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Global coronavirus TRANSCRIPT: 4/15/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Elizabeth Warren, Dena Goffman

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes, it`s really wild that that is that is the case, we just had one of these not many years ago.

Michelle Goldberg, it`s great to see your face. I hope you and the family are healthy and safe, and thanks for joining us tonight.


HAYES: And that is ALL IN for this evening.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

"The Argus Leader" is the local newspaper in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and so now, by happenstance, it ends up being the main news source for our country when it comes to the largest-known coronavirus cluster in America. And the United States of America, of course, is the largest coronavirus outbreak on earth by far.

Before now, the largest known clusters of coronavirus in our country had been at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, also on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the aircraft carrier, where hundreds of sailors and the commanding officer all contracted the virus from multiple sailors, in intensive care and at least one has died.

But as of now, the cluster that appears to be bigger than all of those is in Sioux Falls, where 644 cases of coronavirus are now associated with a single pork processing plant. A plant that was shut down this weekend, after last week`s protests by local folks, in support of people who are working at that plant, and felt they were there under unsafe conditions.

And after the first few hundred positive test results got returned, they shut the plant on Sunday, the plant is now closed, but there are 644 cases confirmed and traced to that one plant already. And so, now, there is this remarkable daily stream of news on the front page of "The Argus Leader", a local paper. Smithfield worker dies from coronavirus, wife speaks out. Smithfield Foods now the largest hot spot in the U.S., CDC in Sioux Falls to investigate.

But, of course, Sioux Falls is the largest city in South Dakota, and South Dakota`s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, has insisted that she still will not issue a stay-at-home order in her state. She has not ordered nonessential businesses to close. She thinks really everything is fine and South Dakota is a huge success story.

And so on the front page of "The Argus Leader" now, alongside all of the latest news about the plants, and this worker who died today, and the biggest cluster of cases known in the United States, and the CDC flying in, and the governor nevertheless still saying it`s fine, it`s fine, there`s no reason to close anything down. Alongside all of that on the front page of "The Argus Leader" now, there are these daily news updates, that amount to a running tally, of all of the other places, all of the other open businesses, in no stay-at-home order South Dakota where people now are starting to fall ill, because you can`t have 644 cases associated with one workplace, and think that`s going to be it, that`s the universe of infection that we`ll have. No, there is the running tally, in the local paper.

The O`Reilly Auto Parts store on Minnesota Avenue, they`ve got some coronavirus. The freight company call center, coronavirus. The Lewis drug shop, the Walmart on Minnesota Avenue, the other Walmart on Veterans Avenue, the day care over off East 57th Street, the cabinetry shop, the Wells Fargo operations center, the Premiere Bankcard office.

The local retirement community over by Southeastern Avenue, the other retirement community just south of the I-229, at the Get and Go, they`ve got some coronavirus now, at the homeless shelter, at the Latin grocery. I mean, it`s just this running tally of all of the other places, all the other workplaces where they`ve got positive cases now, and there may be closure, there may be limited hours or there may be other changes, because they`ve got it among their workers and their residents, too. This cascade.

There`s no stay-at-home order in the state of South Dakota because the governor there says everything is fine. She has the largest cluster in the country with more than 640 cases tied to one plant. And there`s the local "Argus Leader" dutifully reporting all of the other places where for some reason the virus just keeps turning up now. Just keeps claiming more people.

You are aware that it`s infectious, right? That it`s a communicable disease?

Republican Governor Noem is due to visit the closed Smithfield pork processing plant tomorrow. Today, she kept up her insistence that everything is fine in her state. Definitely no need for any new mitigation measures because South Dakota is doing so well, she said today, she`s in great contact with the White House, really frequent contact with the White House, and that her main focus right now is getting that Smithfield pork plant back open as soon as possible. Seems like one approach.

