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coronavirus cases TRANSCRIPT: 5/11/20, The Last Word w/ Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Chuck Schumer, Michael Osterholm, Sharon Duclos, Ben Rhodes, Erin Bromage


And also tomorrow, a special congressional election in California northern suburb of Los Angeles. The Santa Clarita area.

Oh, you can`t hear a word. Rachel, can`t hear a thing.

Then, Rachel, I`m going to tell you, Rachel, that Chuck Schumer is going to be here later in the hour. Let me see if I can do this Rachel thing without Rachel. Nah, that`s not going to work.

Anyway, the point I was making to Rachel, you know if you were watching this program last week, there is a special congressional election in the Santa Clarita area, just outside of Los Angeles, and that`s tomorrow.

But all of the voters -- all of them have been mailed ballots in that congressional election. And so they could all vote by mail. They don`t have to go to the polls. We`ll see how that works out.

And as the country begins to open up, we`re going to have to understand the different risk levels that we face. For example, which is more dangerous, sitting in a restaurant or sitting in a conference room with fellow workers?

Which propels more infected droplets into the air? A sneeze or a cough? The answer is a sneeze. Sneeze is much more dangerous.

There are more answers like that to questions like that that you need to know and the person that knows the answer to those questions and more will join us at the end of the hour with the practical advice you absolutely need right now every day to measure the various risks you might take when you go to the grocery store, for example, the things that we have to do in this age of the coronavirus. That`s at the end of the hour. You don`t want to miss that.

Tonight, we begin again with the numbers. The United States crossed another benchmark, the 80,000 mark. The United States now has 81,468 confirmed deaths from coronavirus. And the United States has 1,356,872 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of course, we have many more cases than that for people never tested.

Donald Trump is tested for coronavirus every day because he is the president of the United States, and also because he is president of the United States, Donald Trump is tested for humanity every day and he`s tested for decency every day and he always, always tests negative for both of those conditions, as he did yesterday on mother`s day, which presents the most eloquent elemental test of decency in men for relation to their mothers if they`re still with us or the mothers of their children.

Donald Trump`s public presidential Mother Day`s observance was a simply tweet that said, happy Mother`s Day. The most impersonal possible notation of the day by a president of the United States.

He spent, what according to Twitter, must have been the entire day tweeting with 126 tweets that means a tweet every few minutes so there was nothing in the public record that Donald Trump acknowledged the other of money of his children who lives in the White House. Donald Trump has another mother of another one of his children who lives on the West Coast, and a third mother of his first set of three children.

Decency demands that any man divorced or not say something nice to or about, preferably both the mothers of his children, or about all the other mothers of all of his children on Mother`s Day. Couldn`t be simpler.

And humanity demands that on Mother`s Day, when thousands of mothers in America are dying or dead from coronavirus and thousands of Americans are experiencing their first Mother`s Day without those thousands of mothers, basic human decency and humanity demands an acknowledgement of that from the president of the United States, of that loss, from the president of the United States whose job it is to try to save those mothers from the grip of coronavirus. If you lost your mother to coronavirus, you now have a public guarantee that Donald Trump did not give you or your mother a thought yesterday because he was obsessed with spreading lies about President Obama instead.

Today`s test of decency for the president of the United States came in the Rose Garden and he failed it miserably once again because he could not maintain the basic decency of a respectful exchange with reporters, as usual.

But today when a reporter showed Donald Trump that she is stronger than he is and fought back against his indecency, Donald Trump showed that his indecency is matched by his cowardice and he just fled the stage, and that was the best moment in a White House briefing in a very long time, possibly ever during the Trump administration.

The hero of that moment, the woman whose clarity and strength drove Donald Trump from the stage, of Weijia Jiang o CBS News, and Kaitlan Collins of CNN added a brilliant assist to the moment when Donald Trump tried to escape Weijia Jiang`s persistence. Kaitlan Collins showed all other White House reporters how to not let Donald Trump change the subject when he is cornered.

