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coronavirus crisis TRANSCRIPT: 4/6/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Beth Cameron, Amy Klobuchar, Mark Levine, Elaine Luria, David Wallace-Wells, Ruth Conniff

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: If you have ideas serious or otherwise for programming, you can always e-mail the at I`ll be filling in this hour 7:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow as well. But don`t go anywhere right now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. We are about to enter what will almost certainly be the worst week we`ve experienced so far in terms of the human toll of this pandemic. Just today, Britain`s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was already hospitalized for coronavirus symptoms, was moved to intensive care as his symptoms worsened. Its aids report that he remains conscious and is not on a ventilator. Prime Minister Johnson has asked his foreign secretary to stand in for him if necessary.

Here in the U.S., we have over 360,000 cases, we`re close to 11,000 deaths. Even with those awful things comprehensible numbers, we are starting to see signs that the lockdowns and physical distancing across huge swaths of the country is really working. But the way this virus works, the way it`s worked in every other country more or less is that fatalities are a lagging indicator. And so everyone`s staring down at this week knows it is going to be really bad. This is how the Surgeon General described what is ahead of us.


JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It`s going to be our 9/11 moment. It`s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire life.


HAYES: Our Pearl Harbor and 9/11 moment, the hardest moment for Americans in their entire lives. That`s what the Surgeon General said. He`s probably right. It`s not a crazy thing to say given where things are. But it was just weeks ago, that the President and members of administration we`re downplaying all of this.

In fact, that same Surgeon General tweeted this little Valentines limerick, "Roses are red, violets are blue, risk is low for coronavirus but high for the flu, so get your flu shot." And so this is part of this broader whiplash induced by an administration that prattled on for weeks with happy talk about other cases we`re going to zero weeks ago, and that everything was under control.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you have 15 people, and the 15t within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We have contained this. We have contained this. I won`t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.

TRUMP: I mean, view this the same as the flu.

It`s going to disappear one day. It`s like a miracle, it will disappear.

KUDLOW: I will still argue to you that this is contained, but it can`t be airtight.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: It is being contained. And do you not think it`s being contained?

MIKE PENCE, VICE-PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: The risk of contracting the coronavirus to the American public remains low.

TRUMP: And we`re prepared and we`re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm, it will go away.


HAYES: And now, here we are. Here we are. The Trump administration is essentially trying to sell us on the idea that if fewer than 100,000 of our fellow Americans die, then the administration has beating the odds. But in reality, a lot of Americans are in the middle of a nightmare right now. New York City is preparing for an onslaught of bodies it cannot bury. That`s how bad it is in New York. We`re going to talk about more about that in just a bit.

All that said, there are little hopeful glimmers in the data. There is reason to be hopeful that new cases, particularly in New York, are going down, that we might be nearing the peak of new cases. The model that many policymakers have been working off of has substantial downward revisions based on the data of the last three or four days. It is now predicting fewer deaths than it was last week. And that`s in thanks in part to the lockdown to social distancing policies that states across the country have put into place.

But things are still really bad. And a lot of that is because there has been literally no coherent federal response from the president. States have had to create a patchwork system to deal with this crisis. That has not stopped President Trump from portraying himself as a wartime president, at least intermittently, referring to the coronavirus is the invisible enemy.

Over the weekend, The Washington Post took an in-depth look at the wartime president`s lack of action after he was first formally notified about the outbreak in China. "It took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America`s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens."

There is no question that President Trump`s inaction costs American lives. The Post ads "In late March, late March, late March, administration ordered 10,000 ventilators, far short what public health officials and governor said was needed. And many will not arrive until the summer or fall when models expect the pandemic to be receding."

It is actually kind of a joke. That`s a quote. It is actually kind of a joke said one administration official evolved in deliberations about the belated purchase. The lack of action, the denial, the dysfunction outlined in this Washington Post piece explains why the federal government is overmatched and incapable of responding to the virus. And so states are going to have to go at it alone.

In fact, the governor of Nevada told me on Friday that they essentially set up a kind of like a GoFundMe account. I mean, not literally, but a fundraising effort. Pass the hat for the state to buy a personal protective gear for medical workers in the state, trying to cobble together both state resources and private money to purchase protective equipment.

This is not a big sale. Right? This is the stuff the federal government should be doing. We have lost people because of this inaction, and we`re going to lose many more. If we are really turning the corner on this outbreak, if the data really does say there`s a reason for hope, and I think there`s a little bit of a glimmer of, it is despite what this president in the White House has done.

