ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: You can find me tomorrow on "THE BEAT" at 6:00 p.m. Eastern or in this slot. I`m going to be filling in tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern for coronavirus special coverage. But don`t go anywhere because up next is "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Perhaps you`ve noticed a small but growing chorus, a loud chorus arguing it is time to move on from this pandemic, get back to our old way of life immediately, throw the doors open to the economy. That anything less than that is just tyranny.
It`s a case being made at these predominantly Conservative protests that have broken out in a few states where you can find plenty of Trump gear, along with guns and the occasional Confederate flag flown in Michigan of all places. Now, these protests are being organized by some of the same right-wing interests that were behind the Tea Party protests against President Barack Obama.
And where do you think these protesters get these ideas? Well, today, the president unveiled his guidelines for, "opening up America again." The plan, if you want to call that, is 18 pages. It may have some states effectively reopening in a month. And here`s the thing. The President does not want states to ease into this. He thinks we can make a full-on return to normal.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s not going to be a new normal where somebody has been having for 25 years 158 seats in a restaurant, and now he`s got 30 or he`s got 60 because that wouldn`t work. That`s not normal. No. Normal will be if he has the 158 or 68 seats, and that`s going to happen, and it`s going to happen relatively quickly, we hope. But that`s our normal. Our normal is if you have 100,000 people in an Alabama football game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: 100,000 people in Alabama football game. I mean, that is our pre- coronavirus normal with no social distancing. But that seems like an unrealistic promise if you think that`s going to happen this fall. I should tell you, on a call with governors today, the president who had previously insisted he had total authority, told the governors to call your own shots. So we will see how his plan plays out state by state.
But the push to reopen is out of sync incredibly enough with what a vast majority of Americans believe. The poll released yesterday I found fascinating. 81 percent of registered voters, 81 percent said we should keep social distancing for as long as necessary, even if it means continued damage to the economy. Just 10 percent said we should stop.
Americans are actually pretty unified on this in a very divided country, and they have good reason to be. Donald Trump claims we have passed the so- called peak of infections, but that is far from clear, unfortunately. In fact, there`s reasonably that new cases in the U.S. have plateaued only because the country is at a ceiling in its testing capacity.
So far, the U.S. says more than 665,000 confirmed cases, more than $34,000 from the virus. That is almost certainly under account due to our lack of widespread testing. The reason people don`t want to stop social distancing is that people continue to have a very rational fear of this virus, because we do not know who has it. And if you just have people go back to work, they`re going to get sick, and some of them will die. And no one wants that.
I mean, look at what happened at Smithfield Foods, a pork processor. This is just a case study in what it looks like when you try to stick to business as usual. A single Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one plant, has become the largest coronavirus hotspot in the entire nation. 644 confirmed cases tied to just that facility. That`s what you get if you ignore the virus.
And when people are scared of infection, you`re not going to have a functioning economy, no matter how many elected officials tell people to get back out there. The only thing that could change that equation, at least until we get a vaccine is widespread testing.
I mean, think about it this way. Let`s say you had a big party planned for August or September, a wedding or fundraiser or a big anniversary party with 100 people that you`re going to invite. And you really want to have that party. You`ve been planning it for a while.
And let`s say the government says, go ahead and do it. it`s legal. Are you going to be able to live with yourself if someone comes to that party gets sick? Or if it starts a cluster of dozens of people that get sick, and God forbid someone then dies? No, you`re not.
But what if we live in a world which all hundred people can be tested that very day. You know that everybody who`s showing up as negative. Maybe then you can go ahead and have the wedding or the fundraiser. Just like if you knew your co-workers have been tested and were negative, you would feel a lot better about going back to sit in an office next to them.
That`s the obvious reason why we need testing on a massive scale. And yet amazingly, we have seen a slowdown at major commercial labs with less testing in recent days at commercial labs that have done the majority of the nation`s coronavirus testing.
Now, there is some testing being done by hospitals and communities that are not part of this count. But it would have to have been scaled up dramatically for us to be making significant progress. And right now, there`s just not evidence for that.
At his news conference, today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo articulated the problem pretty clearly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The bottom line is, well, you need large scale testing. Let`s do it. We can`t do it yet. That is the unvarnished truth.
