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

Trump addresses the nation on coronavirus TRANSCRIPTS: The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams

Guests: Anita Kumar, Austan Goolsbee, Amesh Adalja, Dave Zirin, Eliza Collins, Cornell Belcher

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That is tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE 11TH HOUR" with Brian Williams starts now.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: Tonight, in a rare Oval Office address, President Trump curves travel to Europe to fight the coronavirus pandemic as confidence in his administration efforts drops along with market futures.

And report that the president`s son-in-law is taking on new responsibility with the crisis.

And fast-paced developments tonight, the NBA has suspended its season until further notice.

Hollywood legend Tom Hanks says he has tested positive.

And the Dow officially moves into bear market territory ending its 11-year bull run.

Plus, Bernie Sanders stays in the presidential race after another brutal primary night. Can Joe Biden bring this to an end by next week? All of it as "The 11th Hour" gets underway on this Wednesday night.

Good evening from our NBC News headquarters here in New York. I`m Ali Velshi in for Brian Williams. Day 1,147 of the Trump administration, 237 days to go until the 2020 presidential election. With the number of coronavirus cases growing, with postponement of major events and economic toll intensified, Donald Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office and unveiled brand new travel restrictions.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travels from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seated by travelers from Europe.

We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect on Friday at mid night. There will be exceptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.

And this prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.

Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom. At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and South Korea.


VELSHI: Within the past hour, the acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security posted a tweet saying, "The travel restrictions don`t apply to American citizens or legal permanent residence or their families," which makes it difficult to exactly see how this will prevent the spread of the virus.

Also the White House issued a clarification saying that the President misspoke and the ban does not apply to cargo either. The travel ban is one of several steps that President discuss hours after the World Health Organization declared this new virus a pandemic.

And tonight, Trump canceled his plan visits this week to both Colorado and Nevada.

We`re also learning not long ago that coronavirus concerns have prompted the NBA to scrap its entire remaining season "until further notice." We`ll have much more on that coming up.

And this, actor Tom Hanks also making headlines after he posted on social media that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for the virus, saying, "We will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires."

The illness has now spread to more than 100 countries. More than 120,000 people have been infected world wide. Tonight, there are more than 1,200 cases in the United States and nearly 40 people have died.

This morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a key member of the White House`s virus task force offered this dire prediction in his testimony before the House Oversight Committee.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse we`ll get will depend on our ability to do two things, to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line, its going to get worse.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY, (D) VIRGINIA: Was it a mistake, Dr. Fauci, do you believe to dismantle the office within the National Security Council charge with global health and security?

FAUCI: I would not necessarily characterize it as a mistake. I would say we work very well with that office. It would be nice if that office was still there.


VELSHI: A new report points to a shortness of critical testing materials as well as of the test kits themselves that continues to hobble the nation`s efforts to deal with the virus, a concern that the President did nod not discuss tonight.

Some hospitals and commercial labs are working to increase their screening for possible cases. And many state and local officials are no longer waiting for federal help to protect their residents.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: New York State is going to take matters into its own hand. We are going to start contracting with private labs in the state to increase our testing capacity.

Remember again the chronology. We started several weeks ago, CDC said they would do all the tests and they would send them to Atlanta. We said that was too little, too late.

This will greatly increase our testing capacity.

We`re not in a position where we can rely on the CDC or the FDA to manage this testing protocol.


VELSHI: Now this viral outbreak puts still more pressure on financial markets today. The Dow shed almost 1,500 points. A nearly six percent decline on the day. Now, that essentially marks the end of an 11-year stock rally and the start of a bare market reflecting a 20 percent drop from recent highs.

And futures were down significantly following the President`s Oval Office address. The President did offer up some brought outline of a stimulus package tonight.


TRUMP: I will soon be taking emergency action which is unprecedented to provide financial relief. This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined or carrying for others due to coronavirus.

Effective immediately, the SBA will, again, provide economic loans in affected states and territories.

I am asking Congress to increase funding for this program by additional $50 million. Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interests or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.

I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with the immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully they will consider this strongly.


VELSHI: All right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to unveil legislation tomorrow aimed at helping workers who maybe at financial risks because of the coronavirus outbreak. NBC News reports the House will likely pass that bill.

As for the impact this crisis is having on our daily lives, there are new developments almost hourly. The NCAA announced March madness will go on at all venues but without fans in the arenas.

