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Coronavirus crisis TRANSCRIPT: 3/20/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Dow Constantine, Esther Choo

DR. LUCIANA BORIO, FORMER DIRECTOR, NSC MEDICAL AND BIODEFENSE  PREPAREDNESS: I think we need to leverage more technology that can support  public health, efforts including contact tracing, isolation, we need to  also leverage the power of the American people, where it is up to us to be  able to counter this, our most valuable source. 

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Dr. Luciana Borio, thank you so much. Appreciate  it.

That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. You are  doing a fantastic job covering this story. It is an honor to go after you  these nights, my friend. 

HAYES: Thank you very much. You too. 

MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour as well.

Let`s just jump right in. Here`s the headline, the front page of "The New  York Times" right now: Coronavirus in New York, deluge of cases begins  hitting hospitals. There are already critical shortages. A Bronx hospital  is running out of ventilators. In Brooklyn, doctors are reusing masks.  That`s the headline, and the sub-head tonight, of "The New York Times".

Here`s the lead, quote: For weeks, as the coronavirus has spread across the  world, New York officials have warned that a surge of cases could overwhelm  the state`s health care system, jeopardizing thousands of patients. Now,  that surge has begun. 

In a startlingly quick ascent, New York reported today the state was  closing in on 8,000 positive tests which is about half the cases in the  entire country. The number was ten times higher than what was reported  earlier this week. New York has 10 times as many cases now as it did when  we started this week. 

And part of that is increased testing. The state says they processed 10,000  more coronavirus tests overnight last night. But regardless of whether it  reflects increased testing or not, it`s giving us more information about  what New York is coping with, and the state is now close to 8,000 known  cases, with more than 1,200 people hospitalized, already. 

There are not infinite beds to put people in in New York hospitals, as they  bear the brunt of the first wave of this illness in the United States. And  the hospitals in New York that already do not have enough beds, they also  do not have the supplies they need to keep hospital workers and doctors and  nurses from getting infected themselves, and they of course are the work  force that we must keep alive and uninfected, and well enough to be  working. As the hospitals fill up and spill over, first in New York. And  then next, watch. It`s happening. 

Quote, in the Bronx, doctors at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center  say they only have a few remaining ventilators for patients who need them  to breathe. In Brooklyn, doctors at Kings County Hospital Center say they  are so low on supplies, that they are re-using masks for up to a week,  slathering them with hand sanitizer between shifts. 

Here`s New York City`s mayor today trying to make clear that this isn`t a  future problem to worry about. This is what is happening now. And whatever  happy talk you`re hearing from the federal government about how things are  under control, and supplies are plentiful -- well, where those supplies are  actually needed right now, they`re not here. 


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): We don`t have masks. We don`t have  ventilators. At the beginning of April, we will run out of basic medical  supplies, because of the intense strain that`s being put already on our  hospitals by this crisis. We literally will not have the things we need to  save people`s lives. 

I`m telling you in two weeks time or three weeks time, we will have nothing  left and I have not gotten a hint of an answer from the federal government  about when resupplies are coming. There`s no supplies moving. There`s no  military mobilization. 

We would know, I assure you, if we were receiving supplies, we`re not. We  have not gotten a call saying here is your shipment, here`s when it is  coming. 

The president doesn`t act within days to maximize the use of the Defense  Production Act to put every company that could produce a ventilator or  surgical mask or any other necessary supply, put them on full 24/7  production and guarantee that those products get to the front line, get to  where the need is greatest, if he doesn`t do that in the next few days, if  he does not mobilize the United States military immediately, not only will  hundreds die around the nation who didn`t need to die, thousands will die  around the nation who didn`t need to die, people will die waiting to get  into a hospital. People will die at a hospital because will is no equipment  or there is no medical personnel who can help them in time. 


MADDOW: There`s no supplies moving. And we would know if we were receiving  supplies. We are not receiving supplies. 

Here`s the headline tonight in "The Wall Street Journal." Coronavirus cases  strain New York City hospitals. Quote: We are getting pounded, swiftly  rising number of patients. Sooner than expected. Leads to supply shortages. 

"The Journal" reporting tonight that Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn  has no more isolation space for coronavirus patients. They are full-up. 

"The Journal" also reporting that Long Island Jewish Medical Center is now  90 percent full. Half the hospital`s intensive care patients right now are  coronavirus patients. The hospital is adding ICU beds right now tonight, as  fast as they can. 

