tv 60 Minutes CBS November 1, 2020 7:00pm-7:59pm PST
and ford. we go further, so you can. >> how many of you intend to vote for president trump? and how many of you intend to vote for mr. biden? who will win the election? we looked to ohio, as every winning president has since 1964. president trump won handily here four years ago. but today, we found ohio a house divided. >> i'm going to vote for president trump. >> and cyndra? >> i'm going to vote for vice president biden. ( ticking ) >> this is an important election. arizona is in the spotlight in a way that we haven't been in previous election years. >> with the election just two
days away, we visit the usually- reliable red state of arizona, where they've been tabulating early votes here for almost two weeks. millions of them have already been processed. so, on tuesday evening, if you want an early read about the future of the presidency, just look west. ( ticking ) >> this facility was ground zero. "60 minutes" has been allowed inside america's first known covid hotspot. the world turned its attention from china and europe to a five- star, skilled nursing facility in a seattle suburb, where residents were getting sick and dying at an alarming rate. >> i felt like i was standing on the beach looking at a big tidal wave coming at us. ( ticking ) >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm john dickerson. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight on "60 minutes."
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>> pelley: no telling who will win the election, but there is no better place to ask than in ohio. since 1896, ohio has sided with the presidential winner 93% of the time. ohio hasn't missed since 1960, and no republican has ever won the presidency without ohio. we asked ohio in 2016, when national polls showed a lead for hillary clinton. back then, ohio voters told us
they saw more excitement for donald trump, and he won the state by eight points. but now in ohio, he and former vice president joe biden are essentially tied. this past week, we returned, to ask ohio. >> trump: god bless the u.s.a. >> pelley: you know a president is playing defense when he spends vanishing time in a state he had easily won before. >> trump: hello, circleville. >> pelley: this was mr. trump last weekend, putting a pre- halloween scare into circleville, ohio. >> trump: biden and the democrats will offshore your jobs, dismantle your police departments, dissolve your borders, confiscate your guns, eliminate your private health care. they want to terminate your religious liberty. they want to destroy the suburbs. i am the best thing that ever happened to the suburbs. >> pelley: the suburbs are where
mr. trump is fighting for his political life. they were critical to his victory in 2016. but polls suggest suburbanites are moving away from him. randy and cyndra cole are republicans, raising four children outside cleveland. >> randy cole: i'm going to vote for president trump. >> pelley: and cyndra? >> cyndra cole: i'm going to vote for vice president biden. >> pelley: as they watched the final debate, polls showed trump leads in men, but biden leads among women. >> randy cole: obviously, the president can be abrasive and confrontational, and that's his style. but now, as i've seen four years of the president's record, i do believe the people around him, his policies are those things that i agree with. >> cyndra cole: i believe that the republican party that i joined years ago has left me. >> pelley: and what are those values that you hold dear, that you don't believe the administration has followed? >> cyndra cole: there's such great divide right now in our country, and i think if we could talk about equity-- in terms of equality of opportunity, that
there would be real solutions offered that both republicans and democrats could agree on. and the national debt. the president promised to eliminate the debt, and instead, it's increased by 36%. >> pelley: what is your impression of the way the president has handled the covid outbreak? >> cyndra cole: so, we're trying to not talk about that as a couple. that's one area that we tend to disagree. >> randy cole: as i cross my arms. >> cyndra cole: yeah, right. i just wish he would have been more transparent from the beginning. to come and look us in the eye and say, "i know this is hard. getting through this is going to be hard. we have to do this together." >> randy cole: but the pandemic itself is a complex situation. and i do think that the president mobilized a task force, he mobiized industry, he's working with the 50 state governors. i do think it's unfair that he's being labeled as causing 220,000 pandemic deaths. >> pelley: ohio's known infections reached an all-time
high this past week as voters were going to the polls. you lost someone to covid. >> tommie jo brode: i did. my grandmother. yeah. >> pelley: we first met tommie jo brode in 2016. she's an attorney, a corporate executive. last time, she was voting trump, and still is. and despite that personal loss, you still believe the president's done a good job with the disease? >> brode: i believe that people who pass away, do that in god's time. so, president trump has a lot of power, but not more than god. >> pelley: when we sat down four years ago, you said this about donald trump: "i trust donald trump." >> brode in 2016: "i trust him to protect this nation and keep my family safe." >> pelley: how has he done on that score? >> brode: a-plus. >> pelley: a-plus? why do you say so? >> brode: i think he has kept his promises. i feel more confident in the united states military than i ever have. i have not seen domestic
terrorist problems and threats that seemed to be creeping and looming when he took office. >> pelley: ronald reagan in 1980 famously asked, "are you better off than you were four years ago?" >> brode: emphatically yes. my 401(k) is in good shape. that matters to me. being able to just to save a little bit of money and have a little bit of extra things in life is important to my family. and with a good economy, we've been blessed to do that. >> pelley: but there is also the curse of the coronavirus recession that came out of left field. ohio unemployment is over 8%. we took advantage of akron's idle ballpark to have a socially-distanced visit with workers from an american industrial icon. >> bob schrock: i've been at goodyear for 27 years. my dad was at goodyear for over 40 years. his dad was at goodyear for, you know, 30, 40 years. >> pelley: in the 1950s, akron had 50,000 rubber workers.
