Speaker Pelosi TRANSCRIPT: 5/26/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Jeremy Konyndyk, Nancy Pelosi, Atul Gawande, Helen Branswell


STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for being with us. Don`t go anywhere.

“ALL IN” with Chris Hayes is up next and he`s going to be joined by the

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. You do not want to miss it.




CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. With nearly 100,000 Americans

dead, our reckless president urges Americans to act recklessly.



cannot hear you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll just speak louder, sir.


TRUMP: OK, good. You want to be politically correct. Go ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. I just want to wear the mask.


TRUMP: Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead.


HAYES: Jeremy Konyndyk on what we`re missing in the rush to reopen tonight.

And Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is here on the Democrats plan to

force a national testing plan and much more.


Plus, the good news-bad news headlines about vaccines, what`s the reality?

Helen Branswell of Stat News and out of the office. When an F we`ll ever

return to workplaces and what those spaces will look like when we do? When

ALL IN starts right now.




HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. You have probably been

through the following experience before. No, I have. A friend of yours or a

dear family member or a friend of a friend is out partying, maybe at a

wedding or at a bar, and one person really looks like they should not drive

home. They end up getting in the car anyway, you try to stop them from

doing it, and they do, and you get a knot in your stomach. Then after a

little while you had a call or text they got home, OK.


Now that happens all the time, in spite of the risk involved, despite the

fact it`s a very, very bad idea. We know drunk driving is a risk to both

the person doing the driving and to other people on the road. It causes

thousands of accidents a year and thousands of preventable deaths. And

that`s the reason we have laws in place in every state in the Union to

penalize it to stop it from happening as much as possible, precisely

because it is dangerous, even if there`s a chance someone might get home



As a country, we`ve actually had tremendous success combating drunk

driving. Thanks to organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a

combination of public health measures and messaging, right, behavioral

changes, as well as all sorts of policies, we have actually driven auto

fatalities down.


In life and in policy, we have to assess risk. And we do not do that just

by thinking individually. Well, what are the odds I make at home OK after a

few drinks? No, we do it by thinking systematically. What happens if

millions of people undertake this risky behavior? What if millions of

people drink and then drive? You can probably see where I`m going with



You probably saw images like this over the weekend of the lake of Ozarks in

Missouri, or the overcrowded bars in places like Austin, Texas. This is

kind of where we appear to be at nationally, at least in certain spots.

There`s a lot of high-risk behavior, the equivalent in this metaphor of

drunk driving that`s happening, and that does not mean there is for sure

going to be some outbreak coming out of the lake of Ozarks or out of that

Austin bar, but it`s still a bad idea. It`s still really risky.


Look, the virus is new enough and, frankly, appears to be random enough

that who knows how much incident A directly causes outbreak B, right? You

can`t predict it ahead of time. What we do know, we know how drunk driving

and other public health risks work right? When it comes to risky behavior,

multiplied over millions of people, the riskier behavior and the more you

do it, the more likely bad things happen in the aggregate.


I mean, even though we have suppressed the virus in some parts of the

country, even though the trajectory is on the decline right now in many

states, and we shouldn`t be going nationally in the right direction – I

mean, that chart that`s naturally in the right direction, we find ourselves

in this bizarre place thanks largely, I think, frankly, to the leadership

or absence of leadership of the President. A guy who has just steamrolled

his own CDC`s specific guidelines, urged the country to ignore them and

reopen. And the national coronavirus policy now is something that came to

just crossing your fingers and hoping you make it home OK.


Now a big part of that is the President has just kind of moved on. He`s

done with the virus. It bores him now. I mean, yes, more than 2,000 people

lost their lives over just the Memorial Day weekend. And yes, the virus is

going to be around and has to be wrestled with and dealt with, at a policy

level by all kinds of businesses, institutions, and governments for months,

if not for a year or more. And yes, many states are struggling to get it

under control even now.


I mean, in North Carolina, Monday`s daily hospitalization count was the

highest total state officials reported since the pandemic began. But none

of that seems to matter acquit to the president. He got bored of pretending

to help as soon as he stopped being able to give his two-hour daily rallies

in front of the podium, where you could tell people to shine U.V. light

into their orifices and suggested injecting disinfectant.


And so now it`s just like any other day in Donald Trump`s life, except he`s

stressed out because his poll numbers are terrible. So he`s golfing in his

private golf course, he`s starting stupid, stupid beefs on Twitter. He`s

been in comprehensively vile and foul and slanderous about public figures

and the memories of an actual woman who died.