One doctor telling the paper, quote, we are getting pounding, I`ve been in  ICU care for 15 years and this is the worst I`ve ever seen things. I`ve  seen more cases in the last ten days of severe respiratory illness than  we`ve seen in years. Quote, I`m very worried. 

To try to slow down the rate of new infections, remember, intensive care  demand lags new infections by about three weeks. After people get infected,  three weeks later, that`s when those infections start to get reflected in  emergency wards and intensive care wards. 

To try to slow down the rate of new infections, to try to slow the demand  on hospital and intensive care beds, New York and Illinois have now joined  California as states that have full statewide stay at home orders. And  announcing the first of the statewide orders last night, California  Governor Gavin Newsom said that without changes to slow the rate of new  infections in California, California expects that 56 percent of the state  would be infected within the next eight weeks. 

In a state as large as California, that means they`re saying more than 20  million people would be infected within the next eight weeks, unless the  state radically changes direction. And so, a statewide stay at home order  announced last night, instituted as of last night. 

All the way across the country, in the great state of Louisiana, things are  escalating quickly there as well. Louisiana has more than 500 reported  cases now. And that gives that state one of the highest per capita  infection rates anywhere in the country. The mayor of New Orleans tonight,  instituted a stay at home order for the city. It`s along the lines of what  is in place now statewide in California and New York and Illinois. 

The Tulane health system in New Orleans is actually planning to shut down  one emergency room in a New Orleans suburb so they can move all of the  staff from that emergency room location, instead to a downtown New Orleans  hospital where they`re experiencing a large surge in coronavirus patients.  Louisiana`s governor, John Bel Edwards, now telling the White House that he  believes his state may be only seven days away from its hospitals being out  of capacity. 

The White House released a transcript of his request for help, so we can  see it in exact words, the governor saying, quote: My fear, based on  modeling I`ve received today, is that in as early as seven days, we can  start to exceed our capacity to deliver health care here. I`m asking for  help in terms of surging our medical capacity. The governor then goes on to  ask specifically if the V.A. hospital in New Orleans, federal facility,  might be a place where patients from the regular city hospitals could be  surged into, as the hospitals start to overflow. 

In Oregon state, and in Washington state, the state`s governors there, Kate  Brown and Jay Inslee respectively, they have now ordered a halt to all non- urgent medical and dental procedures statewide. Anything that requires  protective gear for health care providers because that gear is so key to  whether or not doctors and nurses and other health care workers stay alive  to take care of the rest of us. 

The Oregon Governor Kate Brown announcing that the state is actually  rounding up protective equipment now, like masks and gloves, rounding that  stuff up, collecting it, from contractors, and veterinarians, and anybody  else who is not using it for human health care right now. Oregon is also  one of several states that is building new capacity, new beds. Last night,  we reported on King County in Washington, building a brand new 200-bed  hospital that I`m tempted to call a field hospital, because they`re  building it in a soccer field.

We reported on that last night, in King County, Washington, that is going  up fast. One state south, in the great state of Oregon, they are also now  building out a similar facility. A 250-bed hospital that they`re putting up  on the grounds of the Oregon state fairgrounds. They are using a  fairgrounds building that`s about 50,000 square feet, and they are  converting it to hospital overflow. Frankly, states all over the country  need to be doing things like this. 

Here`s Salem, Oregon, today. 


BRENNA KELLY, REPORTER: We`re at the Jackman-Long Building, where the  hospital will be set up. And when you look inside, this building is  massive. It`s 48,000 square feet. And inside, there`s heating and  electricity. 

Governor Brown said this morning, the Oregon medical station will become a  250-bed emergency hospital. Right now, it`s unclear what level of care will  be offered here. The governor said the emergency coordination center is  working on identifying 1,000 temporary hospital beds across the state, to  move patients to, who do not have COVID-19. We do not yet know whether this  will be that overflow, or if it will be an emergency set up for critically  ill coronavirus patients. 

I spoke with one of the project managers, Chris Ingersoll (ph), who is  working at the COVID-19 emergency coordination center. He says uniformed  military members are helping set this up, so he doesn`t the community to be  alarmed if they see them. They`re unloading hospital materials like beds  and other supplies, like military equipment. 

The questions like who will be staffing this hospital, and what level of  equipment is here, we don`t yet know. Governor Brown said this morning, the  hospital may be ready by Friday, but Ingersoll says he doesn`t think it  will be operational then. 