now it's 700. more than anyone, blue-collar men assembled the president's 2016 ohio victory. show of hands, how many of you intend to vote for president trump? two over here. and how many of you intend to vote for mr. biden? bob schrock, mark sesock, dan gruelle and charles pierce split their votes for different reasons. >> charles pierce: i think president trump's done a great job on trade. replacing nafta with the u.s.m.c.a. was a very, very big thing for america. he's used his business acumen and negotiating ability to bring a lot of jobs back to america. >> pelley: mark, you're supporting former vice president biden. >> mark sesock: the one issue that president trump can't get from behind is the response to the coronavirus within this country. we have the best health care available to our citizens, and i
really believe that the leadership of this country failed our citizens in protecting the people. >> dan gruelle: my number-one issue that i completely support donald trump on is his pro-life stance. there's, to me-- that is the most important issue in my life. >> pelley: bob, what are the most important issues to you in supporting former vice president biden? >> schrock: you know, workers' rights, workers' protections. my right to join a union and to collectively bargain-- to fight for my good health care-- for my 40-hour work week, overtime after eight, over 40-- holidays, paid time off, vacations. these are things that unions have fought for, for decades. >> pelley: ohio manufacturing jobs grew a slight 2% during the president's term, but that growth was wiped out by the pandemic. the president didn't help himself in akron recently, after
hearing that goodyear doesn't allow political clothing in its shop. he tweeted, "don't buy goodyear tires-- they announced a ban on maga hats. get better tires for far less!" >> sesock: i've never heard of a sitting president call for a boycott of an american company. >> pelley: maybe mr. trump didn't know the akron plant handcrafts all the tires for nascar-- one of his constituencies-- plus, one other customer. >> sesock: we also make the president's limo tires. so, i think he underestimates how many jobs are out there, good-paying jobs, to support your family. and i just thought it was irresponsible. >> reverend jawanza colvin: some of the things that have come out of this president's mouth has angered me, my family, our congregation. >> pelley: reverend jawanza colvin of cleveland's olivet institutional baptist church told us the words of the president inflame division.
