COVID-19 TRANSCRIPT: 4/6/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, we need to plan for that.
David Wallace Wells, thank you so much.
DAVID WALLACE WELLS, JOURNALIST: Thanks, man.
HAYES: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much
And thanks to you at home for joining this hour.
In the United Kingdom, there is a head of government, that`s whoever is
prime minister at the time. And then there is a head of state, separate
person, it`s a person who does not have any political role in governing the
country, but that person has an important symbolic role as the sovereign,
right? In the U.K., it is the monarch, the person in whose name the
government is formed.
So, in Great Britain, head of government is prime minister, head of state
is the queen. And in Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth is often seen at
ceremonial things, but she is rarely heard from directly. She gives a
Christmas address each year, which is, you know, Christmas-y, but other
than that, in her more than 50 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth has
only ever made an address to the British people on a small handful of
Well, the coronavirus disaster, which is just ravaging the U.K., is now the
latest of those very rare occasions on which the queen chose to speak to
the British people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II OF ENGLAND: I`m speaking to what I know is an
increasingly challenging time, a time of disruption in the life of our
country, a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial
difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all. I
want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, as well as care workers, and
those carrying out the central roles, who selflessly continue their day to
day duties outside the home, in support of us all.
I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping
to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt
by those who have lost loved ones.
Together, we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if
we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. I hope in the
years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to
this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons in this
generation were as strong as any.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The rare address from Queen Elizabeth was yesterday, and then
today, the British people learned about their prime minister, has been
moved into intensive care in a London hospital. Prime Minister Boris
Johnson has been ill with coronavirus for more than a week now. He was
hospitalized last night at Saint Thomas Hospital in Central London. The
government said explicitly today that his move into intensive care was in
part to facilitate his continued care in the event that he needs to be put
on a ventilator.
Now, there`s no vice prime minister in Britain the way we have a vice
president who would take over if a president was temporarily unable to
continue his duties because of illness. But in Great Britain, Prime
Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly asked the British foreign minister,
the equivalent of our secretary of state, to take over the prime
ministerial duties at least in the short term, while Johnson continues to
The U.K., as I mentioned, is having a very hard time with coronavirus. They
have more than 5,000 deaths now. They`ve got more than 50,000 cases. They
were among the slowest countries in Europe to adopt measures designed to
slow the spread of the virus, things like closing schools and stay-at-home
Prime Minister Johnson`s government got side-tracked with some strange
theories about maybe letting the virus sort of run rampant on purpose, and
then maybe there would be immunity, and then maybe that would work to the -
- they got side-tracked into that sort of nonscientific fantasy prospect,
in terms of how well they could do if they didn`t address it policy-wise.
They ended up starting their measures intended to slow the spread of the
virus quite late, and now their epidemic is still just taking off, as other
European countries are finally starting to bring theirs down-to-earth.
In Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the rate of new infections is slowing
dramatically now. Going back to the beginning of this month, so just the
past six days or so, each of those four countries I just mentioned, they
had a rate of increase in new cases that is below double digits. Italy has
been below 5 percent growth and their case numbers, since the start of the
month, Spain, Germany, France, all now at growth rates of 5 percent or
But the U.K., which was so slow to get started on its policies to keep
people apart, the U.K. is still raging and they have been between 10 and 20
percent new growth in new cases every day since last week. And now, of
course, prayers and well wishes worldwide for their prime minister, who is
Here in the United States, we are with them in more ways than one. It is
not just that they are our closest overseas ally, our approach to the
virus, in many ways mirrors theirs in terms of being slow and even more
patchwork than theirs. We`re also paying the same kind of a price, although
ours is worse.
Here`s “The Financial Times” trajectory as of today. These are death tolls.
You can see there, some of the, the countries that are doing better, you
can see, there Italy, right, Italy overall a huge number of deaths over the
course of their epidemic, more than 16,000 Italian citizens killed already,
but they are bringing that curve down now, as is Germany, which is the
green line there, well below Italy, as is Spain, which is starting to bring
their curve down. France just, just starting to flatten out their curve.
But as I mentioned, the U.K. is not making enough progress yet. Their curve
still looks absolutely terrible and the only one that looks any worse
anywhere in the world is ours.
