JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Chris Hayes is up next.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Here`s the hard reality. The virus is nasty. It`s just the truth. A new study from the CDC suggests it`s actually even more transmissible than we initially thought, although this is all sort of a work in progress. It is also deadly.
We know that of course when we look at the numbers day after day. Thousands of Americans dying day after day. We just got a disturbing visual of that, what this looks like. Hart Island, a small island off the coast of the Bronx in New York City, and since the mid-1800s, it has been used as a potter`s field for fat people whose families cannot afford a funeral, who - - or who go unclaimed by relatives.
A new video shows a giant trench being dug on the island to deal with the surge of bodies in New York City. A spokesperson for the Department of Corrections of the island has gone from burying about 25 bodies a week to around 24 bodies per day. New York Times reports funeral directors say they`ve been told any Coronavirus victims not claimed within two weeks will be buried on Hart Island at least temporarily.
Those are hard truths that are actually happening right now. That`s what`s happening. That`s the toll of the virus. There`s also the economic toll, which is almost incomprehensible. Here`s the line for one food bank, a single food bank in San Antonio, Texas. That Food Bank fed about 10,000 households on Thursday alone.
Look at this line of people waiting in their cars to receive printed unemployment forms Hialeah, Florida. That is the stark reality of this pandemic, and a recession happening together. And so, one can understand under these circumstances, the temptation for magical thinking, the temptation to wish it weren`t so.
But in fact, it was that magical thinking that got us here, when the President wished it all away, when he said it was all under control, the cases were going down, not up, that it was like the flu, that it was all hype, that it was a hoax. That was all magical thinking. And that magical thinking led to the situation we are in now, burying bodies in mass on Hart Island with millions of people out of work, and hungry and desperate.
But the magical thinking never stopped. It never quite let reality fully intrude. Just two and a half weeks ago, the President went on Trump T.V. and said he would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter this Sunday. He spent weeks pushing a promising but untested malaria drug as a kind of magical cure-all.
And you know what, it would be great if that malaria drug could miraculously cure all this. It would be great if we can go back to normal and open the country up and not have the virus ravage our population. I would love to go to dinner. That would be great. God, I hope that`s the case. But hope is not a plan. That`s how we ended up here in the first place.
So now we have the chorus of magical thinking, all these people that are very influential to a president who is prone to magical thinking, talking about opening the country up before you know it. Trump T.V. host Laura Ingraham has been leading the charge. Here`s what she said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Unless somehow money really just does grow on trees, we need a reopening soon. A date certain where we can continue protecting the most vulnerable and at the same time, reclaim our lives and our God-given freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Our God-given freedom. To give you a sense of how another country is handling this freedom, China, a country that probably cares more about their GDP and is willing to sacrifice people to it than just about any nation on Earth. Opening up in China, the virus` first epicenter means for people in a noodle shop of 50. It means everyone on masks, everyone in gloves, constant social distancing, constant testing, temperature checks, contact tracing. That`s what normal in China looks like.
We cannot go back to normal. Until we have vaccine there. There is no business as usual. Things will change. It`s not -- this is not my opinion, this is what all the experts are saying. Here`s Trump`s former FDA head, OK, not some liberal. This is Dr. Scott Gottlieb describing what his vision of a new normal looks like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FDA: I think things are going to be permanently changed coming out of this until we get to a vaccine and we can fully vanquish this. There are things that are not coming back. People are not going to crowd into conferences. They`re not going to crowd into arenas. The marginal customer is not going back to movie theaters and cruises and Disneyland, and we need to accept that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Just today, The New York Times reported on new federal projection showing a spike in infections if shelter in place orders were lifted too quickly. Those projections were basically leaked to The Times, it appears, from inside the Trump ministration. They totally undercut the president stated wish to open the country quickly.
"If the administration lifts the 30-day stay at home orders, the death totals estimated reach 200,000. Even if schools remain closed until summer, 25 percent of the country continues to work from home and some social distancing continues.
We all want out of this. I mean, it`s the one unifying thing in a very divided country. God, we all want out of it. But wanting and getting there are two different things. We need a plan of federal action. And that`s again, that`s not a controversial thing. Both right-leaning think tanks and left-leaning think tanks have basically reached the same conclusion.
There needs to be an intensely coordinated, highly planned, supremely well- executed federal process to get us to the point where we can go about something like normal. Magical thinking will not do that. And here`s the thing. Right now, there is no action, none, zero being taken by the President or this administration or anyone of his task force, honestly, none whatsoever to get us to that point.