to colvin, it's an opportunity to get out the vote. >> colvin: there will be a world after donald trump, and we're voting for that world. >> pelley: in 2016, ohio's african american vote was down 6.5%. when we first met lisa tolbert, this, back in 2016, she didn't see enthusiasm for hillary clinton. when african americans vote in large numbers in ohio, ohio votes democratic. and when they don't come to the polls, ohio votes republican. what's going to happen? >> lisa tolbert: i'm going to pray that they come to the polls. i'm going to-- >>pelley: but you're not feeling that groundswell. >> tolbert: i'm not hearing it. >> pelley: last week we found lisa tolbert recovering from covid. but she worries more about her 20-year-old son. for fear of a police stop, she drives him to his night job. i wonder how this election feels
to you? >> tolbert: i know this election is more important. because we have watched our president, to me, act a plumb fool for four years. >> pelley: are you voting for joe biden or against donald trump? >> tolbert: mmmm. is that both? can it be a both answer? >> pelley: it can be any answer you want it to be. >> tolbert: it can be both. i'm definitely voting against donald trump. but i do believe, more so than i probably thought about hillary clinton, i do believe joe biden could do the job. >> pelley: that doesn't sound like enthusiasm, but ohio is seeing historic early voting. so far, two million have voted, about double the usual. ron smetana couldn't wait for his absentee ballot. >> ron smetana: we received it on the 14th of october. we dropped it off on the 14th of october. and on the 15th of october, i
checked the website and it had already been scanned and approved for counting. >> pelley: smetana has a lot in common with his friend, steve plogsted-- both are retired army leiutenant colonels, both life- long republicans. how did you vote in 2016? >> steve plogsted: trump. >> pelley: and what about this year? >> plogsted: it's going to go biden. >> pelley: and why not donald trump again? >> plogsted: don't trust the man. he's supposed to be a leader. and he's a bully. >> pelley: so you're a republican who's already voted for the biden ticket. >> smetana: i have. and i am, yes. >> pelley: there are fellow republicans in ohio who would ask, "how could you do that?" >> smetana: i could not vote for donald j. trump. his consistent lies, his handling of covid, failure to follow science, whether it's with anthony fauci or climate science, i just cannot tolerate. >> brode: i think a vote for president trump is a vote for lawfulness. >> pelley: tommie jo brode told
us she has no trouble tolerating the president's style if that 401(k), and her home, are secure. >> brode: i understand that people don't always like his approach, and that he doesn't come across as soft. you know, he doesn't maybe strike us as someone who wants to give out hugs. and i get that. and i want my pastor to give out hugs. it's not what i'm looking for in my president. >> pelley: do you think ohio's going to go trump again? >> brode: i do. i've driven all over the state of ohio. people are enthusiastic. they are very enthusiastic. i think ohio will not just be red-- i think it'll be bright red. >> pelley: on the sunday before election day, you're going to say what to your congregation? >> colvin: first, i'll probably quote a hymn from "amazing grace," "through many dangers, toils and snares we've already come. it was grace that brought us safe thus far and it's going to
be grace that leads us home." but grace without voting? grace without going to the polls? we're going to need a lot more than just grace. we're going to need us to take that grace into our hands and into those polls. >> pelley: this ohio is not a retread of 2016. joe biden is viewed much more favorably than hillary clinton. ohio will come down to this: will african americans turn out? can biden swing enough votes in the suburbs to overcome the president's big advantage in the countryside? and, will ohio extend its 56- year streak of getting it right? ( ticking ) >> listening to the voters of ohio. >> i want him out. >> i think it will be bright red. >> at 60minutesovertime.com. and take. it. on...
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in the senate, while so many people would cut each other down, joe would bring them to the table. sometimes literally. he and his colleagues would gather around the picnic table in our backyard, talking and debating. because joe always understood, if you're just trying to score points for your party, there's no need to actually talk to the other guys. but if you're trying to get things done, to really make things better for working people, you have to find common ground. our country feels more divided now than at any other point in my lifetime. we need someone to remind us how to look for the best in each other. how to find solutions that can work for us all. i can't think of a better person for the job than joe. i'm joe biden, and i approve this message.
