PPE supply chain TRANSCRIPT: 6/11/20, The Rachel Maddow Show
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: 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 here.
The S&P 500 dropped nearly 6 percent today. The Dow Jones industrial
average dropped nearly 7 percent today, dropped over 1,800 points. Today,
we learned that more than 1.5 million more Americans filed for unemployment
in the past week.
The good news about this statistic is that is – 1.5 million is the lowest
number of Americans who have applied for unemployment in the past ten
weeks. The bad news is that that number today is horrific, and it is still
easily more than double the worst week we ever previously had for
unemployment claims before this crisis, which was back at the absolute
depths of the great recession. Our best week in ten weeks is still more
than twice as bad as it has ever been before. That`s how bad things are.
The economy is officially in recession. The Fed is predicting not only a
severe 6 percent plus economic contraction for the country this year, the
Fed is also predicting that unemployment will stay above 9 percent for the
year, and will stay high beyond that.
And, you know, we have spent all of this breath and ink having these
frankly sort of stupid, substance-free reductive arguments about whether we
as a country should work on trying to stop the coronavirus epidemic here,
or whether we instead shouldn`t do that and we should prioritize our
Well, it turns out, guess what? Having a raging out-of-control coronavirus
epidemic that`s killing tens of thousands of Americans, turns out that
itself is a terrible thing for the economy. And so, yes, the economic
indicators are bad. They have been terrible and they remain so. But you`re
also now seeing the market react as we see headlines all over the country,
as national news organizations stick their heads back above the – and
report things with horror about how things have not gone the way they
thought they should with the pandemic.
Things haven`t turned out the way they were supposed to, the way people
hoped they would when we decided to start as a country pretending that this
thing wasn`t really happening. And so, you`re now seeing headlines like
this and the market reaction.
Here`s “The Washington Post.” Quote: As coronavirus cases rise nationwide,
public health experts urge caution.
Politico.com: Virus cases spike. Governors reject new lockdowns.
“The Associated Press”: Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back
“The New York Times”: Coronavirus infections climb. Washington moves on to
I mean, the thing is it might be fun to try to move on to other business.
But when 800 to 1,000 Americans are dying every day, when we`re looking at
200,000 dead Americans by September at this rate, right, you can only
ignore it so long before people notice the body count if nothing else,
right, if not the rising case count that show that the epidemic is getting
worse and faster in almost half the country.
I mean, here`s – for example, here`s some case numbers. Here`s Alabama,
Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, right? These are their curves, their case
numbers, daily new case numbers each day.
You see what all those curves are showing? This is not the way these things
are supposed to look right now. Remember, everybody said we were going to
have a first wave, and the wave would be over, and it would go down, and
we`d have this really chill, quiet summer where the epidemic was basically
gone. That is not what`s happening.
Here`s Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oregon. Again, this is not the
way it`s supposed to be going after they all reopened, right? And it`s red
states and blue states. Honestly, it seems like it`s disproportionately red
states now where things are getting worse the fastest but it`s some blue
states for sure.
Here`s another four. Here`s South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah. Utah`s
the only one of all these states that I`ve just shown which is at all
considering hitting pause on their reopening plans because their numbers
are not what they were planning on, not what they were hoping on, not what
everybody said they would get. But these numbers, these bad case number
curves, these are real, and they have consequences that even people who
don`t want this to be real are likely to have to pay attention to.
So, you are also seeing now headlines like this in “The Washington Post”
tonight, Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus
resurgence. The only nit I would pick with that headline is it might not be
fears of coronavirus resurgence. It might be evidence of coronavirus
“The New York Times” tonight explaining the market bloodbath today this
way. Wall Street analysts have long cautioned that another wave of
coronavirus cases that lead to a new round of stay at home restrictions and
more layoffs could startle investors. Startling is one way to put it.
But how`s our government doing in the midst of these challenges? How are
they rising to these challenges?