Because the pandemics over him. It`s – he`s moved on. He`s done. If you

used to have a loved one in a nursing home, if you work in a meatpacking

plant, if you`re trying to just figure out what to do with your kids this

summer when camp is closed, the President has no time for any of that. He

wants the country opened up. He doesn`t care anymore. He`s moved on.


And if you want to do the right thing, the safe thing, the President of the

United States will try to bully you. Here`s the interaction he had with a

White House reporter this afternoon.




TRUMP: Biden can wear a mask but he was standing outside with his wife,

perfect conditions, perfect weather. They`re inside, they don`t wear masks,

and so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on. But I thought that

was fine. I wasn`t criticizing them at all. Why would I ever do a thing

like that? And your second question was I couldn`t hear you.




TRUMP: Can you take it off because I cannot hear you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll just speak louder, sir.


TRUMP: OK, good. You want to be politically correct. Go ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir. I just want to wear the mask.


TRUMP: Go ahead. Go ahead.




HAYES: The President cannot even allow the people around him to do the

thing that his own CDC says will help keep people safer. He`s not going to

try to tell people to carpool or to call an Uber or take their keys. He`s

the guy on the other side of the conversation. As the wedding breaks up, as

you`re trying to get a family member to listen to good sense, he`s the ones

telling you to lighten up, don`t be a wuss, it`s only a few miles and

shoving the car keys in their hand. That`s it. The National Policy now is

everyone just load up get behind the wheel. Let`s hope for the best.


Joining me now for what we should be expecting for our national leadership,

Jeremy Konyndyk who led the Obama administration`s humanitarian responses

to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. He`s now Senior Policy Fellow at the

Center for Global Development.


And Jeremy, I mean, I guess part of where I`m coming from on this is I

don`t think A, it`s helpful from a public self-standpoint or even sort of

politically useful to like sort of be shaming people about what they`re

doing, what they`re not doing. I mean, there`s got to be some guidelines

given by government and some sort of collective expectations we set for

each other so we can all kind of do this together, but that`s just not




it`s not happening and I think people are confused. You know, they`re

hearing – they`re hearing one message from the CDC now very loudly.

They`re hearing a very different, much more cavalier and reckless message

from the President, as you`ve just outlined. They`re hearing yet another

set of messages from their own governors and local officials. They`re

hearing other messages from outside expert groups like some of the ones

that I`m working with.


So, it`s hard to know what to believe. I mean, we have a federal government

for a reason we have a CDC for a reason, to give definitive guidance, to

cut through all that. And I think when you have the mouthpiece and public

health guide being the president rather than the public health agency, it

lends itself to a lot of confusion and it kind of give permission, gives

licensed to the reckless.


HAYES: It`s interesting. In all the conversations I`ve had with public

health officials throughout the last three months in reporting, on the

show, they keep coming back the same thing which is, well, what`s the most

important, they say consistency in messaging. It`s like – they all say it.

And that is the thing that is lacking here, right?


I mean, we don`t have – I mean, we have had from Fauci, we have from vert

Birx. There are guidelines that exist. But having people everyone lined up

being like, look, here`s what you can do pretty safely, here`s what you

shouldn`t be doing, here`s the spectrum. That would be helpful.


KONYNDYK: It would be – it`s more than helpful. It`s absolutely vital. You

know, that is – that is crucial to saving lives. And instead what we have

is everyone can basically pick which expert they choose to believe, based

on you know, often on sort of partisan loyalties, partisan preferences. And

that`s – I think that`s as we`re seeing, that`s a recipe for a lot of

confusion and for a lot of reckless behavior.


You know, we have a choice of two futures in this country. We can choose a

future that continues to look an awful lot like the president, which is to

say, an ongoing rhythm of about 1,000 deaths a day for the foreseeable

future, or we have a future that will that could look a lot more like Japan

or Germany or South Korea or some of the other countries that are beating

this thing. And right now, we`re choosing the first option, which is really

not a good option.


HAYES: And I got to say, the mass thing drives me nuts. And I say this is

someone who genuinely like as a subjective experience does not enjoy the

wearing of a mask. I just – I don`t love it. We got to do it. Whatever.

Japan you – which you just mentioned, you know, I mean, everyone talks

about Sweden. Japan, essentially suppress the virus. They never had massive

lockdowns. They did cancel school, but it does seem like there`s this theme

in these places that have done a really good job. Hong Kong, Taiwan,

Singapore, South Korea, Japan, people wear masks.


And then you have the president and like his sort of lackeys like Brit Hume

posting Joe Biden saying this might help explain why Trump doesn`t like to

wear a mask in public, Biden today. The President retweeting it. Like it`s

become this stupid, stupid badge of masculinity or I don`t even know what.