Here is how two women reporters who would not play Donald Trump`s game drove him out of his own press conference today.


WEIJIA JIANG, CBS NEWS REPORTER: You said many times that the U.S. is doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing.


JIANG: Why does that matter? Why is this a global competition to you if every day Americans are still losing their lives and we`re still seeing more cases every day?

TRUMP: Well, they`re losing their lives everywhere in the world and maybe that`s a question you should ask China. Don`t ask me. Ask China that question, OK? When you ask them that question you may get a very unusual answer.

Yes, behind you, please?

JIANG: Sir, why are you saying that to me, specifically?

TRUMP: I`m telling you.

JIANG: That I should ask China.

TRUMP: I`m not saying it specifically to anybody. I`m saying it to anybody who ask a nasty question like that.

JIANG: That`s not a nasty question. Why does it matter?

TRUMP: Please go ahead.

OK. Anybody else? Please, go ahead in the back, please?


TRUMP: No, it`s OK.

COLLINS: You pointed to me.

TRUMP: Next, next please.

COLLINS: You didn`t -- you called on me.

TRUMP: I did and you didn`t respond and now I`m calling on --

COLLINS: Sorry --

TRUMP: The young lady in the back, please?

COLLINS: I just wanted to let my colleague finish --

TRUMP: OK, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

COLLINS: But you called on me.

TRUMP: Thank you very much.


O`DONNELL: Next, please? And then that cowardly walk.

Donald Trump begged for another question, begged for another question, begged for a change of subject, next, please? And instead he got Kaitlan Collins. He got persistence. He got strength that would not budge.

And I`m almost sure that I heard a standing ovation in homes from coast-to- coast when Weijia Jiang and Kaitlan Collins terrified Donald Trump to the point where the only thing he could think of doing was literally walking away, rushing back into the safety of the Oval Office.

Dr. Najy Masri of Louisiana State University`s Hospital has been keeping a video diary for us of life and death in New Orleans.


DR. NAJY MASRI, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY`S HOSPITAL: There`s a lot of businesses out there that are considering using antibody testing as a means to decide who is going to return to work. This could have major public health implications as we attempt to open society moving forward. Look, we need to understand the limitations of antibody testing. We need to know having the antibody does not guarantee protection to yourself or to others.

All it tells us is you had a battle with coronavirus and your immune system army won that battle. It doesn`t mean you should lay down your arms. It doesn`t even mean the war is over. It just tells us that you won the first fight but you need to be continuously prepared for the possibility of a second COVID-19 attack.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight is the Democratic leader of the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York.

Senator Schumer, thank you very much for joining us tonight.


O`DONNELL: I want to get your reaction to the testing situation. First of all, with the White House itself because we`ve seen this outbreak of coronavirus in the White House, the vice president`s press secretary testing positive, and now, others being concerned and not -- and self- quarantining. Dr. Fauci among them because they`ve been in contact with that.

What kind of example does this set to let`s just limit it to office businesses, let`s say? You know, big insurance companies, when people want to go back to work, what kind of testing, what kind of protection they need?

SCHUMER: Well, Lawrence, it sets a glaring, glaring example of how we are so short of testing. If the White House feels that they need everyone in the president`s near presence and everyone in the White House tested, what about everyone else?

And perhaps the greatest failure of this administration is on testing. The president at that press conference said that they had really met the moment and prevailed. Really?

We have so many deaths. We have increased number of disease -- diseases. We have people who don`t have food, are worried about the roof over their head and we have prevailed?

And the irony for Donald Trump is he`s desperate to get us all back working again, but until we have adequate testing, people aren`t going to go back to work or go to the restaurants or go to the theaters or anywhere else. And we are way short of what we need.

South Korea at this point in their fight against corona had about 2 million -- had a per capita level in the United States would be 2 million tests per day. They said we had 300,000 and bragged about it, it`s really closer to 250,000, but it`s not even close.

