HIV/AIDs activist dies TRANSCRIPT: 5/27/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Brandt Williams, Amesh Adalja



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: And then, of course, whether you have enough

Senate votes and whether you can get Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin to vote

for them. But the substance right there, people should definitely take a

look at Matt`s piece, also the Biden website to go through what is actually

being proposed.


Matt Yglesias, thank you very much.




MADDOW: That is ALL IN for this evening.


“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.


Good evening, Rachel.


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Much



And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you with



This is the front page of “The New York Times” right now. The U.S.

coronavirus death toll highest in the world surpasses 100,000. A milestone

that comes just months after the country`s first known case was confirmed.

The death toll, far higher than any other nation, exceeds the number of

U.S. military combat fatalities in every conflict since the Korean War.

Front page of “The New York Times” right now.


This is the front page of “Washington Post” right now. All columns across

the top – 100,000 deaths. Pandemic has exposed nation`s vulnerables, and

dangerous divide. The stark milestone, 100,000 deaths, comes less than

three months after the first American was reported to have died. The people

most ravaged are those who are suffering, often unseen, the elderly,

African-Americans, and the working poor. “The Washington Post” front page



This is the front page tonight at “USA Today”. Quote, 100,000 deaths,

100,000 people have died from coronavirus in the United States. And it will

continue to change our lives. The U.S. is the only country to record

anywhere near one million cases of the coronavirus. The country now hits

another somber milestone.


Here`s the front page tonight over at the web site for our friends at CNN:

100,000 Americans didn`t have to die. One tragedy of America`s coronavirus

milestone is that so many didn`t have to die. Another is that no one knows

how many more will perish. Again, this is the CNN front page right now.


Also, this next one maybe isn`t that important for you to see, but just so

you`re aware, this is what it is, in contrast, this is the front page for

our friends at the FOX News Channel right now. It`s as you can see a little

bit different. Warning, drama ahead is their main headline, all caps, bold,

warning, drama ahead. House Democrats forge ahead on surveillance vote,

Trump threatens veto.


In addition to that lead story, they`ve got more stuff there about Nancy

Pelosi and her being terrible, they have a thing attacking Congressman

Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, although it is possible that is just a pinned

thing they keep on the front page of all times, they have multiple stories

up on their front page of Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, they`ve got two

different articles attacking two different CNN journalists up on their

front page, this is all like they`re above the fold big headlines.


And if you scroll down and scroll down and scroll down, eventually you do

get, they do, ultimately get to, oh, yeah, 100,000 Americas dead. They do

get to it eventually. It comes around.


It`s interesting though, increasingly, around the country, not in national

news outlets like that, but we are seeing around the country, that local

news outlets and local officials, too, are only keeping one eye on that

larger national picture that you see reflected in those acute ways in

national media. You see local officials and local media keeping one eye on

that larger national picture. But only one eye, because really, the other

thing they`ve got to focus on is the fact that things are getting really

rough locally at home.


And this is something that is apparently not really a national news story

yet. But if you look around, nationwide, you can start to see this story

grow from the ground up. “Reuters” reports today that over this past week,

20 states have had rising case numbers of coronavirus. And whether or not

20 states have a rise in case numbers sounds good or bad to you, it`s

definitely not good that the week before that, there were only 13 states

that had rising case numbers.


So, that number rising to 20 states with rising case numbers, week to week,

that is not good. It means our epidemic is going in the wrong direction.


The state with the worst weekly rise in cases last week was Alabama –

weekly increase of 28 percent in their cases. Alabama, we have frankly been

pretty worried about the hospital capacity in Montgomery, the state`s

capital city. ICU capacity has been filled in Montgomery, Alabama,

hospitals, for days now.


They are not able to take in additional ICU patients into ICU beds anymore.

They are stashing what would otherwise be ICU patients indefinitely in

emergency rooms in Montgomery area hospitals. That is not ideal.


The pressure of what`s going wrong in Alabama though is not just being felt

in Montgomery. We are now getting alarm bells from the University of

Alabama at Birmingham, their health center there. We`re also getting alarm

bells from places like Tuscaloosa, where the local hospital has doubled its

number of COVID patients in just one week, and where the mayor of

Tuscaloosa is now urgently warning the residents of his city to please do

what they can to slow this thing down.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  An alarming spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in

Tuscaloosa County over the past weekend, the past week, rather.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox taking to social media

to alert the community to the area`s largest single day increase in new

COVID cases, jumping nearly 10.5 percent. More than 50 new cases in

Tuscaloosa County on Monday alone.


