“escape from the lab” TRANSCRIPT: 5/4/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: South Korean baseball, take me out to the
ballgame. Thank you for being with us. Don`t go anywhere “ALL IN” with
Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. As we
bring to a close another Monday in quarantine, the question that has been
sitting like a knot in my stomach is this, it continues to be this. What is
the Trump administration`s national strategy for conquering the disease and
getting the economy back on track? And the answer remains as of this day,
that there is not.
In fact, it`s become increasingly clear the strategy of the Trump
administration is to just give up, to essentially declare defeat in
fighting the virus, in suppressing it. We gave it a run. We did not do what
was necessary so we`re just going to let the outbreak spread.
That`s just not the view of Chris Hayes cable news host saying that, New
York Times first reported today a leak graph from the Centers for Disease
Control that suggests nearly 3,000 deaths per day by the beginning of June.
That is nearly twice the daily death rate we`re currently experiencing.
They also forecast about 200,000 new cases each day by the end of the
month, up from about 25,000 cases day currently.
Now, that sounds very high. And we should note here, modeling the future
course the virus has been notoriously difficult. You`ll never really know
what to make of anything that comes out of the Trump administration.
Today, the White House distance itself from that document saying this is
not a White House document, nor has it been presented to the Coronavirus
task force or gone through interagency vetting. This is not reflective of
the modeling done by the task force or data that the task force has
And the model`s creator told The Washington Post, “The numbers are
unfinished projection shown just shown to the CDC as a work in progress.
While the exact numbers and charts in the CDC document may differ from the
final results, they do show accurately how COVID-19 cases could spiral out
The main point this CDC draft communicates is what those of us who closely
follow the data also see. The New York, New Jersey, Connecticut outbreaks,
the worst in the country have accounted for a huge share of deaths in
cases. Those states have peaked and are now on the decline.
When you take those states out of the national picture, you can see that
national cases in other places are growing. And they`re growing in Texas
and Tennessee, and Iowa, and Kansas, and many other states that are
In fact, the editor and publisher of the website Talking Points Memo Josh
Marshall has been breaking up the graphs of U.S. cases. You can see in this
chart, the orange line represents New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
And you can see the virus has already peaked and is declining, right? It`s
trending down. The yellow line is the rest of the country, not including
those three states. That line is trending up.
So the point is that the virus is continuing to spread outside of the first
major epicenter, and the sheer carnage of it remains shocking. Right now,
we`re still staring down the barrel of 1,800 or 1,700 or 1,600 deaths a
day. And this document of the CDC is contemplating it being much worse. So,
what is the Trump strategy for that?
Well, according to The Washington Post, the only response or strategy has
been centered around the President`s re-election, something that has been
clear from the very beginning of the outbreak. The Post reporting the
belief that the virus would not really be that bad, combined with grim
predictions of economic calamity provided Trump justification to pivot to
where he preferred to be, cheering an economic revival rather than managing
a catastrophic health crisis.
So Trump and his cronies and his son in law who has an important role here
for some reason, pushed to open it all up and attempted to cynically blame
have their own policy failures, while acting precisely like the Chinese
government did at the beginning of the outbreak. The President refusing to
believe the worst and day after day pretending it was not happening while
the virus just spun out of control.
On Friday night, Trump even moved to replace his own HHS watchdog, a woman
who highlighted crucial hospital supply shortages and testing delays. He
got rid of her because she told the truth about the government response.
And so, here`s where we are on this Monday. That the strategy that we are
watching in real-time is delivering the worst of both worlds, right? The
virus is not suppressed. Cases are growing outside the original epicenter.
It remains a threat. It`s killing thousands of Americans. It`s going to
kill tens of thousands more.
At the current death rate, we`re basically seeing a new 9/11 every few days
and maybe one every single day in June if the worst course materializes.
And because of that, the great economic reopening and awakening cannot
actually really happen in any sense. What we are headed towards as a
nuclear equilibrium are states that are not locked down enough to suppress
the virus, but are locked down enough to make sure that we get a new Great
Here`s a dispatch from Georgia, right, the one that`s opening up. Reporters
in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution visited a few Atlanta area, malls have
reopened today. At Lenox, just a handful of cars sat in the parking decks
and lots Monday afternoon. At the Mall of Georgia, most of the shops that
did choose to open were devoid of customers. That is where we`ve ended up.
