Doctor whose prescience saved countless lives reflects on first stay-at-home order
Is this still a normal day at the office? What does that mean exactly? You think. That's what he's trying to do. Why are we learning this now? Isn't that weird? Why is this happening? Why is that? Why is that? Why is that buckle up soon with US? Really happy to have you here sometimes when you go to a funeral. There's a driving component right. The funeral home. The funeral service. Wherever it's held may be a ways off from the cemetery if there's also going to be a graveside service there will need to be a drive in the middle of it if you haven't been at a funeral yourself you have definitely seen them on the road right. It's a line of cars just regular people's cars but everyone driving slowly. Oftentimes everybody puts their flashers on flashers on their hazard lights To let you know that they are part of a funeral procession. If you haven't been in one of those she's definitely seen it That was a little bit of what looked like today in the rain in downtown Washington DC as a long line of cars processed pretty slowly from the White House down through the streets of DC slowly all in line with their hazards splashing. But this was different for a couple of reasons number. One they were hawking for the most part and number two. They were not going to a cemetery. They were going to president. Trump's downtown Washington DC hotel. You can see the signs on some of the cars. Trump lies people die And then you can see the ebb bodybags people got out of those vehicles and laid bodybags at the threshold of president. Trump's hotel trump is people. Die This is a protest today in Washington. Those aren't real bodybags but they are meant to symbolize the thousands of Americans who have died the death toll from corona virus as of today is staggering as of today forty eight thousand nine hundred and two Americans have been killed and that's just over the course of about a month for what it's worth when you're thinking about whether protests like this might might wake the president up whether it might get the president's attention a little bit to have bodybags laid out in front of his hotel for what it's worth. The president does not really seem up on the fact that forty eight thousand nine hundred and two Americans have already been killed by this epidemic. We know that he's not really up on that number. We know that for sure because this was the president at the beginning of this week on Monday of this week. Talking about what he thought the. Us death toll would end up being. Now we're going toward fifty. I'm hearing or sixty thousand people. We could end up at fifty fifty. We end up at fifty thousand people this week. President positing that the American death toll in total could be fifty thousand people. He thinks that's where we'll end up. That's what he's hearing as president. That's as bad as it'll get maybe sixty thousand people but could be fifty thousand people. That's what he wants. The American people don't know the death toll might ultimately get to when this is all over. He said that on Monday. Barring some sort of miracle the US death toll is GonNa hit fifty thousand by this weekend easy. But I don't know if the president knows that and so the people who are mad at the president about this response people have started to pile bodybags in front of his hotel because maybe that at least might capture his attention. Maybe that will let him know that the real body count is apparently beyond his. Ken Beyond what he understands it to be today. In a number of stories number news stories broken by a bunch of different news outlets we learned some more important and serious information about how the president and his administration have handled this epidemic from the very beginning and one of those important things that we have just learned is keen to the date of February twenty fifth on February twenty fifth. You might remember this if you watch the show regularly. We actually played the Salem from this on our show that night on February twenty fifth the head of the respiratory disease section at the CDC gave a public briefing. It was a press briefing over the phone to reporters And it was on the record so you could record it. You could listen to it. That's what we were able to play it on the air last night. And in that briefing February twenty fifth. She warned the public that the coming tide of Corona virus was very serious that this is a very contagious disease and Americans should prepare for significant disruption to our daily lives. Because of this disease. I remember playing that tape on the show that night on February twenty fifth and being sort of shaken by the CDC officials saying that she had contacted the superintendent of her kids schools to ask if there were plans in the works for distance learning for her kids because she assumed that schools. We're going to have to close and keep kids and we hadn't heard anything like that from public official before now. Of course that's the reality that we were all living but when Nancy Messing said that on February Twenty Fifth. It was a bracing shot. Well now we have learned that. The official who gave that briefing doctrine. Nancy Messing From the she was not only removed from her post after that briefing as the lead. Cdc official running the response to Corona virus. She was not only removed from her post. Because the president didn't like that she seem so alarmist about the whole thing in that briefing in addition to taking her out of that position