COVID symptoms TRANSCRIPT: 3/25/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Larry Hogan, Craig Spencer, Katie Porter, Dave Dayen, Nadia Abuelezam, Zeynep Tufekci


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You can also e-mail me if you want to call that the 

old fashioned way at That does it for us. You can find me 

again tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on “THE BEAT” or guest-hosting here 

again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Now, “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up 



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. 

Here`s the facts. Right now, there is not a single outbreak of the 

coronavirus in the United States, and there certainly is no single 

coordinated federal response. These are the dual challenges the U.S. faces 

as it continues to outpace any other nation in its rate of growth of new 

cases. At this rate, we are due to pass Italy and China in total cases in 

just the next few days.


Now, primarily, this is because we were single-handedly alone amongst other 

nations of our sort, the worst in the world and testing. We are just 

catching up now. But we have a situation today where the data is spotty and 

incomplete access to tests wholly unequal (AUDIO GAP) and where different 

places in the U.S. have different levels of intensity with different parts 

of the curve. 


New York City, the situation is brutal. As of today, there are over 17,000 

confirmed cases in the city. We are hearing about shortages of ICU beds and 

ventilators and protective equipment for doctors and nurses. The New York 

Times in a stunning article reports that 13 people died from the 

coronavirus at just one Queen`s Hospital in just a 24-hour window. 


Yesterday, over the course of several hours, one doctor performed chest 

compressions on a woman in her 80s, a man in his 60s, and a 38-year-old who 

reminded the doctor of her fiance. All had tested positive for the 

coronavirus and had gone to cardiac arrest. All eventually died. 


Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the number of cases is 

still three weeks away from reaching its peak. Washington State and 

California also have a lot of cases although California, we should note, is 

testing at a level much less than New York, so it is hard to know for sure.


We are already getting worrying signs from other places in the country, 

Atlanta, from Detroit, and now Louisiana, which has seen its numbers 

absolutely spike, approaching 1,800 total cases. Over 400 of those, 400 

just identified today. In each of those different areas of the country, 

these disparate regions of our nation are being left to fend in many 

fundamental ways, to fend for themselves. 


Now, when other countries have had regional outbreaks, Wuhan, Hubei 

province in China, the north of Lombardy in Italy, they`ve responded with 

national action because their governments recognized the virus was not 

going to remain in one place. 


We here in the U.S. have a certain amount of federalism which makes sense. 

It allows governors to make decisions for their own states, but the 

fundamental bedrock of the response, the need for a surgeon hospital 

capacity, in testing capacity, and an interstate coordination of resources 

have not been there. 


In fact, time and time again, the Trump administration, the White House, 

the federal government has told these states basically, you`re on your own. 

The Washington Post reports about what that looks like for a practical 

standpoint. Basically, it`s not a stretch to imagine the states right now, 

like shoppers at grocery store, competing to get the last bags of rice and 

toilet paper.


In refusing to actively coordinate a national plan and coordinate 

resources, the federal government is creating the conditions for 

competition and for hoarding that will cost lives. And then on top of that, 

there is, of course, the persistent fear grounded in reality that the 

president who notoriously plays favorites, who has used California and New 

York and the city of Baltimore as scapegoats to beat up on in the past, 

who`s used the federal government to outright threatened states represented 

by Democrats is playing favorite in a time of crisis. 


The Daily Beast reports Democratic governors, including New York`s Andrew 

Cuomo, are worried that if they criticize the president, they risk losing 

support for the things their citizens need to keep them alive and fight the 

virus. Speaking on Trump T.V. yesterday, the President himself said, he 

would help Democratic governors but, and I quote him here, “It`s a two-way 

street. They have to treat us well, also.”


And that comes days after ProPublica reported that as states requested 

supplies from the federal government, only Florida, a state with a 

Republican governor has himself repeatedly said the virus is not a 

statewide problem, got everything I`d asked for. Meanwhile, the hardest-hit 

states like New York and New Jersey got only a fraction of what they 



Earlier this week, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker tweeted a chart showing 

the small fraction of the state`s requests that have been fulfilled to this 

point. Past outbreaks in the U.S. have been followed by natural responses 

and natural coordination. In fact, there is the infrastructure in place 

right now throughout the federal government for that kind of coordination. 

But this time, we just do not have that and things are getting worse.


Joining me now, one of the governor who`s been in the frontlines of this, 

who said this of the President`s plan to reopen the country by Easter, “We 

don`t think we are going to be in any way ready to be out of this in five 

or six days or so or whenever this 15 days is up from the time they started 

this imaginary clock,” Republican Maryland Governor, Larry Hogan.


Governor, thank you for joining me. I guess I want to start with what you 

need as a governor in Maryland. What are the needs that you have right now? 

