George Floyd’s death TRANSCRIPT: 6/8/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
STATE REP. CHARLES BOOKER (D), KENTUCKY SENATE CANDIDATE: We get that
bipartisan legislation passed even in my first term, something that Mitch
McConnell is not worrying about. And, you know, the reality is because of
this work, I`m getting endorsed by folks all over Kentucky. Rural
legislators, Matt Jones, who is one of the biggest voices in our
commonwealth, many thought was going to run against – Amy McGrath and
Mitch McConnell, is endorsing me, because we`re building a coalition, that
says that no matter where you`re from, what you look like, what your
pronoun is, how much money, that shouldn`t matter.
And that`s the momentum. Look, we just broke a million dollars in
fundraising. We raised $600,000 in the last couple of days because we`re
fed up and we`re ready to win.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker of
Kentucky, thanks for sharing sometime with us tonight.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Christ. Thanks, my friend. Much
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.
It was more than 90 degrees in the great city of Houston, Texas, today, one
of the hottest days of the year so far. But even with the heat, this is
what Houston looked like today. Tons of people waiting in line in the hot
sun to pay their respects to George Floyd.
Today was George Floyd`s public visitation at a church in Houston, which is
where Mr. Floyd grew up. At one point, the line to get into that
visitation, got so long, it snaked around the building and in to the
parking lot. There were 200 people in line before the doors even opened.
You see those red tents there, that`s the Red Cross. It was so hot, they
were handing out water to people waiting in line, because they were worried
about people`s health. They were worried about heat stroke.
Mourners turned up to pay their respects today had their temperatures
checked at the door. They only let small handfuls of people into the church
at a time to encourage social distancing. Everybody was required to wear
But, even with the heat, even with the inconvenience of the pandemic.
Members of the public waited patiently in line. Donned with their mask and
entered the church to pay their respects to Mr. Floyd before he is laid to
rest next to his mother in Houston and that will be tomorrow afternoon.
It went on like that for six straight hours today in Houston. And honestly
the stream of people that came in and out of that church today, the number
of them overcome by emotion and grief, it just felt, endless.
There were health care workers there still in their scrubs. There were
police officers there in uniform. A few people from the local Home Depot,
fresh off their shifts. There was a group of college athletes.
The Republican governor of Texas was there. Little kids being pulled along
in wagons by their mom. That was Houston today. George Floyd`s public
visitation before his final memorial tomorrow, before he is laid to rest in
the city where he grew up.
Right now, a candle light vigil is under way on the football field at
George Floyd`s high school in Houston where his family is in attendance.
It`s going to cap off what was an emotional day in George Floyd`s hometown
and all over the country. It has been 14 days now, it has been two weeks
since Mr. Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis, and still, 14 days
later, the streets of the United States look like this. This was New York,
and Chicago, and L.A., and D.C., all today.
But, I mean, even with that today, did you see what happened this weekend?
I mean, look at this, this was southern California yesterday. Protesters
marching down, look at that, marching down Hollywood Boulevard, just an
absolutely endless river of people. Police say they think 20,000 people
marched in L.A. this weekend.
This was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thousands of peaceful protesters met
at the steps of the Philadelphia art museum. They marched from there all
the way to Philadelphia City Hall.
There`s a shot of Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., from Saturday,
which is the largest protest that the city of Washington, D.C. has seen
since George Floyd`s killing.
In San Francisco, the protest was so big, it briefly shut down traffic on
the Golden Gate Bridge. Look at that.
In Seattle, a demonstration organized by health care workers grew to
thousands of people in New York. It even in the rain, they kept marching
and St. Paul, Minnesota, they sat down outside the governor`s mansion. In
Detroit, people were on their feet.
It was just like this all over the place this weekend. Big cities, and in
more out of the way places as well. Here`s a shot of rural Alpine, Texas,
this weekend. Alpine, Texas, it`s population 6,000 or so. Six thousand
people in the town, right?
But the stream of people marching is going and going and going. The local
reporter who shot this video said he has not seen a protest this big in
Alpine, Texas, since an anti-pipeline protest a few years ago. He said this
is probably bigger and probably the biggest thing that ever happened in the
This was Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday this weekend, thousands of
people in the streets there. There were thousands more in Wausau,
Wisconsin. The mayor there saying it might be the largest political protest
ever in that city.