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>> dickerson: as the votes come in tuesday night, the answer to some of the election's most pressing questions may be found in the new battleground state of arizona. it has many of the key voting groups that will be pivotal in a host of close states, and an early voting system that has been tested in the past, and has been tabulating votes for two weeks, meaning we'll know who the bulk of those voters picked by the end of the night. joe biden has enjoyed a small but consistent lead in arizona since the summer, thanks to suburban women, seniors and latinos, which suggests the one- time home of american conservatism could be changing in the same way the country is: becoming more diverse and more educated. but, democrats thought that in 2016, too. that long line of green envelopes you see marching together contains just some of
the record number of completed mail-in ballots from arizona voters. first, they are processed through state-of-the art machines. then they're sent to ballot tabulation centers for counting. arizonans of both parties have been voting safely and easily by mail since 1992. this election, for the first time, state officials started tabulating ballots 14 days before the election. as of tonight, millions of early votes have been processed. the results sit in secure servers-- those red and blue machines-- that are sealed, transparent and not connected to the internet. and no one knows what those results are. >> katie hobbs: we're allowed to post results an hour after polls close, so 8:00 p.m. on election night here in arizona. >> dickerson: katie hobbs is arizona's secretary of state and chief election officer. on election night, how much will it be an advantage that you will have been able to start counting for 14 days? >> hobbs: that's a huge
advantage, particularly over states that are seeing a huge increase in the volume of voting by mail, and statutorily aren't able to start processing ballots until that day. we're certainly going to be ahead of them. >> dickerson: that anyone is holding their breath about the outcome of the race in arizona is notable. it's a longtime republican state. but it is changing. seven million people now live in arizona, spurred by america's fastest growing county, maricopa county, the home of phoenix and tempe. it's also known for its blooming suburbs. it accounts for 60% of arizona's vote, and no democrat has carried maricopa county since 1948. traditionally, would we be in a ruby-red part of arizona? >> yasser sanchez: maricopa county is the largest county that trump won, the last election. and so, this is the center of trumpville in arizona. >> dickerson: if arizona turns blue, it will be in part because of voters like yasser sanchez
and his wife emily, conservatives who live in the maricopa county suburb of gilbert. in 2016, they never saw a hillary clinton sign in their neighborhood. now, the streets by their house are dotted with trump and biden signs poking from the alternating beach towel-sized front lawns. they've added a new entrant in the sign wars: arizona republicans for biden. yasser and emily are voting for a democrat for the first time. so how's that going over? >> emily sanchez: i've noticed people coming out of the woodwork, but interestingly enough, silently. they'll come and say, "hey, i see that you're supporting biden-- i am too. but i can't really tell anyone." or "i can't tell my family." >> dickerson: so people talk about shy trump voters. are there shy biden voters? >> emily sanchez: absolutely. >> trump: the pandemic, it's rounding the turn. >> dickerson: covid-19 has hurt donald trump in the state. the virus hammered arizona in june and july, making the state the hot spot in the nation at one point.
yasser, emily and four of their five kids all got the virus at the same time. >> emily sanchez: for me, the campaign is personal. it is no longer political. >> dickerson: why? >> emily sanchez: because we've personally gone through covid- 19. we have also seen worse, where friends have died. >> yasser sanchez: and for the president to dismiss it as no big deal, or the flu, or just play politics with it, it's more than offensive. it-- it enrages me. it makes me so angry. ♪ ♪ >> dickerson: so angry, yasser helped organize an unusual coalition, of latinos, liberals, and conservatives, who convened on a recent saturday morning to launch a unique parade. ( honking horns ) a caravan supporting joe biden in former republican strongholds. ( honking horns ) >> dickerson: while that mile- long procession was blaring its way through maricopa county... ( honking horns ) ...a three-mile-long caravan of trump supporters served as a reminder that as much as donald trump may rankle some in his
party, he is also revered. this past wednesday, the president touched down in a suburb of phoenix for another packed rally. >> trump: that's a lot of people. >> dickerson: it was donald trump's seventh visit to arizona this year. at a smaller gathering for conservatives on the edge of maricopa county, the rallying cry was for low taxes, law and order and personal freedom. >> dr. kelli ward: we need to make faces great again, breathing great again you know, person-to-person communication great again! >> dickerson: we met dr. kelli ward, the chairwoman of arizona's republican party, who twice launched unsuccessful campaigns for the u.s. senate from the party's right flank. why is arizona, which is the state of barry goldwater, john mccain-- i mean, this is a republican state. why is it even in question? >> ward: well, obviously, the country is changing. it seems like there is a sea change, politically, across the board. a lot of people from california have come to arizona.
