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

Sen. Paul TRANSCRIPT: 3/23/20, The 11th Hour w/ Brian Williams

Guests: Nancy Cook, Lipi Roy, Melanie Zanona, Walter Isaacson, Laurie Garrett, Michelle Lujan Grisham

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC HOST: Well, good evening once again. Day 1159 of the  Trump administration. 225 days until our next presidential election.

And if you were watching the White House briefing earlier tonight, then you  know nothing but good news. The President says it will be over very soon,  that businesses will be open very soon, and we should await the OK to get  going.

He says the vaccines are coming along very quickly. They are fixing the  problem. He emphasized this is a medical problem, not economic, and he said  the mortality rate number may be lower than people think.

Now, we should point out in the real world, the U.S. has the highest rate  of increase in the world, and our numbers rocketed up again today. And,  again, we don`t know how many people have it in this country because people  can`t get tested so much of the time. Of those tested, we know we have over  43,000. And the number of deaths just went up by at least 137 just today.  As we come on the air tonight, the death toll currently stands at 533.

The U.S. remains way behind where we should be in this fight right now. Our  economy is going into a forced kind of sleep mode, and unemployment claims  are higher than they have ever been in our history.

The International Monetary Fund is now warning the pandemic is likely to  cause a global recession before the end of this calendar year.

Early this morning Trump posted a message all in caps that said, "WE CANNOT  LET THE PROBLEM BE WORSE THAN THE CURE ITSELF." This has become his new  theme effective today. And he said a lot more about it during tonight`s  marathon White House briefing where he signaled his willingness to scale  back some of these recent measures taken to try to stop the virus.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: America continues to mobilize  every segment of our society to turn the tide in the battle against the  virus. I want Americans to know that we will get through this challenge.  The hardship will end. It will end soon. Normal life will return, and our  economy will rebound. We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem  itself. This is not a country that was built for this. It was not built to  be shut down.

At the end of the 15-day period, we`ll make a decision as to which way we  want to go, where we want to go, the timing, and essentially we`re  referring to the timing of the opening, essentially the opening of our  country. We have almost 160 million jobs in this country now, the most ever  by far, by far the most ever. The number of jobs, almost 160 million. So we  can`t turn that off and think it`s going to be wonderful. There will be  tremendous repercussions. There will be tremendous death from that. Death,  you know, you`re talking about death, probably more death from that than  anything we`re talking about with respect to the virus.


WILLIAMS: Meanwhile the Senate is paralyzed, just what Americans want to  hear right about now. They`re deadlocked on a nearly $2 trillion emergency  bailout bill. This is the second time in as many days the Senate has failed  to move forward with an aid package. A big sticking point here, the $500  billion the bill would set aside for federal loans for states, cities,  businesses. The bitter partisan tension was clearly evident today on the  Senate floor. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We Democrats are trying to get things done, not making  partisan speech after partisan speech. Leader McConnell continues to set  arbitrary vote deadlines when the matter of real importance is the status  of the bipartisan negotiations.

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY MAJORITY LEADER: For days now we`ve  been engaged in intense bipartisan talks to build emergency relief  legislation on an historic scale. But yesterday when the time came to vote  on these urgent measures, our democratic colleagues chose to block it.


WILLIAMS: We should also point out there are members of the Senate missing.  They`re dealing with members directly affected by the outbreak. Amy  Klobuchar of Minnesota today announced her husband has tested positive for  the virus and is, in fact, being hospitalized. Earlier this evening, the  senator spoke to Rachel Maddow.


SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) MINNESOTA: I would love to be at my husband`s  side right now, but instead I`m with you, which is fine, on this show. But  it is so hard because you want to talk to the doctor and be there. You want  to see what the oxygen levels are. You want to bring flowers, and you can`t  do any of that, and that`s going to happen to everyone. The American people  should not settle for what they`ve had to date, which is not enough tests,  not enough equipment, and that`s why I`m here tonight.


WILLIAMS: Yesterday Senator Republican of Kentucky, Senator Rand Paul  revealed he had tested positive for the virus. Today as he was being  criticized for being tested despite having no symptoms, he insisted more  Americans should be able to be tested. Senator Paul, who we hasten to add  is a doctor, had used the Senate gym and had been in close contact with  senators while waiting for his results. One of those senators is Mitt  Romney. Here`s how his close friend, the President, reacted to the news  yesterday that Romney is in quarantine.


