s going on with you and how you can – 


HAYES: The Web sites. 


CALDWELL: The Web sites, yes. And then for people with more moderate 

symptoms, it`s important to utilize some telehealth platforms or telephonic 

platforms to be able to continue to self-isolate, but to seek evaluation 

and consult. And then certainly, for the – for people with severe symptoms 

like respiratory distress, those are the people that we really need to have 

using the 911 system and emergency system. 


HAYES: OK, so what I`m hearing from you is, it`s very important to keep 

people that don`t need emergency care out of your E.R. Is that a fair thing 

to say?


CALDWELL: That will allow us to take the best care of the sickest people.


HAYES: OK. So if I`m 30 years old and I`ve got a fever and flu-like 

symptoms, and I`m pulled up in my apartment, I`m drinking a lot of fluids, 

I`m taking ibuprofen, what you`re saying is stay there, stay away from 

people, and maybe check in with your doctor through telehealth if you can.


CALDWELL: That`s right, just like you would if you had influenza or if you 

had a bad cold.


HAYES: When you say respiratory distress, I know I`m – we`re trying to do 

sort of like, you know, diagnosis in that scale here, so I understand that 

these are hypotheticals. But if I`m 68 or 70 and the same thing happens, 

and then I start to feel really persistent, dry cough, for instance, what`s 

that line there about respiratory distress?


CALDWELL: So certainly the more medical problems you have, existing medical 

problems you have and the older you are. So you mentioned 68, 70 years old, 

particularly if you have diabetes or other – or cancer, otherwise 

immunocompromised, it`s important to seek care a little a little sooner 

when you`re having maybe a fever or cough.


HAYES: And presumably, those people have points of care before they get to 

the E.R., right? So I mean, will you want to be directing people to their -

- should they be talking to their personal physician and folks like that? 


CALDWELL: If they`re able to, yes.


HAYES: Right. But of course, if people are in urgent distress, they need to 

call 911 and go to the E.R.?


CALDWELL: That`s right. What is your capacity looking like right now as a 

doctor running a very large and important E.R. here in New York City, which 

is rapidly expanding on the number of cases?


CALDWELL: Because of the way that`s really ballooned in China, we did have 

some warning. So we`ve been working for quite some time, weeks, maybe – 

definitely more than a month to rapidly expand care and really scale up 

what we – how we take care of patients and our capacity. So, we`ve been 

working hard to prepare. We`re ready.


HAYES: All right, Dr. Reed Caldwell, that was very informative, and thank 

you very much. 


CALDWELL: Thanks for having me. 


HAYES: Today the stock market suffered its worst decline since the 1987 

stock market crash, but the full economic implications of the crisis have 

only begun.


AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on what American workers need to get 

through this crisis next.




HAYES:  The markets plunged today down 10 percent because they are pricing 

in the enormous decrease in economic activity that`s going to happen in the 

U.S. and around the world as we all collectively battle this pandemic. It 

is going to have just enormous effects for working people around this 



Think about the news we got in the last 24 hours. For instance, the NBC 

suspending the rest of its season. That impacts all the people working in 

the arenas, selling concessions, taking tickets. Broadway shows here in New 

York are shutting down, which means everyone from the ushers to the stage 

hands won`t be working. And office buildings are closing as more people 

shift to working from home, which leaves security guards and cleaning 

crews, among others, out of work.


The government is going to have to step up in a huge way to make sure 

working people in this country, and people who aren`t working but need 

money, people without much money, people who are already struggling, are 

taken care of.


Here to talk about that, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO which 

represents 12.5 million working people.


What are your conversations like inside the labor movement with your 

members about what you want to see happen in terms of both the workplace in 

dealing with this and the federal response?


RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO:  Well, our members have sort of been 

left in the lurch, Chris. This administration has made a series of blunders 

that have left us and workers holding the bag, if you will.


When they first came in, there was an occupational disease workplace 

standard, occupational disease that was about to be passed. It would have 

required employers to have a plan, to educate their employees, and then 

have proper safety equipment on-line so that front-line people, like 

hospital workers, EMTs, were protected. They scrapped that rule.


And then immediately after that, this administration scrapped the rule that 

President Bush started when he had a pandemic disease coordination and 

infrastructure team. And President Obama built on that. He then scrapped 



OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, that is supposed 

to protect our health and safety, has fewer inspectors and health 

specialists than they`ve ever had in their history and they`ve been without 

a leader for two years.


This administration, Chris, spent 12 times more on immigration enforcement 

than they did worker health and safety. So as a result of that, we`ve been 

left in the lurch and we`ve had to train ourselves, and we`ve done that. 

