Global coronavirus TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s really wild that that is that is the
case, we just had one of these not many years ago.
Michelle Goldberg, it`s great to see your face. I hope you and the family
are healthy and safe, and thanks for joining us tonight.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
HAYES: And 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
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
“The Argus Leader” is the local newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and
so now, by happenstance, it ends up being the main news source for our
country when it comes to the largest-known coronavirus cluster in America.
And the United States of America, of course, is the largest coronavirus
outbreak on earth by far.
Before now, the largest known clusters of coronavirus in our country had
been at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, also on board the USS Theodore
Roosevelt, the aircraft carrier, where hundreds of sailors and the
commanding officer all contracted the virus from multiple sailors, in
intensive care and at least one has died.
But as of now, the cluster that appears to be bigger than all of those is
in Sioux Falls, where 644 cases of coronavirus are now associated with a
single pork processing plant. A plant that was shut down this weekend,
after last week`s protests by local folks, in support of people who are
working at that plant, and felt they were there under unsafe conditions.
And after the first few hundred positive test results got returned, they
shut the plant on Sunday, the plant is now closed, but there are 644 cases
confirmed and traced to that one plant already. And so, now, there is this
remarkable daily stream of news on the front page of “The Argus Leader”, a
local paper. Smithfield worker dies from coronavirus, wife speaks out.
Smithfield Foods now the largest hot spot in the U.S., CDC in Sioux Falls
But, of course, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, and South
Dakota`s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, has insisted that she still will
not issue a stay-at-home order in her state. She has not ordered
nonessential businesses to close. She thinks really everything is fine and
South Dakota is a huge success story.
And so on the front page of “The Argus Leader” now, alongside all of the
latest news about the plants, and this worker who died today, and the
biggest cluster of cases known in the United States, and the CDC flying in,
and the governor nevertheless still saying it`s fine, it`s fine, there`s no
reason to close anything down. Alongside all of that on the front page of
“The Argus Leader” now, there are these daily news updates, that amount to
a running tally, of all of the other places, all of the other open
businesses, in no stay-at-home order South Dakota where people now are
starting to fall ill, because you can`t have 644 cases associated with one
workplace, and think that`s going to be it, that`s the universe of
infection that we`ll have. No, there is the running tally, in the local
The O`Reilly Auto Parts store on Minnesota Avenue, they`ve got some
coronavirus. The freight company call center, coronavirus. The Lewis drug
shop, the Walmart on Minnesota Avenue, the other Walmart on Veterans
Avenue, the day care over off East 57th Street, the cabinetry shop, the
Wells Fargo operations center, the Premiere Bankcard office.
The local retirement community over by Southeastern Avenue, the other
retirement community just south of the I-229, at the Get and Go, they`ve
got some coronavirus now, at the homeless shelter, at the Latin grocery. I
mean, it`s just this running tally of all of the other places, all the
other workplaces where they`ve got positive cases now, and there may be
closure, there may be limited hours or there may be other changes, because
they`ve got it among their workers and their residents, too. This cascade.
There`s no stay-at-home order in the state of South Dakota because the
governor there says everything is fine. She has the largest cluster in the
country with more than 640 cases tied to one plant. And there`s the local
“Argus Leader” dutifully reporting all of the other places where for some
reason the virus just keeps turning up now. Just keeps claiming more
You are aware that it`s infectious, right? That it`s a communicable
Republican Governor Noem is due to visit the closed Smithfield pork
processing plant tomorrow. Today, she kept up her insistence that
everything is fine in her state. Definitely no need for any new mitigation
measures because South Dakota is doing so well, she said today, she`s in
great contact with the White House, really frequent contact with the White
House, and that her main focus right now is getting that Smithfield pork
plant back open as soon as possible. Seems like one approach.
The mayor of Sioux Falls is trying to organize his own stay at home order
in the city, since the governor won`t order one. He also asked for the
state to please set up an isolation center, a place that would basically be
supportive housing for people who are testing positive or who have mild
symptoms who don`t want to risk infecting their families at home, right,
since just the cases at that one plant have gone from 250 on Sunday to 644
today, and it`s only Wednesday. Please can we have a place where people who
have tested positive or who have symptoms can go if they do not want to
risk infecting their family members?