MAYOR WALT MADDOX, TUSCALOOSA:  I think we`ve entered a very dangerous

stage of this fight against the coronavirus, because I think we`re becoming

more relax in what we`re doing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And with such a sharp raise in cases here in

Tuscaloosa, Mayor Maddox says he is concern with the number of patients

being brought in to DCH.


MADDOX:  In the past week, we`ve had a nearly 100 percent increase in those

with COVID-19 being in our hospital system. We are at 63 this morning. We

were at 32 this time last week.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As hospital capacity becomes more of a concern, Maddox

is asking the community to take social distancing seriously and to wear a

mask when around others.


MADDOX:  Think more of just yourself. Think about your family. Think about

your community.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Doctors at UAB say they are becoming increasingly

concerned about the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama which they

attribute largely to more people being out and about.


DR. RACHAEL LEE:  This is a little bit concerning to us right now, in terms

of the trend, because our ICUs are fairly full right now with our – for

our COVID-19 cohort patients so we are putting patients with the same

infection in the same unit, and so we had to open some of these beds up

more mainly to help care for these patients more. So if this continues,

we`ll have to think about opening up more units as we can.




MADDOW:  Our ICUs are fairly full right now. You know, Montgomery, Alabama,

is worse off than Birmingham where you saw that doctor speaking.


Montgomery tripled its case count just since May 1st. Montgomery`s ICU beds

are full. We have been watching the state of Alabama, worrying about

Montgomery. But now, we`re seeing, even in Birmingham which is not the

worst off in the state, they are saying their ICUs are pretty much full

right now and had to plan for building out more capacity now because the

trends just keep getting worse.


I mean, that`s what happens. That`s ultimately the way you have to live and

the way you have to cope, when your new daily case numbers look like this.

This is from the Alabama state department of health, their website tonight.


And it`s not just an Alabama story. I know the big national picture is, you

know, bleak and it is this landmark moment and kind of hard to look away

from, if you`re not watching FOX News, in which case it is very easy to

look away from apparently, but I think if you really care about what is

happening with this moment, for our country, in this moment, in this

moment, this moment in American history, at least for right now, I think

you do have to look away from the national picture for a second, to get a

real sense of where we are. Because where things are going pear-shaped,

where things are getting rough, right now, you really do need to track it

through the local news.


And this is part of what`s wrong in our media ecosystem. This is what

happens when a national phenomenon in America moves off the coasts and out

of our media capitals. The national media stops tracking it in exactly the

same way. But if you look beyond national media coverage, if you just look

at what`s out there in the states, just look, it`s there.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Health restrictions in parts of Nebraska, the number of

COVID-19 patients have been trending upward. At the same time, the number

of ICU beds available has been decreasing. And as of now, roughly 75

percent of these beds are full.




MADDOW:  Omaha, Nebraska, ICU beds in Omaha roughly at 75 percent capacity,

75 percent full.


The local Methodist health system in Omaha just put up this statement today

as well. Quote: All health care systems in Omaha are seeing an increase of

COVID-19 patients in our hospitals. Methodist is among those treating a

high volume of COVID-19 patients at this time.


You know, in Nebraska, the governor there, Pete Ricketts, has defended from

the very beginning him never issuing any kind of stay-at-home order for his

state because he said his reasoning for not doing that, for Nebraska not

needing that, he said there was plenty of hospital capacity in Nebraska,

which is sort of unnerving from the very beginning, right? Plenty of

hospital beds for everyone. So why not fill them up?


Well, now, in fact, Nebraska hospital beds are filling up. Omaha`s ICU beds

are three quarters full and rising. And now that is happening, Governor

Ricketts now says, quote, we are having conversations about what they`re

going to do with regard to staffing. He said he is waiting to see, quote,

if those hospitals are going to go out and get additional staffing services

to come in. Because of course they`re filling up, and they need more staff

now to handle the huge volume of coronavirus patients they are getting,

because of the huge rise in cases in Nebraska that is unabated.


I mean, what`s going to happen though with the governor, wait to see if the

hospitals will go out and get additional staff. I mean, presumably, if they

are able to get in more additional staff, then what`s he going to do, see

what else we can do to get more beds filled to keep those new doctors and

nurses hopping? I mean, if you`re basing your public health policy in your

state or lack thereof on the fact that you will be able to handle it

because you`ve got tons of hospital capacity, what do you do next, when

your hospital capacity starts to top out? Like what`s plan B? What do you

activate then?


