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GA governor TRANSCRIPT: 4/23/20, All in w/ Chris Hayes

Guests: Steve Sisolak, Cornell Belcher, Kathleen Sebelius, Elizabeth Kolbert, Gigi Gronvall

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Brian Williams and Nicole Wallace anchoring a special delving into all the facts of this story, including special guests you see on your screen with Governor Cuomo, Bill Gates, and Mike Bloomberg. Don`t go anywhere right now though. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes is up next.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Georgia`s Republican governor Brian Kemp is now alone on a very dangerous island. He`s decided with great fanfare, you`ve seen it on our show, you`ve seen it covered in the news, to have his state Georgia reopened first.

Starting tomorrow, Governor Kemp is reopening tattoo parlors, gyms, nail salons, and massage studios. On Monday, restaurants are set to open or at least allowed to open. Now, Governor Kemp presumably thought he was about to get a make America great again attaboy, and the grassroots would rise up in his defense. Which I guess is not crazy thing to think because if you just turn on Trump T.V. every day, you will see them covering reopen the country and let us work protests all over the U.S.

And so, you can understand why Governor Kemp would think there`s some great American awakening happening as he sees Americans on his T.V. screen rise up to say, let`s get back out to work and sacrifice our bodies to the virus in pursuit of economic growth. Well, guess what? There is not. That is not where the American people are at all.

Now, we live in an extremely polarized country where Americans are split on just about everything. Everything except the need to take drastic precautions to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. A polling by HuffPost and YouGov shows despite the President`s bluster, and all the talk on Trump T.V. downplaying the virus and right-wing talk radio, Americans` attitudes about the need to socially distance have been strikingly consistent over the past month.

Look at the pink line. 36 percent of Americans are very concerned that they or a family member will contract the virus. That line is almost the same as it was at the end of March. Now, look at the navy-blue line. 50 percent of Americans are very concerned about the spread of Coronavirus in the U.S., also pretty consistent from a month ago.

Now, look at this. The orange line, 78 percent of all Americans, that is Democrats and Republicans say state stay at home workers are currently the right decision, 78 percent. And in red, perhaps most significant, 86 percent of people are trying to stay home as much as possible. It is very hard to get 86 percent of Americans to agree on anything. But they do agree on staying at home. They thought that four weeks ago and almost no one has changed their mind.

That is what despite the sustained propaganda efforts from the President and Trump T.V. Trump keeps trying to dance back and forth across the line announcing social distancing guidelines and saying, it`s time to reopen the economy and the cure can`t be worse than the problem and then walking back.

The poll show that people agree with the scientific and public health experts, that the brainwashing coming from Trump T.V. is not working. This is the big American silent majority. So it must have come as a rude awakening for governor Kemp yesterday, a day after President Trump phrase the governor is a capable man who knows what he`s doing, and the President didn`t about-face and told reporters he actually does not agree with the Georgia Governor`s plan to reopen the state. And something tells me they know how to read a poll inside the White House.

In addition to the poll showing people want to stay home, they want to beat the virus, they`re scared about their loved ones, there are new polls that show Trump`s reelection climb keeps getting steeper amid his abjectly disastrous response to this global pandemic.

Not only the recent polls show Joe Biden leading Trump in the swing states Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, a new Quinnipiac poll found Biden is beating Trump with Florida voters over 65 and older by 10 points. That might explain the President`s desperate pandering tweet yesterday morning practically begging seniors to vote for him. "We Love you all."

Trump T.V., and the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and some of Trump`s mega-donors, they may all want ordinary people to march out there and sacrifice themselves for the good of the ownership class. And lieutenant governor in Texas may think there are more important things than living, but shockingly, Americans don`t want to die in a plague. They do not want to infect other people with a plague.

People are pretty united on this. Most Americans of the country, what they have been doing across all political spectrum, they have been sacrificing enormously for a month or more, all to give our federal government, our leadership the time to get its act together and craft a plan and implement it so that we all can have something like a normal life. And the president just keeps squandering that opportunity.

Joining me now for more on the state level efforts against Coronavirus, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak. Governor, the mayor of Las Vegas has gotten a lot of attention for very loudly proclaiming anywhere that she can -- she can, that Vegas is ready. She`s ready for the people in Vegas to be a control and an experiment.