Governor Noem said nope, absolutely not. No to that as well.
And so, now, the Sioux Falls mayor is trying to figure out how maybe the
city can do that itself, to find a place to stay for potentially thousands
of coronavirus patients, in his city, but they`re going to have to do it
with no help from the state. Good luck, because the governor there thinks
that everyone thinks that, everything`s fine.
Today was not a good day in the American coronavirus epidemic. In addition
to that out of control situation in South Dakota, which is now all of our
problems, New Jersey reported 351 deaths in the past 24 hours, which is a
lot, New York reported 752 deaths in the past 24 hours.
And even with all of the good bending the curve news that has started to
emerge from New York, we`ve got more of that coming tonight, over 750
deaths in a day, is astonishing. The daily death toll in New York right now
is hovering anywhere between the high 600s and the high 700s every day,
steadily, that many Americans dying just in New York, every single day now,
I mean, for perspective sake, when I say 700 people die in a day in New
York, that means one person died every two minutes in New York that day.
And that is still the pace at which people in New York are dying every day
now. Even as we are starting to get better news about New York
hospitalization numbers, and ICU utilization numbers, and going down, and
hopefully, the new case numbers, slowing down even though there are still
thousands of new cases every day, the death toll is still high 600s, high
700s, numbers of Americans dying just in New York per day.
The nursing home in the long term care facility crisis that we`ve been
talking about here in recent days is really exploding now, and it is not a
local story anywhere. We have to follow the local news to get these number,
because the federal government still is not tracking this stuff, not
reporting this stuff, not working on this, apparently, at all.
But I can tell you, it`s not a local story, it`s everywhere you look.
Salisbury, North Carolina, for example, one nursing home there is now
reporting 96 cases among residents and staff. To follow that story, I`ve
been reading “The Salisbury Post”, in North Carolina, because that`s who`s
covering that story, 96 American souls at that vulnerable location.
San Antonio, Texas, there`s one nursing home there, reporting 102
coronavirus cases, 17 patient deaths already. Joliet, Illinois, outside
Chicago, one nursing home that reported one death among its patients
earlier this month, today updated their numbers to report that there are
now 22 of their residents dead, as well as one of their staff members.
One of the things we`ve noticed in the past few days is that there seems to
be some real emerging worries about Western Pennsylvania, as a potential
real hot spot when it comes to nursing home, “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette”
today, put a question to the Trump administration about one western
Pennsylvania county with – they said 17 deaths in nursing homes already,
and the local concern to “The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” is that nobody will
say publicly which facilities those deaths have happened in, they just know
they`re being reported as nursing home deaths in that one county.
Why can`t anybody know what facilities they are? Not just for the family
members of people in those facilities, God bless them, but because those
facilities clearly need help.
In Brighton Township, Pennsylvania, which is between Pittsburgh and the
Ohio state line, there`s one care center there with 104 confirmed cases now
reported. At the beginning of last week, that facility reported that 11 of
its patients had died, but nobody knows what the numbers have been since
then, and they`re now reporting more than 100 confirmed cases. The local
transit center has cut off its bus routes that went to that facility.
People who have relatives in that facility are reporting they cannot get
answers from the facility. Nobody answers when they call.
One hyper local outlet in that county, which is Beaver County,
Pennsylvania, they`re reporting that officials have re-frozen a nearby ice
arena, over fears that the death toll at that one facility in Beaver County
may ultimately be so high, that it may necessitate the activation of
temporary morgue facilities.
But to get the news about these things, to get the reporting on these
things, don`t go to the federal government. Don`t go to the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services which are responsible for overseeing long
term care facilities in this country. They`re just not doing it. They`re
not working on this at all.
So, it`s find your local paper. Browse around. See what you can figure out
in terms of the numbers. See if you can figure out in terms of who might
need help. That`s all we`ve got.