Just because the president says the country`s opening up, does not mean
we`re going to have some huge national economic boom, because the Trump
ministration hasn`t dealt with the problem which is the virus which is what
we`ve been saying for months. And so, because they haven`t done that, they
haven`t done enough to jumpstart the economy, and people are rightly
frustrated with staying at home.
I mean, my God, Wuhan, China, original epicenter of the pandemic was locked
down for 10 weeks and the longest lockdown just about anywhere. We`re
starting week eight right now. You can`t lock people down forever, wherever
they are, whether they`re in Italy, Wuhan, China, California. So you either
get your act together, marshal state resources, and figure out a plan to
suppress the virus and get people back out of their homes, or you just say
that a lot are people going to die. And shockingly, that appears to be what
President Trump has chosen to do. The latter.
Joining me now for more on what we actually need to do to reopen in
America, Dr. Ashish Jha. He`s the director of the Harvard University Global
Health Institute. And as harsh as that last part might sound, Dr. Jha, do
you – what do you think of that, I mean, as the sort of what we have de
facto ended up with?
ASHISH JHA, GLOBAL HEALTH PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: So Good evening,
Chris. Thanks for having me on. It`s baffling. Like, there`s not some magic
that we have to sort out about what we do here, right? We have to get
testing and tracing and isolation in place. We`ve got to keep things shut
down until the number of cases are dropping consistently over a 14-day
These are not my ideas, this is the President`s own opening up America
again plan. On principle, he had it right, and he has chosen to abandon it
less than two weeks after putting out the plan. It`s pretty stunning to me.
HAYES: That point is a really important one. The President`s own CDC, their
own guidelines are now being violated and mass by the states at the urging
and cheering of the President, and again, his son in law who plays an
important role here for reasons yet determined.
And what do you think about the idea? I mean, the thing that really worries
me, a lot of things worry me. But when you look at a place like Texas, or
you look at places like Mississippi, where the kids are going up day after
day, deaths are going up. I mean, the CDC says you need 14 days of
declining cases. Like what it`s going to do to the outbreaks in those
places if they start opening up as cases are going up?
JHA: So again, this is not a mystery. There`s simple biology and simple
math here, right. And the simple biology and math are that the number of
cases are going to start rising faster. The more you open up, the faster
the increases. And at some point, the hospitals will start getting
overwhelmed, nurses and doctors will start getting really sick, and the
healthcare system is going to start collapsing.
And the idea – and we`ve talked about this before, Chris, the idea that
people will go out to restaurants and bars and go visit Disney World, in
that context is a fantasy. And so, like I don`t understand what the
President is doing, but he`s certainly not helping the economy and the good
Lord knows he`s not helping save lives and keep the American people healthy
throughout this process.
HAYES: You know, part of the law hear from the – from the beginning is
this kind of decentralized approach. I think that largely has been driven
by the president not wanting to – wanting to sort of escape blame or
responsibility for things. But I thought the Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop
had a kind of a great take on this, as someone who, you know, has a small
city that he`s trying to figure out what to do with, that without federal
mobilization, you just had bad choices as a local leader.
He says, “We don`t live in a perfect world. We`re realistic about our
options. We have three bad choices. One, solely restore some normalcy to
protect the long-term health of the city. Two, pretend people will stay
inside indefinitely and wait for vaccine. Three, rely on Donald Trump for
Like, if you don`t have the testing and tracing and you don`t have a
federal mobilization in place, everyone is now left with a basically a set
of bad options.
JHA: Yes. And so we are going to muddle our way through this. That`s what`s
going to happen. The next couple of months, we`re going to muddle. It`ll be
terrible for our economy. A lot of people will die. What I think is going
to happen and I`m hopeful that maybe the summer will help us out a little
bit in terms of the weather and temperature. And what states are realizing
is that they got to come up with their own plan for the fall that the feds
are not going to show up and help.
And so, you`re seeing consortium of states getting together and saying,
let`s build our own plan. And that is going to be how we`re going to fight
this pandemic, 50 states at a time. It`s a lot less effective than if we
had federal leadership, but that`s where we are.
HAYES: You just made a point about hospitalizations. And I think one thing
that has been interesting to me when we`re looking at the modeling is that
a lot of the hospitalizations have been below what models predicted even as
fatality have been what a lot of models predicted. So the virus is quite
fatal and quite dangerous and damaging. And in New York City, particularly
we saw, and New York, we saw the hospital system in a kind of Wuhan or
Lombardi type overwhelmed situation.