I have been calling on the president for two months to use the Defense Production Act, to commandeer the factories and the supply chains and get those tests produced. Two months ago, President Trump said anyone who wants a test can get one. Well, that maybe true in the White House, it`s hardly true anywhere else.

And that is the biggest problem we face, and the huge irony of this is a president who is so desperate to push us to go back to normal doesn`t have the ability, decency, honor, strength, competence to give us the tools to allow that to happen, namely testing and contact tracing, which the countries who have succeeded, there are models here. Unfortunately, it`s not the United States.

There are models as to what works -- South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Finland, Singapore, five of which by the way have women as heads of state. But they knew what to do. Large amounts of testing that worked, accurate testing that worked and then contact tracing, and their deaths, their disease is diminished. They are going back to work.

Donald Trump will never get us back to work unless he starts looking at the truth.

And one other point I`d make -- maybe we`ll have an opportunity to hear the truth from an administration official tomorrow. Dr. Fauci is testifying before the Senate. We`ve been pushing McConnell to do hearings, to do oversight, to do what Congress is supposed to do to prod this administration to do what it seems unable to do, and that is to bring people before us and do tough questioning.

Dr. Fauci will have the opportunity to testify for the first time with Donald Trump not lurking over his shoulder.

You know what I say to Dr. Fauci? Go for it. Tell us the truth. America needs to hear the truth and President Trump, your boss, needs to hear the truth.

O`DONNELL: He`ll be testifying to the Health Committee. It will be a historic hearing since he`s going to do it remotely on screen. Some of the senators apparently will be joining remotely.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is a member of the committee. There are very experienced members of the committee who could give us the kind of dialogue we have not seen yet between --

SCHUMER: Exactly.

O`DONNELL: -- the administration`s health officials and the Senate. What do you hope to come from that --

SCHUMER: And, Lawrence, the clip that you showed shows what happens at these press conferences. Someone asks a tough question and Donald Trump just attacks the reporter instead of answering the question.

Fauci won`t have Trump hovering over him. Let it rip, Fauci, go for it, tell us the truth. That`s your obligation as an administration official and as an American.

O`DONNELL: Senator, what are you hoping to be able to do in the United States Senate?

And let me just quote something Donald Trump said about Democrats, which I`m sure includes you the way he said it.

He said: The Democrats are moving slowly all over the USA for political purposes. They would like to wait until November 3rd, if it were up to them. Don`t play politics.

He -- he just said that in a tweet and he said it also, a version of it at the White House press briefing today.

SCHUMER: Well, this is the Donald Trump who said he wants to wait awhile. He doesn`t think we have to rush to do anything.

This is the Leader McConnell who said he doesn`t see the purpose of any kind of immediate action when we have food -- lines for food that go miles and miles, when we have people not even able to be with their loved ones who are dying of this disease, when we don`t have the kind of basic necessities that so many people still need in PPE and other things to protect themselves, and Donald Trump is now saying the Democrats are going slow?

Mr. President, we forced you to do a large bill in COVID 3 that you didn`t want to do. We forced you and added many provisions for hospitals, for workers instead of just helping big corporations. We forced you in COVID 3.5 to start going, helping the smaller businesses and the unbanked, and now, Leader Pelosi and I`ve worked with her is putting together a big, bold plan.

If you want to get something done, Mr. President, stop attacking reporters, stop ignoring the truth, stop accusing Democrats of not doing anything. We`re going to have a big, bold plan, for (ph) you -- join us, support it.

Now, that will make things better in the country. We won`t solve all the problems with it, but we`ll take a big step forward. Join us instead of calling names, instead of ignoring the truth, instead of not doing what we need to do in terms of testing and so many other things.

O`DONNELL: Senator, what is the timetable for the Pelosi plan?

SCHUMER: Well, you know, she`s working very diligently on it and you`ll -- you know, I think it will be ready quite soon. I`m not sure exactly when. She`s making sure that the I`s are dotted, the T`s are crossed, and her caucus has great input which they have.