Seattle public schools will close for a minimum of two weeks beginning tomorrow. Tomorrow is also when the containment zone in the New York City suburbs of New Rochelle officially begins. Officials say they hope that will control the spread of the coronavirus and what has become the largest cluster of illness in the United States so far.

Here for our lead off discussion on a Wednesday night, Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent and Associate Editor for POLITICO, Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for "The Washington Post" and moderator of "Washington Week: on PBS. And we welcome to the broadcast Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama and a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. Welcome all of you.

Anita, the President made a number of announcements this evening. He did not declare a state of emergency. I do want to remind our viewers there is a state of emergency that continues to be in effect in America because of the border, the southern border. But that`s not as far as the President`s gone. He also suggested earlier today that Jared Kushner is sort of in charge of this and he`s studying it more.

ANITA KUMAR, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, the President is expected in the next few days, even perhaps next week to declare this emergency, a very limited emergency that would basically free up $40 billion that is sitting there that the government has sitting there for disaster relief. So he wants to free up some of that money.

And the thinking here is that he wants to go ahead and act quickly. He was on the Hill yesterday, on Capitol Hill, and he didn`t hear from Republicans or Democrats anything would make him believe that they were going to quickly accept some of his ideas for economic relief and he wanted to by pass them and really just get some funds freed up so he could go ahead and do that.

VELSHI: Robert, you were reporting this evening about the fact that the President had a bit of a shouting match with his Treasury Secretary about the measures that the Fed and others have taken. This is his Fed Chief Jay Powell who he put into place. Apparently he`s very, very frustrated with the Fed and that thinks more can be done.

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: He is unhappy with the Federal Reserve and Chairman Powell. On Monday afternoon while the President was in the Oval Office meeting with top advisors including Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, he latched out about Powell saying to the Treasury Secretary, you need to try to get him to lower rate if at all possible, o try to see if you can have a conversation with him to stimulate the economy. The President knows he`s being stamped (ph) on Capitol Hill about his payroll tax cut.

And just a couple minutes ago, House Democrats formally released, publicly released their virus relief bill. Just had been reading it over for the past couple minutes, include paid sick leave, food, security, it also included free testing, unemployment benefit. So you see, Speaker Pelosi tonight after the President speech trying to take a lead on a legislative answer to all of this.

VELSHI: Austan, the stock market Dow is down another 1,400 and somewhat points today. We`re now off 20 percent from recent highs, which puts the Dow into the bear mark. The S&P 500 is not far behind.

The President has a, what one might say in unhealthy preoccupation with both the stock market and interests rate. What do you make of this though? Because the market is responding even after the President`s announcement, market futures were lower. What do you make of what has to be done from the perspective of the government, whether to stimulus or what the House is proposing?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FMR. CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMICS ADVISERS: Well, you know, I think two things. The first is as we spoken many times, Paul Volcker used to tell me over and over in the financial crisis that when crisis hits, the only asset you have is your credibility. And I think when you see the stock market plunging the way it did today, they it did this evening, it is a judgment about the credibility of the White House that we`ve had the President of the United States going out and saying people are finding that when they get sick they can still go to work. We only have 14 cases and pretty soon it`s going to go down to zero.

When the President himself says that and when people can not be tested, no amount of stimulus is going to be sufficient. Because the reason that the economy is going into this tail spin is that people are afraid and they are withdrawing from the economy. And if you gave them a thousand-dollar payroll tax cut, they`re not going to spend it because the root of the problem, when you get into a virus situation is that the greatest economic stimulus comes from slowing the rate of spread of the virus.

And we`ve seen South Korea succeeded by having extensive testing and by finding the people who are sick and saying, look, don`t go visit your grandma and stay isolated for 14 days. They`ve been able to slow the spread of the virus. And their economy is going to come rebounding in a rapid bases. The longer we pretend that there aren`t cases here and try to blame it on Europe and say, we`re going to block cargo boxes from Europe, and that`s going to help us without doing the testing, the more fear is going to be generated in people`s minds and the worse the economy is going to get.

VELSHI: Robert, this whole issue of credibility, this thing has develop very quickly. I want to just go back to starting really the last week of February, the last couple of days in February when the President first started talking about coronavirus compare it to what he said tonight. Let`s listen together.


TRUMP: We are finding really little problem, very little problem. Now, you treat this like a flu.

This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.

It`s going to disappear. One day it`s a miracle, it will disappear.

We will be suspending all travels from Europe from the United States for the next 30 days.

