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Trump cancels G7 TRANSCRIPT: 3/19/20, MSNBC Live: Decision 2020

Guests: John Carney, Lawrence Gostin, Hakeem Jeffries, David Entwistle, Jeh Johnson, Megan Murray, Jose Andres


ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us. Keep it right here on MSNBC.

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

As Americans continue to grapple with drastic changes to their daily lives  because of this pandemic, the number of coronavirus cases across the  country and around the world continues to rise. Here in the United States,  the number of confirmed cases spiked to more than 13,000 today. The total  number of fatalities is now up to 185.

And Italy marked a grim milestone as well. It surpassed China today as the  nation with the most fatalities so far from coronavirus. The death toll in  Italy now stands at more than 3,400.

The U.S. State Department today advised Americans to avoid all  international travel and said that all Americans abroad should arrange to  try to return to the United States. At the White House, President Trump  said he had slashed the red tape paving the way for the Food and Drug  Administration to fast track trials for potential treatments.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, a drug called  chloroquine, and some people would add to it hydroxychloroquine, so  chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine. Now, this is a common malaria drug.

It`s shown very encouraging -- very, very encouraging early results. And  we`re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately.


KORNACKI: In a statement this afternoon, the FDA noted, quote, while there  are no FDA-approved therapeutics drugs to treat, cure or prevent COVID-19,  there are several FDA-approved treatments that may help ease the symptoms  from a supportive care perspective.

And FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said a vaccine could be available in  12 months at the earliest pending FDA trials.

Yesterday, the president signed into law a second congressional aid package  expanding sick leave and making tests more available. Tonight, Senate  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his party`s version of the next  relief package at an estimated cost of more than $1 trillion.

And another major development just moments ago, NBC News confirmed  President Trump will cancel the upcoming G7 summit of world leaders. It was  scheduled for June at Camp David but he`s canceling this now due to the  coronavirus outbreak. Instead, it will be held by videoconference.

For more now, I am joined by Democratic Governor John Carney of Delaware,  Lawrence Gostin, Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown University.  Thanks to both of you for joining us.

Governor, let me just start with you. How would you describe life tonight  in the State of Delaware?

GOV. JOHN CARNEY (D-DE): Well, there`s a sense of urgency, I hope, on the  street. The situation has changed significantly in our state just a week  ago. We had one positive test here in Delaware. Today, we`re up to 30. We  have three individuals that are hospitalized here in our state, one  seriously. And so we`re trying to tighten down our state of emergency.  We`re trying to get the message out to everybody to avoid social contact,  to stay in their homes, to protect their senior citizens, their moms and  grand moms and grand dads and grandpops and just create really a  seriousness about it.

Up until this time, folks, I don`t think, have taken it as seriously as we  need to do. We`ve closed the bars and restaurants as a result of that. But  we need to be serious and really focus on, as Dr. Fauci says all the time,  flattening that curve, so reducing the spread of the virus here on the  frontend, which will help us on the backend.

I think the real serious issue is hospital capacity. And we talked about  that a lot bit with the governors today on the conference call with the  White House.

KORNACKI: Pardon me. I have heard conflicting estimates here about how long  this is going to go on. There`s that study from England that got a lot of  attention this week that said the idea of this extreme level of social  distancing could continue pretty much for 18 months until there`s a  vaccine. You`ve got Ezekiel Emanuel saying in The New York Times this week  mid-May. To residents of Delaware, the folks out there asking the question,  says, OK, we`re taking this seriously. We`re prepared to stay away from our  jobs, prepared to stay away from recreational activities, stay in our homes  largely. Realistically, how long should they be expecting to do that?

CARNEY: Yes. I`m not a scientist. We`ve been taking our lead with the  decisions we make here in Delaware based on the science. Dr. Fauci, with  NIH, has been giving us great advice on our conference calls, our public  health officials, Dr. Adam Walker, the secretary of Health and Social  Services. So we use the science, think about the tradeoffs, the risk  rewards, trying to keep as many people working as possible but recognizing  that we have to flatten that curve on the front end to prevent a really  serious thing long out into the future. And that would be very difficult  for all of us here in Delaware.

