rescue bill TRANSCRIPT: 4/3/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: As you can see, they`re quite an organic show of
support. Another member of the ship`s crew uploaded the video about it and
wrote, “Wrongfully relieved of command, but did right by the sailors.” That
is our last word tonight. “ALL IN” with Chris Hayes starts now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Half
the planet is now on lockdown. The coronavirus is coming for everyone, and
there is no way to fight it yet other than staying home at least as of this
moment. Nearly four billion people around the world have been ordered to
stay inside. And so, this is what that lockdown looks like across the
planet right now. Some of the busiest places in the world. Time Square here
in New York City, London, England, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Moscow, Russia.
Here in the U.S. based on the data that we have, which again, we don`t know
if all that data is right, certainly, not worldwide, but based on the data
we have. We are experiencing the largest outbreak in the world right now,
and we just had our worst day yet. NBC News now counting more than 273,000
cases in the United States, more than 6,900 deaths from the virus.
And the hardest-hit state, New York, this is the scene in Brooklyn`s
largest hospital, where 32 coronavirus patients are now being treated in an
area that normally only has 17 beds, and the number of coronavirus cases is
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we`re now in the critical care area of the emergency
department. Everyone that`s in here today is here due to breathing problems
almost uniformly all from COVID. We`ve seen a such a large increase on a
day to day basis on a number of patients who are presenting in critical
condition, requiring really all the resources that we have to provide in
order to help them. We`re obviously seeing a large number of critically ill
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I have never seen the sum of sick patients in my
whole career. Not only do they have coronavirus, but they also have their
diabetes that`s out1 of control. So it`s particularly hard and we`re
learning how to do it, how to manage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How concerned are you about the days and weeks and
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we`re in for a significant period of seeing a
lot of very, very ill patients. And this is going to put a strain on the
system. We have opened up new ICUs, new intensive care units. We`ve opened
up new medical units in order to accommodate for this increased demand of
patients who are coming in so ill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Virus is spreading across the country, and because it is spread to
different places, everyone needs the same things, right? Personal
Protective Equipment like masks, like you saw those frontline health care
workers wearing and life-saving supplies like the ventilators that those
intubated patients were on. Because the federal government just refuses to
take the lead and organize a coordinated federal response, there`s this
unfolding disaster right now in the acquisition of those precious needed
items. New York State has been paying 15, one-five times the normal prices
for medical equipment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is an N95. This is it. It was 70 cents
before this started. It`s now as high as $7.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Because states all across the country need the same stuff. There is
an insane battle playing out with states bidding against each other and
also sometimes against the federal government. And the Trump administration
is only making this worse by distributing many materials not directly to
the States, but to the private sector.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADM. JOHN POLOWCZYK, LEADER, FEMA SUPPLY CHAIR TASK FORCE: So this
product that we`re moving is primarily commercial product that would enter
the commercial system and be distributed through financial business
transactions between hospital and these distributors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So just to clarify, that explains why states say
they`re bidding like they`re on eBay, because the supplies are going to the
private sector, and then they have to go there to get the supplies.
POLOWCZYK: That`s normally how things – that`s normally how things work,
right? So I`m not here to disrupt a supply chain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m not here to disrupt the supply chain. The supply chain is
already very disrupted. And because of that, states are being forced to go
through all kinds of shady middlemen. Here`s the New York Times today.
There is Bedlam in the mass market as profiteers out-hustle, Good
Samaritans, complete with scams and price gouging at a time when people are
most in need.
It`s the equivalent of the price gougers you would see after a hurricane
trying to charge $10.00 or $15.00 a gallon for gas except those people tend
to get arrested and very publicly shamed and a local district attorney does
a whole press conference about it. Now many of these middlemen are just
getting rich in this insane market while people are dying, and our federal
government is letting it happen, but it`s worse than that.
The Trump ministration is explicitly abdicating its responsibility here.
Yesterday, the president`s son in law, not an epidemiologist, announced
that distributing lifesaving materials from the federal stockpile is not
the federal government`s job.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The notion of the Federal
stockpile was it was supposed to be our stockpile. It`s not supposed to be
state stockpiles that they then use. So we`re encouraging the states to
make sure that they`re assessing the needs, they`re getting the data from
their local situations, and then trying to fill up with the supplies that
we`ve given them.