Look at this, this was Upstate New York. This was Troy, New York, the
organizers of these protests said 11,000 people turned out in Troy. There
were protests this weekend in Victor, Idaho, and in Nutley, New Jersey, and
in Kalispell, Montana, Palmer, Alaska, from all corners of this country,
protesting George Floyd`s killing and the treatment of African-Americans at
the hands of police in this country.
With those scenes playing out across the country all through this weekend
and through today for a 14th day of response to that killing, today, the
now former officer, the fired officer at the center of George Floyd`s case
appeared before a judge for the first time. Derek Chauvin, the officer who
kept his knee on George Floyd`s neck for nearly nine minutes as Mr. Floyd
pled for his life and struggled to breathe, former officer Chauvin made his
first appearance by video feed from the state`s maximum security prison
today. He was wearing an orange jumpsuit and a face mask. He said very
little during today`s proceedings.
Given the seriousness of the charges against him, charges that now include
second-degree murder and manslaughter, the judge set bail for him at $1.25
million. The conditions of that bail include Chauvin remaining under court
supervision, surrendering any guns that he has, and agreeing not to have
any contact with the Floyd family. His next court appearance is set for
June 29th, at which time he will be expected to enter a plea.
The other three officers in this case have already been arraigned on
charges of aiding and abetting Chauvin in Mr. Floyd`s death. They`re
currently being held on $750,000 bail each. As those officers confront
charges in that case, we are seeing more law enforcement officers charged
for police brutality, charged for the way they have treated people,
including during this wave of protests that have taken place across the
I`m going to give you a warning now that I`m about to show some of these
instances for which we have videotape, for which there have now been
consequences for the officers involved. If you do not want to see these
instances of violence, now is the chance for you to not watch them. This is
me slowing down to give you that chance to get up off the couch and change
your television arrangement if you need to do so. Three, two, one.
We`ll go first to Buffalo. This weekend two Buffalo, New York, police
officers were arraigned on felony assault charges after video emerged of
them last week knocking a 75-year-old man to the ground. That man fell
backwards and cracked his head on the pavement. As he lay bleeding from his
head and from his ear, officers were seen walking by without rendering aid.
One officer who seemed inclined to help was pulled off by other officers.
As of today, that elderly man remains in the hospital in serious condition.
Both of the officers charged in conjunction with that incident have pled
not guilty. They appeared in court this weekend, on Saturday. Those
officers face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
This case has already made the Buffalo Police Union rear up on its hind
legs. We saw further proof of that this weekend. This weekend, the police
union there arranged for people to gather outside the courthouse following
the officers` hearing. As those officers emerged, they were greeted by
cheers from the hundreds of people that had gathered.
We saw a similar scene in Philadelphia today. Hundreds of people turned out
to support a Philadelphia police officer who had been charged with
aggravated assault for allegedly beating a Temple University student with a
metal baton during a protest last week. Like in Buffalo last week, that
officer was cheered and greeted with salutes as he went to turn himself in.
In terms of what he`s being charged for, in video that has emerged of that
Philadelphia incident, that officer is seen repeatedly hitting this college
student in the head with this metal baton, causing injuries that resulted
in that student needing ten staples in the head.
All of this comes on top of Atlanta police officers being charged with
excessive force last week after video emerged of them yanking two young
people, two college students out of a car and then shooting them with stun
People all over this country are calling for reforms to policing and
calling for police officers to face consequences for beating and shooting
people. The place where the movement is gaining the most speed, the place
that`s sort of at the tip of the spear of this movement now is of course
Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed.
And in a remarkable development in Minneapolis, yesterday a veto-proof
majority of the Minneapolis City Council announced that they would
dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. They would completely rethink
public safety in their city. They would take the Minneapolis police
department apart and rebuild something else in its place.
Again, that agreement was reached by and announced by nine of the city
council`s 13 members. That announcement came just one day after Minneapolis
Mayor Jacob Frey was booed out of a rally that came to his house, after he
said he didn`t believe in abolishing the police department, he walked off.
City council members say they have the votes to override any potential veto
by Mayor Frey. They say they don`t yet know what a new public safety system
would look like from Minneapolis, but they say they plan to work with the
community and draw on policing reforms and restructuring that have been
seen in some other cities.
