How Coronavirus Broke America | Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj | Netflix

Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has experienced large shortages ranging from masks and ventilators to basic food items. Hasan examines what happened to these vital supply chains, how Trump’s misuse of the Defense Production Act is contributing to their disruption, and how workers across America are being impacted.

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Transcript

Tonight,
I want to talk about the coronavirus,the pandemic that has destroyed the health
and livelihood of billions of peopleand also the NBA.Look I'm going to be real…not having basketball
is turning me into a monster.Last week,
I made my babies play one-on-one,and the loser got written out of my will.Now they didn't know that,
but it made it so much more fun to watch.As America starts to open back up,
we got to be cautious, guys,because the next few months
can't look like the last few months.Hospital workers are pleading for help,saying the lack of equipment is
putting them in danger.We've got a rising death toll
and historic unemployment.We still don't have enough testing
available.We have shortages of masks,
gowns, and gloves.Everyday, when I go to work,
I feel like a sheep going to slaughter.Wait, that's not how it works.Americans don't die fromAmerican incompetence.People in other countries
die from American incompetence.The United States is just
4% of the world's population,but has almost a third
of the world's cases.And a lot of thatis because of our president
and how much he messed up early on.Trump got his first detailed
COVID-19 briefings in Januarybut waited until March
to do anything about it.Just look at how the virusbegan spreading in other countries.Now look at us.This looks like a graph of howAmericans get their news,just CNN, MSNBC, FOX.And then here's Joe Rogan.One study found that as of May 3rd,83% of U.S. COVID deaths
could have been avoidedif the White House implemented
social distancingjust two weeks sooner.That's about 54,000
needless deaths.So there is no question
our president failed to contain this.But here's the thing,his failures exposed major problems in
this country that we already knew about.Trump is exactly like coronavirus–he's bad for you, but he is way worse
if you have a pre-existing condition.And there is one condition that runs
through almost every problem we have seen.One of the country's
top food producers is warningthat the nation's
food supply chain is breaking.The supply chain is a huge problem.just getting those swabs,
even getting the simple things like pipettes.The supply chain isabsolutely broken.Prices for simple things like maskshave gone up by 10 to 20 times.Supply chains are like
your parents' marriage.You take it for granted until it's broken.
And then it fucks you up for life.And that is what I want
to talk about tonight:Why your dad left. I'm kidding.I want to talk abouthow we broke our own supply chains.Just so we're on the same page,a supply chain is basically all the steps
to deliver a product to a consumer.Think of it like Breaking Bad.There's more or less five steps
to all legal and meth enterprises.There's sourcing,aka stealing
barrels of methylamine.Warehousing, where you
keep the supply.Manufacturing, how you make
the Heisenberg Blue,ideally in your undies.Inventory, how much
you keep on hand.And distribution, how you get it
to the meth heads.R.I.P. Combo.When you put all that together, supply
chains can get complicated, expensive,and usually end in the death of
a Chilean chicken man named Gustavo.That's why companies are constantly
trying to make their supply chainsas efficient as possible.And we all know the gold standard.“This Amazon fulfillment center
is simply mammoth.The floor is covered in tiny QR codes.”It's sort of like a chess board.“Eyes in the robots bellies read
the codes and broadcast their position.Choreography that keeps your
shipment on time and avoids collisions.As gaping, gargantuan, gigantic
as this fulfillment center is.”“Gaping, gargantuan, girthy warehouse.”Dude, if you're trying to get Jeff Bezos
rock hard,don't tell him how big
Amazon's warehouses are,talk about how small their unions are.But it's important to know:when you make efficiency your only goal,
it comes with a big tradeoff.The tradeoff with efficiency
is always resilience.A highly efficient system is so brittlethat when you have a disruption
such as a pandemicit starts breaking down.That's the problem.Decades of making all of our supply chains
as efficient as possibleleft our life-saving supply chains
very vulnerable.Which perfectly sums up America.Everything we want is fucking amazing,
iPhones, Amazon, Grubhub.Everything we need is dog shit,
schools, airports, trains.Dude, I get an Uber…
it comes immediately.I get to Penn Station…
what country am I in?It always looks like a terror attack
just happened.It's dusty,
people are lying on the ground,some white lady is screaming,
“Can you help me!?”Look at our medical system.Hospitals ran out of ventilators, beds,
and personal protective equipment, PPE.You saw this.Dude, doctors wearing bandanas
like Bloods and Crips,nurses were waddling around
in garbage bags,hospitals were so desperate,
they were accepting PPE from anyone.Medical showscurrently on hiatus like
Grey's Anatomy and The Good Doctor,have donated their gowns and masks
from their wardrobe departments.And ABC's Station 19 dropped off300 of the covetedN95-grade medical masksthat they used to wear on the show.Whoa, GMA!Wrong music for a pandemic.They're like,“Millions of people have caught COVID fever!Grandma's coughing blood, and
the body count is climbing up the charts!Mario Lopez weighs in.”Also, I don't know
if you caught this…She called those N95 masks“coveted.”There are a lot of things you should“covet” during a pandemic,including and especially…your neighbor's wife.Go ahead. I won't tell.But no one should have to “covet”
an N95 mask.And it shows how messed up
our medical supply chains are.It's the most basic thing.