But it`s like, that`s the dumbest, most counterproductive thing we can all

do. Like for the love of God, don`t do that.


KONYNDYK: Yes. I mean, look, it`s asinine. It`s just asinine and reckless.

And, you know, the masks are important and helpful. I think the masks are

also somewhat symbolic about whether you taking the guidance seriously. I`m

sorry, my dog just knocked into the chair as it`s got my camera mounted on



But what Japan is also doing is content tracing. They`re doing content

tracing. They have a public health strategy. They`re listening scientists.

We`re not doing those things at scale either. So the masks are part of it,

but I think the masks are indicative of just a larger – a larger failure

to take public health guidance seriously.


HAYES: Mark Levine who`s a city councilperson here in New York, who is the

chair of the Health Committee, he had an interesting tweet thread basically

attempting to kind of fill this vacuum of just tweeting out like low risk

and high-risk behavior. You know, just say no approach is not sustainable.

And so, he sort of walked through the risk. And other people have done

similar things that there was an infographic at Vox.


And it just strikes me that again, like this is useful. There`s various

people doing it in various different ways and various places based on the

best reading of the current science, which again, is incomplete, and we

have to be humble. But again, there is no national messaging to everyone

across the political divide, across class divides, about these basic ways

of thinking about what you`re going to do with yourself when lockdown is

over and summers happen.


KONYNDYK: Yes. And that`s one of the things that Japan has done quite well.

They have this graphic that you`ve probably seen on Twitter of three C`s,

avoid close spaces, close contact, and I forget off the top of my head

what`s the third one is. But it`s basically you know, they`re enshrining

the guidance that the most dangerous things is prolonged close contact in

an enclosed space.


If we just start thinking about that way, and if we`re hearing the

president, we`re hearing public health authorities talk about it that way

and say, here`s – OK, here`s what that means you should do and you

shouldn`t do. You know, we don`t have the president saying here`s what you

can say if we do. We have the president is saying, I don`t bother wearing a



HAYES: And that –


KONYNDYK: So, we need that and that would give people hope. It gives them

something to work towards. We don`t have that right now.


HAYES: Yes. And the sort of prolonged close encounters in closed space. I

mean, that was – everyone was passing around the Lake of the Ozarks stuff,

and I thought to myself, that doesn`t look great, but at least it`s

outside. It was the bars in Austin that freaked me out. Because in the –

in the spectrum of things, as far as we can tell from a science we have,

people close together for sustained periods of time, indoor spaces, yelling

at each other is basically the worst as far as we can tell. That`s the

worst possible environment, right?


KONYNDYK: Yes. Shouting, talking, singing. You know, I think bars are bars

are problematic in that respect. Place of worship are problematic in that

respect, that they are – you know they have a lot of singing, prolonged

exposure, and then in an enclosed space.


I am less worried about the outdoors settings, but something like the Lake

of the Ozarks did worry me because those people were pretty close together.

So, you know, yes, you`re outdoors, but it`s not like they`re five feet

apart on a beach.


HAYES: No, that did not – did not – it didn`t look optimal. Jeremy

Konyndyk who`s always sort of on the money on this stuff, thank you so



KONYNDYK: My pleasure. Thank you.


HAYES: Next, my interview with Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the country`s

failures on the testing front, testing for the virus, and the plan for

Democrats to fix it. Speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi joins me right after





HAYES: Unlike other countries that have actually suppressed the virus,

right, meaning they`re down to, you know, zero to 10 new cases a day, we

continue to have tens of thousands of new cases today. And the Associated

Press reports that in some cases, testing is still below where it should

be. Listen this. “Nearly two weeks ago, the White House urged governors to

ensure that every nursing home resident and staff member be tested for the

coronavirus within 14 days. At least half the states are not going to meet

the White House`s deadline. Some are not even bothering to try.”


That said, former Trump FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also points out

that coronavirus testing in the U.S. does continue to expand. The

positivity rate is declining nationally, both of which are good news.

Democrats in the House are worried we`re not testing enough still. They

have new legislation that would mandate a new testing rubric.


Here with me now to talk about the House plan for that and much more is

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California. It`s great to

have you, Madam Speaker.


Let me start on a testing. I know that`s a focus of yours and of House

Democrats and Senate Democrats. You know, people will point out we are

doing much more testing than we were before. There are even some states

like New York that say that we have more testing capacity that`s currently

being utilized. What is the – what`s the failure here? What`s the

shortcoming that you want to see rectified in terms of testing?