And we`ve tried to help our members educate each other and get them the 

proper safety equipment. But we`ve sort of been left in the lurch.


Today, by the way, the administration had a chance to change and correct 

the oversight when they did away with that occupational disease standard 

that OSHA was going to issue and they fought and took it out of the bill 

today so that they put profit once more time in front of workers` health 

and safety we`re angry about it. 


HAYES:  So is there no uniform standard in terms of how management and 

bosses have to deal with making judgments about workplace safety in the 

midst of this pandemic?


TRUMKA:  There is not. There isn`t any standard. There would have been. We 

would have had that, and they could have re-resurrected that today so that 

they had to file a plan, they had to educate their workers so that all 

workers knew, and they`d be responsible for protecting the health and 

safety of their employees from contagious diseases and they did away with 

it again today. This White House did that.


HAYES:  Wait, so what you`re saying is that provision, that regulatory 

provision, was in the original bill text that the House Democrats proposed, 

and the White House in negotiations was the one that struck that provision?


TRUMKA:  Exactly. And the Chamber of Commerce opposed sick days. They tried 

to get sick days, paid sick days, taken out of this bill. So that workers 

would have been left in the lurch.


Look, what we`ve said is we need free testing so that low wage workers that 

can`t afford the testing are dissuaded from getting tested. We need to be 

able to had paid health days if you have days off and you have to 

quarantine yourself. You have to be able to have the proper equipment 

that`s out there. We wanted unemployment insurance expanded so that if it 

is a long-term unemployment, like the people that you were talking about at 

those arenas and other places that are going to get laid off, that they 

would be taken care of as well.


We fought for those things, and a lot of them, especially the workplace 

standard, was taken out of the bill today.


HAYES:  Are you thinking about the scope of this in terms of the economic 

dislocation it might cause for your members and working people? I mean, you 

know, we don`t know what the future is and it could be that we`re – things 

are really disruptive for a few weeks or it could be longer, and if it`s 

longer, I mean, how are you thinking about what people are going to need to 

just basically survive?


TRUMKA:  Well, they`re going to need health care, that`s for sure. But 

there`s also three or four other things that they`re definitely going to 

need. We`re looking at four or five different kinds of stimulus. 


We want to get money in the hands of the states through Medicaid so that 

they can help out. You need to get money in the hands of workers, and that 

could either be a lump sum like President Bush did where he gave people 

$1,000 to spend or it could be another form. 


And then you have regular infrastructure that`s out there that needs to be 

taken care of anyway,. that can help create jobs and then make money 

available for small businesses that are going to be hurt by all of this to 

make sure they can get through this so that we don`t let – workers aren`t 

left paying the bag on two fronts.


First, our health and safety is jeopardized, because they`re not giving us 

the proper standards and the proper equipment, the second thing is we get 

left behind economically. 


The other thing that this administration did, Chris, just this week the CDC 

changed the standards, the health standards, of the equipment that we use. 

You used to have to have a respirator-type face mask if you were dealing 

with this disease, now they`ve changed it to you just have to have the 

cloth mask, which everybody knows are ineffective when dealing with this 



The second thing that they did this week was when you came in and you were 

likely or a confirmed candidate with this virus, you had to be in an 

isolation – airborne isolation room. They did away with that. So now you 

can be in any room, you don`t have to be in an airborne isolation room, and 

both of those things are going to cause this to spread more rapidly than it 

would have otherwise done.


HAYES:  I just want to make sure that I`m understanding, are those – those 

regulations by the CDC, are those applying to hospitals, to points of 

medical care, or to workplaces/


TRUMKA:  They apply to everything. The guidelines from the CDC, they apply 

to hospitals, they apply to workplaces. So they don`t have to give you, the 

front line people particularly, those are on the front line – nurses, 

doctors, EMTs, those people – they used to have to have the respiratory-

type mask on. Now they just have to have a cloth mask, or any kind of mask, 

that we know doesn`t stop the contraction of this virus. 


HAYES:  Are you concerned about – I mean, obviously the National Nurses 

Union has been ringing the bell about this, and nurses particularly, which 

is a very strong militant union, that – are you concerned about those 

front line health care workers right now?


TRUMKA:  Absolutely we`re concerned. We`re concerned because they changed 

the standards to weaken them, and then I can give you a number of stories. 

You had a doctor and several nurses that were exposed to the disease. They 

told the doctor, and furloughed the doctor, and they never told the nurses. 

Those nurses continued to work and be exposed – interact with other 

patients. That`s happening everywhere and it`s going to will pay a price. 

Our members and front line workers are going to contract this disease in a 

manner that they never have to do if they were issued proper equipment and 

proper safety precautions were taken.