But like I said, this is – this is a bad, this has been a particularly bad
day in terms of the American coronavirus epidemic. I will tell you in terms
of the bad political response here, while what I was just describing is
unfolding in western Pennsylvania today, and the local paper there, is
demanding answers from the Trump administration and not getting them, well,
that`s happening in Pennsylvania today.
Today in the state capital in Pennsylvania, Republican state legislators
were angling to try to overturn the stay-at-home order put in place in
Pennsylvania by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. Because sure, seems like
things are going great in Pennsylvania. Did I mention that they are re-
freezing the local ice arena, because of the body count that they`re
worried about in Western PA?
Tea Party-esque, Trump-supporting protesters today demonstrated both in
Kentucky and in the great state of Michigan against the stay-at-home orders
that are in place in those states as well. These are doubling as sort of
Trump rallies and we don`t believe in the coronavirus rallies.
I will tell you that in Michigan, that showed up in the local press, in the
form of this remarkable juxtaposition of stories on the front page of the
“Detroit Free Press”, you can see on the left-side, thousands rally against
governor`s stay-at-home order in Lansing. Right across in the middle
column, Oakland County could use ice rinks to store bodies.
At the federal level today, we learned that the White House sourced
thousands of surgical masks for its own use, for use by White House staff
and officials, while the White House was simultaneously telling us, the
public, that we definitely didn`t need masks, nobody who`s healthy needed a
This is from “The Washington Post” tonight, quote, as U.S. discouraged mask
use for public, White House team raced to secure face coverings from Taiwan
for senior staff. The White House made this urgent appeal to Taiwan on
March 14th, at the same time the U.S. government was discouraging the
public from wearing masks, saying that healthy people didn`t need them.
The appeal resulted in 3,600 masks being made available for White House
staff and officials, which is good. You know, looking out for number one.
Don`t let the public know.
But have no fear. The White House announced yet another task force now, not
the Mike Pence task force, the other one, not the Jared Kushner one, the
other, other one, not the opening the country task force that they said
they were going to announce, nobody is not quite sure what happened to that
other other other one. Now they announced the other other other other one,
which they`re calling and I quote, the Great American Economic Revival
Industry Group, which appears to be just a list of 220 people in the
business sector whose names they wanted to announce.
Even though both NBC and the New York – NBC News and “The New York Times”
have reported today that at least some of the people whose names were
announced on this list today were people who were never even actually asked
to join in task force before their names were announced as part of it, let
alone were these people who actually agreed to do it. Nevertheless, the
White House is using the names and reputations and affiliations of those
people to try to cloak itself in their reputations, their credibility.
Some members of this strange new group, however, did join a conference call
with the White House today, whereupon “The Wall Street Journal” was first
to report that what the business leaders consistently raised with the White
House as a concern is the fact that there is still no freaking testing in
this country. It was over a month ago that Vice President Pence announced
that by the end of that week, by mid march, there would be four million
tests in America. That`s more than a month after that announcement, we
still haven`t done four million tests total as an entire country.
Today, politico.com has an excellent story summing up some of the story
we`ve been watching with dismay for the past week or so, which is that
testing in the United States is not only not good, it`s getting worse.
Look, this is data from the American Clinical Laboratory Association, which
does the vast majority of all coronavirus testing, in the United States,
they do two thirds of the testing.
Look, since the first week of April, their test numbers are actually down,
right? You heard all of this happy talk about how we`re going to reopen the
country, and what we need to have in place to reopen things. If we are
seriously going to even approach talking about responsibly opening anything
back up, our test numbers ought to be skyrocketing right now.
They have been terrible in the past. They ought to be going through the
roof right now, if we`re even going to approach the question of opening
anything back up, right? You know that testing has been bad from day one.
But the federal government`s response on this specific salient, seminal
thing, it`s getting worse over time, not better. A lack of a national
testing strategy has been a day one debacle in this crisis.
I think it`s important to realize that despite whatever happy talk you have
been hearing about it, and despite all of the discussion about how
important it is, when you look at what they`re actually doing, the number
of tests performed in America is dropping. Don`t pay attention to what
they`re saying. Look at what they are doing.
America`s performance in terms of getting coronavirus testing made
available to the American people is bad and getting worse by the day.