running the response the CDC as an agency also thereafter stopped. Doing its own briefings altogether about this crisis because the CDC briefings had the potential to upset the president because we have since learned that he likes to do the briefings himself and instead of CDC bracing briefings from well informed officials giving real information about the real scope of. What's about to happen? He gets up there and tells you that there's only going to be fifty thousand Americans dead by the end of this only fifty thousand would that that were true and you know he likes to tell you that. There's a cure that everybody should try. What do you have to lose? Just try this unproven drug. And he likes to say almost every single day he says there's plenty of testing now saying that there's so much testing. It's more testing than the governor's like he likes to do. The briefings which are consistently full of happy. Talk Disinformation and lies. And those are the briefings. Get for this epidemic instead of CDC briefings from actual expert scientists. We now know because he didn't like the expert scientists briefings at the beginning and so they moved that CDC official out of her job running the CDC's response and the CDC has an agency learned to shut itself off altogether. We've also learned in the past day now that Not to worry. The President's Health Secretary Alex as our who said the same day as Dr Messenger as briefing that the virus was contained Dr Alexander who has insisted to reporters that for everyday Americans. Corona virus should not be an impact on their day to day life. Alex as are the trump administration health secretary. We have learned in the past eight. He did make an early decision to tap a specific person in his department to coordinate. The federal government's overall response to the corona virus crisis. He did pick somebody to delegate that to he delegated that task running the corona virus response in the US government to a man named Brian Harrison. Who quote had joined the department after running a dog breeding business for six years. Brian Harrison H thirty-seven was an unusual choice with no formal education in public health management or medicine before joining the trump administration in January. Twenty eight two thousand eighteen. Harrison's official health and Human Services. Biography says he ran a small business in Texas. The biography does not disclose the name or nature of that business but his financial disclosure form showed that it was a company called Dallas Labra doodles to Alex as are put in charge of the corona virus pandemic the response for the US government person coordinating. That was this guy who he brought into. Hhs from his dog breeding business. I mean if you could go back in time to November twenty sixteen and show the American public one headline that was real and from future and it would make clear the stakes of their vote for president in November. Two Thousand Sixteen. This is a good candidate. This Reuters headline today might be a contender. Special report. Former Labrador Breeder was tapped to lead US pandemic task force right that would give voters in November two thousand sixteen useful information number one. We're about to have a pandemic number two. This is the way the trump administration would try to head off in the past day. We've also learned that the top vaccine development expert in the government and it was working on corona virus was also taken off his job and demoted. He says in an official whistle blower complaint. He plans to file that he was demoted. Because he wasn't on board with the president promoting potentially dangerous drugs promoted by those with political connections. And maybe that sounds like sour grapes to you. Oh here's a guy who was demoted. Of course he wants to play the hero but this guy is also now asking for an inspector general investigation into the manner in which this administration has pressured me and other conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections as well as efforts that lack scientific merit so the top. Us official Lifelong Vaccine Development expert was working on vaccine development for the US government on Corona virus. He's out now. They've demoted them and moved him aside because he was in the way of the president's friends and stuff meanwhile multiple states including the hard hit state of Georgia which has tested less than one one hundredth of its population. They rank believe fortieth out of fifty in terms of states. Getting testing done Georgia and other Republican led states are steaming ahead with plans to reopen businesses. And just try to forget about this corona virus. Thing man it's been such a drag gotta get everything reopened White House has zig zagged between a encouraging. These open it up governors and then telling them not to do it and then praising them for doing it and then laying down guidelines that tell the states what to do and then telling the states they don't follow the guidelines. They can do whatever they want. And so now naturally we've got a number of Republican led states jumping off the cliff now in terms of this epidemic as case numbers even in those states continue to rise and frankly democratic states. You've got situations like this today. Where Governor Gretchen? Whitmer of Michigan today was greeted by a whole bunch of men with pro-trump signs and gear today pacing around at the end of her driveway. Yelling at her to open up the state while brandishing their teens. So that's how it's going so far terms of federal leadership and