So I would just encourage you, when you have Governor`s saying that federal
government hasn`t given them what they need, I would just urge you to ask
them, well, have you looked within your state to make sure that you haven`t
been able to find the resources?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, I`ll have you checked first? Did you hear what he said there? It
is our stockpile according to Jared Kushner. Who is our? Who, Jared and
Ivanka? Their personal stash, not the states? The federal government is
constituted by the 50 states. In fact, the literal definition of who this
stock belongs to is the states. That`s actually what the law says. It is
what the Health and Human Services Web site said until yesterday.
It no longer says it today because amidst the pandemic, the Trump
administration is supposedly laser-focused on stopping, they had time to go
rewrite the Web site so they could retroactively claim the president`s son
in law was accurate. We are facing an enormous challenge here and what we
need is our federal government to lead. NBC News spoke to a dozen experts
who all said the Trump ministration his lack of a unified coronavirus
strategy is going to cost lives, and frankly, it already is.
Today, New York used its Emergency Alert System, the ones that push out to
your phones, to ask healthcare workers to volunteer to help the fight
against the virus. It is that bad. And as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
explained today, our patchwork system where everyone is fending for
themselves is only making things worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): When Florida has a hurricane, what do we do? We
get in the trucks, everybody drives down to Florida. New York is in crisis.
Help New York. And then pick up, decamp, and then go to the next place as
this rolls across the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is someone`s extensive experience coordinating large
scale disaster relief, Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who served
as commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. Lieutenant, let`s start with this
big logistics question, something you`ve had experience with you had
experience with – in the aftermath of Katrina.
What is your reaction to hearing the news that we have this market, we`ve
got these middlemen, and we`ve got the U.S. government and the U.S.
Department of Defense facilitating this sort of private market full of
middlemen and bidding wars?
LT. GEN. RUSSELL HONORE (RET.), FORMER COMMANDER, JOINT TASK FORCE KATRINA:
We`ll always knew that the government would favor certain contractors. But
I didn`t know it was enabled by them. But based on what the admiral said
last night, I never knew in my 37 years in uniform, that the government
facility private companies, by bringing stuff, handed it over to them, so
they could sell it back at a higher up to seven times the price to the
states for which we`re giving the states the money to buy it. And I`ve
never heard of that before.
And that thing Mr. Kushner mentioned, I don`t believe he know what the hell
he`s talking about. He`s totally clueless as to what he`s talking about.
HAYES: General, it seems to me that there are some significant logistical
capacities within both the Department of Defense and the federal government
broadly, to take more of a leadership role in this very fraught supply
chain right now. Is that – is that correct in your estimation?
HONORE: Absolutely. And the President reluctantly signed and reluctantly
executed the Defense Production Act, which could have been working now for
what, seven, eight days ago, he signed it reluctantly, and then did not
execute it. And now we`ve got U.S. companies who are during that period of
time, did not make their products specifically, the handle of problems in
New York and New Orleans and Washington, they were selling it on the open
market to the highest bidder.
So we did not execute the Defense Logistics Act as it was intended to, and
as a result of that, you got U.S. company, United States American companies
right here, bargaining on the open market for the highest bidder, and
sometimes outbidding FEMA or in certain cases, FEMA outbidding them. It is
like a Saturday morning flea market trying to figure out how in the hell to
And there`ll be one thing, Chris, if the system was working. It`s not
working. The doctors and nurses across America, every morning in that night
– on the night shows, they`re saying it`s not working. And to stand up and
defended it and say we got it, we got the air bridge, can`t find the air
bridge, bringing stuff here and giving it to private companies to sell back
to the highest bidder. That is a gross injustice for the intent of what the
federal government should be doing.
And I`m telling you FEMA got some good people in there, but something
politically has happened and pulls frames at FEMA, and they`ve changed the
way their own standard operating procedures on their Web site said is
supposed to be operating. Something is terribly wrong, and I hope the
president get this fix, because it`s going to put our nation further and
further at risk as this thing get worse before we get better.