What are the most pressing needs?


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Well, my needs are the same as just about every 

other governor in America, Chris. I`m the chairman of the National 

Governors Association. We had our seventh phone call today with all of the 

nation`s governors as we`re talking about the same kinds of things that you 

were just talking about in your lead in. 


Everybody is short on testing, on all of the various things like 

respirators and masks. And we`ve all got requests into the federal 

government, and all of the states are taking action to try to find these 

things on our own. And we`re also pushing the federal government to get 

more help.


Now, the good news is we are starting to get some after not getting a lot. 

So, you know, many of the states have not gotten a portion of their 

requests. So you talked about governor Pritzker getting a small portion. We 

got some of our requests here in Maryland, as did most other governors 

across the country. But most of the volume is now going to those states 

with the biggest problem like New York, and California, and Washington. 


The bottom line is there really – there really is a shortage nationwide. 

Governors are trying to do everything they can to step up and respond in 

their states, and we`re also pressing the federal government to provide 

more assistance to us and to get some of these things out here to all of us 

in the States on the front lines.


HAYES: Yes. I guess on this coordination question. I mean, there`s two 

issues here, right? There`s a supply limit. That`s the real problem. I 

mean, we just do not physically have enough ventilators in the country at 

the moment, and how you apportion there is a grim kind of triage, right, 

between the states because the life of someone from Maryland is as 

important as life of New York. But if you`re the governor of Maryland, you 

want it for your citizen. Like, how is that being worked out?


HOGAN: Well, so, FEMA, now, as of – as of last Thursday or Friday, is in 

charge of trying to get those limited supplies out to all of the states. 

And while no state got their full request, or nobody was able to get the 

kinds of supplies that they needed, there was an apportionment out to I 

believe all of the states. None of it was adequate enough, and we`re all 

trying to supplement that with our own individual activities on the open 

market, both domestically and from other places around the world. 


But, you know, it just does – it`s not that helpful to point at where the 

thing broke down. The bottom line is right now in America, we do not have 

enough of these supplies and we`re trying to get – the governors are 

trying to get both the federal response ramped up, but also, you know, just 

trying to figure out way for the federal state and local governments to all 

kind of get on the same page. 


We`re all just trying to save people`s lives. I mean, that`s really where 

we are at this point. We`re – not what did we do wrong yesterday, but what 

can we do today and tomorrow to try to do a better job.


HAYES: Let me – let me ask you this coordination question, and then I want 

to ask you about the sort of decisions you`re making there. You talked 

about the National Governors Association. Is there like – is there a daily 

call? Is there – is there a call that the governors are all on every day 

and who is – who is engineering that? Like, what is that? Because right 

now you`ve got this situation where it`s almost like a time-traveling 

situation, right? 


Andrew Cuomo can talk to the folks back in Minnesota or Michigan and say, 

look, we`re two weeks ahead of you. Here`s what we need. There`s 

communication that can happen there.


HOGAN: No, it`s – that`s one of the – one of the few things that`s 

working really well. So I`m the chairman of the National Governors. 

Governor Cuomo is the vice-chairman. We`ve had ongoing discussions with all 

of America`s governors. Really, in some cases, more than 50 governors. We 

have 55, including the territories. We typically have nearly all of them on 

the calls. 


We had another one this afternoon. We have another one tomorrow with the 

president and vice president leaders, and the leaders in the 

administration. They`re not on all of the calls. We have some with just the 

governors. And in addition to those formal ongoing discussions where there 

really is great collaboration and sharing of information and ideas between 

the states and quite frankly, it`s been tremendous to see the bipartisan 

cooperation among the governors, we`re also having lots of one on one 

discussions and phone calls and text back and forth. 


I`ve been talking with, you know, dozens of my colleagues across the 

country on both sides of the aisle about here`s what`s happening in our 

state, how are you dealing with this? What problems are you faced with? How 

are we going to fix this? And so, you know, it`s a – it`s a problem, we`re 

all in this together. And it`s amazing, but there`s not a whole lot of 

Republican-Democrat stuff going on. It`s about hey, what can we do to help 

one another?


HAYES: The President seems obviously anxious to sort of reopen the country. 

He`s reiterated that. He talked about an Easter possibility. Today he 

tweeted and basically said that that it was the media that was the dominant 

force trying to get him to close the country and close off its economy so 

that that it would hurt his reelection chances. And as a governor who has 

to make these decisions about what to open and what to close, like, is that 

how you`re making your decisions?


