IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

PPE supply chain TRANSCRIPT: 6/11/20, The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Steven Reed

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  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. Much appreciated it.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here.

The S&P 500 dropped nearly 6 percent today. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped nearly 7 percent today, dropped over 1,800 points. Today, we learned that more than 1.5 million more Americans filed for unemployment in the past week.

The good news about this statistic is that is -- 1.5 million is the lowest number of Americans who have applied for unemployment in the past ten weeks. The bad news is that that number today is horrific, and it is still easily more than double the worst week we ever previously had for unemployment claims before this crisis, which was back at the absolute depths of the great recession. Our best week in ten weeks is still more than twice as bad as it has ever been before. That`s how bad things are.

The economy is officially in recession. The Fed is predicting not only a severe 6 percent plus economic contraction for the country this year, the Fed is also predicting that unemployment will stay above 9 percent for the year, and will stay high beyond that.

And, you know, we have spent all of this breath and ink having these frankly sort of stupid, substance-free reductive arguments about whether we as a country should work on trying to stop the coronavirus epidemic here, or whether we instead shouldn`t do that and we should prioritize our economic health.

Well, it turns out, guess what? Having a raging out-of-control coronavirus epidemic that`s killing tens of thousands of Americans, turns out that itself is a terrible thing for the economy. And so, yes, the economic indicators are bad. They have been terrible and they remain so. But you`re also now seeing the market react as we see headlines all over the country, as national news organizations stick their heads back above the -- and report things with horror about how things have not gone the way they thought they should with the pandemic.

Things haven`t turned out the way they were supposed to, the way people hoped they would when we decided to start as a country pretending that this thing wasn`t really happening. And so, you`re now seeing headlines like this and the market reaction.

Here`s "The Washington Post." Quote: As coronavirus cases rise nationwide, public health experts urge caution. Virus cases spike. Governors reject new lockdowns.

"The Associated Press": Alarming rise in virus cases as states roll back lockdowns.

"The New York Times": Coronavirus infections climb. Washington moves on to other business.

I mean, the thing is it might be fun to try to move on to other business. But when 800 to 1,000 Americans are dying every day, when we`re looking at 200,000 dead Americans by September at this rate, right, you can only ignore it so long before people notice the body count if nothing else, right, if not the rising case count that show that the epidemic is getting worse and faster in almost half the country.

I mean, here`s -- for example, here`s some case numbers. Here`s Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, right? These are their curves, their case numbers, daily new case numbers each day.

You see what all those curves are showing? This is not the way these things are supposed to look right now. Remember, everybody said we were going to have a first wave, and the wave would be over, and it would go down, and we`d have this really chill, quiet summer where the epidemic was basically gone. That is not what`s happening.

Here`s Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, and Oregon. Again, this is not the way it`s supposed to be going after they all reopened, right? And it`s red states and blue states. Honestly, it seems like it`s disproportionately red states now where things are getting worse the fastest but it`s some blue states for sure.

Here`s another four. Here`s South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah. Utah`s the only one of all these states that I`ve just shown which is at all considering hitting pause on their reopening plans because their numbers are not what they were planning on, not what they were hoping on, not what everybody said they would get. But these numbers, these bad case number curves, these are real, and they have consequences that even people who don`t want this to be real are likely to have to pay attention to.

So, you are also seeing now headlines like this in "The Washington Post" tonight, Dow slides more than 1,800 points on fears of coronavirus resurgence. The only nit I would pick with that headline is it might not be fears of coronavirus resurgence. It might be evidence of coronavirus resurgence.

"The New York Times" tonight explaining the market bloodbath today this way. Wall Street analysts have long cautioned that another wave of coronavirus cases that lead to a new round of stay at home restrictions and more layoffs could startle investors. Startling is one way to put it.

But how`s our government doing in the midst of these challenges? How are they rising to these challenges?