KORNACKI: Lawrence Gostin, on this question of or this issue, I should say,  of that skyrocketing now case number here in the United States, 13,000, the  number of deaths increasing, the idea of flattening the curve, the curve  going up right now in the United States. On the surface, obviously, that is  very alarming news to hear. Is there a silver lining here just in that this  could also reflect an increase in testing?

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CENTER FOR GLOBAL  HEALTH LAW: You know, it could. But I think our focus on who is -- how many  cases there are or counting cases is beginning to make no sense. Because,  really, what`s going on here is we`ve got a lot of silent transmission in  the community. So it doesn`t matter the cases we test and report. We know  that there are many, many undiagnosed cases in the community.

The trajectory is up. And our only major hope is that we`re going to have  quite strict social distancing, closure of schools, restaurants, bars,  people self-isolating at home. We`ve seen that work in other places. And  because it`s worked, we`re able to do some, really, mitigation that we  really otherwise wouldn`t have been able to do.

KORNACKI: It sounds like you might be getting a phone call there. Why won`t  you take that while we go back to the governor. This is the world we live  in now. No issue there, we understand that. That happens when we`re all  cooped up at home there.

Governor, though, in terms of the relationship between the administration  and state governments like yours, there are issues here about supplies,  about ventilators for hospital, about medical supplies, about where those  are going to come from, about is the onus more on the federal government,  more on the state government? How would you describe that relationship  right now and how it relates in real terms to those needs in your state?

CARNEY: Yes. So the way that we look at this in terms of emergency  management is executing at the local level, managing at the state level and  getting support at the federal level. And we talked a little bit about that  today with the announcement of the emergency declaration with bringing FEMA  on board. And so we really look to the federal government for that kind of  support and supplies.

And we talked a lot on the phone conference today about those supplies that  are needed, the PPEs, personal protective equipment, ventilators, we need  to understand the ICU capacity, the surge capacity at our hospitals. And  each of the governors are on the ground managing that situation in their  states.

It was mentioned that 50 percent of the cases are concentrated in three  states, and so it is not evenly distributed across our country. But we all  have to be vigilant, and every citizen to take appropriate action to  distance themselves socially because they can spread the virus and it can  increase in any locality.

But we`re really looking to the federal government for that kind of  support, support from the strategic stockpile and reserve, the kind of  support in terms of resources, and that`s why the Congress` action, the  president signing that piece of legislation, is really important for us.

KORNACKI: And, Lawrence Gostin, on the point that the governor was just  making, and this came up as well at that White House briefing today, the  idea of the concentration right now, the geographic concentration of a lot  of these cases in the United States, being in certain numbers of states, in  New York, obviously, number one, Washington State. And not just in  concentrated number of states, really, a concentrated number of counties,  does that provide some hope about the ability to contain this with social  distancing and keep it from spreading dramatically further outside those  zones?

GOSTIN: Well, I think we all have to do our -- yes, within those zones,  it`s absolutely crucial that people self-isolate. It`s absolutely crucial  that the government gets them the kind of care that they need, medical  care, food, medicines. These things are crucial, particularly for the  vulnerable, the elderly, persons with mental and physical disabilities,  were lonely.

And one of the questions you asked earlier, I think, was really important.  How long can this go on? I`ve actually seen data today from the National  Academy of Sciences that suggests that if you lift the social distancing  too soon, you could get a resurgence of cases. And so we really do have to  think about, you know, what is our lives going to be over the next weeks  and months. We don`t know that. But we have to prepare Americans.

And the only hope we have right now is to actually everybody to do their  part to stay away from others, rigorous hand hygiene. If we don`t do that,  I mean, I don`t think -- I think we`re passed the point where we can  contain this, and now what we need to do is just make sure that we don`t  completely overwhelm the health system.

KORNACKI: All right. Lawrence Gostin and Delaware Governor John Carney,  thank you both for joining us. I appreciate that.

GOSTIN: Thank you for having us.

KORNACKI: OK. And for more now, I am joined by Congressman Hakeem Jeffries  of New York. He is the chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Congressman,  thank you for taking a few minutes.

Actually, I want to start with you just kind of on what we were just  talking about with the previous guests. It seems to be the biggest issue  out there. You`ve got folks all across the country. I think it took  different people, different amounts of time to really grasp the seriousness  of what we`re facing. But it does seem like now you have got broad buy-in  there from people on the idea of social distancing.

