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Rise in patients TRANSCRIPT: 3/16/20, MSNBC Live: Decision 2020

Guests: Phil Murphy, Janet Napolitano, Leana Wen, Ezekiel Emanuel, Richard Serino

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST:  That is the farthest Joe Biden has ever gone,  pledging diversity in gender on the ticket if he`s a nominee. It`s a big  story at a time with our many big stories.

As always, thanks for watching THE BEAT with Ari Melber. I`ll be back here  at 6:00 p.m. And keep it locked on MSNBC.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST:  Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York.

Good evening. I`m Steve Kornacki in New York. And seeking to stem the tide  of the outbreak, the White House Coronavirus Task Force announced new and  more stringent guidelines for the next 15 days.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My administration is  recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to  engage in schooling from home when possible, avoid gathering in groups of  more than ten people, avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and  drinking in bars, restaurants and public food courts.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR:  No matter  who you are, please stay home. If someone in your household is diagnosed  with this virus, the entire household should quarantine in the house to  prevent spread of the virus to others.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS  DISEASES:  It isn`t an overreaction. It`s a reaction that we feel is  commensurate, which is actually going on in reality.


KORNACKI:  And this comes as millions of Americans are hunkering down and  adjusting to a new and more isolated way of life. It could go on for  months.

President Trump warned that the country could be dealing with the pandemic  through the summer.


TRUMP:  It seems to me that if we do a really good job, well, not only hold  the death down to a level that is much lower than the other way had we not  done a good job. But people are talking about July, August, something like  that.


KORNACKI:  So far, more than 4,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in  the United States and 81 people have died from it. The government`s new  guidelines are part of a global effort to try to blunt the force of this  highly contagious virus.

France is joining Italy now implementing a countrywide lockdown. Canada  closed its borders to all non-residents. Saturday, President Trump expanded  the U.S. travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Earlier today, Governor Mike DeWine requested a postponement of tomorrow`s  presidential primary in Ohio until at least June 2nd. Illinois, Arizona and  Florida are still scheduled to hold their primaries tomorrow.

Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area are asking their residents to  shelter in place. And this morning, the governors of New York, New Jersey  and Connecticut announced a coordinated plan to block gatherings of more  than 50 people and to close down casinos, gyms and theaters in their  states. Bars and restaurants will only be allowed to offer takeout. Then  they join several other states that have implemented similar measures to  enforce social distancing.

Federal Reserve, in a surprise move, meant to boost confidence in the  markets made an emergency cut in its key interest rate on Sunday, slashing  it by a full percentage point. Despite that move though, stocks dropped  sharply, the market`s worst day since 1987.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court postponed oral arguments for the first  time in over a century.

President Trump and Vice President Pence briefed the nation`s governors on  the crisis earlier today. According to The New York Times, which heard a  recording of the call, the president told governors that they should not  wait for the federal government to fill the growing demand for medical  equipment. The president telling governors, quote, respirators,  ventilators, all of the equipment, try getting it yourselves. We will try  backing you, but try getting it yourselves.

For more, I am joined by the governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy. Governor,  thank you for joining us.

It is 7:03 Eastern, 7:04 Eastern now as I talk to you. You have recommended  a curfew for your residents to begin 56 minutes from now. What are you  hoping happens then?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ):  Steve, first of all, I miss you on the Jersey  Beat. Secondly, it`s not a curfew per se. It is a strong passionate  recommendation against any non-essential travel between 8:00 P.M. and 5:00  A.M. beginning tonight and for the foreseeable future. And as you already  rightfully pointed out, we took an enormous amount of further aggressive  steps today as it relates to social distancing with New York, Connecticut.  I might add Pennsylvania has joined us. We`ve got to flatten this curve at  all costs, break the back of this right now. And if we succeed in that,  we`ll be able to take the pressure off the healthcare system and, God  willing, save lives as a result.

KORNACKI:  So you`re asking folks tonight, overnight, to do this  voluntarily, to stay in place voluntarily. It sounds like no legal  enforcement you`re going to try there. But in terms of these closures of  businesses, what is happening on that front exactly? What is going to be  closed in the State of New Jersey for the foreseeable future?