Today, the president went to Dallas, Texas, to do an event focused on race
and policing, OK? A policing event in Dallas. Well, in Dallas, the police
chief is African American. In Dallas, the sheriff is African American. In
Dallas, the local D.A., the lead prosecutor for Dallas, is also African
The president today comes to Dallas for his race and policing event. The
White House invites none of those local officials to the president`s event.
Hmm, all top law enforcement officials in Dallas are all black. None of
them were invited to the president`s event in Dallas to talk about law
Now, the White House says they did invite the mayor of Dallas, Mayor Eric
Johnson, who is also African American. Mayor Johnson`s office told the
White House that he was otherwise engaged, which is understandable. I mean
how would you, the mayor, sort of show your face at the race and policing
event with the president in your town when all of the top law enforcement
people in your town were excluded and they all happen to be black? How
would you go on being the mayor and dealing with law enforcement in your
community if that`s what you did? If you showed up for that when none of
the other folks were invited?
How else is the government doing right now? Well, today, the chairman of
the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, issued a videotaped
straight to camera apology for taking part in that death of the republic
photo-op where he marched out of the White House alongside the president
wearing his combat fatigues and representing the United States military
after the attorney general had ordered federal forces to shoot gas and
rubber bullets at peaceful protesters outside the White House so the
president could go pose for pictures holding a bible on the other side of
General Milley was there at that event, lending his credibility and the
apparent support of the U.S. military in his person to that event with the
president. Later that night, he went out still in his combat fatigues to go
strut around the streets of Washington, D.C., he said to survey the
situation. This was after the president had told the nation`s governors
that day cryptically that he was putting General Milley, quote, in charge.
In charge of what? I don`t know. But having a uniformed general walk around
Washington, D.C. like he owns the place when maybe the president just told
him he does own the place was something more than unsettling.
And we don`t know why it took a week and a half for General Milley to
realize the gravity of what he did wrong there and apologize for it. But he
has apologized for it now, and that itself is an important thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: As many of you
saw the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week, that
sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society.
I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that
environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic
As a commissioned, uniformed officer, it was a mistake that the I learned
from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it. We who wear the cloth
of our nation come from the people of our nation, and we must hold dear the
principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very
essence of our republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, today.
You know, it is a hallmark of this moment in time that I`d guess about half
the country now assumes that because General Milley said that, because he
talked about how people in the military wear the cloth of our nation come
from the people of our nation. We must hold dear the principle of an
apolitical military. I would guess about half the country now assumes that
because General Milley said that, the president will soon find a reason to
replace General Milley with somebody else who either doesn`t feel that way
about the necessity of an apolitical military or someone who at least can
be counted on not to say so out loud.
We are having an extraordinary governing moment right now in our country in
response to the huge protests against police violence and for racial
justice these past couple weeks. Tonight, for example, just before getting
on the air, the whole city council in Louisville, Kentucky, unanimously
signed on as co-sponsors of what they`re calling Breonna`s Law, a measure
to ban the kind of no-knock warrant that was used by police to storm into
EMT Breonna Taylor`s house and shoot her, kill her inside her home this
past March. The city council in Louisville will pass that ban unanimously.
The mayor will sign it, and it will be a total ban on those kinds of
warrants in Louisville, Kentucky.
In Minnesota, the state`s governor has just signed on to a sweeping redo of
policing in that whole state, which among other things would take the
police out of the business of investigating themselves in use of force
cases. It would fund community groups to serve as an alternative to many
functions of the police. It would put the investigation of officer-involved
deaths in the hands of the state attorney general rather than the hands of
Just sweeping reforms, very much focused on accountability for police. And
the state`s governor now says he is on board with that in Minnesota. I
mean, that`s just two little snapshots of things going on, but this is
happening all over the country, the ban on the use of chokeholds. Reform
measures for police departments that are more drastic, more creative, more
progressive than we have seen in a generation. It`s happening all over the
Meanwhile, at his “don`t invite the black police chief policing event” in
Dallas today, the president of our country said out loud that seeing tear
gas used against protesters these past couple of weeks was to him, quote, a
beautiful scene. That was his phrase, a beautiful scene. That was his
phrase, a beautiful scene. He said seeing tear gas used against protesters
was beautiful. He said it was like a knife cutting butter.