So like I said, not a good new – not a good day in the news on where this
is all going, which raises the question of whether the direction of where
this thing is going, whether it might fundamentally change, from the top,
in not too long from now. That is the hope from the Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren, the top contender for the Democratic presidential
nomination this year who today put the weight of her endorsement behind
former Vice President Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Among all of the other candidates I competed
with in the Democratic primary, there`s no one I`ve agreed with 100 percent
of the time over the years. But one thing I appreciate about Joe Biden is
he will always tell you where he stands. When you disagree, he`ll listen.
And not just listen, but really hear you, and treat you with respect, no
matter where you`re coming from.
And he`s shown throughout this campaign, that when you come up with new
facts or a good argument, he`s not too afraid or too proud to be persuaded.
Joe Biden was there at the very moment I became a senator. He swore me in.
And when he did, he said, you gave me hell, and you`re going to do a great
Because that`s the thing about Joe. He wants you in the fight with him. And
when you`re in the fight with Joe at your side, you know you have a partner
who`s committed to getting something good done for this country.
Joe Biden is a selfless public servant. He is committed to the fight for
social, racial, and economic justice. Joe Biden will lead a government that
works for the American people.
And now, it`s up to all of us to help make Joe Biden the next president of
the United States. Let`s get to work.
Go to JoeBiden.com right now, and chip in your five bucks, make some phone
calls, send some texts. We`re all in this together now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now, for the interview, is Senator Elizabeth Warren,
Democrat of Massachusetts, herself, a former leading candidate for
Senator, I really appreciate you making time and fighting through all the
technical morass to be able to be with us live tonight. It`s great to have
WARREN: And it`s good to be here. I want you to know Bailey is asleep at my
feet here. So –
MADDOW: Oh, very nice. Well, if there`s anything about the sound of my
voice that disturbs him, I will defer and immediately end this –
MADDOW: – and let him resume his nap.
WARREN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Senator, the last time we spoke, and we spoke I think it
was right in that room –
MADDOW: – was right after you suspended your own, your own campaign, and I
know you fought incredibly hard to become the Democratic nominee yourself.
And I asked you the day that you suspended, whether you were going to
endorse anyone, and how you would make that decision – you put me off
entirely, you wouldn`t engage on the subject at all, you said that you
would do it when the time was right.
How did you decide that the time was right now?
WARREN: I think this is the right time. Look, I think it was important that
Senator Sanders have the time he needed, and the space he needed to make
the decision about what he was going to do with his campaign. And now,
Senator Sanders has endorsed, President Barack Obama has endorsed, and I
was very, very glad to do it today.
You know, the first 15 minutes of your program tonight was about
leadership, and how we need a different leader in Washington. Joe Biden is
going to be an excellent president because he`s fundamentally a good man.
He is prepared for an emergency. He will fight for every human being. And
most of all, he`s a person who has empathy.
And think what that means at this moment. Donald Trump measures everything
in this crisis and before, in terms of what does it mean to Donald Trump.
Does it advance his political interests? Does it advance his financial
And that`s the extent of his measure. And that`s why we are in so much
trouble right now in the middle of a crisis.
Joe Biden is very different. He is the kind of man who has human empathy,
who – who lost a child, who sent a son off to war. He is a man – I saw it
up close and personal, just almost seven years ago, right now, after the
Boston marathon bombings, when he was here, to comfort the parents of a
police officer who had been slain, as part of the terrorism against –
against Boston and against this country.
He`s a man who has a good heart, and that`s what we need in a leader –
someone who is steady, who is prepared, but ultimately who cares not just
about himself, but cares about everyone else. That`s what is going to gets
us through a crisis, that`s what is going to help us rebuild this country.
MADDOW: I`m struck by both an endorsement video that you made today, the
remarks you just made right now, the personal nature of – of the
endorsement, that you`re just not talking about –
MADDOW: – you know, policy agreement, you`re not just talking about ways
in which you have congruent views of the world, that it is – it does feel
to be coming – coming from a personal place.