MURPHY:  Yes. Largely anything that`s non-essential and they fall into a  couple categories, gyms, movie theaters, theaters, generally, are closed  for the foreseeable future, anything non-essential has to shut each night  at 8:00 P.M. Obviously, the essential, grocery stores, pharmacies, et  cetera, have the ability to stay open. We have shut effective 8:00 tonight  any in establishment, dining or drinking in either restaurants or bar, that  will now be takeout and delivery only. Our casinos are shutting for further  notice tonight at 8:00. We announced that our public and private schools,  effective at the end of the day tomorrow, will be shut for further notice.

Again, we are strongly asking, pleading folks to stay home. This social  distancing is the one most important and most powerful weapon we have to be  able to crack the back of this, and that`s what we`re pursuing  aggressively.

KORNACKI:  When you say, the foreseeable future, just the folks you`re  talking to, the experts you`re talking to, the federal government, do you  have a sense what that means? Are we talking weeks? Are we talking months?  What could that be?

MURPHY:  I`m not sure I`m smart enough to know, but it certainly is at  least weeks and it may be many months. And that`s probably the big ask at  this point. We`re hoping for the best but we`re preparing for the worst,  and that`s the way we`ll continue to be.

We have been on this since January. I established a whole of government  task force, I think, on February 2nd. We have been at every step of the  way, whether it`s testing, whether it`s social distancing. We`ve been  trying to stay out ahead of this at every step of the way, and that will  continue to be our M.O.

KORNACKI:  What is your sense? I mean, what you`re describing here,  obviously, in your state and around the country, I mean, this is just  extraordinary, the kinds of steps we`re talking about here. Closing down  restaurants, closing down bars, non-essential businesses, asking people to  stay in place overnight. Not just sort of in terms of economic numbers but  in terms of jobs, in terms of people`s ability to make mortgage payments,  to make rent payments, people going without paychecks, who would be working  as waiters, waitresses, what have you, what`s this going to be like? How is  this going to impact life in New Jersey, is there anything you, as the  governor of New Jersey, can do to mitigate that?

MURPHY:  It`s going to be tough as nails. There`s no question about it. You  mention the call with the governors, with the president and vice president  today. We have been in regular contact. I spoke to Vice President Pence on  Friday night and our asks have consistently been personal protective  equipment, and we need a lot more of that. Secondly, boots on the ground,  good news there. FEMA has picked New Jersey as one of its initial 12 states  to help us do drive-thru testing.

I`ve called up the National Guard effective today. I think in combination  between the Guard and federal boots on the ground, we`ll be able to be much  more aggressive on testing, delivering food to kids who only get their best  meal of the day from school, maybe reopening wings of hospital if need be  or repurposing buildings.

And the third request is financial. There`s no amount of money any state.  Governor Cuomo said this about New York the other day. It`s certainly is  true for New Jersey. We`ll do everything we can for our workers, for our  small businesses, for anybody impacted by this. And, by the way, our  healthcare workers are heroes. But there`s no amount of money that any one  state has.

So we`re going to need an enormous amount of help and support from the  federal government in the intermediate to long term, and we`ll continue to  ask for that and stand tall for that.

KORNACKI:  All right. Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey, thank you for  taking a few minutes. I appreciate it.

MURPHY:  Thanks for having me, Steve.

KORNACKI:  Okay. And President Trump was asked today by a reporter to rate  his own handling of the coronavirus crisis.


TRUMP:  I`d rate it a ten. I think we`ve done a great job. I would rate it  at a very, very -- I would rate ourselves and the professionals, I think  the professionals have done a fantastic job.

As far as the testing, you heard the admiral. I think the testing we have  done, we took over an obsolete system or put it maybe in a different way, a  system that wasn`t meant to do anything like this, we took it over and  we`re doing something that`s never been done in this country. And I think  that we are doing very well.


KORNACKI:  And I am joined now by Janet Napolitano, the President of the  University of California and former Secretary of Homeland Security in the  Obama administration. Thank you for joining us.

Let me ask you, what we just heard from the governor of New Jersey about  the steps being taken in his state, and we`re seeing this in some other  states as well, he is asking residents, stay at home overnight, 8:00 P.M.  to 5:00 A.M. It`s voluntary, but asking them to stay home, closing down  casinos, telling the restaurants takeout only, non-essential businesses,  all these restrictions. Is this something you think has to happen at the  national level too?

JANET NAPOLITANO, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  I do, because this  epidemic is happening at the national level. I live in the Bay Area in  California and the 6.7 million of us who live here have just been ordered  to shelter at home until April the 7th. So activity in this area is going  to cease.