Today, the president went to Dallas, Texas, to do an event focused on race and policing, OK? A policing event in Dallas. Well, in Dallas, the police chief is African American. In Dallas, the sheriff is African American. In Dallas, the local D.A., the lead prosecutor for Dallas, is also African American.

The president today comes to Dallas for his race and policing event. The White House invites none of those local officials to the president`s event. Hmm, all top law enforcement officials in Dallas are all black. None of them were invited to the president`s event in Dallas to talk about law enforcement.

Now, the White House says they did invite the mayor of Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson, who is also African American. Mayor Johnson`s office told the White House that he was otherwise engaged, which is understandable. I mean how would you, the mayor, sort of show your face at the race and policing event with the president in your town when all of the top law enforcement people in your town were excluded and they all happen to be black? How would you go on being the mayor and dealing with law enforcement in your community if that`s what you did? If you showed up for that when none of the other folks were invited?

How else is the government doing right now? Well, today, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, issued a videotaped straight to camera apology for taking part in that death of the republic photo-op where he marched out of the White House alongside the president wearing his combat fatigues and representing the United States military after the attorney general had ordered federal forces to shoot gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters outside the White House so the president could go pose for pictures holding a bible on the other side of Lafayette Park.

General Milley was there at that event, lending his credibility and the apparent support of the U.S. military in his person to that event with the president. Later that night, he went out still in his combat fatigues to go strut around the streets of Washington, D.C., he said to survey the situation. This was after the president had told the nation`s governors that day cryptically that he was putting General Milley, quote, in charge. In charge of what? I don`t know. But having a uniformed general walk around Washington, D.C. like he owns the place when maybe the president just told him he does own the place was something more than unsettling.

And we don`t know why it took a week and a half for General Milley to realize the gravity of what he did wrong there and apologize for it. But he has apologized for it now, and that itself is an important thing.


GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF:  As many of you saw the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week, that sparked a national debate about the role of the military in civil society. I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics.

As a commissioned, uniformed officer, it was a mistake that the I learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it. We who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation, and we must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.


MADDOW:  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, today. You know, it is a hallmark of this moment in time that I`d guess about half the country now assumes that because General Milley said that, because he talked about how people in the military wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation. We must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military. I would guess about half the country now assumes that because General Milley said that, the president will soon find a reason to replace General Milley with somebody else who either doesn`t feel that way about the necessity of an apolitical military or someone who at least can be counted on not to say so out loud.

We are having an extraordinary governing moment right now in our country in response to the huge protests against police violence and for racial justice these past couple weeks. Tonight, for example, just before getting on the air, the whole city council in Louisville, Kentucky, unanimously signed on as co-sponsors of what they`re calling Breonna`s Law, a measure to ban the kind of no-knock warrant that was used by police to storm into EMT Breonna Taylor`s house and shoot her, kill her inside her home this past March. The city council in Louisville will pass that ban unanimously. The mayor will sign it, and it will be a total ban on those kinds of warrants in Louisville, Kentucky.

In Minnesota, the state`s governor has just signed on to a sweeping redo of policing in that whole state, which among other things would take the police out of the business of investigating themselves in use of force cases. It would fund community groups to serve as an alternative to many functions of the police. It would put the investigation of officer-involved deaths in the hands of the state attorney general rather than the hands of local prosecutors.

Just sweeping reforms, very much focused on accountability for police. And the state`s governor now says he is on board with that in Minnesota. I mean, that`s just two little snapshots of things going on, but this is happening all over the country, the ban on the use of chokeholds. Reform measures for police departments that are more drastic, more creative, more progressive than we have seen in a generation. It`s happening all over the country.

Meanwhile, at his "don`t invite the black police chief policing event" in Dallas today, the president of our country said out loud that seeing tear gas used against protesters these past couple of weeks was to him, quote, a beautiful scene. That was his phrase, a beautiful scene. That was his phrase, a beautiful scene. He said seeing tear gas used against protesters was beautiful. He said it was like a knife cutting butter.