its consequences. Today as members of Congress came back to Washington leading to these surreal scenes. You see them all and masks and keeping social distance the came back to Washington to pass the latest relief bill and it passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. We see them all in their masks. We'll see the mall trying to stay six feet apart. And there's this looming overhanging issue as to whether and how they're going to keep convening in person given the public health threat of all members of Congress getting together in the same place to conduct congressional business. We saw these images today. I thought back to what I think was the first show that we did here. After we started basically covering corona virus full-time on that show we had veteran science reporter. Donald McNeil From The New York Times on set and I remember in that first interview with McNeil he kinda knocked us all back on our heels and we heard from a lot of yours that they were pretty stunned by that interview. McNeil having covered corona virus in China. Having done the first landmark reporting on it here in the United States and there was done macneil. That first night that we started covering this full-time talking about how soon enough our legislatures our Congress would need to effectively shutdown that it wouldn't be safe for them all to convene it was talking about things like we're gonNA need to start counting the ventilators that we have in this country and this was February twenty eight. This was just a couple of days after that stark warning from Dr Messianic the CDC that got demoted and silenced. Because she said American lives. We're going to be profoundly. Changed by this epidemic. Almost no one was really talking in those stark terms yet. At that point in late February I went back and looked at that show again recently to try to remind myself how far we've come in such a short period of time less than two months ago but I noticed that in that first show that we did with that stark interview from Donald McNeil where he said all of those things that are so shocking them which has have all come to pass. Since I noticed we also had one short prescient report that same night on the show from California. Today we're reporting a new case of novel Corona Virus in Santa Clara County. This is the third case to be identified in our county but it's different from our other two cases in an important way like the California case reported two days ago our third case did not recently traveled overseas or have any known contact with the recent or an infected person. This that was health officer in Santa Clara County California today announcing what is the second known case of person being diagnosed with corona virus in this country without there being a clear indication of where that person got it. The first one was two days ago in Solano County California. The second one was Santa Clara County. Today that was February. Twenty eighth play responding to comments. That had just been made moments earlier there from Santa Clara County Health Officer. Sarah Cody what. She was announcing that night. February twenty eighth was the second known case of community transmission in the whole country at that point other cases occur virus in the US have been traced to people who had traveled from China or who had had contact with people who are known to be positive from Corona virus. That night was the second case that we knew of in the country where there was a person with corona virus and we didn't know how they got it and we didn't know it at the time going back and seeing that footage exercise kind of puts a chill down my spine. We didn't know it that night. Certainly but Sarah Cody in Santa Clara County. California would go on to become the public health official in America who may have saved more lives than any other person in our country because over the next two weeks as the case numbers started to climb in the San Francisco Bay area having earlier cases is bad. It means that there has been virus circulating in your community for some time before people started to get sick or people started to die with early cases discovered in the bay area over the next couple of weeks following that announcement that you just saw there in late February. Sarah Cody and her colleagues. In the bay area started to compare the graph of the progression of the epidemic in Italy at that time with the same progression that they were starting to see in the bay area at that time and as they saw cases mount in the bay area they believed that the San Francisco Bay Area Northern California was on the same disastrous path that had overwhelmed the hospitals in Italy and seeing that and seeing their case numbers rise and realize what this would mean in terms of contagious virus. And it's death rate in what will go down in history as a landmark moment in this time in this crisis. Sarah Cody got together with her colleagues from six other bay area counties and they made a decision what seemed like an incredibly radical even shocking decision at the time but which is now obviously the model for what we ought to have done sooner and for for what. It's so incredible that some states still haven't been yet today. We stand together to announce additional legal orders that will apply to all seven jurisdictions covering Silicon Valley and the core of the bay area region. These new orders direct all individuals to shelter at their place of residence and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person outside their resident. That