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HAYES: That is what we need to open the country back up. The countries that have weathered this the best like Germany, which is now planning to lift some restrictions, have relied on widespread testing, as has South Korea, another relative success story which just managed to successfully hold the national election in all this.
We all know how desperate the president needs to get the economy going because he very badly wants to get reelected. But most people are not going to get back out there just because he wants them to. Most people do not agree with cartoonist and prominent Trump supporter Scott Adams, who believes that losing a few hundred thousand people is an acceptable price for reopening the economy.
We cannot truly reopen the economy without widespread testing, because most people understandably do not want to sacrifice themselves. And yet, while the Trump administration wants us to get back out there, it is offered up no real concrete plan with the kind of capacity to do the kind of large scale testing that would make that possible.
President Trump announced his new reopening guidelines on a conference call with the nation`s governors earlier today. And one of those governors joins me now for more on what this means for his state, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper.
Governor, I suspect that if there`s good news out of the President`s "plan" today, it`s that it does seem to delegate the official and the call to governors such as yourself, which I would imagine, you would choose over some kind of instruction from the feds about when to open up.
GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): Well, Chris, welcome to the North Carolina Emergency Operations Center. We have taken strong action here in our state to flatten the curve. We pulled together our public health team with our emergency response team, and we have treated this as an emergency, and we have succeeded.
But essentially the plan today gave us some guidelines and that`s positive. But it says essentially, Governor, it`s your responsibility. Well, we already knew that. We took action very early, to try to thwart this virus and to slow the spread in our respective states and we`ve been successful at that.
In fact, here in North Carolina, I have already talked about a plan of trying to eat reopen our economy in a smart way. And I`ve said in order for us to do that, we have to rely on testing, tracing, and trends. The trends need to be going in the right direction. We need to be able to trace after we test. And the biggest problem that we have right now is testing capacity.
And what we need from the federal government right now is help on that testing capacity, and with supplies, and with personal protective equipment. In North Carolina, we have LabCorp headquartered here, and I call them early on and the President did as well. And they`ve stepped up and created a test and they`re running a lot of tests.
But you have to have the people with the personal protective equipment to go out and take the sample, collect the sample from the person. And if we`re going to open up in a new normal, which I want to do, if there`s one outbreak in a nursing home, I want to go in there and make sure we test everybody.
But we need personal protective equipment, and we need supplies in order to be able to do that. And we don`t have enough personal protective equipment to do that. We need to supply that to be able to do the kind of testing we need to do.
HAYES: You`re identifying a sort of mismatch between sort of capacity and need that I`ve heard from a bunch of people, which is that labs have capacity right now. The bottleneck on testing is not lab capacity. The bottleneck is the equipment, the swabs, the reagents, the PPE for people, and then labor.
It`s actually -- and of course, there`s a lot of people out of work right now, so you could hire a bunch of people to do this. But that -- would you agree that`s what the big bottleneck for your state is to get to the testing capacity you would need?
COOPER: My state and every state because we do have the labs with the capacity to run the test, but we need people to help collect the samples. And one of the biggest problems and shortages we have in our state and across the country is PPE, the personal protective equipment that you need in order to collect the samples.
And we`ve appreciated the help that we`ve gotten from the federal government. We`ve had a good communication with the White House and the task force. And I`ve talked to the President, Vice President on numerous occasions, talked to Dr. Fauci today. But I think the President doesn`t want to believe that testing is a problem. And it is a problem, particularly if we want to get the country going again. I want to do it.
In North Carolina, we were used to having about 12,000 people a month file for unemployment. This past month we had 619,000 people file for unemployment. No one gets wants to get the economy going more than I do. But I want to make sure we save lives. I want to make sure that my hospitals are not overwhelmed with people who are sick coming in to them. And I want to be able to sure -- make sure that people are safe.
And in order to do that, we need to be able to do widespread taste testing. We need to do contract -- contact tracing. We do have to have a lot of boots on the ground, making sure that we can get that done so that we can isolate, so that we can take precautions when we find out that someone tests positive.
This virus is going to be with us until we have a vaccine. And we are going to live in a new normal. I want to live in that new normal. But the new normal is going to rely on testing. And right now we don`t have the full capability to do it. We`re working on it. If you notice the guidelines today, Chris, it says that testing is the responsibility of the states. We`ve figured that out, but we need significant help from the federal government right now.