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Well, right from the start, March 4th, the first

bill that we passed on COVID-19, we wrote it in February, we`ve passed it

in the house on March 4th, testing, testing, testing. Testing to save

lives. Testing to open up the economy. Testing to send our children back to

school. That never was fully implemented. We had other legislation. And now

in the Heroes Act, we have it in a very robust, rapid way.


Testing with a strategy. Testing with a timetable, with benchmarks, with

the time milestones, so that we are able to identify the extent of the

problem to treat those who might be positive to trace those to stop the

spread. This is essential. And it is such a disappointment that we have not

made the decision at the executive branch to do what is very clearly

indicated by all the scientists need to be done.


We need to test. We`re not testing enough. We should be testing even more

people who don`t have symptoms because this is asymptomatic. Some people

have it don`t even know it. But we have really failed in this regard

because there hasn`t been an execution. The executive branch has not

executed a testing regime. That`s why the heroes act is so robust, so

rapid, in terms of the resources also that are necessary to do so.


HAYES: So, what I`m hearing for you, is it both – there`s both a sort of

overall capacity issue and also targeting right, that there`s not enough

tests being run, that those tests aren`t focused on the people that need to

be tested in terms of contact tracing.


I want to ask about another part of the Heroes Act as well. And it`s

interesting, because in between the last time you and I spoke about this

legislation and now, there`s been some real changes in the noises that are

coming out of the Senate, particularly Senate Republicans and leadership in

the White House.


When you introduce this act, the message from the White House and Mitch

McConnell was it`s dead on arrival. Nothing more. We`re done. We`re going

to see how this goes. That – they seem to have had a change of heart over

the Senate. Mitch McConnell and the White House, I think particular on aid

to state and local governments. Is that your understanding of where things

are now in terms of what the Senate or the White House are considering for

another round of legislation?


PELOSI: Well, they can`t ignore the fact that states are going to have to

shut down services, fire people, raise taxes, or all of the above, states,

counties, cities, municipalities and the rest. They can`t ignore that. And

they`re hearing a drumbeat, a bipartisan drumbeat across America, that that

needs to be done.


And by the way, in the testing, we had significant funding for the states

to do the testing that they need to do at their level. So, they can`t say

that. But you know, frankly, as I said at the time, when they put forth the

bill, everybody said it`s a first offer. When I put forth a bill there`s

it`s partisan. No, it`s the first offer and we know we have to negotiate.

But we know we do have to have local – state and local assistance. We need

to protect our heroes. That`s why it`s called the heroes.


Our health care workers, our police and fire first responders, teachers,

sanitation workers, food workers, transit workers, you name it. They`re our

heroes. They deliver our services. They risk their lives, to save lives,

and now they may lose their jobs. So that has to happen.


That testing has to happen if we`re going to open up our economy, and the

money in the pockets of the American people has to happen if we`re going

to, again, rebound from the terrible place that this terrible virus has

taken us.


So yes, I think that they were – they knew that they would have to, but it

was their message. She`s partisan. When they put it forth, they`re not

partisan, they`re Republicans. When we put it forth, we`re partisan. But

they`ll come around. And maybe it`s a girl thing. I don`t know.


HAYES: One of the other items – well, do you think it is?


PELOSI: Who knows? It doesn`t matter. They`ll come around.


HAYES: I mean, they are going to negotiate. I think that that`s clear. And

I think it`s interesting the degree to which Senator McConnell has changed

his tune. One other item that has been the focus of your caucus and was in

the last Cares Act was money for states that want to implement mail-in



Now, traditionally, vote by mail has not been a particularly divisive a

partisan issue. Utah uses it, Oregon uses it, the President of the United

States used it, Republican campaigns tend to encourage it among people. The

President has gone on this jihad against mail-in voting that is, to me

bizarre, but also sort of dangerous and irresponsible, and really, quite



He`s been tweeting about how it`s all fraud, how they`re going to pick him

up. Twitter had to append to fact check to some of his tweets. What is –

what is your understanding of what the President is in the act of doing

vis-a-vis the sort of administration legitimacy of the election this fall?


PELOSI: I don`t know what he`s doing, and I don`t know if he knows what

he`s doing. But what he`s doing is right. The fact is, as a former chair of

the California Democratic Party, I can tell you, Republicans have always

enjoyed much success with vote by mail. The absentee ballots have never

been a good moment for us over time. So they know how to use the mail for

their voting. And there`s no – there`s no scientific study that says one

party or the other benefits from it.


But this is now a health issue. We talk about saving the lives, testing the

livelihood, the economy, and the life of our democracy, vote by mail. Now

people have to choose between their health and their vote. That shouldn`t

be the case. We should always be removing obstacles of participation to the

vote. That is the sacred right of our democracy to vote, remove obstacles.