HOGAN: No, not at all. So we – you know, look, I think that none of that 

messaging is helpful at all to any of the governors. Many of my colleagues 

on both sides of the aisle are not happy with that kind of messaging. On 

Monday, they were talking about, you know, we`re getting near the end of 

the 15 days. So that would mean next week, we`re going to start opening and 

then a day or two – you know, then the next day, yesterday, they changed 

it to Easter, which was two weeks later. It`s not – all of it is 



We`re making decisions based on the facts on the ground and by listening to 

the scientists and doctors in our state. I`m talking to folks at Johns 

Hopkins, and the University of Maryland, and NIH. And look, the bottom line 

is, we`re all ramping up, not down. And nobody sees the end of this in two 

weeks. We see it as you know – nobody knows the exact numbers and we`re – 

as you pointed out earlier, the data is incomplete. But, you know, we`re 

going to make decisions based on saving lives. 


The economy`s critically important, and we are concerned about helping 

people who are going to be out of work and helping those small businesses. 

But the decisions have to be first about saving lives, and then how are we 

going to help people get back on their feet economically. You can`t just 

arbitrarily pick a date and say everything`s going to be great.


HAYES: All right, Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland, thank you for making 

some time amidst all this.


HOGAN: Thank you, Chris.


HAYES: Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talked about the coming 

surge and coronavirus cases as a wave. A wave he was afraid would overwhelm 

the hospitals and the people working within them. I`m joined now by a 

doctor who can give us an on the ground report of what that wave looks 

like, Dr. Craig Spencer, Director of Global Health Emergency Medicine at 

Columbia University Medical Center. 


And Doctor, we had you on I think exactly a week ago. You`ve been tweeting 

out these firsthand accounts of what it`s like in an E.R. in New York. And 

just first, the difference between a week ago when we spoke, what you were 

seeing, and what you`re seeing now. What what`s the difference?



UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, great question. So a week ago, we were 

looking for the one or two coronavirus patients that might be in the E.R. 

Everyone was a little anxious. We were trying to think about who they might 

be. Now, there might be one or two patients in our E.R. that are not 

coronavirus, even a drastic shift within the past week where it`s become 

the majority of what we`re seeing. 


A lot of these people, all the young are really sick. They`re being 

intubated, put on breathing machines, despairs no one and the increase has 

been pretty drastic. It`s palpable to anyone that crosses a threshold and 

walks into the emergency room today.


HAYES: Anyone I think who`s in emergency medicine is used to a lot of 

activity and I think fair to say kind of adrenaline junkies as a kind, the 

ones that I`ve met my life. What you`re describing, though, is on a plane 

that is really – not really comparable to other things. Is that – is that 



SPENCER: Yes. The analogy I`ve been given is that I worked in West Africa 

during Ebola. That was scary, of course. I`ve worked in the middle of civil 

wars providing trauma care. There`s something about this that feels kind of 

palpably worse. One knowing that we`re kind of just at the beginning of 

this. You know, case numbers are increasing on a daily basis, that drastic 



You`re already hearing hospitals throughout New York City that are short on 

personal protective equipment, on ventilators. People is setting up a kind 

of these temporary morgues outside of hospitals. This idea that in two or 

three weeks we`re going to be somehow past this when we just recorded our 

first case here in New York City just over three weeks ago, to me is crazy, 

magical thinking.


HAYES: One of the things in your documenting this that struck out – stood 

out and it lines up exactly with first-person accounts of healthcare 

workers in northern Italy and in Wuhan, which is just the relentless 

drumbeat of the same kinds of issues. I mean, patient after patient short 

of breath. Patient after patient that needs ventilators. That too feels 

unique from what I`ve read. Is it – have you encountered something like 

that before? 


SPENCER: Absolutely. You know, we find outpatients every time we change 

shift. And generally, what we find out is chest pain, this one has 

appendicitis, this one has – needs to see the obstetrician, sign out as 

now patient is COVID positive, and then we`re kind of triage and who are 

the most severe, who needs to be put on breathing tubes, who needs to be 

admitted to the hospital? 


You know, it`s going to be impossible to admit every person that`s COVID 

positive as a coronavirus patient. We just don`t have the space even if we 

increase by 50 or 100 percent, it`s just not possible. So we`re thinking 

about different protocols. How do we risks ratify? How do we find who are 

the sickest patients and how to focus on them?


HAYES: One thing that`s really unnerving about this virus, and again, we`re 

still learning about it is it seems very random in in that, you know, we 

know that there`s elevated risk for people immune-compromised and senior 

citizens. The older you get, the more that fatality rate goes up. But on 

30-year-old can get it and it feels like a cold and one 30-year-old, 

healthy otherwise, is being intubated a few days later. Do you have a sense 

of why that is or does it feel random to you as well?


SPENCER: I think it feels pretty random to all of us, which is a scariest 

part of it, right? The majority of deaths are going to be in older patients 

with comorbidities, with hypertension, with diabetes, but that does not 

exempt anyone, whatever your age, whether you`re a teenager whether in your 

30s from getting this disease and having severe complications from it.