I know that when you endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that was an
endorsement that you took very seriously and did you it on your own time
frame and it was very important when it landed, one of the things that
happened around the time of that endorsement, and thereafter, was that you
worked closely with Secretary Clinton and her campaign, to make sure that
the hopefully incoming Hillary Clinton administration was going to
represent the values that you and Secretary Clinton shared. You tried to
set up – you were very involved in terms of who was going to staff that
I wonder about the kind of conversations you had with Vice President Biden
and how you anticipate being involved in hopefully setting up what will be
his incoming administration.
WARREN: So, look, you know me, you know what I`ve been fighting for all of
my career, so that hard-working people across this country get a real
chance, and that opportunity doesn`t just go to a handful of folks at the
top, but really does go to everybody in this country. And that we make the
investments, to make that happen.
My conversations with Joe Biden long, long pre-date this presidential race,
they pre-date the 2016. We`ve had a lot of conversations, about how we
build an America going forward, with lots of different pieces and parts to
Now that I`m no longer in the presidential race, I`ve had a chance of
resume a lot of those and start a bunch of new ones because, look, we both
want the same thing. We want this country to work, and we want it to work
So I`m in this fight to help in any way I can. To help on the policy front,
to help by getting out there and telling about it, shoot, to help by
telling people go to JoeBiden.com, pitch in your five bucks, send some
texts, volunteer some time, because it truly is the case, we are all in
And we have seen the importance of having a leader that we can count on in
a crisis. It`s not Donald Trump. It is Joe Biden.
MADDOW: If he asked you to be his running mate, would you say yes?
MADDOW: I – I`m so happy you just gave me a concise answer to that.
I`m going to let that sit there and resonate for a second.
We`re going to take a quick break. We`ll be right back with Senator
Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: An incompetent administration is like its own natural disaster.
When you`ve got a president who engages in magical thinking, and says, no,
I decided there were only – he decided that there were only 15 cases, and
they would all be gone by April, and whatever it is he decides, my gosh, it
almost doesn`t matter what he decides, the point is, he`s not listening to
the scientists, he`s not listening to the experts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: An incompetent administration is like its own natural disaster.
That warning from Elizabeth Warren turned out to be more than a bumper
sticker worthy summation of what we`re now living through. When you
consider the timing of when she said that, it was actually pretty
Senator Warren said that in an interview on this show on March 15th, which
was six days before the WHO declared a global pandemic, it was eight days
before the White House declared a national emergency.
Since delivering the fairly prescient breakdown of what was coming, Senator
Warren has published a sweeping plan for how the country ought to respond
to this crisis, and what to do about the threat to human health, to how we
should try to save the economy.
Back with us now is Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Senator, thank you very much for sticking with us again. I appreciate you
being here tonight.
WARREN: Glad to. Glad to be with you.
MADDOW: So, you put – sort of knocked me for a loop a little bit when I
interviewed you back in the first week in March, and you laid out what you
saw coming, particularly in terms of the forthcoming economic collapse.
At that point, we were looking at a market collapse, but not an economic
collapse. Now, of course, we`ve seen the economy disintegrate.
MADDOW: Of all of the ways that we haven`t done what we should have done as
a country, what stands out to you the most? What do you think has been our
biggest failure so far?
WARREN: So, let`s start on the health front because everything follows from
that. Not getting our arms around the magnitude of the coming health care
crisis early on has been – what`s led to every other problem we`ve got.
And that starts with two really essential pieces.
The first one is the personal protective equipment for our first line
responders, for the doctors and the nurses and the ambulance drivers,
because they need to be protected. When they`re not protected, they get
sick and that just compounds the strain on the health care system.
The fact that we didn`t have a stockpile of masks and of gowns, ready to
go, of respirators ready to go, in January, when we could see this problem
coming our way, just speaks to how poor the leadership was from Washington.
So that`s the first part of it.
The second part on the health front is not to have the tests, because
without the tests, you`re flying blind at every point.
You know, I can`t tell you how many people I`ve talked to, either
themselves were sick or they have family members who were sick, in
different parts of the country, in Oklahoma, in California, who said, yes,
doctor said that could be coronavirus. In fact, it probably is, but we have
When you have no tests, you can`t track what`s happening and where it`s
We need now then to focus on both of those – getting the equipment needed
for everyone. This business of having states bidding against each other,
and then having the federal government come in and seize it, and it appears
in some cases turn around and let someone else sell it, this makes no sense
at all, and it`s putting people`s lives at risk.