was the first one that was the first one when Dr Cyril Cody. Health Officer for Santa Clara County announced that on March sixteenth. It was the first thing like that in the country. It was a stunning thing. This was the front page of the San Francisco. Chronicle the next day stay at home but that order went into effect at midnight the night that she announced it because they knew time was of the essence and bay area residents heeded that order March parts all of California actually followed with a similar order within just a few days following the bay area's lead and then the rest of the country would eventually catch up to the bay area and the rest of California and the rest of California ultimately the rest of the country would ultimately get thereafter. Of course they've given the virus some more time to spread to infect more people to make the overall well of infections larger but they didn't wait in northern California. They didn't wait in the bay area and that quick action by Santa Clara County Health. Officer Sarah Cody and the bay area health officer. She acted with that appears to have saved the San Francisco area. Me GOING EARLY IS. A bad sign right. It means that you have if you've got people sick and dying in your community. It means that the virus has been circulating there and people have been getting infected there. The first death in your community is a really bad. Sign it as a sign that you have waited too long and the public. Health intervention is necessary when they started reporting those very early deaths in those very very early first indications of community transmission. It was a signal that the San Francisco Bay area was. Just GonNa get absolutely shellacked if they hadn't done what they did if they hadn't had that precedent smart aggressive brave public health intervention earlier than anybody else paired to think San Francisco Chronicle today posted this graph comparing what happened in other American metro areas around the country to what happened in the bay area without aggressive intervention. These are weekly case rates per capita so the big black line there that is New York the orange line with the huge peak spike. That's New Orleans. The Turquoise colored line that's Detroit and then I think you can see there. It's a little bit hard to see. But it's a dotted line in gray that's the US average in terms of cases per one hundred thousand residents cases per week but to see what happened to the bay area which again got hit before. Any of those places. You actually have to go down to the very bottom to it actually. Looks like the X. Axis there if you squint. That's super flatlined at the bottom. Just barely off the x axis. That's the bay area because early action absolutely squashed their curve and you know. California is not out of it by any means. California has worst outbreak in southern California than they do in northern California which you would expect given the aggression of Northern California Response California had its highest daily death toll today and they certainly have a live epidemic including in Santa Clara County and in the bay area. A Syrah Cody told her board of Supervisors and Santa Clara County. Two days ago that they're going to be contending with this for months yet but those smart public health officers finding their first cases recognizing what it means acting fast may change the course of the epidemic in the United States of America. And they're doing it again now. Because now after taking samples from people who died much earlier than the first known cases Santa Clara County has changed our understanding of the course of the pandemic by finding out that the first known deaths in the United States was in Santa Clara County and it was actually about three weeks earlier than any previous death. We thought we knew of. And that's important because it does tell you that the virus was circulating in that county weeks earlier than we even do. The person who they now know of is now known as the earliest. Us Corona virus. Death is somebody who died on February. Six that is believed that she was infected in early. January it's not believed to be a case where she was infected because of overseas travel or contact with a known corona virus positive person it was community transmission in the San Francisco Bay area in early January. Think about what that means. Think about the opportunity cost of that. Think about how many thousands of Americans have died because we didn't know that federal government was in charge of getting US tests Alex as our and President. Trump didn't get around to it the day after this first now known case the spur the fifty seven year old woman died in Santa Clara. County was the day that the trump administration actually sent out testing kits to public health. Labs around the country. Those tests didn't work. They didn't even get them out until the first week of February and they didn't work and they had everybody had to start from scratch there because the trump administration blew it. Think about how many lives would have been saved if there had been a freaking fracking reasonably competent federal response. Think about how many lives would have been saved if there had been testing at that point in the epidemic when there was community transmission happening in early January in the San Francisco Bay area. I mean other countries had tests at that point we did. We didn't but imagine how many more lives could have been saved. Had Somebody like Dr. Sarah Cody in Santa Clara County. And her colleagues in the Bay