HAYES: What is morale like? What is – what is the atmosphere like among 

your fellow healthcare workers on the frontlines of this?


SPENCER: We are all unbelievably proud to be able to show up to work every 

day and take care of people. We want to know that we`re prepared. We want 

to know that we`re protected. But the other thing is, and this is what I`ve 

been trying to share with my colleagues and my friends, this is something I 

learned in West Africa in 2014. Everyone is afraid. 


Eight percent of all total infections in Italy were amongst health care 

workers. We know that some of our colleagues already are being infected, 

are being intubated, being put on breathing machines. We know that we`re 

all at risk. So we`re all anxious. I tell all of my colleagues to try to be 

vulnerable. Share their stories. Share their concerns with someone else in 

the emergency department, one of their friends so that they don`t feel like 

they`re going through this alone.


HAYES: All right, Dr. Craig Spencer, you`re doing amazing work. Your 

colleagues are doing amazing work and I really can`t thank you enough.


SPENCER: Thanks a lot, Chris. 


HAYES: All right, next, the Senate announced a bipartisan rescue deal to 

address economic fallout of the coronavirus early this morning. The details 

of what`s in it, however, still up in the air. There`s no one better to 

break down what`s at stake than Congresswoman Katie Porter and she joins me 





HAYES: After five days of intense talks, early this morning at 1:00 a.m., 

Senate leaders announced that they reached a deal with the White House, a 

bipartisan coronavirus rescue package. Now, the actual final language of 

that deal of the bill is still being hammered out. One thing that seems 

certain is that it will be the largest economic stimulus package or rescue 

package in U.S. history. 


Nearly $2 trillion bill, trillion dollars after we`ve spent 15 months in 

the campaign about how you will pay for that, to address the economic 

fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The details have been shifting all day 

as Republicans and Democrats been fighting over their respective 

priorities. It remains a very fluid situation.


Just one example, the big impasse we seem to be at right now. A group of 

Republican senators are now threatening to delay the bill because they 

believe the unemployment benefits are, get this, too generous for low-wage 



The White House predicted a Senate vote by tonight but that vote has yet to 

happen. If and when the Senate passes the bill, the House will have to vote 

it before it goes to the President. One of the members of Congress who has 

been digging through the fine print of the bill all day, Democratic 

Congressman Katie Porter of California, she joins us now. 


I will note, the Congresswoman was currently self-quarantining after 

experiencing possible symptoms of Coronavirus. She`s been tested and is 

awaiting the results. So let me begin, Congresswoman, by asking you how you 



REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I feel tired. I`ve been sneezing. I spent a lot 

of the day today in the last week in bed, on conference calls, doing the 

best I can to stay awake, take notes, and follow what`s happening. But I`m 

grateful that my symptoms have been mild to moderate. And I really have a 

lot of concern about all the public health and everyone out there right now 

who`s either feeling sick or worried about getting sick.


HAYES: So you`ve been going through the legislative language, I know that 

there`s a lot circulating around. I wonder if you can give us like, maybe a 

good and bad column in terms of your read on where this is right now, what 

you like that`s in there, what you`re concerned about. Let`s start with 

what you think good that that is in this bill.


PORTER: Yes. I actually went through the summary of what we believe is 

going to be in this package. As you know, we haven`t seen language yet. And 

I actually marked it up exactly this way. Green, good, red bad. So here`s 

some of the green good. $100 billion for our hospitals and our health care 

providers. That money is critically needed right now. $45 billion for FEMA 

disaster grants, and lots of money for state and local government 

stabilization. All of that is really, really good. 


Also, some really good news for our small business owners. For the first 

time, what`s on the table is actually grants that would not have to be 

repaid. So small businesses would be able to get help and not have to worry 

about repaying it because it`s going to be a long time for some of them 

until their business recovers. That`s the good.


HAYES: All right, what`s marked in red on your copy? What`s the bad?


PORTER: So there`s bad news here for patients which is really concerning to 

me. One of the things we`re told is, while this bill is going to provide 

for free testing, well, I already held the CDC sector`s feet to the fire to 

get free testing, free testing was in our last bill. What`s not in this 

bill is free treatment. That is covering costs for uninsured people who 

have free treatment or covering the out of pocket costs that people might 

face for treatment.


And those things go hand in hand. A lot of people will hesitate to go get 

tested, if they`re symptomatic if they`re worried about the cost of 

treatment. So that`s one of my concerns. It`s an area that Democrats know 

that we have to do better on. 


My second big bucket of concern is I`m very worried about the 

accountability measures here. I was very involved in watching the bank 

bailout with TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. That was $700 

billion. Here we`re looking at a similarly sized fund. We`re told around 

$500 billion for the largest corporations. 