It`s been interesting to me that that as she has said that, people have distanced themselves and it doesn`t seem to me that`s a prevailing attitude in your state. Where are people in your state on this?

GOV. STEVE SISOLAK (D-NV): Well, the mayor does not speak from my office. First of all, thank you for having me on, Chris. But the mayor does not speak for the state of Nevada. She certainly doesn`t speak for its citizens. And there is no way I will allow the mayor to use our citizens or our workers as a petri dish, a control group, a guinea pig.

HAYES: Let me -- let me play for you --

SISOLAK: It`s simply not acceptable. Our Culinary 226 is our frontliner -- go ahead.

HAYES: Oh, no, I`m sorry. You cut out for a second. You were talking about the culinary union?

SISOLAK: Yes. The Culinary 226 is our big union on the strip. Our front-end workers have lost 11 of their members to this disease already in Las Vegas. We`ve lost 11 votes. I am not going to allow them, if I have anything to say about it, to lose 11 more. I`m going to do everything I can to protect our frontline workers, our citizens.

We`ve lost 190 people as of today and 4,200 positives, Chris. And it would have been multiples of that had it not been for the fact that we took decisive action early. We did close the Strip. We closed our schools or in class dissolve distance education now. We would be banned large groups. We implemented distancing.

So we`ve made the right moves and that`s allowed to keep the death count and positive cases low and we`re going to continue on that stretch.

HAYES: You know, it`s interesting, because I think some of the reporting seems to indicate or suggest the business class as a whole are the ones that are pushing for this reopening. Which is why I thought this interview that NBC News did with the CEO of Caesars was really eye-opening. Take a listen to what he had to say both about your policy and the pandemic more broadly.


ANTHONY RODIO, CEO, CAESARS: The government is under enormous pressure. But I agree with him 100 percent that we have to put people`s lives ahead of everything else. Having said that, look, I think of our industry, I think we`re a little bit different than other industries and other companies that provide a specific product or a specific service.

I think what we deliver, we deliver experiences, and we deliver lifelong memories. But we`re not going to do it and we`re not going to be comfortable doing it until we`re confident that this thing is moving in the right direction and we can open.


HAYES: Governor, this seems to me the kind of obvious enlightened view here which is that people have to feel safe and comfortable for a city like yours and an industry like the industry that`s at the center of Las Vegas to come back.

SISOLAK: You`re absolutely right. And Tony did a great job of explaining how we feel. And I`m in daily contact with the gaming industry, our hospitality industry. They are not deciding to put profit over people. I mean, the most important thing is the people in our community, whether it`s our citizens, our employees, or our visitors.

Hey, there`s no better place in the world to come for a great time than Nevada, whether it`s in Reno, or Las Vegas, or Lake Tahoe, whatever you decide to do for conventions for entertainment, for gaming, for shows, whatever it be. And we want to welcome everybody back here. And you`re going to have a great time, I promise you. But we`re not inviting you back today or tomorrow. We`re just not ready.

And when we invite you back, we will have a great time. And it will be one of the safest places in the world to come to. That I can promise you.

HAYES: Is that given that there`s been sort of a lack of -- I mean, there`s an 18-page guideline from the CDC, phase one, two, and three and a lack of sort of federal guidelines or federal plan. Are you arriving at a plan? I mean, the kind of logistical undertaking of a place like a casino in the face of this is a big technical challenge. Is that something that you`re actively working on?

SISOLAK: We absolutely are actively working on it as we speak. We`ve got various plans in place are issues in place (AUDIO GAP) we need a downward trajectory. I look at certain things. I look at our hospitalizations. I look at hospitalizations in intensive care unit occupancy. I look at ventilator use. I look at percent of positives versus tests that we give. And I need to downward steady trajectory in that for 14 days.

Unfortunately, we`re not there yet. You know, we`re at a plateau. I`m relying on scientific experts and statisticians and medical experts to give me the information that I think we need to make the right decision. And when we make that decision, when the time has come, that we can implement, you know, an opening, it`s going to be slow and gradual. It`s going to be phased in.

We`re going to open some businesses that don`t have as much contact. We`ve got our Governor`s Office of Economic Development or economic recovery, we`re calling it now to come up with a plan for various golf courses, the various businesses.