Here with me now to talk about where we are and what we still need to do to prepare, Beth Cameron, the Vice President for Global Biological Policy and Programs at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, who wrote a piece last month for the Washington Post titled "I ran the White House Pandemic Office, Trump closed it.

Beth, let`s start with where you are taking stock of where we are after some of the data we`ve gotten over the weekend, which sometimes can be a little -- represents reporting lags, but there feels like a little tiny bit of hope in the air today, even as we face what`s going to be a very grim week.

BETH CAMERON, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR, HEALTH SECURITY AND RESPONSE, NSC: I think it is going to be a grim week and I definitely do you think that there is some hope -- and certainly we have to be looking at hope to come out of this situation that we`re currently in, but Chris, I`m actually really worried not only about the places where there are hotspots now looking at New York, for example, and some of the hopeful data there, I`m really worried about rural America.

I`m worried about the places that haven`t yet or just recently started social distancing measures. And I`m really worried about the lack of supplies, hospital capacity, and places that are low resource in this country. So I think we still have a lot of work to do before I`m ready to commit to a super hopeful picture, and really want to just take one second to say thank you to all the people out there who are working in really low resource environments to help patients around the country.

HAYES: We`ve had a few areas of rural America throughout the country that have had sort of intense localized outbreaks. Albany, Georgia comes to mind is one of them. When you were working on this issue in the White House, and you`ve thought about the response and modeling, how did you think about the virus going through rural areas differently than I might go through large metropolis?

CAMERON: I think it`s really important to think about the country as a whole. So one of the areas where I think the country could really use stronger, more unified command is in aggregating the demands across all of America. So one of the things about a pandemic that makes it different from the rest of our response capacity for natural disasters, for example, for hurricane, is that pandemics affect the whole country. They can move, they`re going to go from place to place. People are moving.

And until recently, we have people moving all across this country who are infected but didn`t know that they were infected because we didn`t have a testing strategy in place. And so, what that means is that we have to understand what the demand actually is in places that have far, far fewer resources to deal with the pandemic.

And right now, at this moment, we really don`t have a supply commander in place. We don`t know exactly what the aggregated demand is from governors around the country. And I think that`s one of the most critical steps that needs to be taken immediately so that we can get a handle on what this virus means in rural America.

HAYES: I`m wondering if that was something, that sort of idea of a kind of supply commander and getting your arms around what the total demand for the country is, and where it`s needed is something that you had thought about, that had been part of the planning and modeling when you were thinking full time in the -- in the White House about pandemic preparation.

CAMERON: So to be honest with you, we were definitely thinking about how pandemics would be different from other types of natural disasters. And after the Ebola epidemic in 2014, when we looked at our disaster response capability all over the world and, and after Zika in 2015 and 2016, when we looked at the capabilities we had to respond, we were definitely thinking about how FEMA and CDC working in close concert with the Department of Defense needed to work together as a seamless team.

And so, to say that we had it all, you know, knitted together wouldn`t be entirely correct. But we were absolutely looking at filling those gaps, figuring out exactly what we needed to monitor outbreaks around the world and to be more prepared, and to have a really strong set of SOP, standard operating procedures in place so that our Disaster Assistance Network, for example, at FEMA could plugin really, really quickly with our logistics and supply chain network principally at the Department of Defense.

And so I think we still have a lot of work to do to make that seamless connection now for COVID-19, But we don`t have a lot of time. My colleagues and I have argued for a public health Apollo project, and we don`t have nine years. We really have just days to get it right.

HAYES: Beth Cameron, who worked on the White House on pandemic preparation, thank you so much for your expertise tonight.

CAMERON: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: I want to turn now to someone who not only understands what`s going on from a policy perspective, but also from a personal one, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, whose husband is recovering after contracting coronavirus. And Senator, I guess first I just want to check in on how your husband is doing and what the experience has been like.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): He`s doing so much better. And when I hear the cases now, the one thing I can relate to, because he got out of the hospital, still with pneumonia, but was able to recover after a very low oxygen. I just think of all those families, some of whom I know that we all know that can`t be at the bedside of their loved one, that can`t hold their hand in the worst of worst cases that aren`t there when they die. They can`t hug the healthcare workers that are at their side. That`s one of the hardest parts of this disease.