You know, I feel like if we have learned one thing over these past three- plus years, we have learned that the sickness that you feel in hearing that remark from the president, in reading that quote from the president, the president loves that that turns your stomach. I mean, the whole point of him saying stuff like that, of his campaign now making ads out of the clubbing and beating of protesters, the whole point of it is because he knows it makes you sick. He lives for your outrage. He lives for our outrage, right?

It`s his one neat trick for political gain and dominating the media -- outrage, distract, polarize, divide, radicalize, demoralize, rinse, repeat. What am I not supposed to say? Here`s me saying it ten times. Go crazy.

He loves how sickening this is to a big portion of the country, which is why it`s all the more important to look at what he and his administration are doing and not just what he`s saying because he says the things he says to rile you up, to rile up the media, and to start that polarization cycle that he thinks in the end creates a shard of the American public that would die for him even as everybody else is demoralized and split from one another over their outrage at his behavior. That`s why he says the things he does, right? That`s why his campaign behaves in this constantly increasingly inflammatory way. It`s designed to have this psychological effect on us.

So, if you don`t want to have your chain yanked in that way, if you do not want to be led by him and the way he calculates his political benefit, have a look at what he and his administration are doing, not what they are saying, particularly when you can get a look at what they don`t really want you to know about what they`re doing. So in terms of thinking about today`s news right now and what is going on at this incredibly dark moment for our country, I want you to know about two internal Trump administration documents that have just been dug up and shown to the public despite the fact that the administration didn`t want to show these things publicly.

The first one comes courtesy of New Hampshire Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan, who basically told FEMA that they needed to make public this otherwise non-public document. It`s a document that shows FEMA`s current approach to critical medical supplies that are needed for health workers responding to the ongoing and now once again growing coronavirus epidemic in our country. This document from FEMA shows specifically that, quote, the demand for medical gowns outpaces current U.S. manufacturing capabilities. Also, there is still no U.S.-based manufacturing for Nitrile Gloves.

It says that after months -- this document shows that after months of pressure on federal officials to use wartime powers to mobilize U.S. manufacturing plants, domestic manufacturing of this stuff, of gowns and surgical masks and other things like that, those things have only ticked up by a few thousand per month since the pandemic hit, which falls far short of the need now let alone any future need as the epidemic continues to grow and resurge.

So there was that early panic about PPE. Then you started hearing less about it. Now our need for PPE is once again outpacing what we`ve got on hand for PPE. What`s FEMA going to do about it as the Federal Emergency Management Agency in this national emergency?

Well, they do have a plan for dealing with it, a two-part plan, flawless.

First part of their two-part plan is that they think that as a country, as a matter of course now, we will just widely reuse all of our N95 masks and all of our medical gowns. That should be fine. Ask a nurse you know how sustainable that is for the long run and how safe. We`ll stop throwing away all of our masks and gowns, even the ones that were designed to be disposed after one use. Nationwide we will just reuse all that stuff. That`s plan -- the first part of their plan.

The second part of the plan is that FEMA is expecting that things will get better. This is from this FEMA document that Senator Hassan has now forced into public view. Quote, steadily declining COVID hospitalization rates should reduce daily hospital PPE usage. But demand through summer may remain constant as hospitals and states replenish stockpiles and to meet reopening requirements.

So, yeah, they may want to build up their supplies again. They may need to artificially have extra on hand in order to meet reopening requirements, but they`re not actually going to be using a lot of PPE anymore, not with coronavirus hospitalizations dropping like we expect them to through the summer. They`ll drop off, right?

I mean, FEMA is assuming that COVID hospitalizations are going to drop like a stone through the summer, at least through June and July, because that`s what everybody is saying is going to happen in the summer, right? It`s just supposed to go away?

I mean, if that`s the hope, I understand the desire to hope for something like that. If that`s the plan for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in terms of how we are going to deal with this as a country of 300 million- plus people, if the plan is to expect hospitalizations to drop because it`s summer, if that`s the plan, we are in trouble because what`s driving all those national headlines now about worrying resurgence, worrying case numbers, right? Worrying growth in coronavirus and the signs of the epidemic all over the country.