But as we saw with tarp, the accountability mechanisms are not strong 

enough. It`s not good enough to have an inspector general or oversight 

panel on the back end. The money will be out the door and in the pockets of 

the largest corporations. And I`ll give you one example that just 

specifically really highlights where I think there`s an opportunity to 

still improve this bill. 


In the bill, there is a 10,000 – up to $10,000 per worker tax credit for 

businesses that retain employees on payroll. That`s terrific. That`s going 

to be a big help in keeping businesses keeping people on payroll. But if 

you`re a small business, you have to choose. Do you want that SBA loan, or 

do you want that $10,000 worker retention payroll tax credit? If you`re a 

large business, you don`t have to make a choice. You can get a bailout and 

that tax credit. We should put small businesses and large businesses on a 

level playing field here.


HAYES: In terms of the mechanics of this. It`s a tricky situation 

procedurally. A lot of members are – some of your colleagues are actually 

hospitalized. Ben McAdams from Utah, I believe, who has tested positive, 

has had fairly severe symptoms. A lot of self-quarantining. a lot are away. 

How – what is your understanding of how this actually is going to go down 

as a vote in the next day or so?


PORTER: So, I spent over six and a half hours today on conference calls, 

and I have no idea after six and a half hours how exactly the House is 

going to be voting on this. We were told, no to remote voting. That`s been 

consistent. We`ve – I think – I think that we`ve been told, no to proxy 

voting. I think they`re expecting people to try to come back. There`s still 

talk about whether or not we could do this with a voice vote, or unanimous 



But clearly, members like me who are symptomatic cannot leave their homes. 

It`s a public health risk. And there are a lot of members that are going to 

have difficulty traveling all the way from the other side of the country to 

make this vote fast enough.  


So we`re waiting on the Senate to take action. A lot of my colleagues I 

know are hopping in cars and starting to drive. But those are not people in 

California, they`re not people in Alaska, they`re not people in Hawaii. 

It`s going to be easier for some folks to get there than others. 


And the problem is my constituents need my voice right now. They need me to 

be voting in their interests. And it`s impossible for me to do that because 

of this public health crisis.


HAYES: Final question. It does seem to me – I know that the idea here is 

to pass this somehow, and then there`s going to be a recess and I 

understand why recess has happened. But the rest of the entire world 

including me talking to United has been adapting to how you can do your job 

remotely if you can and how to make a work. It really does seem if this is 

going to go on for several months, the Congress is going to figure – have 

to figure out how to do this remotely, right?


PORTER: Well, you would hope so. I mean, I think it`s wrong for Congress to 

act like we`re an exception. We`re asking businesses, schools, nonprofits, 

healthcare providers, so many different entities to step up in this moment, 

to meet the moment and to be flexible and to adapt. So I do think Congress 

is going to have to do that.


I mean, we have lots and lots of conference calls, so information sharing 

is happening. But the most common thing I heard on these conference calls 

today was, excuse me, you might have yourself on mute, you`re going to need 

to unmute yourself. So it`s not easy to do this with several hundred 



And so I really trust Chairman McGovern, the chair of the Rules Committee. 

And I know that he, along with Zoe Lofgren, the chair of House Admin, are 

working to figure out how we can honor our duties to our constituents, but 

also not risk public health.


HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you for being with me 



PORTER: Thank you so much. 


HAYES: Joining me now is Dave Dayen, executive editor of the progressive 

magazine, the American Prospect. Dave has been following the back and forth 

over this bill quite closely. What`s your – what`s your sort of top-line 

here about what the shape of the compromise it`s coming into focus is?



see temporary necessary help for individual workers, whether it`s the 

direct payments or the unemployment insurance boost. And you see long term 

transformation of American society through a largely unrestricted bailout 

that is actually higher than meets the eye. 


And what Representative Porter was saying was about what`s in the bill, 

which says $500 for large – or $500 billion for large corporations. But a 

portion of that, most of that, $425 billion goes, as I understand it, to 

the Federal Reserve, as 10 percent of a credit facility that they build, 

which would total $4.25 trillion that they could point as a money cannon at 

any large corporation they want. 


And that just dwarfs any other support for small business or any other 

entity. And I really – we`ll be transformative in terms of what these 

large corporations will be able to do with that money.


HAYES:  Well, so I want to – let me give this what I`ve read is the sort 

of best version of the argument for something like that is essentially, you 

– we could find ourselves in a kind of domino situation in which this 

turns into a really gnarly credit crisis and financial crisis. If you have 

a lot of companies starting to go under, if you have a lot of bonds 

starting to tank, the credit markets have already been a little wooly and 

no one is really to blame here. It`s not like the banks with the, you know, 

who took on all this leverage and screwed themselves and then got bailed 

out. Everyone here just ended up with the virus running through the 

economy. Like what`s so bad about shooting money cannons at American 

business to keep it propped up?