We`re terribly frightened by that, but we don`t think we should be exposed 

to that type of a risk. 


HAYES:  All right, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, thank you for 

your time tonight, sir. 


TRUMKA:  Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me on. 


HAYES:  The shocking incompetence of the current administration has laid 

bare the bargain Republicans made in trusting the government to Donald 

Trump, and that`s next.




HAYES:  The president of the United States came out last night and gave an 

Oval Office address on Coronavirus. He read it off a teleprompter and 

within a short period of time his administration had to walk back and 

correct several significant errors that he made in that written speech.


He said that cargo, cargo was going to be banned from Europe. It is not. He 

said that insurance companies had agreed to provide Coronavirus treatment 

for free. They had not. He suggested, falsely, that American citizens in 

Europe might not be allowed back in the country. That prompted what a New 

York Times reporter described as bedlam at U.S.-bound airlines at Charles 

de Gaulle Airport in Paris as Americans paid as much as $20,000 for last-

minute flights.


And this, this was the market`s five minutes into his speech. As Trump kept 

talking, futures just kept getting worse. This morning, the Dow plunged 10 

percent for its worst day since the 1987 crash. 


In fact, it dropped so much and so quickly that it triggered the so-called 

circuit breaker for the second time in a week. It happened Monday and again 

today, halting trading for 15 minutes.


All of this is a reflection of the utter mismanagement and failure by this 

president from the very beginning of this pandemic. The Coronavirus is 

presenting a governing test for every nation that is facing it, and right 

now the federal U.S. government is failing that test, and it is failing it 

from the top.


That is not my view, the director of Harvard`s Global Health Institute said 

this, it has been an unmitigated disaster the administration has brought 

upon the population, and I don`t say this lightly. We have had a much worse 

response than Iran, than Italy, than China and South Korea. 


The National Security Counsel used to have a global health team 

specifically to deal with pandemics like this. President Trump shut it down 

years ago.


The president then ordered some travel restrictions from China during the 

outbreak there that did not prevent the virus from reaching the U.S., 

obviously. And then of course, there is the testing situation here which 

Trump continues to lie about and is probably worse than any other country 

outside perhaps Iran where we don`t know really what`s going on. This is 

the president today. 




TRUMP:  Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth. If you go to the 

right agency, if you go to the right area you get the test. 




HAYES:  That is flatly a lie. It`s a lie. It is still extremely difficult 

for most people, the overwhelming majority, to get a Coronavirus test three 

months after the first cases were reported in Wuhan, China. As the top 

infectious disease expert in the government, Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged 

today, the testing system is failing. 





DISEASES:  The system does not – is not really geared to what we need 

right now. What you are asking for. That is a failing. 




FAUCI:  It is a failing. I mean, let`s admit it. 




HAYES:  Now that`s what is happening right now just with the pandemic. But 

on top of that, keep in this mind, right now the Trump administration is in 

court to try and destroy the entirety of the Affordable Care Act. They are 

right now pushing a budget, including as of this week in testimony, that 

would dramatically cut the budget for the Centers for Disease Control. And 

that`s not to mention the fact the president has used his bully pulpit to 

repeatedly spread disinformation that quite literally elevates the risk for 

all of us.


He said the cases are going to be down close to zero. He said one day it`s 

like a miracle, it will disappear. He claimed the case numbers looked to be 

going down not up. He keeps comparing it to the flu to try to minimize it, 

despite the fact that every serious public health expert says it is not 

like the flu.


This has been the fear since day one of this presidency when we elected and 

then swore in a racist game show host to the most important job of the 

country, a job that tasks him with managing huge systemic risks on our 

behalf. The fear is that we would get to this point. And the Republican 

Party made a deal, they accepted that risk so they can get tax cuts for the 

rich and conservative judges. And right now the bill is coming due.






SANDERS:  If there ever was a time in the modern history of our country 

when we are all in this together, this is that moment. Now is the time for 



BIDEN:  Downplaying it, being overly dismissive or spreading misinformation 

is only going to hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. 

But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia.




HAYES:  Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders 

today each offer speeches on the Coronavirus and stepping into the vacuum 

created by the complete absence of leadership from the president. Joining 

me now Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who ran for president 

and has since endorsed Joe Biden.


Senator, first your response to the president`s Oval Office address last 

night and then the quick attempts to unwind the errors he made? What did 

you make of that?


SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY:  It`s been disappointing, and it`s been a 

series disappointments with the spectacular failures in leadership from 

President Trump. And this is not a time for partisanship, it`s a time for 

us to be pulling together in meeting a crisis.