The mayor of Sioux Falls is trying to organize his own stay at home order in the city, since the governor won`t order one. He also asked for the state to please set up an isolation center, a place that would basically be supportive housing for people who are testing positive or who have mild symptoms who don`t want to risk infecting their families at home, right, since just the cases at that one plant have gone from 250 on Sunday to 644 today, and it`s only Wednesday. Please can we have a place where people who have tested positive or who have symptoms can go if they do not want to risk infecting their family members?

Governor Noem said nope, absolutely not. No to that as well.

And so, now, the Sioux Falls mayor is trying to figure out how maybe the city can do that itself, to find a place to stay for potentially thousands of coronavirus patients, in his city, but they`re going to have to do it with no help from the state. Good luck, because the governor there thinks that everyone thinks that, everything`s fine.

Today was not a good day in the American coronavirus epidemic. In addition to that out of control situation in South Dakota, which is now all of our problems, New Jersey reported 351 deaths in the past 24 hours, which is a lot, New York reported 752 deaths in the past 24 hours.

And even with all of the good bending the curve news that has started to emerge from New York, we`ve got more of that coming tonight, over 750 deaths in a day, is astonishing. The daily death toll in New York right now is hovering anywhere between the high 600s and the high 700s every day, steadily, that many Americans dying just in New York, every single day now, consistently.

I mean, for perspective sake, when I say 700 people die in a day in New York, that means one person died every two minutes in New York that day. And that is still the pace at which people in New York are dying every day now. Even as we are starting to get better news about New York hospitalization numbers, and ICU utilization numbers, and going down, and hopefully, the new case numbers, slowing down even though there are still thousands of new cases every day, the death toll is still high 600s, high 700s, numbers of Americans dying just in New York per day.

The nursing home in the long term care facility crisis that we`ve been talking about here in recent days is really exploding now, and it is not a local story anywhere. We have to follow the local news to get these number, because the federal government still is not tracking this stuff, not reporting this stuff, not working on this, apparently, at all.

But I can tell you, it`s not a local story, it`s everywhere you look. Salisbury, North Carolina, for example, one nursing home there is now reporting 96 cases among residents and staff. To follow that story, I`ve been reading "The Salisbury Post", in North Carolina, because that`s who`s covering that story, 96 American souls at that vulnerable location.

San Antonio, Texas, there`s one nursing home there, reporting 102 coronavirus cases, 17 patient deaths already. Joliet, Illinois, outside Chicago, one nursing home that reported one death among its patients earlier this month, today updated their numbers to report that there are now 22 of their residents dead, as well as one of their staff members.

One of the things we`ve noticed in the past few days is that there seems to be some real emerging worries about Western Pennsylvania, as a potential real hot spot when it comes to nursing home, "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" today, put a question to the Trump administration about one western Pennsylvania county with -- they said 17 deaths in nursing homes already, and the local concern to "The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette" is that nobody will say publicly which facilities those deaths have happened in, they just know they`re being reported as nursing home deaths in that one county.

Why can`t anybody know what facilities they are? Not just for the family members of people in those facilities, God bless them, but because those facilities clearly need help.

In Brighton Township, Pennsylvania, which is between Pittsburgh and the Ohio state line, there`s one care center there with 104 confirmed cases now reported. At the beginning of last week, that facility reported that 11 of its patients had died, but nobody knows what the numbers have been since then, and they`re now reporting more than 100 confirmed cases. The local transit center has cut off its bus routes that went to that facility. People who have relatives in that facility are reporting they cannot get answers from the facility. Nobody answers when they call.

One hyper local outlet in that county, which is Beaver County, Pennsylvania, they`re reporting that officials have re-frozen a nearby ice arena, over fears that the death toll at that one facility in Beaver County may ultimately be so high, that it may necessitate the activation of temporary morgue facilities.

But to get the news about these things, to get the reporting on these things, don`t go to the federal government. Don`t go to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which are responsible for overseeing long term care facilities in this country. They`re just not doing it. They`re not working on this at all.

So, it`s find your local paper. Browse around. See what you can figure out in terms of the numbers. See if you can figure out in terms of who might need help. That`s all we`ve got.