HAYES: When we talk about normal, I mean, no one could predict the future, but the President was talking about normal being 100,000 people in an Alabama football game which is true. Like that is what the pre-coronavirus normal is. But the question about like, this coming college basketball season, they`re going to be 20,000 people at the Duke-UNC game? Do you envision that being a realistic reality?
COOPER: We`re going to have to look at the trends. We`re going to have to put the testing in place that we need and do the tracing in order to determine what kind of reopening that we`re doing. But like in your first phase, like they`re talking about, you know, the new normal would be going into a restaurant, but realizing that it would have to be limited capacity, A lot of people wearing masks, and probably watching that Duke-Carolina basketball game on T.V. but without live in-person fans being there.
That`s the kind of new normal that we`re going to have to live with for a while. As to when we can get back to normal it`s going to depend on putting all of this together with testing. It`s going to depend on effective treatments. It`s mostly going to depend on whenever we get that vaccine discovered, manufactured, and administered across the country.
HAYES: Governor Cooper of North Carolina, thank you so much for making time tonight, sir.
COOPER: Thanks, Chris. I appreciate it.
HAYES: Joining me now for more on how we get our testing, where it needs to be, Dr. Ashish Jha, Director of Harvard Global Health Institute and Professor of Global Health at Harvard Medical School. I guess first I mean, the idea of a phased-in distributed reopen the economy plan, how does that strike you?
ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: That`s good. I mean, when I look at the plan, I said, OK, I like that. It should be phased-in. It should be done slowly and done with metrics. So I think the conceptual approach to the plan sounded right to me. Then you get into the details where it gets a bit more challenging.
HAYES: Well, that`s the thing. I mean, the problem is, you know, it`s a little like -- it feels a little like my plan to dunk a basketball. You know, I can plan to do that. I could plan a lot, I could practice, but can I do it? And that`s sort of the question here, right?
I mean, the plan of like, we have these metrics, and we phase it in, and we do -- we do testing, but like, getting to testing capacity is the big bottleneck. Is that how you understand it? Am I right? Is that right?
JHA: Yes, there are a couple of -- there a couple of big picture issues with this plan. I mean, one of them certainly is, and maybe the single most important issue is the issue of testing. We fundamentally cannot -- I mean, we can open up whenever we want, Chris. The question isn`t that. The question is can we stay open? Can we not -- can we avoid massive outbreaks? We can`t do that without substantial more testing.
HAYES: And the other thing I keep thinking about is, you know, it shouldn`t be the case -- there`s a weird thing in this -- in this discourse. I think it`s been driven a little bit by these protests and some of the folks -- some of the President`s propagandists, and a few kind of cranks on the right that there`s like this internal tension between the public health concern in the economy.
But if you open up and there`s a huge outbreak in a city and a bunch of people get sick at an office building and a bunch of -- a number of them die, the economy is going to shut down. Like people aren`t going to go to work. Like you`re not -- you haven`t succeeded in doing anything if that happens.
JHA: Yes. I`ve thought from day one this is a false choice for exactly the reasons you articulate. I tell people, imagine that the hospitals are overwhelmed, people are dying, nurses and doctors are getting sick and dying, you think people going to want to go out to restaurants and bars and get on a plane and go to Disney World? Like, no, that`s not going to happen.
So we`ve got to fix the health problem. This was created by a health problem, we got to fix the health problem, and the economy will take care of itself. The economy comes after dealing with the virus. And we can`t deal with the virus until we know who`s got the virus. And we don`t know who`s got the virus unless we`re testing.
HAYES: Do you have a clear sense? I mean, we -- there was a huge ramp of testing. In fact, at one point, it was almost exponential in a kind of impressive way. It has appeared to plateau. The White House makes the argument that the lab processing has plateaued because there are more tests being running hospitals. It`s true that that is expanded, but we don`t think nearly enough.
Do you have a clear sense of what the bottleneck here is, like how to go from 150,000 a day to 1.5 million a day?
JHA: Yes. So we`ve been trying to kind of -- first of all, I spent, how many should we be doing and our kind of best estimate is probably should be doing five, 600,000 a day if we`re going to have a shot at opening and stay open. So that`s like three to four times. So then the question is what`s causing that bottleneck?