Area. Who were so on top? This had they known even weeks earlier that people were already dying. They would have acted weeks earlier and yes probably the rest of the country is still followed behind them. Yes they still probably would have been more aggressive and smarter than anybody else. But if our entire timeline had moved up several weeks had moved up three weeks thousands if not tens of thousands fewer Americans would have died because everybody would have squashed. Everybody's curve would look like San Francisco's does compared to the rest of the country right now. Sarah Cody told the San Francisco. Chronicle upon learning of this earlier case she said quote. I know that in late January and through the month of February we were very anxious at our inability to test people we thought might have had cove in nineteen. There just wasn't the capacity there. We were anxious that there was a lot of transmission that was going undetected. What these cases that have just been detected now. Tell us that we were right to be anxious. They were looking for it. They were looking for signs to act once they got one. They acted faster than anybody had. They known three weeks earlier. Had they been able to test? It would've acted three weeks earlier. Early action in northern California saved tons of American lives and now with the epidemiological work. They keep doing. We know that the earliest cases we had in this country were even earlier than we previously knew. Had there been tests had been the one thing the trump administration did even with the Lapper doodle guy in charge and firing vaccine guy and being scared of the lady at the CDC who tells too much of the truth. Have they just gotten testing? Done had alex as are in the trump administration not been lying when they said testing was fine. We could have acted weeks earlier. At least in the best run parts of the country they would about did weeks earlier and there wouldn't be going on fifty thousand Americans dead by the end of this week simple. That's why there's the body bags on the threshold at the trump hotel today. That's why they're there Dr. Sarah Cody joins US next everyone. It's mainly MSNBC correspondent and host of the podcast into America Corona viruses infecting and killing black Americans at a disproportionately high rate a big reason for that air quality industries killing us on top of the corona viruses killing us so we have double whammy and our latest episode. We're going into a stretch of Louisiana along. The Mississippi River were many black residents have been suffering from a missions related cancer as Ma and other health conditions for decades. We'll find out what one pollute county reveals about the gap in this pandemic. That's an economic injustice and environmental injustice and racial injustice. And then when you add. Health overlaid on top is a house injustice. Subscribe for Free. Wherever you get your podcast. Hey It's Chris as my podcast wise is happening. I'll be talking with author Rebecca Solnit about the remarkable communities that get built amidst disaster. There are people organizing in most communities across the country and doing other forms of it in other countries to figure out. How do we take care of each other in the context of not being able to physically be with each other in ordinary ways? And it's just extraordinary. Seeing both the intensity of this desire to help people you may never meet in the creativity in figuring out how to do it and that is a really important part of who human beings are in times like this that I think is always dormant latent within us it. It's as though it finds fertile soil to grow on in these moments this week on wise's happening search for wise is happening wherever you're listening right now and subscribe. We must come together to do this. And we have done this as a collective of health officers. We know we need to do this. And we know we need a regional approach. We all must do our part to slow the spread of covert team and ensure that are essential services remain intact and open most especially our hospitals and healthcare facilities. That was Dr Sarah Cody. On March sixteenth. She announced that seven million. Californians would be told to stay home for weeks at least it was the first such order in the United States. Dr Cody and the other health officers in the San Francisco Bay area acted faster and more decisively than anyone else in the country and as a result they did successfully as they say flatten the curve and hospitals in the bay area did remain intact and knock it overrun now. Dr Cody and her colleagues are continuing to advance. Our national understanding of how Corona virus has spread in the US. They've just figured out that. The earliest known death from the virus in this country was in Santa Clara County three weeks earlier than we previously knew anyone had died from it in the United States. Joining us now is Dr Sarah Public Health Officer for Santa Clara County and the Great State of California Dr Cody imagine that talking on. Television is the least your least favorite part of your job. I really appreciate you doing it and being here tonight thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. I wanted to ask you about The clarity and decisiveness. With which you and your colleagues in the bay area acted back in in mid March. I didn't know about the idea of shelter in place except for an active shooter situation. I didn't know that. Stay at home. Orders were within the public health. Toolkit how prepared were you? How did you all not to