So, we need to take care of making sure the equipment is available, that
we`re protecting people, that we have enough of it.
But the second part on the test, we got to ramp up, I mean really heavy, on
the test. The notion that we`re still talking about testing, in terms of
tens of thousands, instead of tens of millions, means we`re just not on top
of that. Because understand this about testing, because if you`re only
testing people who have symptoms or only testing people who make it to the
hospital, then you`re not understanding what`s happening everywhere in the
And for something like a viral outbreak, you`ve got to be ahead of it,
you`ve got to approach it when it`s still small, and you`ve got a chance of
dealing with it.
You were talking about the problem in South Dakota. You know, if the
governor just lets this problem get bigger and bigger and bigger, and wants
to think that she can pretend it out of existence, that`s just not going to
So, that`s the first part, and that`s where the biggest mistakes have been,
and these are the mistakes that are costing people their lives, and then
ultimately costs us our economy, as well.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about one of the problems that I am absolutely
stopped in my tracks by. It literally wakes me up in the middle of night
pretty much every night. And I can`t – I can`t stop thinking about it. And
I can`t come up with anything other than dumb, DIY, middle of the night
ideas about how it can be fixed.
And it`s the issue of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We`ve
been trying to focus on this.
MADDOW: It`s hard to focus on it at a national level because the federal
government isn`t focusing on it at a national level. They`re not even
collecting data about it at a national level.
I`ll tell you “The New York Times”, just since we`ve been on the air last
night, just posted a horrifying story about a small town in Andover, New
Jersey, where police got an anonymous tip about a body being stored in the
shed, when the police arrived. The corpse had been removed from the shed,
but they discovered 17 bodies piled inside the nursing home.
I am worried that we are going to start to see mass deaths like in
facilities all around the country in a –
MADDOW: – in a – in these facilities, that aren`t uniformly regulated,
where there isn`t a federal approach and where I feel like it is going to
be every community for themselves.
If you were in the administration right now, if it was a Biden
administration, you were vice president, and you were assigned to this, or
if you were in some sort of a coronavirus czar role and you wanted to put
the power of the federal government toward saving lives in those
facilities, how would you start?
WARREN: The first part would be with information, because you can`t fix
problems that you can`t see. So it starts with information.
I would require every nursing facility in the country to make a report at
the same time every day about how many people they have, how many tests
they`ve run, what the results of those tests have been, and what the
current condition of those people are, how many people have been sent to
the hospital, and how many people have died.
We`ve got to have that information. And we`ve got have it for every nursing
home, every rehab center, everywhere, where vulnerable people are held
together. Because then when you got information, now you know where to
deploy your resources, now you know where to come in, and you need to do
extra isolation, and extra cleaning, and you need extra doctors, and you
need extra health care professionals, and you need extra protective gear.
That`s got to be our central approach.
The second thing – I go back to this point about testing – we not only
need tests for active infection, we need tests that are serological tests,
and this is going to take a little while because we got to understand the
science, but to be able to tell who has had the virus, and if it has
produced antibodies which if this virus acts like earlier viruses, will
provide, we hope, some immunity.
The importance of that is as we think of how to address the crisis, and
ultimately, how to restart the economy, is to think about who is safe, and
could be – could volunteer, could be part of helping.
In, for example, the nursing homes right now, I know that many of them are
trying to seal themselves off from outsiders, and I understand that, not
wanting families to carry in the virus, but they need more help. They need
more help to clean, to isolate people, and we need to know who can come in
and safely do that, who can be trained to help.
So, all these pieces fit together, but they all start with basic
information. And basic information is not just about science in the
abstract. It`s about caring about human beings.