And I want to thank your last guest they`re pointing out that this is about these major urban areas, but it is coming to rural. That one county in Georgia, where they have lost so many people in a rural area, our highest per capita death rate is in a rural county in Minnesota. So I think it`s very important for people to understand all across the country that it can happen to anyone, and that you`ve got to follow the rules despite what the White House may have been saying, as you so well pointed out just a few weeks ago.

HAYES: Do you have confidence -- I mean, we have seen a transformation in rural healthcare over the last 10, 15 years and particularly in states that didn`t expand Medicaid. Minnesota is one of the states, of course, that did expand it, but there has been a real decline in the amount of available beds in a lot of places in rural America, a lot of closing down of medical facilities. Are you -- are you confident Minnesota at least is prepared in those rural areas outside of Metropolis to deal with this?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I`m on the phone twice a week with our hospital association. So I am -- I know they`re coordinating and they`ve had a little more luxury of time because the wave is coming here later. But we know those rural areas. Sometimes there`s only one or two ventilators in the county.

And if people start getting sick like they did in this one county in Minnesota, it is very difficult to deal with it. People are spread out. There`s more seniors in these areas. And a lot of them were listening to the President, honestly, a few weeks ago when he said, oh, I hope everyone will be in church for Easter. That sent a message to them.

And I am thankful that that message has changed. But for some people, it is too late. And I appreciated what you said at the beginning of your show, Chris, because you know what I was thinking? I was thinking back to the Republican convention, and you remember this when Donald Trump stood up in front of America and said, I alone can fix this. He said he understood government, and he said, I alone can fix this.

Now here we are in the middle of what they have rightly characterized as a war and he is saying well, I am back up to the state`s governors, I am back up. That`s not fixing it. When hospitals are getting masks that are for kids, when they`re for adults, that`s not fixing it. When he did not use the powers that he was given by the United States government to invoke the defense production act immediately and do something about it, that`s not fixing it. And when he did not get those tests underway, when we have the world`s best scientists here in this country, that is not fixing it.

HAYES: There are a bunch of things happening right now for folks that are not directly affected by the illness but are obviously feeling the economic effects which are even larger in terms of their scope and breadth at this point than the folks who have contracted coronavirus. There`s two big things I want to ask you about. One is the Small Business facility that they stood up called the Payroll Protection Program.

I`ve been fielding lots of complaints from a lot of people who say it has been --  it has been really disaster. I think the program -- they were offline for a day, maybe today, the bank interface. Have you been hearing the same thing as small business owners in your state try to actually get through and get that loan?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes. This has been a complete botched rollout. We know that. And there`s computer issues. But there`s also issues because you have a lot of small businesses, particularly in the minority community, African American businesses, Hispanic businesses, who maybe don`t have a relationship with an existing big bank, but may have a smaller bank.

The head of the community banks in my state called me because they are not yet able to access this program. They were coming online later. So you can imagine how terrified these small business owners are because they believe that this was going to be rolled out as promised. So this is something that we calls for constant oversight, immediate oversight, and potentially immediate changes to this program if it`s not going to work.

HAYES: Do you think you`ll be back? I mean, will ascend it be in session to do that? It seems to me that at a certain level, it`s hard to provide the oversight that you need to if you`re not, you know, in session officially.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, we are coming back on April 20th is the plan right now. I think there`s ample reason to look at an additional bill, everything from the hospital issues to our state and local governments, to what`s been happening in the gig economy, to the elections, which we saw in raw fashion today in Wisconsin where multiple court hearings have resulted in the courts basically saying sorry, you`re out. We`re not giving you the additional weeks at the U.S. Supreme Court.

And so, it just shows why we must immediately, Ron Wyden and I, lead the bill for mail-in ballots, but also to make sure that we are allowing polls to be open 20 days in advance across the country. This has got to be a major part of this legislation as well. We cannot allow this administration to stop our democracy.

HAYES: Yes. That`s going to be a very, very, very big fight. We`re going to cover that Wisconsin story in just a bit. Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for taking time and best wishes to your husband.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, thank you, Chris. OK, thank you. I appreciate that.

HAYES: Disturbing new reporting from the epicenter of the nation`s pandemic as funeral homes are running out of supplies. The contingency plans, New York City is considering for dealing with the rising human toll after this.