They need to fix the supply chain. And my recommendation to him is to put -
- give the Department of Defense a larger role in managing the supplies and
getting them where they need to go. Have the National Guard put two
noncommissioned officers or lieutenants in every hospital, get the count,
report that to the governor, and get how many days of supply and each
hospital and get some discipline in the system. And every piece of PPE or
equipment come into the country is then taken control by the government and
handed over to the military for distribution as described by the National
HAYES: That is a very, very different picture than what we have here. But
more similar to what happened when you were in Katrina and unable to get
supplies into that ravaged city of New Orleans. Lieutenant General Russel
Honore, a great pleasure. Thank you so much for your time tonight.
HONORE: Test, test, test, wear your masks. Thank the doctor and the nurse.
God bless you.
HAYES: God bless. Joining me now for more on what needs to be done to curb
the spread of the coronavirus, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. Governor, are
you experiencing firsthand this sort of crazy bidding market for these
GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D-NV): Well, there`s clearly a shortage of supplies.
I`m on regular conference calls with the Vice President`s task force, with
the president, and a couple of weeks back, he told us to go out and buy it
on your own. I mean that they couldn`t supply so they couldn`t feel our
needs, and we`ve taken that advice seriously, we set up a task force, and
raise private money and supplementing it with some state money, $6.5
million, and the private side raise $10 million, and they`ve got the
charger going out and finding these PPEs around the world and helping us
buy it and procure them for Nevada.
HAYES: Your state obviously, is a state that –
SISOLAK: And bidding against – I`m sorry.
HAYES: Wait, say that again. You said you`re bidding against who?
SISOLAK: We`re bidding against other governors and the federal government.
There`s a limited supply of these materials. Everybody is kind of going to
the same suppliers, though some have a few more, and others have a few
different ones. But what we used to pay $0.60, $0.70 for is now $6.00,
And that`s what you have to pay. You have to go out and get it because it`s
a priority for me that my frontline responders, those nurses and those
doctors, have the PPEs when they`re going into those rooms. So I`ve had a
private group that in a week raised $10 million to buy on the open market
the PPEs that we need, and that`s the avenue that we`re going. And we`re
making our own testing kits. I couldn`t get testing kits, so we`re
assembling our own in our state lab.
HAYES: What is the status of the outbreak in your state? I know that you
recently issued a lockdown order in obviously your state where a district a
disproportionate part of your economy is a state is dependent on tourism,
and in fact, dependent on large groups of people congregating very close to
each other in buildings and a type of thing that we don`t know when we`re
going to be able to do again.
SISOLAK: Yes. We really issued our stay at home order over two weeks ago.
We reiterated it and we codified it in a different way this week and made
people notice, maybe. But almost three weeks ago, I closed all the schools
in Nevada. We actually turn off, for all your viewers that have been Las
Vegas, we shut down the Las Vegas Strip and it`s nothing I never even
contemplated that I`ve had to do and put over 200,000 people out of work.
We instituted, you know, different procedures. We ban groups of 10 or more
gathering together. We distance – have social distancing. I called up the
National Guard to help us into facilitating these regulations. And we`re
going to continue to do more and more and more to get people to stay in
their homes and to practice responsible protocols and stop this disease
HAYES: A lot of governors I`ve talked to have talked about – you just
talked about the test kits you have to assemble yourself and the sort of
the very inconsistent supply of testing across this country. Do you feel
like you have an adequate sense and the in the public health officials that
that are advising you of eyes on the virus, that you have a sense of how
big the outbreak is, and where it is and where you are in the – in the
SISOLAK: Well, I think we have a sense of where we`re at, but it`s not in
consistency in supplies when it comes to test kits. I`ve got none. It`s
been pretty consistent zero right along the way. I have had some of our
local businesses and also our businesses in China. Sheldon Adelson donated
2,000 test kits that he flew over here for us to use. We`ve bought test
kits out in the open market and we`re assembling some of our own that are
FDA approved now to continue our testing.
One of the reasons our morbidity rate is higher is we`re just not doing
enough testing (INAUDIBLE) when you have enough kits to do the worst of the
worst, the sickest of the sick. We have not reached anywhere near our apex.
We`re weeks out from that. But we can do more to lower the curve, and
that`s what we need to do. We just need to get people to practice
responsible distancing and staying at home and that works. It`s proven to
work, and we`re going to continue to do that.