TRUMP: Romney is in isolation?



TRUMP: Gee, that`s too bad. Go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did I detect sarcasm there, sir?

TRUMP: No. None whatsoever.


WILLIAMS: So there was that. Today in the briefing room, Dr. Deborah Brix  was asked about Rand Paul`s decision not to self-isolate while waiting for  test results?


DEBORAH BIRX, RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE:  Each person has to be responsible in the way that they decrease their  interaction with others, the six feet. And you`re all very social  distanced, so thank you. But also assuming that everyone that you`re  interacting with could be positive.


WILLIAMS: There was also a notable absence at this evening`s briefing. That  would be Dr. Anthony Fauci. He was MIA, more on that ahead. And one more  thing from the briefing. The President, who has been trying hard along with  backup from some on Fox News, to brand this illness as the Chinese virus  reacted today to the prejudice this has caused toward Asians here in the  U.S.


TRUMP: It seems that there could be a little bit of nasty language toward  the Asian-Americans in our country, and I don`t like that at all.

They are making statements to great American citizens that happen to be of  Asian heritage.


WILLIAMS: Here for our leadoff discussion on a Monday night, Nancy Cook,  White House Political Reporter for Politico. Melanie Zanona, Congressional  Reporter, also with Politico. And Dr. Lipi Roy, Assistant Clinical  Professor for the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of  Medicine. She is among our medical contradictors.

Good evening. Thank you all for coming on. Nancy, I`d like to begin with  you. Is it possible we have reached the social distancing attention span of  the President? Is it possible that he truly is thinking of loosening up  advice, regulations way earlier than most physicians would recommend? Can  you take us inside your reporting for Politico inside the West Wing and  these deliberations?

NANCY COOK, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Sure. And so I started to hear  over the weekend that there was this brewing fight between economic  officials and top public health officials who were participating in the  coronavirus task force. And basically what was happening is economic  officials had been hearing from business leaders and the President himself  was getting very worried about the state of the economy. And there was this  thinking that, you know, there was this pondering of whether or not they  should keep urging people to do social distancing at the end of the 15-day  mark or whether or not they should give people a different guidance. And  really what has happened is that the economic officials have so far won the  battle, and the President tonight said that, he thought that they would  reopen the economy soon.

Meanwhile, the top public health officials in the administration are  uniformly horrified by this idea. They think it`s terrible. The virus is  spreading throughout 50 states. You know, the infection rate in New York or  at least the ones we know about is rapidly increasing. And they just feel  like it`s way too soon to reopen schools, businesses, restaurants that, you  know, we really need to get this under control. And the other point that  the public health officials make is that there`s still really a scarcity of  testing in the U.S., and so it`s very difficult to even know who is  positive and who should be isolated. And until that testing problem is  solved, the public health officials within the administration feel like  this is a very irresponsible choice.

WILLIAMS: And, Doctor, you`re obviously here to talk about medicine, public  health, and not politics. So I`ll ask you, this very optimistic talk today  from the President about perhaps a date certain to reopen business as usual  in America, he raised the possibility that public health experts would  clear region by region of our country, telling people it`s safe to come  out. I`m assuming you would find this counterproductive.

DR. LIPI ROY, NYU SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, DEPARTMENT OF POPULATION HEALTH: Hi,  Brian. Good to be with you. I feel like I have to take a deep breath every  single day. We all need to because we need to brace ourselves for a very  long, dark, and tough, challenging road ahead. My fellow medical  professionals are using terms like we`re calling up politicians and going  on social media, wherever, talking about the Defense Production Act,  military support in hot zones, and supply chain, nationalization,  coordination. This is not what we`re trained to do. We are trained to do a  specific role, which is direct patient care. That`s what we`re trained for,  and it`s what we`re good at.

The fact that my fellow medical colleagues are talking about all these  other things is really a reflection of a failure of leadership, and this is  going to have dire consequences, catastrophic consequences on millions of  patients and ultimately as well on health care workers because this  unprecedented burden that the health care workers are going to face is  going to have a psychological toll on health care workforce.

Remember, pre-coronavirus, I think we have to redefine our timelines, pre  and post COVID-19. Pre-Covid-19 burnout rate among clinicians and  physicians was extremely high. Almost 50% of doctors experienced burnout,  which is emotional and physical exhaustion and depersonalization, which has  adverse effects in terms of patient quality of care, so an increased  medical errors. All of this is related, and we`re making a strong cry here  for help and support, which we need desperately.