But like I said, this is -- this is a bad, this has been a particularly bad day in terms of the American coronavirus epidemic. I will tell you in terms of the bad political response here, while what I was just describing is unfolding in western Pennsylvania today, and the local paper there, is demanding answers from the Trump administration and not getting them, well, that`s happening in Pennsylvania today.

Today in the state capital in Pennsylvania, Republican state legislators were angling to try to overturn the stay-at-home order put in place in Pennsylvania by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. Because sure, seems like things are going great in Pennsylvania. Did I mention that they are re- freezing the local ice arena, because of the body count that they`re worried about in Western PA?

Tea Party-esque, Trump-supporting protesters today demonstrated both in Kentucky and in the great state of Michigan against the stay-at-home orders that are in place in those states as well. These are doubling as sort of Trump rallies and we don`t believe in the coronavirus rallies.

I will tell you that in Michigan, that showed up in the local press, in the form of this remarkable juxtaposition of stories on the front page of the "Detroit Free Press", you can see on the left-side, thousands rally against governor`s stay-at-home order in Lansing. Right across in the middle column, Oakland County could use ice rinks to store bodies.

At the federal level today, we learned that the White House sourced thousands of surgical masks for its own use, for use by White House staff and officials, while the White House was simultaneously telling us, the public, that we definitely didn`t need masks, nobody who`s healthy needed a mask.

This is from "The Washington Post" tonight, quote, as U.S. discouraged mask use for public, White House team raced to secure face coverings from Taiwan for senior staff. The White House made this urgent appeal to Taiwan on March 14th, at the same time the U.S. government was discouraging the public from wearing masks, saying that healthy people didn`t need them.

The appeal resulted in 3,600 masks being made available for White House staff and officials, which is good. You know, looking out for number one. Don`t let the public know.

But have no fear. The White House announced yet another task force now, not the Mike Pence task force, the other one, not the Jared Kushner one, the other, other one, not the opening the country task force that they said they were going to announce, nobody is not quite sure what happened to that other other other one. Now they announced the other other other other one, which they`re calling and I quote, the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group, which appears to be just a list of 220 people in the business sector whose names they wanted to announce.

Even though both NBC and the New York -- NBC News and "The New York Times" have reported today that at least some of the people whose names were announced on this list today were people who were never even actually asked to join in task force before their names were announced as part of it, let alone were these people who actually agreed to do it. Nevertheless, the White House is using the names and reputations and affiliations of those people to try to cloak itself in their reputations, their credibility.

Some members of this strange new group, however, did join a conference call with the White House today, whereupon "The Wall Street Journal" was first to report that what the business leaders consistently raised with the White House as a concern is the fact that there is still no freaking testing in this country. It was over a month ago that Vice President Pence announced that by the end of that week, by mid march, there would be four million tests in America. That`s more than a month after that announcement, we still haven`t done four million tests total as an entire country.

Today, has an excellent story summing up some of the story we`ve been watching with dismay for the past week or so, which is that testing in the United States is not only not good, it`s getting worse. Look, this is data from the American Clinical Laboratory Association, which does the vast majority of all coronavirus testing, in the United States, they do two thirds of the testing.

Look, since the first week of April, their test numbers are actually down, right? You heard all of this happy talk about how we`re going to reopen the country, and what we need to have in place to reopen things. If we are seriously going to even approach talking about responsibly opening anything back up, our test numbers ought to be skyrocketing right now.

They have been terrible in the past. They ought to be going through the roof right now, if we`re even going to approach the question of opening anything back up, right? You know that testing has been bad from day one. But the federal government`s response on this specific salient, seminal thing, it`s getting worse over time, not better. A lack of a national testing strategy has been a day one debacle in this crisis.

I think it`s important to realize that despite whatever happy talk you have been hearing about it, and despite all of the discussion about how important it is, when you look at what they`re actually doing, the number of tests performed in America is dropping. Don`t pay attention to what they`re saying. Look at what they are doing.

America`s performance in terms of getting coronavirus testing made available to the American people is bad and getting worse by the day.