It`s because among other things, we`re seeing hospitalizations go through the roof in multiple states all at once. And, no, when hospitalizations go up, it`s not a sign that you`re doing more testing. It`s a sign that you`ve got more people sick because your epidemic is big and growing.

Texas, for example, has seen a 42 percent increase in hospitalizations since Memorial Day weekend. Total cases in teas, total cases in Texas have shot up by one-third in just the past two weeks. But their hospitalizations, up 42 percent since Memorial Day weekend.

In Arkansas, total cases have shot up by a third in the past one week. In Arkansas, hospitalizations are up nearly 90 percent since Memorial Day.

In South Carolina, since the end of May, daily new case numbers have doubled. South Carolina has set a new record for new cases in that state in 14 out of the last 15 days. The state epidemiologist in South Carolina saying last night in a public press conference, quote, I am more concerned about COVID-19 in South Carolina than I have ever been before.

In the southwest, this was the front page of the "Arizona Daily Star" today. Arizona cases surging. Hospitals hit 83 percent capacity. But don`t worry.

FEMA has a plan for keeping all of our hospitals supplied with the PPE they need to deal with lots of COVID patients and full wards and full ICUs. FEMA`s plan is that hospitalizations will probably drop a lot in months that start with "J."  That`s the -- that`s the plan.

This is the other document you should also see. This one`s from the CDC. This was obtained by reporter Christopher Wilson at Yahoo News. This puts our response, our epidemic in this country, in context against what`s going on right now in the other top ten worst-hit countries on Earth.

And in this case blue is a good sign. Red is a bad sign. So you see the list of the top ten countries there, USA, Brazil, Russia, U.K., India, Spain, Italy, Peru, Germany. Germany, in terms of its percentage change in daily cases, this over the past three ways, again, way better. Over the past three days, new cases down almost 50 percent.

Italy, also good. Italy also down almost 40 percent. Spain, down over 25 percent. That`s good. The U.K. is down as well. The U.K. is down just over 20 percent, all good.

In terms of the color coding here, you can see we`re now getting to the countries that are doing slightly less well. Iran is not that much worse than the U.K., but they`re down just under 20 percent in terms of their new cases over the last three days. Brazil is down just about 10 percent in new cases, which is not enough of a drop really for them to turn things around.

I mean, the top ten worst epidemics where it`s still getting worse. This is places where things look bad, right? You see it starting to get into red there. India, Peru, and Russia, cases there are actually rising now. They no longer dropping, they`re rising 1 percent, 2 percent, even 5 percent over the course of the last three days. That`s bad.

And then there`s us, with already the worst epidemic on earth, and our case numbers between June 6th and June 9th rose 36 percent in those three days. And we`ve already got the biggest epidemic on Earth by, you know, a factor triple -- we`re already more than triple the -- I mean, it`s -- whether you want to talk about that or not, if you`ve got the largest epidemic on Earth and you`ve got 2 million cases and you`ve got 110,000 people dead and you`ve got 21 states where cases are rising, and your case numbers are rising 36 percent in three days when you`re already this bad, whether you want to talk about that or not, if that`s your economy, that`s your markets, that`s your politics, that`s your governance, that`s everything, that`s is a national disaster.

It`s not a national disaster that we`ve been through and we`re trying to get out the other side of it. It`s a national disaster right now.

Laurie Garrett joins us next. Stay with us.


MADDOW:  Remember February? Seems like a lifetime ago.

In late February, coronavirus had been found in three dozen countries around the world. About 80,000 people were infected worldwide. Less than 3,000 people had died.

On February 25th, a senior officer at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Nancy Messonnier came right out and said it, said what was going to happen in this country. She said in a telephone briefing with reporters that a coronavirus outbreak in this country was inevitable. It was not a matter of if but when.