DAYEN:  Well, I mean, if it was a bailout because of the unfortunate 

situation that we`re in, that would be certainly understandable. I think 

the money for hospitals who are in a really strapped situation is 

completely understandable, for example. This actually, to me, feels more 

like a bailout for a decade of irresponsibility. These are corporations 

that had record profits for 10 years, paid very little in taxes for 10 

years, created the system that created this extreme vulnerability in the 

United States, which does not have the manufacturing capacity, has this 

system where inventory is seen as a luxury good, seen as like something 

that`s a cost center. It`s created this system with leaking money out to 

investors, not investing in people, creating inequality, which puts people 

further on the edge in a sudden shock situation like this.


And all of that is getting papered over without any conditions to change 

these terms in any way, these, you know, proclivities of the large business 

sector. There`s no restrictions on the money. There is one very small 

restriction but of course, Secretary Mnuchin can override that at his will. 


You know, these companies can give dividends out with this money. They can 

do mergers and accusations with this money. They can do virtually anything 

they want with this money. 


And if you see the parallels between this and the small business sector, 

which is going to be serviced by the Small Business Administration, one of 

the slowest agencies in the government compared to the concierge service 

that the Federal Reserve is going to give these large banks and large 

corporations, you know, what is the landscape of America look like after 

this bill is over? That`s what I`m concerned about.


HAYES:  You know, that final point about I am worried, Alexandria Ocasio-

Cortez raised this point last night, which I thought was an interesting 

point, because it`s, you know, not a left-wing point, necessarily, or a 

liberal point, it`s just about the mechanics of this, which is can the SBA 

do what it`s tasked with doing here? I mean, can – the volume that we`re 

talking about, the number of small businesses, the amount of aid they are 

going to need, I`m just worried that the facility could be stood up and get 

to the people that need it in time to rescue them before they go under. 


DAYEN:  I mean, I think the run rate that the SBA is going to be dealing 

with is something like 13 to 14 times their annual budget and they have to 

do it in weeks rather than over the course of a year and you talk to small 

businesses right now and that`s just not the way this works. You could 

extend this parallel out to the fact that individuals who don`t have direct 

deposit on file with the IRS might wait as much as four months for the 

direct payments. You can extend this to the fact that state unemployment 

state insurance systems in some states are collapsing. They are not well 

run systems. And they`re going to have to, you know, deal with the huge 

boost in uninsurance and get it out to people.


This is – you know, you see the rickety parts of this system are what the 

small businesses and individuals have to deal with and the strongest most 

robust part of the system, the Federal Reserve, is who the large 

corporations get as their concierge. 


HAYES:  That – yeah, that is very well put. Dave Dayen, thank you for 

being with me. 


DAYEN:  OK. Thank you.


HAYES:  Coming up, what is it about Coronavirus that makes it so dangerous? 

What we`re learning about the virus itself as the crisis grows ahead.




HAYES:  Today officials in Italy announced nearly 3,500 new cases and more 

than 680 new deaths. Those are, of course, gruesome, awful numbers. Italy 

continues to be one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, but chart 

along with the rest of the data from the outbreak in that country, it 

really is starting to look like the curve is flattening, is bending in 



It is a hopeful sign in a weird way and an indication that there might be 

some sort of light at the end of this tunnel.


The problem with what we are going through right now, all of us here in the 

U.S. – the social distancing, the staying at home, the home schooling, 

your kids on Zoom telling other kids to mute, the shutting down of 

businesses, all the emotional and economic pain that comes with that, is 

that the numbers of cases and deaths are just continuing to tick up. 


And that is because there is a lag between what we`re doing collectively as 

a society and when we actually get to see its effect. And that lag could be 

anywhere between one to three weeks, we don`t really know, but we are 

actually able to get a bit of interesting insight into what is happening 

right now, the frontier of that thanks to this company you may have seen 

called Kinsa that makes these smart thermometers, and they`ve started 

publishing the data collected off the thermometers.


Now, obviously, this is not comprehensive by any means. But it is 

interesting data looking when and where people are getting fevers, one of 

the most common symptoms of Coronavirus we might be able to start to see 

results from recent interventions without having to wait for that lag. So, 

here`s an example from Dallas. 


This graph is measuring atypical fevers recorded by people using that smart 

thermometer in the area. And 48 hours after the mayor ordered bars and 

restaurants to close, you can see the number of atypical fevers went down 

sharply, right there, after March 17. Same graph for San Francisco where 

they locked down early. Last Monday, March 16 – and again, we see a steep 

decline in atypical fevers starting right after that. 