According to city council`s president, Lisa Bender, this pledge from these
members of the city council this weekend is an acknowledgement that the
Minneapolis Police Department doesn`t just need reform. That`s not enough.
The status quo must be changed and changed fundamentally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA BENDER (D), MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT: Our commitment is to
do what`s necessary to keep every single member of our community safe and
to tell the truth, that the Minneapolis police are not doing that. Our
commitment is to end our city`s toxic relationship with the Minneapolis
Police Department, to end policing as we know it, and to recreate systems
of public safety that actually keep us safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After making this bold pronouncement this weekend in Minneapolis,
what happens next there?
Joining us now is Lisa Bender, who is the president of the Minneapolis City
President Bender, thank you very much for being – for being with us live
tonight. I really appreciate you making the time.
BENDER: Thank you so much for having me.
MADDOW: So, Minneapolis has obviously got the eyes of the nation upon it
now because of what has happened over these past two weeks and because of
what this killing revealed to the country about the Minneapolis Police
Department. As the country now looks at you and your colleagues on the city
council saying you want to end policing in Minneapolis as we know it, that
you want to essentially disband the city police department, what should the
country understand about what that means in practical terms?
BENDER: I think the most important thing to understand is that this is not
the first time that our community has taken to the streets to demand
justice. Jamar Clark was killed by Minneapolis police, and we instituted a
whole series of reforms. Justine Damond was killed by Minneapolis police,
and we got a new police chief, new leadership.
So our community has been through a lot of watching us make promises and
make changes, and then to see George Floyd killed in that horrific way for
those almost nine minutes with four members of the department involved,
it`s just too much for our community. So, we are responding to the calls
that are coming from our residents for change.
MADDOW: Cities like Camden, New Jersey, and Compton, California, disbanded
their police departments as well. This is not something that Minneapolis
and you and your colleagues are inventing the concept of. Compton did it in
2000. Camden did it in 2013, I believe.
I wonder if you and your colleagues are thinking about those previous
examples as helpful, as examples of what to do or what not to do, or if you
have been essentially considering Minneapolis to be on its own here in
terms of the specific challenges?
BENDER: No, absolutely. There are many models around the country, and
there`s also significant work done here led by community to invest in those
systems of community safety that work to look at all the reasons folks call
911 in our city and what appropriate response we compare.
But public confidence in our department is at an extraordinary low. We have
institutions like the University of Minnesota and our park board and school
board, major businesses and employers, arts institutions ending their
relationship with our police department. So, in the urgent short term, you
know, we need to get a system in place that is keeping people safe, that
folks have confidence in as we build up these alternative systems for
MADDOW: I have to ask you about the police union in Minneapolis. We`ve
covered a little bit of the drama around the police union and its
leadership, including the head of the police union appearing at a Trump
rally in a “Cops for Trump” shirt after there had been a reminder to police
officers that they shouldn`t attend something like that in uniform.
We`ve also seen some pretty inflammatory comments and stances taken by the
police union at times. I wonder if it – if it seems to you and your
colleagues that what you are trying to do here has a sort of sworn enemy in
the police union? And if so, what your strategy is to try to work around
them if you believe that they`re sort of beyond working with on this?
BENDER: I mean, they`ve shown us time and time again that they are beyond
working with on reform, and even recently statements coming out of the
federation are defending the actions of the officers in George Floyd`s
killing. You know, it`s to the point that the former police chief, our
former mayor and other community leaders are speaking out specifically
against the president of the union but also the union itself – labor
leaders are calling for change and, you know, distancing themselves from
this union, I think making it clear that our attempt to get around the
blockades of the police union are not seen as undermining our support for
organized labor in our city, which represents the majority of city
employees and is a really important part of worker protections.
So, yes, that union relationship, that union position, again, you know,
elected by the majority of the departments, is a huge barrier. So I think
we have to get through those institutional barriers, but there is also a
system within the department that needs to change. So it`s not just about
changing one leader but changing the whole system.
MADDOW: Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, thank you
for speaking to us tonight. Again, you guys have been under incredible
pressure, and to innovate and step up in the way that you have in these
past few days is a remarkable thing to see. And the whole country is going
to be watching closely as you all move forward with these radical and
interesting constructive ideas.