But at a time of the health – of a pandemic, even more important to give

people an option that is not a risk to their lives as well.


So it You know, again, I can`t – I don`t even want to go where he goes.

But the point is that this is a very positive initiative that has support

throughout the country, bipartisan support, we`re asking for $3.6 billion,

which is what it will take to make sure that the states have the resources

they need to ensure that people have the right to vote.


We want them to – every eligible voter, registered voter to get a ballot

mailed to them that when they mail it back, it`s posted to pay that if they

need to register on Election Day, same day registration, as or – even if

it`s before election day, the same day as they go in, and to have safe

places for people to vote, should they decide that they want to vote in

person for whatever personal reason that is.


HAYES: I want to ask you – you talked about the money that`s necessary

here and I want to ask you how you`re thinking about government spending

and the deficit at this moment. And just as the context here, of course,

the Republicans have showed no actual care of the deficit, of course, in

terms of the way they`ve conducted themselves. And then suddenly about a

week ago, they just decided they would – they`re very invested in it,

including people inside the President`s own, you know, staff in the White

House and things like that.


Democrats have generally said, look, we need – we need to sort of go big

here because of the perilous moment. But there was reporting, saying that

one provision of the care – of the Heroes Act was taken out having to do

with the payment of student loans because of what the scoring from the

Congressional Budget Office would be. That is to say, it would add too much

to the deficit.


And I guess my question to you is, how are you thinking about the deficit

as a – as a sort of constraint on the political imagination of the moment,

if you`re willing to take something out of a bill because of the deficit in

the act of this sort of uncharted territory that we`re in?


PELOSI: I probably took out about $400 billion out of the bill. We wanted

to put in what was urgent and what was needed by the neediest people and so

we hope in the negotiation that we can get more money back in for student

loans. That would be one of our places that we would hope to negotiate and

get more.


But when the CBO came back with the same amount we sent him, he came back

with that number, this is the number, we didn`t cut the number. We just

kept the number, but it covered fewer people. So it wasn`t cutting any

money out of it. It was just it covered fewer people.


But let me just say this. What we are doing in this bill is all about

stimulus, paying our heroes. Keeping government open, it`s paying our

heroes. Direct payments, unemployment insurance, SNAP – they`re against

food stamps. SNAP is a stimulus. All those things stimulate. They grow the

economy much better. In fact, their bill did nothing at all when you talk

about their tax scam of night of 2017 when they gave 83 percent of the

benefits to the top one percent, adding nearly $2 trillion to the national

debt for our children to pay with no stimulus whatsoever. No stimulus

whatsoever. So all of a sudden, the extinct budget hawks have a little

flutter because other people are paying.


I just want to tell you this one thing. We have this new committee, Mr.

Clyburn chairs the Select Committee on the Coronavirus, and it was inspired

by Senator-then Dan Truman, who said he wanted to – in the course of World

War II, study how the money was spent rather than waiting, as they did

after World War I and had 116 committees to study.


And when he was president, he was interviewed about it. And he said, you

know, I wondered then and I wondered now why all these guys are looking at

every dime that is spent to put poor people to work to get jobs that they

should have. Every nickel that is spent for poor people, they want to

examine very closely. But when it comes to their defense or whatever, the

economy voice just disappear.


Well, that seems to be the case now. When they want to give tax cuts to the

high end, as they did in the Cares Act – we are taking it out in the

Heroes Act, they gave $120 – $130 billion tax cut to high rollers

retroactively, having nothing to do with coronavirus. They are true to

their nature. They`re there for the high end to trickle down. We`re down

there to bubble up and have it be a stimulus to the economy, but it`s money

that is needed.


HAYES: Speaker Nancy Pelosi who is there right now in the Capitol Rotunda

as Congress is in session right now and sort of working through what this

next piece of legislation will be. And as you can hear from what she said,

it sounds like there is some talk happening with Mitch McConnell and the

White House. Thank you very much, Speaker. I appreciate it.


PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you, Chris.


HAYES: All right, up next, it could be really confusing to try and make

sense of all the Coronavirus vaccine headlines coming out every day.

Luckily, our reporter Helen Branswell from Stat News is on the case and

she`s here to help keep us grounded in reality, after this.




HAYES: So I cover and follow the news professionally about 16 hours a day.

And U have to say, even I am a bit confused about where we are on the whole

Coronavirus vaccine situation. Basically, my reading of it is that several

times a week, some promising story comes out, very promising, and then you

look at it more closely and then maybe it`s a little less than meets the

eye, or the time-line is going to be longer than they say.