And -- but the Senate -- well, look what we did in the Senate this week. If you didn`t -- if you watch the Senate, you`d have no idea that America has had the greatest health and economic crisis in decades. It was sort of business as usual, nothing about COVID on the Senate floor.

Maybe one hearing which we had to prod McConnell to do, thank God Fauci is coming.

And they`re just sitting on their hands. McConnell today said he doesn`t see the need for immediate urgent action. You know who he is reminiscent of, and Trump in many ways when he says we can wait? Herbert Hoover.

When the stock market crashed, Herbert Hoover had this ideology, let the private sector do it. Trump and McConnell seem to have the same. And just as then, the private sector is not capable of doing it, not capable of doing it.

And if we don`t have big bold action, this is going to get worse and could develop into not just a deep recession but a depression.

O`DONNELL: And it took leadership of -- by a politician from New York, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to show Herbert Hoover --

SCHUMER: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: -- what had to be done. New York is looking to you for that leadership in the Senate.

Senator, we thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Lawrence. Good to be with you, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. Thank you.

We have a programming note. On Thursday of this week, Thursday night at this hour, we will be joined by a special guest for the entire hour, former vice president and current presidential candidate Joe Biden, we will create, we hope, a virtual town hall, if the technology works that includes questions from you, our viewers. We`ll ask Joe Biden what he would be doing right now in the White House to crush the spread of the COVID-19 virus and what changes the pandemic forces on our system of voting. Can the country move to all mail in ballots as California plans to do.

And joining us later in that discussion will be Stacey Abrams, the founder of Fair Fight, a group fighting voter suppression to ensure a fair election in November. That`s Joe Biden here for the full hour. A special night on Thursday at 10:00 p.m. where he will be joined for the first time in a TV interview with Stacey Abrams.

Coming up, Michael Osterholm will join us next. He will tell us the state of testing in America, the reality. He will tell us all of the realities that were absent from the White House press briefing today. That is one of our missions to give you the information that the White House should be giving you. Michael Osterholm will do that, next.


O`DONNELL: Today, Donald Trump was accompanied by one medical professional, one physician at today`s White House briefing. He was joined by Dr. Brett Giroir, who is an admiral in United States Navy, currently serving assistant secretary of health and human services. The admiral is in a military chain of command where he dare not contradict the commander-in- chief.

Today, after Donald Trump said that we have the greatest testing for coronavirus in the whole world, the admiral actually said this.


DR. BRETT GIROIR, HHS ASSISTANT SECRETARY: No matter how you look at it, America is leading the world in testing.


O`DONNELL: Joining us is Michael Osterholm, he is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and author of "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs".

And so, the line is no matter how you look at it, America is leading the world in testing. Is that true no matter how you look at it?

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH & POLICY, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: Well, it`s not in the sense that testing is really all about a system. You need to have the right test at the right time for the right person with the right outcome so you can do the right thing, and we don`t have that. We have tests, many cases they`re not where we need to have them be for testing the right people, and today, we have no system for really using that information in most cases to do something that makes a difference with this pandemic.

So, no, we don`t have a testing system in this country that we desperately need.

O`DONNELL: And isn`t per capita the only way to measure how much you`re testing compared to other countries?

OSTERHOLM: No, in fact, it`s quite opposite of that. You know, when Willy Sutton was asked why did he rob banks, he said because that`s where the money is. Today, we should be testing every person in this country on the day that they develop symptoms suggestive of COVID disease and they need to get tested immediately and get the result back just as quickly.

We need to be able to test health care workers who may show some signs or symptoms for first responders so they are infected, they don`t infect patients. We need to be able to test people in the hospital with other conditions we`re worried they may be asymptomatically infected spreading the virus.