Good luck and keep us apprised. Keep us in the loop.
BENDER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. I want to bring into the conversation, Philip Atiba
Goff. Dr. Goff is a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He`s
a co-founder of the Center for Policing Equity. And this is something that
he`s worked on as an expert for years.
Dr. Goff, thanks very much for making time to be here tonight. I`m happy to
have you here.
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROFESSOR IN
POLICING EQUITY: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So I know that you`re not only an expert on these things more
broadly, but you specifically consulted with Minneapolis on some of its
policing problems and on public safety. Are you going to work with the city
on this new goal of dismantling the police department, re-imagining public
safety in Minneapolis? What do you make of what`s happened so far, and do
you expect you`d be involved in it?
GOFF: Yeah, I mean, so, there`s the example of Compton before and Camden
before, but this is still unprecedented, in part because there`s a chance
that this sets the tone for what`s happening nationally on police reform.
So, Lisa and I got a chance to speak shortly before this. We`ve been
involved in Minneapolis. We will be willing to continue to be involved and
help wherever we can to help make communities safer and provide them with
the resources so they don`t have to call the police in the first place.
This shouldn`t, by the way, be controversial. People want to live in
communities where no one has to call the police, especially the police. And
we think that there are ways that we can do that responsibly, but
everything is so new that it`s just new. We don`t know what tomorrow`s
going to look like.
MADDOW: When people around the country look at what`s happening in
Minneapolis, this announcement from the super majority on the city council
and they hear these demands about defunding police, can you explain in sort
of layman`s terms the difference between reforming the police and these
types of transformational approaches that we saw in Camden and we saw in
Compton and that we now appear to be aiming at, at least in Minneapolis?
What`s the qualitative difference?
GOFF: So there really is a range, and it`s not discrete one way or the
other. So, on one side of it, you have people who believe there should be
no law enforcement at all. Communities manage all violations of the social
contract. If there`s violence, communities can manage that.
On the other side what you have is kind of tinkering around the edges.
People saying let`s change this policy, let`s change this training, and
some people way overselling that where they imagine one small change can
make (VIDEO GAP) really what we`re seeing now is people moving toward the
side of abolition. But it`s actually not about having no police, but making
sure again that communities have the resources so that you can have less of
a footprint of police, right?
So I give you an example. Lots of people have been asking me for the last
couple days, if we defund the police, what happens when you call 911? And
what I say back is, well, if something`s on fire, what number do you call?
You call 911. Who shows up? It`s the ambulance – I`m sorry. It`s the fire
And if somebody`s having a heart attack, you call 911, and the EMT shows
So we already have 911 giving lots of different emergency services. Imagine
what would happen if when someone was overdosing or when a couple was
having a disagreement they didn`t know how to resolve, or when a kid wasn`t
feeling safe, right, if could you call mental health resources, child
protective resources, substance abuse resources. If the resources folks
needed so they didn`t need to rely on law enforcement were there, all
right, if 911 had more options, communities would feel safer, and you
wouldn`t be introducing a badge and a gun to situations that law
enforcement can never be trained to manage in the first place and that they
have been calling to get out of the business of for years.
That`s what the majority of protesters and activists I talk to say that
they want. They want more options for 911. They want more resources for
communities so communities make the decision about when something has
gotten violent enough that a badge and a gun is appropriate.
MADDOW: You know, it`s fascinating in terms of the way these things evolve
politically. I feel like one of the key insights for me in terms of
thinking about national security – like transformational thinking around
national security was realizing that people in the military, particularly
very well-experienced people in the military, were themselves among the
most articulate defenders of the idea that the military should not be used
And what you`re describing about how police themselves are among the most
authoritative and at time articulate spokespeople for the idea that police
are not the right solution to every problem that we`ve got and that we
apply policing resources to, it`s an interesting – it`s an interesting
thing in terms of the way these things go as political fights. It also
potentially sets up some strange bedfellows in terms of who are allies and
who lines up on which side of these fights.
What do you anticipate is going to happen now in Minneapolis now that the
city council has come out with this goal? The mayor at least seems to be in
a slightly different position from it. The community is up in arms. The
community is also mobilized like nothing we`ve seen in a generation.