But there does seem to be a little gap between what the sort of worst
feared hospitalization rates and hospital overwhelmed. And what has
presented even as the fatalities have presented as bad, if not worse than
what people thought. Where do you think we are in terms of our
understanding of that?
JHA: Yes. So I think, first of all, there is still a lot that we are
learning about the disease. But what we saw in New York, and I think what
we`re seeing now in Dallas, where the hospital beds are starting to fill
up, in other places as well, is that this is a pretty serious disease.
So it`s possible that in some cities, at some moments, it`ll underperform
in terms of what we were worried about. But I don`t think that I can look
out to the next three or six months and think our healthcare system is
going to get through this just fine, especially if we start seeing large
numbers of new cases developing as the economies open up. I do expect to
see real stress on our healthcare system in many places across the country.
HAYES: Finally, I guess what – the question of where is doing this, right.
I mean, we`ve pointed to South Korea before, we pointed to Singapore which
has now had to kind of go into a second lockdown. Today, Italy has started
to relax some of the most stringent lockdowns anywhere in the world. Is
there a model Germany and other place, a model for what you see as a place
that`s gone through a very bad outbreak, right – South Korea was able to
avoid that, so it`s sort of easier on the back end – A model to replace
has gone through a bad outbreak and is doing this in the right way?
JHA: Yes, so South Korea is – did have that sort of bad outbreak in the
beginning, but kind of jumped on it. I think – when I think about the best
model for the U.S., it`s probably Germany. They`ve had – they`ve had to
shut down, they`ve had modest social distancing, they`ve got a good testing
infrastructure in place.
And people love pointing to New Zealand, but New Zealand is a small place,
and it`s done a fabulous job, but it`s five million people. But Germany is
a big complex country, 80 million folks. It`s a pretty good model for what
we could and should be doing.
HAYES: All right, Dr. Ashish Jha, always great to talk to you, even under
these circumstances. Thank you for making time tonight.
JHA: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on the federal response is Congresswoman
Sheila Jackson Lee. She`s a Democrat of Texas whose state has partially
reopened even though they continue seeing an increase in cases. She`s Chair
of the Congressional Coronavirus Task Force.
And, Congresswoman, let`s start with your home state of Texas before we
sort of moved to national politics. Are you concerned with the pace of both
what the governor has laid out for reopening and also for the fact that
cases are still growing in your state?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Good evening, Chris. Thank you for having
me. You know, my opening shot at all this is that we`ve been told that
we`re in a war, and you don`t put up the white flag before you have
finished the journey and won the war. I think that has been really the
methodology of the United States. We`ve come together, we`ve unified. We
did that after 9/11. It was a war in terror and we came together and we
were united. And we didn`t stop until we came to a victory point.
And so my concern, of course, is that we`re not at that point. We`re not at
that point with 50 states, we`re not at that point with some states. And
the day that the order was issued, was the day that we had the largest
number of cases in Texas. Right now, in my own community, combined with the
city and the county, there are about 7,000 cases and over 100 deaths.
We`re not where we need to be. And this kind of piecemeal approach, I
believe, is not effective, because infections are still occurring, people
are still sick. And when I say, they`re sick enough to be in hospitals. And
testing is not where it needs to be.
The way you stop this in terms of our current knowledge is massive testing,
testing in vulnerable communities, recognizing that Latinos and African
Americans are most vulnerable, making sure that you`re in all the
neighborhoods across the nation, making sure you`re testing in rural
We`re absolutely not there. I think we put up the white flag. And I also
believe that most Americans will take lives over the economy.
HAYES: The White House has essentially – I mean, they released these
guidelines from the CDC which states are now violating at the sort of
urging and cheering of the President himself. The Congress passed a kind of
interim bill with some aid for hospitals as well as more money for the
Payroll Protection Program. What do you see is your role in the House
Democratic caucus in governing the country right now as the – as the
President particularly is sort of essentially thrown up his hands and said,
go do your thing, we`ll see what happens?
LEE: I think the country is looking for chief comforter in place, a chief
leader in place, a problem solver, and that`s what the Democratic Congress
has been. We have been the conscience of this Congress as relates to COVID-
Every response that has been needed to save people`s lives and their
economic condition has been put forward by Democrats from the PPP, to the
ideal loans, to the massive testing dollars, $25 billion to the continued
support for our hospitals, to in particular with the Congressional Black
Caucus talking about contact tracing, and as well data collection.