We get that basic information because behind every single number is
somebody`s dad, somebody`s mom, somebody`s uncle, somebody`s brother,
somebody that we know, and we have to care about every single one of them
and put our resources behind, treating them with the dignity they deserve,
and that means appropriate medical care and appropriate response. Not
stacking bodies in a shed and hiding the information from their families
and from the public.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Democratic presidential candidate,
today, has endorsed Vice President Biden, just made news on this show by
saying if asked to be Vice President Biden`s running mate, she would say
yes – Senator, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us
tonight. Any time you want to come back, you just let me know.
WARREN: Thank you very much and thanks for all of the coverage you`re doing
on this. It`s really important.
MADDOW: Literally, the least I can do. And all I can do. Thank you,
All right. We`ve got much more to get to this busy night. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: On the ventilators, we stabilized our
health care situation. New York had one of the earlier curves, there are
other places in this country are now seeing increases in the death rate and
there is some stress on their health care system. I will never forget the
generosity that people across this country showed to our state, and I said
at that time, New Yorkers are generous and they are grateful, and gracious,
and when you need help, we will be there for you. And we will be.
State of Michigan is going through an issue right now. State of Maryland is
going through an issue. We`re stabilized. We`re going to send 100
ventilators to Michigan and 50 to the state of Maryland.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You may remember that as New York hospitalizations started peaking
earlier this month other states around the country started sending their
ventilators to New York. It was remarkable thing at the time. And New York
promised to pass those ventilators on to the next phase, the next places
that needed them, when they hit their apex.
Well, that is now happening as of today. New York is sending ventilators on
to other states in crisis. Maryland`s Republican Governor Larry Hogan today
responded by saying: Thank you, Governor Cuomo, Marylanders send our
gratitude, as we continue to confront this pandemic head-on. We are all in
I should mention that Governor Larry Hogan in Maryland is a Republican. In
Michigan, it`s Democratic governor there, Gretchen Whitmer, she said this
today: I am so grateful for your partnership, Governor Cuomo, the enemy
isn`t each other, it is COVID-19, we will get through this together.
It`s landmark moment when the state that was in need of the most help can
now turn around and help other states in return.
Despite the fact that New York is now in good enough shape that it is able
to send equipment to other hard-hit states, New York is by no means out of
the woods. The death toll in New York is still over 700, as of today, that
means 700 people in New York state died just in the past 24 hours, and
those numbers have been stable for days now.
Many hospitals are still full. Today in Brooklyn, nurses and doctors
demonstrated again, saying they still do not have adequate PPE to keep
themselves safe. But now we are getting remarkable data that has just been
published that opens what I think is an absolutely shocking window on to
what the true prevalence of the virus may be among the general population.
We`ve got that story for you next, which is a story I don`t think you will
have seen anywhere else. We`ve got that story along with one of scientists
who figured it out.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Last month, one hospital in New York City started coronavirus
testing every single woman who came through the doors of that hospital to
give birth, whether the woman showed any symptoms or not. And now, doctors
at that hospital at Columbia University have published what they found. And
it is nothing sort of, short of astounding, at least to me.
The doctors have written up their findings in “The New England Journal of
Medicine”. They write that of the 215 women who gave birth at that hospital
between March 22nd and April 4th, four of those women showed up with
coronavirus symptoms, all four of those women tested positive.
But another 29 women who showed up to give birth had no symptoms at all but
they also tested positive, which means that this one hospital 33 out of 215
patients more than one in every eight women, a little more, almost 14
percent had coronavirus, and the vast majority were asymptomatic.
One in eight? I mean, it`s not like – there is nothing about being a woman
about to give birth that makes you more likely to have coronavirus. Which
means that what these doctors are seeing at this hospital may be a window
onto the prevalence of coronavirus in the general population in New York
I mean, if you play that out. If it`s one in eight New Yorkers, that would
mean well over 1 million people in New York City have coronavirus which
would be ten times the number of confirmed cases, and people according to
literature can transmit coronavirus when they are asymptomatic. The vast
majority of women that came to give birth who had coronavirus were
I mean, hospitals are pretty much shut down right now for everything except
coronavirus treatment but the one place in the hospital that`s still
chugging along basically is the maternity ward, right? I mean, you can
cancel all elective surgeries but pregnant women are going to keep on
coming in and giving birth. So, if you are testing all of the women that
come to give birth, you implement universal testing in the maternity ward,
that is potentially going to give you a pretty snapshot of your population
or at least of coronavirus among women of child-bearing age we have no
reason to believe would be at greater risk than anybody else.