I`m joined now by Ezra Klein, founder and editor at large of Vox, who recently wrote a great piece titled I`ve read the plans to reopen the economy. They`re scary. Ezra, first I want to start on this sort of this -- the amazing persistence of this view that somehow it`s not as bad as we thought, it`s not as bad as we think -- and I mean, it`s important to be, you know, humble and open to new data, but, you know, it seems to me that it`s a seductive view, because people don`t want to actually grapple with the hard realities that you talked about in that piece.
EZRA KLEIN, FOUNDER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, VOX: Yes. There is not going to be a moment where people -- unless we get this so wrong, that the death toll is unbelievably horrific and undeniable, there not be a moment where people do not look for any opportunity they can find to say, it`s over, we`re done, we did it. Mission accomplished. We can roll down the banner.
And the problem with that is that Dr. Fauci said early on, that if you do the right thing here, it will look like an overreaction because the worst predictions will not come true. We are doing to some degree the right thing in some places some of the time.
And it does appear that as predicted, the curves are bending. I`m in California right now. We`re doing pretty good job in California. The question is, you can`t stay in lockdown forever. So are we using this time when we`re making this tremendous sacrifice, when people are staying home, when the economy is basically in ruins, are we using this time to get ourselves to a phase two that is more sustainable?
And as you mentioned in your intro there, there is nothing happening on that front from the national government. There is no plan. You cannot go to the White House and download anything to tell us where we`re going here. They are doing nothing. But this time, it`s all up to the states and cities.
HAYES: It`s really astonishing. And I think it`s worth hammering this home. It`s very clear to me the President understands this is like a date you circle on the calendar, and there`s a mission accomplished and then maybe he comes out and does like essentially a ribbon-cutting. Like, OK, we`re back, we`re back, America. And that`s just not how it is. Like we`re all sacrificing.
Every single human being in the country right now, in their own way, is part of the collective effort to buy a day and another day and another day. And while we`re doing that job, their job is to figure out what comes next and no one`s doing it.
KLEIN: I worry -- it`s actually a lot worse than that. I worry that what is happening in the government, from what I can tell is that there is a plan that is being executed every hour of every day. And that is many people in the federal government are fighting to stop Donald Trump from reopening everything before they can. And so much energy is going into that project to get him on from where he is on Tuesday back to where he needs to be on Wednesday, that there is no room for a plan.
Ron Klain, who ran the Ebola response for President Obama said this great thing to me on my podcast when we did an interview a few weeks ago. He said, look, if you do everything right, if the president stands on the table and screens, that this is the single most important thing the federal government has to do. If you do all of it, then given the size and complexity of the federal government, you can get a pretty good response.
If what you have instead is the president every day saying, I`d really like to stop this. I don`t want to hear the bad news. Like, don`t tell me that, you`re not going to get anything. And I think that`s sort of where we are.
But the problem that really creates is it if we don`t use this time do you put in place the surveillance technologies we`re going to need, the testing -- the increase in mass testing we`re going to need, the economic support we`re going to need, then we are going to hit a point where it`s so economically ruinous to say in this level of social distancing, that we can`t sustain it. But we also have a lot of built what we need to begin to reopen things safely.
HAYES: Right. And then there`s this final point, and it`s when you talk about in the piece, and I`ve been having the exact same thought as I listened to people and talk with and read experts talking about the next steps, what -- the picture they paint isn`t like, hey, we`re all back out at concerts like it`s this very strange and altered version of life, right?
And the other danger is, if you`re not preparing people for that, if what you`re selling them is essentially a bill of goods, if there`s a certain have light at the end of the tunnel, this magical date certain and then everyone`s going to go back to it, like there`s going to be tremendous anger, rage, backlash, disappointment, frustration, depression, when that`s not what it is.
KLEIN: Yes. I want to be really clear on this. It is not like there is some great plan out there. Donald Trump could roll out tomorrow and everybody would clap and it would sound wonderful. I went on and I read everything I could find, every single plan I could find, on the left, on the right, from non-affiliated academics for how do we reopen. And I did it in part because I myself wanted to be comforted.
If there was no plan coming from the federal government, I wanted to -- at least I know somebody had one. And when I began to read them, what they assumed comes next is unbelievable, right? You`re either dealing with a digital IP contract tracing system, or like all of our phones are tracking in geo -- in geotag terms, who we are near, we`re scanning QR codes every time we get on a bus, something that a surveillance system at a level we`ve never contemplated in this country.
And I think most people would be very concerned by and it is very unclear to me who has the social trust and the technological expertise simultaneously to pull that off and get widespread adoption of it quickly. Or a mass testing system where you`re dealing with, say, millions of tests or tens of millions of tests a day. Not clear we can get to that many tests. Even if we can, how we were administering that, how we are forcing compliance with it very open and very difficult questions. Or and you just had Scott Gottlieb, that clip from him, he talks about the 80 percent economy.