So like I said, not a good new -- not a good day in the news on where this is all going, which raises the question of whether the direction of where this thing is going, whether it might fundamentally change, from the top, in not too long from now. That is the hope from the Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, the top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination this year who today put the weight of her endorsement behind former Vice President Joe Biden.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Among all of the other candidates I competed with in the Democratic primary, there`s no one I`ve agreed with 100 percent of the time over the years. But one thing I appreciate about Joe Biden is he will always tell you where he stands. When you disagree, he`ll listen. And not just listen, but really hear you, and treat you with respect, no matter where you`re coming from.

And he`s shown throughout this campaign, that when you come up with new facts or a good argument, he`s not too afraid or too proud to be persuaded.

Joe Biden was there at the very moment I became a senator. He swore me in. And when he did, he said, you gave me hell, and you`re going to do a great job.

Because that`s the thing about Joe. He wants you in the fight with him. And when you`re in the fight with Joe at your side, you know you have a partner who`s committed to getting something good done for this country.

Joe Biden is a selfless public servant. He is committed to the fight for social, racial, and economic justice. Joe Biden will lead a government that works for the American people.

And now, it`s up to all of us to help make Joe Biden the next president of the United States. Let`s get to work.

Go to right now, and chip in your five bucks, make some phone calls, send some texts. We`re all in this together now.


MADDOW: Joining us now, for the interview, is Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, herself, a former leading candidate for president.

Senator, I really appreciate you making time and fighting through all the technical morass to be able to be with us live tonight. It`s great to have you here.

WARREN: And it`s good to be here. I want you to know Bailey is asleep at my feet here. So --

MADDOW: Oh, very nice. Well, if there`s anything about the sound of my voice that disturbs him, I will defer and immediately end this --


MADDOW: -- and let him resume his nap.

WARREN: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. Senator, the last time we spoke, and we spoke I think it was right in that room --


MADDOW: -- was right after you suspended your own, your own campaign, and I know you fought incredibly hard to become the Democratic nominee yourself. And I asked you the day that you suspended, whether you were going to endorse anyone, and how you would make that decision -- you put me off entirely, you wouldn`t engage on the subject at all, you said that you would do it when the time was right.

How did you decide that the time was right now?

WARREN: I think this is the right time. Look, I think it was important that Senator Sanders have the time he needed, and the space he needed to make the decision about what he was going to do with his campaign. And now, Senator Sanders has endorsed, President Barack Obama has endorsed, and I was very, very glad to do it today.

You know, the first 15 minutes of your program tonight was about leadership, and how we need a different leader in Washington. Joe Biden is going to be an excellent president because he`s fundamentally a good man. He is prepared for an emergency. He will fight for every human being. And most of all, he`s a person who has empathy.

And think what that means at this moment. Donald Trump measures everything in this crisis and before, in terms of what does it mean to Donald Trump. Does it advance his political interests? Does it advance his financial interests?

And that`s the extent of his measure. And that`s why we are in so much trouble right now in the middle of a crisis.

Joe Biden is very different. He is the kind of man who has human empathy, who -- who lost a child, who sent a son off to war. He is a man -- I saw it up close and personal, just almost seven years ago, right now, after the Boston marathon bombings, when he was here, to comfort the parents of a police officer who had been slain, as part of the terrorism against -- against Boston and against this country.

He`s a man who has a good heart, and that`s what we need in a leader -- someone who is steady, who is prepared, but ultimately who cares not just about himself, but cares about everyone else. That`s what is going to gets us through a crisis, that`s what is going to help us rebuild this country.

MADDOW: I`m struck by both an endorsement video that you made today, the remarks you just made right now, the personal nature of -- of the endorsement, that you`re just not talking about --

WARREN: Uh-huh.

MADDOW: -- you know, policy agreement, you`re not just talking about ways in which you have congruent views of the world, that it is -- it does feel to be coming -- coming from a personal place.