The question though is, beyond a few weeks, if people start to look at the  economy changing, their savings drying up, their jobs threatened, issues  like this, how long realistically can we ask Americans to live like this?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We`re going to have to take this week to week,  month to month. And it`s important, Steve, to emphasize why social  distancing is important and why it`s necessary to flatten and dramatically  bend the curve. We need to create the space for us to build up our public  health infrastructure so that our hospitals are not overrun, our emergency  rooms are not overrun, our ICU bed capacity is not overrun.

We also want to create as much time as possible for the accelerated  development of therapeutics, treatment for the coronavirus, as well  ultimately as to the development of a vaccine. And the more space, the more  time we can create, the better it is that all of us will be as Americans.  And we all can play a role in that through social distancing, through  vigorously washing our hands, through not touching our face.

KORNACKI: I guess the question though is, in trying to grapple with this,  we have these experts on every night and I keep asking this question about  how long might be required? Because I get the sense from Americans they`re  thinking in terms of maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months. I saw that  estimate from Ezekiel Emanuel that said, basically, plan on this until mid- May. If these restrictions ease sooner, consider that a blessing. But I`ve  had experts on here saying this might need to go through the summer,  through the year, into next year, until there`s a vaccine.

And I just wonder, I`m curious from a realistic standpoint, your  constituents and folks all across the country, how long should they be  willing to live with this? How long can you realistically can you ask them  to live with this?

JEFFRIES: Well, it`s important for us to do this for as long as needed in  order to flatten that curve. And I think the American people are resilient  individuals. We`ve overcome difficulties in the past. We can certainly  overcome what is before us right now and make the necessary sacrifices  collectively in order to deal with this pandemic.

From the House Democratic perspective, we want to make sure that we deal  with both the substantial nature of the public health crisis and at the  same time intervene so we can provide economic security for the American  people as we work our way through this particular crisis.

And House Democrats, we`re committed to making sure that we keep the focus  on displaced workers, that we keep the focus on low-income individuals,  working families and the middle class, of course, our seniors, and we keep  the focus on small businesses.

And as we develop phase three of our intervention in terms of the  legislative proposals that will be circulated over the next few days, we  want to make sure that we help the most vulnerable amongst us and that some  forces don`t use this as an opportunity for a giveaway to big business.

KORNACKI: What about the idea this -- we`re basically talking about a  stimulus here. That`s certainly what it sounds like. There`s this idea of  direct cash payments. What about the idea of a universal direct cash  payment that just says, get the money out there, get it out there as soon  as possible, get it out there to as many people as possible?

JEFFRIES: Well, we had a caucus call earlier today that lasted about two  hours, led by our speaker and our committee chairs and other members of  leadership, more than 220 Democratic members of the House participated.  That certainly is one of the ideas that has been floated in the public  domain.

But we also need to look at things like Medicaid enhancement. We have  already taken a significant step in that direction by providing billions of  additional funds to our states and our municipalities and our counties in  the bill that President Trump recently signed into law that was initiated  in the House. And we probably need to do more. We need to bolster our  unemployment insurance system because you are going to have a lot of  displaced workers.

And it`s one thing to talk about a one-time check. And perhaps there`s some  merit in that. We`ll see how that develops. But more importantly, we have  to provide continuity of financial security. And one of the ways to do that  is through a more robust unemployment insurance system so you can provide  assistance not just in one shot, but week after week, month after month as  needed.

KORNACKI: All right. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat from New York,  thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

JEFFRIES: Thank you, Steve.

KORNACKI: All right. And coming up, hospitals sounding the alarm. They are  bracing for an expected surge now, now expected in coronavirus cases.  Doctors and nurses are being told to improvise, use a bandana or scarf if  there aren`t enough protective masks to go around.

Plus, I`m going to talk to award-winning chef and humanitarian, Jose  Andres, about the devastation the coronavirus is causing to the restaurant  industry, to employees all across the country, waiters, waitresses,  bartenders, huge ripple effect there. And Jose Andres is going will talk  about what he is doing to make sure people don`t go hungry during this  crisis.

We`ve got much more to get to. Stay with us.


