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Markets tumble TRANSCRIPT: 3/18/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Phil Murphy, Ron Klain, Craig Spencer, Chris Murphy




CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. It 

has now been nearly two months since the first coronavirus case was 

confirmed here in the United States, case numbers have exploded 

exponentially since then. The first confirmed case in the U.S. came in 

January on March 1st. By the NBC News count, we were at 89 cases by March 

10th. Nine days later, we`d shut up to 781 cases. And now today just eight 

days after that, we`re crossing 8,000 cases and counting. 


Of course, that`s just the measurements we have with the limited testing 

capacity. 139 people have died in the United States from the virus so far. 

Italy, which was hit hard before we were, just had its worst day yet, 

reporting 475 deaths in a single day. That`s an increase from about 350 the 

day before. It brings its total deaths from coronavirus to nearly 3,000. 


Now, two important things to note here. One, deaths are probably the 

biggest lagging indicator we have as this pandemic makes its way through a 

specific locale. People who are succumbing to this virus now are almost 

certainly people that were probably infected two weeks ago. And number two, 

10 days ago, Italy instituted essentially a national quarantine in a 

desperate attempt to slow the impact of the virus, which left its streets 

largely empty. We should soon start to have a sense of how effective that 

measure has been.


Meanwhile, here in the U.S., it remains difficult for many to get testing. 

The testing capability continues to lag disastrously behind other developed 

countries. As of a week ago, we only tested 23 people per million in the 

U.S. That puts us far behind our fears including South Korea where 

widespread testing has played a huge role in controlling a virus. 


Right now, testing capacity is shooting up as our nation is in the process 

of shutting down. 38 states has shut down K through 12 schools. Nearly 

seven million people in Northern California are under a Shelter in Place 

Order. Bars, gyms stores, other spaces have closed in much of the country. 

And as some Americans continue to blindly ignore the virus and put others 

at risk, many of us are now practicing self-distancing, or even in some 

cases self-quarantine. 


Right now, the worst centers the outbreak includes Seattle and here in New 

York City are preparing for an onslaught of emergency room visits. It`s 

already coming as they see more and more patients. There is still, along 

with the testing shortage, there is urgent shortage of protective personal 

equipment for frontline health care workers. 


You know what it looks like. We`ve been running B-roll of this all over the 

world for two months, all right. We already know that healthcare workers 

around the country are testing positive. We`re going to talk about that. 

And meanwhile, the social and economic consequences continue to set in for 

all of us. Both in our personal allies, as those of us with young children, 

home from school for the indefinite future found ourselves and our spouses 



And in our economy where the leading indicators in the past few days are 

signaling just enormous devastation. The Dow tumbled dramatically again 

today, nearly wiping out the entirety of the gains that is seen during the 

Trump presidency. A wave of workers has been filing for unemployment after 

losing jobs due to the virus. 


Consider this. Ohio`s three-day total for jobless claims for Tuesday was 

78,000 compared with only about 3,000 for the same period last week. JP 

Morgan Chase is now forecasting a staggering 14 percent drop in GDP in the 

second quarter, 14 percent. 


Facing what is already an economic disaster, the Republican-led Senate 

today passed a second coronavirus aid bill, which came from the Democratic-

lead House after frankly, inexcusable five-day delay for Mitch McConnell 

who`s sent his whole Senate caucus home and went back to Kentucky for the 

three day weekend. 


Late tonight, we learned that one of the Republican House members that 

voted to pass that emergency coronavirus legislation is also the first 

member of Congress to contract the virus or at least the first to test 

positive. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, the brother of my NBC 

News colleague Jose Diaz-Balart tweeting tonight, he tested positive for 

the virus but is feeling much better. 


The bill that was passed in the House now passed in the Senate awaiting the 

president`s signature mandates free testing for the virus as well as paid 

emergency leave for those infected or caring for a family member. It also 

includes additional money for Medicaid, which is key as Medicaid will have 

to pick up a lot of the funding slack for overwhelmed state health systems. 

It provides food assistance and expanded unemployment benefits.


Now, that`s just the start, OK. There is another stimulus package we know 

is coming down the pike. The White House seems to be coming around to the 

idea of direct cash assistance and small business assistance both of which 

are needed. Airlines have requested a $50 billion bailout with White House 

support after, we should note, having spent billions in recent years 

increasing executive pay and investor returns. 


Right now, we are I keep saying this but it keeps being true. And 

unprecedented terrain. Everyone, all of us are figuring this out by the 

minute by the hour by the day. There are people who are seizing leadership 

in these times that are experts to consult with. We`re going to talk to 

them tonight. 


My first guest, Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy. Governor, 

how are things in your state at this hour?


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Chris, good to be with you. We`re doing everything 

we can to stay out ahead of this, but we`re fighting the fight. We started 

meeting on this in January. We formed a statewide Task Force on February 

2nd, whole of government, but we`re battling. We`ve got 427 cases up 162, 

by the way, overnight, five fatalities. We`re doing everything we can to 

flatten that curve as aggressively and proactively as we can, and at the 

same time, build capacity in our healthcare system and protect our 

healthcare workers. You can`t do one without the other. 