I`ve been talking to lab companies, states, I`ve been talking to anybody who`s willing to talk to me about this, to try to sort it out. The bottlenecks vary from state to state. Sometimes there`s still states that get stuck on number of swabs. And you know, I`m like, we shut down our economy because we don`t have enough swabs? And what you find when you --
HAYES: Wait, you wait, like, literally -- wait a second. Wait a second. I`ve heard this too, swabs. You mean, like literally the extended Q-tips, like not enough of the extended Q-tips?
JHA: Correct. So we can`t test everybody we need to test because we don`t have the right size Q-tips. And I think that the economic cost of being shut down is so massive, and they`re like four or five things that are holding us back. And you would think somebody in the federal government would just say, we`re going to throw whatever we need to throw at fixing these four or five things.
I know some states have lots of swamps, but not enough reagents. Other states have not enough reagents, but too many swabs. It seems like we could share. So again, there`s a coordination issue. There is a blocking and tackling problem. It just it`s not going to get solved by 50 states all going it alone. And to me the biggest disappointment of this report was the president said to the states, when it comes to testing, you`re on your own. It`s not going to work. We`re not going to be able to stay open like this.
HAYES: All right, Dr. Ashish Jha, it`s always illuminating when we get to talk to you. Thank you for making time tonight.
JHA: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, we`ve talked a lot about the vital role that testing will play in turning the corner, but contact tracing which Governor Cooper just talked about will be just as crucial. What it is, how it`s done, and who is already trying it out? After this.
HAYES: We take a look at this graph from the Financial Times which has become something of a famous graph for coronavirus watchers. You can see that there are countries that have been successful in flattening the curve and turning the corner against the coronavirus. Those ones down to the bottom right, like New Zealand and Australia, you see South Korea, Norway. They were all able to control the virus and the one thing they have in common, they all have a regime of testing and also crucially, contact tracing.
The idea behind contract tracing is that you identify anyone who has had close contact with a person who test positive, right? So you test, then you find out if someone is positive, then you find out the people around that person and allows health officials to track the virus and slow the spread.
Iceland is another country that has had success with widespread testing and then contact tracing, things we have not been successful out here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARI STEFANSSON, CEO, DECODE GENETICS: The methods that we have used in Iceland to test widely, to sequence the virus from everyone infected, to bring about this kind of control. These are all methods that we learned from the Americans. You taught us how to do this, but you haven`t been doing it yourself. And that this pretty sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You hear what he just said, to sequence the virus from everyone infected, and that we taught them, the Americans, but we have been doing it. Now, this is a big part of how you track virus from a society. So can that be done here? Well, my next guest is trying to do just that.
Joining me now is Dr. Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer of Partners in Health, a nonprofit that is helping run a new coronavirus contact tracing project in Massachusetts. And Doctor, maybe just -- can you just start by describing what a contact tracing program looks like when it`s implemented?
JOIA MUKHERJEE, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, PARTNERS IN HEALTH: Yes. So thanks so much for having me on, Chris, and for talking about this important topic. As you pointed out, every time a new cases found -- and this is true for any infectious disease, the best way to stop transmission is to talk to the person who has the infection, and then enumerate the people they have been in contact with.
In the case of Coronavirus, it`s challenging because it`s anyone who`s been within six feet or so for more than 15 minutes from the time they were symptomatic, and even a few days before. But once you enumerate those contacts, then standard public health demands that you go and talk to those people and you say you`ve been in contact with the person with Coronavirus. First of all, how are you. Then second of all, these are the things you need to do to quarantine. And then third, trying to assess how able that person is to quarantine.
So Partners in Health is a 35 year old medical nonprofit. We`ve worked all over the world and fought epidemics from Ebola, to cholera, to HIV, and TB. And we have done this kind of basic public health work as well as care and treatment in much, much more difficult settings than the United States.
So as we were preparing our organization for -- and our partners around the world for coronavirus, one of our founding members, Dr. Jim Kim, who used to be president of the World Bank and also the founder of PH, he said, why aren`t we helping in Massachusetts where we`re based? And so he talked to Governor Baker and Governor Baker said, yes, we should use all the tools in our armamentarium to stop that.