HAYES: New York has lost more people to the coronavirus than any other state. Almost half of the people who have succumb to the coronavirus have come from New York, nearly 5,000 New Yorkers. Most of the state`s cases have been from New York City which is the epicenter of the virus here in the U.S. And now the city is running out of capacity to deal with the deceased.

With many hospitals and funeral home directors resorting to portable morgue which are basically long refrigerator trucks. NBC News` Rehema Ellis brought us some very disturbing reporting. She spoke to funeral home directors who say they are running out of crucial supplies, things like stretchers and body bags.


REHEMA ELLIS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Inside Marmo Funeral Homes. Brooklyn the shocking reality. Bodies are piling up so fast, he`s running out of space in the epicenter of the nation`s unprecedented health crisis. Now Marmo, like other funeral directors, is scrambling to get a refrigerated truck to serve as a temporary morgue.

PAT MARMO, FUNERAL HOME DIRECTOR: We`re overwhelmed. We haven`t seen this ever, and it scares me. There`s a point now as the death rate rises, I don`t believe that us funeral directors alone could handle this.


HAYES: And they can`t. This morning, the head of the New York City Council`s Health Committee, Mark Levine, talked about the city`s contingency plan if the death rate continues to rise. Tweeting, "Soon we will start temporary in internment. This likely will be done by using the New York City Park for burials. Trenches will be dug for 10 caskets in a line."

That obviously got a whole lot of attention. And here to explain exactly where things stand is New York City Council Member Mark Levine who chairs the council`s Health Committee. Councilman, maybe you can talk to us a little bit about what the planning is right now and where the city is in terms of the capacity to deal with so many people that have succumbed to this illness.

MARK LEVINE, CHAIR OF THE HEALTHCARE COMMITTEE, NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Well, I want to clarify that the city has stated unequivocally today that if we do need to conduct temporary internment, it will be done at Hart Island, an island off the coast of the Bronx which is home to our existing public burial ground. It will not be done in a park.

The challenge, as you said, is that the normal channels of funeral homes and cemeteries are not able to handle the volume anymore. And so, our city`s chief medical examiner, which is excellent is taking over that function. And we hope it doesn`t come to the need to use Hart Island. And in fact, as you`ve reported tonight, there are signs that the deaths may be coming down. That`s great news. I`m really proud of our city and our state for the work that has gone into getting us to where we are appears to be a flattening of the curve.

So we`re certainly hoping to avert the worst but prudently making plans only if necessary for temporary internment on Hart Island.

HAYES: In terms of what this has been like for New York City in the last week, record calls to 911 multiple hospitals overcapacity essentially trying to treat people in rooms that are designed for two or three people with 10 people sometimes. What -- how would you describe it to someone who is not there who is -- who is in a part of the country where it seems like this is distant or there`s a long fuse until it gets to that point?

LEVINE: You know, almost every single ER doc and nurse and technician that I`ve talked to has used almost exactly the same language to explain how it feels in emergency department. They call it a war zone. In fact, some who have served in war zones say this is as bad or worse.

Now, there is good news and that it appears that the number of people entering hospitals in New York City is no longer increasing and that perhaps the apex is three, seven, 10 days away. But on the ground in hospitals, there`s still more people coming in every day that are being discharged. So the system is under enormous strain. And we still face a desperate need for ventilators, for personal protective equipment, for more staff to relieve people who are just exhausted. They`re working long shifts day after day. These heroes have gone through so much, much in the past month.

And even if we are hitting the apex, this is still a really tough fight. And so it`s not time to let up on our calls for assistance and our calls to the public to continue social distancing.

HAYES: Part of what I think has been particularly brutal about this for people that have -- and Senator Klobuchar talked about it -- that have loved ones who have had to be hospitalized or put in the ICU, of course, is for obvious reasons, there`s no visitors being allowed. People can`t be there in the last days for people that they love. They can`t mourn and grieve. What are the -- what are the protocols right now for folks that do lose a family member in terms of things like burial? Everyone wants to be around each other in the midst of a loss, and it`s just absolutely brutal that people can`t do that.

LEVINE: Yes. But these restrictions are driven by a medical necessity. We just stopped the spread of the disease by keeping people who are not sick out of hospitals, out of long-term care facilities, which perhaps we can talk about, and yes, out of funerals. And to the extent there are any burials, in cemeteries that are happening with no public presence. But honestly, we`re going to have to wait for that until after this crisis is over.