And as you suggested, this comes with an enormous economic toll on 

individuals on small businesses. And frankly, the states are stepping into 

that void. And we`re going to need help in a big way from the federal 

government. I`ll bet you in our region, that`s probably to the tune of $100 

billion of block grants for New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania 

at a minimum. What we`re doing, we`re fighting the fight and doing 

everything we can to stay out ahead of this. 


HAYES: Let me ask you some specifics. A few things that have been raised. 

First of all, testing capacity has ramped up in some places and not as much 

in others. It continues to be quite uneven. What is the testing capacity 

look like in New Jersey? How far are you from being where you need to be?


MURPHY: Well, we`re still not there, but it is expanding and it`s expanding 

meaningfully. We`re going to open our first drive-through testing site for 

symptomatic folks. On Friday, in Bergen County, which is our hardest-hit 

county, we hope to have a second drive-through testing opened early week. 


And by the way, part of the reason the numbers are going up is certainly 

because of the community spread element here, particularly in some of our 

counties, but it`s also because our testing capabilities are ramping up so 

more people are testing for the virus. But that -- you know, we`re not 

where we need to be on the testing front, but we are with each passing day 

getting closer.


HAYES: What about personal protective equipment for healthcare workers? 

I`ve been hearing -- I`ve been overwhelmed with messages from frontline 

health care workers, talking about it being rash and talking about not 

having access to it, really concerned about that. What does that look like 

in your state?


MURPHY: Yes, not nearly where it needs to be. We had a call today with the 

heads of our hospital systems and healthcare systems, along with 

representatives of the extraordinary healthcare workers, they are our 

heroes. We have put in now a couple of times a very large ask of the 

strategic stockpile in the federal government. I`m gratified we got a 

fraction of our requests last Thursday night overnight. 


We`ve ordered million N-95 ourselves, but that`s probably still a month 

away. We really need another slug from the federal government. And that`s 

something that we`re in conversations with Vice President Pence and his 

colleagues. We`re not where we need to be. We need a lot more personal 

protective equipment. And we`ll keep that at until we get it.


HAYES: Finally, I want to talk about coordinating this all with other 

states. I know that you and Governor Lamont and Cuomo have been 

coordinating on things like you know, sort of shutting down restaurants and 

bars, things like that. How is that coordination working? Why is it so 

important for you to work with them on these things?


MURPHY: It`s working quite well. And I want to give them a shout out as 

well as Governor Wolf from Pennsylvania. The coordination matters here. 

There`s impact with bigger numbers. When -- you know, I mentioned we were 

as aggressive as any American state at flattening the curve, restricting 

travel between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for essential folks only shutting 

bars and restaurants, shutting all of our schools, calling up the National 

Guard, shutting gyms, theaters, casinos, etcetera. 


If you only do that as one state, you know, given our location, we`re the 

densest state in America, we got neighbors right beside us, that`s not 

enough. So, doing it in coordination with New York, Connecticut, 

Pennsylvania, in particular, I hope that list -- that list expands that has 

much more power and has much more of an impact on flattening the curve. 


Again, as I said, that does not come without economic consequences, and 

they are enormous. And that notion of block grants to help our states to 

continue to provide those services for the individuals and small business 

is going to be essential.


HAYES: All right, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, thank you for being with 



MURPHY: Thanks, Chris. 


HAYES: The President`s tone and rhetoric has shifted somewhat over the last 

few days, but rhetoric is not going to get the job done. There is a ton of 

governing capacity in the federal government that needs to be marshaled in 

every way possible. Shockingly, right now, almost none of it is being 



A stunning story in New York Times goes through all the ways in which the 

Trump ministration has failed to enlist the full force of the federal 

government. They report the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is 

legally the nation`s backup healthcare system and national emergencies is 

still waiting for request to help. The system of emergency doctors and 

nurses around the country known as the National Disaster Medical system has 

not received orders beyond caring for quarantine to cruise ship passengers. 


A spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers, which has aided in major 

disasters like Hurricane Katrina, told The Times, "The U.S. Army Corps of 

Engineers is prepared to assist the nation in times of crisis to the very 

best of its capabilities. We are postured to lean forward when an official 

request is received through the Department Defense. However, at this time, 

we have not been assigned a mission. 


Joining me now are Ron Klain, who served as the U.S. Ebola Response 

Coordinator under President Barack Obama, and Dr. Craig Spencer, and 

emergency room doctor who`s practice all over the world battling infectious 

diseases. You may remember his name because he was the doctor who volunteer 

to go fight the Ebola epidemic in 2014 and then contracted the disease.