You know, I feel like if we have learned one thing over these past three-
plus years, we have learned that the sickness that you feel in hearing that
remark from the president, in reading that quote from the president, the
president loves that that turns your stomach. I mean, the whole point of
him saying stuff like that, of his campaign now making ads out of the
clubbing and beating of protesters, the whole point of it is because he
knows it makes you sick. He lives for your outrage. He lives for our
It`s his one neat trick for political gain and dominating the media –
outrage, distract, polarize, divide, radicalize, demoralize, rinse, repeat.
What am I not supposed to say? Here`s me saying it ten times. Go crazy.
He loves how sickening this is to a big portion of the country, which is
why it`s all the more important to look at what he and his administration
are doing and not just what he`s saying because he says the things he says
to rile you up, to rile up the media, and to start that polarization cycle
that he thinks in the end creates a shard of the American public that would
die for him even as everybody else is demoralized and split from one
another over their outrage at his behavior. That`s why he says the things
he does, right? That`s why his campaign behaves in this constantly
increasingly inflammatory way. It`s designed to have this psychological
effect on us.
So, if you don`t want to have your chain yanked in that way, if you do not
want to be led by him and the way he calculates his political benefit, have
a look at what he and his administration are doing, not what they are
saying, particularly when you can get a look at what they don`t really want
you to know about what they`re doing. So in terms of thinking about today`s
news right now and what is going on at this incredibly dark moment for our
country, I want you to know about two internal Trump administration
documents that have just been dug up and shown to the public despite the
fact that the administration didn`t want to show these things publicly.
The first one comes courtesy of New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie
Hassan, who basically told FEMA that they needed to make public this
otherwise non-public document. It`s a document that shows FEMA`s current
approach to critical medical supplies that are needed for health workers
responding to the ongoing and now once again growing coronavirus epidemic
in our country. This document from FEMA shows specifically that, quote, the
demand for medical gowns outpaces current U.S. manufacturing capabilities.
Also, there is still no U.S.-based manufacturing for Nitrile Gloves.
It says that after months – this document shows that after months of
pressure on federal officials to use wartime powers to mobilize U.S.
manufacturing plants, domestic manufacturing of this stuff, of gowns and
surgical masks and other things like that, those things have only ticked up
by a few thousand per month since the pandemic hit, which falls far short
of the need now let alone any future need as the epidemic continues to grow
So there was that early panic about PPE. Then you started hearing less
about it. Now our need for PPE is once again outpacing what we`ve got on
hand for PPE. What`s FEMA going to do about it as the Federal Emergency
Management Agency in this national emergency?
Well, they do have a plan for dealing with it, a two-part plan, flawless.
First part of their two-part plan is that they think that as a country, as
a matter of course now, we will just widely reuse all of our N95 masks and
all of our medical gowns. That should be fine. Ask a nurse you know how
sustainable that is for the long run and how safe. We`ll stop throwing away
all of our masks and gowns, even the ones that were designed to be disposed
after one use. Nationwide we will just reuse all that stuff. That`s plan –
the first part of their plan.
The second part of the plan is that FEMA is expecting that things will get
better. This is from this FEMA document that Senator Hassan has now forced
into public view. Quote, steadily declining COVID hospitalization rates
should reduce daily hospital PPE usage. But demand through summer may
remain constant as hospitals and states replenish stockpiles and to meet
So, yeah, they may want to build up their supplies again. They may need to
artificially have extra on hand in order to meet reopening requirements,
but they`re not actually going to be using a lot of PPE anymore, not with
coronavirus hospitalizations dropping like we expect them to through the
summer. They`ll drop off, right?
I mean, FEMA is assuming that COVID hospitalizations are going to drop like
a stone through the summer, at least through June and July, because that`s
what everybody is saying is going to happen in the summer, right? It`s just
supposed to go away?