At the University of California, which is the nation`s largest public  research university, we began several weeks ago by converting campuses to  remote learning, shutting down dormitories, dining facilities. Obviously,  we`re concerned about our workforce, particularly our lowest paid  employees. And we`re trying to help them out through this crisis.

But like Governor Murphy, we don`t have a good understanding of how long  this is going to go on. That`s one of the great big unknowns that we have.

KORNACKI:  Yes. I mean, the unknown here in time, the unknown here just in  terms of talking about bending this curve, you keep hearing that expression  exactly how bad this is going to get in the coming days and the coming  weeks. You have been in an administration before dealing with sort of the  national scope of these things, obviously not something quite like this,  but what steps does the federal government, what steps does the  administration need to be taking right now?

NAPOLITANO:  It needs an all of government approach. It needs to be dealing  with a number of issues simultaneously. It needs to be dealing with the  testing issue and the availability of diagnostic testing. It needs to be  dealing with the supply chain for personal protective equipment. It needs  to be constantly reminding people that they can help themselves by coughing  in their elbow, not handshaking, washing their hands regularly and sing a  song like happy birthday while you do it so that you make sure it`s a  thorough wash. Those simple steps add up if everyone does them.

KORNACKI:  You mentioned the testing too. What is your sense of where that  stands and what can be done there to speed that up and to get that volume  of tests that are needed to meet demand and the potential demand? What can  be done to get that in place quickly?

NAPOLITANO:  One thing that can be done is to speed the approval of  different types of test, be they emanating from the private sector or be it  emanating from our nation`s universities. The University of California, for  example, at our hospitals, they have developed new tests that we are  currently being able to deploy to patients in the hospitals, so enlarging  the source of supply. That`s the number one thing.

KORNACKI:  What is your sense too, I`m just curious, this is unprecedented,  what people are increasingly being asked to do here. It seems in crises in  the past in this country, there`s this sort of can-do spirit, and there`s  this instinct that people have, okay, let me get up, let me pitch in, let  me do something. And it seems the do something that people are being asked  of here is essentially nothing. It`s stay home. It`s don`t go out. It`s  don`t be among people. It`s don`t take action. That seems like a particular  challenge and unique from a leadership standpoint to try sell people on.

NAPOLITANO:  Well, it is but it`s a fairly straightforward message. It`s  that people can do a lot to help themselves and their communities if they  reduce their social interactions, or in the case of some areas of the  country, basically eliminate those social interactions until, as you say,  we bend that curve.

And it`s the curve that`s so worrisome because if we continue on the same  slant that we`re on right now, we are going to overwhelm our healthcare  system, and that is the biggest risk that we face.

KORNACKI:  All right. Janet Napolitano, the former Homeland Security  secretary, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

NAPOLITANO:  Thank you.

KORNACKI:  All right. And coming up, mixed messages sent over the weekend  amidst all the warnings to stay home as much as possible. Some lawmakers  suggested it`s okay to go out to bars and restaurants. But are leaders now  adopting a more unified front when it comes to social distancing?

Plus, the big picture questions everyone is asking, right now, questions  like, will our country have enough tests to go around, and the personal  questions, like what do I do if I think I have symptoms. We`ve got some of  the most informed experts here and will take us through all of it and more.

Stay with us.



REPORTER:  Are you considering instituting a nationwide lockdown, a  nationwide quarantine? The NSC knocked that down, but there are still some  questions about how --

TRUMP:  At this point, not nationwide. But there are some places in our  nation that are not very affected at all. But we may look at certain areas,  certain hot spots, as they call them, we`ll be looking at that. But at this  moment, no, we`re not.


KORNACKI:  Welcome back.

That was President Trump earlier today saying he is not considering  instituting a national lockdown at this point. Experts have urged that  people practice social distancing, the idea of avoiding large groups of  people, and staying home as much as possible. Of course, that`s been easier  said than done, especially for people flying back this weekend to crowded  airports or to people lining up to buy groceries.

And some people spent their weekends crowding bars and restaurants like  nothing was out of the ordinary. Well, cities like New Orleans, having to  send police out to disband large gatherings. Others took advantage of  places like Disneyworld`s Magic Kingdom that were still open until today.

I`m joined now by Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and Public Health  Professor at George Washington University, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, former  Obama White House health policy adviser and vice provost of Global  Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania, and Richard Serino, former  deputy administrator of FEMA and former chief of Boston EMS. 

Thank you all for being with us. I appreciate it. 