I know that when you endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, and that was an endorsement that you took very seriously and did you it on your own time frame and it was very important when it landed, one of the things that happened around the time of that endorsement, and thereafter, was that you worked closely with Secretary Clinton and her campaign, to make sure that the hopefully incoming Hillary Clinton administration was going to represent the values that you and Secretary Clinton shared. You tried to set up -- you were very involved in terms of who was going to staff that administration.

I wonder about the kind of conversations you had with Vice President Biden and how you anticipate being involved in hopefully setting up what will be his incoming administration.

WARREN: So, look, you know me, you know what I`ve been fighting for all of my career, so that hard-working people across this country get a real chance, and that opportunity doesn`t just go to a handful of folks at the top, but really does go to everybody in this country. And that we make the investments, to make that happen.

My conversations with Joe Biden long, long pre-date this presidential race, they pre-date the 2016. We`ve had a lot of conversations, about how we build an America going forward, with lots of different pieces and parts to that.

Now that I`m no longer in the presidential race, I`ve had a chance of resume a lot of those and start a bunch of new ones because, look, we both want the same thing. We want this country to work, and we want it to work for everyone.

So I`m in this fight to help in any way I can. To help on the policy front, to help by getting out there and telling about it, shoot, to help by telling people go to, pitch in your five bucks, send some texts, volunteer some time, because it truly is the case, we are all in this now.

And we have seen the importance of having a leader that we can count on in a crisis. It`s not Donald Trump. It is Joe Biden.

MADDOW: If he asked you to be his running mate, would you say yes?


MADDOW: I -- I`m so happy you just gave me a concise answer to that.

I`m going to let that sit there and resonate for a second.

We`re going to take a quick break. We`ll be right back with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts.

Stay with us.



WARREN: An incompetent administration is like its own natural disaster. When you`ve got a president who engages in magical thinking, and says, no, I decided there were only -- he decided that there were only 15 cases, and they would all be gone by April, and whatever it is he decides, my gosh, it almost doesn`t matter what he decides, the point is, he`s not listening to the scientists, he`s not listening to the experts.


MADDOW: An incompetent administration is like its own natural disaster. That warning from Elizabeth Warren turned out to be more than a bumper sticker worthy summation of what we`re now living through. When you consider the timing of when she said that, it was actually pretty prophetic.

Senator Warren said that in an interview on this show on March 15th, which was six days before the WHO declared a global pandemic, it was eight days before the White House declared a national emergency.

Since delivering the fairly prescient breakdown of what was coming, Senator Warren has published a sweeping plan for how the country ought to respond to this crisis, and what to do about the threat to human health, to how we should try to save the economy.

Back with us now is Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Senator, thank you very much for sticking with us again. I appreciate you being here tonight.

WARREN: Glad to. Glad to be with you.

MADDOW: So, you put -- sort of knocked me for a loop a little bit when I interviewed you back in the first week in March, and you laid out what you saw coming, particularly in terms of the forthcoming economic collapse.

At that point, we were looking at a market collapse, but not an economic collapse. Now, of course, we`ve seen the economy disintegrate.

WARREN: Uh-huh.

MADDOW: Of all of the ways that we haven`t done what we should have done as a country, what stands out to you the most? What do you think has been our biggest failure so far?

WARREN: So, let`s start on the health front because everything follows from that. Not getting our arms around the magnitude of the coming health care crisis early on has been -- what`s led to every other problem we`ve got. And that starts with two really essential pieces.

The first one is the personal protective equipment for our first line responders, for the doctors and the nurses and the ambulance drivers, because they need to be protected. When they`re not protected, they get sick and that just compounds the strain on the health care system.

The fact that we didn`t have a stockpile of masks and of gowns, ready to go, of respirators ready to go, in January, when we could see this problem coming our way, just speaks to how poor the leadership was from Washington. So that`s the first part of it.

The second part on the health front is not to have the tests, because without the tests, you`re flying blind at every point.

You know, I can`t tell you how many people I`ve talked to, either themselves were sick or they have family members who were sick, in different parts of the country, in Oklahoma, in California, who said, yes, doctor said that could be coronavirus. In fact, it probably is, but we have no tests.