If you`re in this position, but what you`re basically doing is you`re relaxing social distancing a bit when you`re ICU aren`t that full, and then you go back into it when they get full again, he talks about the economy only coming back at 80 percent. Well, that sounds like most of the economy grade but an 80 percent economy is a depression. So we`re dealing here with three pretty --
HAYES: Depression, right.
KLEIN: Depression, yes. We`re dealing with three pretty significant and very different subsequent realities. And at least until we get a vaccine, or at least until something changes in the virus or in herd immunity, that makes some of the current projections wrong.
HAYES: Yes. Ezra Klein, it`s a great piece, great to talk to you, have a great weekend. Thank you, man.
KLEIN: Thank you.
HAYES: The President knighted States continues to act as though the country is on the cusp of getting back to normal with life returning to more or less what it was before. But as Dr. Anthony Fauci has made clear, live is going to look very different on the other side of this, and we need to prepare for a resurgence of the virus, when more people start venturing outside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When we decide, at a proper time, when we`re going to be relaxing some of the restrictions, there`s no doubt you`re going to see cases. I would be so surprised if we did not see cases. The question is how you respond to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I want to turn now to someone who has a plan for what to do when we reach that point, NYU Professor and Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Paul Romer, who argues that we will need to test people on a massive scale, millions of Americans getting tests every single day. Professor Romer, I`ve read some of what you`ve written on this and I actually find it persuasive. But take me to the thinking of why you see testing and testing at a level that essentially no one has done yet as the key here.
PAUL ROMER, ECONOMIST: Yes. Every single strategy for containing this pandemic requires that we take about 70 percent of the people who are currently infected, including the ones who don`t show any symptoms. We take about 70 percent of them and isolate them. So if you got 100 infected today, if we did nothing, they`d have 250 infected people in two weeks. But if you take 70 of them and put them in isolation, only the remaining 30 becomes 75 people. So 100 now translates into 75 in two weeks.
ROMER: And then the pandemic goes away. That`s all there is to this. But it`s hard. And right now, the way we`re getting 70 percent of the -- of the infected in quarantine, when we don`t know who`s infected, because we just put everybody in quarantine. So the alternative would be to start to collect the information with the tests. We`ve got these tests, collect the information, find out who`s infected, and then put them in quarantine.
Now, the reason Ezra who you`ve talked to says this is scary, is this would involve a massive increase in our ability to test. We can do about 100,000 tests a day right now. We need to get up to 20 to 30 million test a day. But the point is that --
HAYES: I`m sorry 20 -- wait, 20 to 30 million. 20 to 30 million, that`s -- I mean, that`s an enormous orders of magnitude scale increase.
ROMER: Yes. Yes. But look, you know, this is a huge economy. We got 330 million people. We can do those big things if we just put our minds to it. And we don`t have to invent anything new. I mean, think of this. I mean, imagine the Grinch came and stole everybody`s shoes over the -- over the weekend, and then we had to get people back to the hospitals and we`d say, oh, my God, we got 10 million people who work in hospitals. We can`t -- we can`t do any health care because nobody has got shoes.
You know, this economy, we would figure out how to get 10 million pairs of shoes. And it sounds like a lot, but you know we got hundreds of millions of people. We could do that. The same way we could figure out how to test 20, 30 million people a day.
HAYES: I tend to -- I mean, I don`t have any particular expertise here, but I tend to sort of agree with you, at least in principle as a sort of theoretical stipulation like it is -- there`s a universe in a sort of logistical sense in a capacity sense in which the richest country in the world could do this, yes. But it also seems to me that like there`s got to be a roadmap from here to there. I mean, one of the things we`ve seen is, that`s not -- there`s no -- and particularly because there`s not like -- there`s no sort of easy market signals or turn on or some incentive structure. Like, there`s got to be a fairly coordinated effort to get there, right.
ROMER: Yes. And I think one of the reason people get nervous when I talk about this as they think I`m saying, well, just everybody go to back to work and we`ll start investing in testing and we`ll get there. You can`t do it that way. You got to start with what we`ve got. The very first thing we got to do is we got to test the people who are already working.
We got 10 million people in health care who go into work every day, and they don`t know if they`re infected, they don`t know if they`re a silent, asymptomatic carrier who`s going to infect all their colleagues. We need to be able to test. And in healthcare, they`re so exposed, we should be testing them every day.