Now, this data, again, this is the financial times, they have these data
visualization whiz kids that put this stuff together every day and I think
it is very helpful. Part of the reason it`s helpful and it tells a clear
story that doesn`t need to be constantly revised or corrected is because
they use a multi-day rolling average, this I believe is a seven-day rolling
average, and that`s what the “F.T.” has been posting and that`s helpful
because then you don`t get distracted by individual one or two-day blips up
or down, and you instead see a more stable trend line.
That said, if you`re looking for hope, and you are willing to get more
microscopic about the data you are looking at, there is potentially a
little reason to hope, in the very latest numbers that we just got in
tonight, in New York City, and in the United States. But the very, very
latest numbers show, that we just got in tonight, is the death rate, the
number of people dying even day, appears at least to be dropping for the
past couple of days, in New York City. Now, again, that`s just a couple of
days. And we don`t know if that`s a blip. But that is data over the last
couple of days.
Now that drop in New York City deaths appears to be driving a plateau in
the death rate in the United States, since the vast majority of deaths in
the United States have been driven by the New York epidemic so far. So you
can see that plateauing there, right? In terms of the U.S. new deaths.
And that is good. That – let`s hope that is not a blip. Let`s hope that is
the start of some sustained good. Let`s hope that holds, because overall,
the picture of the American epidemic remains almost unremittingly bleak.
More than 10,000 Americans have died now, including 1,200 in the last day
alone, although that number changes by the minute.
That said, states that acted early to take mitigating measures to keep
people at home, to prevent Americans from spreading the virus among
ourselves, those states are starting to reap rewards now, just as the
European countries are, that acted quickly as well. So as we start to see
in Europe, Italy, and Spain, and France, and Germany, bring their numbers
down, we have at least an allegory for that in the United States.
California and Washington state both announced that they would send
hundreds of ventilators to the national stockpile, so reversing the flow of
ventilators back to the national stockpile, so those ventilators could be
deployed in places that more urgently need them, because the immediate
demand in California and Washington has waned. Oregon went ahead and sent
140 ventilators directly to New York, after a direct request by New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo for other states to please send supplies and things
like ventilators to New York now in exchange for New York promising to send
that equipment back along with other supplies and along with trained and
experienced staff when those donor states now hit their peak in the future,
or wherever the next peak arrives.
In terms of where things are needed next in the United States, I think
there`s a few different horizons that we can watch as Americans and they
all give us a slightly different piece of information. But they`re all
urgent and they`re all interesting. In the immediate term, the shortest
term, we, of course, are watching places like New York and New Jersey, we
are overtopping the capacity of some of their hospitals right now. We`re
also watching the long-term, where governors still even now, in some states
are refusing to take state-wide action, which allows the unchecked growth
of their state`s eventual case number, right?
If – states that do not have stay-at-home orders, where people are not
being broadly told to stay home, and so people broadly aren`t. That is
allowing the virus to spread unchecked in those states. That will
ultimately grow the number of people who have tested positive, the number
of people who get sick, the number of people who need to get hospitalized,
the number of people who need intensive care, the number of people who need
ventilators, and the number of people who die. The more you let it spread,
the more all of those numbers will rise.
And those case numbers and all of the attendant consequences will go up,
the lower you have people going to work and having gatherings and doing
communal stuff while this highly infectious virus circulates in every
single state because we got it in every single state. Nevertheless, there
are still governors that don`t have stay-at-home orders and they`re
defending their decision not to and they`re defying all advice and they`re
just letting their case numbers, what will eventually be their case numbers
balloon, and balloon and balloon with each passing day. And so in the long
term, we will reap the reward of that as well.
But in between that immediate horizon, and that longer-term horizon, where
we can see the way we are screwing up still badly as a country, there is
this medium term, where it is not as acute necessarily as what we`ve got in
New York and New Jersey right now where hospitals are already overtopped
but we can start to see the epidemic showing its face, in places all over
One of the places we have been watching, one of the sort of sources of data
that we have been watching, among my staff and on this show, to try to get
signs of that, to try to see where there might be brewing epidemics, and
individual American cities and locations that we should keep an eye on in
terms of where things are coming next, we`ve been looking at the data from
the V.A., veterans affairs medical facilities, which now daily report
numbers of how many patients they`ve got, how many people they`ve got
tested positive for coronavirus through those facilities.