And what is clear right now is that setting up the Oregon medical station  is a direct measure to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. 


MADDOW: So they`re calling it the Oregon medical station. Oregon is  building this capacity right now. They say they want a thousand beds that  they need to get in very short order across that state. They`re using  military resources to get 250 beds up and running right now. Again, they`re  calling it the Oregon Medical Station. But they`re building it at the  Oregon state fairgrounds. 

In Washington state, they want even more surplus beds. They want 3,000 beds  in Washington state. They have already been buying and leasing hotels and  motels. Yesterday, they started standing up a hospital on a soccer field.  We`re actually going to talk with the King County commissioner over the  course of this hour, to talk about how his county, how he`s been able to  basically get so on the ball about that stuff, and get that stuff in  motion, bet those beds in use, while the rest of the country has lagged so  far behind. 

In Chicago, the commissioner of public health said today that they -- the  city has assigned its first contract for hospital overflow and quarantine  beds in Chicago. Now the commissioner did not announce what that first  contracted facility is for Chicago. But they say they`re looking at empty  schools and dormitories, and even convents. And Chicago is expecting to  stand up thousands of beds again to try to keep Chicago hospitals from  being overwhelmed. 

In California, the governor says they will be trying to add tens of  thousands of beds. The governor there signed an executive order last week  that allows the state to commandeer, to take over medical facilities and  hotels and he signed that executive order last week, he now says the  process of doing that is under way. 


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Today, we just secured a very large  hospital in northern California, Seton. It`s now part of our portfolio, and  we`re going to populate that hospital, as an example to meet the moment.  Tomorrow, we`ll announce a hospital in southern California. That`s 750  beds, those two hospitals combined. We start to stack this, 750 here. 

The motels that we`re currently and hotels that we`re currently negotiating  with, we start stacking those master leases, for those hotels. We`re  working, I had very, positive conversations with the leaders of two of the  finest public university systems in the world, UC and California State  University System, we`re working with those systems to identify appropriate  dormitories to help us with the surge. We start stacking those numbers. 


MADDOW: California, Washington, Oregon, the city of Chicago, Louisiana  asking to please use the V.A. facility, which makes sense, probably, in the  short run, except the V.A. has done almost no testing of veterans already  in its care, and the numbers they`re showing early on from the few tests  this very done show that the V.A. is going to have their very own serious  charge with their own patient load, particularly given that they have so  many older patients. 

In terms of the happy talk we`ve had on this front from the federal  government, there is no sign that the Navy hospital ships that the  president made such a big deal of, the Comfort and the Mercy, there`s no  sign that they`ll be anywhere on-site helping out anywhere in the country  for weeks yet. The president said when he announced that those ships would  be put into action against the COVID-19 epidemic. He said one of those  ships would be operational in New York harbor by next week. That`s  nonsense. It will not be there next week. 

The army is talking about deploying a combat support hospital and a field  hospital, potentially to New York, and also to Seattle, that would  certainly be a help, as we understand it, a combat support hospital  typically has about 250 beds, including about 50 ICU beds. A field hospital  is much smaller, less than 100 beds, but a field hospital can also support  ICU bed, including with ventilators. 

So that`s not a lot of capacity that the army is talking about, one combat  support hospital, one field hospital, if they`re only talking about  deploying one of each of those, that`s not much, but every little bit will  help. It would be helpful in particular if they`re able to move those fast. 

Again, it looks like tonight, New York is already getting the first blast  in terms of hospital capacity. There is talk in New York about potentially  converting the gigantic Javits Center, the Javits Convention Center, into  bed space, to hospital overflow space. They`re also talking about  potentially using Madison Square Garden, or the student dorms at NYU, New  York University. 

And it is presumed that the U.S. military will help with setting those up,  or with converting those spaces into hospital overflow, but with New York  hospitals already filling up tonight, just talking about the prospect of  doing that, at some point, is late already. And I mean the lodestar, the  thing that New York officials believe they are heading for, is something  akin to the situation in northern Italy which experts say epidemiologically  speaking is about ten days to two weeks ahead of where the United States is  in terms of its increase in cases. 

And about the same distance ahead of New York City in terms of a hospital  influx. 


REPORTER: This is the main hospital in Bergamo in Lombardi province. It`s  one of the most advanced hospitals in Europe. But it`s the most hard-hit  hospitals in all of Italy. The town is the center of the epidemic here. 