And then even amidst what seems to be promising news, Dr. Anthony Fauci

told The Washington Post these increasing concern with the name of the

White House vaccine initiative, quote, when people hear Operation: Warp

Speed, they think, oh, my god, they`re jumping over all these steps. They

are going to put us at risk.


Now, even though Dr. Fauci vows no steps would be eliminated – I

desperately want there to be a vaccine, so I`m always happy when I see the

good vaccine news, but then I wonder all we all deluding ourselves.


And the number one reporter on this beat right now is Helen Branswell at

Stat News, who has been tracking the various vaccine developments. She

recently wrote a piece titled “The world needs COVID-19 vaccines, it may

also be overestimating their power.” And she joins me now.


And Helen, maybe I can start by asking you to explain the subhead on your

most recent piece. We need a vaccine, we may be overestimating their power.

What do you mean by that?


HELEN BRANSWELL, STAT NEWS: Well, yes, we do need vaccines, and I think we

probably will get them, but what the vaccine can do remains a question. You

know, obviously everybody would love a vaccine that would prevent all

infections and help us get on – back to life as normal, but in reality,

humans don`t generally develop what`s called sterilizing immunity to

respiratory pathogens. We can catch them over and over again over the

course of our lifetime. Our immune systems don`t seem to know how to stop

that from happening. And it`s not clear that with this new Coronavirus our

systems are going to know how to do that either.


So what we may be able to do is prevent people from getting really sick,

but we may not be able to prevent people from developing it like a cough or

a cold.


HAYES: So my take away from the article was, I think when people hear

“vaccine,” they`re thinking about like Salk – Jonas Salk and polio, right,

like it`s cured, it`s done. We will drive it out from the earth and never

shall it be seen again.


And what you`re seeing is like think more flu vaccine, which is – it`s

very helpful. And it helps protect some part of the population, but it`s

not polio.


BRANSWELL: Right. I think that`s a good way to look at it.


I mean, a number of the people that I spoke to last week for the piece that

you reference said if we could turn this into a cold or the flu versus a

pneumonia that can kill a lot of people, we would be making a huge advance

and we could safely get back to a more realistic lifestyle than we can

right now.


HAYES: What is your read, as someone who covers this – so in terms of the

way the news comes at us on this, a lot of times you will see like

promising vaccine development at Oxford or Moderna, this company that

announced one, and then it seems promising, but then the time-line, some

people say maybe we can be ready by the fall, and then other people say,

no, that`s crazy, vaccines take forever to test, like…




HAYES: Where are we on this? Like should the expectation be that if there

is one, it`s going to take a year basically, or has anything happened in

the science over the last few weeks or months that maybe make it seem

possible to be faster?


BRANSWELL: Well, first of all, you probably remember a few years ago during

the West African Ebola outbreak, how the world went from having no Ebola

vaccine to having one in about 10 months. That was really an astronomical

feat. What happened was they compressed time-lines, they did all sorts of

things in parallel as opposed to doing them sequentially.


And that`s happening here. You know, vaccine manufacturers have learned a

lot from that experience, and they are trying to compress the time-lines in

as many ways as possible, so some of them making – or testing their

vaccines in phase one/two trials as opposed to do a phase one and then a

phase two. And some of them did a phase one and have already started a

phase two/three trial. That Oxford vaccine that you just mentioned is

already in a phase two/three trial.


HAYES: So that sounds like there are reasons to believe that there could be

an expedited time-line here.


The other question becomes then just becomes like – I`ve seen people say

that a vaccine never saved anyone, a vaccination does. Should there be one,

you know, the vaccine at the end of the rainbow, it`s a nontrivial

logistical undertaking to vaccinate a ton of people.


BRANSWELL: Yes. It`s enormous.


So, first of all, it`s not just designing the vaccine and testing the

vaccine, you have to make mass quantities of it. And that`s the part I

think that a lot of people aren`t really thinking about. You know, when we

hear there will be a vaccine in September or there will be a vaccine early

in 2021, we think oh, that means for me. In reality, that`s probably not

going to be the case, it`s going to take a lot longer for those people to

get vaccinated than that, although certainly the White House is hoping to

compress time-lines in a major, major way, and be able to vaccinate people

in the fall and early into next year.


But as you point out very rightly, there are significant challenges, even

when you have mass amounts of vaccine to get that into, you know, 300

million arms, or in the case of the world, you know, billions of arms. That

is not a small feat, and it`s going to take a lot of planning.