think about these things as options Once you started to see the data that worried you in the bay area we. We had a A number of factors working in our favor and I would say the first is that we have a very collaborative group of health officers from around the bay area. We've all known each other for very long time. We know each other well. And we're accustomed to working together So that's the first thing that was incredibly important The second is that we live in an area with a lot of academic partners who were continually advising us a row of around you know infectious disease modeling and Infectious Disease Epidemiology. And I think the third is that many of us who are health officers in the bay area had previously done a lot of work communicable disease control. So we're really comfortable with Communicable Disease Control and the various strategies that we use to the basic prevention and control of communicable disease. So I think all of those factors Not that it was a comfortable action to take a but they were sort of helpful in and and key to our preparation was there. An element of bravery involves or hold your breath and jump feeling about it. When you had to make that announcement. I went back and watched some of your public statements when you first announced for example restrictions on large gatherings in the county and I felt like I could. I felt like I could see you wrestling with the gravity of what you were asking people to confront I was wrestling with gravity and it was a difficult situation. I remember on Friday the thirteenth when we announced that we were going to ban mass gatherings greater than one hundred and I remember that was shot like a enormously difficult decision because of how it would impact so many people And restrict so many activities. And it you know on Friday the thirteenth. I really couldn't even wrap my mind around what we then did on Monday. There was a long weekend with a lot of discussions with fellow health officers. And I think we were. You know looking at our local data and we were looking at trends around the world and we were listening to our colleagues Who ARE INFECTIOUS DISEASE MODELS? And it just became clear that we either acted now and created a lot of social and economic disruption or we could later and still created a lot of social economic disruption but didn't get the benefit of the early action and so it was enormously helpful to do it as a group of trusted colleagues at did sort of feel like we were all holding hands and jumping So I didn't feel alone. I felt like I was doing it with a A really solid a really solid group and that made a big difference. Well the effectiveness of what you did the way that the bay area the actions that you took in the bay area appear to have grabbed this thing and russell down in terms of how many people would get infected and the pace at which new infections would unfold. It does feel particularly to those of us in the rest of the country looking looking with envy at that the way that you fly in that curve it does look like an incredibly effective intervention. But I I wonder now that you have discovered that you actually had corona virus deaths and you had apparent apparently community transmission of corona virus even earlier than previously expected. When you look back in that decision now do you wish that you had acted even earlier than you did what I wish? We had more information. Much of this response has felt like We you know well. It's it's not unusual in public health to have less information than you want to make decisions so in some ways where someone accustomed to making decisions with some degree of uncertainty. But I do remember Early February we were looking at. How many cases did we have compared to the country? How many persons under investigation did we have compared to the country And compared to our population and even early on it you know the the the numbers were small but the trend was it. Looks like we were having a you. Know a good probability that the virus would be introduced in our community. I and so he needed to be ready. So we were looking looking looking for signs. But we didn't have the capacity to test the document that that the virus was present so now of course in retrospect identifying the corona virus in the woman who died on February six In a we were thinking we had to travel associated cases and we were at risk for community transmission. But we couldn't see it and You Know I. We couldn't see it and if we don't have data to show a chair to the public also. I don't think we could have gotten the public on board with the actions that they have taken. Since March sixteenth had there been testing. Had there been visibility had been data not only to guide decision making but to guide public education. Not only you but everybody around. The country could have made better decisions at that time. We're still paying for that. Dr Sarah Cody Public Health Officer for Santa Clara County in Northern California. I do think that you and your colleagues have a lot to be proud of. I know that you are by no means out of the woods in terms of what you're still contending with but thanks for your leadership and thanks for helping. Us understand my pleasure. Thank you so much. Have a lot more to get to stay with us today. We got this sobering headline courtesy of the World Health Organization nursing homes linked to up to half of all corona virus deaths in Europe as the Washington Post reports on it today the risk for the already fragile population. In Europe's nursing homes