Same thing for police officers, EMTs, transit workers, you know, maybe you could test them twice a week. But you start to think this way, you`re going to need 10, 15 million tests a day, even to do right by the people who are asking to do those jobs. So instead of just wringing our hands about it, let`s just get our act together and just do this.
HAYES: You know -- you know, what`s interesting about this is that it sort of -- there`s a kind of instinct everyone had at beginning of this, a kind of -- I think we all felt it which is everyone want to know whether they had or not, particularly because everyone is going through this sort of hypochondriac kind of moments of like, oh, I have a sore throat, do I have it or not? And because testing itself is a precious resource that was being tightly rationed, right, the answer was like, don`t frivolously use them.
But what you`re sort of returning to is like, your instinct is correct, right, which is that we should all know, like, actually know as a -- as a factual matter as much as possible throughout the society in any given moment what our status is.
ROMER: Yes. And it`s like, you know, these big numbers scare people. It`s like 330 million people in this country, that means we have to have like, 900 million meals a day. How are we ever going to get 900 million meals a day? But you know, we got a lot of people. We make a lot of meals, you know. And this is -- it`s not like we have to invent anything new. We just got to scale up what we know how to do and take our time.
If you know -- if we -- if it takes us two months, three months, take that time, but man, we got to get going because these people who are doing the essential jobs, they`re already exposed and they need to be protected so that some -- one of them doesn`t inadvertently infect another.
HAYES: Paul Romer, I really appreciated the all the thought you put into this and reading your writing on this. Thank you so much for making some time tonight.
ROMER: Well, you know what, I think -- the way I described Ezra`s report on these options was he said, Romer`s plan is the worst plan I`ve ever encountered, except for all of the others for recovery.
HAYES: Yes, it`s true. That`s right. I think that`s Churchill on democracy. Thank you, Professor Romer. Ahead, new reporting on the failures of the federal response that led to a shortage of critical protective equipment for healthcare workers. What happened? It`s mind-blowing, after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): If you have masks, offices that are non-essential right now, there were dentist`s offices that are closed, there are clinics that are closed, we need those masks, those gowns, gloves and we need them now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was from March 20. Yes, Governor Cuomo begging for masks and other equipment. By that point, there were nearly 19,000 Coronavirus cases in the U.S. and 239 deaths. A national emergency had been in effect for a week and public schools in places from Arizona to Kentucky and Pennsylvania were closed. Much of the country is already on lockdown, March 20th.
That was just three weeks ago. I mean that this was into the pandemic. And yet, in reporting in this amazing New Yorker piece the U.S. government, including the task force headed by the president`s son in law, Jared Kushner, had not placed a single order for bulk protective masks until mid- March.
"The first large U.S. government order to the big U.S. producer 3M, for $173 million worth of N-95 masks was not placed until March 21st. The whole piece is an inside look at the shocking incompetence of the federal response including just one section in which Jared Kushner was supposed to marshal the private sector to help provide protective equipment to hospitals and frontline workers. But instead, that private-sector effort got strung along for almost two weeks while nothing was done, repeatedly promised that FEMA was going to step in and take charge.
Here with me now as someone who understands how to put together response to the pandemic and quoted in this piece Jeremy Konyndyk, former USAID Director for Foreign Disaster Assistance who led the government`s humanitarian responses to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Jeremy, it almost -- it starts to feel almost repetitive at this point, but still important, just the excruciating documentation of the utter lack of ability to prepare ahead of time in the response, and particularly on this obvious question of protective personal equipment.
JEREMY KONYNDYK, FORMER DIRECTOR FOR FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE, USAID: You know, one thing that came through in every exercise that had been done, every study that had been done, all the research about what would happen in a major event, PPV supply, was always identified as a bottleneck in a problem. And in some of the reports that came out in January and early February, including one that I co-authored that cited in the piece, we identified the PPE supply chain as a weak spot, something that needed to be shored up starting now.
Because it was clear, you know, hospitals are lean in this country. They don`t run big reserves of that equipment. And so indicate -- in the event of a surge of cases, they would need a lot more than they currently have. So you know, that was foreseen by a lot of people but ignored by the federal leadership.
HAYES: One of the things that came through in that -- in that piece, that great piece in The New Yorker, and it sort of focuses on the Kushner Task Force, is the entire approach from the White House, particularly with putting your son in law in charge of this, you know, Task Force is there`s an insane amount of institutional expertise in the U.S. government across all kinds of different areas of it -- the intelligence agencies were warning back in November, that something was up with this new pneumonia in Wuhan. There`s HHS, there`s USAID, there`s the NSC -- that essentially none of that`s being drawn on. It`s just like, hey, have Jared Google some stuff and talk to some Silicon Valley people.