This isn`t a ward. This is a waiting room. Wherever you go, people are on  gurneys and corridors and meeting rooms, they`re everywhere. All the  medical staff urged other nations to see what`s happening, and lock their  nations down, right now, or face this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I would suggest just to shut down to stop all of  the outbreak, and not come into this kind of situation. It is very, very  difficult to manage. 

REPORTER: Can I ask you personally what it`s been like? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never felt so stressed in my life. I`m an  intensivist and I`m quite used to intense moments, and choices, and people  are critical, and will die without any treatment, and you make a  difference. But when you`re over to this point, you realize that you are  not enough, and maybe all -- we are 100 anesthetists here, we are doing our  best, but maybe it is not enough. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are performing the test kits for the swab to detect  coronavirus. 

REPORTER: The problem facing health services across the world is that when  the infection curve goes up, it rockets, and all of the resources, all of  the testing, all of the supplies, are used up instantly, multiple hospitals  all at once. 


MADDOW: Italy reported its largest single day death toll today, 627 people  died in the last 24 hours. And even as Italy struggles and struggles and  tries to keep up, China just set up a team of experts who just went through  their coronavirus catastrophe to try to advise and help out with the  situation in northern Italy. 

The vice president of the Chinese Red Cross on that visit to northern Italy  said that from what he can observe, what Italy is doing to try to slow the  rate of new infections, which are frankly the kinds of measures we are just  lackadaisically starting in a few states in this country, the Chinese  officials who just went through this in their own country, are visiting  Italy and they say what Italy is doing is not nearly strict enough to make  enough of a difference. 

Quote: Here in Milan, he said, the hardest hit area by COVID-19, the  lockdown measures are very lax. I can see public transport is still  running. People are still moving around. Having gatherings in hotels and  they are not wearing masks. 

Quote, I don`t know what people here are thinking. We really have to stop  our usual economic activities and our usual human interactions. We have to  stay at home and make every effort to save lives. It is worth putting every  cost we have into saving lives. 

Again, that`s what the head of the Chinese Red Cross is telling northern  Italy about how well they`re doing in their nationwide lockdown effort.  Their nationwide lockdown effort in Italy is effectively the same kind of  stay at home order that only three U.S. states have thus far adopted, and  those three only in the last 24 hours. 

So here we go. There was some more happy talk from the White House today  about how plentiful our national supply of ventilators is, saying there is  no problem there, and also how plentiful the supply of masks and personal  protective equipment is. There`s tons of that stuff. 

There`s murmuring from the White House that there will maybe be some  additional manufacturing of those things, but we`ll see. Let`s hope so. 

I mean, those things do eventually start getting manufactured in greater  numbers because the federal government decides to do something about it,  let`s hope all of those things come with a time machine, too, to turn the  back the clock on the last three months that have been wasted while the  White House was saying this was a hoax. 

I don`t know if the federal government is ever going to get it together.  But as of now, with the first hospitals in America reporting that they are  all filled up, we are out of time waiting for the federal government to get  it together. The best-run state, the clearest-eyed leaders in the best-run  states, right now are just going on their own. They have to be now. 

And if your state isn`t, you should not hope that there will be some kind  of federal response that will step up to fix things, when things start to  get dark in your state over the next few weeks. States, we have learned,  have to go on their own. 

Yes, we need a national manufacturer and mandate for ventilators. We need  that. We need a national manufacturing mandate and a national coordination  effort for the distribution of protective equipment for health care  providers and the other crucial supplies they`re already running out of and  rationing and unsafely reusing. 

And, yes, weeks ago, we needed a national effort to get millions of  coronavirus tests in the field. We`ve needed all of these things from the  federal government. The federal government is failing at all of these  things. 

And that is lamentable and I lament it, but it`s not stopping the virus,  right? It`s not stopping these things from moving forward. It`s not  stopping the influx at our hospitals from starting as of today. 

So lament it all you want, but if you`re a state official, the lesson is  go. Go now. 


REPORTER: Do you want the president to use the Defense Protection Act to  ramp up production of medical supplies. 

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Look, I`m -- if I had a New York state  Defense Production Act, I would use it, Jessie. I don`t have it. 

So what I`m saying is I`ll pay businesses more, I`ll start a new, I`ll fund  a new business, if you can make these products. I`m trying to make these  products. 