You can`t go back in time. That`s what Nebraska is going through now

because of what policies have been like in the state of Nebraska. Again,

it`s not just Nebraska. It`s not just Alabama.


This today was the Minnesota state health commissioner after the state

announced it had hit an all-time high in terms of ICU beds in use, in the

Twin Cities area, in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, ICU beds are now 87

percent full.





in the hospital, 260 of those in intensive care units, which is the highest

daily total to date.


We do see some more accelerating and concerning signs, like the rate of

increase in ICU capacity, even though we had planned for this, and have

surge capacity available in the state. The fact that a couple of our

hospitals have already gone into that surge space at this point, in the

curve, is important to note, and gives us reason to be really, really

watching these data.




MADDOW:  Minnesota state health commissioner talking about Minnesota

hospitals now topping out in their ICU capacity, and some of them having to

start to use ICU surge space.


We`re seeing something similar in Arizona. In Yuma, Arizona, they have

filled up the Yuma regional medical center with COVID patients and started

transferring patients out to other hospitals that can take on the overflow.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  COVID-19 is beginning to hit Yuma regional medical

center hard as more people are testing positive, more people are being

admit into the hospital.


DR. BHARAT MAGU:  Late Friday, Saturday, we started to see a significant

increase in the patients coming to the emergency and we had to use the

surge line to keep the capacity.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The surge line is a 24-hour direct line to the

Arizona Department of Health Services. The line was established at the

beginning of the crisis for hospitals across the state to communicate when

they`re at capacity and need to transfer patients out.




MADDOW:  They now need to activate the surge line, which is what you use

when you`re at capacity and you need to get patients out of your overfilled

hospital into other hospitals. They`ve now hit that point in Yuma, Arizona,

where they need to transfer patients out.


I should mention, also, that in that same place, in Yuma, Arizona, just

this past weekend, a pretty sizable demonstration that we`re keeping an eye

on, at the state prison there, where dozens of prisoners in Yuma have

tested positive, and were at least until recently, even the staff at that

prison, with a known sizable outbreak among the prisoner, even the staff,

there the corrections officers, were responsible for seeking out testing on

their own, if they so desired.


That Yuma prison outbreak is a grave concern to prisoners inside that

facility, and to their families, and to the people who work there, and to

their families. But that Yuma outbreak may also be a grave concern to

Arizona more broadly now, because the size of the epidemic in Yuma is

considerable. Yuma hospitalizations have tripled in two weeks. The big

spike in Yuma numbers has contributed to the fact that Arizona had just had

its highest daily E.R. visits, highest daily number of E.R. visits related

to COVID on Saturday and the highest daily hospitalization number for

COVID-19 patients as a state, on Sunday.


Anybody who is sort of taking comfort from the fact that large outbreaks

seem to be happening still in nursing homes and in prisons, and in

meatpacking plants and other big workplaces, should not take comfort in the

idea that they those will be hermetically sealed outbreaks. If you have an

outbreak in a prison in your town, if you have an outbreak in the nursing

homes in your town, if you have an outbreak in a meat processing plants in

your town, you have an outbreak in your town that will not stay in the

walls of that facilitate. We`ve seen it everywhere.


In Arkansas, “The New York Times” tracking where the epidemic is worse now,

cites the Fayetteville, Arkansas region, as the fastest-growing pace count

in the nation. Arkansas as a whole has had six straight days of triple

digits increases in its case count. And the state health director in

Arkansas just quit.


In Sioux City, Iowa, they have just hit a new record for hospitalizations

there, as well. The state of Iowa just confirmed outbreaks in Sioux City,

and in Sioux center, both in Purdue meat packing plants. But local

officials seem to think that a lot of the Sioux City problem, where again

their hospitals are now setting new records for COVID-19 patients in the

hospital, local officials and local health officials seem to believe that

they think a big problem in Sioux City is from a 4,300-person meatpacking

plant just over the Nebraska state line in Dakota City, Nebraska.


All 4,300 people at that facility, that Tyson facility in Dakota City,

Nebraska, all 4,300 employees there have been tested but nobody knows what

the number are. Nebraska officials won`t say what the numbers. Iowa

officials won`t say what the number are. And the company won`t say what the

numbers are.