We`re not going to be able to offer the kind of services people want, perhaps the kind of dignified burials people want now in the midst of this pandemic. We`re going to have to wait. But thanks to our chief medical examiner, the bodies are being preserved and dignified in orderly professional manner. And the day will come when we can offer the final send off to New Yorkers that they need and that we so desperately want.

HAYES: Mark Levine is a member of the New York City Council. He`s been a great resource throughout all this. And thank you so much for sharing a little time with us tonight.

LEVINE: Thank you very much, Chris. Be safe.

HAYES: Ahead, new calls to fire the Acting Secretary of the Navy after he`s caught on tape bashing the former captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The latest turn in the Captain Crozier saga next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: We got an incredible bit of audio leaked today of remarks made by the acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly. Now remember, this guy only has the job -- he`s the acting Secretary of the Navy -- and he`s only there because the previous secretary of the navy, you may recall, resigned quite publicly after clashing with the president over the president`s pardoning of war criminals back in November.

So the guy who replaced him, this acting secretary, apparently had no problem with the pardoning of war criminals, and so he got the job.

Well, today, the acting secretary was on the USS Theodore Roosevelt." Now that, of course, is the aircraft carrier currently docked in Guam that has an outbreak of Coronavirus, an outbreak that was essentially ignored by navy higher ups until the captain of that ship, Brett Crozier, risked his career to blow the whistle last week.

Crozier was summarily relieved of his command for essentially insubordination and embarrassing the navy and the president, but his entire ship made their support for his very clear as they cheered him off a few days ago leaving the ship.

The captain has since tested positive for Coronavirus himself.

Today, Acting Secretary Modly addressed the entire crew of that aircraft carrier in Guam. And listen to what he had to say about Captain Crozier.


THOMAS MODLY, ACTING SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: He didn`t think that information was going to get out into the public, in this information age that we live in that he, a, too naive or too stupid to be the commanding officer of a ship like this.


MODLY: The alternative is that he did it on purpose, and that`s a serious violation of the uniform code of military justice, which you are all familiar with.


HAYES: By the way, you did hear that correctly, that is a sailor on that ship reacting to those comments by saying "what the F."

Now the comments by the acting navy secretary have caused enormous blow- back and controversy around the nation. I`m joined now by Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia. She`s a retired navy commander herself. Today she called on the secretary of defense to fire the acting secretary of the navy from making those comments today.

Congresswoman, what so disturbed you about those comments that you would call for him to be fired?

REP. ELAINE LURIA, (D) VIRGINIA: Well, early this morning when I first saw these on social media, my husband showed them to me and I said you got to be kidding me. I thought this was literally something from The Onion, that the acting secretary of the navy could not have possibly flown half way around the world to visit the aircraft carrier, speak over the 1 MC, that`s the announcing system on the ship, and berate the man that he has just fired.

And we have seen the way in which the crew much loved Captain Crozier, and in a difficult time going through a pandemic where the crew is much at risk, he put himself on the line to make sure that the crew got what they needed to stay safe. And the secretary of the navy flying forward to do that has so many far-reaching effects not only on the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt, but I have heard from dozens of my former colleagues.

So, the people that I served with, graduated from the Naval Academy with, and when I was in command, they`re now going to their second and third sequential commands just much like Captain Crozier and hearing from those people that loyalty goes up and down the chain of command. And they are questioning why should they go out there, why should they go out there and be in these roles of leadership when the leaders at the top are not going to be behind them when they have to make these tough decisions.

HAYES: You just noted something that`s worth just sort of pointing out to people, which is that the acting secretary of the navy flew in the midst of the pandemic, flew, 8,000 miles to the ship in Guam to deliver this message in person, which itself is sort of shocking and stunning action given everything that`s going on.

LURIA: You`re correct. It is shocking. And Guam is not an easy place to get to. And this took up a considerable amount of his time to go there and in person make these disparaging remarks of the captain of the ship who was much beloved and put himself out there for this crew.

And I`m not here to defend the way in which the letter was sent out and those actions, but we`re beyond that at this point. And, you know, that crew needs reassuring words from their leadership at the top of the navy all the way down to the next commanding officer that will serve there and take Captain Crozier`s place.

And I can tell you from my own experience, any new commanding officer coming into a ship, it`s hard to come in behind someone and pick up and build that trust and confidence of the crew. And the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt it is going to be difficult for that next commanding officer to come behind him and it`s going to be difficult for all those officers who are in these roles of responsibility to trust the chain of command to have their back when they have to make tough decisions.