Dr. Wen, let me start with you.

The idea of a lockdown, we heard the president asked about it there. This  is something now happening in other countries. There are pockets of this  country, as the president said, where people are being told to shelter in  place. 

Realistically, do you think the American people should be expecting the  possibility at some point in the next few weeks that becomes a national  order? 

DR. LEANA WEN, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD:  Well, we have seen a  dramatic shift, even in the last couple weeks, where, two weeks ago, it  seemed unimaginable to be banning gatherings of more than 10, 50 people.

We were canceling large events. And that seemed to be the big event of the  day. Now that message of social distancing, I think, is getting through.  But people aren`t voluntarily complying with it, which is why I think we  see more and more restrictions being placed. 

So, I really hope that the American people will take this time now to heed  the warning of public health experts, to know that we have a very small  window that`s closing, where we can make a big difference in stopping this  rapid spread of COVID-19. 

And, ideally, if we heed these warnings and do things voluntarily, and stop  going to big gatherings, then we don`t need a national lockdown. Let`s hope  that people will do it on their own, and see it as a chance to help each  other and our neighbors. 

KORNACKI:  So, Ezekiel Emanuel, I have a two-part question for you. And it  picks up just where Dr. Wen left off, the idea that there is this limited  window right now to take these actions, these drastic actions.

And you keep hearing this term bend the curve, the idea, we keep seeing the  case reports go up, to try to stabilize that number, and to bring that  number down.

Take me through, first of all -- the first part of this question is, what  would that achieve? If you bend the curve in the next few weeks, what  specifically would be achieved by that? 

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER:  Well, so, if we  just let this virus go, we`re likely to see something like 10 million cases  at the peak -- but you would have to build up to the peak -- and one  million deaths. 

If, before April 1, we`re really able to get this social distancing in  place, we`re able to prevent people from congregating, we really do that  effectively, the modeling suggests that we can take that, the total peak  number of cases, down below a million, maybe as low as 600,000, 700,000,  and the total number of deaths down below 100,000, maybe as low as 60,000. 

Now, that`s a huge difference. First of all, lots of suffering doesn`t  happen. Lots of people who would have otherwise died stay alive. And,  second and most importantly, from the standpoint of the whole of the  population, we actually end up not overtaxing the health care system and  not making it break down. 

What does breakdown look like? It looks like no elective surgery. It looks  like people with myocardial infarctions can`t get into the hospital. It  looks like we have to choose between people in the intensive care unit, who  gets that respirator and who doesn`t?

And that is what is one of the things which is so critical. So there`s the  human cost in suffering, and there is the medical system and keeping it  functioning. And those, I think -- that is why acting so fast is so  important. 

And why is it difficult to act fast? Well, lots of people don`t feel sick.  And even people who have the virus don`t feel sick. And so it`s hard to  tell them, you have to take this action, even though you`re feeling  perfectly fine. 

KORNACKI:  So let me get to part two of the question then...


KORNACKI:  ... because I think you set it up well there.

I think it makes perfect sense to me and I`m sure everybody who listens to  this, the idea that you do this sort of dramatic social distancing right  now, you`re not going to flood the hospitals, it`s going to give everybody  a chance to take stock of this, you`re not going to have that explosion  that maybe otherwise we would have. 

OK. So, we do that for a few weeks. We do that for a few months. The bars  are closed, the restaurants are closed, the schools are out of session,  everybody is staying home.

At some point, we have to start returning to something resembling normal  life. We`re human beings, right? At some point, you can`t be cooped up in  your house forever. 

At that point, if there`s no vaccine, which they`re telling us is a year or  two away, if there`s no credible treatment for this thing, isn`t everything  you have just described going to happen then?

EMANUEL:  It is going to happen again. You will release the social  distancing, and then you will have a recrudescence of the virus, but it`ll  be at a much lower level. 

And, remember, you will have given the health care system time to sort  things out. So you will have lower virus spread, fewer people suffering,  health care system still functioning. 

And so by doing this over and over again, you can actually coast through  the worst parts. 

KORNACKI:  So, Rich Serino, this message, then, that`s being put out there  to stay home, to do social distancing, all these sorts of things, we talked  about over the weekend, I think folks who are watching cable news, social  media, you saw these images from New Orleans.

You saw crowded bars, crowded restaurants. My sense -- and I`m curious what  yours is -- my sense is, there was a backlash to that took -- that sort of  took hold over the weekend. And maybe that message is resonating a little  bit more with folks, maybe a lot more with folks, Monday than it was  Friday. 