How do you think this is going to play out in terms of trying to make these
GOFF: I can say definitively and authoritatively I have no earthly idea. I
can tell you that the pressures that are going to be on this community are
enormous. The eyes of the nation are on and have been on Minneapolis, and
so, it may be the case that what we end up with is something that will feel
to abolitionists more like tinkering around the edges. It may be the case
that something way more profound. It may work to reduce crime and improve
public trust. It certainly will come up with bumps and obstacles.
So I don`t know exactly what it`s going to look like. What I can say is we
learned from Camden and we`ve learned from Compton that there are more and
less responsible way and more and less likely ways to be successful at
So, I`ll give you an example. If you defund the police department and take
away 50 percent of the personnel, right, which I`m hearing people say. Like
just slash it 50 percent out. There is no union contract in the United
States that says anything other than, last in also first out. That means if
you`re trying to cut it, you`re actually getting rid of the youngest
officer who are also the most progressive, who are also the most interested
in culture change. That`s not the department that protesters are asking
So, if you don`t end up following a roadmap and looking for ways to cut the
right officers and cut the right programs, you`re going to end up with
tragedy in black communities, and I can`t overstate this point. For
generations, we have had politicians say, you know what? Black communities,
they can fend for themselves. They need to be taking care of themselves.
So those mental health resources that other places have, we`re going to
privatize them. We`re going to take the public ones and throw them away,
right? The grocery stores that give you fresh vegetables, take them, throw
them out, right? The marriage counseling, job training, take it, throw it
And the only public system that receives any public funding is law
enforcement. And in some of these communities, police cars are more likely
to take you to the hospital when you`re sick than ambulances because police
cars get the funding.
So if all we do is take money out of policing and we don`t reinvest it
either before or at exactly the same time we take it out of policing into
black communities, we`re making it worse. And this is part of the point I
hope everybody gets tonight about Minneapolis and what we`ve been seeing
across the nation. This is not just a policing issue.
And if we want to have solutions that are proportional to this moment and
all we do – even if we radically reform policing, if that`s all we do, we
have missed the moment because what I am hearing and seeing and feeling is
that this is a moment which is a past-due notice on the unpaid debts owed
to black people for 400 years. If we don`t understand that all of the
disinvestment in black communities is now past due and we`re paying for it
right now, right – just the interest right now – then I`m scared that
we`re going to come up with solutions that are not worthy of how big this
is and feels for our identity as a democracy and for our hope of ever
making good on the American creed, particularly for the sons and daughters
of (AUDIO GAP)
MADDOW: Phillip Atiba Goff, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal
Justice – Dr. Goff, it is great to have you here to talk with us about
this tonight, both specifically in terms of what`s going on in Minneapolis
but why the eyes of the nation should be upon this potential change. Thanks
for being here. It`s great to have you here.
GOFF: Thanks for the conversation.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The head of the Arizona state health department just sent out this
letter to all the hospitals in the state of Arizona telling them to fully
activate their facility emergency plans for coronavirus in the state of
Quote: Your facilities and staff are on the front line of this response,
and your continued ability to care for your patients in a safe manner is
critical in Arizona`s success in overcoming COVID-19. For those reasons, I
urge you to fully activate your facility emergency plan. Make
determinations for moving your facility from conventional care to
contingency care and prepare for crisis care.
Identify additional ICU and inpatient beds to meet a 50 percent additional
bed increase. Identify mechanisms to activate medical volunteers and
integrate them into your facility. Refine your hospital admission criteria
to allow management of patients in alternate care settings within the
community rather than within your facility.
On that last point, that`s basically the top health official in the state
of Arizona telling the hospitals in that state that they need to change the
grounds on which they usually admit patients to their hospitals because
coronavirus is now taking all the bed space. So, some people who might
otherwise be admitted into the hospital should no longer be admitted to the
hospital. There isn`t enough room.
In Maricopa County, which is Phoenix and the surrounding area, ICU capacity
is now full. The hospital system there has said it has no more ICU beds in
the Phoenix area. Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona.
In the second largest city in Arizona, which is Tucson, the hospitals there
say that their ICU capacity is basically full as well. It`s at least right
on the brink in Tucson, full up in Phoenix, on the brink of full in Tucson.