HAYES: The president today said that the letter is bad because it showed weakness, and we don`t like weakness. And the acting secretary said to David Ignatius this, "I didn`t want to get into a decision where the president would feel he had to intervene because the navy couldn`t be decisive. If I were president and saw a commanding officer of a ship exercising such poor judgment, I would be asking why the leadership of the navy wasn`t taking action itself."

Of course, the president today now vowing to get involved. What do you make of that, that he was essentially trying to stop the president from doing something?

LURIA: Well, I saw that reporting, as well. I think it`s very ironic, because all of the things in his interview that Secretary Modly pointed out were weaknesses in Captain Crozier`s action I think were actually taken to the next level by the secretary himself by flying halfway around the world and then making these disparaging and ridiculous remarks from anyone in the position of leadership such as his.

The whole navy looks to the secretary of the navy for guidance and leadership, and that was not displayed today. And he was pretty naive himself to think that that was not going to be distributed widely and quickly, because, you know, going over the 1MC to thousands of sailors, it didn`t take very long for the full recording of that announcement to go out.

HAYES: Final question, a colleague of yours, Congressman Gallego, in an interview with The Times (ph) pointed out something else just in terms about discipline and the sort of application of it in these different circumstances. You know, there were two navy destroyers that had fatal accidents in 2017, the John McCain and the Fitzgerald that killed 17 Americans. And those firings of those captains came after months of investigations. There was some due process there about getting to the bottom of what happened here and then they were both, I think, were relieved of command whereas this was a matter of days.

LURIA: That is true. And there was an ongoing investigation. I believe that the CNO, the chief of naval operations, indicated that an investigation surrounding these circumstances would come out today. And I have yet to see that. And I do believe that a further look into the circumstances surrounding the support to the crew of the Theodore Roosevelt is very important.

But I think the main focus has got to be right now we have got to have leadership from the top to the bottom supporting our commanding officers out there and helping fight this pandemic and make sure that their crews and their sailors stay safe and stay healthy and can return doing the mission that they are doing. Because we can`t overlook that the reason the Theodore Roosevelt is in the western Pacific and is currently in Guam is, you know, that we have near peer competitors in China and Russia and our continued presence, and specifically our aircraft carrier in the western Pacific is incredibly important for our national defense. And we need to make sure that they stay safe, stay healthy, and we can get the ship back online to doing the job that it is there to do.

HAYES: Congresswoman Elaine Luria, thank you so much for your time.

LURIA: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up in the middle of a pandemic and a state with a stay-at- home order why are Wisconsin Republicans refusing to delay tomorrow`s primary? The looming disaster for public health and democracy, next.


HAYES: If we know a big news event is coming we`ll try and plan in advance to be there. And so originally we had it on the calendar that this very show tonight would be coming to you live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on the eve of that state`s primary election.

Of course, we scrapped that idea more than a month ago because to do that during a global pandemic would be obviously insane. That was not going to happen. And yet somehow, Wisconsin is still asking people to head to the polls tomorrow. And that is because state Republicans who control both chambers of Wisconsin`s legislature have been pushing for it.

Democratic Governor Tony Evers said last week he couldn`t move the election or change the rules on his own. Today, he tried to. He finally said look, he issued an executive order trying to postpone the election by suspending in person voting until June 9.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court just blocked the governor`s decision a few hours ago after Republicans challenged it. That Republican -- that Supreme Court is dominated by Republicans, too, we should note.

So that means tomorrow`s election, believe it or not, apparently still on. To help me understand why in god`s name Wisconsin is in this situation I`m joined by Ruth Coniff, editor-at-large for The Progressive magazine based out of Wisconsin, editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner.

So, first I think, Ruth, can you explain the context -- there is a Supreme Court -- the Supreme Court that just sort of ruled in favor of the Republicans and knocked down the order to suspend tomorrow, they have an election tomorrow, right? And that is very important to the state`s Republicans -- the governor, the candidate was even endorsed by the president. Is that what is driving this?

RUTH CONNIFF, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THE PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE : Yes and actually, Chris, when you mentioned that you might have been here to cover our presidential primary election, it was kind of like a blast from the past because no one is thinking about the Bernie Sanders/Joe Biden contest in Wisconsin.