So, based on this data, those early interventions, those calls for social 

distancing, they do seem to be doing something, having an effect, working. 

And that is some promising news in the fight against this brutally nasty 



And we`re going to talk about some of the actual biological reasons why 

this thing is so bad, so hard to fight, next.




HAYES:  Epidemiologists who deploy to Wuhan, China from around the world, 

and others who first started looking at the Coronavirus up close and what 

it was doing to patients and hospitals, would talk about it almost like 

they had seen a ghost. Coronavirus, this Novel Coronavirus that we`ve 

encountered is both much more transmissible than the seasonal flu, and way 

more serious.


According to some published studies, the Coronavirus is, we think, about 

twice as transmissible as the flu, and the rate of hospitalization is 

nearly 15 times that of the flu.


Now, there is still a lot we do not know and are learning about this virus. 

People understandably have a lot of questions about why exactly it`s so bad 

and crucially how it`s transmitted and also, crucially, how you can protect 

yourself for the people you love.


Here to talk about that, Nadia Abuelezam, an epidemiologist at Boston 

College`s Connell School of Nursing.


Let`s start with this question of what – why is this virus seem to be more 

transmissible, or more effective at moving from human to human than either 

the flu or earlier Coronaviruses we saw, like SARS and stuff?



the brief and the quick answer is that our human bodies have not been 

exposed to it before, so we have no prior experience with it, and we have 

no prior immunity to it. And so our bodies are sort of completely naive to 

it and are reacting for the first time, which is probably what`s leading to 

some of these more severe cases. And it`s also probably what`s contributing 

to the fact that we`re able to spread it from person to person much more 

easily than something like the flu. 


And I think your stats that you presented were exactly right. We think 

that, you know, one infected person can spread the disease to between two 

and three other people. That number is between one and two people for the 



So it is much more transmissible, a much more infectious, we believe, than 

the flu and that`s what we`re seeing now from the data that`s coming in. 


HAYES:  There`s a real question I`ve seen a lot of competing ideas, you 

know, again, we`re learning about this how it gets transmitted. So, the 

sort of consensus view that everyone agrees on is some, you know, droplets, 

the coughs or sneezes like that that get into people. And, you know, you 

touch your face or something like that. But there is questions how long it 

lives on certain surfaces. What do we know about that part of it, whether 

it can be transported, airborne, how long it lives on surfaces, and the 



ABUELEZAM:  Yeah, so there was a recent study that was published in The New 

England Journal of Medicine, which was done in a lab environment, which I 

think is really important to say because that does not necessarily reflect 

what happens in the real world, but that experiment suggested that there 

was potential for droplet transmission. And there was potential for the 

virus to live on surfaces for a few hours, depending on the type of surface 

that it was. And in that particular experiment, they also showed that it 

can be aerosolized, so it can stay in the air.


But we do believe that in sort of normal, real life experiences the most 

likely ways that this virus can be transmitted is through droplet 

transmission, so if someone coughs or sneezes near you and that droplet 

finds its way into your mouth or your nose or on to your hand and then your 

mouth or nose, or transmitted from surfaces to individuals. So those are 

the primary ways we think that this virus can be transmitted, but of 

course, more data needs to be collected to figure that out. 


HAYES:  What about asymptomatic transmission? This is something, as well, 

that I`ve read some debate on. The degree to which asymptomatic 

transmission either is possible and what percentage of transmissions that 

makes up. What is the research that we know so far suggest about that?


ABUELEZAM:  Yeah, so I think there is, as you said, some debate about this. 

I think most of us are assuming that there is a bit of asymptomatic 

transmission, meaning that you can transmit this virus while you`re not 

showing symptoms. The duration of that asymptomatic transmission is still 

unknown, but it is believed to be relatively short.


Of course, when you are showing symptoms, that`s also a time when you can 

be transmitting and much, much more – transmitting much more when you`re 

showing severe symptoms, as well. 


HAYES:  All right. Nadia Abuelezam, that was really, really illuminating. 

So, thank you for that. 


Coming up, a look at how the world was caught on the wrong foot by the 

Coronavirus and why the U.S. seems to have been particularly unprepared, 





HAYES:  Last December, on New Years Eve, the World Health Organization 

learned that dozens of people in China were being treated for a mysterious 

pneumonia. Eight days later, a new type of Coronavirus was identified as 

the cause. And now months later it has landed here and taken most of 

American society along with many governments around the world by complete 



Why were we caught on the wrong foot? One person who started writing very 

early about this virus and the ways it preyed on institutional dysfunction, 

particularly in China, wrote in The Atlantic that, quote, we had time to 

prepare for this pandemic at the state, local and household level, even if 

the government was terribly lagging, but we squandered it because of 

widespread asymptomatic thinking. The inability to think about complex 

systems and their dynamics. 