And so we know there`s a sizable outbreak there. We know there`s been

testing. And so, the local health officials presumably, but at least the

company knows how many people are infected at that plant but they won`t



So, they`re just letting the hospitals in Sioux City fill up. They are now

filling up. They`re at their highest hospitalization rates in Sioux City.

There are two hospitals there, and I guess they`re just hoping nobody will

ask where all of these cases are coming from. That plant in Dakota City

still open.


The highest per capita infection rate in the state of Iowa right now is in

one Buena Vista County, population around 20,000. In Buena Vista County,

Iowa, more than 3 percent of the entire population of the county is now

confirmed to be infected.


Now, where are all of these infections coming from? Infecting more than 3

percent of the whole county`s population, out in rural Iowa? You know by

now, right? Without me even having to say it. You know, and I know, even

without having to look it up on a map.


And local reporters know exactly what drives those kinds of epidemic spike

numbers. Everybody knows what`s going on. But, boy howdy, does the governor

of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, not want to admit what it is.


Watch this from today.




REPORTER:  Governor, is there an outbreak at a food production facility in

Storm Lake, given the excessive spike in cases in Buena Vista County?


GOV. KIM REYNOLDS (R), IOWA:  We have not confirmed that yet, but again

what I said earlier, Kaye, is with us – with our ability to track virus

activity on a daily basis, that really does kind of give us the information

we need to know where we can potentially see a hot spot, or a potential

spike, and if we can, that`s when we move the testing into that area. So,

at this point, they have not met the criteria.


REPORTER:  When do the residents of Storm Lake who don`t work at the

facility get to know that there`s an outbreak?


REYNODS:  Well, you want to go with that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The department of public health will confirm an

outbreak when we have identified at least 10 percent of the employees at a

particular location. The ones would very identified, 10 percent of their

employees have tested positive, that`s the determination in terms of when

it`s time to announce that there has been an outbreak at a facility like





MADDOW:  We`re not going to tell you. We`re not even going to tell that

community. We`re going to wait to tell you, we`re going to wait to tell the

citizens of this county that is now the most infected county in the state

and who knows where that is coming from, we`re going to wait until it is

really, really, really bad, until we`ve decided to move testing in there,

until we`ve decided it is more than 10 percent of the workplace, we`re

going to wait until then before we tell anybody anything about it.


Otherwise, sure, everything is good. Open up, liberate Iowa, stop asking

about these numbers.


Buena Vista County, Iowa, now with between 3 percent and 4 percent of its

entire population infected, and the government will not talk about whether

or not the meatpacking plants, and the county seat of Buena Vista County,

Iowa, might be the source of the infection because they`ve invented a magic

thinking threshold under which they don`t need to tell you. They wait until

it gets real bad. It is an infectious disease.


Today on the day when we saw those developments where cases are rising and

hospitalizations are reaching records, and ICU beds are hitting capacity.

Today, on the day the United States has passed 100,000 dead Americans from

this epidemic, today, a man named Larry Kramer died.


And he`s not a household name except in some households. He`s in mine. He

was the co-founder of the Gay Men`s Health Crisis, which is one of the

first and largest AIDS health crisis organizations ever. He was also – and

this is what he will go in history for. He was the founder of ACT UP, which

is called the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.


And what ACT UP did, and what they aimed to do, was unleash the power of

the communities that were being killed, hand over fist, by the AIDS

epidemic in its first years. And ACT Up`s tactics, in the mold of Larry

Kramer, were impolite and pushy, and often cathartic, and ultimately very

effective. There`s really been nothing else like it in my lifetime.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How would you define the objectives of ACT UP?


LARRY KRAMER, HIV/AIDS ACTIVIST:  We won the AIDS epidemic, simple as that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Plain and simple?


KRAMER:  Plain and simple.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  By whatever means necessary?


KRAMER:  We tried being nice. We had to resort to these tactics because

nobody listens quite frankly. We now have some 70 some chapters around the

world with over a quarter of a million members. So I think what is

happening is the backlash is not against us, the backlash is against the

system. More and more people are so furious that they perceive the

government not doing anything.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In this case, is the end so desirable, that any means

justifies it?


KRAMER:  Well, we are a nonviolent organization. I don`t think we`re here

to make friends. We`re here to raise the issues. No matter what you do, X

number people are going to approve and X number of people aren`t. So you

might as well get your percentage across the best way you can.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You would allow you`re not making friends.