We could not get a sum of data to know totally how many African Americans
have died, how many Latinos, how many other Americans have died so that we
can know where the hotspots are, or what we should do to assist in bringing
down those numbers. So, the Democratic caucus in the monies that we`ve
expanded, we`ve given a lifeline with the cash disbursement that has been
so very helpful.
We`ve tried to step-in in education and healthcare, in the economy aspect
or the economic aspect of families, childcare. We`ve tried to step-in.
We`ve tried to be a comforter, and we`ve been successful in terms of
telling people, they`re not alone. And we`ve also tried to battle on this -
- on this war game and tried to win it.
We`re trying to win. We`re not trying to leave Americans empty-handed and
fighting this by themselves. And that`s what we`re fighting against when we
fight Republicans in Congress who don`t want to pass legislation now that
will help out states in terms of providing for revenue loss. That`s a big
issue. What do they want, firefighters to not work, or teachers not to
work? We`re fighting this because we are the chief comforters in place.
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat from the great
state of Texas. Thank you for making some time this evening, Congresswoman.
LEE: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, can small businesses survive this moment? What their loss
could do to the land escape of the American economy? After this.
HAYES: All right, so remember the idea behind fighting the – fighting the
virus by sheltering in place and shutting out a huge portion of the economy
was that it was sort of what we had left as an available alternative and
that we had to do it despite the destruction and then the government would
be here to keep this afloat until we came out the other side. That was the
theory. It`s not playing out that way. Millions of small businesses, for
millions of them, the system is failing.
In the Atlantic today, Annie Lowrey writes that the bridge to the post-
pandemic world is collapsing. “The great small business die-off is here,
and it will change the landscape of American commerce, arguing slower
growth and less innovation in the future.”
I`m joined now by Annie Lowrey, staff writer at the Atlantic who focuses on
economic policy. Let`s start, Annie, on where things stand right now in
terms of small businesses in America. What is not working, what is actually
happening to them in this moment?
ANNIE LOWREY, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: So, depending on what kind of
small business we are talking about, they`re largely shut down. So we are
showing – we have data showing that something like 30, 40, in some cases,
50 percent of small businesses have had catastrophic declines in their
revenue and their income. In some cases, even higher than that. And that
they by and large have not been able to receive it federal funding, or at
least many of them yet.
So the government thus far has made two large rounds of PPP loans, about
1.6 million loans went out in the first round. We`re up to 2 million loans
in the second. That`s a huge number. But still, most small businesses have
not been able to access this help. And that`s left with nothing while these
shutdowns have continued.
HAYES: So that just to me – I want to just stop and pause on that question
for a second. I mean, the policy idea behind PPP I think is perfectly
sound. It`s being used in other places. And the biggest problem with it
right now is just scale. Like there are many, many, many, many more small
businesses then there are available loan dollars, and therefore the math
here is very straightforward, a lot of people are left out and now they are
basically dying is the story.
LOWREY: Yes, absolutely. So this is an enormous program that got set up
very, very quickly by the Treasury and Congress and is being run through
the Small Business Administration. It`s relying on our existing banking
infrastructure to get this money out. And despite how big it is, right,
we`re talking near more than half a trillion dollars at this point, the
shutdown is so enormous and so many businesses are affected that it still
isn`t big enough.
So right now, we have, you know, $680 billion or so appropriated for this,
but the estimates are indicating that businesses will need something like
$1 trillion. And the longer that the shutdown goes on, the more businesses
will need this money and the more money that they will need, especially
since we have obligated to them to use 75 percent of it on payroll, which
means that a lot of them have other expenses that will continue that they
won`t be able to use this money to cover.
And so again, as this goes on longer and longer, the gap is bigger and
bigger. And we`re finding it that it`s smaller businesses, weaker business,
newer businesses, and probably disproportionately minority-owned businesses
that are not going to make it to the other side.
HAYES: So what does that mean? I mean, I think the disaster scenario that
people think about right, is the idea was the government would be there to
sort of support people through this essentially, like medically induced
coma for the economy, and then revived and the business wake up and they
would be there.
If they don`t make it, like what – you have this shock to the system, this
temporary disruption that then becomes a permanent structural feature of
the American economy. What does that mean for the economy that we have on
the other side?
LOWREY: I think that there are at least three things that we are worried
about that are happening as this small business die-off is taking place.
So, the first is that this is going to make the recession much worse,
because businesses will close and they will lay off those workers. And
those workers will have less money to spend in their local community which
will make their local recessions worse.