The challenge we have now is we have a president that didn`t learn the 

lessons from Ebola and literally the progress we were making as a country 

to prepare for such pandemics, he eroded that preparedness.


During the first signs of this as a problem appearing in China, we had 

weeks to prepare for what`s coming, we did not prepare for. When this began 

to hit our nation, instead of having resolute disciplined focused 

information and taking steps to empower localities, we did something to 

undermine our preparedness, to undermine our response. And here we find 

ourselves as a nation, what I still consider the best assemblage of 

humanity on the planet. 


We see other countries like South Korea doing so much better in dealing 

with this crisis than we are. This has been a failure in leadership at the 

top, but it does not now excuse us from taking the right actions right now 

as a country to deal with this crisis.


Here is my question for you, obviously there are cases in New Jersey, there 

are school closings in the state that you represent, I`ve been asking 

everyone in political leadership this question, do you actually understand 

what the problems are right now?


There seems to be be – like we know the testing is not scaling up rapidly. 

We all know we need that, that`s just stipulated. Fauci said it today.


But the actual mechanics about which way the problem gets unwound and 

solved remains opaque. Do you as a U.S. Senator have a sense of it?


BOOKER:  Look, we know clearly from watching other countries deal with this 

with the mistakes they are making that there are things we must do right 

now. My frustration, as I stand here in an empty Senate, in the midst of a 

crisis, we did not stay in the saddle and do the things we know we should 

be doing to curb the growth of this virus in our country. We are not doing 

the fundamental things that we should do.


I am telling you right now, as a guy who has seen a Hurricane Sandy in an 

executive position, 9/11, heck I was out there in `89 during the massive 

earthquake, in a crisis leadership, it is important that there are things 

you do to deal with the challenges.


And so right now, I`m frustrated because we`re going away for a weekend, 

that is three days – literally we could see thousands of more people, 

death rates climbing as well as infection rates climbing when we are not 

doing obvious things. And so the one example I will give you is, as a guy 

that understands in our nation right now, about 81 percent of our food 

service workers do not have paid family leave. And that means you are a 

person right now being told by your government, if you are showing 

symptoms, stay home, but you now know you have a sore throat and you 

realize, hey, if I stay home and miss paychecks, I won`t be able to make my 

rent payment, I won`t be able to pay for food, so I`m going to work.


And for us not solving something that`s so obvious to do and not staying 

here right now and getting something like that done is not helping us to 

bend the rates of infection.


HAYES:  There was a moment today that really made me worry. And it was a 

moment when it looked like Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans were 

not just going to go home for a three-day weekend, but keep recess and come 

back in whatever that would be, 10 days or 11 days and come back and deal 

with it, and the very fact that that was even floated made me feel like 

they have no idea, to a really unnerving degree, what we`re now looking at. 


Do you have a sense that people on Capitol Hill understand the scope and 

severity of the problem that we now have before us?




Look, and again, I don`t want to paint a broad brush. There are certain 

people that are in positions of power, like Mitch McConnell right now, who 

had a decision to make. And to allow us to leave for three days, he does 

not understand that his failure to keep us here to solve this problem is 

causing serious damage to our country by allowing, frankly, states and 

localities to have not have resources or law support to support a plan to 

stop the spread of this virus. And so what my staff heard me ranting when I 

thought we were going away for a recess and to see us backtrack at least 

and cancel that.


But again every day, every hour we lose in taking the obvious actions we 

should be taking as South Korea did, for example, or days that we lose 

ground and more people risk being infected with the Coronavirus, with 



HAYES:  Final question for you on the scope of this. Are you prepared, do 

you as a Democrat understand that the level of economic dislocation in 

ordinary folks is going to necessitate probably hundreds of billions of 

dollars from the federal government at some point?


BOOKER:  I do not think right now we all as a country understand the second 

and third order challenges we are heading into. There`s no way – we are 

not near the peak of the curve of infection rate, which means billions of 

dollars of damage to our economy, which means small businesses struggling, 

some of them failing, which means job loss. We need to start preparing for 

that now, that means expanding food stamps, unemployment insurance, that 

means making sure that the stress testing of our health care system that we 

are prepared, have the resources to do what`s necessary.


There are clear steps we should be taking understanding what`s coming to 

our country.


HAYES:  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, thank you for your time tonight.


BOOKER:  And Chris, I know – I just want to say everybody this is the time 

that we should be pulling together, not tearing apart. This is the time we 

should be extending grace, support and help. Just because particular 

leaders are failing doesn`t mean that we as a people together should fail 

each other. And I hope we all rise to the occasion to be there for each 

other with grace and support and love.


HAYES:  Could not agree more with that final message. Thank you, senator.


That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now. 


Good evening, Rachel.






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