So, there is smart testing we can do and unfortunately, we`ve all gotten into this mindset a test is a test is a test away. What we need is a system we don`t have it. We don`t have the right tests at the right time for the right people, and if we had that, that would help us immensely in terms of how we take on this pandemic.

O`DONNELL: Doctor, I I`m not sure if you can hear me because I lost all sound at my end. Can we hear Michael in the control room?

OSTERHOLM: I can hear you.


Great. You`re back. I now have your sound back. So --


O`DONNELL: So Donald Trump said today that anyone who wants to be tested can be tested. Now that is patently untrue on it face. The admiral said everyone who needs to be tested according to his definition of need can now be tested in the United States. Is that true?

OSTERHOLM: Well, it`s actually not in the sense that we may have access tests in some locations but that doesn`t help you if the person who needs testing is hundreds of miles away. What we need is a system where every community in this country has access to the testing for those who are ill today. And therefore, we don`t have a system that tests everybody when they need it and that`s one of the things we have to built but again, they have been built state by state, governor by governor and what we need is a national system to make that work and we don`t have that.

O`DONNELL: At the White House briefing today, the president insisted that the virus has peaked in America. We`re on the backside of the curve and he says that it`s going down very rapidly.

OSTERHOLM: Well, the truth of the matter is the case numbers are increasing. The fact of the matter is that we`re only in the second inning of this nine-inning game as I`ve shared before. Only five to 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. population has been infected to date and most of the country is closer to 5 percent.

When you think about that, all the pain and suffering and death and economic disruption that`s occurred -- has occurred for that smaller percentage of people infected. This virus will not rest at all until it infects at least 60 to 70 percent of the population and it will only slow down. It won`t stop.

And so, we`re a long, long ways. We really have to get across to America that we`re just beginning this pandemic, which is going to last months. Every historic pandemic like this in the past did just that.

And so, I think we`re running a very, very high risk of being even less prepared for what`s ahead of us and we were prepared for what we saw in the first several months.

O`DONNELL: Michael Osterholm, thank you very much for joining us again tonight. Really appreciate it.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, we will check in next with Dr. Sharon Duclos. She serves at that county in Iowa with the largest Tyson pork plant in the nation. Dr. Duclos joins us next.


O`DONNELL: The Republican Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds said today that she is in a modified quarantine, whatever that is, because she has been exposed to people who have been exposed to Coronavirus.

Those people she`s talking about are Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and White House staffers who have now all been exposed to Coronavirus through Mike Pence`s Press Secretary who has tested positive for Coronavirus.

Like other Republican Governors, Kim Reynolds sat in the Oval Office with Donald Trump without socially distancing properly at the minimal length of six feet and without either of them wearing masks, both of them breathing each other`s air.

That might end the parade of Republican Governors flying to the Oval Office to sit beside Donald Trump to stress the urgency of getting people back to work in their states and in some cases, like Governor Reynolds in Iowa, forcing people back to work because Governor Reynolds has announced that anyone refusing to go back to work at a lethally dangerous meat packing plant will not be allowed to apply for unemployment benefits.

Black Hawk County in Iowa is one of America`s hot spots for Coronavirus. 29 people have died from Coronavirus in Black Hawk County. That is now double the number of people who died from Coronavirus in that County just a week ago.

90 percent of the cases in Black Hawk County are connected to Tyson`s largest pork processing plant, which reopened at half capacity last week. More than 1,000 workers at that plant tested positive for Coronavirus. Tyson says it will provide diagnostic tests, temperature checks and masks to all workers.

Tyson says they will require all employees to wear face shields when working at stations that do not have Plexiglas barriers. That Tyson plant is just four miles from a clinic where Dr. Sharon Duclos is the Medical Director.

We first heard from Sharon Duclos when at a local press conference, she pleaded with people in Iowa to observe social distancing rules and she described her biggest fear.


