rescue bill TRANSCRIPT: 4/3/20, All In w/ Chris Hayes

Guests:
Russell Honore, Steve Sisolak, Emily Baumgaertner, Ami Bera, Amanda Ballantyne, Benjy Sarlin
Transcript:

 

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

rising quickly.

 

(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

patients.

 

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

months ahead?

 

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

get supplies.

 

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

Command Authority.

 

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

needed supplies?

 

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,

$7.00.

 

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

from spreading.

 

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

epidemic curve?

 

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

frontline.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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

ended?

 

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

best.

 

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

tonight.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

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!

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

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)

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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,

I`m worried.

 

(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

this.

 

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

it.

 

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.

 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

(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

Protection Program.

 

(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

hearing?

 

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

right?

 

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

period.

 

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.

 

BALLANTYNE: Right.

 

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.

 

END

 

 

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY

BE UPDATED.

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