Is that your sense? Has this dramatically changed the culture of the  country in the course of a weekend? 


I think a lot of people in the country have realized that they can make a  huge difference, that individuals can actually be the heroes in this. They  can actually look and see how they can make a difference, that they can  save -- help save their neighbors` lives in simple things, like we -- if we  look at what happened in 1918, for example, Philadelphia decided to hold a  parade. 

And they did. And then Saint Louis at the same time decided they were not  going to hold the parade. And we saw the big difference in the deaths in  the people that got sick. In Philadelphia, it spiked. In Saint Louis, it  was down. 

So I think there`s a big difference if people can social distance, stay  home, as much as they can. That`s going to have a long-term impact. It`s  going to decrease, as we say, flatten the curve. And that`s going to help  save lives. 

And I think that that`s important, is how we can look at what the  individual can do. Individual is a huge -- this is not a -- just a whole- of-government, a whole-of-community approach. It`s individuals. It`s  government. It`s the business community. It`s the faith-based community. 

And it`s the public at large, how we can all come together and help each  other out through this, because that`s what`s going to get us through this.

KORNACKI:  Yes, I was saying bending the curve. It`s flatten the curve. I  have heard it a million times, and I still got it wrong.


KORNACKI:  But, yes, flatten the curve, that`s the expression we`re hearing  out there. That is the goal here, clearly, folks have in mind.

My guests are staying with me. Quick break here. 

But still ahead:  The public has a lot of questions about what`s happening,  about what happens next. And we have got these public health experts  sticking around to join us to answer questions that may be on your mind.

Stay with us. 



QUESTION:  How many ventilators and how many ICU beds do we have right now?  And will it be enough? 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I can get back to you with  that number. We`ve ordered a lot. We have quite a few, but it may not be  enough. And if it`s not enough, we will have it by the time we need it.  Hopefully, we won`t need them. 


KORNACKI:  Welcome back. 

That was President Trump addressing concerns that hospitals might not have  enough lifesaving equipment to respond to this growing pandemic. 

And even with the far-reaching restrictions that states are putting in  place, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said today, it might not be enough. 


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY):  The wave is going to break on the hospital  system. 

We`re doing everything we can to flatten the curve. I believe we have taken  more dramatic actions than any state in the United States. I believe we  have had the most effective response of any state in the United States. 

I don`t believe we`re going to be able to flatten the curve enough to meet  the capacity of the health care system. 


KORNACKI:  Back with me are Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, and Richard  Serino. 

Ezekiel Emanuel, let me just start with you on what Governor Cuomo was  saying there. That was a very ominous remark... 


KORNACKI:  ... saying, the wave is going to crash on the health care  system. 

We were just talking in the last segment about having a window of  opportunity to avoid that. He`s saying, we`re not going to.

Does he have a point?

EMANUEL:  He may have a point, and there may be a point in different parts  of the country where the number of cases does overwhelm the health care  system. 

President Trump couldn`t give you the numbers, but the numbers are that we  have just under 70,000 intensive care unit beds for adults, separate from  the NICU beds for infants and the pediatric ICU beds. That is not a lot of  beds for 325 million Americans.

Some areas have more and some areas don`t have enough. And it`s -- I think  he`s worried about the combination of a big COVID-19 outbreak and areas  that may not have sufficient elastic capacity and excess capacity. 

In addition, we don`t have that many full-fledged ventilators. There are  about 95,000 in the country, including the Strategic Reserve. We have a lot  of other ventilators that are not fully -- not full-fledged. 

So there is also a shortage of ventilators. And, by the way, there`s also  human resources, nurse -- nurses, as well as respiratory therapists. And  that is another area that I think we have to rapidly train up people to be  able to service the ventilators. 

KORNACKI:  So, Dr. Wen, I`m curious here.

You have got the concern here about whether the health care system is  equipped to handle this. You have got folks who are doing their best to  stay at home, who are doing their best to stay out of public settings. They  certainly know that, if they go to the hospital or any kind of medical  facility, perhaps the chance of exposure to something like this might be  even greater there, just given the clientele in a moment like this. 

What is the practical advice for somebody sitting at home watching this  right now who wakes up tomorrow and says, geez, I feel a little feverish?  It`s 99.2. Maybe I`m feeling a little bit of a cough. What do you do? 