We have thousands or hundred of thousands of people that get better which is by, you know, sitting around and even going to work, some of them go to work.

If you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.

The Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. This is the new hoax.

We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation.


VELSHI: Robert, this becomes a complicated cold warms for the President because he has been the one saying that the Democrats are politicizing it. He and Fox News have been talking about the media blowing this out of proportion. And now the President has got to step up there and do something that is unusual. A primetime Oval Address saying, let`s come together and take greater action to solve this.

COSTA: And there are real world implications for so many of the leaders around the country and outside the White House who are dealing with this.

In an interview this week with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, he told me that he`s deeply concerned about the mixed messages coming out of this administration. He said he had a 90-minute meeting with Vice President Pence who said one thing and then he listen to the President who was talking in an entirely different way about the entire crisis. And that`s a governor, sitting governor dealing with cases in his state.

When I was on Capitol Hill, there are also expressing concern, Democrats and Republicans about how the President is handling this. There is private concern among some of my top GOP sources that President`s intent is tuned to the stock market and his own reelection campaign.

VELSHI: And Anita, in fact, the rate cut that the President seem to be agitating for, what you curd last week did not have the desired effect in the market. Nothing the President seems to be doing is having a desired effect. But at this point, you have competing plans, the President`s plan and then the Republican -- the Democratic plan that`s come out. Who reconciles this? This has not been a White House and a Congress that manage to come together on many things. But at this point it is necessary. Who reconciles the fact that what the President thinks looks like stimulus and success is very different than what Nancy Pelosi and team do?

KUMAR: Right. This is a problem. And this has been the problem on a variety of issues. Obviously, we`ve never been in this place before, but on so many policy issues, you know, the Democrats and sometimes even the Republicans on Capitol Hill can`t agree with the White House. And so what happens is they don`t do anything.

That`s not going to be the case this time because everybody believes that something needs to be done. And that`s why you`re seeing the President saying that he`s going to act sort of unilaterally and then take this, you know, go ahead with this speech and call on Congress to act.

But, you know, going back to what Bob said, the President`s in this place where he`s trying to do two things. He`s talking about how this isn`t that big of a deal. It`s going to go away as you played. But he also has to show that he is doing something. So tonight, he took a different action, showing that he`s doing something while he`s also trying to downplay parts of it exactly for his reelection and for his popularity, what`s gonna happen in the future? The Trump campaign and some of his allies are very much aware now that this is going to probably be the issue that he`s going to be judged on in the next few months up until the election.

VELSHI: Austan, during the President`s address he said all travels from Europe to the United States will stop, not even cargo will go there. We have a correction came out as well, no, cargo is going to go. And then a correction came out to say, no, actually, it`s just not Americans coming to the United States. I wasn`t clear that the virus makes that distinction all that well.

GOOLSBEE: Right. Look, this is exactly what I mean. If the President gets up and says something in literally three minutes after he finishes saying it, they say no, no, what he said is not what the policy is. It undermines your credibility.

But what also undermines the credibility on one hand to say we need a big stimulus. And then this afternoon, the Secretary of HHS was reached. As you know, the President has a plan to cut 700,000 people off of food stamps, low income people. And they said, do you still plan to cut them off of food stamps on April 1st when those are the very people who are going to be losing their jobs? And they say yes, they do intend to cut them off of food stamps.

So, you`ve got a -- we need relief, but we`re gonna have a filibuster to hold up paid sick leave for all Americans. And I don`t think that I -- something is going to have to give. They`re either going to have to start telling the truth, doing tests and have a stimulus and in an antivirus program, or else they`re gonna have to just declare we don`t care. We -- all we want to do is make the problem seem as small as possible.

VELSHI: Thank you to the three of you for kicking us off tonight, Austan Goolsbee, Anita Kumar and Robert Costa.

Coming up, the latest medical advice on how to protect yourself from what`s officially now a global pandemic.

And later, down but not out, Bernie Sanders says he`ll be at Sunday`s Democratic debate despite some decisive defeats in yesterday`s primaries. THE 11TH HOUR just getting started on a Wednesday night.



FAUCI: This is a really serious problem that we have to take seriously. I mean, people always say, well, the flu, you know, the flu does this, the flu does that. The flu has a mortality of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality of 10 times that.


VELSHI: All right estimates on the mortality rate for this new coronavirus have ranged anywhere from below 1 percent to 3.4 percent. slightly higher than the seasonal flu. And as "The New York Times" points out, "Even a disease with a relatively low death rate," that`s the mortality rate, "can take a huge toll if enormous numbers of people catch it."