And the caution here is that V.A. is not necessarily doing a great or very
thorough job with testing. All signs indicate that they are not. But they
are doing some testing. And importantly, it`s an interesting nationwide
repository of data, because there really are V.A. medical facilities all
over this country, in every place, where any significant number of
And so if you look through the window of these V.A. statistics, again,
daily reports from V.A., you can see – it sort of gives you a lens into
various American communities. And where there are up-surging numbers of
coronavirus patients, being cared for at least at the local V.A.
Let me show you what I mean. Here`s today`s numbers from the V.A. and
again, these come out every day. Just take a look on this long list, about
who`s over two dozen cases already at their local V.A. facility. It`s Ann
Arbor, Michigan, Atlanta, Georgia, Boston, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Chicago`s
west side, North Chicago, too. Cincinnati, Cleveland. Columbia, South
Carolina. And stick a pin in that, we`ll come back to it.
West Haven, Connecticut, Denver, Colorado, Los Angeles, Hampton, Virginia,
Richmond, Virginia, the Hudson Valley in New York, Northport, New York,
Upstate New York, Indianapolis, Long Beach, California, Miami, Milwaukee,
East Orange, New Jersey, New Orleans, huge number in New Orleans. Orlando,
Philly, Seattle, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nashville, Kansas City, Missouri.
I mean, today, in all of those places, there`s more than two dozen cases
among veterans who are being served by their local V.A. medical facility.
And so today, you can see through these stats, these are your veterans
struggling, these are your veterans testing positive, but those federally
collated statistics that come out every day, also give you a window into
what is happening in cities all over this country, because these are
community-based facilities, and they`re testing of their veteran patients
is shining light on what is going on in those communities.
And lo and behold, it`s not New York and New Jersey that are the only
places that have this to worry about, right? I mentioned Columbia, South
Carolina, there. There`s 44 cases reported as of today at their local V.A.
facility, which tells you something about Columbia, South Carolina, and the
type of epidemic they are dealing with there, whether or not they`ve got
their arms around it yet.
Well, today, the governor of South Carolina, Republican Henry McMaster,
finally today, put in place a stay-at-home order for his state. But he is
not calling it a stay-at-home order. He is calling it a home or work order,
because he`s not actually ordering people in South Carolina to stay at
home. He`s ordering them to stay at home, quote, unless they`re working,
they`re visiting family, or recreating outdoors. Those are the limit, he
So you can stay inside, you should stay inside, stay at home, you can stay
inside, stay at home, unless you are visiting with your family, unless you
are doing outdoor recreation, unless you are doing other things that the
governor says probably won`t spread this thing too much. But in case that
sounds to onerous, don`t worry, even that doesn`t go into effect until
tomorrow night. Because why rush?
South Carolina has more than 2,000 known cases now. They`ve got more than
40 cases just at their V.A. facility that isn`t doing a ton of testing. But
anybody in South Carolina right now, who didn`t know they`ve got it but
they are spreading it asymptomatically, your governor Mr. McMaster I`m sure
really hopes you don`t spread it unabated while you continue, to you know,
visit family and work, and do whatever you need to do, within his work and
In Georgia, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp this weekend overruled all the
cities and towns in Georgia that had decided locally to close their beaches
to keep people from congregating at beaches and spreading the virus that
way. He overruled those cities and towns and ordered Georgia beaches back
open because that`s Georgia Governor Brian Kemp`s kind of approach to this.
Georgia already has more than 7,000 confirmed cases, more than 220 deaths.
Reopen the beaches.
Tomorrow, in Wisconsin, apparently, we`re going to have an in person
election, with polling places, staffed by poll workers, and people expected
to turn up and congregate to vote. The Democratic governor of Wisconsin,
Tony Evers, has sought to join the many, many, many other states this month
that delayed their in-person primaries and elections to later this year to
what we hope will be the other side of the curve, Republicans in the state
legislature decided they want that election to go ahead anyway, regardless
of the health risk. They filed a lawsuit to stop the governor`s executive
order, and the conservative majority on the state Supreme Court sided with
the Republican legislature and blocked the governor`s executive order, then
the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a lower court`s effort to at least extend
the deadline for people to submit mail-in ballots so they won`t extend the
deadline to submit mail-in ballots even. What`s so wrong with that?