>> dickerson: there is a tension in the party in arizona between kind of one wing and the other. that seems like president trump is right in the middle of that tension. >> ward: i think it's a manufactured tension. this isn't about a person. this is about policies. when you put those before the people, without donald trump attached to them, they love them. >> dickerson: so is that the challenge? to get people to see on the other side of the-- the man who's at the top? >> ward: i think the people have to be smarter than-- than many times, the media, who is putting things out as though it's all about "orange man bad," when it's really about "republican policies good." >> dickerson: but donald trump is not shy. he's not a-- he's not a retiring type. >> ward: well, i'm thankful. i'm thankful that he isn't shy. because i can tell you what didn't get us the white house. it was whenever we had those shy, retiring republicans, who just wanted to get along, to go along, who let democrat policies be shoved down the throats of the american people, who have led us to the brink of socialism. donald trump took control of the situation. >> dickerson: let me ask you-- i've talked to some suburban republican women. >> ward: yes. >> dickerson: and some of the ones i've talked to love donald
trump. some have left the party because of it. and this is a challenge. how's he doing with suburban women now? >> ward: i think he's doing great with suburban women. women-- women love donald trump. there are some who have been sadly brainwashed by things that aren't really even true across the board about the president. we hear-- >> dickerson: now, dr. ward, you're not saying that women can't think for themselves, are you? >> ward: no, i'm saying the media lies. and-- and-- >> dickerson: but they're smart enough to get around that. >> ward: are they? i mean, you know, if you hear it and hear it and hear it, and only that-- you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. >> dickerson: one famous exile from the new arizona republican party is cindy mccain, the widow of john mccain, a man who once defined that party. what are they missing in the current republican leadership now that-- that is not-- >> cindy mccain: well, the-- the willingness to work together. somehow you have to either be on this side or this side, and there's no in-between. gosh, if you're a democrat, we're not going to talk to you. they no longer put country before party. it's the opposite right now. >> dickerson: the trump-mccain feud dates back to the last campaign, when trump won arizona
by 3.5 points. but cindy mccain said she was pushed to speak out after "the atlantic" magazine reported derogatory comments president trump allegedly made about military service members. her endorsement of joe biden in september was local front page news. >> mccain: for me, the final straw was the, you know, "they're losers and suckers." >> dickerson: the "atlantic" article and the-- >> mccain: the-- the "atlantic" article. you know, i'm the mother of two veterans, and a wife of a veteran, and my father was a veteran. they were not losers and suckers by any chance. it angered me a great deal. it angered me. and so i thought, you know, i can either sit here and be angry or i can do something. >> dickerson: and when you made that decision, did you get blowback? >> mccain: yeah! ( laughs ) >> dickerson: what form did that take? >> mccain: all kinds of forms. ( laughs ) but you know, the blowback does not matter to me. it's-- it's about doing what's right for the country. and i, like many people, couldn't sit back anymore. >> dickerson: arizona's political profile mimicked the cactus that dots its landscape:
prickly, resistant to change, capable of living for years without outside help. this land of canyons has been the home to two g.o.p. nominees, senator barry goldwater and senator john mccain. arizona retained its republican character, until recently. >> mark kelly: i trust arizonans. >> dickerson: now, arizona may be on the verge of electing democrat mark kelly, which would give the state two democratic senators for the first time in 70 years. republican jeff flake represented arizona in the senate until early last year. did you ever imagine that a red state like arizona would suddenly be thick with democratic politicians getting elected? >> jeff flake: not at this stage. i mean, you look in the future and you think, "unless a republican party, you know, transforms a bit, and appeals to a broader electorate, then, you know, we're going to be irrelevant." that's-- that's always been, you know, far in the future. but did i envision it this fast?