Fabric on your face.How did we get this so wrong?Until the coronavirus response,the H1N1 response
was the largestdeployment in the history
of the Stockpile.85 million N95 maskswere deployed
from the Strategic National Stockpile.But guess what?
They were never replenished.We didn't replace our stockpile
of lifesaving masks?Dude, you refill the tank
when you rent a Dodge Caravan from Hertz!But to be fair,our stockpile was never meant
to be our entire supply.It was just supposed to hold us over
until we fix the supply chain.There's just one small problem.We need masks.
They're made in China.We need gowns.
They're made in China.We need face shields.
They're made in China.We need ventilators.
They're made in China.I mean, it's just… How? How?How? Come on, Cuomo.
You know what it is.America is made in China.China gives us everything we want:
TVs, dishwashers, iPhones.For years, Chinese factory workers
were jumping out of buildings,so we can tweet mean things
at Chrissy Teigenand have a Bolivian man
deliver us pad thai.And we took the deal.And now that deal is killing us.President Bush
didn't fix the problem.Manufacturing like this
going overseas.President Obama didn't.
And neither has president Trump.Why is this so hard?It's actually not hard.We have offshored a lot of our industry
for critical supplies,critical healthcare supplies,
and critical medicines,to save money.This is horrible,
but his voice is so calming.It's like a guided meditation
on trade policy.But he's right.More than 90% of our surgical masks
were made overseas.So not only did we not have enough
old masks,global demand was spiking,and we weren't able to manufacture
enough new ones.And for people thinking, “Come on, bro.
No one could have predicted this.”Well let me introduce youto Mike Bowen.He is the co-owner of
one of the few companiesthat still makes
N95 masks in America.How long have you been telling
anyone who would listen,that once a pandemic hits,that America
would face a big problem?Since 2007,and for 13 years we told the storythat a pandemic
was going to come,the mask supply
was going to collapse,and foreign health officialswere going to cut off
masks to the United States.And that's
exactly what happened.Mike Bowen must feel so vindicated.He's been screaming about this for years,
and no one was listening.It's how Alex Jones would feel
if frogs ever came out of the closet.Remember, this is how unprepared we were
before Trump.Then our mask supply actually collapsed.And Trump could have ramped up
domestic productionby invoking the Defense Production Act,
or DPA.Or, as Trump puts it, “Invoking ‘P.’”No one knows what that means.But it sounds like what
Benedict Cumberbatch calls sex.The DPA allows the president
to take control of our supply chainsduring wartime or national emergencies,making private companies
produce goods for the country.But for months,
Trump refused to invoke it for PPE.That means, while COVID was surging here,U.S. companies kept exporting masks
to other countries!In March, we sent over $83 million
worth of masks overseas.Some even went to China,
the country we buy PPE from.That's fucking insane.It's so insane,
I'm starting to sound like Trump.I'm like, “We can't send
our masks to China! America first!”By the time Trump finally invoked the DPA
to ramp up N95 production,it was too late.Healthcare workers were dying,
hospitals were getting price gouged,and states were fighting each other
and the federal government for PPE.All because Trump dragged his feet
on securing medical supply chains.But what makes his inaction
even more appallingis when you find out
how quickly he reactedwhen a different industry
got hammered by COVID.Across the country, many meatpacking
plants have been shut downbecause of coronavirus outbreaks.“At least 14,000 coronavirus casestied to 181 plants.”Meatpacking plants became sort of
little Petri dishesof COVID infection.Luckily, there is no evidence
coronavirus is foodborne.So if you eat a lot of meat,
don't worry.It's still a very safe way
to get heart disease.Around the country,
coronavirus outbreaks at meat plantsare causing historic disruptions
to supply chains.And the ripple effects came
as quickly as the puns.The meat shortage across the U.S.