I mean, if that`s the hope, I understand the desire to hope for something
like that. If that`s the plan for the Federal Emergency Management Agency
in terms of how we are going to deal with this as a country of 300 million-
plus people, if the plan is to expect hospitalizations to drop because it`s
summer, if that`s the plan, we are in trouble because what`s driving all
those national headlines now about worrying resurgence, worrying case
numbers, right? Worrying growth in coronavirus and the signs of the
epidemic all over the country.
It`s because among other things, we`re seeing hospitalizations go through
the roof in multiple states all at once. And, no, when hospitalizations go
up, it`s not a sign that you`re doing more testing. It`s a sign that you`ve
got more people sick because your epidemic is big and growing.
Texas, for example, has seen a 42 percent increase in hospitalizations
since Memorial Day weekend. Total cases in teas, total cases in Texas have
shot up by one-third in just the past two weeks. But their
hospitalizations, up 42 percent since Memorial Day weekend.
In Arkansas, total cases have shot up by a third in the past one week. In
Arkansas, hospitalizations are up nearly 90 percent since Memorial Day.
In South Carolina, since the end of May, daily new case numbers have
doubled. South Carolina has set a new record for new cases in that state in
14 out of the last 15 days. The state epidemiologist in South Carolina
saying last night in a public press conference, quote, I am more concerned
about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I have ever been before.
In the southwest, this was the front page of the “Arizona Daily Star”
today. Arizona cases surging. Hospitals hit 83 percent capacity. But don`t
FEMA has a plan for keeping all of our hospitals supplied with the PPE they
need to deal with lots of COVID patients and full wards and full ICUs.
FEMA`s plan is that hospitalizations will probably drop a lot in months
that start with “J.” That`s the – that`s the plan.
This is the other document you should also see. This one`s from the CDC.
This was obtained by reporter Christopher Wilson at Yahoo News. This puts
our response, our epidemic in this country, in context against what`s going
on right now in the other top ten worst-hit countries on Earth.
And in this case blue is a good sign. Red is a bad sign. So you see the
list of the top ten countries there, USA, Brazil, Russia, U.K., India,
Spain, Italy, Peru, Germany. Germany, in terms of its percentage change in
daily cases, this over the past three ways, again, way better. Over the
past three days, new cases down almost 50 percent.
Italy, also good. Italy also down almost 40 percent. Spain, down over 25
percent. That`s good. The U.K. is down as well. The U.K. is down just over
20 percent, all good.
In terms of the color coding here, you can see we`re now getting to the
countries that are doing slightly less well. Iran is not that much worse
than the U.K., but they`re down just under 20 percent in terms of their new
cases over the last three days. Brazil is down just about 10 percent in new
cases, which is not enough of a drop really for them to turn things around.
I mean, the top ten worst epidemics where it`s still getting worse. This is
places where things look bad, right? You see it starting to get into red
there. India, Peru, and Russia, cases there are actually rising now. They
no longer dropping, they`re rising 1 percent, 2 percent, even 5 percent
over the course of the last three days. That`s bad.
And then there`s us, with already the worst epidemic on earth, and our case
numbers between June 6th and June 9th rose 36 percent in those three days.
And we`ve already got the biggest epidemic on Earth by, you know, a factor
triple – we`re already more than triple the – I mean, it`s – whether you
want to talk about that or not, if you`ve got the largest epidemic on Earth
and you`ve got 2 million cases and you`ve got 110,000 people dead and
you`ve got 21 states where cases are rising, and your case numbers are
rising 36 percent in three days when you`re already this bad, whether you
want to talk about that or not, if that`s your economy, that`s your
markets, that`s your politics, that`s your governance, that`s everything,
that`s is a national disaster.
It`s not a national disaster that we`ve been through and we`re trying to
get out the other side of it. It`s a national disaster right now.
Laurie Garrett joins us next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Remember February? Seems like a lifetime ago.
In late February, coronavirus had been found in three dozen countries
around the world. About 80,000 people were infected worldwide. Less than
3,000 people had died.
On February 25th, a senior officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control,
Dr. Nancy Messonnier came right out and said it, said what was going to
happen in this country. She said in a telephone briefing with reporters
that a coronavirus outbreak in this country was inevitable. It was not a
matter of if but when.