no. not at all. >> dickerson: so president trump is accelerating the changes in arizona, right? >> flake: definitely. if you run a candidate, a republican candidate statewide, for state mine inspector, for example-- we do have one. ( laughs ) --nobody pays attention to that race, and the republican will win handily. so, it's still a center-right state. but not president trump's style of politics. that just doesn't play well for a lot of independents and a lot of moderate republicans. >> dickerson: it didn't play well for flake. >> flake: we must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. >> dickerson: he left the senate after one term, because president trump and his base had turned against flake's independent streak, once the hallmark of arizona republicans. flake has endorsed joe biden in this election. for arizona, is this election a referendum on president trump? >> flake: most definitely. yeah. i mean, you have an incumbent coming in, the economy was good and strong. anybody with those kinds of
odds, an incumbent ought to be winning. but more than anything, it's the president's handling of the coronavirus. it's just the whole schtick i think people are tiring of. >> joe arpaio: they know i'm very popular. >> dickerson: before donald trump even ran for president, his spiritual predecessor, maricopa county sheriff joe arpaio, tracked down and jailed undocumented immigrants. latinos, who make up a third of arizona's population, like 19- year-old alexis delgado garcia, remember those days. born in this country, alexis is the son of undocumented parents. >> alexis delgado garcia: here in arizona, it was really, really difficult to even go to the grocery store. going to-- >> dickerson: why was it difficult to go to the grocery store? >> delgado garcia: the fear of my parents getting deported, the fear of my parents not seeing me again or seeing my family again, was very, very huge. >> dickerson: so are you involved in canvassing to spare other people of color what you went through? >> delgado garcia: yeah. hello. >> dickerson: alexis and twin sisters evelynne and yoshi rodas castillo are part of a wave of young, american-born hispanics
who have come of voting age. they canvassed door-to-door on a 97-degree day, trying to spur people to vote for joe biden. evelynne, why did you get involved in canvassing? >> evelynne rodas castillo: so, knowing that both of my parents are undocumented, that they can't vote, that i have a lot of other family members who are undocumented, who can't vote themselves, i know it's so important that, you know, i'm the voice for those who can't. >> dickerson: 90% of arizonans are expected to vote by mail or early in-person. the question, of course, is, on election night, what will their voices and their ballots tell us about arizona and the country? if donald trump wins arizona, what will he have done? >> flake: defied the odds. ( laughs ) >> dickerson: will he have found voters for him that kind of came out of the woodwork? >> flake: yeah. i mean, when you look at those rallies, i mean, there's something to that. we learned that in 2016. >> dickerson: if joe biden wins arizona, what will that mean for election night?
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no more. i'm proud to support prop 15." vote yes. schools and communities first is responsible for the content of this ad. ( ticking ) >> whitaker: on the morning of february 29, the world turned its attention from news of the coronavirus in china and europe, to the seattle suburb of kirkland. what was predicted by public health experts had arrived-- the first covid-19 outbreak in the united states. and it was spreading in the most vulnerable of places, transforming a five-star, skilled nursing facility into
the first hot-zone in the country. it was our initial encounter with the invisible enemy, and on display, the federal government's readiness. despite president trump's message at the time, covid-19 was not going away. so far, more than nine million americans have been infected, and 230,000 people have died. when the virus struck in washington state, there was a lack of testing and personal protective equipment. instead of jumping in to help patients, the federal government jumped to questionable conclusions. tonight, we'll take you where the outbreak started, and show how events unfolded. this facility was ground zero. nancy butner is a vice president at life care centers of america. we met her at th nursing facility she ran for 14 years. we are the only reporters to be allowed inside since the coronavirus cut a deadly swathe
through this facility. today, it's a quiet, covid-free place, a stark contrast from what happened here eight months ago. we began speaking with butner remotely in june. in the end, how many people did you lose to this disease? >> butner: we had about 38 patients that passed. >> whitaker: and staff? >> butner: we lost no staff. was about 67 staff, i believe, that were diagnosed with covid. >> whitaker: on february 12, before anyone suspected covid- 19, nancy butner's nursing staff noticed a cluster of residents with the same respiratory illness. days later, more would come down with a fever and cough. by then, life care knew it had a respiratory infection spreading in the building. >> dispatcher: 911 emergency. she's having difficulty breathing, or can she-- ? >> life care caller: absolutely, and she was diagnosed with pneumonia a couple of days ago. >> whitaker: one by one, life care started sending sick residents to nearby evergreen hospital.