KONYNDYK: Yes, exactly. And when -- you know, there were reports I think in March as well, that when Jared was asked for help, the first thing he did was reach out to his brother in law`s father who happened to be a medical doctor. You know, you`ve got the whole resources of the federal government. You`ve got the CDC, you`ve got the NIH, you`ve got the whole you know, Health and Human Services Department, world-class experts on all of these things.
You`ve got academic institutions that would -- that would show up at the White House in a heartbeat if their expertise was sought after, and he`s reaching out to, you know, a relative of a relative. I mean, it`s just -- it`s bonkers.
HAYES: Do you see any improvement? I mean, I think a lot of people -- a lot of people I talk to, you know, feel at least some sort of stabilization with Dr. Fauci there. And obviously, he has a reputation and expertise and seems to be quite fairly straightforward. He shaves a little bit as he sort of navigates around Trump. But do you think that`s improved at all in terms of like, the use of the institutional resources and knowledge of the government to actually have a kind of science led response to this?
KONYNDYK: No, not at all. I mean, you`ve still got the president talking about how antibiotics don`t treat viruses in the press conference today, which, anyway, it`s fairly basic. But you know what, what worries me is they wasted February. So we just talked about, they wasted February. They had warning. They didn`t use it to prepare. They should have been using it to prepare. I fear now we`re wasting April.
The lack of a federal plan, the lack of a plan for what we do once we bring cases down means we`re wasting April. And I think everything you talked about with Ezra earlier in the show really captures that, that you know, the President doesn`t seem to want the federal government to take ownership of this. He wants to leave it to the states and that`s going to guarantee that we have -- you know, we came into this phase of the shelter in place in a patchwork and we`re going to exit it in a patchwork. And that just -- I think it just guarantees we`re going to be facing this for longer and in a more painful way than we could with an effective government response.
HAYES: Jeremy Konyndyk who`s got so much knowledge on this topic, thank you for being here tonight.
KONYNDYK: My pleasure.
HAYES: Next, three weeks ago, we spoke to an emergency room doctor who had just a day earlier had been quarantined with Coronavirus. Tonight, Dr. Dara Kass is back. She`s feeling better. She`s going to share with us what it is like surviving the Coronavirus. Stick around.
HAYES: Thousands of people across the country have gotten through the Coronavirus. And obviously, their experiences with the disease ranged from relatively mild to all the way to being intubated and being put onto ventilator and near death. But a lot of people, even at that so-called mild end of things are talking about just how nasty and relentless an illness it can be.
A nurse in Tennessee recorded this first-person account of her symptoms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAREKA WILLIAMS, NURSE BATTLING COVID-19: You`ve got to excuse me, it hurts to breathe. I just to tell you, don`t take this as a joke. It is not a joke. You can`t see your family. You can barely talk. Trying to do everything you can to stay sane.
To survive this, this (INAUDIBLE) whomever. This is not your color or your age, your health condition. It is no joke. Stay at home. If you don`t have to go out, stay at home. This is something you don`t want.
I never felt a gunshot, but this is probably worse than a gunshot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And that`s just one of the stories of a front-line worker surviving the Coronavirus.
Joining me now is Dr. Dara Kass, associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Kass joined us three weeks ago while quarantined after contracting the virus while treating patients in the ER. Dr. Kass, welcome back.
How are you feeling?
DR. DARA KASS, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: I`m feeling -- from the Coronavirus, I`m feeling pretty good. I`m a little sad to watch that video and to see more and more people not to at their parents` death, so it`s pretty terrible.
But for me personally, I feel pretty lucky and pretty good right now.
HAYES: How was -- can you describe what your sort of experience of the virus was, your symptom profile, how long it lasted, things like that?
KASS: So I was symptomatic for about eight days, which is pretty typical for the mild course of illness where I had the muscle ache, the fatigue, the headache, the very persistent cough, shortness of breath when I walked from one room to the other, but I never really developed the high fevers or the lack of oxygen that meant that I was worried that I needed to go to the ER.
A lot of my friends, actually, other health care workers and other people that are just regular folk have contracted the virus and had to go to the hospital, been put on oxygen and even been intubated.
HAYES: Yeah, I now know a number of people that have gotten it. One thing that several people said it`s sort of different waves of cycles like eight days was sort of in the middle or even shorter range, but people I`ve talked to have said 14 days and, you know, after nine or 10 days they think they maybe feel better for a day and then have a second wave of symptoms.