The plan to open a golf course is different than the plan you`re going to need to open a bar, which is going to be different than the plan you`re going to need to open a casino. And those are what we`re analyzing right now so that we`ll be ready when the time comes to slowly start loosening the fossils a little bit and, and hopefully get people back to work and get them out in the community. And we`ll be in much better shape.

But we`re not quite there yet. We`re looking forward to that day. The Nevadans have been terrific. Your chart showed a lot there, but I would challenge, our state is better than the 86 percent. I probably got 90 to 95 percent of our folks are complying with the directives. They`re doing everything we asked them. They`re practicing social distancing. They`re avoiding large gatherings. They`re staying home as much as possible. And that`s a reason that we`ve been able to flatten the curve and do so well there.

HAYES: All right, Governor Steve Sisolak of Nevada, thank you so much, sir.

SISOLAK: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Joining me now for more on the overwhelming support for continued social distancing, Cornell Belcher, Democratic strategist and pollster. And Cornell, I got to say, after going through all this polling, I`ve been -- it`s remarkable to me. It jives with what I`ve seen out in the world and just sort of anecdotally saw a couple on a bicycle built for two in cammo with MAGA hats and masks on the other day, and I thought right on.

This is not -- this is not actually become some huge polarizing thing in American life, despite the attempts by both the president and his allies to make it that. Actually, there`s real remarkable unity and self-sacrifice that people have undertaken in combating this.

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I would say, on the surface, there is a lot of that, Chris. But I would say, be cautious about saying that the brainwashing hasn`t completely worked yet. Because when you get underneath the surface, there are some real differences. happening between Democrats and Republicans particularly around intensity around these issues broadly speaking there`s not a great deal of difference on Democrats and Republicans around these issues.

However, Republicans now do see the economy as being more concerned about the economy than the U.S. health, which is -- which is a big deal. And also, when you look at restrictions, while you still do have a majority of Republicans pretty much in line with the rest of America on restrictions, over the last couple of weeks, the intensity, the strongly favoring these restriction measures has been decreasing. And it`s right around 35, 36 percent right now strongly favor that compared to where it`s -- where it`s over -- well over 50 percent of Democrats strongly favor these restrictions.

So while what Fox is doing may not be broadly working on the surface, I think there are some underlying things that are happening in a data where it certainly begin to soften with Republicans. And the cross pressure broadly around concerns about health and concerns about the economy are -- is incredible cross pressure. And I quite frankly don`t know which way it`s going to break. As we see, another 10, 15 million Americans go on unemployment.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, I think that obviously everyone -- you know, the question about -- the question in all this is, I don`t think there`s anyone who`s like, oh, awesome that we`re careening towards the Great Depression. I mean, the economic -- the economic devastation here is incalculable. I mean, it`s enormous. It`s going to produce tremendous amounts of human misery. It`s the federal government job to kind of convey people through that period.

But it also strikes me that, you know, from a political standpoint, it is interesting to me that you have seen state after state, Republican and Democratic governors see approval rating boosts who have been very clear- eyed about fighting the virus. And you have not seen that really for the president of the United States who had a little bit of a bump to sort of back to where he normally is. And I just think that that speaks to the fact that people have a hard time trusting him on something like this.

BELCHER: Well, it goes back to the point that I think you and I have been back and forth over the last couple years about this, is Trump`s base doesn`t leave him. We did see a slight bump in his approval around sort of a rally because I would even argue that the one or two point that he got rallying sort of crisis rally given any other sort of traditional president, you`ve gotten a larger rally around that.

Look at the rally that Obama got or Bush got even around crisis. You don`t see that. So we`re right like back in at the roughly sort of 46, 47 percent approval of his actions on COVID, and also that same 46, 47 percent approval of him overall. And so, it`s really problematic for him at the national level. I think it`s baked in.

But I would also say caution and say this, Chris. Those Republican governors, let`s say the Republican governor in South Carolina for example, another state that hasn`t necessary shut down, his approval numbers are still fairly solid. And I got a feeling that Governor Kemp`s numbers in a month or two, I bet he won`t -- he won`t suffer a great deal politically for opening up the state unless you see massive deaths. But what`s the other side of this? If you don`t see massive waves, in fact, you see (INAUDIBLE).