Here with us, Dr. Amesh Adalja. He`s an expert in Emergency Medicine and Infectious Diseases. The doctor is also a senior scholar with the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Adalja, thank you for being with us.

This is what people are trying to figure out even the mortality rates are obviously greater than the flu. But when we think about these rates we don`t really understand how we get to the numbers that we`re getting in terms of the infection of this.

This coronavirus, COVID-19, is more infectious than the flu.

DR. AMESH ADALJA, BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY: Definitely. It definitely seems to be spreading in a pattern that`s similar to the flu but it may be more infectious than the flu and it`s going to attack more people than the flu because we have no population immunity to this. So with the flu, there are antibodies that people develop from the vaccine, from prior infections, but this is a novel coronavirus and it will attack a large amount of the population. Maybe 50 percent or more will get sick with this because it`s totally new.

VELSHI: You and I were talking in the break about viral load. Talk to me about this. There may be carriers have a lot of the virus and that is what perhaps makes them so infectious?

ADALJA: Yes. So when you think about how infectious you are to other people, one of the key factors is how much virus you shed. And what we`re seeing with this coronavirus and some of the studies is that it is a much higher viral load in your nasal secretions, in your runny noses, in your sneezes than, for example, SARS was. And SARS was something that was pretty easily containable once people figured it out. But this is behaving more like the common cold causing coronaviruses. And that`s why we`re seeing this accelerated spread all over the world.

VELSHI: What In your opinion, is the way to fight this? Obviously, we`re getting word out there for people to wash their hands and try and you know, quarantine themselves, seek aid from doctors, use telehealth if they can. But what, from an infectious disease perspective, is the policy prescriptive to putting a halt to the spread of this?

ADALJA: The best thing is to identify those cases and then isolate those cases so they don`t spread it to other people. This is similar to what happened in South Korea where they actually have a low death rate around 0.6 percent. That`s the best way to do that.

If you allow people to be out there mingling with this, you`re going to spread it and it`s going to get into people with a high risk, and then you`re going to have higher mortality rates. This is something that`s going to be hard to contain. It`s not containable, through travel bans or airport screening or quarantines. If this is something where we really have to find a cases, isolate them --

VELSHI: Right. We have a strange travel ban coming into effect. It`s for non Americans traveling from Europe. I wouldn`t have guessed that the virus would make the distinction all that well.

ADALJA: No, this virus will infect you, no matter what country you come from. And we`ve seen that. There`s dozens and dozens of countries now.

VELSHI: What`s the -- what is the public health thing that has to be done better? We keep hearing about not enough testing kits, not enough testing, not enough diagnosis, not enough non test screening, is that in your opinion, the issue?

ADALJA: That`s one of the biggest thing that`s going to -- when we look back at this pandemic, we`re going to say the diagnostic kits were really botched the United States even though the United States is one of the best pandemic prepared countries, but diagnostic rollout was horrible, and it`s really put us behind the eight ball because we don`t know where this is spreading, which cities have it, which cities don`t have it, we don`t have a good idea of the denominator because we`re not testing mild cases. There`s very restrictive testing criteria, so that all has to change.

And I think that`s one of the things that`s put us behind because we didn`t -- we thought of this as a travel related illness.

VELSHI: Right.

ADALJA: And it`s never really been a travel related illness because --

VELSHI: The President still talks about that. Tonight, he said Europe didn`t do what the United States is and cut travel, which is may or may not be true, but the issue is, there`s a different way to solve this. Do you -- did you hear what you needed to hear tonight?

ADALJA: I thought the President took a good tone. He was serious about what he was talking about. However, I don`t think that travel bans are the solution to this. I really think diagnostic testing increasing. The antiviral red tape you want it to cut to make things come faster. That`s a good thing. Some of the economic policies may be a good thing. It`s hard to say exactly what will happen.

But I think that what I wanted to see is increased diagnostic testing, which we`re doing. More work on hospital preparedness. That`s the big weak link. When we get those cases, can our hospitals cope with them? Acceleration of vaccine development, antivirals, good public health messaging. And I think, you know, deferring to the experts at the NIH and CDC, that`s the best way to go about this.

VELSHI: Do you think we`ve got a lot of test kits out there? I think they`re more than a million now. They should have 4 million within the next few days. Are you expecting to see a pop in the number of diagnosed cases?