And this is one way in which you`re going to get that snowballing effect in
which there will be less and less spending in the economy, and so it will
make the recession, so we won`t have a sharp bounce back, right? Instead,
we`ll have a long recession and a slow recovery, which is what we saw in
the Great Recession. So that`s, that`s the first thing.
The second is that it will tilt the landscape of American business towards
large businesses, those with more financial resources, and away from small
businesses. And so that`s not going to be good. In a lot of ways, that`s
going to mean that places are going to lose character, they`re going to
lose ingenuity, they`re going to lose a lot of the businesses that we love
the most. So you`re going to have more big box stores and less mom and pop
grocery type things.
And then the third thing is that we know that that is going to have a
pretty profound effect in terms of suppressing wages. Meaning, less
productivity and innovation and less job creation in the future. This has
profound macroeconomic effects, and it`s not going to be good for the whole
of the economy as we look five or 10 years down the road.
HAYES: There`s something really dystopian about the fact that we have seen
trends towards consolidation and concentration of the American economy in
the last five or 10 years, even longer than that. We`ve seen a decline in
like new business starts and things like that. And now we have this
accelerating as you know, in the piece like – and you could end up with
just a real sort of rain of massive dominant entities. Amazon, obviously
coming to mind as people are using that for a lot of retail needs that they
can`t get in person. That could really change the landscape of what our
economy is on the other side of this.
LOWREY: Absolutely. And big businesses, when we are getting to the other
side and the economy is starting to heal, they are going to be accessing
cheap cash from the financial markets, thanks to the Fed, and thanks to
other central banks around the world. And they`re going to be in a pretty
dominant position to consolidate with one another to move into these spaces
more aggressively. This was what we saw happen after the Great Recession.
And there`s a suggestion that this is going to happen on an even grander
scale this time.
And so, you know, some small businesses are going to make it through, and
the ones that have access PPP money are going to face the question of
whether it`s enough. And so – but broadly, we`re looking at a circumstance
in which the entire landscape of American commerce is going to tilt towards
the big, the wealthy, those businesses that were already doing well, and
that doesn`t mean great things for American entrepreneurship.
HAYES: All right, Annie Lowrey, it was a great piece. Thank you for making
some time tonight. Coming up, COVID-19 continues to ravage nursing homes,
but that can be prevented. Next, I`ll talk to the owner of an assisted
living facility who has gone to extraordinary lengths to protect the lives
of his residents and his staff. And his story is after this.
HAYES: All right, listen to the statistic. People living in long-term care
facilities like nursing homes, make up about 0.6 percent of the entire U.S.
population. Right now, they account for almost 28 percent of the nation`s
coronavirus deaths. The disease is just ravaging nursing home around the
country. And here`s the thing, it does not have to be like this. We could
protect this vulnerable populations. One assisted living facility in
Connecticut has come up with an innovative solution on how to do it.
Joining me now to talk about is Tyson Belanger, he`s the owner and director
of Shady Oaks, an assisted living facility in Bristol, Connecticut. He
wrote a “New York Times” op-ed titled, “The Coronavirus Is Killing Too Many
Nursing Home Residents”, detailing what his facility is doing to help fix
this problem. Tyson, I wanted to start with a little bit of your story of
how you came to be running this facility. I know you went to college, you
did three tours in Iraq, if I`m not mistaken. How did you end up overseeing
TYSON BELANGER, SHADY OAKS ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY, OWNER & DIRECTOR: Well
my parents got into senior care back in 1969, and they build Shady Oaks in
about 1976. We were the second assisted living in all of Connecticut. Both
my grandmothers lived here and my mom might soon need our care.
HAYES: And so you took over this facility –
BELANGER: Yes, as I got through college, you know, I went to Yale. I
studied international relations. I`ve always had a strong sense of service
that I`ve learned from my parents. I admire my parents, I love my parents.
And I thought what they did was wonderful here. And my sense of service
brought me to the marines.
So after I graduated Yale, I joined the marines. I served five deployments
overseas, three tours in Iraq as an in infantry officer. What I was done
there – the thing that I felt really compelled to do was to try to
research what went wrong. And so I went – I got lucky, I got into Harvard
and I finished a PhD there in 2014.
Right about that time, that`s when my parents` health began to decline. And
where there`s this question – with Shady Oaks. So I picked it up, I bought
it and moved next door and I`ve been here for about four years now. I never
thought I`d be back on the front line.
HAYES: You are back on the front lines, you are now running this facility
amidst this pandemic. Tell us generally what you have chosen to do here to
attempt to protect both the staff and the residents in your facility?