I mean, this is a developing story tonight. We will continue to watch it
over the course of this hour. But Wisconsin Republicans, and to the
president, when asked about this matter, have been pretty blunt about their
belief that the lowest possible turnout, they think, benefits Republican
candidates. And there`s a Republican state Supreme Court candidate who they
really want to reelect on this ballot.
You know, if you`re hoping for low turnout, boy, howdy, this is a pretty
bullet-proof way to ensure low turnout, to threaten the lives of people who
turn out to vote, and to threaten the lives of poll workers who will have
to turn out in order to facilitate that vote. That`s one way to get what
In New York, the Javits Center and the U.S. naval hospital ship Comfort
will both be taking coronavirus patients after the federal government
initially said that those two facilities would only take non-coronavirus
patients. Those changes have been made from both of those facilities now.
The New York hospitalization burden continues to be fairly relentless.
These are the daily hospitalization numbers that we have been tracking in
the city. You can see over the last four days, we`re up to 15,000 now, in
In addition to the built-out facilities in New York, that they`ve already
stood up in parks and stadium, and the convention center in Manhattan,
today, the latest makeshift hospital to be announced in New York City is
the nave of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, which will now host –
house 400 hospital beds, as overflow from Mount Sinai Hospital.
Today, doctors and nurses and other health workers at Harlem hospital
protested the fact that they really are having to work without the
protective equipment they need to prevent themselves from becoming
infected. You see their signs at their protest outside Harlem hospital
today, respect public hospital patients and our nurses, how many of us must
die, PPE over product, protect the front line, who will care for you when
we are dead? We will not be your body bags.
And then there is this one. Please don`t call me a hero. I`m being martyred
against my will. Defense Production Act now.
The administration is warning that this week will be among the darkest
times the country has gone through. And you are seeing national signs of
support and gratitude to health care workers. The health care workers still
don`t know what they need in the places that are hardest hit. The national
response remains patchwork, and in parts of the country, just backwards.
On the front line, the fact that the hospital staff isn`t getting what they
need to do, isn`t getting what they need to do this right now, will
ultimately be looked back as sort of I think central metric of how
America`s great industrial and economic might proved absolutely impotent in
the absence of leadership to apply it. But seeing these daily protests out
of New York City hospitals, right, it`s not like we didn`t know that New
York was going to be in crunch time right now. It`s not like we didn`t know
that we needed a national upsurge in resources, specifically to help New
York first, while New York dealt with 15,000 simultaneously hospitalized
COVID patients and all of the ventilators in use, right? It is not like we
didn`t know that was coming.
But even now, even today, New York City front line hospital workers are
having to protest with homemade cardboard signs saying, I do not have the
masks and gear that I need to do this work without risking death myself.
And who will take care of you when we`re dead? Even now.
The administration is not getting it done. And all – you know, when it
comes to the federal government, we`ve just got a president, we`ve all got
the same president, as a country we don`t even have a different person who
is the head of state, to turn to, when our head of government fails.
But we do have Congress. And that`s something. And we`re going to be joined
next by the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi. She`ll join us live.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Joining us now for “The Interview” is the speaker of the House of
Representatives, Nancy Pelosi.
Madam Speaker, thank you so much for joining us through the miracle of sort
of local to local connection here, and these cameras that we have
MacGyvered on both sides of the country.
Thank you for being here.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Telephone. Telephone
cameras. My pleasure.
Any chance I get, I want to thank you for the beautiful presentation you
make about the challenge that our country is undergoing. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Well, thank you for saying so. I mean, I`m just trying to keep up.
I feel like, and as the top Democrat in the American government, as the
person with the key role that you have, leading the House of
Representatives, I feel like there`s great frustration over the patchwork
and sometimes backwards and slow response that we`ve had as a country.
Do you have faith that there are things that Congress can do, that you and
your colleagues can do, with the control that you have over those levers of
power, to try to shore up our national response, and to try to alleviate
some of the worst mistakes that have been made?
PELOSI: Well, I`m very proud of the work that we`ve done in a bipartisan
way, actually, in the Congress. We`ve – on March 4th, we passed our first
bill, which was about testing, testing, testing, and the search for a cure,
and a vaccine, and so many other things.