If you were in this, this line of work, you know, we need masks, if you`re  making clothing, figure out if you can make masks, I`ll fund it. So I`m  doing everything I can to increase the production. 


MADDOW: If you`re making clothing, figure out if you can make masks, for  nurses, and New York state will pay you, I mean that`s where we`re at.  That`s where we`re at. 

Lots of expert help lined up tonight to help us get through the news. Do  stay with us. 


MADDOW: Within the last few minutes, the president has just declared New  York state a federal major disaster. This is something that was sought by  both of New York`s senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the  expectation that this federal major, the disaster declaration, will open up  more lines of money and aid for New York, as the state struggles already  with the initial large influx of hospital patients and intensive care  patients. 

Tonight in Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee is also asking the  president to declare a federal major disaster in his state as well. Again,  to help them deal with the spiraling crisis of the coronavirus epidemic.  The governor`s request comes as King County Washington, which includes  Seattle, now reports a total of 793 confirmed cases, that`s up 100 from  yesterday. King County is also now confirming 67 deaths, and seven deaths  confirmed in the past 24 hours. 

Regardless of what the federal government ends up offering, a hard-hit  community like King County, Washington, local officials there have not been  waiting around for help. Chief among the early identified needs in King  County is having enough room in the hospitals there, preserving hospital  beds, so sick people can be safely isolated, and so that everybody who  needs care can get it. 

Way back on March 2nd, the King County executive, a man named Dow  Constantine, announced that the county would plan to buy a motel to convert  it into a facility where people could be isolated. The county looked at  properties that fit certain criteria, like having hard surfaces that could  be easily and repeatedly cleaned and wanted facilities with separate HVAC  systems in each room. The county ended up purchasing a motel with 85 beds. 

And as of last weekend, county officials announced they are leasing another  motel in the city of Issaquah to house and isolate more people. And two  days ago, King County started building their latest facility on a soccer  field in the city of Shoreline, which will be ultimately 200 beds. King  County estimates they will still need about 3,000 more beds and looking for  more facilities to use for isolation, quarantine, recovery, hospital  overflow. 

King County, Washington, is not just talking about what could be done. They  are doing it. They`re not waiting around for the cavalry. They are doing  everything they can. And they are doing it themselves. 

And their efforts have come with some local friction, some Not In My  Backyard objections. But the King County executive Dow Constantine has  defended how aggressively the county has been working, and a statement that  caught our eye and I have been holding on to it ever since. 

He said, quote: Epidemiologists tell us that left unmitigated, the number  of people with this infection roughly doubles every five to seven days,  possibly quicker during this period in the disease`s evolution. That fact  underscores the urgency with which we are implementing these community  mitigation measures, as well as purchasing, citing, and setting up places  for people to recover, and to isolate themselves so they don`t  inadvertently infect their families or others in the community. We must  take time to be sure to get this right. But we must also act with urgency  and leave no one behind. 

Again, that was earlier this month, I`m willing to bet, he feels the same  way now. But let`s ask him. 

Joining us now is Dow Constantine. He`s King County executive.

Sir, thanks very much for being here tonight. I appreciate you making the  time. 


MADDOW: So, as -- I understand that you have one motel open that you`ve  convert to this kind of use and another that you`re about to open. You`ve  got this hospital under construction. Tell me about the sense of urgency.  Tell me about what you think would happen in King County if you weren`t  building out that additional capacity. 

CONSTANTINE: Well, what you just showed happening in Italy is what we are  looking to avoid. What we`ve been working hard for more than a month to  avoid, which is hospital overcrowding, hospitals having to turn people  away, the people who need that acute hospital care and not being able to  get it. 

So we`re pushing for 3,000 units for people to be outside of the hospital,  still recuperating or being isolated. or getting an appropriate level of  care while we keep the few hospital beds available for the folks who really  need them. 

MADDOW: How difficult is it to get these facilities up and running? I know  some of them, you`re building from scratch, literally popping them up in  fields, but in other places you`re taking existing facilities and  repurposing them. As other communities around the country look at what  you`re doing, and trying to figure out how they can replicate it, what can  you tell them about how hard, how expensive this is, and how much time it  takes? 

CONSTANTINE: Well, as you know, we already had a housing crisis here in  Central Puget Sound, so we are trying a yes and approach, if there`s a  vacant motel or hotel, we`ll get it, if there is an open field, and we can  get a large tent, we`ll take that. We`re putting up modular units on  government-owned property around the region. 