Instead of just focusing on hospitals, which is very important, and PPE which is very important, we also should be trying to chase down the virus. And so he engaged us to work together with the Department of Public Health. And let me just say that departments of public health all over the world and certainly all over the country are doing this. They`re trying to do case investigation and contact tracing, but they have been massively outmatched by the tsunami of coronavirus cases. So our job is to help them scale up.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, this is what -- as you know, right, this is a tried and true method of epidemiology in public health. It`s been used for decades. You`re not inventing a new method. There seems to be two kinds of obstacles, right. So there`s a labor issue. It requires a lot of people, right? I mean, I read something about a sort of army of kind of virus trackers, thousands of workers needed for this. What`s the kind of -- what`s the labor staffing that has to happen to make this actually a reality?
MUKHERJEE: Yes. So, you know, again, Partners in Health has done this a million times, and we have 17,000 people on our staff around the world, all local to the communities they work in. And 11,000 of them are community health workers, and a lot of what they do is contact tracing. So we know how to manage a very large staff. We know how to train people up who are lay people, who just need to be really compassionate and talk to their fellows. They don`t need to have a medical training.
So what we did first was kind of separate out the case investigator role from the contact tracer. The case investigators a little more intense, they`re talking to someone who`s been diagnosed. They`re trying to get the sense of who that person has been with. But then they put that information into call center software that goes out then to contact tracers, who then call the contact.
And so what we`re trying to scale is we`re adding some case investigators to help the Department of Public Health and the local boards of health who are all doing an exceptional job. But then we`re really amplifying the workforce and using the call center and using many, many lay people is through the contact tracing.
HAYES: One more question. This has been controversial in some places in terms of using technology. South Korea has an app, I think, that everyone has to download on or can download. Israel has been using essentially access to data without permission to basically find out where people are talking to each other. There are real privacy concerns about that. How do you feel about that? How should we be thinking about that?
MUKHERJEE: Well, I mean, at Partners in Health, we love technology, and we have no problem with using technology, although, as you say privacy issues are important, and that`s even true for contact tracers. They need to keep things confidential. There are laws on the books that are existing about public health. And that is why we`re working so closely with the data source of record, which is the Department of Public Health.
But at the end of the day, I don`t think any app privacy or not can replace a human. And so, we want to use whatever tools that we have, including apps if they have good privacy protection, but that a lot of people really just want to know, and they want to talk to someone, and they want to know that look, we have your back. This is really difficult, and this is a person on the other end.
And so you know, we would favor any kind of technology to respect privacy but also to give jobs to thousands of people.
HAYES: All right. Dr. Joia Mukherjee, thank you so much.
MUKHERJEE: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
HAYES: Up next, the President`s obsession with scapegoating and shifting blame during this national crisis. I`ll talk to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright about the dangers of defunding the WHO after this.
HAYES: The president announcing this week that he is halting funding for the World Health Organization, or at least considering it. It`s always unclear whether what he says a thing it happens.
But it seems like a pretty transparent attempt to shift blame and to scapegoat.
But, it is also true, this shouldn`t be lost, in the early stages of the outbreak the WHO did issue some guidance that now looks bad, and was overly differential to what China`s authorities were telling them, like tweeting out in mid-January, "preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found now clear evidence of human to human transmission of the Novel Coronavirus," which obviously later turned out was far from true.
That said, it is also the case, as The New York Times points out, that there is little evidence that the WHO is responsible for the disasters that have unfolded in Europe and then the United States. The virus, of course, doesn`t care one way about border. De-funding the WHO, the preeminent global health institution fighting pandemics, would make it harder for dozens of developing countries to fight this pandemic and that will not be better for the United States, obviously.
Joining me to talk about more about this is Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. She has a recent op-ed in The New York Times titled "The Best response to disaster is resilience," and is the author of the brand new memoir "Hell and Other Destinations."
Madam Secretary, let`s start I guess on the criticisms of the WHO, which do seem somewhat legitimate, that in the early stages of this, whether out of a desire to not sever ties with Chinese authorities to get more information, or out of just excessive deference to them that they were not forthcoming enough about what was going on with the virus. Do you think that`s a fair critique?
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it`s important to know where they get their information. I think one of the issues about the WHO is it depends on information from a variety of countries. It doesn`t have an intelligence service of its own. I don`t think things were malign, I think that there are issues that need to be looked into.