KASS: So actually, that`s one of the things that we talk about amongst ourselves, like health care workers that get sick, because we find out we have it day four or five or six, and we don`t even consider it a case closed until day eight, day nine, day 10. And that a lot of people who get very sick don`t even go to the hospital until day eight or day nine. And they wind up having a 14 or an 18 days course of illness, and especially if you get intubated you could be on the ventilator for between one to three weeks.
HAYES: So as someone who had the virus, was self-quarantined by yourself and also is an emergency room doctor, how were you monitoring yourself? What were the triggers you were looking for? Because right now, you know, the advice to people that get it is to stay at home, don`t stress the hospital system more than you have to, but obviously, like if you need to go to the hospital, go to the hospital but that`s a tough call to make. How were you monitoring that?
KASS: So I think first and foremost, that`s a great use of telemedicine, right. So, if you`re scared about whether or not you should go to the hospital, just do a telemedicine visit, that`s first and foremost.
I think that when you`re monitoring yourself at home, if you`re fortunate enough to have a pulse ox (ph), so a thing that you put on your finger to check your oxygen, that`s actually a pretty good dataset to make sure you`re OK or you`re not OK, and a lot of hospitals now are actually sending people home with pulse oxes (ph) to monitor them at home, to keep them out of the hospital.
But the other things to worry about -- and we worry about it, too, are can you breathe, literally, can you take a deep breath without hesitation. If you watch that nurse in the video she could not complete sentences without taking an extra breath. She had to stop. That was a telltale sign that she probably shouldn`t stay home at least before being evaluated by a doctor.
So, the fact that she was in a hospital being evaluated was important, because if I had seen her at home on telemedicine, I would have told her to go in.
Our hospital are open for sick patients. They just need to keep the well patients out for now.
HAYES: Are you back at work now?
KASS: Yeah, even tonight. After this I`m going to work. I am back at work.
HAYES: So -- and what is the experience been like and do you know -- like do you have now antibodies and so you`re now in a sort of different situation than I would imagine a lot of your fellow workers who are very worried, obviously, for very legitimate reasons about contracting it?
KASS: Actually, all the segments you had before this are really important to this idea of getting back to normal and actually reintegrating as a society, because I`m in this very gray zone of both having antibodies and not knowing if I`m still contagious, which is why I`m living a hotel.
KASS: So, after you have the virus, there is a period of time when you`re still contagious but not symptomatic. And we don`t actually know how long that is. In a lot of cities and a lot of states that have a lower prevalence of disease, they are testing people to prove they are negative before they go back to work. That`s not happening in New York, because we just can`t do it.
So until I know that I`m negative, I`m not going to reintegrate into my family, because I have an immune compromised son.
So now we know -- so I`m going back to work wearing a mask as I finish talking about CDC and all standards of care, and being symptom free for almost three weeks.
HAYES: So final question for you because Paul Romer was talking about this earlier in the show, in terms of just health care workers, the folks that work in the hospital with you -- doctors, nurses and then also janitorial staff and other support staff -- is there enough testing that all those folks can get tested if they need to, or is it still being rationed enough that they can`t?
KASS: It`s not enough. There`s not even close to enough. I couldn`t tell health care workers who are at home seeing me on telemedicine, you know, how to easily get tests in New York City if they needed it. It`s very variable based on the region they`re in, the hospital you work for, whether or not you have testing facilities that were federally supported but now aren`t federally supported, maybe they are federally supported.
There just definitively is not enough testing. And we know that, which is why we need the federal government to take leadership in this aspect, because without them we`re never going to be ahead of the testing and surveillance we need, especially in a city as vast as New York City.
HAYES: All right. Dr. Dara Kass, it is great to see you feeling better and on the recovery end of this, and thank you both for coming on and for all your work. I appreciate it.
KASS: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Coming up, Trymaine Lee reports on the horror stories coming out of America`s prisons and jails where people are unable to physically distance, are facing down a pandemic. What`s happening behind bars next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As we`ve reported here previously, one of the worst places to be during this pandemic is locked up inside a prison or jail. In state, local, and federal detention facilities around the country, the same horror story is emerging, of the unchecked spread of infection and inmates essentially being left to die.
Inside one federal facility in Ohio, where at least three prisoners have been killed by the virus, one inmate with a smuggled smartphone recorded a plea for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was all good a couple days ago, right? So all of a sudden out of the blue (EXPLETIVE DELETED) everybody just (EXPLETIVE DELETED) dying and getting sick and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) like this (EXPLETIVE DELETED) serious as (EXPLETIVE DELETED), like they literally leaving us in here to die.
(EXPLETITIVE DELETED) you can social distance. We can`t social distance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You can social distance, he says. We cannot social distance in prison.