ADALJA: Definitely. As we start uncovering these cases that were undiagnosed, that might have been thought of as the cold or flu, we`re going to see cases go up. And we should expect that and shouldn`t alarm the public. This is what we want to find. We want to find these cases --

VELSHI: Right.

ADALJA: -- so we can isolate.

VELSHI: We don`t want to not know --

ADALJA: Right.

VELSHI: -- who`s out there and who needs to quarantine themselves.

Dr. Adalja, thank you for joining us.

ADALJA: And thanks for having me.

VELSHI: Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.

Coming up, businesses are closing doors, layoffs are underway, the growing economic impact of COVID-19 that you might not have seen coming when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and a world.


VELSHI: For sports fans, coronavirus concerns are hitting close to home tonight. The NBA has suspended their season until further notice after player on the Utah Jazz preliminary tested positive for coronavirus. Now the NBA said it will use this to determine what the next steps are. It`s just one of many developments now affecting Americans directly.

Joining us from Oakland tonight, Jacob Ward, NBC News technology correspondent who has really taken on more than the technology beat these days. You`re talking about how businesses across America and how places people work are dealing with this unprecedented crisis.

JACOB WARD, NBC NEWS TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: That`s right. I mean, Ali, what we are seeing at this moment, right, is the idea that everyone who until now thought to themselves this will not touch me. I am not elderly. I have not traveled to Asia. I have not contacted with people, somehow won`t affect my life.

I think this moment with the NBA cancelling its season indefinitely, cancelling all games indefinitely, you know, is the moment when I think a lot of people realized oh, this really is going to touch everybody. And that`s not mentioning all of the incredible changes we`ve seen just over the course of just this one day.

You have companies like Twitter saying from now on everyone in that company will work from home. You know, we have everybody at all levels of society being touched by this thing and from both the health officials and economic leaders we have been talking to, it is just going to get more intense from here, Ali.

VELSHI: You have been following because there was a case near you, one of the first cases at a hospital near you.

WARD: Right.

VELSHI: You have been in touch with healthcare providers and nurses --

WARD: Yes.

VELSHI: -- a lot of frustration with front line workers including nurses.

WARD: That`s right. We`ve really have had tremendous amount of sort of outrage really on the part of nurses across California. And keep in mind, Ali, that California is one of the safest places to be a nurse. This is one of the -- has some of the strictest safety standard in the country, and yet, this place is affected as are all by change in the CDC put on into place on Tuesday, weakening the guidelines on the protected equipment that nurses are supposed to be able to get.

We talked to nurses this morning who say that they literally have to beg for a respirator. If they feel that the patient that their dealing with might be a safety concern, they have to go and beg a supervisor for a N-95 respirator to protect themselves.

Now, here`s the important thing to think about. You and I, Ali, I know I`ve been talking a lot of about the sheer numbers of the outbreak here. But think about this, the one case that we went uncover this week, that first case here in the Bay Area, she resulted in 36 nurses having to be quarantined --

VELSHI: Right.

WARD: -- because they were exposed unknowingly. You imagine that for each case that we`re going to see if you don`t have proper protective equipment on the nurses treating that person, that healthcare system goes down.

VELSHI: So this is the issue. In fact, for most people, they`ve said, there will be a finite number of cases in this infection one way or the other. But the curve, the way we will detect them because of all this testing, there`s a real fear amongst epidemiologists, and healthcare, public health professionals that this will spike and exceed America`s capacity to treat it in terms of nurses, facilities, hospital beds, if we don`t do something very quickly to flatten the curve it`ll spike --

WARD: That`s right.

VELSHI: -- and we will exceed our capacity.

WARD: That`s right. I think that for you and I and other people without medical training, there`s this idea that you can somehow get away from this thing. If I isolate myself, if I go to my lake house, I can somehow not catch it. That`s not what`s going to happen here. This is going to move through the population of the world the way that it is going now. That`s what`s going to happen. This is what the epidemiologist and the health officials are telling us.

And what we`re hoping for is that we get herd immunity, we all get it, we become immune to it. And we don`t have to trade too many lives in the bargain. And so, that`s right, if we can somehow put it off as long as possible so that you and I and everyone we know, do not all catch it at once and create this peak --


WARD: -- this spike in infections that crashes the healthcare system. That`s what we want. We want to catch it as late as possible, be as healthy as possible throughout that time. Hopefully, some new drugs come online to help us along the way of vaccines not coming according to the experts we`re talking to. So that`s right. It`s just waiting and hoping that we can flatten that curve over time.