But the more important point is that we can`t -- we, the United States, can`t affect changes in the WHO if we`re not at the table. I know, having been at the UN, that one has to be in the discussions. And for us to sort of to say we`re not going to pay, we`re not going to be a part of it, is counterproductive, because then we have no leverage.
And so we do know the WHO cannot do everything. They do actually work with partners, like ones -- you`ve talked to the doctor just awhile ago, in terms of working with another -- other organizations to get information.
And then I have to say, having looked at the charts that you have, that you were showing, we need to know what`s going on in other countries. And the bottom line is that we haven`t even talked about what`s going to happen in the developing world.
So the WHO needs to have some reforms. We need it. And we need to be at the table.
HAYES: Yeah, that last -- the thing you mentioned I wanted to discuss with you. We had Samantha Power on I believe last week who mentioned this, and there has been some writing about this. I mean, The New York Times had an editorial about it as well. Countries that have, you know, a total of four ventilators, places where the amount of health care capacity is a tenth, orders of magnitude less than what the developed world has. The virus is going to arrive there sooner or later and it seems to me that it`s in U.S. self interest, if nothing else, as well as humanitarian interest for you to have a functioning WHO and a functioning U.S. effort abroad to help them fight the virus.
ALBRIGHT: Absolutely. And I think if you think about how, what happens in a lot of countries, we`re told to wash our stands constantly. In some of the developing countries they don`t have water, or water is very precious. They do all live together, it`s a little hard to have social distancing. And as you said, and I`ve said, the virus knows no borders. And if one wants to look at it only as a zero sum game, who is going to buy all the things that we produce?
So for humanitarian reasons, we need to care about what happens in those countries. And for domestic security reasons. And so it`s really, really short-sided to cut off our access, or to have some influence of the WHO.
So it`s one of those things -- I do teach, by the way, and I keep telling my students they have to think about the unintended consequences of decisions. And I don`t get that sense that the administration is thinking about the unintended consequences.
HAYES: one of the sort of subtexts sometimes explicit of the attack on WHO and China is that there is a growing voice on the right who clearly wants a more confrontational posture towards China. They want to blame the virus entirely on China. They want to use it as a means of sort of fomenting a kind of U.S./China cold war, like people call it disentanglement, and stipulated the Xi government has been extremely repressive and brutal towards Uighurs, and bad in lots of ways.
I mean, what do you make of this very perilous moment between the relationship between the U.S. and China amidst this virus?
ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me just say China will have a lot to answer for, there`s no question. And all the issues that have been raised, you`ve raised, and others have raised. But we need to look forward.
And let me just say I have not been in any task force meeting or discussion where we have not talked about China as the rising power. There`s no question about it. And when we leave a vacuum, then they step in. So, the art of diplomacy is being able to cooperate with countries when here are things you need to cooperate on and compete and stop them and tell it like it is when you have to do that.
And what`s happened is I think that we have been very confused about how we talked to the Chinese. I mean, President Trump says Xi is one his best friends, and then all of a sudden he s tarts attacking. And so I do not want us to see a cold war with the Chinese. I think we need to figure out where we can cooperate, for instance, on climate change and on trying to sort out now what to do.
But I think there are areas we compete where we don`t like what they do and especially their human rights and Uighurs, and what they`re doing in the South and East China Sea. And as a sophisticated country, the United States, we ought to be able to carry out that kind of diplomacy.
HAYES: Do you think this moment -- I mean, I worry a bit about this being a kind of altering the trajectory towards confrontation between the two nations in a way that could get quite ugly, I mean, just in terms of the rhetoric we`ve seen.
We saw some rhetoric from official state ministers and propagandists of the Chinese communist party who were saying the U.S. crafted the virus. You see American politicians really, really going hard at China. Do you see this as a kind of inflection point altering what the nature of that relationship is?
ALBRIGHT: well, I think it`s possible. And the other thing is there could be an accident of some kind. I know especially in terms of ships in South and East China Sea hitting some fishing boat or various things like that or lack of communication between the militaries, I think that what we need to do is avoid any kind of a major confrontation with the Chinese.
I do think that we need to object in things that they are doing wrong. I think we can see that their Belt and Road Initiative is something where they are trying to seduce countries to be on their side. I keep saying the Chinese must be getting fatter and fatter, because the belt is getting larger. They are all over the place.