When you have no tests, you can`t track what`s happening and where it`s going.

We need now then to focus on both of those -- getting the equipment needed for everyone. This business of having states bidding against each other, and then having the federal government come in and seize it, and it appears in some cases turn around and let someone else sell it, this makes no sense at all, and it`s putting people`s lives at risk.

So, we need to take care of making sure the equipment is available, that we`re protecting people, that we have enough of it.

But the second part on the test, we got to ramp up, I mean really heavy, on the test. The notion that we`re still talking about testing, in terms of tens of thousands, instead of tens of millions, means we`re just not on top of that. Because understand this about testing, because if you`re only testing people who have symptoms or only testing people who make it to the hospital, then you`re not understanding what`s happening everywhere in the country.

And for something like a viral outbreak, you`ve got to be ahead of it, you`ve got to approach it when it`s still small, and you`ve got a chance of dealing with it.

You were talking about the problem in South Dakota. You know, if the governor just lets this problem get bigger and bigger and bigger, and wants to think that she can pretend it out of existence, that`s just not going to happen.

So, that`s the first part, and that`s where the biggest mistakes have been, and these are the mistakes that are costing people their lives, and then ultimately costs us our economy, as well.

MADDOW: Let me ask you about one of the problems that I am absolutely stopped in my tracks by. It literally wakes me up in the middle of night pretty much every night. And I can`t -- I can`t stop thinking about it. And I can`t come up with anything other than dumb, DIY, middle of the night ideas about how it can be fixed.

And it`s the issue of nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We`ve been trying to focus on this.

WARREN: Uh-huh.

MADDOW: It`s hard to focus on it at a national level because the federal government isn`t focusing on it at a national level. They`re not even collecting data about it at a national level.

I`ll tell you "The New York Times", just since we`ve been on the air last night, just posted a horrifying story about a small town in Andover, New Jersey, where police got an anonymous tip about a body being stored in the shed, when the police arrived. The corpse had been removed from the shed, but they discovered 17 bodies piled inside the nursing home.

I am worried that we are going to start to see mass deaths like in facilities all around the country in a --


MADDOW: -- in a -- in these facilities, that aren`t uniformly regulated, where there isn`t a federal approach and where I feel like it is going to be every community for themselves.

If you were in the administration right now, if it was a Biden administration, you were vice president, and you were assigned to this, or if you were in some sort of a coronavirus czar role and you wanted to put the power of the federal government toward saving lives in those facilities, how would you start?

WARREN: The first part would be with information, because you can`t fix problems that you can`t see. So it starts with information.

I would require every nursing facility in the country to make a report at the same time every day about how many people they have, how many tests they`ve run, what the results of those tests have been, and what the current condition of those people are, how many people have been sent to the hospital, and how many people have died.

We`ve got to have that information. And we`ve got have it for every nursing home, every rehab center, everywhere, where vulnerable people are held together. Because then when you got information, now you know where to deploy your resources, now you know where to come in, and you need to do extra isolation, and extra cleaning, and you need extra doctors, and you need extra health care professionals, and you need extra protective gear. That`s got to be our central approach.

The second thing -- I go back to this point about testing -- we not only need tests for active infection, we need tests that are serological tests, and this is going to take a little while because we got to understand the science, but to be able to tell who has had the virus, and if it has produced antibodies which if this virus acts like earlier viruses, will provide, we hope, some immunity.

The importance of that is as we think of how to address the crisis, and ultimately, how to restart the economy, is to think about who is safe, and could be -- could volunteer, could be part of helping.

In, for example, the nursing homes right now, I know that many of them are trying to seal themselves off from outsiders, and I understand that, not wanting families to carry in the virus, but they need more help. They need more help to clean, to isolate people, and we need to know who can come in and safely do that, who can be trained to help.

So, all these pieces fit together, but they all start with basic information. And basic information is not just about science in the abstract. It`s about caring about human beings.