VELSHI: The vice president tweeted not too long ago. Tonight, President Trump took decisive action in suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days, and ensuring that working Americans affected by the coronavirus can stay home without financial hardship.

Now, we`ve had some contradictory information from Homeland Security saying that actually it`s just going to be non-Americans who will not be able to travel from Europe. Now again, you`re a science guy, Jake. Everything you`ve learned and studied about this virus would suggest you that what the President is doing and stopping non Americans traveling to United States might be interesting immigration policy but it`s not actually public health policy?

WARD: No, that`s absolutely right. The WHO long ago told us the travel bans do not work and you did not hear the President talk about canceling your elective procedures so that we can free up hospital beds, social distancing, washing your hands, you know, he`s talking only about that kind of immigration policy and it just doesn`t make sense out, Ali.

VELSHI: Jake Ward, thank you. Jake Ward for us in San Francisco. Coming up, our next two guests live and breathe the sports. We`re going to get them to react and tonight`s huge announcement from the NBA when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: This is crazy. This can`t be true. I mean it`s not within the realm of possibilities, it`s just seem more like out of the movie than reality.


VELSHI: That was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reacting to the news of the NBA suspending its season until further notice. Take a look at the actual moment. The note news broke during a game between the Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets joining us by phone. There he is, there`s his reaction to it.

Joining us by phone is Dave Zirin. He`s the sports editor for The Nation, the host of the Edge of Sports Podcast. Dave, I really didn`t expect you and I would be talking about this. What do you make of it the NBA suspending the season until further notice, indefinitely, not saying the season`s canceled, but saying until we figure this out, no more games.

DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION: Well, honestly, I`m still in a state of shock that we`re talking about this at all. I mean, to me, the NBA story today has been a microcosm of what we`ve seen across the country. I mean, just with the speed of this decision and how quickly we went from OK, the NBA is probably not going to do anything to OK, we`re going to abide by what local city governments do to then saying, OK, we`re actually going to have games but no fans in the stands. And then as soon as NBA All Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus that the NBA take this remarkable step. But it happen in rapid fire fashion.

VELSHI: The NBA is a lot of money. So on one hand, this could be a financial decision. On the other hand, there is probably no place where this connects more with the American public who may or may not have been taking coronavirus seriously, all of a sudden --

ZIRIN: Exactly.

VELSHI: -- there`s nobody who`s not talking about this particular -- some people may or may not be talking about the travel ban from Europe that applies to non-American citizens. Every American tonight is talking about the NBA canceling or suspending the season.

ZIRIN: Yes, it`s just the fact that for a lot of people that suddenly got very real, not because of the news coverage that`s been going on for weeks, not because we`ve known for months, but because the NBA is now a casualty of this virus.

And now that the NBA has acted so decisively expect this to now happen in the National Hockey League, I think by tomorrow, and then the NCAA, they are now faced with this question, do we cancel March Madness? Or do we just do games without fans in the stand. Bracketology will it be a casualty of the coronavirus?

And I think the answer is going to have to be yes. But they need to make this decision because like 90 percent of their operating revenue comes from March Madness.


ZIRIN: But this is a pandemic.

VELSHI: Right. And they did say, they did say no spectators, but they`ll still carry on with the games. But as you said, the NHL is going to be talking about this in the morning. So Dave, the massive effect on America economically and culturally, from this thing, as you said, becomes very real. All of a sudden, do you sense the NHL is going to do something similar?

ZIRIN: That`s what my sense is. I mean, because so far, the language of the -- what they`ve put out is we`re aware of the NBA is decision. We`re meeting to talk about it. So far we`re not saying anything. So they`re being a little bit cautious. But I think clearly, they`re hedging towards saying if the NBA did it, well, we have to do it too.

VELSHI: What do you think happens next? What, I mean, obviously, there are a lot of fans out there who may or may not have been following the story as closely as we do. In the news, there are going to be people who don`t think this is a good decision and there`s a lot of money at stake.

ZIRIN: I mean, this is about the virus. I mean, that`s what`s next. I mean, there`s some very interesting ideas being floated like the NBA Playoffs should just be set right now and then start up again in a couple of months. So whatever place you`re in right now in the standings is what it`s going to be come playoff time. That`s been bandied about.