Ron, I want to start with you on this sort of the shocking Times stories, 

and some of the things we`ve heard coming out of the administration even 

today saying that they`re going to sign off on the Defense Production Act, 

which would allow sort of wartime mobilization in factories. And the 

president tweeting today, "we`ll do it as a last resort." What is your 

assessment of what capacity there is to be utilized that`s not being 




listen to you talk to Governor Murphy, and I feel like we`re in 1786 under 

the Articles of Confederation here. I mean, you know, the governors are 

getting together to solve problems. I got great respect for Governor 

Murphy, Governor Cuomo, Governor Lamont, Governor Wolf. It`s great they`re 

doing that. 


But we have a federal government for a reason. Like we passed the 

constitution and created a country for a reason. And that`s particularly 

when this kind of nationwide threat faces ourselves that the government, 

the federal government mobilizes. And so far, I agree, President Trump`s 

rhetoric is bad in the past -- better than the past few days, but where is 

the action? 


You`re still hearing state after state where there aren`t tests. You`re 

hearing state after state where there`s been no help on increasing their 

hospital capacity, on moving the PPE, the protective gear to where it needs 

to be. We`re about to face a three-pronged tsunami in our healthcare 

system, a lack of adequate hospital beds, a lack of adequate gear, and 

healthcare workers knocked out by the virus. Only the federal government 

can solve those problems. And so far, better talk from Washington, but not 

enough action.


HAYES: Dr. Spencer, you have battled infectious diseases in the most dire 

circumstances in the frontlines of Ebola, and you`ve practiced all over the 

world. From your experience, what do we need right now at the sort of 

ground-level point of care in the next few weeks?



UNIVERSITY: Yes, well, I think the most important question when you say, 

what do we need right now? Well, we needed to be preparing for this weeks 

ago, as Ron knows better than really anybody else. Preparation and 

coordination are the things that save the most lives, in any response be at 

a pandemic or any global health emergency. 


We are well past the ball on that, unfortunately. We need to be ramping up, 

you know, the millions of tests we were told we were going to have a couple 

of weeks ago. All around the city, we are still discharging patients that 

are not being tested, that have a very high likelihood of being -- of being 

positive, because we just don`t have the capacity to be doing that right 



That`s hampering our response. That`s putting more of my colleagues and my 

friends in emergency rooms and ICUs all throughout the country at greater 

risk. The other issue that Ron really pointed out is that there`s 

increasing concern that we`re not going to have enough personal protective 

equipment for us to do our job well.


I was thinking about this today. One thing that I never feared in West 

Africa, treating Ebola patients was having enough personal protective 

equipment. And so that`s something that I`m hearing a lot from my friends, 

from my colleagues, how are you going to protect ourselves? Are we hearing 

different guidance on what masks to be using because we don`t have the 

right types of masks?


This is something that needs to happen now. There needs to be decisive 

action. And unfortunately, we`re already a couple weeks behind the curve, 

and we need to be acting as quick as possible to make sure people on the 

frontline have the supplies they need to keep themselves safe, to keep 

their families safe, to keep everyone else safe.


HAYES: To Dr. Spencer`s point about Ebola. I mean, one of the things that 

was noted in that article is the Army Corps of Engineers was deployed to 

Liberia, I believe, Ron, where it essentially built a command center to 

stand up the sort of U.S. aided response abroad to the pandemic, right? 

You`ve also got -- I mean, there -- I`ve been talking to people over the 

last few days. There are all sorts of protocols in place. 


The defense production act is one example. The USS Comfort, which is, of 

course, the hospital ship, which was announced to great fanfare it`s coming 

and it won`t be here for three weeks. There`s stuff there off the shelf to 

access that I feel like is not being accessed.


KLAIN: Yes, absolutely. And first of all, again, great credit to all the 

people who went to West Africa to fight this disease. Dr. Spencer, a great 

hero, the members of the 101st Airborne. We sent them from Kentucky to West 

Africa to fight this disease, to do logistical support, build a treatment 

units, help with transportation, whatnot. We put 10,000 people on the 

ground in West Africa to fight this disease over there. 


What are we doing to fight this disease here in the United States? As Dr. 

Spencer says, the men and women like him, the doctors, the nurses, 

healthcare workers, they are in the front lines right now. Our hospital 

emergency rooms are filling up. And they are -- they`re putting themselves 

in the front face of this disease, and that`s obviously something we should 

be thankful for. They`re grateful for their bravery, but the problem is 

when they get sick, it`s not just a problem for them, it`s a problem for 

us, as there aren`t doctors and nurses to treat us, and not just for 



Today, a bunch of nurses in Philadelphia had to leave the hospital in the 

labor and delivery room because they got the virus and they can`t deliver 

babies This is going to affect right our entire healthcare system, not just 

the virus, but every aspect of medical care in this country. 