HAYES: Governor Steve Sisolak of the state of Nevada, we`re all sending you
our best. And I will be honest with you. I have thought about like the –
you know, you fantasize about different things that are going to happen
when we`re through this. One of them is going out to dinner the other is
like it`ll be nice to go to Vegas when we`re through with all this. I`m
looking forward to that day.
SISOLAK: Let me tell you something. We are recommending – we are
recommending every single person in the United States to come to Vegas when
this is done. We`re going to need your help. Let me tell you, I never
thought that I have to make a decision to put 200,000 hospitality workers
out of work with the flip of a switch when I signed that order.
And we`ll come out of this, but we`ll come out of it together, and we can
do a lot more to – this virus cannot spread on its own. It can only spread
if we allow it to spread by having social interaction and that`s where we
need to stop it and just need to get everybody to take it more seriously
and we`ll be in much better shape. So thank you for this opportunity, and
God bless to all the first responders and the folks that are on the
HAYES: Amen. Be well, Governor. Good luck. Next, we`re learning more about
the many failures of the Trump administration in the lead up to the
pandemic including shuttering a pandemic detection program just two months
before the spread of COVID-19. That reporting with the reporter who broke
it right after this.
HAYES: Almost a year ago, the President`s Health and Human Services
Secretary Alex, Azar said “People ask what keeps you most up at night in
the biodefense world? Pandemic flu, of course.” That is part of what is
just so maddening about the situation we now find ourselves in. What is
playing out right now is almost precisely the scenario down to a
coronavirus from China leading to mask and ventilator shortages that has
been predicted by expert after expert after expert for years, both outside
and inside the government.
Today, the Washington Post is reporting that back in September of 2018, the
Trump administers Received detailed plans for new machines designed to,
guess what, turn out millions of protective masks at high speeds during a
pandemic, because everyone knew during a pandemic there`d be a shortage.
You`ll never guess what happened next. The Trump ministration decided not
to proceed with making the machine. The Trump administration has either
ignored warnings, failed repair, or just gutted the very institutions that
were doing the predicting.
Here`s the latest example of that. LA Times reporting that just two months
before this novel coronavirus began in China, the Trump ministration ended
a $200 million pandemic early warning program that was called Predict. The
program trained and supported staff in 60 labs including a lab in Wuhan,
China, that later identified coronavirus.
I`m joined now by author of that incredible story, Emily Baumgaertner, a
medical reporter for The Los Angeles Times. Emily, what can you tell us
about this program? How did it work?
EMILY BAUMGAERTNER, MEDICAL REPORTER, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Sure. So this is a
program that focused on the intersection between animals and humans. It`s
an unusual type of program focused on research. Scientists would go out
into the field, do nitty-gritty work to examine animal specimens, examine
feces from animals, basically look to try to find out what viruses are
arising in animals and what is the likelihood that they`ll actually jump
into the human population and therefore start something of an outbreak.
HAYES: And we know that that`s what has happened in a variety of cases,
whether that`s SARS or swine flu, or we think now in this case, some sort
of species jump is what essentially proceeds a pandemic like this.
BAUMGAERTNER: Yes. So in many cases, you`ll see the jump from animals to
humans. They`re called zoonotic diseases. And this is a concern so much so
that the USAID program was arranged not only to send us experts into the
field, but the other branch of the program was to train up scientists in
other countries to be able to do this work for themselves.
So they did a lot of work to equip laboratories and foreign nations to talk
to veterinarians there, to talk to agricultural workers, try to understand
where are the biggest interactions between humans and wildlife in their
countries, and what viruses do they need to be looking for at that
intersection to make sure that nothing that begins as a small outbreak
erupts into something larger.
HAYES: So this was, I think, a $200 million program. It was through USAID
and sort of in concert with a few other government agencies. Why was it
BAUMGAERTNER: So it`s really important to note here. This was a grant cycle
project. This particular project within USAID got two separate funding
cycles. Both funding cycles were five years long. So we`ve got 10 full
years – it got a 10 four-year run. I want to point that out because I want
to make sure it`s very clear. The Trump administration did not move to
eliminate a permanent program, they did not get the funding on a permanent
program, instead, they just chose not to renew this particular program that
had already received
HAYES: Right. So this was not an affirmative – I mean, in the case of the
NSC sort of an affirmative move to sort of change the org chart. This was a
program that had run two cycles in a row I think under two different
administrations, if I`m not mistaken, or at least it`s sort of been
conceived in the – even the pre-Obama, and they just decided not to fund
it this time around.