We get that basic information because behind every single number is somebody`s dad, somebody`s mom, somebody`s uncle, somebody`s brother, somebody that we know, and we have to care about every single one of them and put our resources behind, treating them with the dignity they deserve, and that means appropriate medical care and appropriate response. Not stacking bodies in a shed and hiding the information from their families and from the public.

MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Democratic presidential candidate, today, has endorsed Vice President Biden, just made news on this show by saying if asked to be Vice President Biden`s running mate, she would say yes -- Senator, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us tonight. Any time you want to come back, you just let me know.

WARREN: Thank you very much and thanks for all of the coverage you`re doing on this. It`s really important.

MADDOW: Literally, the least I can do. And all I can do. Thank you, Senator.

All right. We`ve got much more to get to this busy night. Stay with us.



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: On the ventilators, we stabilized our health care situation. New York had one of the earlier curves, there are other places in this country are now seeing increases in the death rate and there is some stress on their health care system. I will never forget the generosity that people across this country showed to our state, and I said at that time, New Yorkers are generous and they are grateful, and gracious, and when you need help, we will be there for you. And we will be.

State of Michigan is going through an issue right now. State of Maryland is going through an issue. We`re stabilized. We`re going to send 100 ventilators to Michigan and 50 to the state of Maryland.


MADDOW: You may remember that as New York hospitalizations started peaking earlier this month other states around the country started sending their ventilators to New York. It was remarkable thing at the time. And New York promised to pass those ventilators on to the next phase, the next places that needed them, when they hit their apex.

Well, that is now happening as of today. New York is sending ventilators on to other states in crisis. Maryland`s Republican Governor Larry Hogan today responded by saying: Thank you, Governor Cuomo, Marylanders send our gratitude, as we continue to confront this pandemic head-on. We are all in this together.

I should mention that Governor Larry Hogan in Maryland is a Republican. In Michigan, it`s Democratic governor there, Gretchen Whitmer, she said this today: I am so grateful for your partnership, Governor Cuomo, the enemy isn`t each other, it is COVID-19, we will get through this together.

It`s landmark moment when the state that was in need of the most help can now turn around and help other states in return.

Despite the fact that New York is now in good enough shape that it is able to send equipment to other hard-hit states, New York is by no means out of the woods. The death toll in New York is still over 700, as of today, that means 700 people in New York state died just in the past 24 hours, and those numbers have been stable for days now.

Many hospitals are still full. Today in Brooklyn, nurses and doctors demonstrated again, saying they still do not have adequate PPE to keep themselves safe. But now we are getting remarkable data that has just been published that opens what I think is an absolutely shocking window on to what the true prevalence of the virus may be among the general population.

We`ve got that story for you next, which is a story I don`t think you will have seen anywhere else. We`ve got that story along with one of scientists who figured it out.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Last month, one hospital in New York City started coronavirus testing every single woman who came through the doors of that hospital to give birth, whether the woman showed any symptoms or not. And now, doctors at that hospital at Columbia University have published what they found. And it is nothing sort of, short of astounding, at least to me.

The doctors have written up their findings in "The New England Journal of Medicine". They write that of the 215 women who gave birth at that hospital between March 22nd and April 4th, four of those women showed up with coronavirus symptoms, all four of those women tested positive.

But another 29 women who showed up to give birth had no symptoms at all but they also tested positive, which means that this one hospital 33 out of 215 patients more than one in every eight women, a little more, almost 14 percent had coronavirus, and the vast majority were asymptomatic.

One in eight? I mean, it`s not like -- there is nothing about being a woman about to give birth that makes you more likely to have coronavirus. Which means that what these doctors are seeing at this hospital may be a window onto the prevalence of coronavirus in the general population in New York City.

I mean, if you play that out. If it`s one in eight New Yorkers, that would mean well over 1 million people in New York City have coronavirus which would be ten times the number of confirmed cases, and people according to literature can transmit coronavirus when they are asymptomatic. The vast majority of women that came to give birth who had coronavirus were asymptomatic.