Really, what this election is about is a seat on our state Supreme Court, which has really been taken over by right wing interests. And the Scott Walker appointee, Daniel Kelly, who is up for election faces a liberal opponent who gained an advantage when Republicans weren`t able to move the election off our presidential primary date. It looked like we would have a high turnout election and the Republicans didn`t like it. They, in fact, made an effort to prevent it and to have a separate very expensive, very small election just for the State Supreme Court and they were unsuccessful.

HAYES: That is wild. So first it was scheduled -- say, OK, we`re going to do this other primary. Let`s do this election all together, one election day. Republicans didn`t like that, because they thought big Democratic turnout, we`re screwed if there`s big turnout, let`s move to a separate day. They were unsuccessful here. Now they have got this election day and they clearly want a low turnout election and I guess that`s why -- I mean, is it really the case the state Republicans want to have it tomorrow for that reason? Is that what it is about?

CONNIFF: Well, look, they`re not saying we want to have it because it will be low turnout and we`re more likely to win, but they have said things so close to that over time, including our Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald who said it would be better for Daniel Kelly, the conservative justice, if we didn`t have this election on the same day as the presidential primary.

So, you know -- as you know, Mitch McConnell has made statements, similar statements, about turnout, not being really great for Republicans. So, there is no question about it.

In addition to that, the hardest hit areas and the areas with the most in- person voting just happen to be the urban centers where there are a lot of Democratic voters. So, there is no question that Daniel Kelly, the conservative supreme court justice, gains an advantage from the way this election is going down.

But, of course, worse than that, people are going to get sick and potentially die because of being forced to go to the polls tomorrow. And it`s completely unnecessary. There is no reason we can`t have a more extended absentee ballot process, give people absentee ballots so they can cast their votes without taking their lives in her hands. And the Republicans have also opposed that and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent the extension just of absentee vote.

HAYES: So, yeah, so we should note that Milwaukee is left with the only handful of polling places. Thousands of poll workers have said they won`t work on Tuesday, so it`s reduced it`s planned number of polling sites from 180 to just 5. You can`t run an election in Milwaukee that way. And of course if you`re not running an election in Milwaukee, you`re massively helping the Republicans statewide.

And then there was a lawsuit that basically said look, this is crazy. We should extend the deadline for absentee voting. This is a drive in voting system set up in Milwaukee today, but we should extend at the very least -- and this is something they`ve done in other states that have had to deal with the pandemic, extend the deadline for absentee voting. A district court judge, federal judge, ruled in favor of the challenge. Republicans challenged that and by a 5-4 decision just now, the Supreme Court with the five Republican appointees sided with the State Republican saying no we`re not going to extend the deadline, right?

CONNIFF: That`s correct. And what this does, it`s really a one, two punch today for Wisconsin voters. First, our the State Supreme Court said, no, Governor Evers does not have the power to move to election to June 9 and allow absentee balloting to go on until then. And then the U.S. Supreme Court said not only that, but you can`t vote -- if you haven`t received your absentee ballot in the mail, which many who requested ballots have not, your only chance of voting is to go to the polls tomorrow, which means people are faced with just a terrible amount of pressure to do something very dangerous.

HAYES: Just an absolute outrage from the public health perspective, from the democratic legitimacy perspective, it`s really astounding that this is happening. Ruth Conniff, thank you for explaining it and we`re going to keep following this story. We`ll see what happens tomorrow. Thanks a lot.

CONNIFF: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Ahead, is the government at all prepared for what comes next? A look at what it could take to get the country to return to something like normal life and how far we could be from that moment coming up.


HAYES: As the United States navigate some of the darkest days thus far in the Coronavirus pandemic, there are some signs that something like normal life is returning in China, which of course dealt with the outbreak first and in the beginning hardest.

Michael Pettis (ph) is a finance professor at Peking College in Beijing. Today he had a great tweet thread describing why it really felt like life was back to normal where he lives in the city, sharing images of people lining up at food shops, for instance, for the first time since January, taking the subway. He said there are increasing numbers of folks doing that. All of it is a glimmer of hope we could get there, too, in the not too, too distant future if we use this intense physical distancing now to get a hold of the virus and then we can find a way to have something like normal life.

But, and this is a big but, it is going to require much, much more than that. And as Tom Bossert, the former Trump DHS official put it this weekend, the White House is not thinking long-term.