And she said that, quote, disruption to everyday life might be severe, that it was time to start having tough talks within our families and our communities, the kind of tough talk she said that she herself was starting to have, including about closing schools, closing businesses, reorienting businesses to operate remotely, all the stuff that is now just our new version of regular life.

That night, after that shocking briefing from that CDC official in February, I was joined on this show by Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Laurie Garrett, who spent three decades covering infectious disease outbreaks all over the world.

And I asked Laurie Garrett about what we heard from the CDC, the sudden and suddenly dire warning from the CDC official. It was back at a time when we had a CDC that was allowed to speak to the public. But Dr. Nancy Messonnier`s warning was shocking at the time.

This is what Laurie Garrett had to say about that. Again, this was February. Check this out.


MADDOW:  Do you feel like the U.S. government is sort of timing those kinds of public alerts correctly? Are we past due for that sort of thing? Is that -- is it possible that it could cause an overreaction at this point?

LAURIE GARRETT, HEALTH POLICY ANALYST:  It`s long overdue. We should have been ready already, and we`re not.

Every single company that has more than a handful of employees should have an epidemic plan in place. Do you have a way so that your workers can work remotely and not come in, not congregate, not infect others in the workplace?

Every school, every university should be looking at how to have more and more of the coursework be handled remotely.

And we don`t have enough protective gear stockpiled or available in inventory to supply all those personnel in the United States right now.

Today, Rachel, in Geneva, they held a press briefing that went on and on and on, almost an hour and a half long. And it featured leaders of this team that had gone into China to investigate what`s the status of the situation right now. And they said in no uncertain terms, everybody should do what China did.

Well, now, can you imagine? We`re going to shut down 100 million Americans? We`re going to shut every business in America?


MADDOW:  That was February 25th. You can see how long that was -- long ago that was in part by how close I was sitting to Laurie Garrett when we had that conversation.

The idea that America would need to shift to those kinds of responses at that point was mind-blowing.

But, you know, being right is one thing. Being right in advance when nobody else can see it and it sounds like what you`re saying is science fiction, that`s not just a blessing. That`s a national resource. That is somebody worth listening to and going back to.

Joining us now is Laurie Garrett. She`s a health policy analyst, Pulitzer prize-winning science journalist.

Laurie, I appreciate you making time to come back tonight. Thank you for being here.

GARRETT:  Well, thank you.

MADDOW:  I`m grateful in -- I was grateful at the time. I`m grateful in retrospect for how loud you were about what was coming even when nobody else was talking in the terms that you were talking.

I have to ask you, I sort of just -- I don`t want to guide you too much. I want to ask you big picture where you think we are right now. I feel very concerned about the number of states where the case numbers and the hospitalization numbers are rising every day now. How do you feel about where we are, particularly this many months into it?

GARRETT:  Oh, I think we`re in terrible shape. I think that the reproductive rate of the epidemic, meaning the rate at which any one individual is likely to infect another individual, is well above 1, which means that it`s still growing. It may not be growing at the astronomical rates that were occurring in March, but it is still growing. We haven`t snuffed it out. And in certain communities, it`s growing very frighteningly fast.

In fact, one of the communities where you can see a graph that just suddenly in the last seven days went whew is Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the president will be holding a campaign rally very soon. And that rate of growth, that sudden surge, while the absolute numbers may be small because the population isn`t enormous, that level of curve is really, really indicative of an out-of-control situation.

And we can see in isolated communities all over the United States a similar trend. Meanwhile, you know, when we talked back in February, we thought -- I thought that we were on the cusp of a truly global pandemic. We now not only are beyond the cusp, we`re fully into it, and the southern hemisphere is now raging as they go into their winter.

So now every single one of the sort of second-tier economies, the so-called bricks economies, every single one of them has a giant epidemic going on right now. India, you know, South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, go down the list. Meanwhile, in Europe, while they seem to have generally declined in most of Europe with the U.K. still very much struggling, the economic impact is absolutely staggering. A new report just out this week from the OECD, which is basically the financial club of the richest countries on Earth, estimates that every single country in Europe, every single country in the OECD, is going to see a negative GDP.