BELANGER: So, we`ve been watching the news out of Wuhan, you know, in
January. In February, the alarm really went up for me in seeing it spread
to Italy, South Korea and the Middle East. That was when we knew, you know,
this is – this might be coming our way.
Kirkland – And what happened in the Life Care Center in Kirkland,
Washington, I followed that very closely, it was crushing. And I – my
heart goes out to the families and the staff who went through that. That
was all alarms like the – you know, that we got ready to go.
We started buying equipment, buying the, you know, protective equipment.
And in early March, we began having checkpoints to screen our staff. We
shut down for visitors. What I did in those first few days isolate. I went
– and I tried to do it myself like deciding, OK, who could come in and who
couldn`t come in.
And while I`ve been reading these articles, there`s this thing that people
have been talking about, the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic transmissions,
and I got really frustrated and I just felt like it just wasn`t going to
work. Out in Iraq, if we had that odds, those probabilities of someone who
would get into a checkpoint with a weapon, we would be pretty upset. And so
I was upset here, just the same thing.
I was up late, late nights that early March. I would wake up with sweats in
the middle of the night. And my brain was just trying to, you know, come up
with something. I (INAUDIBLE) had the idea of, hey, we all need to move in.
And at that point, it was a little bit ahead of where most people were, and
it wasn`t easy. I moved out of the house next door, which is where I`ve
been living. I bought five trailers. I`m – now I sleep in my office. I
gave my house to my aids, and favors go to our nurses and our cook. And
this is what we do, this is what we did.
On March 22nd, 17 staff members and I committed to living here for up to
two months. It`s actually now been stretched. We`re looking to do until
June 1st. The whole idea is that by not commuting, we wouldn`t be bringing
COVID-19 back into our home. We wouldn`t be bringing it into asymptomatic
or pre-symptomatic transmission.
And we went from families to visitors, health care people, all kinds of
people coming in and out of our home, down to 48 staff members who are
commuting, then down to zero. Zero people coming in and out of our home.
And the result is we have a safe place to live and work right now.
And this idea, I didn`t know for sure that it would work, but it succeeded.
We feel safe. And so what I`ve been trying to do is to share the idea. I
don`t know exactly how it would apply in every home, every home has going
to have to figure it out for themselves. The one thing I do know is that we
need government and charitable assistance so that senior homes are going to
be able to afford to offer the right kind of incentives for staff to be
able to do this.
It`s really hardship work. Our staff is working 60 hours to 80 hours a
week, and they can`t be with their families during a time of crisis. And if
we make it to June 1st, which I`m thinking that we will, it`ll be 10 weeks,
10 weeks away.
Now as Marines, we sort of sign up now knowing that that`s what we`re going
to do. But it`s a whole another thing to ask healthcare workers to do it,
and they`ve done it. They`ve done it. They`re really heroes. They really
deserve all the praise and – for their heroic work that they`re doing and
keeping our home safe.
Chris, I`m just grateful for the opportunity to share this idea. I hope
people give this serious consideration. I don`t want to be called the hero.
I want us to be called a pilot project. I want us to be called look at what
they did. Can we see about doing it over here or over there?
At New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, we`ve been hit pretty hard. The rest
of the country might be hit hard soon. We need to share the ideas of what
worked in our states so that all Americans can benefit, so that all
residents and all caregivers have an opportunity to bubble up.
HAYES: And I should know, Tyson, that you are paying a tremendous amount of
hazard pay to that staff that is working so hard that`s living on site. And
part of the point that you make in the op-ed is that in order to afford
this, this model would need federal assistance but it is something that we
should be looking to do as a society, not just individual pilot program.
Thank you for sharing your story tonight, Tyson. It`s really an incredible
story and inspiring and I hope you, your staff, your residents all keep
BELANGER: Chris, thank you.
HAYES: All right. Still ahead, the fringe theory about where the
coronavirus originated and why the Trump administration likes it so much
whether it`s true or not. What we do and don`t know after this.
HAYES: At least two separate things are true about the Chinese government
and the coronavirus. One is that the Chinese government really did fail in
the early parts of the outbreak quite catastrophically.