TOM BOSSERT, FORMER DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I know what I`d be telling the president right now would be to lift his gaze. He is looking 10 feet and it seems to me a lot of our leaders are looking 10 feet in front of their bumper right now. He needs to be looking 20 yards, 200 yards, and as far in front of his headlights as he can.


HAYES: In a new piece for New York Magazine titled "There is no plan for end of the Coronavirus crisis," New York Magazine deputy editor David Wallace-Wells writes about America`s long road back and the especially conspicuous absence of federal leadership.

David Wallace-Wells joins me now.

So, what`s -- what is your understanding of what we know about what we would need for something like normal life? Because I think there`s some idea right now, it`s like everyone is hunkered down. We can get through this period, maybe. It`s going to be extremely destructive and terrible. And then what, right? That`s the question.

DAVID WALLACE-WELLS, DEPUTY EDITOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Tonight, Dr. Fauci had said that we may never get to a pre-Coronavirus world. So, I think we have to keep that in mind, too. He was saying that the best we may hope for is something like a -- you know, a kind of controlled future in which this virus is still with us, but not terrorizing us in the way that it has.

There are a lot of paths that we could take to get there, most of them involve mass testing of one kind or another, both show, you know, who has the disease, but also so we know who has gotten through the disease and then we can then sort of open up parts of the economy, parts of our economy, parts of our country on that basis.

And we are just so far from being able to do that. We do not have the capacity at the moment to be testing even those patients who are dramatically symptomatic and showing up at the hospital in incredible distress. So to go from there to a situation like they have in South Korea, or Singapore, where they are not just testing all symptomatic patients but doing widespread countrywide community testing to know who has it and making public health policies, as a result, is just a far, far cry from where we are today.

And there is nobody in the federal government that I can tell that is even thinking about, certainly talking about, in public, how we get from here to there.

HAYES: Yeah, this is the thing that stuck with me about your piece, as sort of crystallized something I`ve been thinking. You know, we go back and look at the time line, right. In January, and early February is when they should have been thinking about what do we do if this comes here? Do we have enough PPE? Can we get two months ahead of this? Now all the question are these two months ahead question, the federal government should be saying, look, we need to have a bunch of things in place, so that we can have something like the South Korean model, and your point in that piece is there seems to be literally no one doing that.

WALLACE-WELLS: There`s hardly anyone doing it outside of government, but there certainly seems to be doing it inside of government. And, yeah, this is especially distressing because in particular places, even in New York where the problems have been really dramatic, we do seem to be making some meaningful progress. The number of new cases coming into the hospital every day is dropping, things seem to be stabilized in a quite dire but nevertheless stable situation for the first time in a few weeks. And that does raise the question what`s next?

And if we respond to that stability by sort of reopening things, bringing people out of lock-down quite quickly, we run the risk of exposing huge new parts of the population who have not yet encountered the virus to it, again, which could produce an outbreak, a panic, a pandemic, a spread like we`ve seen starting maybe six weeks or four weeks ago and could just produce another wave of incredibly overburdened hospital centers and really distressed metropolises around the country.

HAYES: Yeah, and this testing point, to me, I mean I remember when embattling, obviously, a very, very, very different disease, HIV, but it became a kind of watch word, at a certain point, know your status, right, and particularly in some sub-communities that were particularly hard-hit by the disease, so knowing your status was such an important element of fighting it.

And also, to create, for folks who were fighting HIV, some -- again, some semblance of normal life, right, with the disease, was having that knowledge was so key. What you`re saying is we need something like that, where basically everyone is walking around knowing I had it and I am now probably immune or I haven`t had it or someone that I`m in contact with does have it and I need to be careful, essentially.

WALLACE-WELLS: In Germany, they`re talking about issuing certificates to people so that they can show that they are immune, they can get certain jobs that others can`t. Theoretically we could send doctors into ICUs more quickly if we knew that they had already acquired immunity. And, you know, this is, they`re even farther along in parts of Asia where they do things like, you know, if you`ve had contact with someone who has tested positive, you are quarantined for 14 days, not in your home, but in a quarantine camp. You are cut off from -- you know, this was happening in a Hong Kong, for instance.

The U.S. has showed absolutely no willingness to do this. And it terrifies me that we`re heading into that future with no plan at all.

HAYES: Yeah, we need to plan for that.

David Wallace-Wells, thank you so much.


HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.