And she said that, quote, disruption to everyday life might be severe, that
it was time to start having tough talks within our families and our
communities, the kind of tough talk she said that she herself was starting
to have, including about closing schools, closing businesses, reorienting
businesses to operate remotely, all the stuff that is now just our new
version of regular life.
That night, after that shocking briefing from that CDC official in
February, I was joined on this show by Pulitzer Prize-winning science
journalist Laurie Garrett, who spent three decades covering infectious
disease outbreaks all over the world.
And I asked Laurie Garrett about what we heard from the CDC, the sudden and
suddenly dire warning from the CDC official. It was back at a time when we
had a CDC that was allowed to speak to the public. But Dr. Nancy
Messonnier`s warning was shocking at the time.
This is what Laurie Garrett had to say about that. Again, this was
February. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do you feel like the U.S. government is sort of timing those kinds
of public alerts correctly? Are we past due for that sort of thing? Is that
– is it possible that it could cause an overreaction at this point?
LAURIE GARRETT, HEALTH POLICY ANALYST: It`s long overdue. We should have
been ready already, and we`re not.
Every single company that has more than a handful of employees should have
an epidemic plan in place. Do you have a way so that your workers can work
remotely and not come in, not congregate, not infect others in the
Every school, every university should be looking at how to have more and
more of the coursework be handled remotely.
And we don`t have enough protective gear stockpiled or available in
inventory to supply all those personnel in the United States right now.
Today, Rachel, in Geneva, they held a press briefing that went on and on
and on, almost an hour and a half long. And it featured leaders of this
team that had gone into China to investigate what`s the status of the
situation right now. And they said in no uncertain terms, everybody should
do what China did.
Well, now, can you imagine? We`re going to shut down 100 million Americans?
We`re going to shut every business in America?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was February 25th. You can see how long that was – long ago
that was in part by how close I was sitting to Laurie Garrett when we had
The idea that America would need to shift to those kinds of responses at
that point was mind-blowing.
But, you know, being right is one thing. Being right in advance when nobody
else can see it and it sounds like what you`re saying is science fiction,
that`s not just a blessing. That`s a national resource. That is somebody
worth listening to and going back to.
Joining us now is Laurie Garrett. She`s a health policy analyst, Pulitzer
prize-winning science journalist.
Laurie, I appreciate you making time to come back tonight. Thank you for
GARRETT: Well, thank you.
MADDOW: I`m grateful in – I was grateful at the time. I`m grateful in
retrospect for how loud you were about what was coming even when nobody
else was talking in the terms that you were talking.
I have to ask you, I sort of just – I don`t want to guide you too much. I
want to ask you big picture where you think we are right now. I feel very
concerned about the number of states where the case numbers and the
hospitalization numbers are rising every day now. How do you feel about
where we are, particularly this many months into it?
GARRETT: Oh, I think we`re in terrible shape. I think that the
reproductive rate of the epidemic, meaning the rate at which any one
individual is likely to infect another individual, is well above 1, which
means that it`s still growing. It may not be growing at the astronomical
rates that were occurring in March, but it is still growing. We haven`t
snuffed it out. And in certain communities, it`s growing very frighteningly
In fact, one of the communities where you can see a graph that just
suddenly in the last seven days went whew is Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the
president will be holding a campaign rally very soon. And that rate of
growth, that sudden surge, while the absolute numbers may be small because
the population isn`t enormous, that level of curve is really, really
indicative of an out-of-control situation.
And we can see in isolated communities all over the United States a similar
trend. Meanwhile, you know, when we talked back in February, we thought –
I thought that we were on the cusp of a truly global pandemic. We now not
only are beyond the cusp, we`re fully into it, and the southern hemisphere
is now raging as they go into their winter.
So now every single one of the sort of second-tier economies, the so-called
bricks economies, every single one of them has a giant epidemic going on
right now. India, you know, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, go
down the list. Meanwhile, in Europe, while they seem to have generally
declined in most of Europe with the U.K. still very much struggling, the
economic impact is absolutely staggering. A new report just out this week
from the OECD, which is basically the financial club of the richest
countries on Earth, estimates that every single country in Europe, every
single country in the OECD, is going to see a negative GDP.