HAYES: Right, but that`s the thing. Like, it all depends on what happens in the world. I mean, our politics have been so bizarre for so long. And I want to -- I want to play this clip with the president speaking of bizarre politics. And you know, you`ve heard people around the president saying things like maybe it`s not a good idea to go out there and just freestyle for 90 minutes a day about matters of great public health import.

Today you came out and sort of just kind of brainstorm speculated like, maybe you could shine a U.V. light internally into your body and or inject a disinfectant into your veins, I guess, to cure the disease, and maybe Dr. Birx, what do you think we should test that. Take a listen to what he said today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So supposing we hit the body with a tremendous -- whether it`s ultraviolet or just very powerful light, and I think you said that hasn`t been checked, but you`re going to test it. And then I said, supposing you brought the light inside the body, in which you can do either through the skin or in some other way. And I think you said you`re going to test that too? It sounds interesting. Right?

And then I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number in the lungs. So it will be interesting to check that, so that you`re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds it sounds interesting to me.


HAYES: All right, Doctor, so check out some U.V. light inside a person, I don`t know like how you would get the U.V. light inside them and some injections maybe, like a cleaning inside. Like, I`m sorry. Call me naive. I think the American people are smarter than that. I really do. I genuinely think that. And I think the polling shows that.

BELCHER: Chris, I want to be with you brother but as crazy as that sounds, his poll numbers will not move. It will not move. The same 46, 47 percent that are with him now --

HAYES: That`s good. I -- you and I, let`s talk in a month. I honestly -- I think -- I genuinely -- I think it`s an open question and I think your take on this is valuable and I don`t know. I`m not sure if I`m sold on that. I think that the people are seeing through it but maybe not. I`ve been here before but I just can`t believe the scale of the disaster we`re living through. And it`s so upsetting that I want to think that there`s some reality that`s shining through. Cornell Belcher, thank you so much, man.

BELCHER: You want to have faith and hope. Thank you.

HAYES: Exactly. Ahead, why the HHS response to this once in a century pandemic is currently being led by a former dog breeder. People in charge of keeping America safe after this.


HAYES: From the beginning of this Coronavirus crisis, the Department of Health and Human Services has been a disaster. And each day we`re learning more about why the response from that agency has been so bad.

Yesterday, we learned the director of a government agency under HHS, an agency that plays a huge role in vaccine development was demoted. The man`s name is Dr. Rick Bright, and he`s an expert on influenza and vaccines. And he says he was booted from his position in the midst of a pandemic because he would not push out the anti-malaria drug known as hydroxychloroquine that has been ceaselessly touted by the White House has a kind of miracle drug. So HHS got rid of the guy heading up the department focused on vaccine development in the middle of a novel coronavirus outbreak.

We`re also learning today that back in January, HHS Secretary Alex Azar tapped his trusted aide to head up the department`s day to day response to the Coronavirus. The aides name is Brian Harrison. That`s him right there. And he seems not to have much trouble Public Health experience.

Quote here, "Brian Harrison joined the department after running a dog breeding business for six years. Five sources say some officials in the White House derisively called him, the dog breeder. Until 2018, he bred and sold Australian labradoodles, which are cute. They`re a breed that is a cross between a Labrador Retriever and a poodle, as the name would suggest." So a labradoodle breeder is currently running the day to day federal government response to a once in a century pandemic at HHS.

Joining me now, Kathleen Sebelius. She`s the former head of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration. She also served as the governor of Kansas prior to that. And Secretary, you know, I want to stipulate upfront that governing is very hard. HHS is an enormously sprawling agency, and the pandemic is difficult, and fighting it is difficult, and it has challenged every government around the world. All of that said, what do you make of HSS` response to thus far?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF KANSAS: Well, I think it`s unfortunate. Alex Azar as secretary has actually been in the department for eight years in the Bush administration, he played some key roles. So he knows the department. He knows the assets and the department.

I`ve been absolutely baffled by why we haven`t seen CDC front and center. CDC is the epidemiologists of the world. They are the lead investigators. They should be mapping and tracing and tracking and teaching all the governors in the country how to do contract tracing and telling us what the patterns of the disease are. We should hear from them every day and we really haven`t.