And again, at this one hospital, it`s more than one in eight women
Now, other maternity wards at other hospitals in New York City have more
recently started universal testing for women who are going to give birth so
we`ll presumably get to see whether this rate holds across multiple
hospitals but if something like a million New York City residents are
walking around with coronavirus, that should be a holy cow moment for
everyone and maybe it gives us an idea the scale of what New York is
dealing with now and will be dealing with moving ahead.
Joining us now is one of the authors of that study, Dr. Dena Goffman, chief
of obstetrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University
Dr. Goffman, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I really
appreciate you making the time.
DR. DENA GOFFMAN, CHIEF OF OBSTETRICS, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN/COLUMBIA:
Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: And I know that I am the one extrapolating from your data to talk
about what this might mean in the larger population. I know your study is
not something that directly relates to the larger population, but aside
from me making that extrapolation, is there anything I explained there
wrong or that I misunderstood about what you and your colleagues have done?
GOFFMAN: No, I think you captured it exactly right, that we started, again,
as you mentioned, March 22nd and that was really after we had an experience
where we had two women admitted for routine OB care for labor and delivery
and those women were asymptomatic and really felt well in admission, but
then developed symptoms and became sick during their admission with us.
At that point, we had no suspicion for coronavirus or COVID-19, therefore,
once we made the diagnosis, the women had been under our care for a period
of time and had potentially exposed numerous staff members, a huge portion
of our workforce and then once we made the diagnosis, it sort of clicked
that there were women who may be asymptomatic and we may want to think
differently about it.
So, we were able to embark on the universal screening. The study that you
cited is an early experience. It`s only two weeks of data and we`ll
certainly continue to collect and further public on that data but it really
did show 13.5 percent of women showing up feeling well to have a baby were
MADDOW: That`s remarkable. So just to be clear, when you had those initial
cases that led to you starting to do this universal screening, it was in
part because you realized that you needed to know, you needed to have
universal testing of woman coming for labor and delivery because so much of
your staff could be exposed per one patient if she ended up being
GOFFMAN: That`s exactly right. There are a number on other things we could
do differently if we had this information about our patients. So, we could
do different isolation practices, we can use additional precautions, we can
do better things to care for the mom in terms of following her closely to
look for symptoms to perhaps develop, and it can also help us take better
care of her family and her baby to keep the baby safe.
So, having this information has numerous benefits for us and the patient
MADDOW: And again, I know that is exactly what you are focused on and
you`re not trying to do a prevalence test of the New York City population,
and I`m the one who is making that leap but I just have to ask you, if it
is a surprise to you and your colleagues to learn that you`ve got 13, 14
percent positive test rates among what should probably be a pretty standard
snapshot of women of childbearing age in New York City, it just seems like
a phenomenally high number to me.
I don`t know if it surprised you when you started to realize how high the
numbers ares going to be.
GOFFMAN: I think we were curious and not sure what to expect. That`s why we
want to get the information. And now that we`ve found this, it certainly is
concerning that we have 13.5 percent of our population who are coronavirus
I think we don`t know exactly what it means for the general population.
These are all female patients. They`re all pregnant and relatively young
I think the unique thing here is we have patients who need to access the
health care system as you mentioned at the beginning, they can`t stop
coming. They still need to come in to deliver to have their babies and we
really did have an opportunity to test this sort of patient who are not
presenting to the hospital with coronavirus-like symptoms.
MADDOW: Dr. Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at New York Presbyterian
Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center – thank you to your and
your colleagues going to work every day in trying circumstances, also for
innovating and recognizing the opportunity here scientifically to take this
really incredible snapshot of that population. Thanks for your work and
thanks for being here.
GOFFMAN: Thanks so much.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: That`s going to do it for us tonight. We will see you again
tomorrow when I believe we are going to have the governor of Michigan,
Gretchen Whitmer, joining us live. We`ll see you then.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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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