On the 14th, we passed another bill addressing the needs for masks and all
The 28th of March, the president signed the CARES Act, which is over $2
trillion bill, to meet the needs of the American people. A bill I`m very
proud to say that Democrats turned on its head from corporate America,
trickle down, to workers up, a bubble up for the workers.
So there is in place, so much of what we have done, but we need more.
And again, we`re right now trying to implement the CARES Act in terms of
the unemployment insurance, in terms of the help to small businesses, in
terms of direct payment, issues that relate to state and local government,
issues that relate to hospitals, and other health-serving institutions, to
meet their needs. So, we`ve done a great deal, and we just have to get that
But as it goes out, we know already that the acceleration of the pace of
this virus, and this assault, not on the lives but the livelihood of the
American people, that we must do more, so we`re preparing for CARES 2
MADDOW: And in terms of – in terms of that preparation, in trying to match
the scale of the congressional response to the size of the problem, it`s
been reported that the former Fed Chair Janet Yellen briefed Democrats
within the last few day, saying that the real unemployment rate right now
is probably about 13 percent already, rather than the official 4.4 percent.
We`ve also heard it reported that the next CARES Act, that the next relief
bill, will be on the order of about maybe another trillion.
When you think about that economic threat, and that economic response, do
those numbers seem like they match to you, that that`s the right size
approach to that big a problem?
PELOSI: Well, we have to take it as it comes. And in other words, when I
talk about numbers, people say, well, let`s see what we need, and that`s
what we`re taking inventory of. But what the country needs is, really, we
need to find a cure, we need to get rid of this virus.
What we need is a central command. For the president of the United States
to say, somebody is in charge of just seeing what we need, what`s in the
chain of – the supply chain, what isn`t, getting it to the places, the hot
spots where it`s needed, moving it on after that. We don`t have that.
What we need is really testing, testing, testing, to evaluate the scope of
the problem so that we can truly have a measure of our success.
And what we need is again, just the respect that we should have for our
workers, so that as they save lives, they`re not risking theirs, and that
of their families. They need the PPE, the personal protective equipment, to
protect themselves, not just the health care workers but first responders,
and others, and as well as the ventilators to get to people.
What the American people want is to see those workers get what they need.
What they want to see is them getting their own checks. Let`s get it in the
mail, whether it`s unemployment or direct payment, et cetera, and what they
don`t want to see are industries in our country receiving taxpayer dollars
and ripping them off with buyouts and bonuses, and dividends, et cetera.
So, that`s why, in this bill, we put the conditions in there, so that
didn`t happen, that we put the resources in there for small business, for
unemployment, for direct payments, and now, we need more.
MADDOW: What you`re describing in terms of the supply chains and needing
somebody in charge to make sure the right equipment and the right supplies
get to where they`re needed, your colleague in the Senate, Senate
Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, it`s been reported he spoke with the
president, the brand new White House chief of staff – there`s been a
number of them but there`s a brand new one.
Senator Schumer spoke with him asking the president to essentially appoint
a czar to oversee what you were just describing, the production and
distribution and allocation and reallocation of these critical supplies, he
reportedly gave him a list of names.
I wonder if you are also in support of that kind of approach, if you and
Senator Schumer are working together on that, if you`ve had any word that
the administration might sort of get their act together in that regard.
PELOSI: It is so self-evident. In our caucus, Sandy Hoyer, our
distinguished leader, has been calling for this for a long time.
But we all know, you have to have somebody in charge, to manage it. It just
doesn`t happen to be that it goes politically where somebody might want it
to go. It goes where it is needed.
But you can`t go any place unless you have something. So there has to be an
inventory of what the supply chain is.
And what we also need in our country is domestic development of the
therapies so that we`re not dependent on foreign company – countries.
And Congresswoman Anna Eshoo has a bill to that effect, a commission to
establish what and why about this. And it`s – we are so dependent, and so
when other countries said, well, I have this and I have that, and I`m not
shipping it out because I have my own problem, we`re at their mercy.
MADDOW: Madam Speaker, tonight, it looks like the great state of Wisconsin
is going to go ahead with their statewide election tomorrow. After the
state Supreme Court blocked the governor`s attempt there to postpone it
until June, because of the obvious public health emergency. The U.S.