I`m thrilled that Tony Fauci is front and center. I have the privilege of working with Tony during my five and a half years there and he again is the gold standard for infectious diseases on the NIH side but it is a big department. It`s woefully seems to me to be underutilized in this effort and the scientists have really taken a backseat to the political spin.

HAYES: That scientists taking a backseat is the sort of most acute example I`ve gotten was that letter that Dr. Bright wrote about his demotion. Today, some NBC News reporting that Dr. Bright said he was instructed to implement a national program aimed at expanding access to this drug following a conversation Trump had with the Oracle Chairman, Larry Ellison, a source said.

So he`s talking to a rich guy, a billionaire donor who says, yes, let`s, you know, get this out to the American people. They try to push it to, Bright implied, on demand out to folks and he was essentially demoted, he says, when he wouldn`t go along with it. I mean, have you ever heard of such a thing?

SEBELIUS: No. I have heard the President say in the past that his uncle was a doctor and that gives him some intuitive knowledge about this phase. My uncle was a doctor too, one of my favorite people on the face of the earth. I didn`t prescribe medicines. I did not advertise drugs that hadn`t yet been approved. I called the experts at NIH. I talked to the folks at the FDA. I consulted CDC about issues involving science.

BARDA is an enormously important organization that it`s the hand of the biomedical defense line. Think of it as they`re in charge of gathering the weapons for what may be coming at us in a bioterrorism era or a natural pathogen. So they`re the frontline in an effort like a virus that we`ve never seen before.

They gather materials, they listen to the science they mobilize advancement through clinical trials, and on to the stockpile so American are safe and secure. It`s about medicines and diagnostics and vaccines. To remove that lead scientists from this very critical organization within HHS in the middle of what has to be the most difficult health issue than any of us have ever seen is just terrifying.

It means that we`re trying to muzzle scientists and lean into some politics or somebody has an issue with hydroxychloroquine that they think it may be useful. It`s not unusual, Chris, to try and repurpose a drug. You have a drug that`s used for malaria, but it`s got to be tested and tried and seen if it is effective.

NIH has said absolutely do not take this drug unless you`re participating in a clinical trial. There`s some limited V.A. testing that they gave some patients of COVID-19 hydroxychloroquine and others not. Twice as many people died on the drug as people who didn`t take the drug. It`s a desperately needed drug, for malaria, for lupus, for other diseases.

So this is wrong on so many fronts to try and push a drug that has not been tested and tried and give people false hope that we actually have a cure which we do not.

HAYES: There`s also this sort of unnerving scene we`ve seen a sort of fact totems and yes, men around the president telling what he wants to hear. There`s behind the scenes reporting from the Wall Street Journal. When other officials asked about diagnostic testing, Dr. Robert Redfield, who`s the head of CDC, which you`re right has been weirdly back seated here, began to answer Mr. Azar cut him off telling the President was the fastest we`ve ever created a test. Azar said he was -- he interrupted Redfield because he knew the CDC director was modest. He wanted to brag about his work in front of the President.

How important is it in your experience at HHS, to have the space for experts throughout this agency to be able to tell political superior things that those political superiors don`t want to hear?

SEBELIUS: Well, it`s absolutely essential. I work for a president who, very early in his term in office have an unknown virus, had a strain of the flu virus that hadn`t been seen since 1918. What he said at the beginning and every day along the way is we are going to be led by the science.

There were political advisors around him who wanted to rewrite CDC guidance, who wanted to listen to political pressures in various parts of the country who were terrified that this would actually end the President`s administration if he made a mistake. And over and over again, he said, the scientists will guide this exercise. We`re going to listen to them.

And he made it very clear that they would be front and center. They would be doing the briefings to the American public. They would be the ones who would offer hope and offer real news. And we need to tell them what we knew and what we didn`t know. And that was really a dictum that I thought was so important at a time when people are frightened. They don`t want to lose their lives. They don`t want to lose their jobs. They need calming comfort, compassion from their political leaders.

But then they need to know the facts. They need to know the truth about the science and they need to know what the timetable is likely to be.

Chris, I`m terrified that we are a year-and-a-half away from a vaccine. We don`t yet have an effective medication. We have the president who is already asserting what we know to be false, that we will not see any resurging of COVID-19 in the fall. We will not have a problem. It will essentially be gone. This is his message that he touted in February and early March that got us into this terrible problem in the first place and he is starting to beat that drum all over again. That the a very dangerous message for the American public.