This weekend the major hospital system in the state said that it had also
reached capacity for something called – I think you say ECMO, is what you
say, it`s E-C-M-O, it stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
machine. It`s basically an external lung.
If your lungs are so damaged that even being on a ventilator is not enough,
they put you on one of these ECMO machines as basically a last-ditch way to
keep you alive using a mechanical external lung so your body can hopefully
fight its way back from the brink while that machine does the breathing for
Except in Arizona right now, there`s no more of those. The largest hospital
system in the state has now run out of those machines because they are all
in use because of coronavirus.
Arizona dropped its stay-at-home order after a visit to the state by
President Trump on May 15th, earlier than the state had otherwise been set
to reopen. They earlied it up, opened up on May 15th.
Now we`re three-ish weeks later, and the state is hitting a record number
of new cases, a record high percentage of the tests the state are doing are
positive, and they`re now maxing out hospital and ICU and medical equipment
capacity not just in out of the way places in Arizona like in Yuma, which
overtopped its hospitals first in that state. Now, they are overtopping
their hospital and ICU capacity in the state of Arizona`s two largest
cities, including the state capital.
So, things in Arizona should probably be getting more national attention
than they are.
We`ve also been keeping an eye on the neighboring state of Utah. Last week,
midweek, the state epidemiologist gave a public press conference to
announce that the state was experiencing in her words a sharp spike in new
cases and that this was not due to there being just more testing or one
localized outbreak somewhere, the state epidemiologist in Utah announced
that this was a statewide surge in cases and unless it turned around,
hospitals in Utah might not be able to cope.
That warning from the state epidemiologist in Utah was last Wednesday. Two
days later on Friday, the state hospital association wrote a letter to the
people of Utah pleading with Utah residents to please recognize the
severity of what is going on in their state and the risk to hospital
capacity if people do not start wearing masks and doing social distancing.
Nevertheless, that day, Utah hit another new record number of cases on
Friday, and then the day after that, on Saturday, Utah broke that record
from Friday and set an even higher new record for daily case numbers.
This is happening in a bunch of states now. Nearly half the states in the
country are now seeing their daily numbers of new coronavirus cases going
up, not down. But in states like Arizona and Utah, where the numbers are
terrible, and in the state of North Carolina, this is the curve in North
Carolina, daily new cases. This is now getting to be a consequential thing
for these states.
Here, for example is the state health director from North Carolina speaking
today to North Carolina residents, trying to make clear to them how serious
this is in their state as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MANDY COHEN, SECRETARY OF NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN
SERVICES: That it takes about two weeks to see the impact of a change in
policy on an outbreak from an event. And that`s because of that incubation
period from the virus, meaning the time from when a person was first
exposed to COVID-19 to when they become sick. It`s about 14 days. And
that`s important because if you remember, about two weeks ago on May 22nd,
we moved into phase two.
On Saturday, we reported our highest number of new laboratory-confirmed
cases in one day. At the same time, our other key metrics have moved into
the wrong direction. COVID-19 hospitalizations are increasing. The percent
of tests that are positive is now among the highest in the nation.
I am concerned. These trends moving in the wrong direction is a signal we
need to take very seriously. The trends of these numbers, it`s going the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s going the wrong way. North Carolina`s state health director
there. North Carolina, as she said, opened up a couple of weeks ago, and
then a couple of weeks after the reopening, they hit their highest ever
number of new cases in one day, on Saturday, this past weekend. Today they
hit their highest number yet of hospitalizations in North Carolina.
And this is – this is happening in lots of states. Mississippi hit its
highest number yet of new cases today. In Florida over the past week, new
cases have been rising an average of 46 percent per day. Florida.
But we are now in a phase of this epidemic nationwide where despite all of
that happening, all of those alarms being sounded in red states and blue
states in the Southwest and Southeast, in different parts of the country,
despite all of that, the government of the United States is sort of just
pretending this isn`t happening now.
“The Wall Street Journal” reporting that the president and his advisers
have made a strategic decision to – a strategic decision to just move on
and not talk about this anymore. They are counting on roughly 1,000
Americans dying every day from this communicable disease being something
we`re just going to get used to, or maybe they`re counting on it being
something we don`t really believe.