They are a competitor, there`s no question. But we have to tell it like it is, find out what really did happen, but now try to figure out how to do something about the supply chain, for instance.
What I find so confusing is a couple of days ago we didn`t have enough of anything and all of a sudden we have plenty of testing and masks and all that. And I think things are totally confusing at the moment. I have listened to the president`s press conferences every night. He changes his mind, as Madeleine just a plain old citizen I don`t quite know what just happened.
So, I do think that the relationship with the Chinese it is probably the most important we have and we have to practice and use our national security tools.
HAYES: All right, Madeleine Albright, thank you so much for making time tonight.
ALBRIGHT: Good to be with you, thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, the $350 billion rescue package for small businesses already out of money. I`ll talk to Congressman Hakeem Jeffries about what happens to the businesses who still need help just ahead.
HAYES: The death toll from the Coronavirus has been incomprehensible, just possible to get your head and your heart around it. But each number is, of course, a person. And we`ve lost some incredible souls, like Hailey Herrera, just 25-years-old. Herrera (ph) was studying to become a therapist, working towards her master degree at Iona College in New Rochelle. She was especially dedicated to working with Latino families like her own. Herrera (ph) had a wide network of friends and often organized gatherings, one of those friends described how she brought a, quote, real vivaciousness with the way she approached the world -- 25-years-old.
Augustine Rodriguez (ph) is the first employee at that Smithfield Food plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to die of Coronavirus. Rodriguez (ph) was born in El Salvador, moved to the Sioux Falls two decades ago with his wife Angelita (ph). She says Augustine (ph) was a happy, thoughtful and humble man who took care of his mother and was always willing to help with the church. Augustine Rodriguez (ph) he was 64-years-old.
Stewart Cone (ph) was 73 when he died earlier this month. A New York City cab driver for 25 years, who loved to talk about politics with his passengers, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who he once picked up. A friend describes Stewart (ph) as the best red person he ever knew, loved to collect and donate used books to places in need like nursing homes.
We also lost Ronald Lewis (ph), age 68. Lewis (ph) had a colorful museum in his backyard in the lower ninth ward of New Orleans called The House of Dance and Feathers, celebrating the history of that neighborhood and the Mardi Gras Indians. Ronald Lewis (ph) was retired streetcar repairman of more than 30 years.
And last wee, and this one I`ve been thinking about ever since it happened, John Prine, the singer-songwriter died at the age of 73. Prine was widely revered for his ingenious folk-country lyrics, which he first wrote while on his mail route in his hometown of Maywood, Illinois. Prine`s fans, including Chris Christopherson and Bob Dylan, who he was often compared to. Prine survived cancer twice in 1998 and 2013. He was a two-time Grammy winner, received a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys earlier this year.
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JOHN PRINE, SINGER: ...get the heaven, I`m going to shake god`s hand. I`m going to thank him for more blessings than one man can stand, then I`m going to get a guitar and start a rock `n` roll b and, check into a swell hotel. Ain`t the afterlife grand? Then I`m going to get a cocktail...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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STEPHANIE RUHLE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Denny Moe (ph) owns a barbershop in Harlem. His application has not been approved.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I don`t get the loan, I can probably last till May. I really don`t even want to think about that.
(END VIDE OCLIP0
HAYES: That was Stephanie Ruhle on tonight`s Nightly News reporting on how the $350 billion paycheck protection program is now frozen, because all the money has been spoken for. Businesses around the country are in dire straits. A new working paper on small businesses at the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a median firm with expenses over $10,000 per month, which is not that much, has only enough cash on hand to last for two weeks.
Now, congress is dead-locked on what to do next. Mitch McConnell and Republicans want to just unanimously add more money to the small business program. Democrats want to also fund local government and hospitals and reform the program along the way. And the impasse could get ugly since people need the money now.
Here with me now is one of the Democratic lawmakers pushing to get into the next Coronavirus rescue package, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
Congressman, I want to make the argument to you that Mitch McConnell and Republicans have made, and get your response, which is look, this was a bipartisan bill. There`s not a policy objection here, do Democrats like this program, Republicans like this program, now it`s out of money, people need the money, just sign off on it and then we will deal with whatever we have to deal with next, but why the delay?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D) NEW YORK: Well, there`s not a policy objection to the framework of the program, but the real concern here is that we want to make sure, if we`re going to allocate a substantial amount of taxpayer dollars, an additional $250 billion, that it actually gets to the people who need it the most.