In the latest episode of his MSNBC podcast Into America, Trymaine Lee takes a look at what being done to protect the people who live and work inside these facilities.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JJ VELAZQUEZ, INMATE AT SIN SING CORRECTIONAL FACILITY: The fear is real. That`s all -- like, prison is a place where like when this tension, you can feel the tension in the air. You can feel the fear in the air. When you walk around, it`s thick. It`s thick.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee.
Trymaine, you talked to family members of those incarcerated including people who are incarcerated. What did you hear?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`ll tell you what, Chris, as the virus continues to spread across the country, so is the fear, not just of the folks inside of the facilities, but the families who essentially are serving time with them. Now J.J. Velazquez, the man we heard that clip of, he says that you can feel the tension and it`s so thick in the air, but also that if folks on the outside can`t get access to testing and proper health care and masks and protective gear, what makes you think anyone could care about those on the inside of prisons.
Now we know all of us on the outside who are social distancing, creating space between ourselves and other people, they don`t have that option. They`re living in close quarters. The inmate population is the most vulnerable population in America to disease. They`re more prone to getting hepatitis and tuberculosis. But also, let`s not forget, we can kind of keep them in their cells on their blocks, but every single day, staff, correction officers are coming in and out of the prison.
So one of the main carriers of COVID-19 into the system are actually those who work inside the building, not just the inmates.
HAYES: Yeah, and that`s -- I mean, we`ve made this point before, but you`re seeing it now, this is a perfect example. There`s 492 cases in Cooke County jail in Chicago, two deaths, and if I`m not mistaken, I think about half of those, a little more than half of those are inmates, and about 200 are correction officials and others employees of the sheriffs.
It is not going to stay there, even if you don`t care about the moral worth of people behind bars, which you should, the disease is not going to stay there. There is people moving in and out.
LEE: Chris, I`ll tell you what is almost mind-boggling, but not really because this is America and this is who we are, the Into America podcast dropped last night at 5:00 p.m., I tweeted about it. And if you checked my mentions people are saying they committed a crime. They deserve to be there. Do you want to let them out and rape and murder? Send them to Democratically run cities, never taking into account that there are people who are working in these facilities who will be coming out into the community day in and day out, visiting with their family members, who will then spread the virus.
But also 95 percent of inmates currently, the 2.3 million people -- of the 2.3 million trapped behind bars, 95 percent will at some point get out. So, when we`re talking about this disease, it`s behooves all of us in the power structure to really make sure that we`re taking care of folks, if not we`ll all be paying the p rice for a very long time.
HAYES: And also to that point, I mean, obviously, there is a huge concern in a lot of cities or jails, right. So, there are prisons where people are serving longer sentences. Jails, there is huge turnover in those populations. One of the people that died in Rikers, contracted the disease, was there for a minor parole violation, caught the virus and then passed away. This is someone who was pretrial, was on a minor parole violation.
And there are jails where people are cycling in and out throughout the entire country.
LEE: I mean, that`s obscene and tough on many levels. One, not that it matters whether you`re innocent or guilty, if you`re in the charge of the state, you should be taken care of.
But could you imagine being accused of a crime, landing in jail and then not being protected and dying before you can have your day in court?
But across the country, some state prison systems are trying to make sure that they limit the number of people who are transferred from the jail system into the state system. So in Colorado where I spoke to the executive director of the department of corrections, Dean Williams, he said they tried to, you know, limit that transfer of inmates, but their first positive COVID case this week was an inmate transfer from the Denver City Jail into the state prison system, so it`s layered, it`s tricky and it`s all around bad.
HAYES: Yeah, once it`s in there, it`s hard.
Trymaine Lee, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
LEE: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, the dangerous lies Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is telling his constituents and what it means for him to keep churches open on one of the most heavily attended services of the year, Easter Sunday, that`s next.
HAYES: Ron DeSantis is the Republican governor of Florida, a state where a quarter of the population, a quarter, is older than 60, and even though the state has a huge vulnerable population, the governor`s actions have indicated that he does not have a very good grasp on the details of the virus. Just listen to his wild assertion that he had yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): This particular pandemic is one where I don`t think nationwide there`s been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason, it just doesn`t seem to threaten kids. Much more dangerous if you`re 65 and plus than the flu, no doubt about that. If you`re younger, it just hasn`t had an impact. So that should factor into how we`re viewing this. I think the data on that has been 100 percent consistent. I`ve not seen any deviation on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That assertion, no one under 25 has died, that is just flat-out false. In fact, on this show we have covered people under the age of 25 who have succumbed to the virus. A quick Google will pull that up.