So their economies are going to be going backwards. In some of them, it`s
really bad. I mean, the U.K., France, Italy are going to be approaching
negative 15 percent GDP. I mean, that`s Great Depression. That`s
staggering, staggering. You know, we were – after 2008, we were gasping
because we were down to only positive 1 percent growth.
Well, now, they`re predicting for the United States negative 8.5 percent.
You know, to put this in perspective, Rachel, the worst-case scenario
pandemic plan that I saw last year said, gee, if it got really bad, we
might have negative 4 percent GDP in the world.
Well, just this week the World Bank predicted the entire global economy,
every single country on earth collectively is going into a negative 5.2
percent GDP. So that`s 5.2 percent of the wealth of the planet just
shrinks. And amidst all of that, we have a pandemic, and it`s not just
miraculously going to stop. It`s not miraculously going away.
And here in the United States, we just have no national policy. We have no
consistent strategy across the nation. There`s no guidance coming to states
in any coherent way from the CDC. They`ve essentially been quieted.
And the whole entire stock market has been hanging by its fingernails until
today when reality started to set in, thinking, OK, we got to have a
vaccine. We got to have a vaccine, and that`s going to get us out of this.
We got to have a vaccine.
Well, what, Rachel, happens if either one of the frontline vaccines doesn`t
work properly or it gives a very weak immune response that`s not truly
protective, or worse yet it actually causes a negative side effect? Then
what does the market do? Wow, I mean stand back and watch your dust settle.
MADDOW: Laurie, in terms of the options that we have as a country, you
just said that we have basically no national policy and no coherent advice.
I mean, we`ve seen the failures in terms of the CDC as a world-class
organization become what it is right now. We`ve seen the White House
leadership on this evaporate to a large extent. I mean, to the extent it
was wrong headed, it`s now just gone. We do see states sort of running
around like chickens with their heads cut off not knowing what to do.
My question for you is this – as we see 83 percent hospital usage already
in Arizona with the numbers still going on, as we see Texas, 42 percent
rise in hospitalizations since Memorial Day, as we see Arkansas even worse
than Texas along those lines, we see the sort of strange we`re going to see
on health care systems as this epidemic just does its thing, do we have
options for trying to respond in ways that are coherent and that will make
a difference that are along the same lines as the options that we had in
February and March, or have some of our options evaporated because our
epidemic is mature and large now, and so, therefore, we can`t do some of
the things we might have otherwise done when it was in an earlier stage?
GARRETT: I think our options for much of the country have indeed shrunk.
Here in New York where I am seated right now, we have brought this epidemic
down to a really manageable, almost victorious level after more than eight
weeks of the entire city being under shutdown and a tremendous amount of
sacrifice and hard work by literally tens of thousands of people. That
needs to be mirrored around the country before – and by the way, we`re
only like gingerly going into phase one of opening this week. There are
parts of the country that have never been on full lockdown, never brought
their numbers down for any consistent period of time, and they`re already
going into phase three opening, meaning just about everything is going to
be opened, almost every kind of retail operation, almost all sorts of
service operations, even reopening travel across state lines and so on.
I mean, this is just irrational. And I think, you know, here in New York
you`re going to hit a point where you`re going to here a hue and cry from
people who sacrificed so much, including their jobs and their kids going to
school all these weeks, and now what? A traveler is going to come from
Florida where those restrictions have all been lifted and reintroduce COVID
to New York? How do you think New Yorkers will feel about that?
You see, here`s where the insanity is. We don`t have a national strategy,
Rachel. So what`s going to happen as this evolves over the summer and the
disappointment gets worse, the weather gets warmer, people really want to
be at the beach, they want to be out and seeing one another, they`re fed up
with being under lockdown, you`re going to start to see more and more
animosity between states, more and more tension within states, across
counties that have low levels versus counties with skyrocketing levels.