KRAMER:  I would allow that AIDS is a very complicated issue and that we

are now at last beginning to make friends. Like I said, I think the

groundswell of new chapters of new members, it`s basically what happened

during the Vietnam War, where people got so angry at the government that

they were forced into this frustration, and I think that`s very definitely

what`s happening now. It took ten years for the first 100,000 cases. The

next 100,000 cases are all going to happen in the next 15 months.




MADDOW:  It took ten years for the first 100,000 cases. The next 100,000

cases are going to happen in the next 15 months. In our case, with this

epidemic, it took three months to get to 100,000 dead.


In the last epidemic to kill tens of thousands of Americans, in the AIDS

epidemic, ACT UP was about the people most affected by the virus speaking

for themselves, rather than being ignored, or spoken for, or worst of all,

spoken about.


It was also about unapologetic, uncompromising anger at a government

response that was slow and stupid and callous and not driven by science,

and ultimately fatal, to thousands of us. Peaceful, yes, but angry, loud,

at times profane, unafraid, confrontational protests, backed up by a

willingness to do the real work of ending the epidemic.





DIRECTOR:  If you were not outrageous in your approach, and confrontation

with the theatrical in the way Larry was, I don`t think there would have

been as much attention paid to the problem. But there are some who think

Larry goes a little bit too far, but he went a little bit too far with a

purpose. There was a great method to Larry`s madness as some people say, he

knew exactly what he was doing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have said, in American medicine, there are two

eras, before Larry Kramer and after Larry Kramer.


FAUCI:  Right.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What do you mean?


FAUCI:  I meant that he fundamentally changed the relationship between the

constituency groups with diseases and he did it with HIV/AIDS, but it

really has served subsequently as a model for so many other diseases.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How do you feel about what he says about you that you

helped change the face of American medicine.


KRAMER:  I`m a Jewish boy who ever thought the worst of himself. So I`m not

used to taking praise. I do feel really chills when I, when I hear that.

And Tony`s kind words give me great pleasure but they also give me more

power to carry on the fight.




MADDOW:  That Tony is the same Dr. Fauci from now, from then and from now.

And Larry Kramer died today at the age of 84. He was reportedly working on

a new play about trying to survive this epidemic, too, trying to survive

coronavirus, too.


Without some kind of action that improves our government`s response, a lot

of Americans, thousands more Americans, will not survive.


We`ll be right back.




MADDOW:  That was Minneapolis earlier today. Protesters in that city

gathered at the intersection for a man named George Floyd, was pinned to

the ground on Monday by a police officer who was seen kneeling on his neck.

Mr. Floyd could be heard saying “I can`t breathe”. He later died.


Now, this afternoon, that intersection where Mr. Floyd died had transformed

into a massive makeshift memorial for him. With flowers, and balloons,

placed right near where the incident took place, there are signs there,

like Black Lives Matter, and justice for George Floyd, and, of course, I

can`t breathe.


Just two and a half miles east, the scene has been notably more tense in

Minneapolis. Protesters facing off with police outside of the city police

department third precinct house. According to the reporter from the local

affiliate, police started to use tear gas and flash bang explosions after

people in the crowd started throwing stuff at police officers on the scene.


I think we`ve got a live shot, yes, this is a live shot of these

protesters, the protests, as they continue right now in Minneapolis. The

demonstrations I need to tell you do appear to have gotten larger over the

course of tonight. These folks aren`t going anywhere.


All of this of course follows really dramatic scenes of unrest just last

night, windows smashed at police headquarters in Minneapolis, a line of

officers in the riot gear fired tear gas and ultimately rubber bullets into

the protesting crowds. Pictures like this one started to emerge of people

dousing themselves with milk after being exposed to the tear gas.


The protests that we saw yesterday, and are watching unfold again tonight,

are of course a reaction to the horrifying death of George Floyd,

including, importantly, the video showing what happened in the final

moments of his life. The incident was captured by a bystander`s cell phone.


In the video, Mr. Floyd is seen handcuffed and pinned to the ground. He is

not armed, and an officer seen pressing his knee into Mr. Floyd`s neck.


I`m about to show you a very short portion of that tape. I will warn you

that it is disturbing. Here it is.




GEORGE FLOYD:  I can`t breathe, please (INAUDIBLE), I can`t breathe, sir.


OFFICER:  Bro, get up and get in the car, man.


FLOYD:  I will.


OFFICER:  Get up and get in the car.


FLOYD:  I can`t move.




MADDOW:  George Floyd repeated, I can`t breathe, at least a dozen times. He

later stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.