KORNACKI: Welcome back. Doctors, nurses, physician, assistants and  technicians are putting their own health at risk to fight the coronavirus.  Across the country many of those healthcare professionals do not have the  tools they need to do their jobs. Some have resorted to pleading for the  protective equipment on social media. Others are making masks from office  supplies. 

According to "The Washington Post" -- quote -- "At major hospitals in  Seattle and Washington, D.C., the mask shortages have become so acute that  doctors and patients are being asked to reuse masks even after contact with  infected patients."

The concern over a national shortage of face masks has prompted the CDC to  update its guidance for health care professionals regarding mask usage. 

The new guidelines posted on the CDC Web site now say: "In settings where  face masks are not available, health care professionals might use homemade  masks, bandana, scarf, for care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort.  Caution must be exercised when considering this option."

President Trump was asking about that guidance earlier today. 


QUESTION: Speaking of shortages of supplies, the CDC has put out guidelines  for hospitals that are dealing with a shortage of masks to use them beyond  their shelf life, reuse them, instead of getting new ones, and, in worst- case scenario use a bandanna instead of a mask. How is that acceptable at  all? 

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I haven`t seen that,  but I will let Mike answer that question, the vice president. 


I just -- I can`t answer enough the incredible progress that was made with  the passage of the legislation last night. We have put a priority, at the  president`s direction, on making sure those that are providing health care  services to America have the protection to keep themselves and their  families safe. 


KORNACKI: For more, I`m joined by David Entwistle, president at Stanford  Hospital, and Dr. Megan Murray, professor of global health at Harvard  Medical School. 

Thank you both for being with us. 

David, let me start with you.


KORNACKI: We -- all of these stories, these headlines, these anecdotes,  they are chilling to read. 

Talk about your own experience with exactly what we`re talking about here,  supplies, face masks, health care professionals who are on the front line.  Where you are, what`s the situation like? 

ENTWISTLE: Well, thanks for being here. 

Let me say, first off, our health care workers are on the front line, and  they really are providing the care. We see ourselves as a resource to the  community. And that`s one of the aspects, that they`re willing to put  themselves at risk. 

There are certainly a lot of shortages that we`re seeing around the  country. And if you look at the personal protective equipment that`s so  important for them to be able to have barriers with them being able to come  down -- contact with the disease, that becomes very important. 

We want to make sure, though, that our health care workers are safe. They  need to be safe because of the services that they`re providing. 

And while we have not been using any bandanas, we still have a supply of  personal protective equipment, which is important for them to protect them,  we are worried about the continuous stream of that and that being  available. 

A lot of things going on at Stanford. Certainly, as we look at planning  with our county and all the officials here, making sure that we`re a  resource for the community, but we continue to do that on a day-to-day  basis. 

If you look in the health care sector right now, one of the things that`s  really important is the ability to diagnose COVID. One of the first things  we were able to do and actually stood up a COVID test literally about three  weeks ago that was approved by the FDA that allows us to be able to treat  and diagnose front-line. 

That allows us to put our health care workers and those that may be at  risk, knowing and identifying those patients. We have even been able to  have drive-through testing that allows us to be able to know real time and  allow the patients actually not to get out of the car, which actually in  some cases prevents that barrier and protecting our health care workers. 

And I hope one of the things that you will really see, and I hope one of  the things that actually is sustainable far past this virus and what we`re  doing here, is actually the use of telehealth. Telehealth becomes a key  tool in being able to separate both the patient and provider and creating  safety. 

But our staff, our patients, continue to get great care, and we continue to  protect them, so that they become a resource in being able to care for this  virus. 

KORNACKI: Megan Murray, the picture here nationally in terms of all of  these individual stories that we`re getting from this hospital, from this  city about the needs, are you confident, are you optimistic that, in the  next few days, in the next week or so, those issues will be addressed? 

Or do we not have the capability to address them? 

DR. MEGAN MURRAY, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Well, I`m not really sure how  quickly we can get this protective gear to the hospitals that need them. 

We do know they need them, and we know that they`re running short. The  hospitals that I`m involved with, I would say, at the moment, they have  enough gear to work with, but that they`re rapidly running out. 

So how to mobilize the industries to get the gear to the people who need  them really is going to be a challenging logistic question. And I`m not  sure how it`s going to be resolved. But I do hope that, in the meantime,  not too many people are using bandanas as protective gear, because we  really have no idea whether those will be effective or not. 