But because we`re in such uncharted territory, that means in the history of sports, I was looking back at Spanish Flu 1918. I mean, that there`s just there`s no comp to this. And so we don`t really know what they`re going to do because they`re operating without a compass.

VELSHI: Yes, there`s the Spanish Flu example doesn`t work so well, when we`re talking about the number of people who watch these games around the world and the number -- the amount of money that comes in as a result of them.

Dave, thanks for joining us. Dave ZIrin on this particular story that continues to develop and we will keep our eye open for what happens at the NHL as they meet to decide what their future looks like for the rest of the season.

Up next what Bernie Sanders says he`s hoping to accomplish by staying in the Democratic race when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Last night obviously was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view. Poll after poll, including exit polls show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda on Sunday. I very much look forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend Joe Biden.

Senator Bernie Sanders isn`t going anywhere despite getting trounced in the latest round of primary voting. He`s currently trailing Joe Biden by 147 delegates. Now that is a lot of ground to make up

A Sanders` confident telling the New York Times, quote, the goal was now as much about accruing delegates to use as leverage in negotiations with Mr. Biden, as it was an effort to win the nomination.

Both Sanders and Biden have canceled their campaign rallies over coronavirus fears. Biden named a six member Public Health Advisory Committee and will address the pandemic in his speech tomorrow.

Joining us for more is Cornell Belcher is a democratic pollster worked on both of President Obama`s campaigns and with a number of House and Senate Democrats, and Eliza Collins, politics reporter covering the 2020 campaign for the Wall Street Journal. Welcome to both of you. Thank you for being with us.

Eliza, let me start with you. We`ve got primaries coming up in a few places where Bernie Sanders has a remarkable uphill battle. Florida, Illinois, Arizona, what`s the strategy?

ELIZA COLLINS, WALL STREET JOURNAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, it`s safe to say that Sanders path is very, very narrow, it is possible but he would really have to do much better than he`s done. And all of those states you just mentioned are states that he lost in 2016. And it was a very different race at that time.

The Sanders campaign is pretty honest in conversations I`ve had with them. They feel like they can pull off a win in Arizona because of the large Latino population. Sanders has done better with Latinos this time than he did in 2016. But he lost that race in 2016 by double digits.

They feel like they need to do well in Ohio and Illinois. And then Florida, they`ve pretty much counted out that`s a state with a large Cuban American population. Sanders has made comments about Fidel Castro that have not gone over there. So already, he`s going into these races just behind.

VELSHI: Cornell, what do you make of it? What do you make of where we stand right now? And then where we`re going to stand on Wednesday?

CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I don`t think I don`t think the dynamics of this are getting fairly locked in when you look at the coalition that`s backing Vice President Biden right now. It is where most of the votes are that moderate swath of voters and my minority voters and look, even the groups that the Sanders was doing better with and 2016, he`s not doing better with them right now. And I think -- I don`t think this crisis helps. Because when you look at the exit polling, look, Biden has a big advantage around it. So who, you know, a leader in a crisis situation. So I don`t see him doing much better in any of these states.

The question now to me becomes, you know, can he pull together enough delegates and then leverage that for a progressive platform within the Democratic Party, which quite frankly, I don`t think is out of reach because frankly, a lot of the progressive ideals he has, has a lot have a lot of backing from Democrats, except for there`s issues around Medicare for All because just for the price tag.

VELSHI: Right. Yes, it`s an interesting one, because and I`m curious what you think about this, Eliza. What does that leverage look like? Because in the end, if Bernie -- if Joe Biden continues to look like he`s got this lead, and will win, what the Sanders -- what does Sanders sort of hold over him?

COLLINS: Well, it`s looking more likely than not that Joe Biden is the nominee at this moment but he needs to bring Democrats to gather. He then has to go to the general election and beat Trump. And it is very clear that Bernie Sanders has a strong base.

I mean, I`ve spent the last year talking to these people. He does very well with young people much better than Biden does. He`s got really passionate supporters. And so Biden needs to make an effort to bring those people into the fold.

And I think that`s what we saw Sanders today. He was really previewing, listing, you know, his priorities and saying, what are you going to do about it, Joe Biden. And I`m not exactly sure what that looks like, if it`s conversations behind the scenes, if it`s sending over advisors, but the Biden campaign will definitely have to reach out to the Sanders supporters who -- when you talking to them say they want to be Trump.


COLLINS: But they felt like Biden was not the right person.