So their economies are going to be going backwards. In some of them, it`s really bad. I mean, the U.K., France, Italy are going to be approaching negative 15 percent GDP. I mean, that`s Great Depression. That`s staggering, staggering. You know, we were -- after 2008, we were gasping because we were down to only positive 1 percent growth.

Well, now, they`re predicting for the United States negative 8.5 percent. You know, to put this in perspective, Rachel, the worst-case scenario pandemic plan that I saw last year said, gee, if it got really bad, we might have negative 4 percent GDP in the world.

Well, just this week the World Bank predicted the entire global economy, every single country on earth collectively is going into a negative 5.2 percent GDP. So that`s 5.2 percent of the wealth of the planet just shrinks. And amidst all of that, we have a pandemic, and it`s not just miraculously going to stop. It`s not miraculously going away.

And here in the United States, we just have no national policy. We have no consistent strategy across the nation. There`s no guidance coming to states in any coherent way from the CDC. They`ve essentially been quieted.

And the whole entire stock market has been hanging by its fingernails until today when reality started to set in, thinking, OK, we got to have a vaccine. We got to have a vaccine, and that`s going to get us out of this. We got to have a vaccine.

Well, what, Rachel, happens if either one of the frontline vaccines doesn`t work properly or it gives a very weak immune response that`s not truly protective, or worse yet it actually causes a negative side effect? Then what does the market do? Wow, I mean stand back and watch your dust settle.

MADDOW:  Laurie, in terms of the options that we have as a country, you just said that we have basically no national policy and no coherent advice. I mean, we`ve seen the failures in terms of the CDC as a world-class organization become what it is right now. We`ve seen the White House leadership on this evaporate to a large extent. I mean, to the extent it was wrong headed, it`s now just gone. We do see states sort of running around like chickens with their heads cut off not knowing what to do.

My question for you is this -- as we see 83 percent hospital usage already in Arizona with the numbers still going on, as we see Texas, 42 percent rise in hospitalizations since Memorial Day, as we see Arkansas even worse than Texas along those lines, we see the sort of strange we`re going to see on health care systems as this epidemic just does its thing, do we have options for trying to respond in ways that are coherent and that will make a difference that are along the same lines as the options that we had in February and March, or have some of our options evaporated because our epidemic is mature and large now, and so, therefore, we can`t do some of the things we might have otherwise done when it was in an earlier stage?

GARRETT:  I think our options for much of the country have indeed shrunk. Here in New York where I am seated right now, we have brought this epidemic down to a really manageable, almost victorious level after more than eight weeks of the entire city being under shutdown and a tremendous amount of sacrifice and hard work by literally tens of thousands of people. That needs to be mirrored around the country before -- and by the way, we`re only like gingerly going into phase one of opening this week. There are parts of the country that have never been on full lockdown, never brought their numbers down for any consistent period of time, and they`re already going into phase three opening, meaning just about everything is going to be opened, almost every kind of retail operation, almost all sorts of service operations, even reopening travel across state lines and so on.

I mean, this is just irrational. And I think, you know, here in New York you`re going to hit a point where you`re going to here a hue and cry from people who sacrificed so much, including their jobs and their kids going to school all these weeks, and now what? A traveler is going to come from Florida where those restrictions have all been lifted and reintroduce COVID to New York? How do you think New Yorkers will feel about that?

You see, here`s where the insanity is. We don`t have a national strategy, Rachel. So what`s going to happen as this evolves over the summer and the disappointment gets worse, the weather gets warmer, people really want to be at the beach, they want to be out and seeing one another, they`re fed up with being under lockdown, you`re going to start to see more and more animosity between states, more and more tension within states, across counties that have low levels versus counties with skyrocketing levels.