has Wendy's saying, “Where's the beef?”Where's the beef?Where's the beef?“From Ohio to New York,
Michigan, to California,the beef shortage
at Wendy's is spreading.”Where's the beef?Wait, how is this only Wendy's?Burger King is just like, “Damnit!I guess we have to tell people whoppers
are made of whale meat and poppers.”Even Costco started limiting meat
to three items per person.I love how COVID forced Costco to just…be normal.They're like, “Attention customers,during these difficult times,
Costco will no longer be sellingour kiddie pool of ground beef.
Our deepest apologies.”It got to the point, on April 26th,Tyson, America's largest
meat and poultry processor,ran a full-page ad in the New York Times,
warning of a meat shortage.And two days later, this happened.President Trump invoking
the Defense Production Actto order
meat processing plantsto stay open
to avoid a meat shortage.Wait, it took Trump two months to invoke
the DPA for health care workers,but two days for meat?He like, “What's the point
of living, if we can't…Live Más?”I get it, though. Americans do not know
how to handle a meat shortage.“The manager explained they don't
have any chicken sandwiches,that they were all sold out, then
things got way way out of hand.One of they guys had a gun.”Some of you are shocked.
Most of you are like,“Yeah, I get it.”Now obviously, when Trump signed
the executive order,he didn't say it was to stop chicken
bandits.Instead, this is the reason he gave.There was a bottleneck
caused by this whole pandemic.We unblocked
some of the bottlenecks.That whole
bottleneck is broken up.Okay, so what does he mean
by “bottleneck?”This is what he means.Once the plants close down,
there's nowhere to send the animals.And the animals
can't just wait on the farm.Then the farmers have to keep
feeding them which is expensive,and then they're not
the right weight for slaughter.It's cheaper for the farmers to actually
just kill the animalsand put them in a mass grave,than it would be for them to try
to find another place for them to go.By June, farmers are expected to euthanizealmost 7 million animals,
because they can't be processed.So, Wendy's is running out of burgers,meanwhile, 7 million animals
are going to waste.And it all comes back to meat companies
and their supply chains.It breaks down like this.So you've got a lot of options
when it comes to meat.A lot of brands you've seen.Some I hope you never see,
like Rumba Meats,which I assume is meat
that a robot vacuumed off the floor.Or a brand called Not-So-Sloppy-Joe,which sounds like the boyfriend
you've settled for during quarantine.But all these brands are actually
just subsidiaries of six companies:Tyson, Cargill, Smithfield,
National Beef, Hormel, and JBS.These companies
account for nearly two-thirdsof all meat and poultry sales
in the United States.Since the Reagan administration,we essentially allowed meat companies
to mergein the name of efficiency.We found that bigger meat companies
could slaughter more animalsand produce meat more cheaply.So you get to this situation where if
a single pig-processing plant closes down,all the pigs destined for that plant
have nowhere to go.It's really a tale of efficiency gone mad.Corporate consolidation has made
these companies the only game in town,which is great for them.They set the prices, they set the rules,and they set the speed
on the processing line.And that is the whole ballgame.“Now you've probably noticedjust how closely some of these
workers are to one another.The reason for that is largelyto allow the production line
to move faster.”The pace of the line goes so fastthat workers rarely have time
to go to the bathroom.Got it. So the next time you get E. coli
from Jack in the Box, just remember…you're shitting for two people.This isn't just a part of their business
model. It is their business model.Efficiency depends on workers
being packed on the line.Meat plants were basically destined
to become COVID hotspots.They're cold, windy, with tons of people
packed like sardines for hours.And COVID showed up like a dictator
visiting the White House,happy, comfortable,
and ready to start killing.And because of this model,how do you think companies
were handling social distancing?“Our first glimpse inside
a meatpacking plant:workers crowded shoulder-to-shoulder
at a George's poultry plant in Arkansas,packed in those hallways.Masks down, with apparently
no place inside to socially distance.”That is inhumane.A vertical video?Get that out of my sight.As more workers caught COVID,
