George Floyd’s death TRANSCRIPT: 6/8/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Lisa Bender, Phillip Atiba Goff, Solomon Hsiang



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.





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.




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

community safety.


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.



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

for everything.


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

for, right?


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



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.





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

wrong way.




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.





the lower level of what was projected if we did the shutdown.




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.




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).




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

any better.




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

curve downward.


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.



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

it there.


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

infections prevented?


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.




Good evening, Lawrence.






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