BAUMGAERTNER: That`s correct. They are working on a program that will begin
this August. That`s what USAID has told me. The concern here is that this
program has been given an extension after the outbreak began. In Wuhan,
obviously, there`s some concern that this program would have been
beneficial to have continuing right now. Many people are saying that.
And so, I think the continuation we`re seeing from March of this year until
September of this year, it`s about $2 million, a little bit. More than $2
million, a very small amount of money is essentially going to be used to
send scientific experts from USAID and their partners over to these
laboratories that they previously supported to try to continue to help them
zoom in on some of the hosts that are a problem here and to try to squelch
this outbreak. But this money is not going to be used for its original
purpose, which is to prevent the next pandemic, to basically do that hard
science out in the field.
HAYES: Well, hopefully, we`ll get back to that after this one is done.
Emily Baumgaertner, thank you so much. Two years ago, when the
administration disbanded the National Security Council`s director for
Global Health Security and Biodefense, a team that was focused on pandemic
preparedness, two members of Congress sent a letter to then-National
Security Advisor John Bolton asking him to reverse the decision.
To quote that letter here, “Saving lives the next global pandemic starts
with investing and preparedness before it strikes. We Fear these recent
decisions will leave the United States vulnerable to pandemics and commit
us to a strategy of triage should one occur.” They sent that letter back in
May of 2018, and look at where we are now.
I`m joined by one of the congressmen who sent that letter, Democrat Ami
Bera of California. I should note, he spent 20 years practicing internal
medicine before becoming a congressman. Congressman, why were you focused
on this issue back in May of 2018?
REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): You know, we learned a lot in the 2014 Ebola
outbreak. You know, the Obama administration got a lot right, but they also
had some missteps. What they did, though, was course-correct. And one of
the course corrections was creating this pandemic preparedness position in
the National Security Council, someone whose sole focus was to watch what
was going on around the world and be an early warning signal at the highest
level to allow the NSC and the President to know that hey, there`s
something to worry about.
We saw that work fairly well with the Zika outbreak where there was an
early warning, early preparation, and it was wasn`t nearly as bad as it
could have been. When they eliminated this position, we knew it was putting
us at risk. But it was only a matter of time that we weren`t going to see
another viral outbreak. We see these periodically and had that position
been in place. They would have been sounding the fire alarm back in the end
of December when we first started getting inklings of this.
HAYES: Did you get a response to that letter?
BERA: We never did. John Bolton never responded to us. And we`ve repeatedly
– both Congressman Connolly and myself have repeatedly raised this issue
that you really need someone who`s in command and control as early as
January 23rd when we were first briefed by the administration on this novel
coronavirus, a brand-new virus. The first recommendation we made, and I
made it directly to the administration that was there was you`ve got to
refill this position with a non-political person, with someone who has
access directly to the President, and who can work across all the agencies.
We lost time by not doing that.
HAYES: You`re a doctor yourself and you`re in a state that started very
early with early outbreaks and has actually – again, we don`t know if the
data is good, because there`s a lot of pending tests. It seems like it is
not on the kind of trajectory that say, New York is on right now. How do
you feel about where things are where you live?
BERA: You know, I think Governor Newsome, our local leaders, our public
health officials, acting early with the stay at home orders may have helped
us flatten the curve somewhat. You know, looking at our modeling here
locally, we suspect we may see the beginning of our wave here in California
toward the end of next week and into the third and fourth weeks of April
and may continue into May. So we`re planning for the worst hoping for the
But you know going back to that early warning system, yet we sounded the
fire alarms, and many folks did, as early as the first week of February. We
lost those six weeks, seven weeks to do everything we`re trying to do now
and we can get that back. And all we can do right now is follow those stay
at home orders.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ami Bera, thank you so much for making time
BERA: NBC`s Benjy Sarlin on the rapid spread of COVID-19 happening at
nursing homes around the country, and what happened when his own father
tested positive in one such facility. He`s going to join me next.
HAYES: Even in the midst of these incredible failures of leadership, every
day we are seeing profound and brave actions often by people we`ve never
even heard of, essential workers from farm workers in the fields who are
picking fruit right now and don`t get a stimulus check, because they`re
undocumented, to mail carriers, people that are keeping all sorts of
necessary parts of life going. And they`re risking their lives, quite
tangibly, every day to do it.