WILLIAMS: Melanie, I am guessing on behalf of the bartenders and servers  and people in retail who are home watching, out of work, temporarily  unemployed, that the last thing they want to hear about is bickering in the  U.S. Senate. But, please, it is your beat, I know that. Please tell us  where it stands right now?

MELANIE ZANONA, POLITICO CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Brian, I`ve been  checking in with my sources constantly on Capitol Hill. And what I can tell  you, at least as of right now, both sides feel like they are within  striking distance of a deal. The last we heard was about an hour ago. Chuck  Schumer was in a meeting with Steven Mnuchin, and Mnuchin left with one of  Schumer`s aides, which is a good sign.

But, look, I have to give the usual caveats that things could fall apart. A  deal is not final until it`s final. And there is an overwhelming sense of  urgency among lawmakers right now that they need to get something done.  Democrats especially are getting hammered by Republicans right now, being  accused of holding things up even though they`re trying to push to make the  bill better in their words.

On top of that, lawmakers are concerned about being in the Capitol for  their own health and safety. A lot of these members are older. They`re more  vulnerable. There`s more and more cases every day of either AIDS or other  lawmakers contracting coronavirus, it`s causing attendance issues until  everybody wants to get this done for the American people and also so they  can get out of the Capitol as well.

WILLIAMS: Nancy, as I pointed out at the top of the broadcast, or tried to,  very little of what the President had to say in the briefing room today  matched up with the reality we are covering here tonight. Why his  insistence, according to your reporting, his insistence on having a  speaking role at this briefing every day when, especially on a night like  tonight, Fauci was MIA?

COOK: Yeah, it`s been interesting to me the evolution of how the President  has crept into this briefing. And I was at the White House this weekend for  the two briefings. And I was there sitting through the briefings for about  three hours in total on Saturday and Sunday. And today the briefing lasted  almost two hours.

I feel like what`s happening is that the President really has no outlet at  this point. He`s not traveling. He`s not doing campaign rallies. He`s not  going to Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster. And he really needs an outlet to speak  to people. And I think that these briefings have taken the place of that.

I also feel like he really wants to paint this optimistic picture, and he  feels like he is the best face of the response. And so he keeps going out  there and, you know, sort of trying to say, oh, things are great. We`re  going to open soon. But he keeps undercutting and contradicting his health  officials and sending so many mixed messages to Americans about potential  treatments for this, the time frame of when they should stop social  distancing.

And so there`s a lot of angst in the white house about whether or not these  briefings every day are a good idea, and there`s a lot of angst about how  time-consuming they are. But the President, I think, has really come to  like them. And so I think we will see this being a feature of the White  House moving forward.

WILLIAMS: I also saw it surmised because his live-audience rallies have  been suspended, this gives him the oxygen of a kind of live appearance or  performance.

Doc, I want to play for you something I saw tonight in real time. On Fox  News, Tucker Carlson`s broadcast, he had the Lieutenant Governor of Texas  on tonight, who noted he was 70 years old, and that puts him in one of the  risk categories. I`ll let him make the point. We`ll listen to this. But the  summation of what he was trying to say in his own words was, the only thing  worse than loss of life in this country would be loss of the American way.  We`ll play it, talk about it on the other side.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one reached out to me and said, as a senior citizen,  are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping  the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren? And  if that`s the exchange, I`m all in.


WILLIAMS: So, Doctor, I recognize this goes to philosophy. It goes to  politics. It`s very personal in his world, in his life. It`s also a  viewpoint you`re starting to see and hear. What do you make of it, again,  as a public health professional?

ROY: So, look, I`ve said this before. I`ll say it again. As doctors, as  nurses, as frontline health care workers, we have one agenda, one sole  agenda, and that`s to preserve the health and safety of our patients. And  frankly it`s going to be in the order of millions of people. So we need to  just act. The doctors and nurses, we know what we need, and we`re being  handcuffed. We`re just not getting it. Patients are going to die. We know  that, brain.

People are already dying. We already know the numbers in New York City. I  at least feel reassured that Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo are acting  and they`re taking the advice closely from their medical and public health  officials. So we really need to act. And we`re just not getting the support  that we need. That`s all I can really say, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Melanie, a quick question to you about politics and the U.S.  Senate. When you talk to senators, you realize that on the Ted Cruz  unpopularity ranking scale, Rand Paul is right up there already. How is his  coronavirus diagnosis going over in that chamber?