HAYES: You know, Dr. Spencer, you`ve -- you have practiced medicine in many 

different places around the world and has seen systems of medical care in 

different places, and state capacity. And that to me is really what we`re 

sort of up against here. It`s a question of American state capacity. What 

does the federal government have the capacity to do? What can it do? How do 

you rate what we`re seeing, given that sort of competitive experience you 



SPENCER: Yes, that`s a tough question. You know, I think what Ron has 

pointed out is that we need the federal government to really step in to be 

you know, not telling Governor`s to go find ventilators themselves, but be 

thinking about how we can produce more of them at home as quickly as 



I know that we need local and we need regional guidance and coordination on 

this. That`s the way that we`re going to get the biggest benefit from this. 

But, you know, one thing that I`ve been telling a lot of people is that 

I`ve worked in a lot of places, I`ve worked in the middle of civil wars. 


For me, what I`m thinking about in the next couple weeks is, and I hate the 

war analogy, but how do we do mass casualty triage, knowing that we`re 

really behind the ball in terms of testing with concerns about lockout of 

PPE. If you look at what`s happened in Italy, 10 percent of the infections 

are in healthcare staff. And we need to be thinking about how we`re going 

to be preparing for that worst-case scenario. 


I personally am used to working the worst-case scenario, but I know that`s 

really daunting for a lot of my colleagues. So we all need to be there 

right now to support them.


HAYES: I don`t want to sort of lean too far into the doom here. But when 

you say, mass casualty triage, what do you mean by that?


SPENCER: Well, I mean, I think the concern is, you know, we`re -- 

especially here in New York City and in many places throughout the country 

in big urban areas, we already have hospitals that are full. We have ICU`s 

that are already full. Now, we have been canceling elective surgeries, 

hopefully everywhere. We`ve been reducing and kind of shifting people out 

from those hospital beds. 


But you know, everyone that comes into the emergency room, whether they`re 

there for coronavirus, or they`re there for a delivery, or a heart attack, 

if we don`t have the providers, the protection, the personnel, and really 

the capacity to be taken care of those people, we`re going to need to think 

about what we`re going to do with a big influx of patients and how we`re 

going to handle that. And that`s something that quite frankly, many of my 

colleagues have never had to deal with.


HAYES: All right, Ron Klain and Dr. Craig Spencer, thank you, gentlemen 



SPENCER: Thank you.


KLAIN: Thanks, Chris.


HAYES: The damage this will do and is doing the economy is probably unlike 

anything we`ve seen in modern times, and the measures to get out of it need 

to be massive. Senator Chris Murphy joins me on that next.




HAYES: It`s simply hard to overstate the impact the coronavirus pandemic is 

having across our country and across the world. The economic devastation we 

were about to plunge into becomes clear. The Senate finally passed the 

House coronavirus aid bill priding things like free coronavirus testing, 

requirements for more employers to offer paid sick leave. The bill now 

opens up a conversation in both houses about what the next big rescue bill 

will look like, and if it will include the proposal for direct cash 

payments to Americans. 


One of the Democratic senators who signed on to the idea of distributing 

cash assistance to Americans is Chris Murphy of Connecticut, whose own 

state is feeling the acute devastation of the virus between Friday. At the 

end of the day yesterday, Connecticut saw 30,000 unemployment claims. Put 

that in context, the state usually sees just 3,000 claims on a typical 

week. Now, in four days, it`s 10 times that.


Joining me now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Senator, first I 

guess, let`s begin with the Senate doing a thing it rarely does. We`ve 

moving legislation to a vote. Five days late, but it happened today. Are 

you happy with that? 


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I`m happy that we passed the bill. I`m happy that 

we can now talk about our broader economic rescue package. But as you 

mentioned, it was five days too late. And that`s a really important five 

days. I mean, there were parents who went to work on Monday or Tuesday who 

were symptomatic or who had a family member that was symptomatic, because 

they didn`t know whether they were going to get paid sick leave. And had we 

passed this bill when it was ready for action on Saturday or Sunday, there 

might be thousands of people who didn`t go to work infecting others at the 

beginning of the week. 


And it wasn`t enough the Republicans stripped out provisions such that it`s 

going to covered a lot fewer people. You can now get paid if you stay home 

with a child who`s out of school, but you can`t get paid to stay home for a 

child or a relative who`s sick or symptomatic. So, too late and too little, 

but I guess I`m glad that we finally moved it. 


HAYES: Well, now here -- now we go to the next phase. So you`re on a bill I 

think with several -- I think there`s 18 co-sponsors, Democratic senators, 

that would -- that would be a kind of cash assistance piece of legislation. 

How would that work? 


C. MURPHY: So what we`re proposing is pretty big and pretty bold. We`re 

talking about a $2,000 cash payment to individuals and additional $2,000 

for children, and then a trigger that would allow for a second series of 

payments in the next quarter if unemployment remained high. 


And I`ve -- you know, I`m living through what you just described in 

Connecticut. We are seeing an onslaught of unemployment claims. We are 

seeing businesses shuttered temporarily, many of which may not open back up 

again. I don`t think you can really get your head around how big this 

economic Cataclysm is and will be. 