DR. SHARON DUCLOS, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, PEOPLE`s COMMUNTIY HEALTH CENTER: And my biggest fear is I encourage my staff to come to work every day and be compassionate and help people. My biggest fear is I`m going to lose one of them.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Dr. Sharon Duclos. She`s a family physician and Chief Medical Office at People`s Community Health Clinic in Waterloo, Iowa. Dr. Duclos, welcome back to the program. I just want to check on your staff first off, are you all still healthy and doing well?

DR. DUCLOS: We are all still healthy and doing well.

O`DONNELL: Great. That is a great way to begin. There is some reporting on the Tyson plant on the deaths that occurred that one person who died actually took Tylenol before entering the plant so that her temperature would be lower because she feared not getting the bonus that she would get if she went to work.

She, in fact, did have Coronavirus and ultimately died from it. Do you see people are taking desperate measures like that in a workplace like this to try to keep their incomes alive and hold on to their jobs?

DR. DUCLOS: I do know a lot of the patients that we care for at people`s clinic. Again it`s an underserved population and they take care of - it`s a multi generational families and so sometimes that one person is really the breadwinner for a lot of people in the family, so it`s amazing what hunger and desperation can do to make you want to go to work and earn that income to keep not only yourself going but your family, as well.

O`DONNELL: What do you need now in your clinic and to treat this population?

DR. DUCLOS: I think the biggest things that we need to be able to do is very quickly is as people get sick, definite recalling in, letting us know, having them come in, doing the testing and trying to curtail any spread that might happen so I do think that`s one of the big things that we have to focus on now.

It is a testing and quarantining to keep this under control. So things are definitely better when Tyson is closed. The number of positives that we saw coming into our clinic, it drastically went down with the number of illnesses and so far so good as they`ve opened up, not 100 percent. So we`ll just kind of wait and watch and be accessible to our patients for any kind of assistance they need.

O`DONNELL: Is the town nervous, the people who don`t work at Tyson when Tyson reopens since they now know that`s been the source?

DR. DUCLOS: I think we all are nervous about a lot of things but definitely that, too, because you - thank God Tyson went in and thank God they made a lot of changes but like everything, you know, the nervousness is it enough? Is this going to keep its people safe?

Are they going to be able to do their job and do effectively and being able to go home at night and not have to worry about getting sick or bring that illness back home to their families because of where they work. It is nerve wracking but it`s a pandemic, too. It`s nerve wracking.

O`DONNELL: Dr. Sharon Duclos joining us from the front line in Waterloo, Iowa tonight. Doctor, thank you very much for joining us again. We really appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

DR. DUCLOS: Thank you and you have a good night.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, doctor. When we come back, Trump scholars believe they know why Donald Trump was out of control on Twitter yesterday. They think the magic words to explain it are President Barack Obama. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: According to his Twitter record, Donald Trump spent Mother`s Day ignoring the mother of one of his children who lives in the White House with him because he was locked on to Twitter all day setting a record and the record is the largest number of deranged tweets by a President on Mother`s Day.

Every previous President was tied for zero on that one. Donald trump`s 126 tweets yesterday came in second to his own personal one-day record high number of tweets. Much of yesterday`s Presidential tweeting was pushing the lies about his predecessor President Barack Obama who on Friday participated in a private discussion that he thought was private anyway with former members of his administration.

Part of the discussion leaked and many experienced Trump watchers have diagnosed that leak of Barack Obama`s words to be the provocation for the President`s out of control tweeting. Here is some of what was leaked in which President Obama discusses the Trump Administration`s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It would have been bad even with the best of governments. It has been absolute chaotic disaster when that mind set of what`s in it for me and to heck with everybody else when that mind set is operationalize in our government.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now Ben Rhodes Former Deputy National Security Adviser to President Obama. He is also an MSNBC Political Analyst. Ben, President Obama saying look, this Coronavirus would have been bad in the United States. It was going to hit hard. The numbers were going to be difficult to bear.

By the way that means, you know, 20,000 dead maybe or some number smaller than the current number but difficult but with this Trump Administration, Barack Obama seeing it as chaos. I think we have a right to believe that those words got to Donald Trump.