Supreme Court also weighing in late, in a 5-4 ruling saying that Wisconsin
voters shouldn`t even get any additional time to return their absentee
I just wanted to get your take on what we saw in Wisconsin today, and what
you think about how we as a country should be holding elections during this
PELOSI: Well, people should not have to decide whether they can vote or be
sick. That`s just not a good choice for anyone in a democracy. And you
would think that the Supreme Court of the United States will not overturn a
court decision which gave the voters extra time to do a vote by mail and by
a few more days to get their vote by mail ballot in.
So, you have the Supreme Court of the United States undermining our
democracy. It`s really shameful, 5-4. Surprise, surprise.
But we just have to, as I say, we don`t agonize, we organize. And we just
have to get out the vote, to make sure that they do not, not only risk
people`s lives to vote, but risk the outcome of the election, which is an
important one, in Wisconsin now.
But the judge who decided, the lower court decision that was overturned
tonight, he said, I can`t rule to change the election but I can determine
that this is what you need to do. You need more time, to get in the vote. A
very clear picture of understanding the health risks that we`re involved at
this very unfortunate and unusual time.
Apparently, the Supreme Court does not have an appreciation of that. Sad to
say. No surprise.
PELOSI: Madam Speaker, let me just ask you, on that – on that line, along
those same lines, what do you say to the American people tonight who may be
concerned about the prospects for the November election, who may see the
crisis that we`re in and the kinds of decisions that are being made, and
the kind of political maneuvering that`s happening around this election,
for example, tomorrow in Wisconsin, people who are worried that maybe we
won`t have a presidential election, or that we won`t have one that has an
actual meaningful test to the American public`s preferences as to who we
PELOSI: Well, I`d first say that I`m so proud of all of the presidential
candidates, because they all understood that elections are about the
future. What is your vision for the future, what do you know and have a
passion about, having a strategy to get something around it and how do you
connect to the kitchen needs of the American people? They all were
wonderful in that respect.
As we go forward, I get back it to what I said before – we don`t agonize,
we organize. We must make sure that people get to the polls and vote. And
there`s time for us, hopefully, this virus will be beyond us, and then if
not, then we organize in the reality that we are in.
But I just have to say to them – to know their power. They have the
ability to make the difference for the future. The stakes could never be
All you have to do is look at one press conference, and you see them every
day, and the press insists on showing them every day, and you`ll understand
that this country has to go in a better direction to meet the needs of all
of the American people – values-based, evidence-based, in our decisions
and the rest.
So I would just say to them: they`re the boss. I just finished a town hall
meeting with my bosses, the people of San Francisco, and I respect what
they believe, and what they – what they – the standards they set for
their elected officials. The people have to understand they are the boss of
America. The choices – the choice we have in that election is up to them
to decide, but you don`t count if you don`t vote.
So let`s just, every single day, if we are in these atmospheres of shelter
at home, and the rest, use every – all the time we can to make sure that
every day, we make progress, and getting more people to the polls.
And as I always say, it`s all about the children. So as we do this, just
remember, it`s for the children.
MADDOW: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Madam Speaker, thank you for
joining us tonight. I really appreciate you making time and making it
technologically work. I really appreciate it, ma`am.
PELOSI: Sort of. Thank you so much, Rachel, again, for just being such an
intellectual resource to us all and an inspiration. Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Oh, thank you. Thank you for saying so, Madam Speaker.
PELOSI: Happy (ph) Holy Week.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: N95 masks, this critical piece of protective equipment for health
care workers that`s in such short supply right now, this kind of masks are
not meant to be re-used.
Plan A, of course, would be to have a functioning federalized supply chain
capable of getting the right number of these masks to the hospitals that
need them and having it be a plentiful supply. We don`t have that.
Plan B has been reusing masks and that has not been going right because
you`re not supposed to do that. We`ve got doctors and nurses, you know,
storing their masks in paper bags between shifts. We`ve got them using them
over and over again and trying different things to try to extend their
This week, though, we`re going to get our first look at a plan C. How a new
potential backup temporary solution might work. They are giant mask
decontamination machines that can reportedly sterilize up to 80,000 masks a
day, for re-use. We reported on this a few days ago and want to give you an
update on it.