And so, if we don`t do something that`s right-sized, something in the 

neighborhood of $1 trillion or more straight into the economy, immediately 

into the economy, then I really think we could be looking at, you know, 10 

percent, 12 percent unemployment numbers fairly quickly. So, I just don`t 

want to regret having done something that was targeted in small when the 

moment calls for something much bigger.


HAYES: You know, it`s interesting, you said targeting small because the 

spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi today it was on Twitter defending the 

speaker, kind of arguing against a universal cash payment plan offered by 

economic policy (INAUDIBLE). And there`s a very interesting debate that has 

been brewing ideologically for a long time. And now it`s like, it`s here. 

What matters is what`s going to happen, this idea of sort of universal 

programs and universal assistance and you can tax progressively as opposed 

to means-tested ones. How are you thinking about that right now?


C. MURPHY: So our proposal is means-tested in the sense we would limit the 

payments when you get to around $100,000 per individual. Now, that`s still 

a lot of individuals. But I think it does stand to reason that there`s a 

universe of Americans that don`t need this payment. And frankly, if they 

got it, would just put it into the bank. But we do want this to be big 

enough to have a macro effect on the economy. 


And by the way, it doesn`t stand in substitution of all of the other 

reforms we need. Snap is going to need to be increased, unemployment 

compensation is going to be need to be reformed and expanded. There are a 

whole host of other measures side by side with this cash payment mechanism 

that are going to need to be part of this package. 


HAYES: So here`s how I`ve been thinking about it in three buckets, and I`d 

like to hear your feedback, right? So one is we have existing programs, 

like you mentioned. We have unemployment insurance, we have snap that we 

can just boost payment to those programs exist. We can put money. Number 

two is cash, like however, it ends up happening, the Treasury is talking 

about a $250 billion payment in April and one in May. I think the details 

matter less than just getting it out, right?


The hard problem it seems to me, those are the relatively easy ones, is the 

small business problem. I mean, you said, it`s an extinction-level event. 

Like every small business in America is going to be out of business unless 

some very creative, bold and immediate action is taken. How are you 

thinking about that?


C. MURPHY: And I think you also, Chris, have to put that in context about 

the overall trend line on entrepreneurship and startup businesses in this 

country. We`re seeing less entrepreneurships, less people start businesses 

in part because the big guys have been successful in gobbling up that 

capacity. And that`s exactly what`s going to happen here. 


As you have more small and medium-sized businesses go out of business, it`s 

not as if that demand won`t be met, it will just be gobbled up by the 

Googles and the Amazons, and all the rest who then won`t create any room 

for small businesses to restart. So that`s why we do have to look at 

something beyond just emergency loans that, frankly, are not very 

meaningful for small businesses. 


We`re going to have to look at some grant packages, spending money on a set 

of businesses here to keep them alive or we`re just going to exacerbate the 

overall trend line in services being provided to consumers from just a 

handful of monopolistic giants.


HAYES: All right, final question for you, and it`s on something that you 

and I have spoken a lot about, which is Iran. We keep talking about Italy 

but Iran is having as bad time with the virus as Italy and probably worse 

because we can`t really trust her numbers. 


Italian -- Iranian American journalist Negar Mortazavi said this today. 

"Iran faces coronavirus catastrophe. Researchers estimate Iran will not 

peak -- reach the peak of the epidemic too late May. Up to 3.5 million 

people could die as a result thanks to lack of international aid, 

government mismanagement, new sanctions announced by the U.S. on Iran 

yesterday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. What do you think of that?


C. MURPHY: It`s not smart and it borders on inhumane. Listen, our sanctions 

aren`t working. Let`s just be honest. It hasn`t stopped Iranian proxies 

from firing at U.S. troops. It hasn`t stopped the Iranians from rebuilding 

their nuclear program. It hasn`t stopped them from ramping up support for 

their proxy forces in places like Syria and Yemen. 


So our sanctions just haven`t been working to begin with. And now to lay on 

additional sanctions, which will have the results of making it harder to 

treat the people who are dying in that country from coronavirus, A, doesn`t 

serve our national security interests, and ultimately undermines what our 

long term goal is, and that is for the Iranian people to ultimately rise up 

and just possess and anti-American regime. 


Remember, young people in Iran are not reflexively anti-American. But they 

will become anti-American very quickly if they see us essentially leading 

to the further death and destruction the coronavirus is ravaging throughout 

that country. 


HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you for making 

time tonight. We are already approaching the worst-case scenario of trying 

to stem the tide of infections by choking off society, the economy, which 

then creates lots of misery all around. But there are -- there are some 

examples of how to do it better, some hope maybe, some sun on the horizon. 

We`re going to talk about that next.




HAYES: OK, so imagine you`re a world leader and you`re called into an 

urgent, emergency meeting with your top advisers and they need you to make 

a choice. They offer you door one or door number two. Behind door number 

one, a raging viral pandemic that rips through your country infecting half 

the population and killing off 1 percent of everyone, it then overwhelms 

the health care system leading to a massive avoidable deaths and may begin 

to imperil essential services as, say, workers that maintain the electrical 

grid all start to get sick. That`s door number one.