Jason Hargrove, a bus driver in Detroit, noted this in a video he recorded
after picking up a coughing passenger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON HARGROVE, DETROIT BUS DRIVER: This Coronavirus, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
is for real. And we are out here as public workers doing our job trying to
make an honest living to take care of our families, but for you to get on a
bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering up your
mouth and you know that we`re in the middle of a pandemic, that let`s me
know that some folks don`t care.
But, yo, I`ve got to get out of here. I`ve got to make this run.
What`s up everybody. Holler at your man. You all be safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sadly, Jason Hargrove was infected with the Coronavirus. He got sick
and he died Wednesday night less than two weeks after posting that video.
He was 50-years-old. He leaves behind a wife. Jason Hargrove, quite
literally, put his life on the life for the city of Detroit for the
mobility of the people that live there.
Here you have an entire aircraft carrier full of U.S. Navy sailors who have
done the same thing. They`re all on that ship together, the USS Theodore
Roosevelt where there are confirmed more than 100 cases of COVID-19. And
their captain put his career on the line to blow the whistle on the fact
that he had a growing outbreak.
Captain Brett Crozier wrote a letter to his superiors pleading for help
saying in part, quote, “we`re not at war. Sailors do not need to die.” The
letter worked and the ship is now docked in Guam. they`re working to remove
thousands of sailors off of that ship, but Captain Crozier was relieved of
his command yesterday, essentially for insubordination and embarrassing the
president of the United States.
His entire ship full of people who believed he may have saved their lives
through actual leadership made their support for the captain very clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hooyah, skipper!
CROWD: Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier.
Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier. Captain Crozier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: These are the kinds of times when you find out what people are made
of. The president has shown what he is made of and so has Captain Crozier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now that`s how you send off one of the greatest captains
you had. The GOAT, the man for the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIN GATHRIGHT, MOTHER IS IN A NEW ORLEANS NURSING HOME: I received an email
on Wednesday saying that there had been one confirmed case of the COVID-19
at Lambath House (ph) and they were having no visitors at that time.
There is a lot of risk involved in that whole community. We have all those
elderly peopleliving in a tight, tight knit community and close area. Yeah,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Lin Gathright`s mother, Barbara, lives in a nursing home there in
New Orleans where so far 13 of its residents have died of Coronavirus.
Nursing homes and long-term care facilities, of course, are some of the
most vulnerable places in America, maybe the most vulnerable places in
America, when it comes to COVID-19. More than 400 of them across the
country have residents who have already been infected, that`s a 172 percent
increase from last week, according to the CDC.
These places don`t have the testing or personal protective equipment to
protect their own residents who very often can`t be taken out creating a
horrific dilemma for everyone involved including staff and family members
on the outside.
One of the people going through that right now is NBC News policy editor
Benjy Sarlin, whose father contracted the virus in a nursing hope here in
New York and whose wife, Susie Kim (ph), co-authored a fantastic piece on
the increase in cases on nursing homes for NBCNews.com.
Benjy joins me now. Benji, first, tell me about how you found out about
there being Coronavirus in the facility your dad was in.
BENJY SARLIN, NBC NEWS POLICY EDITOR: Well, Chris, the thing that was so
shocking I think for all of us we`ve seen this around the country was how
quick it is. You know, the first case of confirmed community transmission
in the United States was at the end of February. March 12 they shut off
visitors from the nursing home so we can no longer see them, which is very
difficult. My dad is disabled from a stroke. It`s very important to have
people checking in on him just to make sure he`s being, you know,
everything is taken are of.
A week later, we get an email that, OK, we now had at least one confirmed
case of COVID there. Within a week of that, a few days after that I call up
to check in with the administration there, and what they tell me is
basically they have an uncontrolled outbreak and not even the basics of
protective gear to prevent it from spreading among staff, among residence,
and that my dad was showing symptoms, and in fact had been tested, which
they also don`t have enough tests.
And from there, we were – we didn`t – we had considered the possibility
that we might have to in an extreme situation try to get him out, but this
was all within, you know, days of even us being cut off from the nursing
home. It was all just so fast.