The kind of solidarity that is absolutely essential to conquering a disease
like this is evaporating very fast before our eyes. And, you know, just to
remind you because some of your audience may not have even been, you know,
adult and paying attention when H1N1 exploded, the swine flu in 2009. But
to put that in perspective, the CDC was fully in charge and did at least
one full borne press briefing every single day and did briefings for
governors, every day did briefings for state health leaders, county health
The level of engagement was enormous, and the degree to which all of us
looked to Atlanta to hear what`s the latest, what advice are you giving us
was absolute. The result was that we had consistent policies across all 50
states and the territories. We knew what supplies everybody needed. We knew
what vaccines everybody was going to get. We don`t have any of that now.
MADDOW: Laurie Garrett, health policy analyst, Pulitzer Prize-winning
science journalist, person from whom I learn something new every time I
talk to you. Laurie, thank you. It`s terrible news but thank you for your
clarity. I appreciate you being here.
GARRETT: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Just about three weeks ago, the young charismatic mayor of
Montgomery, Alabama, pulled the proverbial fire alarm. He gave a stark
public warning about the hospitals in his city filling up and reaching
capacity. This was the front page of the Montgomery advertiser after he
gave that warning. Montgomery hospitals down to one ICU bed.
This is why the mayor gave that warning. It was about that limitation on
resources while this was the snapshot of their total cases, rising steeply
in Montgomery County, Alabama. That was the accumulated total. This was the
daily increase in cases in Montgomery. Bad, right?
You`ve already got that limitation on resources, and your case numbers are
still trending up like that every day? So he sounded the alarm, and we
asked him to be here on the show. Three weeks ago today Montgomery`s Mayor
Stephen Reed was here to talk about the situation in his city. He said that
night that his city was, quote, at a point where we can see the cliff, and
we don`t want to get too close to it for fear of falling off.
Well, tonight, three weeks later, Montgomery has been teetering on the edge
of that cliff for all these three weeks. Look at the situation there. Look
at how they have been coping.
Cases in Montgomery County still on the rise, unabated. This arrow shows
where Montgomery was three weeks ago, and you can see cases still rising
every day after that. Whatever they were hoping to engender in terms of
slowing the spread of the virus among people in Montgomery County, it did
Also look at the chart of day by day cases. Still more spikes in daily new
cases in Montgomery.
Now, as for hospitalizations, well, this is from the Alabama political
reporter in terms of how Montgomery is coping. Quote: Combined the four
major hospitals in Montgomery are treating more positive patients as of
Tuesday this week than at any point since the pandemic began.
Here`s the head of the Alabama hospital association. Quote, we`re just
full. I mean, this situation is just not sustainable. The filling up and
spilling over of hospitals in Alabama, specifically in Montgomery, the
steady rise in new cases also comes as people have been gathering on the
streets of Montgomery and elsewhere in Alabama in protest over the death of
George Floyd and protest against police violence and in favor of racial
Multiple protests, crowded protests over the last few weeks have added a
new layer of complexity to a public health crisis and to how to govern
responsibly and effectively in the middle of this coming from all sides.
Montgomery`s Mayor Steven Reed joins us again next. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEVEN REED (D-AL), MONTGOMERY: Right now, in Montgomery, we`re at a
point where we can see the cliff, and we don`t want to get too close to it
for fear of falling off. And that`s when we sounded the alarm –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was – that was Montgomery, Alabama Mayor Steven Reed
speaking on this show three weeks ago, sounding the alarm about hospital
capacity in his city as the state of Alabama continued reopening despite
the steady climb in coronavirus cases there.
Now three weeks later, three weeks after he sounded that alarm, cases are
still climbing and the hospitals in Montgomery are worth worrying about.
Joining us now is Mayor Steven Reed of Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Mayor,
thank you so much for making time to be with us this evening. When we first
spoke, I said I wanted us to stay in touch. I wanted you to keep us apprise
about how things are going in Montgomery. So this is me checking back in
How are things going in your city?