BEN RHODES, FORMER OBAMA DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes, they absolutely did because everything that Barack Obama does seems to trigger Donald Trump all the way back to when Donald Trump built his political brand saying that Barack Obama wasn`t born in the United States.

I think what bothers President Obama so much is frankly he used to tell us that he saw the presidency as running a relay race. You run your leg and then you hand off the baton to the guy after you or the woman after you. And the relay race that he ran when it came to these types of diseases is we had an Ebola outbreak that really rattled in us 2014 and it did took the lives of two people here in the United States.

After that President Obama set up a pandemic preparedness office in the White House that President Trump shut down. He set up a playbook literally that was handed to the Trump Administration on how do you respond to a pandemic?

They tossed it in the garbage. He set up a cabinet level exercise, in the transition to the incoming Trump team and they clearly ignored that and frankly they ended up getting rid of most of the people who were in that exercise given the turn over and set up a global infrastructure of people to monitor for pandemics, including somebody who is in China and worked with that lab in Wuhan and Trump downgraded that program by 75 percent including getting rid of that person who could have been our eyes and ears in China.

And so what I think is so frustrating is that you run your at the leg relay race and you try to set it up for the next person and they come along and they ignore all that and that has mere life consequences, life and death consequences, depression level economic consequences.

O`DONNELL: There is also an implication here for the campaign because in some of the leaked material, President Obama was saying how it vigorously he hopes to campaign for Joe Biden. I`m not sure how they do that if they can`t be on a campaign trial but you know online somehow.

And it seems that if President Obama is such a trigger for Donald Trump that every time he does any kind of campaign appearance for Joe Biden, there is going to be an explosive reaction from Donald Trump.

RHODES: Yes, no, I can tell you, Lawrence, I`ve talked to the Former President. He`s going to be campaigning however he can, whether that`s in person or whether that`s online, whatever media he can he`s going to take this message out to the American people in a way that I think the American people haven`t heard from him in awhile.

If you heard his endorsement video of Joe Biden, he made a very comprehensive and forceful case not just against Donald Trump but for Joe Biden. And I think you know Donald Trump, you know, it`s interesting, Lawrence, I think Presidents get used to not having people kind of at their level taking shots at them or pointing out what they`ve done wrong.

We know that this President, Donald Trump surrounds himself with people who tell him how great he is. He has press conferences where he asks people to praise him. He`s going to be in for a situation where he`s got Barack Obama and Joe Biden and a lot of people making the very easy case against what Donald Trump has done given where we find ourselves and the case for Joe Biden.

O`DONNELL: And of course today, the President went beyond where Joe McCarthy ever went in his lying smears accusing Former President of the United States Barack Obama of committing a crime. He used the word crime.

He was asked in the Rose Garden what crime exactly and Donald Trump says to the reporter, you know what the crime is. It gets crazier by the minute. Ben Rhodes, thank you for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

RHODES: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. When we come back, exactly what you need to know. How dangerous is it to touch a doorknob it depends on where that doorknob is? How dangerous are public rest rooms? How dangerous is your conference room at work if you go back to work and if you go into a conference room? How dangerous is it to sit down in a restaurant?

Our next guest will weigh the risks of all of these different kinds of things and the risks are different being in a grocery store is a different risk from being in a restaurant very different. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: A Coronavirus sneeze releases about 30,000 infected droplets traveling up to 200 miles an hour. If those droplets contain Coronavirus, you`d better not be standing in front of that sneeze. That`s what social distancing is all about.

But we have other worries beyond social distancing because we can pick up Coronavirus by touching a doorknob that an infected person has touched. And so as the country edges toward reopening certain activities, what do we have to fear the most?

How dangerous is it when you`re walking around your grocery store even with your mask on and your gloves? How much should you fear that jogger huffing and puffing as he runs by you without a mask? And if sitting down at a restaurant can be dangerous, how dangerous is a public bathroom at that restaurant?