So, we just began this desperate rush to try to find some way to get him
out, which is extremely difficult. He`s a 6`4 man who can`t walk, who
doesn`t have mobility on his left side, requires very specialized care, you
know, has various health complications. And while we were struggling to
find some way to pull this off, he started developing breathing problems,
was taken to the hospital and was tested again where the previous test was
negative, pretty sure was a false negative, was confirmed positive. So,
he`s in a hospital now receiving treatment.
But it was all just a mad rush, this whole period from them, closing the
doors to visitors was March 12.
HAYES: How – just how is he doing right now?
SARLIN: Well, Chris, he`s doing OK.
I talked to him a few hours ago. He`s in good spirits. He just wanted to
stress how compassionate and kind the staff at his long-term care home,
Mary Manning Walsh (ph), have been to him. And he says they have always
been meticulous about trying to be clean and about trying to keep people
from getting infections. It`s always a concern in nursing homes, but they
have having a situation now where the company requested 28,000 face shields
and 28,000 gowns and they got 1,000 from the city.
So they are in a situation where they are having to wear the same gown, the
same mask per shift. There is no way to isolate the sick patients, there is
too many, and they are going from one room to the next, and there is just
no way to prevent the spread right now.
I mean, these are people who are risking their lives every day. Getting up.
They are not quarantined at home. They`re getting there on public
transportation every day going to look after my dad, going to look after
the other patients there, many of whom are very frail, who have dementia,
who can`t follow orders like to cough into your elbow. You know, you can`t
say that to a 100-year-old dementia patient.
And they just deserve so much better. And just to hear every day about how
supply problems are exaggerated or states will have to make due or it is
their own fault. I mean, if we can`t protect a nursing home, I don`t know
what we are protecting right now. They just deserve so much better than
HAYES: You talk about I think Susie Kim (ph), your wife, in the article,
that when you talk to them, you thought they would want to keep this under
wraps but instead, they wanted to send – like we – they wanted to send an
SOS out to the world, like we are desperate for this equipment because we
had these staff, this committed staff who, as you said, are risking their
lives to care for these patients who cannot get the equipment they need to
do it safely.
SARLIN: Yeah, I mean, this is a situation where we were – I`m not trying
to use my reporter credentials to get any kind of special treatment, it`s
the opposite, we`re trying to not spook people off. We just want
information. We`re sharing everyone`s personal off the record and then we
were stunned when the administrator and the CEO of the company were calling
back saying, hey, we know you want to talk personally, but we want to go on
the record. We`re terrified. We don`t know what to do about this situation.
It just gets worse and worse and no one seems to be listening.
And it`s not just them. There is outbreaks in over 400 nursing homes around
the country right now. I mean, this is very much the front lines of this
fight with Coronavirus. You know, we`ve seen the horrible situations in
hospitals, but nursing homes are one step removed. They have the most
vulnerable population and stuff travels so fast.
You look at states from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to Louisiana to
Tennessee to my own home state here in Maryland, they all have these
terrible nursing home outbreaks and you can just count the number of
paragraphs in your story before people complain that they do not have
protective gears. They don`t have masks. They don`t have gowns. They don`t
have face shields. This is just a nationwide problem.
And, you know, assuming we`re not actually near the peak of this. I just
can`t imagine what this is going to look like in a week, in two weeks if
something just does not change on a fundamental level and how we are
producing and distributing supplies.
HAYES: Benjy Sarlin, wishing your dad all the best and thank you so much
for making time tonight and sharing that story. I really, really appreciate
SARLIN: And Chris, thanks so much for having me here.
HAYES: Coin up, what is happening with the financial relief for small
business owners. Day one and the new program seems to have some very
significant issues. What we`re hearing from small business owners about
their first day experience after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s disheartening. You see a story that was built
literally brick by brick by, you know, the generation before us and we have
never been shut down for more than a day in our 42 year history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christie Stolver (ph) says at one minute after midnight
she`ll be online signing up for that emergency help through the Paycheck
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was last night on NBC`s Nightly News. Today is day one of the
$350 billion small business loan program that was part of the big
Coronavirus rescue package.
Now, on the plus side, according to government figures, nearly $2 billion
in loan applications have apparently already been processed. On the other
side, well, there are widespread reports, some of them directly from you
folks, my viewers emailing me, of confusing directions, website errors,
banks turning people down.