We`re even converting an old shelter that we`ve already been using, into  space for folks to move out into respite from the hospitals. 

MADDOW: In terms of the extent for which you are serving as a model for the  country and I`m not sure why there isn`t more national attention to what  you`re doing, I think it needs to happen all around the country, I guess I  wonder if you -- if you imagine you were speaking to other public officials  right now who feel what you`re doing is too hard or beyond what they think  their jobs are about, do you have any words of encouragement for them about  how this is doable or what they should do, who they should talk to, to make  it more doable, particularly if it seems like an insurmountable task. 

CONSTANTINE: Well, you know, Rachel, you were talking about this earlier.  The federal government has rendered itself incapable of really rising to  the occasion in the sport of national emergency. So, we are left here at  the state and local level to do what we can to provide for the people and  one thing we need to do to save lives is to maintain that hospital space.  So whether you have to borrow the money, whether you have to upset some  people in neighborhoods, you have to get that space set up to get the  people out of hospitals, to allow the hospitals the space to care for those  who most need it. 

I went to our Harborview Medical Center, a public health hospital, last  week, with Major Jenny Durkan of Seattle, and we saw the folks there on  ventilators. It is truly harrowing. And to think that we might not have the  space for them to be admitted, or there might not be enough ventilators for  the people who need them is terrifying. So faced with that, we`re going to  do everything within our powers, as a local government, including borrowing  up to $100 million from ourselves, to set up the space we need to save  lives. 

MADDOW: Dow Constantine, King County executive. I really appreciate you  joining us tonight. And I know that the last thing you want to do is lots  of national media interviews but I hope more people call to you get the  word out about what you`re doing because it is a real model for the  country. Thanks for being here. 

CONSTANTINE: Thank you, Rachel. 

MADDOW: All right. So we are all depending on health care workers in this  current crisis. It turns out they are also depending on us and letting us  know it. That story is next. Stay with us. 


MADDOW: Do you have a sewing machine? Do you know how to sew? Are you good  with your sewing machine? Maybe by any chance you live in the Seattle area? 

Providence Hospital in Renton, Washington, is looking for anyone with a,  quote, willing heart and the ability to sew to help protect care-givers on  the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital is literally  signing up people who can sew at, for what they`re calling  the 100 million masks challenge. They are asking for the community to help  create medical-grade masks for health care workers who are desperate now  for protective equipment so they can keep doing their jobs. 

This is not the way that American health care workers are supposed to be  getting personal protective equipment, but this is what we`ve got. 

How about any of you out there in Oklahoma? Anybody out there in Oklahoma  with a sewing machine and good set of hands? The Stillwater Medical Center  in Oklahoma is also looking for people to sew masks, if you go to and search for face masks, you will find a tutorial of  exactly what they`re looking for, in that case, in Oklahoma, they`re  looking for masks to be warn by the worried well, so people will start  buying up the medical ones so actual medical workers can use those. 

Last night, we reported that the president of Mass General, Massachusetts  General Hospital in Boston, was broadly appealing for anybody who has a 3D  printer to try to help out as well, asking for people with 3d printers to  start printing medical-grade masks. Well, update to that, this morning, on  the "Today" show, the president of that hospital said he heard from over  100 individuals and companies offering to help. 

Mass General is also giving out this email, that you see on the screen,, for those with expertise who want to  work with their researchers on that project. 

Everybody out there, hospitals need help from regular civilians who didn`t  know we knew how to do this stuff. 

You may have seen pictures of E.R. workers and their masks and gowns along  with the hashtag, get me PPE, get me personal protective equipment, drawing  attention to the desperate need for basic equipment like masks and gowns  and gloves. And that campaign was started by somebody on the front lines of  that effort. An E.R. doctor in Portland, Oregon, who saw the need, who  experienced it herself, who decided, well, let`s just try, it let`s just  ask the world for help. 

Joining us now is that doctor, Esther Choo, an E.R. doctor, an associate  professor at the health and science university in Portland. 

Doctor, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. 


MADDOW: It does feel ridiculous for people with sewing machines and people  with 3D printers to be activated here. It only feels slightly more  ridiculous than construction companies and contractors being asked to  donate their masks, as well. But the campaign that you started and the way  that it`s resonated around the country, with doctors and nurses, health  care providers everywhere, saying yes, the shortage is real, it is starting  to seem like this stuff isn`t far-fetched. 