It should not come as a surprise from Governor DeSantis, just hours after issuing a statewide stay-at-home order, he also signed an exemption, designating religious services, quote, essential activities and not limiting the number of people who could attend the service, though he did urge those to practice social distancing. I`m not exactly sure that gets enforced.
Some churches in Florida held services last weekend for Palm Sunday, including a church in Orlando where the pastor told people, quote, "this is not a time to hide, this is not a time to chicken out, this is not a time to listen to online sermons only, this is a time to gather together in his presence."
That church, along with others in Florida, plan on holding in-person Easter services this weekend.
Joining me now is Florida`s commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, Nikki Fried. She has been critical of the governor`s approach to this for failing to lead. Commissioner, the governor says when he first started on this, said look, it is not affecting everyone in the state. A statewide order doesn`t make any sense. He then said, you know, it`s important that people be able to sort of religiously observe. What do you see is wrong with the approach he`s taken here?
NIKKI FRIED, FLORIDA COMMISSIONERS OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES: You know, obviously, I`ve been very critical of his approach to all of this. You know, I called on a shutdown almost two weeks prior to him initiating it. And it is just dangerous. We were a piece-mealing approaches throughout the entire time, and that`s just not how the state of Florida works, that we needed the shutdown.
And to now allow for churches to stay open -- look, we certainly are all sympathetic of everybody wanting their religious opportunities, you know, I celebrated passover via Zoom with my family on Wednesday night. But this is a time for us all to take this seriously.
HAYES: Are you worried about that specifically? It does seem like the religious exemption, which he explicitly carved out doesn`t limit the amount of people that can attend services. Could, you know -- we know that sometimes one or two events can be really, really powerful in spreading the virus.
FRIED: Yes, of course, you know, we are concerned. But it`s the same thing we`ve been seeing time and time again, unfortunately, from the governor
And look, you know, this is not partisan. I don`t think anybody is surprised, I`m a democrat, he is a Republican. But this isn`t partisan, this is, our time to hold our leaders accountable and to call out, if there has been a failure in leadership, and which is what we have seen from the very start of this pandemic, up to his comments from yesterday, is really dangerous information.
And when we are as elected officials having to create policy, we`ve got to be relying on data, and scientific information. And having misinformation is very dangerous during this time period.
Words have consequences and matters. I oversee a program that feeds 2 million of our kids across the state of Florida . If I misspeak, kids go hungry. I oversee $137 billion agriculture industry. If I misspeak, our food chain has serious implications.
So our words matter, and this is no time for errors.
HAYES: One of the things that has come to the surface, we showed some pictures I think earlier, mentioned Hialeah, where a whole bunch of people had to come in person to get a printout for unemployment insurance. And there`s been a lot of attention paid to the unemployment insurance system in Florida. And the fact that it is very, very user-unfriendly. What is going on there?
FRIED: It is a disaster. It is absolutely a disaster and something that not only Governor DeSantis was warned about in 2019, but certainly, his predecessor, now Senator Scott, knew that there was all of these problems with the system.
We`re hearing horror stories of people being on the phone seven, eight hours. The web site crashing. And so the response to all of that was giving out paper applications. And so I saw those horror pictures out of Hialeah, with hundreds and hundreds gathered in lines trying to get their paper applications.
And so what you`re doing is you`re asking individuals to choose between getting their unemployment benefits, and their health, and their safety. And that`s just unacceptable. And this is something that is going to put a lot of people in harm`s way.
HAYES: One of the things that I can`t get my head around as I`ve read into this is that people have basically admitted that Rick Scott, who is now a senator from Florida, previous governor, essentially engineered a system to be as difficult as possible to keep the unemployment numbers down. This is from some of the Politico reporting.
It`s an "S" sandwich. It was designed that way by Rick Scott, said one DeSantis adviser, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters, was more succinct, that someone should go to jail over that in terms of how difficult it is to access.
Is that your understanding, too?
FRIED: Yeah, unfortunately that is the case. The state of Florida spent $77 million creating a system that was doomed to fail.
Again, there is over 600 different errors and violations that they heard about in 2019, and zero actions were taken, until which time that unfortunately people started getting fired and had to go on to the system. And the fact that Governor DeSantis is trying to blame either his agency director, or his predecessor, is again trying to not take ownership of the crisis that`s going on here in the state of Florida.
HAYES: All right, commissioner of Florida Nikki Fried, thank you for making some time tonight.
FRIED: Thank you for having me.
HAYES: That does it for All In on this Good Friday at the end of another surreal and difficult week, for everyone. I hope all of you get some time away. If you`re celebrating Easter, Happy Easter this weekend, the Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END