Behind door number two, well, there you have a near total cessation of all 

economic activity in your country, a full lock-down, and an economic 

disaster possibly on the scale of the Great Depression that puts millions 

out of work, plunges millions into poverty and lasts for an undetermined 

period of time. 


Not great choices. And we`ve seen over the course of this pandemic that`s 

played out a number of countries have basically, their leadership has tried 

to avoid choosing until they end up being pushed through door one, a 

spiraling outbreak that`s so sudden and terrifying they try to scramble 

back to go through door two. 


That is what China did to a certain extent, hiding the virus, censoring 

information, cracking down on people who talked about it until it became 

too big to ignore. And then putting tens of millions of people under lock-

down, hundreds of millions under strict quarantine and travel restrictions.


Italy delayed in hopes it wouldn`t be so bad until it got out of hand and 

they are now on lock-down seeing nearly 500 new deaths just today.


Boris Johnson in the UK first suggested that they were going to go the herd 

immunity route and let the virus do its thing before he reversed course.


The Trump administration had the time and the benefit to learn from 

countries that went before, but repeated the same mistakes and even made 

new ones, failing at testing in a way that really no other country has. And 

so now here we are with the outbreak going exponentially and the economy 

plunging into a recession, if not a depression.


But if we adhere to social distancing, we stay home, we reduce the 

potential of transmission and flatten the curve, here`s the thing, there is 

only so long we can keep America in a kind of lock-down, that is not a 

sustainable solution in the medium term. 


So what if there`s a third door? What if with enough state capacity and 

mobilization and leadership and ingenuity, you can create a society that 

battles the virus, tracks and suppresses it while also allowing something 

near normal life to continue?


Some countries seemed to have sledgehammered their way through to creating 

a door number three just like that. We`re going to talk about what that is, 

what the other side of this might look like next.




HAYES: The other day, my 8-year-old, my oldest daughter and 5-year-old son 

were provoking each other the way siblings do and I finally lost my 

patience, I said to them this is day one, day one of this whole thing, you 

guys got to learn how to co-exist because it`s going to be awhile.


The awhile is of course what all of us want to know. How long is this going 

to last? What are we in for here? The frustrating answer is right now we 

just don`t know, but there are ways to think about how we would know, what 

we need to know, and we can know what other countries experiences have 



To get a better sense, just generally, of how long we`ll be dealing with 

this. Here to talk about this is Caroline Chen, health care reporter for 

ProPublica, whose latest report is titled "How many Americans are really 

infected with the Coronavirus;" and Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize-winning 

journalist for her work reporting on the Ebola outbreak in Zaire, who has a 

piece out today in Foreign Policy titled "Sorry America, the full lock-down 

is coming."


Let me start with that piece and the pessimism embedded in it, Laurie. When 

your friends I`m sure -- and family members -- and everyone in your life 

says to you how long is this going to go, what do you tell them?



FOREIGN RELATIONS: I tell them plan for eight weeks, because if it`s a 

little less you`re ready, if it`s a little more, well, eight is so painful 

that you`ll be ready for 12.


HAYES: eight weeks seems -- is eight weeks based on the Chinese experience, 

the Italian experience?


GARRETT: Eight weeks is based on where we stand compared to the Chinese 

trajectory, the Italian trajectory and the French trajectory. And if you 

look at those, you can see we`re about eight days behind Italy, except that 

actually, just in the last few days, our curve is going steeper than both 

China and Italy. We could see an explosion any day now that will be quite 

massive and will really extend for a tremendous amount of time.


HAYES: So Caroline, I wanted to talk to you tonight because I wanted to 

talk about this idea of door number three. So, we have seen China after 

tremendous cover-up and censorship and mismanagement in the beginning, 

essentially lock-down the country and get a handle on it. But there are 

three countries, or four countries if you count, Hong Kong, Taiwan, 

Singapore, South Korea that have managed to sort of maintain some semblance 

of normal life with mass testing and contact tracing. You`ve done reporting 

on that. What is life like in those places?


CAROLINE CHEN, PROPUBLICA: Yeah, so I think that one thing that people 

always talk about is culture. And culture differences, and I heard a lot of 

people say, well, isn`t it just very un-American to lock everyone down?


But I think we don`t talk a lot about the very practical measures that were 

put in place in some of these countries that have experienced outbreaks 

like MERS and SARS, and that`s what we reported on, and that I have 

experienced when I grew up in Hong Kong during SARS.


So, one things we covered was that Korea after their MERS experience 

actually made reforms to make it easier for the government to just approve 

test systems very quickly. So within weeks of the virus emerging, they had 

four manufacturers who were able to make tests based off the WHO 

recommended protocol pretty much near instantaneously, so they were able to 

immediately start testing.


You know, Singapore has made testing and treatment free for its citizens to 

encourage people to come straightforward and get testing really easily, and 

similarly for Taiwan and Hong Kong. These are countries that were prepared.