HAYES: Yeah. Given that we have had a hard time getting enough masks or

swabs, we don`t have a great record so far in supply chains and, you know,

logistical planning on this, but hopefully someone is thinking of that

ahead of time.


Helen Branswell, who has been covering this so well at Stat News and

cutting through a lot of the confusion, thank you so much for making time



BRANSWELL: Thanks, Chris.


HAYES: Still to come, re-imagining the workplace. What lessons comes are

learning from remote working, and what will change when and if people start

to go back into the office. That`s just ahead.




HAYES: As we learn more about the Coronavirus and how it`s transmitted, the

spectrum of risk is coming into better focus day by day. Outdoor activities

with physical distancing, like hanging out with a friend in a park six feet

away, is probably the lowest risk socializing normalcy you can do.


At the opposite end of the spectrum, right, the absolute highest risk as

best we can discern at this moment, is probably like huge groups of people

packing together indoors for sustained periods of time, something that

looks like this. That`s what the last night of the Democratic National

Convention looked like back in 2016. I was standing in that room.


So it`s understandable the DNC is proceeding with caution about how they`re

grog to hold the already postponed convention this summer in Milwaukee.

They haven`t made any final decisions yet, but Democratic officials are

reportedly planning on working on three plans, a full convention if health

conditions permit, a mostly virtual convention that features limited in

person presence in Milwaukee, or an entirely remote convention.


President Donald Trump on the other hand has made it clear that he wants

the Republican convention in Charlotte, North Carolina to move full speed

ahead, threatening in a tweet thread yesterday to move it to another

location if they won`t be allowed to fill the arena.


Governor Roy Cooper is of course – let`s say less than enthused about a

potential super spreading event taking place in his state, where the

hospitalization count yesterday was the highest reported since the pandemic



We should note that the governor`s approval rating for his Coronavirus

response in a state that Donald Trump won is 70 percent compared to

President Trump`s 43 percent.


Other states are happy to try to lure the RNC away from North Carolina –

Georgia, Florida and Texas are ready to roll out the red carpet.


So, the conventions are a perfect example of the most difficult problems we

have to solve right now in the reopening era. Now that the first wave of

the outbreak appears to be in decline, we`re trying to restart the economy

as safely as possible, another huge challenge is how do we get people back

to work when a lot of that requires employees getting together in big

groups in indoor spaces for long periods of time people talking at each

other. We`ll talk about the future of the office space, next.




HAYES: This is the floor plan of a call center in Seoul, South Korea with

an outbreak of the Coronavirus. We showed you this plan before. It`s an

open office setting, which very familiar to all of us now, since everything

is an open office setting, got long rows of shared desks there at the top.

The people that are sitting at the desks are talking loudly all the time.

Those clusters of blue patches are seating places of people who ended up

getting the virus. And you can see how quickly it spread in that call

center, especially across the top there with those long rows of people all

sitting next to each other.


Of course, the problem is a lot of offices look like this, I mean, which

basically makes them a very serious public health problem right now.


So, how exactly the is office going to work as an institution in the era of

the Coronavirus? Surgeon and public health (inaudible) Atul Gawande looks

at exactly this in his latest piece for The New Yorker, quote, “American

hospitals have learned how to avoid becoming sites of spread. When the time

is right to lighten up on the lock-down and bring people back to work,

there are wider lessons to learns from places that never locked down in the

first place.”


Atul Gawande, staff writer at The New Yorker, joins me now. Maybe Dr.

Gawande, you can start with what you think we can learn from a place like a

hospital in terms of the best practices for other workplaces.



where people have been going to work throughout the pandemic including in

places like Boston and New York where we were hot spots for spread, and yet

our hospitals did not become those sites for spread.


So, how do we do that? It boiled down to, you know, sort of a learning

process, but we found there are four things,that you put them together,

each of them are imperfect, but you put them together and they worked. All

of them are familiar to us. They are hygiene, so that`s hand washing and

disinfection; that is distancing, and, you know, we can talk about what`s

required to pull off the distancing in a office setting; the third is

masks, and I think we`re all learning how to take those really seriously –

I protect you, you protect me when I wear a mask; and then finally the one

I don`t think we`re taking seriously enough is that every day that I go to

work at the hospital, I get screened for whether I have any symptoms. I

have to attest whether I have a sore throat, sniffles, you name it. And if

I do have those, then I stay at home and I get testing. If I don`t, then I

can go into work. And that last part we`re not taking seriously yet the

idea that our symptoms really matter and we shouldn`t be going to work or

circulating when we have symptoms.