REED: Rachel, I wish I could say they were going a lot better, but
unfortunately they`re going in the wrong direction. We`re at a point right
now that we`ll surpass where we were in May, and we`re only through the
first 11 days of June. And, unfortunately, while we have beds and
ventilators available, we are full, and we are at capacity in our ICU beds
here in Montgomery.
And we just can`t seem to get people to understand that we have not won the
battle with COVID-19 yet, and we have to continue to remain vigilant in
this process. Right now in the city, it seems as though some people are
wearing masks, some others are not. And I think that`s problematic
regarding the tread line that we would like to see versus the one that is
the reality right now.
MADDOW: When you say that you`re full, I saw the quote this week from the
head of the hospital association saying this is not just sustainable. We
are just full.
But yet you say there are still beds available. People can still be treated
when they come to the hospitals.
How are the hospitals dealing with that in terms of flex capacity, in terms
of moving people between different wards, in terms of how they`re handling
being full but still needing to take in new cases, new patients, both those
with COVID and those without?
REED: Right now, what we`re being told is that they`re able to see
patients. They`re able to deal with people as they come in. It`s just that
the ICU beds that are full but they have capacity to convert other rooms
into ICU units. So they feel like it is a manageable situation right now,
but it`s not one that we can sustain.
And the problem with that is that our hospital staff is fatigued. They`re
emotionally and physically worn out, and we`re starting to see some of
those cracks. And I think for a community such as ours, we have to remind
ourselves that we each have a responsibility in this, and we each have to
make sure that although we want to get to the end of this series so to
speak, we aren`t there yet. We`re still in the beginning or maybe the
middle at best of this battle with the covid-19 virus, and we have to do
those things that we were doing just a couple of months ago.
But right now, we haven`t been doing those, and in talking with Dr. Scott
Harris, our director for the Department of Public Health, he believes this
is the perfect timing for what can be traced back to Memorial Day weekend.
And this is about that incubation time to see an outbreak when people
gathered together over Memorial Day and certainly days before and after
that are producing some of these results and these skyrocketing numbers.
MADDOW: Mr. Mayor, are you concerned that – I know you had some healthy
protests in Montgomery, Alabama, just like pretty much every state in the
country – every city in the country did in terms – in the wake of George
Floyd`s killing and these racial justice protests. Are you concerned that
that may also have been a factor in terms of new cases and new exposures in
your state and in your city?
REED: I think that we`ll see those results coming in the next few days and
weeks, and I certainly understand those protesters who wanted to get out
there to express their rage, their anger, and their frustration at the
system. Here in Montgomery, they were very peaceful. They were very
purposeful, and we made it our priority to hear exactly what their
complaints were and what changes they wanted to see.
So I think that we will see some of those – the impact of those protests
in the upcoming days. What I think we see right now is this being a wedge
issue, unfortunately, and some people choosing to abide by the social
distancing guidelines and others who are not.
And unfortunately if you`re in the grocery store, if you`re out and about,
you don`t know who`s asymptomatic or who`s pre-symptomatic, or who is
symptomatic. What we know is not enough people are wearing masks. Not
enough people are staying at home. And we cannot sustain this rate of
infection that is going on not only in Montgomery but in other parts of
MADDOW: Mayor Steven Reed of the great city of Montgomery, really
appreciate you taking the time to join us again, sir. You are one of the
most hard-hit cities in the country. Keep us apprised. We want to keep a
national focus on what`s going on there. Good luck to you, sir.
REED: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One quick heads-up before we go. Trump national security adviser
Mike Flynn pled guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his contact with the
Russian government. Under the tender ministrations of Attorney General Bill
Barr, the Justice Department nevertheless decided they would drop the
prosecution of Mike Flynn.
Tomorrow morning, a federal appeals court is going to hear arguments on
whether they are going to force the judge in Flynn`s criminal case to go
along with that, to go along with dropping the prosecution despite the fact
that he twice pled guilty.
Those arguments are going to be fascinating. They`re going to be
livestreamed. You can listen in starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow
morning, which I`m very much looking forward to doing myself.
That`s going to do it for us tonight, though. We`ll see you again tomorrow
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the