has been exacerbated by an acute lack of testing in nursing homes. When countries use the limited testing. They had in hospitals instead. Sounds familiar right except even here. Even some hospitals can't get their testing done here. In the one thing we have learned thus far over the course of our epidemic as the place you are most likely to get corona virus and die from it is in in American nursing home. The American The Associated Press today reports that more than eleven thousand Americans have died in nursing homes. So far are eleven thousand also that the vast majority two out of three nursing homes in the United States don't have ready access to testing. Which of course is leading to ever louder calls for prioritizing the testing of all staff and patients at these facilities nationwide so that the nursing home situation is dire and continues to be that really does appear to be the place where you are most likely to get infected and die from corona virus in the United States. The place where you are most likely to get infected whether or not you die from it Appears to be in our nation's large meat processing facilities meat packing plants today the put out its report on how the Smithfield meat packing plant in Sioux Falls. South Dakota can basically substantially reorganized itself to try to reopen now that eight hundred and one workers in more than two hundred community cases have been traced to that one plant. There's more than a thousand corona virus cases associated with that one plant in South Dakota more than eight hundred thousand workers in the plant the CDC's report today includes an extremely extremely lengthy list of recommendations for the plant page after page after page of steps. The plant should take to try and stop the virus from spreading among the people. Who Work there? Everything from staggering shifts and start times to adding plexiglas and stainless steel barriers between workstations to sanitizing the hard hats in the face shields at the end of every shift. Adding more visual cues to help people stand six feet apart. Make more room for people to store their lunchboxes us more pictures and signs about the virus convey this information more language. Let me just try this. Try that try. Everything is a huge list of changes they need to make fifteen page report today from the CDC was released about that one plant as we get word of more and more plants and more and more states closing down due to rising case loads are trying to figure out how to slow the line or otherwise. Stay Open while they've got dozens or maybe even hundreds of their workers testing positive. So the place. You're most likely to get get corona virus and dies in American nursing home one of the places at least that you are most likely to get. It appears to be a large aggregate work environment like a meat packing plant which is still open where we still got people working despite close conditions. There's the third environment which you were most likely to get infected with corona virus in this country which appears to be our jails and prisons and detention centers. And there's some really interesting new information and new work that is happening on that side of it right now. We've got that coming up. Stay with us this next clip. I'm about to show you first appeared on April ninth part of a national TV campaign from the ACLU years diabetes. Benny territory bar to her age school. America's prisons are endangered virus. Not needed care too. We were elected leaders to save lives release. Elderly unbelievable populations from jailed in prison before. It's too late. Tell your elected officials leaders to save lives like I said that ad was released on April ninth the following week that prisoner featured in that Ad Elaine White was released from the correctional facility. She was in North Carolina. She is now living with her sister at home. That ad campaign is just one of the many efforts by the ACLU and other advocates. And what is now a big nationwide push to get vulnerable populations released from prisons and jails specifically because prisons and jails are proving to be rabid accelerators for the spread of the corona virus and you'd expect the ACLU to bring lawsuits on this issue and they have but they've also done some really interesting stuff like this. They put out a model executive order. Basically draft executive orders for governors that outlined measures governors can take to try to put a relief valve on prisons and jails as corona virus. Takes root in these places and you know the stuff they're recommending. It's not rocket science. It's stuff like telling state. Parole boards to identify prisoners for early release but having a list of things that governors can do having a draft. Executive order is an efficient way to try to get these changes put in place quickly to date the ACLU says they've secured executive actions and fifteen states. Not just blue states either Just the other week. The Oklahoma governor commuted the sentences of more than four hundred and fifty Oklahoma prisoners. More than one hundred of those folks have already been released but still it seems like every day there are huge huge numbers of Corona Virus Cases. Being reported out of some new prisoner jail anywhere. They're testing. The numbers are astonishing. Just yesterday a judge ordered the transfer or release of hundreds of elderly and otherwise vulnerable prisoners out of a Federal Correctional Facility in Ohio at Elkton Ohio. Six Prisoners Alston have died in the last few weeks. Another fifty two are known