Joining us now with the answers on how to weigh all of these risks is Erin Bromage he is a comparative immunologist and professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, darkness which is a very beautiful to be this time of year. So take us through how we calculate our risks of exposure in these various environments?

ERIN BROMAGE, IMMUNOLOGIST: So you`ve just going to look at these different environments. The biggest risks of exposure come from being indoors with a room that has poor air exchange and with lots of people. So whenever you put yourself into that situation, the risk just starts to elevate and go up.

And if you get into that situation where you have, you know, people talking or yelling or singing, it just increases the risk because more of what comes out of your mouth, those respiratory droplets, more of those are expelled into the environment, which then just increases the opportunity for you to inhale them in.

O`DONNELL: And you mentioned in the piece you wrote about, for example, that singing is the most dangerous of all of those things that more comes out in singing than in just speaking.

BROMAGE: Yes. So just breathing, it`s a fairly low level. Low talking, it increases by about tenfold. When you start yelling and start singing, you`re looking at tenfold further, and you`re aerosolizing those droplets even further. So it creates a greater risk.

O`DONNELL: And you`ve also told us to factor in the amount of time we spend. So if we walked into a conference room with three people and we spent three minutes socially distanced from them, that`s a much lower risk than sitting in that conference room with them for three hours, breathing the same air.

BROMAGE: Yes, that`s exactly right. You need to get exposed to the virus over a period of time to essentially get to a dose of virus in which you`re going to be infected. And that`s going to be different for each person, but it is time and exposure that becomes important.

So minimizing the amount of time that you spend in those environments becomes really important in lowering your risk.

O`DONNELL: And what about restaurants because there`s talk of restaurants opening now. What`s the risk there?

BROMAGE: Well, you know, in restaurants, it depends on the ambience of the restaurant. You know, you`ve got lots of people talking and conversing, so you have all the usual problems of transfer on objects and surfaces that people touch, those high-contact surfaces.

But you`ve also got the release of those droplets into the air to the people at your table, and depending on the air flow, the people at the table beside you. And the longer an infected person spends in that area, the more they can potentially release into the environment, which then increases the risk for everybody else who`s in that restaurant.

O`DONNELL: And much safer to eat at an outdoor cafe than indoors at a restaurant?

BROMAGE: Yes. Outdoor cafes, you know, when you start getting outside, you`re dealing with essentially, you know limitless dilution of the air, of the virus around you. And so you`re lowering that, you know, viral burden down. So, you know, hopefully that is decreasing your risk.

It doesn`t take away from the people within that immediate six-foot zone of you. You still need to be cautious and careful about that. And so there needs to be distancing even outdoors, especially, again, with a prolonged period of time like with a lunch or a dinner. But, you know, an outdoor environment for a restaurant is considerably more safe than an indoor environment.

O`DONNELL: We will tweet the article that you wrote about this so the audience can have more guidance on it. Erin Bromage, thank you very much for joining us tonight. We really appreciate it.

BROMAGE: Thank you very much for having me on the show.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. And now a special last word. Back when the tonight`s show was still in black and white, the comedy team of "Stiller and Meara" was among Johnny Carson`s very firefighter guests.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m Hershey Horowitz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m Mary Elizabeth Doyle.


O`DONNELL: Her name was Anne Meara and his name was Jerry Stiller. Jerry Stiller once told me that he thought he never would have been a big hit on his own without his beautiful wife Anne standing behind him and towering over him onstage. Anne Meara died in 2015.

Whole new generations of Jerry Stiller`s fans were added to his older fan base when Jerry joined the cast of "Seinfeld" as George Costanza`s father. His son Ben Stiller announced today that Jerry Stiller died this morning at his home in New York City. He was 92 years old. And tonight, it is very hard to think of anyone who delivered more joy over more years to more audiences from inside this box I`m sitting in tonight that we call television than the unforgettable Jerry Stiller.