These machines are made by an Ohio nonprofit, Battelle. The company has one
machine operating near their headquarters in Columbus serving Ohio
hospitals. Battelle tells us that a machine they just installed in the
Boston suburb of Somerville, Massachusetts, should be operational sometime
this week. Another of their machines got up and running this weekend on the
campus of Stony Brook University on Long Island outside New York City. That
machine is reportedly in use now.
The company is also in discussions about deploying another machine to New
York City soon. This video, which we just got today from the U.S. military,
shows a dry run of the decontamination process of the machine. One of these
machines that`s installed at Camp Murray outside Tacoma, Washington. The
mask gets sprayed with hydrogen peroxide vapor for about two and a half
hours inside these shield shipping containers. Each hospital gets its masks
back within a day after they`re decontaminated. They can label each mask
which returned to the same person. The company says they believe they can
safely decontaminate these masks so that they can be used up to 20 times.
Battelle tells us this Washington state facility should be operational by
the end of this week, serving local hospitals. Again, this was them
demonstrating basically what the process will look like. The company
couldn`t tell us how many masks have been sterilized so far at the Long
Island site that came online this weekend. They do say it will take a while
to get up to capacity, just because individual hospitals have to sign up to
use this process. They have to put a system in place for getting their used
masks – used masks safely to the machine, where they can be
decontaminated, and then returned to them.
But as these facilities are starting to come online, in different parts of
the country, you will see more and more hospitals using them. This kind of
MacGyvered stop-gap temporary solution to our shortage of equipment for
health workers, it`s hard to believe this is the best we`ve got right now,
but it is something at least. It is an advance. Something that might maybe
possibly could ease the immediate crunch.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: The symptoms started on March 9th. Joint aches, extreme fatigue,
fever, chills. The next day, the patient`s fever spiked up to 104, and then
came the cough and the chest congestion – all symptoms that we now
recognize as the calling card of coronavirus.
By March 15th, less than a week after the symptoms first started, the
patient`s breathing had become so labored that he had no choice but to go
to the emergency room. They looked at him but sent him home. Twenty-four
hours later, with the patient`s breathing deteriorating rapidly, he was
back in the E.R. and this time they admitted him to the hospital.
Patient in the story is David Lat, who was the founder of the excellent and
essential legal blog abovethelaw.com. Before he got too sick to continue,
David used Twitter to detail the increasingly harrowing curve balls this
virus was throwing at him, like the day he was so weak he had trouble
eating, just bringing the fork to his mouth left him winded, and when he
found himself gripping on the counter at the emergency room admissions desk
because he was too weak to stand without doing so.
Within five days of being admitted to the hospital, David Lat took a
dramatic turn for the worse. He was moved into the intensive care unit. He
was intubated and he was put on a ventilator, which is terrifying, not just
because of everything you heard about the chronic lack of ventilators
nationwide, it`s also scary to show that the data that has shown that
patients who have gone on ventilators have considerable reason to worry if
they will ever come off that ventilator.
But David Lat did after nearly a week. On April 1st, he tweeted, quote, not
an April Fool`s joke. After 17 days in the hospital, including six days on
a ventilator, I am being discharged. He has since said about his ordeal, I
don`t think I`ve fully wrapped my head and heart around the enormity of
what I`ve just been through. I`m so grateful to be alive.
And we are grateful to have him here tonight.
Joining us now is David Lat, the founder of abovethelaw.com, and his
husband Zach Shemtob.
David, Zach, thank you both for being here. I know is probably the last
thing in the world you want to be doing but thank you.
DAVID LAT, FOUNDER OF ABOVETHELAW.COM: We`re thrilled to be here, Rachel.
ZACHARY BARON SHEMTOB, HUSBAND WAS PUT ON A VENTILATOR FOR COVID-19: We`re
thrilled that we`re able to be here.
MADDOW: Yes. Well we`re all thrilled you`re able to be here.
David, let me just ask how you`re feeling. I can hear you`re still horse. I
know you said you feel like you have a long way to go for your recovery,
but how are you?
LAT: Yes, I am quite hoarse, Rachel. I still feel a little weak or winded.
If I walk across a room, I find myself panting. I have a plastic stool in
the shower because you can`t stand the whole time. But it`s a lot better –
you know, they took great care of me at NYU Langone, but it`s much better
to be home than to be in the hospital. So glad to be here.