to have the virus facility also has the highest number of infected staff of any federal prison in the country. But those numbers. I mean fifty. Two inmates with confirm infections. They've tested less than less than one hundred of the prisoners at that facility and they've got more than fifty positive cases the twenty four hundred prisoners at that facility and all these staff who are positive all these people who are dying already. I mean literally God knows how high the actual infection rate is and what will learn if they ultimately test all twenty four hundred people there. It's not going to be good. It's hard to see how this works out over the long haul of the pandemic unless we're going to just allow millions of incarcerated Americans who who live in prisons in the tons of Americans who work in prisons or Jason to prisons can't just let them all become positive for the virus that is trajectory that this will take unless car surreal measures and other radical steps are taken. I mean if we let everybody in jails and prisons in this country get infected in the staff who work there to even if you don't care about prison staff and you don't care about prisoners it will otherwise mean that will never get this epidemic under control in this country doesn't work that way joining. Sales Anthony Romero. Who is the Executive Director of the Mr Romero? I know you are very busy right now. Thank you for taking time this evening. Who's great to see you reach site for psoriasis? It's great to see to. Well let me ask you about how I summed that up about prisons in jails. I mean I feel like it's easy for a lot of American people to say well risk but what did you expect you got in trouble? Prison staff in jail staff knew that they've got those risks but there is this situation which is both the dire number of cases. We're seeing in these facilities and the fact that these will be reservoirs of infection for the entire population volcanoes for the pandemic. And we have to think about this. You can just wall them off and pretend that let the folks die behind bars. Its first it's cruel. It would be unlawful but it's also not practical. The factor four hundred twenty thousand people who work in our prisons and jails. They're our neighbors. There are people in our churches and our synagogues in our moss to come in and out of the facilities and so the same concern that we've had for nurses and doctors who are in the hospitals without p p the same concerns we now have for the prison guards and the workers in the prisons jails and they will become the vectors. My next door neighbor may very well come back. In fact his entire family because he works in rikers and so the concern isn't just about the incarcerates but the entire community we estimate this new epidemiological study that we released just yesterday estimates that we could be underestimating fatalities by one hundred thousand deaths and that's an astronomical number. That's not just people dying behind bars people in our communities dying because the jails are the vectors for depend seven hundred forty thousand people in jail any given day one person goes to jail every three seconds. Seventy percent of them are not even guilty. They're pre adjudication. Their pretrial detainees average date of a time of a jail twenty five days the revolving doors so when people go into jail. They're incarcerated they're held there. There's no handwashing. There's no sanitizing does not cleaning the surfaces. There's no social distancing they come back out and the infect their families and their communities in your loved ones. We're all GONNA pay the price unless we really pay much closer attention to it. How receptive are public? Officials are to these arguments that the is making. I think the public is very receptive to these arguments. I think the public ad campaign was wise. Because that's incredibly resonant but are you pushing on an open door here in terms of governors and sheriffs who are looking for a way to try to help in some very well none of the Madonna. They need to do so far. We've released maybe one percent of the entire incarcerated population in the US. Italy by comparison has released ten percent of its prison population because the covert prices crisis so we have secured. Maybe seventeen thousand people who've been released and governor poets and Colorado's done very well forty percent of the statewide jail population has been released in Kentucky. Red State not a place. I like very much because of the senator. The ranking senator but they reduce their job population by twenty eight percent. But then you have some states and some governors who really dug in governor Abbot in Texas needs to be taken out behind the woodshed. The way he is dragged his feet on what is playing out in his jails in his prisons that will newer to the detriment of his residence. And we've seen even in Liberals and Democrats the prosecuting attorney the District Attorney in Louisiana and New Orleans Democrat also dragging his feet so we have to hold them accountable because our health is on the line for what they don't do with regards to prisons in jails Anthony Romero executive director of the ACLU. Sir It is very good to see. Thanks for being here NUDE SCREWED. Susu next time in person all right indeed for sure. We'll be right back. Is this still a normal day at the office? What does that mean exactly? You think. That's what he's trying to do. Why are we learning this now? Isn't that weird? Why is this happening? Why is that? Why is that? Why is that buckle up with us?