HAYES: All right, Kathleen Sebelius, thank you so much for sharing your expertise and experience tonight.


HAYES: Coming up, what we know about the promising new anti-body study out of New York. What it could mean for herd immunity from a leading research expert next.



CUOMO: What we found so far is the statewide number is 13.9 percent tested positive for having the antibodies. What does that mean? It means these are people who were infected and who developed the antibodies to fight the infection. Regionally, Long Island at 16.7, New York City at 21.2, Westchester/Rockland at 11.7 and rest of state 3.6.


HAYES: All right. So one of the central questions, maybe the central question right now about this virus that everyone is asking is how many people have had or have the virus, and how many people now have antibodies and presumably some form of immunity from it?

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported those results of antibody sampling test in New York which indicated that a pretty remarkable 21 percent of people in New York City have antibodies present.

Now here is the thing, this just is one of many such tests that have been conducted all over the world. They`ve been conducted in Iceland, Germany, China and around the U.S. and they have all have been coming back with diverging numbers.

For example, Santa Clara, California there was a study there that shows about 4.2 percent of people have antibodies. In Germany there was one study that showed that 14 percent of people do. And it`s one of the single most pressing and unanswered questions we`re trying to get to the bottom of right now.

It`s really important for two reasons. One, it gives us a better sense of just how deadly the virus is if we know the total number of people that are infected. And two, it gives us a sense of how close, or how far we may be from some kind of herd immunity.

So what does the research say about where we are? Here with me now is Dr. Gigi Gronvall, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, she co-authored a report just yesterday outlining a national strategy for antibody testing in the United States.

So doctor, let`s start out sort of at the highest level of abstraction, which is just what is antibody or serology testing and why is it so crucial right now in this moment?

DR. GIGI GRONVALL, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: Well, antibody testing is important, because it gives a history of infection and it doesn`t rely on the presence of the virus.

So the kind of tests that people have been talking about before those tests for the presence of virus material, the genetic material, this should tell you if a person has been exposed in the past and cleared the infection.

HAYES: So there is a lot of internal debate among experts about the quality of these various studies, about the quality of the tests being used. I saw a few epidemiologists saying you`re 21 percent number governor is crazy. What kind of tests are you running. And I`ve seen lots of internal disputes I`ve been tracking like what is your best sense of what the literature and the research is telling us about how -- what is the multiple of confirmed cases and the amount of people that have actually had it?

GRONVALL: Right. I mean, this is important that you would expect some diversity, but that is one of the things why we recommended that there be a national validation effort so that there is tests can be compared.

We have more samples that you can compare it to. So we have a better sense of how diverging these numbers are because they`re actually divergent versus the testing being divergent. So, you know, these are some differences in numbers. They make a difference.

But herd immunity will take more than the percentages we`re talking about here.

HAYES: OK. I want to come back to that, but just to zoom in on this point, I mean, what you`re saying is we need some sort of nationally undertaken test where there is some uniformity to methodology in testing to try to get to this number as opposed to a bunch of people in a bunch of different places using different methodologies and different tests that are giving us these divergent numbers.

GRONVALL: The tests, it`s OK to use different tests as long as you have some method of comparing them. And there is an effort apparently going on now at the National Cancer Institute overseen by the FDA to try and validate and compare the tests, but we don`t know when the results of that are going to be found and we don`t know what tests they`re comparing yet.

But after then...

HAYES: So, I heard you say something...

GRONVALL: Go ahead.

HAYES: Oh, I heard you say something about we`re not near herd immunity.


HAYES: And I think this to me is like there`s a range of questions about how many people out there have had it, and we know it`s some multiple of confirmed cases, but there is a certain segment of the Internet that has this idea of everyone has had it and people don`t realize how wide spread it`s been and I see epidemiologists knocking that down all the time. Why do you say that that is very unlikely that we`re near 70 percent, or something like that?

GRONVALL: Right, so herd immunity depends on -- I mean, the best way to get herd immunity will be to have a vaccine, but the herd immunity depends on an infected person not bumping into another vulnerable person. And so for this virus people are estimating it to be about 70 percent of the population having immunity, and that is not anything close to the numbers we`re talking about.