It was one month ago today that President Trump said the total number of
Americans killed by coronavirus wouldn`t top more than 110,000 of us dead.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ll be at 100,000, 110,000,
the lower level of what was projected if we did the shutdown.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was a month ago today. The president said we`ll have a total
death toll in this country of 100,000, 110,000 deaths. We are over 110,000
American deaths already as of this weekend, and we`re still losing 1,000
more Americans on average every day.
But that fact hasn`t stopped the president from repeatedly, confidently
pronouncing to the American people that it`s definitely, definitely not
going to be as bad as it definitely is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, we`re going toward 50,000 – I`m hearing, or 60,000 people.
We`re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000. It`s far too many. One person is
too many for this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That number has changed, Mr. President.
TRUMP: It`s going up. No, it`s going up. I used to say 65,000, and now I`m
saying 80,000 or 90,000, and it goes up, and it goes up rapidly.
Look, we`re going to lose anywhere from 75,000, 80,000, to 100,000 people.
That`s horrible (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We`ll be at 100,000, 110,000.
Now we`re up over 110,000 deaths already, and – I mean, a certain number
of people, when you have case numbers rising, you`re going to have the
number of people dying rising. You`re going to have that – as the number
of cases gets larger, you`re going to have the number of people dying
increase at a more and more rapid rate, right?
I mean, we still – the basics of this, I feel like, still are escaping the
general discussion here. We still don`t have a cure or a vaccine or even
any effective treatment. So when a lot of people get infected, a lot of
people are going to die. And what we`re seeing in a lot of states right now
is a lot of people getting infected, incredibly steep graphs in terms of
how fast the case numbers are rising each day now, including in really big
states like Florida.
I mean, right now, in terms of the number of people killed by this thing,
we have by far the worst outbreak in the world. After U.S., it`s the U.K.
After the U.K., it`s Brazil. This weekend the far-right president of Brazil
ordered that that country is going to stop reporting its total case numbers
and its total deaths. The president of Brazil already fired his first
health minister, who had said that Brazil was going to need to do social
distancing. He then ousted the next health minister because that one
wouldn`t go along with his Trumpian claims that hydroxychloroquine and
chloroquine would be miracle cures for this thing.
Now, the president of Brazil has just installed a guy in charge of the
health ministry who is just a random guy from the military, who has no
health background whatsoever. And he is shutting down the national
reporting in Brazil of how many people have it and how many people are
dead. He`s just not letting those numbers out anymore.
With our government and what our government is doing right now, just giving
up, not talking about it, pretending it`s not happening, Brazil making that
decision over the weekend, you can almost see the thought bubble over the
White House, right? Brazil did what? Can we do that here? We can just make
the numbers go away?
A lot going on right now, I know, but watch this space. It is not getting
MADDOW: Today the American city hardest hit by coronavirus began its first
phase of reopening. New York City`s long, drastic lockdown succeeded in
flattening the coronavirus growth curve there, ultimately pushing that
But how do you quantify how many people aren`t infected today because of
the measures that were taken? Not just in New York but across the country
and across the world, how can you tell how effective these policies to stop
the spread of the virus are?
Well, a group of researchers at the University of California at Berkeley
set out to answer exactly that question, and they came up with some
stunning results. I`ll tell you upfront, the bottom-line finding their new
study is that all the restrictions that were implemented to slow the spread
of the virus, all the social distancing rules, the closures and the
lockdowns all in all may have prevented over 500 million coronavirus
infections across just six countries, just looking at China, the U.S.,
France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, 500 infections.
Measures in the U.S. may have prevented 60 million cases in this country
alone. The researchers compiled through their own legwork over 1,700
coronavirus containment policies implemented in six different countries,
travel bans, school closures, social distancing mandates, stay-at-home
orders. They mapped the timeline of the implementation of those policies
onto the increase in coronavirus cases in all of those places where those
things were put into effect. As you can see, they did a lot of math here.
But the bottom line is that in the U.S., for instance, on the right here,
that shows the rate at which cases would have increased in the month of
March if case numbers had remained on the growth trajectory they were on
before containment policies were implemented. On the left is the actual
rate at which cases increased because we had containment policies.
There should have been over 5 million confirmed cases by early April.
Instead because of Americans staying home and doing social distancing,
there were less than 400,000 cases.