ZANONA: Well, there`s bipartisan outrage because after he took the test, he  didn`t self-isolate, which is what health experts had said are the  guidelines. Instead, he continued to carry on his daily life. He worked out  in the Senate gym, which he wasn`t supposed to be doing. He also was going  to the Senate lunches. And now as a result of that, he potentially exposed  other senators and at least two other republicans have had to sit on the  sidelines and weren`t able to vote on Sunday or today because of it. So now  the GOP`s already thin majority is even thinner. You have members who are  growing increasingly worried, and I think this whole episode with Rand Paul  is really stepping up the anxiety and the anger in the capitol hallways  right now.

WILLIAMS: On that note, our thanks on a Monday night to Nancy Cook, to  Melanie Zanona, and Dr. Lipi Roy. We appreciate the three of you helping  start us off.

Coming up for, we`ll ask a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Science Journalist about  the growing wave of information and disinformation now overwhelming a  frightened population.

And later, a deeper look into the growing debate over saving an ailing U.S.  economy or saving more lives as THE 11TH HOUR is just getting started on a  Monday night.


WILLIAMS: There is some encouraging news out of Italy, and every night  we`re going to give it a try and try to find some good news. The BBC is  reporting a 3-D printing company in Italy has designed and printed 100  respirator valves after a hospital there ran out of them. They cost about  $1 each. The prototype took about three hours to design. According to an  article in Forbes, the coronavirus crisis may have an upside, and we,  "While the grave and tragic human toll of lost lives cannot be measured,  there is a silver lining. And if the history of pandemics is a guide, this  contagion, like all others, will spark a wave of innovation proportional to  how it alters the shape of society."

We are so pleased to have our friend back with us tonight, Walter Isaacson,  distinguished fellow with the Aspen Institute, former editor of Time  Magazine, veteran journalist and author, biographer of, in no particular  order, Franklin, Einstein, Kissinger, Jobs and da Vinci. In spare time,  he`s a professor of history at the Jewel of New Orleans, Tulane University.

Walter, thank you very much for coming on. I guess I want to know what do  you think we are at the beginning of right now, and how is your betting on  America as you know it to get through what you think is coming?

WALTER ISAACSON, TULANE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF HISTORY: Well, I think  America will get through it. It`s the most innovative country in history,  and as you said, sometimes tragedies like this have to spark innovation. I  think we`ll have new ways of doing supply chains. We`ll have printing on  demand. The whole notion of a global supply chain will probably break down  a bit, and we`ll have more local manufacturing.

But most importantly, I think it will be a century of biotechnology. I  think people watching this who are young today will say, all right, the  past half-century, the last part of the 20th century, was an info  technology revolution. This is going to be a biology revolution, a biotech  revolution. And it`s going to come with people understanding viruses,  understanding how to do genetic editing, understanding new technologies  like crisper because those are going to be so much in demand.

WILLIAMS: Let me run a theory by you. In all the history you`ve studied and  know about, has there ever been a single individual, who will have -- even  though it`s socioeconomic, who will have as big a control over our supply  chain as Jeff Bezos and Amazon and the role they`re about to play in  getting stuff to American homes that can afford it?

ISAACSON: Well, yes. I mean that`s one of the innovations that came after  the SARS crisis was a whole lot of online shopping. And I think, you know,  you`re going to see that now. But there is a hunger that people have to  actually be together. We thought that online shopping would destroy the  retail industry just as we thought Walmart might. But people do want to get  out and get together. So I think once we create vaccines and treatments for  this, whether it`s in six months or 18 months, I don`t think we`re going to  just be shopping online.

WILLIAMS: So we can assume that the engine of American industry, science,  technology were all motivated to work toward a cure, toward therapeutics  for this. We can assume they`re going to be running Hell Bent for Leather  toward that goal?

ISAACSON: Oh everybody is. I was just in communication with Jennifer  Doudna, one of the co-inventors of the gene editing technology CRISPR. And  they`re holding meetings with how do you find new detection technologies?  How do you find new ways to fight viruses? Bacteria have been fighting  viruses for 3 billion years and one of the things that we`ve done in  biotech recently is take from bacteria some of the ways that they fight  against viruses. So I think you`re going to see this type of innovation  just like after World War II, where the government, academia, and private  enterprise all worked together to create things like the computer, the  internet, and the microchip.