WEN:  Don`t go to the E.R. That`s the most important thing. 

So, let me back up for a moment, because you`re talking about both a supply  and demand issue. And the supply and demand are of health care services.  So, hospitals at this time need to ramp up as much as they possibly can. 

They need to be freeing up capacity, doing telemedicine, opening up new bed  spaces when possible. Maybe the military needs to become involved to open  new beds, so that we can have more supply of services.

But we`re trying to flatten the curve, so that we can reduce the demand of  services. One concern that I`m hearing from my emergency medicine  colleagues all around the country is that patients are flooding the E.R.s  now. 

So, we don`t even have COVID-19 in many of our communities yet, but  patients are coming in saying that they`re worried about coronavirus, which  I understand why they`re worried. 

But the E.R. is not the place that you go if you are the worried well. You  should only go to the E.R. if you need E.R. services, because, otherwise,  you could be infected yourself. You could transmit disease to other people.  And, frankly, you`re taking up space that somebody else needs in order to  get acute care. 

Also, E.R.s don`t have enough tests, for all the reasons that we talked  about. So, if you`re not feeling so great, call your doctor. Ask your  doctor about what you should do. Most likely, we don`t have enough tests  and you`re not going to get a test. 

But if you do need to go to the E.R., the doctor will contact the E.R.  directly or give you some explicit instructions, so that, when you go, you  can also avoid infecting other people and protect yourself. So, stay out of  the E.R. 

And, very importantly, hunker down at home. Social distancing is going to  protect you and your family, and also really reduce the demand for those  services, so that we can all protect our communities. 

KORNACKI:  Well, Rich Serino, Dr Wen is pointing to a -- I`d say a  troubling category that`s kind of emerged here. A lot of this is anecdotal,  but I think we`re all hearing these accounts. 

You`re seeing them reported here and there of folks who you wouldn`t  classify them as the worried well, who just fear this sort of in an  abstract sense, folks who are running fevers, folks who are getting 100.3  when they put the thermometer in their mouth, maybe have a cough, maybe  have a fever, this sort of thing, and are going to their doctor and are  being told, you`re not a candidate for testing. We don`t have the tests.  There isn`t anything I can do for you. 

What`s the practical advice for folks who fall into that category? 

SERINO:  Well, I think the folks who fall into that category are people  who, if they have a fever above 100.4, they have a dry cough, it`s been  going on for five days, four to five days, contact your doctor, and then  the doctor can then recommend whether or not to go to the hospital, if that  -- if that`s necessary at that point. 

The other part of this I think that`s important is, we have to be honest  with the people, and as we`re honest with the people with trusted, real,  good information, and have empathy for those who become sick, because I  think a lot of people we have heard who just had the sniffles or a little  bit of a cold, they`re being treated like, oh, no, I can`t even go near  you. 

But I think we have to have empathy for the people who are ill. We also  have to, for the people who can stay home, stay home and be -- be conscious  of your actions, and that, as a community, we`re going to be able to get  through this.

KORNACKI:  All right, Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Rich Serino. 


KORNACKI:  Sorry. We`re out of time here. 

I appreciate having you there.


KORNACKI:  I really appreciate the insight there, and hope you will come  back. 

Obviously, this is not going away, unfortunately, any time soon. 

Up next: a closer look at the economic impact of this outbreak. Will tried- and-true economic remedies work in the face of what is essentially a  medical crisis?

We`re back after this. 



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I would like to say that  people shouldn`t go out. We`re going to be all great. We`re going to be so  good, we`re going to do -- what`s happened with the Fed is phenomenal news.  What`s happening with all of these incredible companies is phenomenal news. 

But you don`t have to buy so much, take it easy, just relax. Relax. We`re  doing great. 


KORNACKI:  Welcome back. 

That was the president`s message yesterday as Americans faced long lines  and empty shelves at grocery restores. Among other things, the president  yesterday touted the Federal Reserve`s emergency decision over the weekend  to cut interest rates to nearly zero percent. That is the lowest they have  been since the 2008 financial crisis.

And yet, even that dramatic measure couldn`t avert a massive selloff today,  another one. The Dow plunging so quickly this morning that it triggered a  halt in trading, another one, within seconds of opening bell. 

By market close, the Dow was down almost 3,000 points, marking the worst  loss since 1987, with a decline of nearly 13 percent for the day. 