The officers seen in that video have all been fired from their jobs as

police officers.


Today, the mayor of Minneapolis called for criminal charges against the

officer who was seen kneeling on Mr. Floyd`s neck.




MAYOR JACOB FREY (D), MINNEAPOLIS:  I have wrestled with more than anything

else over the last 36 hours one fundamental question. Why is the man who

killed George Floyd not in jail?


If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.

And I cannot come up with a good answer to that question. And so, I`m

calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to act on the evidence

before him. I`m calling on him to charge the arresting officer in this





MADDOW:  Joining us now is Brandt Williams, a reporter who has been

covering this story extensively for Minnesota Public Radio.


Mr. Williams, thank you very much for joining us this evening. I appreciate

you taking the time.




MADDOW:  First, let me just ask you if I explained this in a way that

comports with your understanding, have I got anything wrong, and let me

also ask you if you can give us any updates on how the protests have been

unfolding today and tonight?


WILLIAMS:  You didn`t get anything wrong in there, I would just stress on

how unusual the mayor`s statement was. Usually, the mayors of Minneapolis,

when there`s been a critical incident involving police officers and the

death of a citizen have urged for calm and they have asked for there to be

investigations before there`s any type of law enforcement action taken. But

this was unusual because the mayor just came right out and said, look, why

isn`t this guy arrested and booked?


So as far as the protests tonight, I don`t have any other updates besides

from what I`ve been saying – I`ve been busy working stories today, I was

out at the protest sites yesterday, and had a chance to speak to some folks

there. I spoke to a man who said he was there the night of Mr. Floyd`s



He told me that it was remarkable to him that after Mr. Floyd repeatedly

told the officers, hey man, I can`t breathe, can you get up off of me, that

the officers disregarded that and this man told me, he said he asked me,

what does it take for an African-American to be taken as a human person,

who feels things, if I say ouch, that means that hurt, please don`t do that

again. And there were a couple of other people who were basically

expressing those same sentiments through chants and shouts, throughout the

evening last night.


MADDOW:  Let me ask you about what you raised there about the unusual

response of the mayor here. The mayor said explicitly, I`m calling on

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to act on the evidence before him and

charge the arresting officer in this case. What will we expect happen? What

have we seen thus far between the mayor making that profound statement,

that unusual statement, and the D.A., and also the police department in

Minneapolis, which has been through lots of changes and lots of upheaval

and seemingly new police chiefs every time you turn around?


WILLIAMS:  Right. Well, so far – well, immediately after the incident, the

Hennepin County attorney`s office reload a statement saying hey, this is

shocking, but we are going to wait for the process to work its way through.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting an investigation, as well

as the FBI.


Usually, what happens in these instances is the investigating agency which

will turn over the findings of the investigation to Hennepin County to then

conduct their own, take a look at the charging information, and decide

whether they will file charges against the police officer.


Now, Mark Freeman has drawn a lot of criticism from some members of the

black community who feel like he`s been extremely reluctant to bring

charges against police officers who have been responsible for the deaths of

particularly of African-Americans. And for the police department also,

there`s another unusual development here, and that is, as you mentioned,

the actions of the police chief, Medaria Arradondo. He fired the officers

before the investigation is completed.


Usually the officers get sent on paid administrative leave for weeks,

perhaps a month or two, while the investigation is going on. So, something

is different here. You know, I haven`t had a chance to really dig in as

deep as I`d like to, to find out why the mayor and the police chief took

the actions they did so quickly.


MADDOW:  Brandt Williams, reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, thank you

for helping us understand this. It`s really clarifying. While we`ve been

talking to you, we`re watching live images of what is happening in the

streets of Minneapolis. Obviously this is a still-developing story.


Stay in touch with us about this. Obviously, we`re going to keep our eyes

on this as is the rest of the country. Thanks for being here tonight.


WILLIAMS:  We`ll do that. Thanks.


MADDOW:  All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.






UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If we can begin on hydroxychloroquine as a treatment

for COVID, France today has banned its use. Doctors there saying that the

data does not provide evidence to support it.


Given that data, and other studies, should the U.S. do the same and ban

hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID?


FAUCI:  You know, Jim, I`m not so sure it should be banned but clearly the

scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for

it. And even the possibility that there could be, not could be, but there

is, you know, the likelihood that under certain circumstances might be, but

you`d see it, adverse effects particularly with regard to cardiovascular

and the arrhythmias that may be associated with it.