>> butner: we thought we had pneumonia, patients with pneumonia. >> whitaker: at that time, could you test for covid-19? >> butner: no. no covid-19 tests were available. >> whitaker: in february, testing for covid-19 was limited to the c.d.c.'s lab in atlanta, and reserved for people who had traveled to china or had contact with an infected person. none of the patients then in evergreen hospital qualified. and when the government moved to expand testing operations, the tests they shipped to public health labs were defective. the c.d.c.'s test was the first one approved and the first one put out there, and it didn't work? >> dr. geoffrey baird: it had a problem with one of the-- the components of the test, caused some false positives. >> whitaker: dr. geoffrey baird chairs the department of laboratory medicine and pathology at the university of washington school of medicine. he watched as the administration's bungled roll- out stymied national testing and surveillance as the virus gained a foothold in the united states.
scientists in baird's world- renowned lab had been monitoring the novel coronavirus since december, and dr. baird had invested millions to prepare for it, including making their own covid-19 test. >> baird: we could make a drug test to detect heroin or we could make a blood test to detect cancer. we can just do those, and then we can just offer those tests. we could've done that also for this. >> whitaker: they first needed mergency approval from the f.d.a., and ran into one bureaucratic wall after another. >> baird: you have to send in the paperwork on paper. then you also have to send it in on, you know, a flash drive. and then, to gain approval, you would need to prove that the test worked on a larger number of cases than actually had been reported in the united states. >> whitaker: it's fair to say that this was all going on at a time when we really needed those tests? >> baird: oh, yes. oh, yes, of course. >> whitaker: as more cases of covid-19 were confirmed in the
u.s., and public health labs were still saddled with the faulty c.d.c. test, dr. baird's lab, along with the association of public health laboratories, beseeched the f.d.a. to let them use their own tests. dr. francis riedo is the medical director of infectious disease and prevention at evergreen hospital, where sick patients were filing the i.c.u. >> dr. francis riedo: it was on february 27 that they announced that testing would be available at the local health department beginning on february 28. >> whitaker: dr. riedo wasted no time, testing two patients, including a 73-year-old woman from life care whose symptoms had started nine days before. >> riedo: so that night, the chief of epidemiology called me and said, "you have two positives." and i thought, the odds of two individuals in a suburb of seattle just seemed too implausible. >> whitaker: he then tested
another 42 patients. 32 came back positive for covid- 19. 20 were from the life care nursing facility. it must have indicated to you that this virus had been spreading around the community for days, if not weeks, before it popped up on your radar. so you knew it's out there. >> riedo: we knew it was out there. >> butner: i got a call at home about 11:30, 12:00 at night on february 28, that we had a patient that tested positive. >> whitaker: overnight, this tidy one-story building became the face of the first outbreak in the united states. inside life care, nancy butner and her staff were the first to witness how wily this virus could be. >> butner: i think one of the most difficult things is that we didn't know what it looked like, and we didn't know what it would do to the patients, those early days. >> whitaker: it almost sounds like the virus was getting away from you? >> butner: oh, there's no question that we were not in control. the virus was in control. we couldn't readily test for it for that first week.
so, we didn't know if patients had it or not. >> whitaker: it came down to a guessing game of who they thought had covid-19 and who didn't, isolating some and not others. no one in this country had come up against anything like this before. butner's staff had to improvise p.p.e. on the spot, buying up oversized men's shirts and wrap- around dresses from walmart, while 40 of her employees, including the medical director, became sick and could no longer come to work. outside, the media gathered to film the parade of ambulances and to talk to heartbroken family members. >> we wake up daily to news of another death. >> my mother, i got a phone call this morning that she had passed at 3:30 in the morning. >> this is a picture of my mom, back in 1979. they transported her to evergreen hospital and by 6:00 a.m. she had passed away. >> whitaker: as if responding to a slow-motion mass shooting, local authorities declared a multi-casualty incident, putting
hospitals on notice to receive critically ill patients. >> dr. jeff duchin: i felt like i was standing on the beach, looking at a big tidal wave coming at us. >> whitaker: dr. jeffrey duchin, a 22-year veteran of the county health department, was in charge of the local government response to life care. we met him in on a windy afternoon in seattle. this is the kind of public health outbreak that you've trained for your entire career. >> duchin: it was overwhelming, in so many ways, because it erupted so quickly, so unexpectedly. there was just a lot of desire in our public health community to try and do something about it. >> whitaker: knowing the virus was way ahead of them in the city of kirkland, dr. duchin raised the alarm with the c.d.c., asking for a team of epidemiologists, disease investigators and lab support. and, with life care's essential staff down by a third, nancy butner called in a federal lifeline of doctors and nurses.