Also, importantly, we make this point in our report, we don`t yet know whether or not having an antibody, having a positive result correlates with immunity. And so this is really, you know, a research gap that needs to be filled before an individual can say well, I`m good.

HAYES: That`s a great point. I think there`s been a lot of assumption about that. Obviously there`s some precedent with other viruses, but that is an outstanding research gap to sort of definitively establish that. Dr. Gigi Gronvall, thank you so much for being here.

GRONVALL: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, what the COVID lock-down is doing to planet Earth. What it means for how we would move forward on climate coming up.


HAYES: The Labor Department reported that almost 4.5 million more people filed for unemployment last week, makes that a total more than 26 million in just the past five weeks, 26 million people.

Lots of states found their systems overwhelmed, but Florida may be the worst of them all. The Associated Press reports nearly seven of every eight Floridians who managed to file claims during the three weeks from mid-March until early April were still waiting to have them processed, the worst rate in the country.

I`ve been getting emails from some of you, from viewers in Florida who cannot get through to the system, can`t have their claims processed.

Things got so bad that at one point last week people in the town of Hialeah were so desperate for unemployment applications, they risked exposure to the virus in masks so they could get one in person.

But the back story of Florida`s terrible and rickety unemployment system is way worse than simple incompetence, because back in 2011 former Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Republican state legislature overhauled Florida`s unemployment system to intentionally try and keep the numbers of people getting it low. They wanted to make unemployment as difficult as possible to get.

And so, they cut benefits from 26 weeks down to as few as 12, and Floridians who once could file by phone now had to file online and faced a set of new electronic filing requirements that made the process establishing eligibility one of the most onerous in the nation.

Current Republican Governor Ron DeSantis says he wants to try and fix this mess. Some in his administration are admitting that the $77 million system overhaul by Rick Scott is failing by design. A quote, "it`s a sh-sandwich, and it was design that way by Scott, said one DeSantis adviser. It wasn`t about saving money, it was about making it harder for people to get benefits or keep benefits, so that the unemployment numbers were low to give the governor something to brag about."

The Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters was more succinct, "$77 million? Someone should go to jail over that."

This is what you get when you elect Republicans to break government. They will break it, but you never know when you`re actually going to need it to work.


HAYES: A huge swath of the world has been utterly transformed the last month. Half of humanity under some kind of lock-down One of the ways you can really see the effect is what it`s done to the environment, particularly air quality. With hardly anyone driving, you can see on these traffic-free L.A. freeways, there is just a lot less pollution being released into the air.

Here is downtown Los Angeles last summer on a June day rated as having moderate air quality. Here it is last week. No smog. Clear skies. L.A. is experiencing the longest stretch of good air quality it`s had since way back in 1995.

And this is New Delhi, India, one of the most polluted countries in the world, covered in smog of October 2018. This is what it looked like a few days ago, about a month in that country`s lock-down Major pollutants in New Delhi`s air are down at least 50 percent.

The sudden disruption to business as usual will result in this incredibly drastic decline in emissions, but of course the prolonged lock-down, the global economic misery, is not the solution to the climate crisis, it is merely a glimpse of what the planet could look like if we moved past fossil fuels.

The space of possibility has been opened up in this moment to think about a future where our health and safety and economy are all flourishing together and we have blue skies over our cities.

And one of the pandemic`s effect on the climate, I`m joined by Elizabeth Kolbert, a staffer in The New Yorker, where she recently wrote a piece about pandemics in the shape of human history.

Elizabeth, you`ve been covering the climate for a while now. And I wonder what you think the ramifications are for the climate in this moment.

ELIZABETH KOLBERT, THE NEW YORKER: Well, there`s pictures that, you know, you just broadcast, they were really vivid and I think everyone has seen them now, and it`s made a big impression on people, I think especially the people living in places like L.A., and New Delhi. I actually, myself, live kind of out in a more rural area, so we haven`t seen such big changes.

But I hope that it has given everyone across the planet, in this very desperate time, I mean I don`t want to really, you know, be talk can about the upside of down here, but it is -- it is one of the few upsides of down right now that we are glimpsing a world of smog-free air, that we could have, if we put our minds to it.