MADDOW: Zach, let me just ask you about some of the time that you have
spent here without David. I know that particularly the time he was in the
ICU, that he was intubated and on the ventilator, you were effectively
alone. He`s anesthetized, he`s on the ventilator, he`s not able to
communicate with you in any way. I just imagine that must have been
SHEMTOB: Yes, absolutely. It was horrible. It was at times very difficult
to communicate with the hospital because they were so overwhelmed, and, of
course, you couldn`t go to see David because of coronavirus.
So everything was isolated and I also was recovering from the virus at the
time, so it was quite the confluence of terrible events.
MADDOW: Wow. David, one of the things that you said since you came home is
that you are looking forward to being able to donate plasma in the hope
that that could be used as part of research to try to develop a vaccine, a
How – how do you feel your treatment was? Obviously, there is no treatment
for this disease that is FDA-approved. There is a number of different
experimental treatments being tried. There`s no vaccine yet. Essentially
care right now is supportive.
How do you feel like your treatment was and sort of what are you hoping for
there in terms of people are going to be through what you just went
LAT: Yes. So, near the end of my stay at the hospital, I actually did
donate some of my plasma to researchers at NYU Langone who conducting a
couple different studies. I felt like I gave a gallon of blood at different
vials for different things that they want to study. But studies are
And I think they are really important, Rachel, because there are so many
different treatments in the market and you don`t know what works. I
received a couple different things. I received hydroxychloroquine and
azithromycin, which is, of course, much talked about. The president has
talked about a lot, but the evidence is not clear it`s fully there.
I received a drug called clazakizumab which is designed to deal with strong
immune reactions that can lead to lung failure, which is what happened in
my case, the strong reactions to the virus, and I also received an
antiviral called Kaletra.
So, I received these three different things, I don`t know if any of them
worked. I don`t know if all of them worked. I don`t know if they were
counterproductive. We don`t know.
So, I think we really need to do more research.
And, you know, the way that those clinical trials are structured, the
different regulatory bodies they`re going to have to go to, the different
countries they`re going to be conducted in, this is going to take such
incredible leadership from a medical research point of view in order to get
this done, and yet, there is this incredibly human story at the heart of
this. I guess I`ll ask you guys, too. I mean, you have a 2-year-old son.
And that part of this ordeal was thinking about his ongoing care, also,
your parents – staying with your parents, worrying about you both having
been exposed and with coronavirus worrying about potential exposure of your
How have you navigated some of those currents?
SHAMTOB: So after we both – David especially started showing signs of the
virus, we didn`t think at the time that it was necessarily coronavirus, we
actually had our son go with David`s parents to protect him and to protect
his nanny. And, of course, we were nervous after he found it was
coronavirus that they were exposed.
Fortunately, they seem to have been okay and whether our son, 2-year-old,
had it or not, you know, since he was so exposed, he may well have been,
but fortunately, he`s been fine. But figuring out what to do to protect
everyone was very tricky and very scary.
MADDOW: Yes. And, David, I know that your recovery is going to be
significant. The ventilator itself for six days is an ordeal for the body
in terms of what you`re going to have to recover for, but we`re still happy
to lay eyes on you and to see you both on the other side of this.
Thank you both for helping us understand what you`ve been through and
LAT: Thank you, Rachel, for your great coverage.
SHEMTOB: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks for saying so. David Lat, again, founder of abovethelaw.com
and his husband is Zach Shemtob.
All right. We got a lot more to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One last story before we go tonight. One exquisitely botched
portion of the federal government`s response to coronavirus has been the
U.S. Navy firing the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Theodore
Roosevelt after he called for help for his crew when large numbers of his
sailors started to test positive for coronavirus.
The Trump administration fired him and then they sent the Trump-appointed
Navy secretary out to the Theodore Roosevelt to give remarks to the crew in
which he insulted the outgoing commanding officer. As of the last few
minutes, the Navy Secretary Thomas Modly has apologized for having insulted
the commanding officer in the way he did. I apologize for any confusion my
choice of words may have caused.
Confusion was not the problem.
That`s going to do it for us tonight.
Now, it`s time for a special hour here on MSNBC, “Life in the Time of
Coronavirus”, hosted by Lawrence O`Donnell and Dr. Zeke Emanuel. That
starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the