three days into the crisis, you write to the department of health and human services and ask them for a strike team, that comes out within 24 hours to tackle emergencies. you wrote to them-- >> butner: right. >> whitaker: --"we will agree to whatever it takes to receive federal assistance. simply stated, we are desperate for licensed nurses and nursing assistants." that sounds like a real cry for help. >> butner: we desperately needed staff. we needed nurses and aides to help us care for the patients. >> whitaker: in the first four days, 27 life care residents were taken to the hospital. by the end of the week, seven residents had died inside the home. with a house on fire, it would take, not 24 hours, but five days for the strike team to arrive. but, before doctors and nurses turned up, another federal agency moved in-- the centers for medicare and medicaid services. not to help with patient care, but to investigate the nursing facility.
how did that impact your ability to care for the residents in the middle of this crisis? >> butner: hours of staff time were averted to managing a survey process instead of managing a crisis in the facility and patient care. >> whitaker: so these federal investigators showed up before the federal strike team came to help you. >> butner: yes. >> whitaker: did that make any sense to you? >> butner: it was infuriating. they didn't truly understand covid or what the facility was going through, or what we had been through. >> whitaker: did you say to them, "look, we are in the middle of a crisis. why don't you let us handle this crisis and then we'll answer your questions"? >> butner: they knew how many staff were lost. they knew how many patients were hospitalized. they knew there was a lot of patients that were sick and it was an unknown virus. i explained that to them. but i can't tell them to leave. >> whitaker: but state health officials tried to do just that. we searched hundreds of public documents and found emails that show they pressed the governor's office to get the federal
inspectors to "call this off." according to life care centers of america, federal inspectors interviewed employees and demanded thousands of documents, diverting more than 400 hours of staff time away from patient care. the result was a 48-page "statement of deficiencies" which said that life care failed to manage the outbreak, putting residents in immediate jeopardy. we wanted to speak with seema verma, the administrator in charge, about the timing of the inspection and the findings. her requests for an on-camera interview. >> butner: i think they wanted a scapegoat for what happened at life care center kirkland. i think that they wanted someone to blame for covid-19 spreading. we had nothing to do with the spread across the nation. >> whitaker: life care was fined more than $600,000. in addition, the state inspectors, working in
partnership with federal investigators, filed their own report, accusing life care of the same serious mistakes they say cost lives. life care appealed both, and in september, a judge in the state case sided with the nursing facility and concluded that it was not a case of negligence. although the federal case is still pending, nancy butner sees this as vindication for life care of kirkland. >> butner: he found that everything we did during that time was appropriate. he ruled in our favor. i think that it was very clearly written by the judge, that what we did was the best that we could do. >> whitaker: during the first week of the outbreak, the c.d.c. warned skilled nursing facilities in the u.s. "are at the highest risk of being infected by coronavirus." still, nearly 80,000 nursing home residents have died nationwide. and the people who battled the first outbreak in kirkland,
washington, they worry the country wasn't paying attention. >> riedo: i think the messages that we sent out in those first five days were a stark warning. >> whitaker: what do you mean? >> riedo: that it's coming. the numbers are expanding on a daily basis. you better be prepared. >> whitaker: who's responsible for the-- the missteps and mistakes? >> baird: it took a village to screw it up this bad. we don't really have an approach to public health that works really well in this country. >> whitaker: sounds like you give the u.s. a failing grade? >> baird: i am not happy with how we responded, and i would hope that we learn from this and do better the next time. because there will be a next time, for sure. ( ticking ) >> prpted by progressive
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>> pelley: in the mail this week, comments about our interviews with the presidential and vice presidential cndidates. "lesley stahl did a fabulous job interviewing donald trump. all i can say is, you go, girl." "i am writing today to express my outrage at the '60 minutes' interview with president trump. i think when president trump asked you to be fair, a better word would have been 'respectful'." and about norah o'donnell's interviews with the democrats: "it was apparent she was attempting to take down this democratic ticket. there is a significant difference between asking tough questions and trying to trip someone up." "hardball questions for trump and softball questions to biden.
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