KORNACKI: Well, Doctor, so take the bandanas aside, but just the idea of  the shortage of supplies and the prospect of more trouble here on the  immediate horizon, what does that do to a doctor, to a nurse, to a health  care professional, somebody who`s going into a setting right now every day  where there are patients and potential patients with coronavirus all  around?

Do we risk losing doctors, nurses and health care providers out of fear of  this? 

MURRAY: Oh, absolutely. 

I mean, the data from both China and Italy suggested that, when providers  were working without protective gear, they were at much higher risk of  being infected. And so that means many of those people will do well. They  will be sick for a couple of weeks and then recover. 

But that means they will be out of the work force for that period of time.  Doctors and nurses are already very, very stressed. You know, their  children are home from work -- from school. They need to provide child care  for them. But some of those people will also get very sick. 

And so this is really asking more of them than is reasonable. And it also  just puts the whole system in danger, because we really can`t run short of  medical personnel. They`re our major -- major resources that we have for  fighting this at the moment. 

KORNACKI: And, David, the president yesterday took that executive action to  invoke that, that traditionally wartime authority, to force contractors,  government contractors to make needed supplies. 

I don`t believe he executed it. He has the power. He says he has it and he  could execute it. Do you think that would make a measurable difference in  terms of your needs? 

ENTWISTLE: Well, I can tell you right now we`re sourcing products literally  from every part of the world that we can. 

In fact, we have had a couple of our sources that have actually been able  to produce supplies, and, actually, they have been sequestered by the  federal government coming in. 

So I think something has to be done, if that is us doing our own self- manufacturing here in our country. But to take those needed supplies that  we need and are getting and being able to have come into the country, and  putting those into federal stockpiles, are challenging, because we haven`t  seen those being distributed by the states at this point. 

KORNACKI: Quickly, David, I`m just -- from a practical standpoint, what is  your advice right now to your -- to health care professionals working in  your hospital, in your system? If they have an exposure, what do they do? 

ENTWISTLE: So, right now, we have a great system set up, in fact, with our  occupational health.

Like most companies, you have an occupational health department. We can  immediately screen our employees. We can actually do the COVID-19 test on  them and give result back in that 12 to 24 hours. While they`re waiting on  that, we do ask them to stay at home or to make sure that they are  separating themselves from others.

But we haven`t seen a big uptick in our own employees internally, which has  been a great resource for us to keep those health care professionals that  we need. 

KORNACKI: All right, David Entwistle and Dr. Megan Murray, thank you both  for being here. 

ENTWISTLE: Thanks, Steve. 

MURRAY: Thank you.  

KORNACKI: All right. 

And still ahead: A Republican senator calls the country`s lack of  preparedness on testing embarrassing. 

That is coming up. Stay with us. 



TRUMP: I would view it as something that just surprised the whole world. 

And if people would`ve known about, it could have been stopped in place. It  could have been stopped where it came from, China, if we would have known  about it, if they would have known about it.

But now the whole world almost is inflicted with this horrible -- with this  horrible virus, and it`s too bad.


KORNACKI: Welcome back. 

That was President Trump today saying the virus could have been handled  more effectively if more people had seen it coming earlier. 

However, the United States had as much warning as other countries, like  South Korea. We still do lag behind in testing. 

Republican Senator Mitt Romney said today that the country`s lack of  preparedness is embarrassing. 


SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): It has taken us way too long to get testing out to  the American people. 

It`s kind of embarrassing to see how well South Korea did, and then to see  us lagging so far behind. It is also, I think, a little frustrating for us  to recognize that our health care workers don`t have the protective gear  they need. 

How can we have been so ill-prepared? Is this -- and that`s not an  indictment to this administration. It`s just an indictment of Congress and  government generally. Why didn`t we do a better job preparing for this? 

And, by the way, we should have closed off European travelers coming in  here earlier than we did. 


KORNACKI: And I`m joined now by Jeh Johnson, former secretary of homeland  security under President Obama. 

Thank you for joining us. Keeping our distance here. 

That question of preparedness, this issue of testing in particular out  there, I think, has really frustrated people. Now, I did see Anthony Fauci  say that this was an unavoidable glitch, he said. This wasn`t the fault of  any one individual on the testing issue. 