I mean, hospitals are pretty much shut down right now for everything except coronavirus treatment but the one place in the hospital that`s still chugging along basically is the maternity ward, right? I mean, you can cancel all elective surgeries but pregnant women are going to keep on coming in and giving birth. So, if you are testing all of the women that come to give birth, you implement universal testing in the maternity ward, that is potentially going to give you a pretty snapshot of your population or at least of coronavirus among women of child-bearing age we have no reason to believe would be at greater risk than anybody else.

And again, at this one hospital, it`s more than one in eight women coronavirus positive.

Now, other maternity wards at other hospitals in New York City have more recently started universal testing for women who are going to give birth so we`ll presumably get to see whether this rate holds across multiple hospitals but if something like a million New York City residents are walking around with coronavirus, that should be a holy cow moment for everyone and maybe it gives us an idea the scale of what New York is dealing with now and will be dealing with moving ahead.

Joining us now is one of the authors of that study, Dr. Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center.

Dr. Goffman, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I really appreciate you making the time.


MADDOW: And I know that I am the one extrapolating from your data to talk about what this might mean in the larger population. I know your study is not something that directly relates to the larger population, but aside from me making that extrapolation, is there anything I explained there wrong or that I misunderstood about what you and your colleagues have done?

GOFFMAN: No, I think you captured it exactly right, that we started, again, as you mentioned, March 22nd and that was really after we had an experience where we had two women admitted for routine OB care for labor and delivery and those women were asymptomatic and really felt well in admission, but then developed symptoms and became sick during their admission with us.

At that point, we had no suspicion for coronavirus or COVID-19, therefore, once we made the diagnosis, the women had been under our care for a period of time and had potentially exposed numerous staff members, a huge portion of our workforce and then once we made the diagnosis, it sort of clicked that there were women who may be asymptomatic and we may want to think differently about it.

So, we were able to embark on the universal screening. The study that you cited is an early experience. It`s only two weeks of data and we`ll certainly continue to collect and further public on that data but it really did show 13.5 percent of women showing up feeling well to have a baby were coronavirus positive.

MADDOW: That`s remarkable. So just to be clear, when you had those initial cases that led to you starting to do this universal screening, it was in part because you realized that you needed to know, you needed to have universal testing of woman coming for labor and delivery because so much of your staff could be exposed per one patient if she ended up being infectious.

GOFFMAN: That`s exactly right. There are a number on other things we could do differently if we had this information about our patients. So, we could do different isolation practices, we can use additional precautions, we can do better things to care for the mom in terms of following her closely to look for symptoms to perhaps develop, and it can also help us take better care of her family and her baby to keep the baby safe.

So, having this information has numerous benefits for us and the patient population.

MADDOW: And again, I know that is exactly what you are focused on and you`re not trying to do a prevalence test of the New York City population, and I`m the one who is making that leap but I just have to ask you, if it is a surprise to you and your colleagues to learn that you`ve got 13, 14 percent positive test rates among what should probably be a pretty standard snapshot of women of childbearing age in New York City, it just seems like a phenomenally high number to me.

I don`t know if it surprised you when you started to realize how high the numbers ares going to be.

GOFFMAN: I think we were curious and not sure what to expect. That`s why we want to get the information. And now that we`ve found this, it certainly is concerning that we have 13.5 percent of our population who are coronavirus positive.

I think we don`t know exactly what it means for the general population. These are all female patients. They`re all pregnant and relatively young and healthy.

I think the unique thing here is we have patients who need to access the health care system as you mentioned at the beginning, they can`t stop coming. They still need to come in to deliver to have their babies and we really did have an opportunity to test this sort of patient who are not presenting to the hospital with coronavirus-like symptoms.

MADDOW: Dr. Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center -- thank you to your and your colleagues going to work every day in trying circumstances, also for innovating and recognizing the opportunity here scientifically to take this really incredible snapshot of that population. Thanks for your work and thanks for being here.

GOFFMAN: Thanks so much.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: That`s going to do it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow when I believe we are going to have the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, joining us live. We`ll see you then.


Good evening, Lawrence.

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