So, it`s not just a cultural difference, but these are countries that 

actually had systems in place, infrastructure in place to help them be 

prepared, and so I think we can`t under estimate that.


And the question you`re asking is, is there this door number three for the 

U.S. and the real problem we have here is that we`re still flying blind. 

And, you know, the WHO director general said I think very rightly, you 

can`t fight a fire blind-folded and that`s where we still are.


And so I think the first thing we have to do is get visibility on the 



HAYES: Laurie, there is a real open question right now on sort of what`s on 

the other side of the curve, right? So if you can use sort of -- if you can 

use social distancing and mass mitigation, lock-downs to reduce the amount 

of social interactions, slow transmission, get -- going down on the other 

side of the curve -- China is now sort of starting slowly to open back up. 


What do we know about -- there`s different modeling and there`s different 

things I`ve heard from different experts what that means for whether the 

virus just comes roaring back. 


GARRETT: Well, we don`t really know the answer and won`t know until some 

time has passed, but there is absolutely no good reason to believe that 

China will be free of virus after some date and have no further threat or 

risk for perpetuity, quite the contrary. I think the virus is going to 

circulate. It`s going to move to the southern hemisphere. It`s going to 

come back to the northern hemisphere, certainly as China tries to open up 

its economy, that means opening up travel, and as they open up travel, risk 

arising again.


Well, Wuhan may be in a situation where more than 70 or 80 percent of the 

population has been exposed and we hope is immune to the virus. There are 

plenty of parts of China that did not experience a massive epidemic and 

remain quite vulnerable.


And, you know, just to emphasize what you`ve just heard, the, you know, the 

country that I wish we were aspiring to emulate is Singapore, if that were 

possible. And if we had responded with immediacy in order to bring our 

epidemic down when it was a hand full of cases, but as usual in the United 

States, everybody shrugged and said, well, it only five cases. It`s only -- 

remember the president repeatedly saying it only 15 cases?


Well, from 15 go 30, from 30 go 60, and on and on and on. 


HAYES: Caroline, final question for you. What -- we see where we in South 

Korea are diverting, right? They sort of brought the problem under control. 

What is life like there right now? Are people going to weddings? Are they 

going to movie theaters or is all that stuff still not happening?


CHEN: I don`t think that stuff is happening. I think people are still 

taking it very seriously. And I think here is the big thing that I think we 

all had to realize is that we have to accept there is a new normal right 

now and that we all have to take part in bending the curve. This is not 

something where we can all just sit back and sort of, you know, not take 



The only way to bend the curve is for us all really to pitch in at this 

point. And, you know, at ProPublica we really want to really hear from 

everybody on the front lines, you know, from health care workers, from lab 

workers, anybody who is taking part on the front lines. This is where our 

reporting is going next.


So we want to have people write into us so we can continue reporting to see 

how prepared the U.S. is for the next steps. 


HAYES: All right, Caroline Chen, Laurie Garrett, thank you so much for 

making time tonight.


All right, I know it`s been an intense hour, or 47 minutes so far, but 

there is another problem. The enormous public health disaster that`s 

waiting to happen among detaining populations across the country. We`ll 

talk about that next.




HAYES: We`ve got a breaking report at this hour of a second member of 

congress who has tested positive for Coronavirus, Congressman Ben McAdams 

of Utah. He announced it tonight on Twitter. McAdams says he self-

quarantined the moment he developed mild cold-like symptoms and continues 

isolation now that he has tested positive.


And even as the pandemic reaches the halls of congress, other parts of 

government keep truly focused on the wrong things. Just two days ago, on 

the first day of the Coronavirus lock-down in California, Immigration and 

Customs enforcement officers were out conducting raids in L.A. County. Look 

at this headline, "With masks at the ready, ICE agents make arrests on the 

first day of California`s Coronavirus lock-down"


As the public health crisis is becoming increasingly clear and urgent, ICE 

has continued not just to apprehend people, but to distribute them in 

detention centers around the country, processing them and then flying them, 

driving them to other facilities. Immigration attorneys are ringing alarm 

bells, this will accelerate the public health crisis in our midst.


And that does not count the over two million people currently incarcerated 

in our country in prisons and jails that are notorious vectors for 

infection, think cruise ships, but without access to soap or sanitary 

product for the inmates.


Tonight, we have a report from the New York Daily News of an inmate at 

Rikers Island jail complex in New York who has tested positive for COVID-

19. Rikers is huge, one of the largest correctional facilities in the 



Right now, unless dramatic steps are taken, there are enormous public 

health consequences for everyone detained into these facilities and outside 

of them.


Joining me now, someone who knows firsthand what it`s like to make major 

health decisions for detained populations, Dr. Jonathan Giftos, the former 

medical director for correctional health services at Riker`s Island; and a 

reporter who has been focused on some of these especially vulnerable 

populations, the great immigration scoop machine Hamed Aleaziz from 

BuzzFeed News.