Often professor at UNC, Chapel Hill, Zeynep Tufekci suggests it may have
been like what happened in the Soviet Union with Chernobyl where the truth
goes, does not get up the chain to the leaders because of the fear of
passing along bad news and a refusal to believe the worst. “Hubei
authorities may have lied, not just to the public but also upward, to the
The second thing that`s true is the Trump administration clearly in the
Crassus most obvious way, wants to turn this crisis into a kind of
rhetorical hammer they can wield against China in order to obscure their
own Chinese government like failings by blaming someone else. Now,
something you probably have heard from certain corner of the right is this
theory that the coronavirus, quote, escaped from the lab.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: It looks like there is evidence that this
virus escaped from the lab.
GORDON CHANG, ASIA ANALYST: This notion that this escape from a lab
actually I think is supported by the vast majority of the science that we
see out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Circumstantial evidence is now surfacing in the
intelligence community that the coronavirus COVID-19, the SARS-CoV-2 virus
did escape from the Wuhan lab.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, a lot of people on the right love that phrase “escape from the
lab” because it sounds like something from Marvel movie or comic book. It
sounds like they are talking about a man made virus that China was
weaponizing that got out of control. Which is what Secretary of State, the
Secretary of the United States, Mike Pompeo, seemed to imply over the
weekend and then had to immediately walk back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe it was manmade or genetically modified?
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: But the best experts so far seemed to
think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your office of the DNI says the consensus, the
scientific consensus was not manmade or genetically modified.
POMPEO: That`s right. I agree with that. Yes, I`ve seen their analysis.
I`ve seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no
reason to doubt that that is accurate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, I`m going to chalk that up to some sort of connection failure
there but it didn`t seem like Secretary of State said, yes, it`s manmade
and then a second later saying, yes, that`s correct, it`s not manmade.
And to be clear, when they say, escape from the lab, it doesn`t mean a
manmade bio weapon that got out, OK? Both scientists and the U.S.
intelligence community agree that this coronavirus was not manmade, that is
not a possibility. It came from a natural source. It didn`t come from the
lab. People looked at the genes. The transmission was likely from animal to
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, remember, the president`s Coronavirus Task Force,
said there is no scientific evidence that coronavirus was made in a Chinese
lab. Now, we still do not exactly know how it made its way to humans, but
that is not part of Trump TVs escaped from the lab theory. What they`re
talking about is Chinese scientists, public health officials, virologist at
a virology lab hard at work to prepare their country and the world for the
possibility of a novel coronavirus. Studying one, maybe that came from bats
or another animal and then in the process of studying it, somehow
tragically contracting the virus unbeknownst them and then spreading it.
Now, I can tell you right now, there`s no evidence of this. Certainly no
concrete evidence. If it were true that this Wuhan virology lab was
studying this and then someone got infected and they infected everyone
else, it would be heartbreakingly tragic but also weirdly exculpatory for
the Chinese government.
And here`s why. Because one of the early more plausible theories to emerge,
I think there`s more evidence for it, was that the wildlife wet market in
Wuhan was where the virus first made its species jump from an animal and
human. And here`s the thing, wildlife wet markets are generally places for
all kinds of fairly exotic, live animals are stored in very close quarters
and then slaughtered on site. And it would not be the first time that this
What marches such as these have been implicated in previous outbreaks of
coronaviruses including the SARS outbreak. And public health authorities
within China and outside of China has been for a long time railing against
wildlife wet markets as essentially global biohazards. But the Chinese
government has really refused to shut them down permanently.
And that more likely is the theory that makes the Chinese government look
worse. Like the theory that it came out of one of its wet markets is the
one that makes the Chinese government look like they really screwed up.
Because it means the Chinese government defied public health concerns,
urgings of their own public health folks in China, and they kept those
markets open and unleashed a global pandemic. And if that`s true, I think
that`s the far more insidious version.
While the escape from a lab theory is a story of scientists, hard at work,
trying to save the world from a global pandemic, and then tragically
managing to release it. It`s a kind of benign but tragic story. But here`s
the thing. None of the facts matter here because they like that phrase
“escaped from the lab” so much in China and so the Trump administration is
so desperately grasping at straws trying to find someone to blame. They
don`t even seem to understand what they themselves are saying. They just
want a convenient scapegoat.
HAYES: Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, there`s still so much we
don`t know. Why is the virus hit some places harder than others, even when
they seem to be right next to each other geographically or have similar
policies? Is it because countries with younger populations tend to fair
better? But then if that`s the case, then how do you explain to Japan with
the world`s oldest average population has recorded somehow just over 500
Also, why do some people get so, so much sicker than others? And exactly
how contagious is the virus, like how does it spread in what conditions?