WILLIAMS: We try to keep religion out of this kind of thing, but your lips  to God`s ears. Walter Isaacson, thank you.

ISAACSON: Thank you very much.

WILLIAMS: We`re probably going to ask to talk to you along the way. We  greatly appreciate being able to interview you tonight.

And we`re back live. Here`s how I`m able to change clothes so fast. That  was an interview with Walter Isaacson on tape from a few nights ago because  in the last commercial break, we lost everything. As you know, we`re all in  individual satellite remote studios. We lost all of our incoming Skype  interviews. We have cobbled together our next couple of guests. This ought  to be interesting.

We`ll take another break here. When we come back, that segment we promised  about information and disinformation out there right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At my direction, the federal  government is working to help obtain large quantities of chloroquine, and  you can look from any standpoint tomorrow, in New York, we think tomorrow  pretty early, the hydroxychloroquine and the Z-Pak, I think, is a  combination probably is looking very, very good.


WILLIAMS: This is a little bit like testing new tires on a moving car.  Tomorrow, clinical trials will begin in New York for a malaria medication  dispensed in combination with an antibiotic to treat coronavirus.

As we mentioned, Dr. Anthony Fauci notably absent from today`s coronavirus  briefing at the White House. But on Friday, he was asked about the efficacy  of repurposing this old malaria drug for this illness.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Fauci, it was explained yesterday there has been  some promise with hydroxychloroquine, this potential therapy for people who  are infected with coronavirus. Is there any evidence to suggest that as  with malaria, it might be used as a prophylaxis against COVID-19?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: No, the answer is no, and the evidence  that you`re talking about, John (ph), is anecdotal evidence.


WILLIAMS: So there`s that. And with us tonight by phone, which we sure  tried to get to be able to see her on Skype, Laurie Garrett, as a science  writer. She is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the Polk and Peabody  awards. She`s the author of "The Coming Plague," and "Ebola, Story of an  Outbreak", a rom-com obviously. She`s also a contributor to foreign policy  and a former senior fellow for global health over at the Council on Foreign  Relations.

Laurie, thank you very much for coming on and putting up with a blanket  electronic failure into and out of our 30 Rock control room tonight. Talk  some more, please, about this medicine and any danger, as you see it, from  a public health perspective of getting hopes up high in any of these areas.

LAURIE GARRETT, SCIENCE WRITER & AUTHOR: Well, as you know, Brian, there is  a woman fighting for her life in a hospital in Arizona tonight. Her husband  died because they took chloroquine after hearing the president say it was  the right way to treat their COVID-19 illness. And it turned out they took  chloroquine phosphate, which is used to clean out fish tanks. It killed one  of them, and the other is fighting for her life.

This is the danger of saying things and announcing treatments, announcing  medicines when they haven`t been proven, when there are people in the  public who won`t fully understand the nuances. They`re not doctors. They  don`t know how to dose themselves properly. They`ll go out, and they`ll buy  fish tank cleaner thinking that that`s the antimalarial drug chloroquine.

I think we`re -- this is just heading down a path towards devastating  outcomes as we have the president announcing medical breakthroughs  supposedly, and we have certain commentators beating the drum in favor of  these medicines, but they`ve not been proven. They`ve not been subjected to  clinical trials. And these are not drugs without side effects.

I mean, one of the drugs in the pack is AZT. That was the very first drug  invented for treating HIV illness, and that drug had a whole range of side  effects.

WILLIAMS: Can you believe that in the greatest country on earth, we had  tested by the end of February, this came out today, 352 individuals. So  roughly the number of passengers who can fit on the largest passenger jet  in the world. The greatest country on earth had tested a sum total of 352  souls in the month of February. What does that tell you?

GARRETT: Well, it tells me that we weren`t taking this seriously. We  weren`t acting when -- acting could have made a difference, and we weren`t  doing the things we needed to be doing to bring this epidemic under  control.

Look, Brian, the latest data from the World Health Organization is --  really ought to be startling and terrifying to everybody because we`re  almost at 400,000 cases in the world. These are officially confirmed cases.

And as Dr. Tedros told us today in his briefing, it took 67 days for the  world to get the first 100,000 cases. It took 11 days to get the second  100,000 cases. It took four days to get the third 100,000 cases. And we may  hit the 400,000 in just two days. This thing is taking off. It`s  skyrocketing. It`s in nearly every country in the world, and it is out of  control.