Hamed let me start with you, because even since that script went into my 

prompter, there`s been news. There`s some announcements that basically ICE 

is going to suspend a whole lot of their enforcement, is that correct?


HAMED ALEAZIZ, BUZZFEED NEWS: There are signs that they are beginning to 

pare down some of their enforcement activities. They announced late tonight 

that they will delay arresting immigrants who are not public safety 

threats, and roll back detainees those who fall under mandatory detention 

guidelines that are actually set by congress.


So this is actually a sign that ICE is starting to, like I said before, 

pare down some of its enforcement. 


HAYES: But just in the last few days, I mean, you have report on this, and 

I have talked to sources on this where immigration court, just people 

packed through, apprehensions and then people being distributed across the 

country to different detention facilities.


ALEAZIZ: Sure. Yes, that`s still going on. The Department of Justice has 

been dealing with this issue by shutting down several courts. Starting 

every night, they`re announcing that they are postponing more hearings. 


So this is a sign of the system, the immigration system, you know, really 

trying to prepare for worst-case scenarios.


HAYES: Jonathan, I`ve been hearing from folks who are advocates, public 

defenders, medical folks like yourself, about the threat in jails. Explain 

why it is so acute.



SERVICES: Yes, thanks, Chris. Jails simply cannot protect patients and 

staff from pandemic affecting the city. Jails are not closed systems 

despite what people might think. There`s tremendous flux of people in 

custody as well as 24/7 health care workers and officers who are coming to 

staff three tours a day.


Mitigating efforts, such as physical distancing are nearly impossible in 

jails. Frequent hand washing is impossible in jails. And despite the heroic 

efforts of health care workers, screening and isolating people who are 

symptomatic, is impossible in jail.


Couple this with the fact that jails are known to have in their custody 

some of our community members at highest risk of complications of 

Coronavirus infection, specifically people over the age of 50, of which 

there`s actually almost a 1,000 people in the New York City jail system 

right now over the age of 50, as well as people with compromised immunity, 

it`s a recipe for disaster.


It`s my view that the only way to really mitigate the harm of rapid spread 

of Coronavirus in the jail system is through depopulation, releasing as 

many people as possible, with focus on those at highest risk of 



HAYES: What do you say to people who hear that and say oh, no, we`re just 

going to, quote, release criminals out in the streets and at a time of 

social disorder. What is your response to that?


GIFTOS: You know, I worked as a doctor for four years caring for people in 

the jail, and I think that many people who are in custody return to their 

families when they leave. 72 percent of people in my program as the 

director of addiction medicine when I was there, had their own home to 

return to. People have jobs and families. It is simply not the case that 

people will be leaving jails for the streets.


While some people do struggle with housing, and other things, it is simply 

not possible to keep people in the jail system safe at this time.


HAYES: Hamed, my understanding is ICE has represented to congress there is 

no one in their custody who has tested positive, which I think is a little 

hard to credit. Is there any evidence that they`re putting any systems in 

place for health care that is going to be immediately necessary in these 



ALEAZIZ: Well, they`ve been releasing statements daily, saying that we`re 

taking it very seriously. They have their the high level experts monitoring 

best practice. They changed the way folks are brought into the facilities, 

screening them before. 


But obviously advocates are pushing for those who are suffering from 

medical issues, and who are elderly, to be released, to protect them from, 

you know, the potential spread.


HAYES: Jonathan, the question about release here, and I`ve heard the same 

thing, sort of depopulation is the key, and I think you make an important 

point I just want to stress, which is people, even if people are not 

morally persuaded that these are human beings who do not deserve to be left 

to pandemic, it`s not some other population over there, like there are CEOs 

who are cycling in, like it`s not going to stay in Rikers, right?


GIFTOS: Right, right.


HAYES: In terms of the prison population broadly, and we`re talking about -

- I mean, it seems to me the lowest hanging fruit is we have a lot of 

senior citizen prisoners who we just know statistically are not recidivism 

risks at all, that seems like the most obvious start here.


GIFTOS: Yeah, it`s true that the prison population has a lot of people at 

high risk of complication. I think that the reason we`re focused right now 

on the jail population is that because of the flux that we talked about, 

but also because of the fact that people pre-trial, people in on short city 

sentences, and people in on a violation of parole, there`s very easy and 

quick mechanisms to release people.


And given a pandemic like this, where there is spread and new infections at 

exponential rates, urgent action is really needed and I think that that`s 

most feasible right now in the jail system.


HAYES: Do you think that there are ways to sort of, targeted quick things 

that can be done -- would it be the city, or other cities around the 

country, to do that sort of reduction?


ALEAZIZ: Yes, I think if parole is a state -- parole is a state-run 

organization, and so it`s lifting warrants on people on parole is done at 

the state level. But for people in on city sentences or pre-trial on 

felonies, that`s done at the local level with DA`s office and judges.


HAYES: All right, and I hope DA`s and judges are listening. Dr. Jonathan 

Giftos, Hamed Aleaziz, thank you both. That is ALL IN for this evening. 

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.





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