The kind of solidarity that is absolutely essential to conquering a disease like this is evaporating very fast before our eyes. And, you know, just to remind you because some of your audience may not have even been, you know, adult and paying attention when H1N1 exploded, the swine flu in 2009. But to put that in perspective, the CDC was fully in charge and did at least one full borne press briefing every single day and did briefings for governors, every day did briefings for state health leaders, county health leaders.

The level of engagement was enormous, and the degree to which all of us looked to Atlanta to hear what`s the latest, what advice are you giving us was absolute. The result was that we had consistent policies across all 50 states and the territories. We knew what supplies everybody needed. We knew what vaccines everybody was going to get. We don`t have any of that now.

MADDOW:  Laurie Garrett, health policy analyst, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, person from whom I learn something new every time I talk to you. Laurie, thank you. It`s terrible news but thank you for your clarity. I appreciate you being here.

GARRETT:  Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW:  All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW:  Just about three weeks ago, the young charismatic mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, pulled the proverbial fire alarm. He gave a stark public warning about the hospitals in his city filling up and reaching capacity. This was the front page of the Montgomery advertiser after he gave that warning. Montgomery hospitals down to one ICU bed.

This is why the mayor gave that warning. It was about that limitation on resources while this was the snapshot of their total cases, rising steeply in Montgomery County, Alabama. That was the accumulated total. This was the daily increase in cases in Montgomery. Bad, right?

You`ve already got that limitation on resources, and your case numbers are still trending up like that every day? So he sounded the alarm, and we asked him to be here on the show. Three weeks ago today Montgomery`s Mayor Stephen Reed was here to talk about the situation in his city. He said that night that his city was, quote, at a point where we can see the cliff, and we don`t want to get too close to it for fear of falling off.

Well, tonight, three weeks later, Montgomery has been teetering on the edge of that cliff for all these three weeks. Look at the situation there. Look at how they have been coping.

Cases in Montgomery County still on the rise, unabated. This arrow shows where Montgomery was three weeks ago, and you can see cases still rising every day after that. Whatever they were hoping to engender in terms of slowing the spread of the virus among people in Montgomery County, it did not happen.

Also look at the chart of day by day cases. Still more spikes in daily new cases in Montgomery.

Now, as for hospitalizations, well, this is from the Alabama political reporter in terms of how Montgomery is coping. Quote: Combined the four major hospitals in Montgomery are treating more positive patients as of Tuesday this week than at any point since the pandemic began.

Here`s the head of the Alabama hospital association. Quote, we`re just full. I mean, this situation is just not sustainable. The filling up and spilling over of hospitals in Alabama, specifically in Montgomery, the steady rise in new cases also comes as people have been gathering on the streets of Montgomery and elsewhere in Alabama in protest over the death of George Floyd and protest against police violence and in favor of racial justice.

Multiple protests, crowded protests over the last few weeks have added a new layer of complexity to a public health crisis and to how to govern responsibly and effectively in the middle of this coming from all sides.

Montgomery`s Mayor Steven Reed joins us again next. Stay with us.



MAYOR STEVEN REED (D-AL), MONTGOMERY:  Right now, in Montgomery, we`re at a point where we can see the cliff, and we don`t want to get too close to it for fear of falling off. And that`s when we sounded the alarm -- 


MADDOW:  That was -- that was Montgomery, Alabama Mayor Steven Reed speaking on this show three weeks ago, sounding the alarm about hospital capacity in his city as the state of Alabama continued reopening despite the steady climb in coronavirus cases there.

Now three weeks later, three weeks after he sounded that alarm, cases are still climbing and the hospitals in Montgomery are worth worrying about.

Joining us now is Mayor Steven Reed of Montgomery, Alabama. Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for making time to be with us this evening. When we first spoke, I said I wanted us to stay in touch. I wanted you to keep us apprise about how things are going in Montgomery. So this is me checking back in with you.

How are things going in your city?