There was a suspicion of that for a while but as data comes in, it becomes

more clear. So I`m not sure you would want it ban it, but certainly the

data are clear right now.




MADDOW:  Scientific data is really quite effect department now about the

lack of efficacy for the drug hydroxychloroquine against the coronavirus.

You don`t necessarily have to ban it, but it might be dangerous and it

seems like it sure doesn`t work, so says our country`s top infectious

disease official, which shouldn`t be huge news with huge political

implications except for the fact that the president of the United States

has been huckstering that drug to all of us, including telling Americans

repeatedly that he has been taking it himself to prevent coronavirus

infection even though there is nothing on earth that suggests that it can

protect you from coronavirus infection.


That said, it`s worth considering the possibility that the president just

made the whole thing up when he asserted that he has been taking that drug.

After announcing last week, that he was taking it, this weekend, he said he

is not taking it anymore. He said he, quote, just finished taking it. OK.


Even still, the president has kept hyping this drug for some reason.

Recently citing what he called quote, incredible studies out of France,

whatever incredible studies might be out of France, now, France has banned

the use of hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment, and that`s why

we`re on the heels of the World Health Organization, dropping that drug out

of its large scale treatment centers because of safety concerns.


I mean, science-wise, there have been a couple sort of jarring developments

today, good ones and bad ones, mostly bad ones. Obviously, the U.S. has

passed this stunning numerical threshold, over 100,000 American deaths from

coronavirus as of today and counting, which just knocks the wind out of you

and will put this day in American history books forever.


We also got pretty hard data today, from a new study in one of America`s

top medical journals, the Journal of the American Medical Association,

which suggested that stay-at-home orders enacted by lots of states, have

worked, stay-at-home orders have saved thousands of American lives by

vastly reducing the number of hospitalizations that would have happened had

there not been a stay-at-home order, based on how hospitalizations were

growing before those orders went into effect. So, we got that data too from

JAMA, that those types of restrictions, those stay-at-home orders have been

effective, this very been effective at keeping thousands of people alive in

this country, and that data comes right as we start abandoning those

restrictions all over the country, even in states where case numbers are

through the roof and still rising.


So, those measures we are stopping, here`s the hard data about how well

they work. And at the same time, we`re learning that something we are doing

more of, something we hope might help, might not help. The CDC has now

issued new guidance on coronavirus antibody testing. More and more

Americans have been taking coronavirus antibody tests to try to determine

if they already had the coronavirus and therefore might be immune to it.


Well, the CDC now says that based on current data, if you test positive for

coronavirus antibodies, that doesn`t necessarily mean you have any immunity

to the coronavirus. In fact, the CDC says the tests are still so

unreliable, that even if you test positive for antibodies, not only does

that not necessarily mean you`re immune from getting it again, it doesn`t

necessarily mean that you have the virus at all, because in technical

terms, basically, CDC is saying that the tests are kind of garbage.


So they don`t necessarily tell if you you really got antibodies and knowing

if you got antibodies doesn`t really tell you anything useful about whether

you might be immune. So why are we doing the antibody testing? And why did

the FDA approve all of those garbage tests without making them jumping

through hoops to prove they were efficacious?


It`s been a whipsaw of information today, right? I mean, the political

narrative from the White House is like take hydroxychloroquine and get an

antibody test but the science is saying neither of those things work.

Whipsaw days and the science require expert advice from scientists. I will

try to make sense of some of this, especially the antibody testing thing

which is sort of unmooring, and we have just the expert to talk about it

here, next.


Stay with us.




MADDOW:  As we cross the grim threshold of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in

the United States, 1.7 million Americans infected, today, the science got a

little fuzzier for lots of Americans when the CDC said antibody testing,

that`s supposed to show whether you have the virus mostly doesn`t appear to

work. And the nation`s top infectious disease expert said the president`s

favored snake oil miracle cure also, by the way, doesn`t appear to work. We

might not be able to change our politics at the moment but we can try to

better understand the science, especially on a landmark day today.


Joining us from the science side now is Dr. Amesh Adalja. He`s a senior

scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.


Dr. Adalja, it`s really nice of you to come back and be with us tonight.

Thank you for taking the time.



Thanks for having me.