shit got even worse.Here's how JBS handled an outbreak
at a plant in Colorado.“JBS management stopped testing
shortly after it started,well before its promise
to test employees.Insiders reporting between 40%
and 80%of JBS supervisors and managerstested positive
on that initial day of testing.”They don't want the numbers
to come out. It's bad PR.Hey JBS, if you don't want bad PR,maybe don't have higher fatality rates
than Jurassic Park.Normally, companies like JBS have
no problem keeping things under wraps.That's 'cause they hire some of the most
vulnerable people in America.More than half of their employees
are refugees or immigrants.Many of them undocumented.But COVID is making things so bad,
even they're speaking out.“Michael is an immigrant,
and he says they didn't ask questions.It was after his last shift on April 10th
that Michael says he started to feel ill.”At that point my face mask
was getting wet all the time.So I had to pull it off
and just stay without it.I was struggling.So I was breathing so hard
and getting close to other guys.So I was like,
“Okay, I might be getting sick.”That guy, Michael,works at a Smithfield plant
in South Dakota,where there was a huge outbreak.853 employees got sick, and 2 died.By April 15th, 55% of all COVID
cases in the whole statecould be
traced back to that one plant.It's like the Genghis Khan
of fucking vulnerable people.So basically… Genghis Khan.If you're wondering, “How are these
companies getting away with this?”It all comes back to Trumpand the
Defense Production Act.Remember, he signed
an executive orderkeeping meatpacking
plants open.But here's the thing.We actually read the order.And it doesn't say anything about
making meat plants stay open.It just encourages plants
to follow federal safety guidelinesand prioritize federal contracts.That's it.But that's not how it was reported.His new order will
force processing plants to stay open.Ordering meat processing plants
to stay open.Ordered the meat plants open.Mandating they stay open.Requiring meat plants to stay open.Wait, no!You're reporting
on the fine print,but you never read the fine print!You're acting like
a WhatsApp threadwith commercial breaks!What's actually happening here
is more insidious.Trump saidhe was invoking the DPA to help
with the “bottleneck,”right?But listen to him
on the day he signed itand see if
a certain word stands out.We're going to sign an executive order
today I believe,and that'll solve
any liability problemswhere they had
certain liability problems.And we'll be in very good shape.We are working with Tyson,which is one of the
big companies in that world.It was a very unique circumstance
because of liability.Fun fact: “liability”also happens to be the secret
service codename…for “Eric.”Trump is invoking the DPA to shield meat
plants from liability from their workers.He's not forcing them to stay open.He's giving them cover to stay open,
so the plants can avoid liability.And that's exactly what's happening.Just look at Smithfield Foods,
the company that Michael works for.A Smithfield plant in Nebraska
told workersthey were shutting down on April 27th.The next day,
Trump signs the “executive order,”and within hours
the plant says it's staying open.And liability doesn't seem
to be a concern.In April, a workers' group sued
a Smithfield plant in Missourifor endangering employees due to COVID.Smithfield then triedto get the case thrown outbased on Trump's “executive order.”And it worked!The judge threw out the lawsuit,screwing over the workers.So just to put it in Trump terms,“Invoking ‘P’” was BS,
but now it's effing the W's.And this affects all of us.Look at this graph of COVID casesin the food industry.Right after Trump signedthe executive order,cases spiked at almost twicethe national rateand spread like crazy.By May 15th, of the 25 counties
with the highest infection rates,almost half of these outbreaksstarted in meat factories.Here's the most ironic thing
about all of this:Trump says he feels like
a wartime president.But the way he's used his powers shows you
exactly where his priorities are.The Defense Production Actis so the president can take control
of supply chainsto force corporations
to protect the public.But Trump is using it to protect
corporations at the expense of the public.So, it's great that Trump feels
like a wartime president.I just wish he would actually be one.'Cause real wartime presidents
care about the front lines.Not the bottom line.

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