Despite parallels to the 2008 financial crisis, White House economic  adviser Larry Kudlow this morning reiterated his belief that the  fundamentals of the economy are still strong. 


REPORTER:  We`ve been assured in recent weeks that the fundamentals of the  economy are strong. 


REPORTER:  Do you still believe that? 

KUDLOW:  I believe so. Important point, so does the president. Fundamentals  of the economy are strong. 


KORNACKI:  Late this afternoon, the president adopted a markedly different  tone on the subject of Wall Street and where the economy may be heading. 


REPORTER:  Is the U.S. economy heading into a recession? 

TRUMP:  Well, it may be. We`re not thinking in terms of recession. We`re  thinking in terms of the virus. 

Once this goes away, once it goes through, and we`re done with it, I think  you`re going ot see a tremendous -- a tremendous surge. 


KORNACKI:  And this comes as a Republican senator is calling on the  president to take a, quote, step back from his public statements on the  outbreak. That`s coming up next. 


KORNACKI:  Welcome back. 

When it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, President Trump has not  consistently been on message with the government health experts of his own  administration. Now, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is telling  him to take a back seat to the professionals. 

In a statement to NBC News, she said this, quote: I would like the  president to step back and appoint one of our public health officials to be  the spokesman as we go through dealing with this novel virus. 

We`re joined now by Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for "The  New York Times", and Elise Jordan is a former White House aide in the  George W. Bush administration. 

Thanks to you both for being with us. 

Peter, we played a little of the president on Sunday, but I noticed late  this afternoon when he and other administration officials spoke, there did  seem to be a markedly different tone the president was taking. It seemed as  if perhaps last week he had been trying to coax the markets with his words  into some measure of stability and now, after seeing yet another plunge  today, he was offering a message of, hey, maybe there will be a recession.  I think the line he used to paraphrase was the markets will ultimately be  OK but you have to take care of coronavirus first. 

Has there been a shift along those lines in terms of his thinking and his  administration`s approach? 

PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Yes, I  think you did see a different tone today, saw a president willing to admit  this is a serious situation, one in fact that will last until July or  August. Remember, just a few days ago he was telling us this would burn off  by April or May and that this would miraculously go away, under control. He  admitted today it is not under control. 

Now, there are still Trumpian flourishes. He still gave himself a ten when  asked to rate his performance on a one to 10. He denied he said it was  tremendously under control, even though he just said it yesterday. 

But broadly speaking, I think it was a sober tone, more serious tone. He  didn`t even take the bait to go after Cuomo as much as I would have  expected him to under other circumstances. 

I think that the collapse of the market today after the Fed cut the rate to  nearly zero had to be sobering. He put so much stock in the Fed rate as a  solution to all things economic and it didn`t work. So, he looked at this,  said he had to come out, present a different tone. 

KORNACKI:  Yes, Elise, I did think it was striking, we played it there,  when he was asked about possibility of recession, he didn`t -- he didn`t  wave the question off, he said it is possible. 

ELISE JORDAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE & STATE DEPARTMENT AIDE:  Today was  positive in the sense it seems like the president understands that this is  a serious threat to the whole society, that he isn`t going to be able to  talk away through magical marketing, that he is actually going to have to  be sober with the American public about what`s ahead. 

And I`m reminded of the Iraq war years when so often it was dismissed as a  communications problem, not a policy problem with how we were executing the  war. And so many times this is true where Congress bears the brunt of blame  when problem at the end of the day, it`s a policy problem, and there has to  be a shift and I hope we`re starting to see that shift with the Trump  administration now taking seriously through concrete measures to ensure  public safety. 

KORNACKI:  The other question there, too, Peter, in terms of policy, in  terms of proposals, is if the president is now looking at this and if his  administration is now looking at this as it is possible there`s going to be  some kind of a recession here and certainly just given the limited economic  activity we`re going to be seeing because of these social distancing  measures, is there a policy agenda that is taking shape here? 

I started a Mitt Romney Republican senator from Utah put out this idea of  give every American a check for $1,000 right now, try to get some kind of  stimulus and security for Americans. Is there a policy agenda that the  administration is sort of cooking up here against this public recognition  of potentially a recession is on the horizon? 

BAKER:  Well, there is and it`s basically combination of stimulus and  bailout. Two words you won`t hear the Trump administration use because  they`re associated with the last two presidents, things that might have  been unpopular with some of their voters. And, in fact, that`s what they`re  talking about. 