HAYES: The other thought I had is that the forcing mechanism of the virus has changed our behavior so dramatically. I wonder what the implications are for the climate battle? One thing I thought about is just the amount of remote interacting we`re doing, right? So air travel, which is one of the toughest nuts to crack with the climate, because we don`t have alternatives to fossil fuel-powered jets.

And now, people whose jobs require them to fly several times a week are not doing that now, they`re finding ways around. You wonder what policy could do to get people to innovate and come up with solutions if we put our mind to it in a singular way?

KOLBERT: Well, absolutely. I mean I think it has opened up a lot of possibilities in what the world is going to look like when, if we come out the other end of this. No one can really say right now.

I think, though, that we have to be mindful that whenever we`ve gone through these moments in the past, and this is, you know, going back quite a long way, to this Spanish flu, we have pretty good figures of what happened to carbon emissions, CO2 emissions, global warming causing emissions, and they go down during crises. They went down during the 2008 recession, for example. And then they bounce back as people rush to get the economy going, above all else, then these emission rates just jump right back up.

So I think that -- and this, the point that many people have made, we need, if we don`t want that to happen, we are going to have to take really, really concerted effort. And there are lots of ideas out there, good ideas, of infrastructure projects that we need to get off the ground. And since we`re spending billions and billions and billions of dollars on economic stimulus, these are very, very logical candidates.

We need to rebuild our infrastructure. And now we have both a reason to do it, we need to get our economy going, and another reason to do it, we need to get off fossil fuels. And they should converge, but will they converge, you know, that`s the question.

HAYES: Well, and in the past, you`ve seen people use -- I mean I know the polling around climate, particularly during the last big economic crisis, was that you see people sort of set up this false dichotomy between the economy and the climate, similar to I think the false dichotomy they set up now between the virus and the economy, and I think to the extent that works then you go back to business as usual, but in some ways, it seems to me, this moment is presenting a model in which they`re actually tied together, right? We can`t get the economy back until we defeat the virus. And it strikes me the same is true of climate.

KOLBERT: Well, it`s interesting, I was reading a story the other day, yesterday was the anniversary of Earth Day, as everyone knows, and I wrote a piece just a short piece about looking back at 50 years of Earth Day. And historians who look at it talk about how, you know, environmental protection and environmental infrastructure was a bipartisan issue, until we got to the Reagan administration at which point Ronald Reagan sort of started to suggest that to be an environmentalist was to be a pessimist and that became, you know, a trap that we`ve sort of gone into.

And it seems to me at this particular moment that what we need to do is really present an environmental future, a future where we radically change our infrastructure, rebuild our infrastructure, as a positive. This is the optimistic future. And it is really the pessimists in America who are saying we can`t do it.

And I think that that this is a moment where a lot of narratives are going to be remade, and I hope that they`re remade in a positive way.

Once again, when you look at the politics of this country right now, you certainly don`t see any guarantee that that is going to happen, I`m afraid.

HAYES: One small example of sort of thinking in a new way is Milan, which of course was the center of the region in Italy that had the worst part of the outbreak there, one of the most brutal, and has been one of the most brutal in the world, they`re talking about reopening now. And they have announced an ambitious aim to reduce car use after lock down, which I thought was interesting. They`re going to have 22 miles of streets that are going to be transformed over the summer. They are going to try to do cycling and walking expansion. They want people sort of not in cars and not in public transport as much as possible, and it struck me as like a small example of the ways that people might be thinking about how to restructure our kind of lived world, as we re-emerge from the virus.

KOLBERT: Absolutely. I read that piece, too with a lot of excitement, and I was, one of the few bright spots, you know, in the coverage around Coronavirus, that someone, somewhere, is thinking about new ways to do things.

And I was actually happening to be in Milan just the last year. And they have great new projects of open spaces and parks and buildings that are, that people can find pictures of online. But that kind of thinking that was encapsulated in the plan to reopen Milan, with as you said as car-free, or much fewer, many fewer cars in the city center, that`s exactly what we should be doing in this country.

Now, so far, I haven`t seen anyone propose that in this country, but you know, let`s hope that in the next few weeks, as people start to think about reopening some of the major American cities, that we get some really innovative thinking.

HAYES: Elizabeth Kolbert, always great to talk to you. Thank you so much.

KOLBERT: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.