CHOO: Yes, I mean this really feels to me like some sort of dystopian  novel, where regular processes have completely broken down and we are doing  these really surreal things like dropping by the Home Depot on the way it a  shift or asking our friends and neighbors to sew basic medical equipment,  for us, so that we can have some semblance of being safe when we go in to  take care of these patients, but that`s where we are. 

And I`ll tell you, speaking from health care providers I`m talking to, this  is one thing we`re fixated on because it is the first layer of protection  as we simply go in and see people and take care of them. We`re already  thinking ahead to if the supply does not come through, if we`re not really  able to reproduce medical-grade equipment, through these kind of MacGyver  ways, we`re thinking ahead to the hard decisions we have to make. I mean,  can we continue to ask this entire work force to go into rooms where  they`re not adequately protected knowing that they are going to be exposed  to patients with COVID-19, get sick themselves, and then not be available  to take care of hundreds or thousands of other patients. There are some  really tough ethical decisions we will have to make at some point. 

MADDOW: I mentioned earlier in the show, and I used sort of harsh language,  I said that it`s -- there`s been quite a bit of happy talk, from the White  House, from the federal government, in terms of the availability of these  kinds of equipment. We have seen the president and the vice president say  that there is tens of millions of masks on order, and that there`s going to  be a mental supply, not only of masks and protective equipment but also of  complex equipment like ventilators. 

It`s frustrating to me just as an observer to see the distance between what  the White House is talking about, and what providers like yourself are  describing, in terms of the ground reality. But I have to ask you over  these past couple of weeks, does it feel like anything is getting any  better in terms of supplies of this kind of stuff? 

CHOO: I really want to be positive, you know, I want to give people hope, I  am listening, and watching all of the news that you`re talking about, and  I`m hearing some positive messages, and I think on the ground, we would  love to see those things. I will say hospital administrator, public health  officials are working very hard and trying to be very creative, doing the  kind of public campaigns that you`re talking about. 

On the ground, we`re not seeing the -- we`re not really seeing the delivery  of items that we`re hearing from our country`s administration, so I haven`t  unfortunately seen it yet. We`re waiting and we`re optimistic. And then in  the meantime, we will do what we can with what we have. 

And I also want to say, face masks, gowns, gloves, respirators, ventilator  machines, I mean, these are the kinds of things that we`ve been talking  about. They represent one part of many, many different types of resources  that we are going to run short on. And something we haven`t really talked a  lot about is we`re right now facing a national shortage of albuterol  inhalers. You know, those are the first line treatments for people like  wheezing and shortness of breath, asthma exacerbation, the kind of things  that get worst when you have a respiratory viral illness like COVID-19.

So, as we get over this first hurdle, if we get over this first hurdle of  things like face masks we will then be talking about the vital medications  that we have a shortage of, we`re going to be talking about how much supply  do we have of these experimental therapies that we`re using to treat COVID- 19, and then on and on, to rooms and ventilators, other advanced ICU  equipment, and then how we sustain the work force, and not just doctors and  nurses, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, the complex team that you need  in every hospital to take care of very, very sick patients. 

So this issue of we`re lacking fill in the blank, it starts here with basic  things like face masks and gloves, this conversation is not going to end,  it will just be the next shortage du jour for a while I believe. 

MADDOW: No, we need a war-sized national response to address these things  each in turn, all of them. It`s remarkable. 

Dr. Esther Choo, associate professor health and science in Portland,  Oregon, Doctor, I would like to have you come back and talk us to in coming  days as things start to evolve in Portland. We`d love to have you come back  with us again. 

CHOO: Any time. Thank you, Rachel. 

MADDOW: OK, more ahead. Stay with us. 


MADDOW: I know we ought to be getting used to this kind of thing by now but  I`m not. 


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has been prescribed for  many years for people to combat malaria, which was a big problem and it was  effective and a strong drug. 

REPORTER: It was effective against SARS? 

TRUMP: It was very -- as I understand that, is that a correct statement? It  was fairly effective with SARS. 

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS  DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: John, you got to be careful when  you say fairly effective. It was never done in a clinical trial that  compare to anything. 


MADDOW: You got to be very careful when you say fairly effective. 

President Trump today again just flat out wrong in public about this  malaria drug that has gotten stuck in his mind quite some distance from the  fact. 