So, the question is like is this program going to work? For more on what`s
happening on the first day of the small business rescue effort is Amanda
Ballentine (ph). She`s a – Ballantyne, she`s executive director of the
Main Street Alliance, a network of over 30,000 small businesses.
Amanda, I know you`re in touch with a lot of small business owners. And I
imagine a lot were trying to get this loan today. What have you been
AMANDA BALLANTYNE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MAIN STREET ALLIANCE: Well, we`ve
been hearing it was a very rocky start for the loan program. I think for
the first – you know, for the past week we`ve been just feeling hundreds
and hundreds of questions from our members about whether they would be
eligible for the loans, what are the terms of the loans, should they even
take out the loans, where would they be able to get the loans.
And I think that information has been not clear both to the small business
community and also not clear to many, many of the lending institutions.
So the experience that our members are having is that they are concerned
there`s not enough money in the loan program itself to serve the needs of
the small business community. It`s a very complex program. It`s difficult
for them for a number of reasons to figure out if it`s the right program
for them. But they also feel an urgent need to get in line to get the money
before it`s all gone.
HAYES: Right. Because I mean, the are Treasury Secretary said literally
said I think it was first come, first serve. So, one of the things that
makes this complicated and messy is that the banks are the front end for
it. And I think the thinking behind that wasn`t crazy, because the SBA, the
Small Business Administration, just doesn`t have the staff to oversee a
loan portfolio of $350 billion, so they figured, well, businesses have
relationships with banks.
But what I have heard from a bunch of people is, unless you have debt with
a bank already, they don`t want to talk to you about this program. Is that
BALLANTYNE: Some banks did tell their customers that and loan applicants
that today. And we`re hearing that they have in some ways walked that back
a little bit. I think it`s confusing, some of the banks were concerned that
they wouldn`t actually be able to verify payroll, which is required for
loan forgiveness under the program if they didn`t already have a lending
relationship with the business owner.
And so again, that`s just a very confusing piece. The banks are confused.
And the loan applicants are also confused about it.
HAYES: So the core concept here – it`s called Payroll Protection Program,
the core concept is the following – small businesses rather than firing
their workers, if you owned a neighborhood bar and you had 10 employees,
I`m thinking about my neighborhood bar that I live and I miss and I can`t
wait to go back to. And you`ve got 10 or 12 employees, rather than firing
them, keep them, keep paying them some 70 percent of what you would
normally pay them, and then the bank would loan you money backed up by the
federal government to keep them on payroll and get through this whole
But what I`ve heard from folks is that people have already let people got
because they couldn`t afford to keep them on and now we`re confused about
whether they can get on the program.
So there are provisions that should allow businesses to call back workers
who have already been laid off because of the dating system. But I think
the real challenge for business owners and the risk that it proposes is
that the loan right now only covers a couple months of operating expenses.
And for business owners, particularly in the retail, hospitality,
restaurant, tourism industries, there`s just not clarity for anyone on what
the economy is going to look like in six months.
So will they be able to actually keep their employees on payroll, will they
be able to open up and use those employees. And those are the types of
questions that I think are making business owners very confused and feeling
like they don`t have the information they need to know if this loan is the
right product for them.
Many of our business owners, we work with small business owners around the
country, who care deeply about their employees and it`s heartbreaking to
listen to them, you know, successful people. I employed 150 – you know,
saying I employed 150 employees a month ago and now I have six employees. I
wish I could call my workers back, but I just don`t know what the economy
will be like, how can I pivot to a different – pivot retail, food service
to grocery, if I have to maintain the same staff and need different
expertise. You know, there are a lot of big questions.
HAYES: That`s interesting.
So, one thing I`m hearing from you is that like this model of paying
businesses to keep their payroll, which other countries have employed very
successfully successfully based on the kind of certainty at the core of it,
right, which is that this kind of promise that say keep people on payroll,
we will keep back stopping you. And right now the uncertainty it sounds
like from what I`m hearing from you is lacking – or the certainty is
lacking so that people don`t know if that`s going to happen, and so we end
up in this situation.
We`re going to keep monitoring this.
Amanda Ballantyne, thank you so much for being here tonight.
BALLANTYNE: Thank you.
HAYES: That does it for all in for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the