VELSHI: But Cornell, you`re a pollster. And what`s interesting about the exit polls and entrance polls and some of these primaries, is that what you`re seeing is that an overwhelming majority of people seem to like Medicare for All. They seem to like what Bernie Sanders is standing for, and yet many of those people will still voting for Joe Biden.

BELCHER: Well guess what, Ali, there`s a disconnect between policy and politics, right?  I would argue if people voted simply on policy, Democrats will have a super majority, because most of what Democrats will argue for people`s support, like a minimum wage, right?

VELSHI: But I`m just pointing out to our viewers what we got on the screen. These are Washington, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan, all majorities of people who say they support Medicare for All. Does Joe Biden, can he tinker with the Affordable Care Act and his support for Obamacare, enough to make some of these folks happy?

BELCHER: But the one caveat, I would say there, Ali, is you are talking about Democratic primary voters?

VELSHI: Yes. Right.

BELCHER: There`s different than general election voters that that you, look, if you look at Nancy Pelosi, and you look at those red to blue that she went over to put her -- help put her back in the speakership office. Those are not people who are voting in democratic primaries. They`re quite frankly, people have been voting Republican up until recently, and I think so -- it`s so primary voters are one thing but that is not as popular with a general electorate than it is with primary votes. The Democrats have to be careful.

VELSHI: Eliza, there are a lot of people out there and a lot of ink has been spilled on what Elizabeth Warren is going to do. Some people have suggested what she should do. And that has met with some resistance about in the case of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, telling her she should support Bernie Sanders. A lot of people said, hey, hold on. You don`t need to tell her what she needs to do. But what are you thinking about do you think?

COLLINS: Well, I think she`s looking at the dynamics of this race right now. I mean, there`s really no point in getting in at this moment. She also like Sanders would probably like to have some leverage. She`s got supporters who are looking for some guidance, and she`s got a whole bunch of policies that she`d like to see go forward. So, you know, whoever ends up being the nominee, it`s looking like Biden at the moment. She can go in as well and make some requests and push for her policies.

VELNSHI: Cornell, Joe Biden has put together a public health panel, sort of an advisory group reminds me of in the electric, the 2008 election, Barack Obama pulling together all these experts, mostly from the Clinton administration to say I`ve got this, this economic crisis. Joe Biden`s trying to put that message forward. How do you think this is going to work for him?

BELCHER: I think it`s going to work well, because I think it works into his narrative. I mean, when people think about Joe Biden, they think about, you know, his steady leadership, they think about strength. I think he is a steady hand. He`s the adult in the room. I think in a time of crisis, when you look at Donald Trump`s performance versus sort of Biden`s -- where Biden is on this. I think that is a good contrast, where you have a steady hand and adult in the room, someone who you can trust with a crisis.

I think that`s where Donald Trump is lacking. I think that`s probably what Joe Biden`s greatest strengths.

VELSHI: Cornell, thank you for joining us. Eliza Collins, thank you as well.

Coming up, the nation and the world on lockdown when THE 11TH HOUR continues.



WHOOPI GOLDBERG, HOST, THE VIEW: Well, hello, hello, hello, welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View". Welcome to "The View."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Brian. There`s no audience.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I was just about to mention that because this is a historic day on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, I jump for you.

GOLDBERG: That`s all right. Listen, it`s that kind of day.


VELSHI: It is that kind of day. The last thing before we go tonight, we`ve covered a lot of fast moving developments. It was already busy, a busy day of news concerning the impacts that we`re seeing from coronavirus across the country. And as you saw there, the popular daytime talk show, "The View", has eliminated the studio audience or its tapings here in New York.

A lot of late night talk shows including the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and Late Night with Seth Meyers, which are both taped here in this building will start doing the same thing.

There`s a look at Time Square a little earlier tonight. Fair to say things are a little quieter than usual.

In Washington, the National Cathedral will be closing for at least two weeks, concerts and popular venues across the nation`s capitol also canceled. Coachella, the huge Music Festival in California which usually takes place in April has been postponed until October, six months.

Seattle base rock band Pearl Jam is postponing its entire North American tour, which was due to start next week. Across Seattle, New York and beyond, offices are empty, with more and more employees working from home and colleges across the country are keeping students out of the classroom opting to take courses online.

In short, there have been a lot of changes to life in America so far, and we`re going to keep seeing more and more, but one constant will be here to keep you up to date on all of it. That`s our broadcast for tonight. Thank you for being with us and good night from NBC News headquarters in New York.

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