REED:  Rachel, I wish I could say they were going a lot better, but unfortunately they`re going in the wrong direction. We`re at a point right now that we`ll surpass where we were in May, and we`re only through the first 11 days of June. And, unfortunately, while we have beds and ventilators available, we are full, and we are at capacity in our ICU beds here in Montgomery.

And we just can`t seem to get people to understand that we have not won the battle with COVID-19 yet, and we have to continue to remain vigilant in this process. Right now in the city, it seems as though some people are wearing masks, some others are not. And I think that`s problematic regarding the tread line that we would like to see versus the one that is the reality right now.

MADDOW:  When you say that you`re full, I saw the quote this week from the head of the hospital association saying this is not just sustainable. We are just full.

But yet you say there are still beds available. People can still be treated when they come to the hospitals.

How are the hospitals dealing with that in terms of flex capacity, in terms of moving people between different wards, in terms of how they`re handling being full but still needing to take in new cases, new patients, both those with COVID and those without?

REED:  Right now, what we`re being told is that they`re able to see patients. They`re able to deal with people as they come in. It`s just that the ICU beds that are full but they have capacity to convert other rooms into ICU units. So they feel like it is a manageable situation right now, but it`s not one that we can sustain.

And the problem with that is that our hospital staff is fatigued. They`re emotionally and physically worn out, and we`re starting to see some of those cracks. And I think for a community such as ours, we have to remind ourselves that we each have a responsibility in this, and we each have to make sure that although we want to get to the end of this series so to speak, we aren`t there yet. We`re still in the beginning or maybe the middle at best of this battle with the covid-19 virus, and we have to do those things that we were doing just a couple of months ago.

But right now, we haven`t been doing those, and in talking with Dr. Scott Harris, our director for the Department of Public Health, he believes this is the perfect timing for what can be traced back to Memorial Day weekend. And this is about that incubation time to see an outbreak when people gathered together over Memorial Day and certainly days before and after that are producing some of these results and these skyrocketing numbers.

MADDOW:  Mr. Mayor, are you concerned that -- I know you had some healthy protests in Montgomery, Alabama, just like pretty much every state in the country -- every city in the country did in terms -- in the wake of George Floyd`s killing and these racial justice protests. Are you concerned that that may also have been a factor in terms of new cases and new exposures in your state and in your city?

REED:  I think that we`ll see those results coming in the next few days and weeks, and I certainly understand those protesters who wanted to get out there to express their rage, their anger, and their frustration at the system. Here in Montgomery, they were very peaceful. They were very purposeful, and we made it our priority to hear exactly what their complaints were and what changes they wanted to see.

So I think that we will see some of those -- the impact of those protests in the upcoming days. What I think we see right now is this being a wedge issue, unfortunately, and some people choosing to abide by the social distancing guidelines and others who are not.

And unfortunately if you`re in the grocery store, if you`re out and about, you don`t know who`s asymptomatic or who`s pre-symptomatic, or who is symptomatic. What we know is not enough people are wearing masks. Not enough people are staying at home. And we cannot sustain this rate of infection that is going on not only in Montgomery but in other parts of Alabama.

MADDOW:  Mayor Steven Reed of the great city of Montgomery, really appreciate you taking the time to join us again, sir. You are one of the most hard-hit cities in the country. Keep us apprised. We want to keep a national focus on what`s going on there. Good luck to you, sir.

REED:  Thank you.

MADDOW:  All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW:  One quick heads-up before we go. Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn pled guilty twice to lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian government. Under the tender ministrations of Attorney General Bill Barr, the Justice Department nevertheless decided they would drop the prosecution of Mike Flynn.

Tomorrow morning, a federal appeals court is going to hear arguments on whether they are going to force the judge in Flynn`s criminal case to go along with that, to go along with dropping the prosecution despite the fact that he twice pled guilty.

Those arguments are going to be fascinating. They`re going to be livestreamed. You can listen in starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow morning, which I`m very much looking forward to doing myself.

That`s going to do it for us tonight, though. We`ll see you again tomorrow night.


Good evening, Lawrence.

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