Joining me now, the author of that piece, Zeynep Tufekci, an associate 

professor at the University of North Carolina.


Professor, you have been writing about this a lot from the very beginning. 

You wrote a great piece about China and you sort of made parallels to 

Chernobyl. What was it that sort of captured your interest about the virus 

from the beginning?



was SARS mostly. In 2003, we had a similar outbreak, which started in 

China, and China covered it up for a while, and it got out of hand, and it 

almost became a pandemic, right. We came this close to having a global 

crisis. So, when we heard again that the first week of January there was 

now this viral pneumonia linked to a seafood market, a wet market, which 

means probably a zoonotic virus jumping species, it was a five alarm fire 

right there. And it was identified very early. And later, on January 20th, 

when China itself shut down Wuhan and Hubei, which are these 50 million 

person provinces, that was also a very strong signal, if they`re doing 

this, they`re facing something very significant, because they is switched 

from cover-up to, you know, all hands on deck. 


And then at the end of January, we started getting papers from top notch, 

you know, scientific journals, like New England Journal of Medicine, The 

Lancet, that told us that some of the patients were asymptomatic or had 

atypical clinical presentation, they didn`t necessarily have fever, they 

were shedding the virus before they were sick, which in SARS in 2003, the 

fever and the infection came together, which is how we caught it, right, we 

could put a temperature gun in airports and check the people. 


So, at the end of January, if you look at it honestly and if you were 

following the epidemiologists and the people who kind of follow this stuff, 

they were telling us that this was going to be a pandemic. This was really 

likely there. 


The thing that got me very worried were the early reports on how much 

ventilators and ICU care this was requiring from the patients, because if 

it was just a pandemic, let`s say of a flu-like illness, that would be 

terrible enough, because flu is terrible enough, and if we have a flu plus 

a flu-like illness, that is going to overwhelm our hospital system right 

there, even if it is just like the flu.


But worse in this particular case, we weren`t getting reports of a flu, 

which – what happens with flu, is that it makes you weak and you get sick 

and there are infections, perhaps, like bacterial opportunities for 

infections, and this one was putting patients in pneumonia directly.


So, the way I explain it in my article is that flu is like the person who 

unlocks your door for the robber, and this COVID-19 is the thing that just 

comes in and robs you, hits you over the head. So, that`s the big 

difference, so that method, I see the ventilator capacity was going to be 

overrun. Well, I say all over this, because by the end of January and early 

February, all of this is was known. 


So as you note that a lot of us that were either close to studying 

pandemics or following the epidemiologists, were really frustrated because 

in February, we should have been getting ready. We should have been ramping 

up the masks and personal protection. We should have stopped travel.  We 

should have started screening. We should have gotten the tests ready. So it 

is really tragic that this kind of failure of listening to the right 

expert, and failure of imagination.


People kept saying, it doesn`t kill more or less than the flu. But that`s 

not the question, because if you have a flu, and then you have one more 

illness, and you have no room in your hospitals, right now, I`m hearing of 

NICUs being emptied to make room, right, so you`ve got babies who not 

catching the disease, but their health care is threatened. We he have 

reports that people can`t give birth with anyone else in the room, because 

there are no masks around to give to a single person. 


So the kind of complexity that goes to something like this is a known 

expertise, but unfortunately it doesn`t really fit into either the media 

narratives, and also of course, the government failed, our government 

failed, the European governments failed, the Chinese government failed in 

another way, so that`s all – and here we are, I`m doing an interview from 

my house, trying, hoping not to become (inaudible) with something 

unexpected happening.


HAYES:  What do you account for the countries that did sort of figure it 

out quickly? Do you think it was just the experience with SARS. There`s 

some reporting to indicate in the case of South Korea, that was definitely 

the case. 


TUFEKCI:  So Hong Kong, which I actually did a lot of research on Hong 

Kong, because I studied the protests, the moment the news of this viral 

pneumonia came out of China, because they are part of the greater China, if 

you want to call it that, right, Mainland China, two countries – two 

systems, one country, they went into lockdown, the people went into 

lockdown, which is important to example, because their government did not 

want to contradict Beijing, did not want to close the border, they were 

kind of downplaying it, but the people that lived through SARS, right, so 

they were – started universal mask wearing, started social distancing 

early January.


Taiwan, which had also gone through this, tried – heard from Mainland 

China, that there was human-to-human transmission and they did the same 

thing – ramped up production, locked down. Those are the countries that 

have it under control.


We should have been one of them.


HAYES:  Zeynep Tufekci, who is one of my favorite writers on a variety of 

topics, thank you so much for your time tonight.


TUFEKCI:  Thank you, Chris.


HAYES:  That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts 

right now. Good evening, Rachel.






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