HAYES: Say more about that because it does seem to me there`s been this

kind of back and forth on that question in term of containment, right, so,

we saw all these news reports about places that had these like, you know,

infrared temperature cameras affixed to them, and – as a means of trying

to sort of stop the spread and then there was all this reporting about

asymptomatic transmission and I think some people said, well then the

temperature checks don`t matter. What you`re saying is symptoms really

still do matter and they`re part of the checklist.


GAWANDE: So, as I said, none of these are perfect, right. You are correct,

40 to possibly 50 percent of spread occurs before people have symptoms, but

the majority happens while people have symptoms. And masks are a great

protection, but they are perfect. So, the combination of making sure that

you are not turning up in circulation when you`ve got symptoms is the



I`ll give you an example, in Missouri, two hair dressers – we heard about

it – at Great Cuts, had eight days of symptoms and ending up exposing 140

customers plus their co-workers. Now everybody was wearing masks, so we`re

going to be really hopeful that over eight days they did not spread to

other people. But we know that masks may contain your spread when you`re

talking, when you`re coughing, when you`re sneezing, but it`s not perfect.

There is air pockets all around and in a closed space, like in a salon, you

can be passing virus into the air that then gets inhaled by other people.


So I`m going to be hoping very much that the findings for those 140 people

are going to be negative, but that is not the way to be successful.


Places that did not add screening in the hospital sector have had spread.

And so it`s the combination of all of these things.


HAYES: So, let`s talk about spacing to me, which seems in some ways kind of

the hardest nut to crack. So, you can habituate people to hygiene, you can

do disinfecting. There`s the sort of policy question of whether employers

can get access to tests, but they can do symptom screening. Space is – you

know, I mean, look, particularly in expensive metro areas, whether it`s

downtown Atlanta or Los Angeles or New York or Boston, right, like no one`s

got a lot of space just hanging around. The office space is optimized for

the amount of people who in the sort of open office plan revolution are

basically now all sitting atop each other like talking to each others` face

for the last 15 years. And I`m just not sure how you create enough space

under those kind of physical and design constraints of the office as

currently extant.


GAWANDE: Yeah. I mean, what we`ve done in my hospital system is have to

really reinvent almost everything.


You know, our conference rooms are largely cordoned off. We do meetings

through Zoom even when we`re at work. We will – and when we`re in a

meeting room, we will remove every other seat to make sure everybody`s six

feet apart. We will think long about how long the meeting is because every

extra 10 minutes you add is extra time of exposure.


Now what we also know is if you have a mask, then you`re minimizing the

likelihood of spread beyond six feet. So, the combination of a mask and

distancing is likely to be highly effective. Then you add in we`re putting

up Plexiglas like many places. And we`ve discovered that a lot of the work

doesn`t have to be there, right? My clinic is largely virtual now. I mostly

see my patients through Zoom. Now obviously surgery – I`m a surgeon –

that part is still right there on site, but we`re limiting how many

visitors come in and all of those considerations.


And those are all the things that will happen in our workplaces, and is

already happening for essential workers who turn up for work every day.


HAYES: You know, that, to me, is sort of the profound question here about

the sort of structure of a certain segment of the population`s work life,

right – we`re not talking about people who are in service sectors or

working in a GM factory, although there`s lots of things being done in

those factories, right. There`s lots of things being done in every



But for the office worker particularly, like if what`s on the other side is

oh, half the work force can come in, wear masks all day, be in Plexiglas,

and do the meetings on Zoom anyway, it`s like why are we bringing them in

at all? It`s just not quite – like that, to me, is the big question.


GAWANDE: Completely. You know, we are all discovering that a lot of the

work can be done perfectly productively without us turning up for days on

end. We may find that we`re shifting, you know, in the hospital setting

there`s lots of care, direct patient care, where you have to get within six



HAYES: Of course.


GAWANDE: I find even though we`re all spaced out that the same kind of

spontaneous run into one person, have an exchange, and then continue

onward, that`s still really important and is there. And I suspect we`re

going to discover that it`s not all completely replaceable.


That said, is it going to be a situation where we turn up one day out of

the week to plug in and there`s a rotating roster of people who come so

that it`s not full all the time? All of those things are things that we`ve



We have 75,000 people who show up for work in my health care system. It`s

more than three-quarters of the counties in the United States. And 50,000

of us showed up in the last four weeks, and – but not everybody every day.

And we`re finding ways to create that spacing in the health care system.


HAYES: Atul Gawande, who is always just a fantastic read on the

intersection of anything having to do with health care and our society more

broadly. Thank you so much for making time tonight.


GAWANDE: Thank you, Chris.


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

right now.


Good evening, Rachel.







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