MADDOW:  Let me ask you about the antibody testing news from the CDC. We

had been worried about antibody testing because the FDA allowed lots of so-

called antibody tests to go to market without them having to prove their

efficacy to the FDA before being pushed on the American people. Now, is the

CDC just warning us that, hey, there is a lot of garbage tests out there or

are they telling us that antibody testing per se is problematic, that we`re

using it for things we shouldn`t be using it for and shouldn`t see

certainty in those results?


ADALJA:  A little bit of both. What happened was that many tests were

released on the market in about maybe about a dozen of them actually had

good specificity. Remember, this is the seventh human coronavirus we`ve

discovered. Four of then were out there all the time causing common colds.

And there`s a lot of cross reaction.


So, you could get a positive test and it might not mean you have the

coronavirus. We`ve gotten better figuring out which test actually has good

specificity and those are the ones that we actually recommend to be used.


The other part is, do we know what that antibody is? We believe there is

some level of immunity that`s confirmed once you`re infected and that

you`re likely immune for some period of time. But we haven`t done natural

history studies to know how much antibody you need to have and how long it



So, we can`t really operationalize antibody tests in order to tell people

it`s safe to do this or safe to do that. We`re trying to understand what

that level would be but we`re not there yet. So, we can`t use them in those

decision making, at that decision making level yet.


MADDOW:  Given what you just described and those dynamics about

interpreting what an antibody test means, how reliable that test result is

and what it`s implications are for your future life and potential

susceptibility to infection or re-infection, do you expect that antibody

testing will in the future become a more valuable part of the response,

that we will have better tests, that we will have tests that will tell us

whether or not we have antibodies and give us information we can use in

terms of determining whether we have any increased or decreased

susceptibility to the virus?


ADALJA:  I do think we will get there. It`s just – it`s going to take some

time. This is a new virus. We haven`t followed people that have been

infected out long enough to see what their antibodies mean for them, but

other parts of the immune system are important as well, what level of

antibodies are necessary to confer protection and how they decline over



We will get there. But I don`t think that we can operationalize the use of

antibody testing for public policy decision at this point. They do give us

an idea if you`re using a good test if someone has been infected and they

may be important from an epidemiological standpoint to understand where a

given region is on an epidemic curve. But you can`t operationalize and say

this is safe for you, this is not safe for you. We have a general idea but

we don`t have ironclad (AUDIO GAP).


MADDOW:  Dr. Adalja, I have to tell you, your sound kicked out a little

bit. If you have a backup phone or something that you have nearby,

hopefully if you come back but just in case it gets glitchy for a second, I

ask you to find your backup. There we are.


Let me just ask you sort of a difficult question about CDC, I am used to

thinking of CDC as the gold standard both for us and sort of around the

world. I`m a little weirded out about this new guidance coming from CDC

about antibody testing after this debacle last week when people outside CDC

noticed they were combining apples and oranges, they were combining virus

tests and antibody tests in their testing numbers in a way that made their

CDC data basically garbage in terms of trying to understand testing

prevalence in this country.


Should we worry whether or not CDC is being rigorous about stuff like this

right now?


ADALJA:  I do think the idea of combining antibody test with PCR test,

which test for infection, and using those numbers kind of interchangeably

is the wrong way to go about this. I can`t quite understand why that was

happening. In our mind, most of us in the field are separating two things

for good reason. One tells you one type of information, the other tells you

something else, and you can`t use that type of information to make

decisions if it`s combined together and it can give you a misleading

picture of the outbreak on both sides. It can skew it worse or skew it less

worse than it is.


So, that`s not the way you want to do it. You want to have both data

available but delineate what you`re putting in the numbers so we have the

correct numerators and denominators. It was something that not only the CDC

but many states are doing as well. It was a practice that hopefully we`re

going to see an end to.


MADDOW:  Yeah. And it`s unsettling that 1.7 million cases and 100,000

American deaths into this, those kinds of errors are still being made at

the level they should not be made.


Dr. Amesh Adalja from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health

Security – thank you again for your time tonight, Doctor. It`s really good

to have you here.


ADALJA:  Thanks.


MADDOW:  All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.




MADDOW:  This was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the White House today,

him going into a meeting with President Trump to talk about doing some big

building projects, some big infrastructure building projects as economic

stimulus to try to jump start the economy. He told reporters that meeting

with the president today at the White House went well. We`ll get to ask him

about it directly tomorrow when Governor Cuomo will be the guest live here

on this show.


I will see you then.


Now, though, it is time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.


Good evening, Lawrence.







Copyright 2020 ASC Services II Media, LLC.  All materials herein are

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