What do you make of this question of how prepared this country was relative  to others around the world? 

JEH JOHNSON, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, Steve, at  this point, I think that is a question that government experts should study  for months, if not years, to come. 

We have got to deal with the here and the now, and what are we going to do  about it? 

But, having said that, it`s been the case for some time -- and I know this  from personal experience in Homeland Security -- that if you have a  tabletop exercise about any horrible scenario, the top three on the list  are going to include a lethal pandemic that is spreading rapidly throughout  the homeland. 

And this is something that has been on our radar as having real potential  for sometime now, certainly going back six years to the Ebola epidemic that  we had while I was secretary of homeland security. 

But the question now is, what are we going to do? And you alluded to this  earlier in the show. 

If I were secretary of homeland today -- security today, I would be focused  like a laser beam on the increase in the numbers and whether this rapid  increase we`re seeing is a reflection of increased testing or the actual  spread of the virus or some combination of both.

It`s important to know the answer to that question. At some point, because  of the social distancing, the very aggressive social distancing that our  nation is engaged in right now -- the streets of New York are as empty as I  have ever seen them in my life, for example.


JOHNSON: The numbers are going to turn down. They have to turn down. The  question is, when? 

And how long must we engage in social distancing before the vaccine is  developed, before there`s treatment for this virus right now? And that  requires not only aggressive focus by state, local and federal officials,  but also the public itself. 

KORNACKI: Well, that seems to be the key question here, too, because you  look at these other countries, and you are getting encouraging signs when  it comes to that flattening the curve idea, the idea you put in these  strict social distancing sort of guidelines, folks follow them, and you see  the number of cases start to drop off, the number of new cases. 

OK, so, let`s say that happens here. 

JOHNSON: Right. 

KORNACKI: It seems the question then is, can you start to go back to  something resembling normal American life without a vaccine and without a  treatment? Or if you start, after flattening the curve, to go back to  American life, do we just get this all over again? 

JOHNSON: Good question. 

And I think there are two answers. One, even if there is a flattening of  this curve, we should expects more curves. There will be several bell  curves, perhaps not as aggressive as this one. But the virus is not going  to disappear.

Once this curve is flattened, the virus will still exist in our world, in  our society, and we have to protect against it. 

My instinct is that, once the curve starts to flatten, Americans will be  willing to come out a bit more, recognizing where the risks are, where the  limits are, engage in different types of social behavior, wear the gloves  in the New York City subway, engage in social distancing where it`s  possible, once we know where the limits should be. 

KORNACKI: But -- yes, what`s your sense of that? I know we`re all sort of  new to this and nobody really knows.

But I`m just curious, as somebody who`s looked at scenarios like this  before, what your sense of that is. If we flatten the curve, if that takes  until, I don`t know, two months from now, something like that, and we try  to go back, are the limits you`re not going to the beach this summer? Are  limits we`re not having fans at baseball games this summer? 

Are the limits, let`s cancel that 200-person wedding? What do you think,  realistically, it might look like? 

JOHNSON: Well, I think there`s going to be a permanent adjustment in our  interpersonal behavior as a result of this. 

And, again, this bell curve will not be the only bell curve. We saw a  resurgence of the Ebola virus in West Africa after we thought we had  stamped it out a few years ago. 

But I tend to believe that, once -- we`re all very frightened right now.  And there will come a point when there will be something of a return to  normal but there will be permanent deviations from our behavior. We will  find a way to know where the limits are and adjust ourselves accordingly. 

KORNACKI: It`s interesting. This is an extreme comparison. And we will see  how this plays out, and, hopefully, it`s nothing like this.

But I can remember, as a kid, my grandmother had lived through the Great  Depression. She was born in 1913. She was in her 20s during the Great  Depression. And the habits that she developed during the Great Depression  stayed with her for a lifetime. 

JOHNSON: Exactly. Same with my father. 

KORNACKI: I can remember she wouldn`t spend -- yes, wouldn`t spend money on  anything. 

JOHNSON: Right. 

KORNACKI: And I would ask about my parents about it, and they would say,  that`s because she remembered the Depression her whole life. 

JOHNSON: Exactly. 