So, for us to be so far down the path, grasping at antimalarial drugs,  grasping at AZT, the ancient, you know, 1980s version of HIV treatment, and  telling the public that, hey, you know, the stock market is the problem.  We`re going to take out all this social distancing nonsense within 15 days,  and you can all go back to work. This is just mind-boggling, absolutely  mind-boggling.

WILLIAMS: Laurie, I absolutely had to talk to you because of something I  was channel-hopping this weekend and happened upon an interview with you  where you made a point about all the needs in all of our communities right  now and how, for decades in this country, there was a kind of an unofficial  army of civic organizations that sprung up and took care of our needs.  Largely in the generation that gave way to us, they were returning World  War II veterans, certainly men and women of that generation. We look  around, and as you put it, at any civic local meeting you go to, the  average age is up there. And that -- all of that musculature in a community  is not there anymore.

GARRETT: You know, Brian, a lot of people are forming various kinds of  volunteer entities, efforts to change the course of this epidemic online.  But there`s a limit to what can be done online. There comes a point when  you need actual people power, feet moving on soil, and coming together to  carry out actions that -- well, the kind of thing that in the old days you  counted on from the Red Cross, from the community chests, United Way, boy  scouts, girl scouts. You know, in 1947, the city of New York that you and I  are both sitting in was threatened with smallpox.

There was an individual who had gone all over as a tourist throughout  Manhattan and had smallpox, infected some other people. Panic ensued. The  Commissioner of Health said, I`m going to somehow find enough vaccine to  revaccinate the entire population of New York City. And who mobilized all  those people and got them and dutifully in lines to be revaccinated for  smallpox? It was the boy scouts, and it was the Red Cross.

Well, today, I doubt anybody would let the boy scouts carry out any kind of  --


GARRETT: -- helpful activity related to this epidemic.

WILLIAMS: That`s a hell of a point. Laurie Garrett, please come on with us  again, especially when we can see you. But thank you for putting up with us  tonight and sharing your wisdom with us. We appreciate it.

Coming up as we move on, New Mexico joining the list of states telling  people to stay home. We`ll talk live with their governor about her  decision.


WILLIAMS: The great state of New Mexico has joined the growing list of  states to take more serious precautions, instructing the people there to  stay at home to help reduce the ongoing spread of this coronavirus.

With us for more is Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Democrat of New  Mexico.

Governor, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I realize you have  other concerns to worry about. Tell us first off where your state`s numbers  are at last count. And I note the stay-at-home directive is dated until  April 10th. I presume you reserve the right to extend it if you`re still in  the teeth of this thing, correct?

GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D), NEW MEXICO: Absolutely. And unfortunately,  because we`re following CDC data and looking at the World Health  Organization data and our own data points, we`re beginning that two-week  area where you really have to slow the spread of this virus. So the  likelihood that we have to extend remains high.

We have 83 confirmed cases, 18 new cases reported today. That`s our single  highest day, and we`re a state that`s been doing better, I think, in terms  of per capita representation of testing. So we`re about 6,250 tests, but  it`s not enough to stay proactive and provide the kind of instructions to  your population and businesses that can really impact bending the curve.  And so we`d like to be doing more.

WILLIAMS: If two people walked into an E.R. tonight in Albuquerque, one of  them was me and another person was a poor person from Albuquerque, we were  both presenting with symptoms, would we both be able to get tested? Would  one of us? Would neither of us?

GRISHAM: All testing in New Mexico is free. All costs associated with  COVID-19 treatment is covered. And, in fact, we`ve taken another step,  which is anyone, say, for example, our child care workers, right, our  frontline workers, we`re making sure that -- many of them are uninsured,  and we`re making sure that they`re part of our high-risk pool. So that  we`re paying their premiums and they`re completely insured, including their  whole families, just dealing with risk factors.

So we`ve been very aggressive in our state about making sure no surprise  billing and no shifts equal access to testing.

WILLIAMS: I don`t want you to blow your source but there are millions of  Americans tonight who would love to have access to a test, free or not. How  is it that New Mexico, and throwing any modesty aside, is so well equipped  to test its residents?

GRISHAM: Well, one thing I want to say is that 2 million people really  doing effective surveillance, recognizing now that we are struggling and  grappling with individuals who are asymptomatic and really trying to get  our hands around, right, the contact, making sure that we`re doing  everything we can to minimize community spread, we should be doing a lot  more.