Yesterday, President Trump proclaimed that that drug had been approved as a  coronavirus treatment and would be available almost immediately for use.  Within moments, the FDA had to clean that up because that is not true at  all. It is not at all approved for coronavirus treatment. 

But the president loves saying things like, you know, there`s a drug we`ve  got. It`s very effective. It approved already. Everybody is going to get  it. 

He loves saying things like that because that would be a lovely thing to  tell people, unless of course, that`s not true and telling people a  fairytale like that is cruel and harmful and needlessly diverting and  wildly irresponsible from anyone in any leadership role. It wildly  responsible if someone said that to you from a barstool if we could go to  bars anymore, but to get from the presidential podium, nevertheless, he  keeps doing it. 

In the weeks leading up to now, we repeatedly heard claims from the  president that the virus was well-contained, that it was well under  control, that it was going to disappear -- remember that? Like a miracle,  he said, it was going to disappear. 

In terms of material tangible promises, President Trump claimed we would  have 1.4 million tests available this week. Of course, we`ve seen nowhere  near that. We`ve got about a tenth of that. 

Last week, Trump announced that Google was developing a website to help  people decide if they needed testing and where to go to get it. It was  going to be very quickly done he said unlike websites of the past. 

Turns out, of course, that that website is still in the early stages of  development and currently only being tested in one part of California and  it`s not even really working just for that. 

President Trump announced this week that the navy was sending two medical  ships, one to New York City, one to the West Coast to help treat patients.  He said the ships would be launched over the next week or so depending on  need. 

Wrong. That was also wrong as NBC`s Courtney Kube puts it. Quote, it`s  anybody`s guess when those ships will come in. One of those ships is  currently undergoing maintenance. It has no medical personnel on board. The  other one is also undergoing maintenance and it lacks a medical crew all  together. Remember the president said it will be there next week. It won`t  be there next week. 

The president has claimed that the government has, quote, massive amounts  of ventilators. Maybe in normal times, I guess, you might say but in a  crisis like this the government`s stockpile of ventilators will not be  nearly enough to satisfy the demand. We need literally tens of thousands  more than we have. 

He has said similar things about face masks and other protective equipment  for health workers and told a grown up of nurses this past week that the  government ordered 500 million N95 respirator masks. He declined to mention  the order will take 18 months to fill, if we`re lucky. Millions of masks.  Don`t worry. 

Nurses, what are you worrying about? Millions of masks are coming. Wait a  year and a half before you might. 

I mean, there`s a -- there`s a clear pattern here in this crisis of the  president promising stuff he knows America would love to hear but it`s not  true. And even stuff that he`s saying that he will do, that the federal  government will do, he`s not doing. And so the specific way in which the  president is failing now is clear. We have said from the very beginning,  watch what they do, not what they say. That`s very, very, very relevant  here.

And I say this not to vent my outrage or anything. I`m over that frankly at  this point. I`m just saying it because I feel like we should inoculate  ourselves against the harmful impact of these on going pulse promises and  false statements by the president by recognizing when he`s talking about  the coronavirus epidemic more often than not, he is lying. Even when he`s  talking about what he has done or what he will do, he`s consistently lying  and giving you happy talk that is stuff that the federal government isn`t  actually doing. 

And it`s making people around the country count on the fact the federal  government is doing that stuff when they`re not. I mean, there may be  people in the federal government who are saying that are true, but this  daily briefings from the White House are litany of things from the  president that would be awesome if they were true, if they were happening  but they`re not.

And so, the sooner we come to terms with that, I think the better for all  of us. If it were up to me and it`s not, I would stop putting those  briefings on live TV. Not out of spite but because it`s misinformation. If  the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape. But  if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we  should -- all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it`s going to  cost lives. 


MADDOW: Before we go tonight, I want to tell you about a member of the  MSNBC family who died yesterday of coronavirus. The thing you should know  about Larry, about Larry Edgeworth, is that he was a hoot, he was a ton of  fun and he was really good at his job. 

He spent 25 years at NBC News. It was always a really good sign if you got  sent into the field or to a remote location somewhere and Larry was on the  team. He was super charismatic, super talented, very respected by his co- workers. He`s survived by his wife and his two sons and mourned by all of  us who are lucky enough to work with him. 

That will do it for us tonight. See you again on Monday. 

                                                                                    THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY  BE UPDATED. END