KORNACKI: And that`s what I`m thinking of right here. Is this the kind of  thing that, for people alive today, God willing we all make it through  this, but this reshapes how we live the rest of our lives?

JOHNSON: That`s exactly right. 

And I think your Depression analogy is a good one. My father was born in  1931. And there are certain behavior patterns he learned as a child in the  late 1930s that always stayed with him. 

But I -- Steve, I do want to come back to this. We`re all looking to the  federal government for answers. We`re all looking to the federal government  and to our governors and mayors to fix this. 

Given the nature of this crisis, most of it is on the public itself. Our  elected officials have gotten out of the habit of saying, I need the help  of every American. 

But that is exactly what is warranted here. If we all engage in social  isolation, social distancing, like you and I are right now, we can beat  this thing. The question is, how long is it going to take? 

But we do need the help of our federal government. We need the resources.  We need the test kits out there. We need the hospital beds. The government  is in a position to help. 

President Trump said today, we`re not a shipping clerk. 

Well, actually, the federal government kind of is in this circumstance. And  he is the shipping clerk in chief. We`re all depending upon the massive  resources of the government to cut red tape and to get us what we need on  the front lines -- our medical experts, our governors and our mayors. 

KORNACKI: OK. Jeh Johnson, former homeland security secretary, thank you  for joining us here. I really appreciate that. Good conversation there. 

And up next -- America`s restaurants stand to lose hundreds of billions of  dollars over the next few months and millions of food service workers could  lose their jobs. I`m going to talk to celebrity chef and humanitarian Jose  Andres about what he`s doing to help people weather the crisis. 


KORNACKI: Welcome back. 

Today, the Department of Labor announced that there were 281,000 first-time  unemployment claims filed last week. That is 70,000 more than the week  before. 

While the entire economy is struggling because of the pandemic, the  restaurant industry is getting particularly hard hit, as restaurants across  the country have closed their dine-in service. The online news site Vox  took a look at data from Open Table, that`s the online restaurant  reservation company, it shows a huge decline in restaurant occupancy in  major cities, comparing the past three Saturdays to those Saturdays exactly  a year ago. They note, quote, in New York City and Boston, patronage was  done 64 percent on Saturday, March 14th, compared to the same night a year  earlier. 

In a letter to President Trump today, the National Restaurant Association  warned over the next three months, they are anticipating sales to decline  by $225 billion. And that could leave a loss between 5 million and 7  million jobs. They write, quote, the restaurant industry is one of low  margins, tight cash flow and a workforce that depends on us for their  livelihood. 

Without aggressive and immediate action from the federal government, many  restaurants that are a staple of local communities will simply never resume  service. We urge you to take critical steps to support America`s restaurant  industry and the 15.6 million workers we employ. 

While restaurants are hoping for government relief, one chef is using this  shutdown -- his shutdown of restaurants to make sure people are still able  to eat during this crisis. That`s up next. 


KORNACKI: Welcome back. 

And as we just said, the restaurant industry is reeling right now because  of the coronavirus crisis, with employees facing unemployment and  uncertainty. But instead of letting go of his employees, chef Jose Andres  is turning several of his D.C. and New York City restaurants into community  kitchens, where he`s offering take-out service as affordable prices and  meals for free for those who need them. 

Andres, who also leads a humanitarian group World Central Kitchen, has been  committed to feeding those affected by the coronavirus for nearly a month  now. From the passengers quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in  Japan to affected communities in places like the Bronx. 

And I`m joined now by chef Jose Andres, the founder of World Central  Kitchen. 

Thank you for joining us. Thank you for what you`re doing. This sounds like  a truly good thing in a moment like this.

Let me start, how is it working? We`re being told about the dangers of  having large groups gather in any one place. You`re talking about a  community kitchen. 

How does that work? 

JOSE ANDRES, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN FOUNDER: Well, a community kitchen is a  very clear idea. I announce that my restaurants in this city and the other  cities were going to be closing already few days ago. We were some of the  first to do that. 

But then I realized we cannot leave the communities alone. Community  kitchen means a place that, all of a sudden, people don`t go inside the  restaurant, a place where we have very clear signs outside the restaurant  separating every person in line by six feet, where we make sure that every  measure is taken into consideration to protect employees but also to  protect the people.