The position that New Mexico`s in that`s a bit different is that we are a  state that`s got two of the five national laboratories. We have incredible  research centers. And so we`re equipped with the kind of instrumentation  that allows us to do rapid testing and to do 500 to 1,000 tests per machine  at a time. We`re a state that could get to, in short order, 6,000 tests run  per day.

Here`s the challenge. Getting the materials and getting the FDA approval  fast enough on each of those instruments. They`ve made it incredibly  complicated to access the swabbing at the front end and the reagents at the  back end. It`s all tied, which company makes which instrument, and frankly,  it`s become a full-time job working either around or directly through the  federal government to make sure that that supply chain stays so that we can  be more proactive so that we don`t become an epicenter. The more states  that are able not to become an epicenter, then the more likely you have a  national response that saves many more lives than the current way we`re  doing it, which is chasing where the largest number of cases and spreads is  by itself.

We have to help those states, but you better slow the spread in the rest of  the country, or the whole country`s going to look like that.

WILLIAMS: So here`s what we`ve learned in addition to being a staggeringly  beautiful place to live in or visit, New Mexico seems to be about as well  squared away for what`s coming as any other state in our union. To the  governor, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, thank you very much again, amid  all you have to care about tonight, for spending a few minutes with us.

Coming up for us, the new coronavirus guidance from the governor of  Florida.



GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): It would be a very blunt instrument. When you`re  ordering people to shelter in place, you are consigning a number, probably  hundreds of thousands of Floridians to lose their jobs. What we`re going to  do in the state of Florida, and I`ll be issuing an executive order, is  anybody traveling from those regions in New York or New Jersey to the state  of Florida is going to have to do a mandatory 14-day self-isolation. That`s  the only way we can be sure that that virus is not going to be reintroduced  in the state of Florida and then spread.


WILLIAMS: So let`s repeat for the record. Tourism brings in billions of  dollars every year in Florida, but right there, despite concern about  crowded beaches in his state, despite a huge population of seniors in  Florida, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis today stopped short of ordering  people to stay in their homes.

Instead, as you heard him say, anyone flying into Florida from New York and  New Jersey will now have to self-quarantine for two weeks. The order does  not apply to anyone who chooses to, say, drive south on I-95 and enter  Florida by car.

Another break for us. Coming up, this might look to you like people  crossing a London street, and it is. But wait until we play you the audio  when we come back.


WILLIAMS: Last thing before we go here tonight, ask Donald Trump about  BoJo, Boris Johnson, and Trump will tell you that they call BoJo, Boris  Johnson, the Trump of the U.K. Indeed and true to form, BoJo was way late  in taking the coronavirus seriously and way late in calling for Brits to  stay home, as in he just did it today.

So our friends in England now must get used to the life that millions of us  in this country have been leading for a few days. Like us, there`s no  sports on the telly, and like us, they have a slew of temporarily  unemployed play-by-play broadcasters in the sports business. So, the  British rugby announcer, Nick Heath, has decided to do play-by-play on  highlights from everyday life.


NICK HEATH, ENGLISH RUGBY ANNOUNCER: -- crossroad dash light turns to red,  we wait for the beeps. There they are now. Then JD SportsMan. He`s got a  decent start. Leggings on the outside. Oh, JD SportsMan a bit distracted  over the shoulder. And Leggins is going to get there. Oh, she does it  again. Three titles in three days. Off past Vegas gold for the lap of  honor. Victorious.

So there`s the international four-by-four Pushchair Formation Final. And,  well, we`ve got the upfront pair, of course, you have Hampson (ph) and  Erickson (ph) from Sweden and they`re in with the Brits here in Smith and  Black. They`re doing particularly well of staying quite close with them  around this very delicate bend. Of course, they`re pretty familiar with  this course, and -- well, that`s what saw them become European champions  just a few months ago. Great to see them back.

Why don`t you join us live here on Tooting Common. Once again, call of the  Cavapoo coming along very nicely on a mundane walk. And oh my goodness,  who`s this? Oh, it`s Colin (ph). He`s broken free. Bless you. He`s -- well,  he`s going to be disqualified. Carla (ph), she seems quite happy though,  5.8 across the board, lovely.


WILLIAMS: Nick Heath with the call to take us off the air tonight as we  start a new week and a new adventure together. That is our broadcast for  this Monday evening. On behalf of all of my colleagues at the networks of  NBC News, good night from our temporary field headquarters.

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