And what is notable about the study beyond these head-turning top line
numbers is that if you do this math, if you are able to map the effects of
all these hundreds of different policies across different cities and
different regions and different countries, you eventually start to gain
enough data in terms of the impact of these policies that you start to
build a pretty good library. You start to gain potentially a really good
international understanding of which policies reduced infection rates and
how much, which tells us what we ought to do next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: This is the headline in “The San Francisco Chronicle” today. UC-
Berkeley study says COVID-19 prevention measures prevented 500 million
infections. That`s the finding of this new big study of six countries hit
hardest by coronavirus, including the U.S.
By drilling down on what countries did to try to slow the spread of the
virus and when they did it and what the effect was of those policies, a big
study like this can help us see not only what we`ve just been through but
what policies are sort of most worth the time and effort even moving
forward from here.
Joining us now is Solomon Hsiang. He`s chancellor`s professor of public
policy at UC-Berkeley, lead author of this new study.
Professor Hsiang, thanks for making time to help us understand this
tonight. Appreciate you being here.
SOLOMON HSIANG, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC
POLICY: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Let me just first ask if I have described the basics of your study
correctly or if I got anything wrong in the way I tried to sort of top line
HSIANG: No, absolutely. You got the substance of the study. You nailed it
very well. I think the thing to what you`ve said is how we think about the
results of the study.
You know, we`ve been going through a really rough 2020. People have been
working very hard trying to just stay afloat. There`s been tremendous
economic hardship across the country.
Unemployment has been going up, and those costs are very real. People are
suffering. They`re very salient, and it`s been really hard to figure out
what are we getting in return for all of that sacrifice.
What we were trying to do in this study is really understand what were the
benefits of all these policies. We don`t actually see the lives that are
saved. We don`t see the infections that don`t occur.
So what we have to do is try to measure them and construct them and help us
understand what those benefits are so that as we make decisions about
whether, you know, we keep certain policies in place, we`re making an
educated tradeoff between the health benefits and the economic costs. Sort
of looking back, I think, what these results tell us – oh.
MADDOW: I`m sorry. Debt lay makes it awkward. I`m going to ask you what I
think you were going to anyway but tell me if I`m wrong. From looking at
1,700 different national regional and local policies, all these different
approaches that were taken in all these different places, did you and your
colleagues end up with kind of the number line of more bang for your buck
versus less in terms of the impact of these policies and the number of
HSIANG: Yeah, that was a primary goal of the study is to figure out how can
we get the most health benefit for the lowest cost. What we see is around
the world, different policies have different impacts, and I think that
makes a lot of sense because cultures are different. Governments are
implementing policies in different ways.
In the United States, what we see is that business closure, people working
from home, people staying in their homes, those have very large health
benefits. There`s other policies, transportation restrictions, for example,
that don`t have as clear effects.
And there`s other policies still. So, for example, one interesting policy
is school closures. So it`s been really hard for children to stay home all
the time, both on the families and the kids. And we don`t want to say that
it doesn`t matter, but we don`t see really clear evidence that it`s having
big benefits in the data.
MADDOW: One of the things that you said in announcing the results of the
study is a bottom line that sort of stunned me and one of the things maybe
I want to talk to you tonight. You said, I don`t think any human endeavor
has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time. There`s been
huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show
each day made a profound difference.
Do you mean that literally, that this might have been a collective human
endeavor that saved more lives than anything else we`ve ever done?
HSIANG: Absolutely. I think this is an incredible achievement. I mean, the
ability to coordinate millions of people to stay home when they don`t want
to, to take on these tremendous hardships to save other people`s lives,
it`s incredible. It`s – I don`t think it`s ever happened before, and not
just in this country, in countries around the world.
I think, you know, it`s been a really difficult year, and it`s a little
inspiring to think back and realize what it is that we achieved together by
coordinating, cooperating, using science. We did something that`s never
been done in human history, and we should be proud of that. But it`s not
over, you know. It`s still going on.
The roof was falling. We came together. We caught it, and we`re at this
moment just sort of still holding it up.
MADDOW: Solomon Hsiang, chancellor`s professor of public policy at UC-
Berkeley – sir, thank you for your time. Thank you and your colleagues for
this hard work. Thanks for helping us understand.
HSIANG: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s been good to have you with us here tonight. That`s going to do
it for me for now. I will see you again tomorrow.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
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