This most recent piece of “The Atlantic” Ed Yong writes, “The confusion
partly arises from the pandemic`s scale and pace. Worldwide, at least 3.1
million people have been infected in less than four months. But beyond its
vast scope, and sui generous nature, there are other reasons the pandemic
continues to be so befuddling.”
And Ed Yong joins me now. And I really I really like this piece because you
were sort of grappling with the uncertainty that`s inherent all this which
is something that I think we are grapple with as well. I get people
constantly asking me a question, even over text message as like someone who
spends a lot of time and it`s like, can you get it this way? Or does –
what about this? And the answer so often is we don`t really know. There`s
some data that indicates yes, there`s others that indicate no, like why has
this been so befuddling?
ED YONG, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Partly it`s just that it`s so new.
This virus was never encountered before by humans until only a few months
ago. So we`re struggling to make sense of something that we`ve never seen
before. And that is already causing such massive upheaval that is spread
around the entire world. It has really shaken our entire lives. And that
makes it very difficult to understand what is going on.
Plus, it`s really the only story that anyone`s talking about right now. And
even though it`s not the science itself, isn`t actually changing that
quickly. It feels like it is because we`re talking about every incremental
new discovery as if it was some massive game changer. And we ourselves are
constantly seeking out new information.
HAYES: That point about the sort of the coverage of the science, I think is
a really key one. And I think there`s a little bit of a tension between the
imperatives of journalism as a sort of technique, a means of learning about
the world and science. I mean, science is, you know, this sort of
competitive process, collaborative and competitive. People are trying to go
out and find bits of information, but it takes a long time for replication
And the picture slowly emerges in a kind of, you know, deliberate means,
whereas we, as journalists, like new study says that, you know, you can get
it off a UPS box, and it`s like, well, right. There is one study that does
that, but we don`t. So it`s very hard to kind of figure out the gap between
what we do as journalists in reporting on a study that says x, which it
did, and what like the science actually says.
YONG: Absolutely. I think we get this idea from press reports that science
is a steady stream of very definitive discoveries, each of which is very
certain, which radically changes the bigger picture. Whereas in fact, I`ve
described in my piece that it`s just this very uncertain, unsteady and
erratic march towards gradually less uncertainty. And that`s what we`re
seeing right now. We are seeing studies slowly refining our view of this
virus and the disease it causes.
But because we`re getting these stuttering snapshots of what is happening,
it looks like a jarring process where people can`t make up their minds. In
fact, most of the experts I`ve spoken to, would argue that the picture is
slowly – is changing only quite slowly. And so there`s something about our
rapid consumption of the news and the rapid pace of which that news is
progressing. That creates this very jarring and unsettling picture of the
scientific process that isn`t true to what is actually being seen on the
ground by researches.
HAYES: Part of what has been a kind of intellectual puzzle for folks and
particularly, you know, people that follow this closely and it has been for
me, it`s just the - is this question that was in “New York Times” today
about like the randomness or why some places seem to be doing better than
others. We have a current cut, there`s policy reasons, there`s age
demographic reasons. But even in places with abysmal record keeping and
broken health systems, mass burials, or hospitals turning away sick people
by the thousands would be hard to miss, and a number of places are just not
seeing them, at least not yet, we don`t know the answers yet. I mean, we
want there to be some neat clear thing that we know that specifically tells
you why country A does poorly and country B does well, but it does seem
like there is a fair amount that`s unanswered about that.
YONG: There is a lot that`s unanswered. So the virus itself seems
consistent around the world but the disease it causes COVID-19 will vary
depending on the people whom the virus infects, the societies those people
live in. So you would expect a huge amount of variation. And when you have
a pandemic, this widespread and this fast, you`ll also expect a lot of just
So a lot of the reasons why same places have badly hit and others are not
might just due to random factors that we can`t measure and that we don`t
really appreciate. And like you say, this goes against our desire for easy
narrative. So I write in my piece that the virus, we really want easy
narratives, but this pandemic offers none. It is just so big that it
befuddles our desire for really clean answers. And those answers may come,
the researchers providing them.
But in our day to day quest for those answers, we lead ourselves into dark
corners and open ourselves up for misinformation to seep in. I would
perhaps argue that maybe we should slow down in our consumption of what is
going on out there.
Ed Yong, who wrote a great piece and put on a very, very smart blazer and
tie in quarantine tonight, which I appreciate. Thank you, Ed.
YONG: Thank you.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts
Good evening, Rachel.
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distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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