Larry Kudlow in that driveway interview with a few of us that showed  earlier talked about the proposals the president has already put out,  combined with aid to workers in the House bill would add up to about $400  billion. He said he didn`t want to use the word stimulus, he said financial  aid. 

He says if you add the payroll tax holiday the Trump administration would  like to do, it would get up to $800 billion. On top of that, of course,  you`re talking about assistance to the airline industry or perhaps $50  billion. So, all these things are coming together in the combination of  discussions that the White House right now and on Capitol Hill. 

It`s very inchoate. We don`t know where it`s going to end up. But you`re  right, the government basically is trying to figure out how it can juice  the economy to at least keep it sustained until this virus works it way  through its course. 

KORNACKI:  And meanwhile, as all of us were absorbing all of this over the  weekend, the two remaining candidates for the Democratic presidential  nomination, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, faced off last night in an  unusual debate setting. Given the risks of the virus, there was no audience  in the auditorium, the podiums were set six feet apart. 

Here`s a bit of what we saw. 


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We`re spending so much  money and yet, we`re not even prepared for this pandemic. 

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You have a single-payer system in  Italy. It doesn`t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare-for-All. 

SANDERS:  We got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system  that is prepared to provide health care to all people. 

BIDEN:  This is a crisis. We`re at war with a virus. We`re at war with a  virus. It has nothing to do with co-pays or anything. We just passed the  law saying that you do not have to pay for any of this, period. 

SANDERS:  Bottom line is, we need a simple system which exists in Canada,  exists in countries all over the world. 

BIDEN:  This idea that this is his only answer is a mistake in notion. 


KORNACKI:  Of course, there are four more Democratic primaries scheduled  tomorrow. 

I should mention, there is a little news. The governor of Ohio earlier  today had moved to postpone his state`s primary for tomorrow. A court just  ruled in the last hour, though, against that, so there will be as of right  now a primary in Ohio tomorrow and three other states. 

Look, Elise Jordan, Bernie Sanders was behind going into the debate last  night. He`s lost most of the recent contest and fallen behind in the  delegate count. Obviously, we will get some results it looks like from the  states tomorrow to see if anything changed there. 

I`m just curious, given everything around us right now in terms of this  outbreak and in terms of what that`s doing to Americans` lives, how do you  see this Democratic campaign looking after tomorrow night? 

JORDAN:  The wind just really seems to be going in the opposite direction  of Bernie Sanders and certainly, Steve, I would never talk numbers when  you`re hosting the show because you can break it down infinitely better  than I can but I just don`t see where, barring some extraordinary event,  Bernie Sanders has any fighting chance, and last night was a last stand was  really, you know, an ideological last stand of sorts.

And I was surprised that Biden did as well as he did in the moment. Bernie  Sanders kept bringing it back to Medicaid for all and Joe Biden focused on  the urgency of the moment, and that was appropriate for these crazy times  that we live in. 

KORNACKI:  All right. Elise Jordan and Peter Baker, thank you both for  joining us and we`re back right after this. 


KORNACKI:  Well, as we just discussed, the presidential race goes on sort  of. Debates in empty studios, no more rallies for a very long time and now,  maybe not even many more primaries. There are states that are holding  presidential primaries tomorrow, but after that, who knows?

Georgia was set to go next week but now, they postponed their primary until  at least May. Louisiana`s primary was scheduled for early April, now it`s  been postponed at least two and a half months. Kentucky pushed its back  today, too. This is probably going to happen in a lot more states, as well. 

The only thing I can remember like this is back on 9/11 when the World  Trade Center was hit that awful morning, the primary election for New York  City mayor was underway, votes were being cast, but it was immediately  cancelled when the attacked happened. And three weeks later, they tried it  all over again. Votes that have been cast on 9/11 weren`t counted, it was a  complete do-over and it worked fine. The campaign proceeded, New York ended  up with a new mayor and a steady process of returning to normal or  something like normal continued apace. 

The situation now feels a little bit different, though. We were stunned on  9/11 and saddened beyond belief, but we`re also filled with a resolve to  get back own our feet, to get our country moving again and we did. The  return to elections and politics was part of that. 

Now, though, now it`s about waiting, sitting still, being patient, keeping  distance. We`re humans. Everything inside of us says get going again. 

But we can`t. Not now. Not for awhile. That includes elections. We had  pauses before in our country but never one quite like this. 

Thanks for being with us. Don`t go anywhere. 

"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.