And the idea is not used for a celebration. The idea is when people are in  the neighborhood that they may need food, elderly people and people with  problems with their immune system have to come up with ways like happened  in Wuhan to make sure those people are fed. Very soon we`ll be having  obviously, the organizations Uber or Grab, that they will be bringing those  meals to those elderly people that they should not be living in the homes.

So this is just one step I wanted to do it only to help the city but show  the rest of my restaurant community what they can be doing in their own  cities because America has to be fed. 

KORNACKI: Yes, what about the -- we talked about this in the last block  there, just some of these stats that are out there about what this pandemic  is going to do to the restaurant industry. To the restaurant out there that  really is kind of surviving on the margins, that they can`t afford a couple  weeks, a month, a couple months without customers and maybe isn`t equipped  necessarily to go into the -- you know, takeout ordeal live delivery bus  talk about what that will mean to the industry and ripple effect of that? 

ANDRES: Listen, for the industry is really I would say almost catastrophic.  So we need to make sure that Congress and the White House do have a good  plan to take care of the industry that probably employs more than 10  percent of Americans. Restaurant industry feeds America, feeds the bodies  but feeds the souls. They are part of the DNA of America is I love when  they talk about the bailout of the airlines. That`s OK. 

But when the restaurant industry is four or five times bigger and employs  so many more people, I think what we need to be doing is really  concentrating in the food industry of America because America is going to  have to be fed in the weeks and months to come. We can be getting out of  this problem we are right now into solution, making sure that we can start  slowly bringing maybe restaurants that feed first responders, to feed  hospitals, to feed elderly, to feed kids, to feed families in low income  neighborhoods, and that`s what World Central Kitchen is trying.

We`re trying to do our own little things here and there. We`re already six,  seven cities from the Bronx to we`re about to be in Oakland, L.A.,  Washington, Virginia, Maryland, many other places, Arkansas and Little  Rock, Arkansas. But we need more. 

And so what we`re doing right now is to show people what we can do and  bring partners. We need to do a very big coalition to feed America. America  should eat now. That`s what we call it. America eats now. Chefs for  America.

We want to be here to provide food for America in case America needs us to  do so. 

KORNACKI: One of the things this crisis has me thinking about, I don`t  normally -- I`m not an economics guy but I had to start kind of as a layman  thinking that way, and use that term ripple effect here thinking about the  restaurant industry. I`ve been thinking about that just going through in my  mind all these other industries. 

When you talk about, you know, a restaurant owner trying to make rent every  month, the person that owns the building trying to make their mortgage  payment, the waiters and waitresses living paycheck to paycheck, and then  basically living under circumstances now where for weeks, or potentially  months perhaps, even longer, the very basics of operating a restaurant  aren`t possible. 

The -- what that could mean for this country just when you play out a few  layers is profound. 

ANDRES: That`s why we believe Congress, the White House should be doing the  right thing and make sure they come with a very, very, very good bill that  support those men and women -- obviously, I`m talking on behalf of my  industry and we should becoming with creative ways to obviously take care  of the employees, take care also of the small business owners. And we need  to make sure that we remember that the vast majority of America is not the  very big companies but the small business of America. 

So, Congress cannot forget that. I mean, the process, we should not throw  money at the problem right now. Some bailouts maybe should be move forward  in time. Right now, we need to be taking care of those people that are  going to be on the front lines of bringing America back. 

I`m telling you, America is going to have to eat. Supermarkets, farmers,  delivery guys, chefs, cooks, restaurants, all the food industry is going to  have to come together to make sure that if this becomes wars that we even  plan for, that we are ready to do it. Hopefully plan for the worst, hope  for the best. That`s what the food community of America, that`s what World  Central Kitchen is doing right now. 

KORNACKI: All right. Chef Jose Andres, thank you for taking a few minutes.  We appreciate that. 

ANDRES: Thank you for having me. 

KORNACKI: All right. And we`ll be right back. 


KORNACKI: And later tonight, join Lester Holt and the NBC News team for a  live special on the unfolding coronavirus pandemic. In collaboration with  Facebook, our team of experts is going to answer your questions in real  time. You can go to Facebook or Instagram to our pages there and submit  your questions, that is going to be tonight 10:00 Eastern on NBC and MSNBC. 

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