So what we`ve simply said is that at least $125 billion of that dollar that has been proposed to be added to the program should go through community development financial institutions that work closely with entities like women-owned businesses, family-owned businesses, mom and pop shops, veteran-owned businesses, you know, minority-owned businesses, and entities that really need the support.
HAYES: So do you have, I mean obviously, what you`ve described are a lot of businesses like that in your district, in Brooklyn, do you have evidence from your constituents that that money is not getting to those folks? Is that -- is that the concern here?
JEFFRIES: That`s absolutely the concern. What we`ve seen in terms of the initial rounds connected to the paycheck protection program is that many of the more established financial institutions were allocating and processing these loans, giving priority to businesses, which were closer to medium- sized businesses, than smaller-sized businesses, that had pre-existing financial or banking relationships with the particular bank.
And as a result, you`ve had sort of the smaller businesses, within the spectrum of who`s eligible, be left out in the cold. And all we`ve simply said, is that we want to make sure that if we`re going to allocate a substantial amount of funding, that it gets to the people who need it the most.
We`ve also indicated that we want to make sure that our first responders, our police officers, our firefighters, our teachers, our EMS workers, our transit workers, essential employees, those who will be important to us restarting the economy in a meaningful way, have the capacity to be able to continue to do their job, and that`s why we`ve said, state and local budgets, which are being hit incredibly hard, and are going to need the resources in order to continue to deliver services, should begin to receive additional support from the federal government.
HAYES: All right, so those are the two -- those sort of pillars, right, some stipulations about the way that money flows, in a new tranche of it and state and local aid, which -- to editorialize -- both seem to me to be good policy, but there`s a speed issue here, where I just feel like I`ve talked to the speaker this week, I`m talking to you now, like if McConnell says fine, green light on both of those, can you guys do this tomorrow? Can you do it the next day? There just seems like the clock is ticking a bit here.
JEFFRIES: Yeah, we`ll look to move expeditiously. And in fact, we had a conversation earlier today of more than 200 members of the House Democratic Caucus led by Speaker Pelosi, we are ready to move by unanimous consent when we can arrive at a bipartisan, bicameral agreement. We expect to be able to do that sooner rather than later.
If we are unable to move through unanimous consent, because someone on the Republican side, like Eric Massie (sic) chooses to object, the members are prepared to travel back to Washington, D.C. to get this done for our small business throughout the nation and the heart and soul of our economy.
HAYES: OK, what you just said there -- I want to translate that a little bit out of politician speak. That`s the most bullish I`ve heard anyone on a deal here. Like that sounds to me that things -- there`s negotiations happening and things are moving forward. Is that a fair characterization?
JEFFRIES: Well, it`s absolute correct. The negotiations are ongoing. And our objective is to get to yes and to get to yes as soon as possible, but to do it in a way that is the most effective and efficient for this program moving forward.
HAYES: The last time I had you on, we talked about the possibilities of working remotely. Congress obviously, it`s not provisioned in the constitution, but the speaker was on and said, you know, we can`t just have Zoom on congress, it is a little more complicated than that.
Today the rules committee, you had mentioned that, Jim McGovern in the rules committee was going to be issuing some guidelines on that in which he appears to kind of contemplate some ways of doing some work remotely, at least sort of provisionally.
Where are you and the caucus on that right now?
JEFFRIES: Jim McGovern the chair of the rules committee, presented today, along with Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the House Administration Committee, both of them have been working hard, in this current context, to try to make sure that we can adapt, but do it in a secure way that brings to life our democracy. And so what Jim McGovern has proposed, and I think it has strong support within the caucus, is remote voting via proxy, so that those who can make it to Washington, can make it in both the traditional way, those who can`t will be able to allocate their proxy, and specifically indicate how they want to vote.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Jeffries of New York City. Thank you so much for taking time for us tonight, sir.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I`m not sure if that quite counts as news, but that definitely was the most, the most bullish I`ve heard those two sides today on this after there`s been some heated rhetoric over the past 48 hours, so that`s very interesting.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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