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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m happy to, Mr. 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
DAVID ENTWISTLE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, STANFORD HEALTH CARE: Yes.
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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
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.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
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.
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.
KORNACKI: And I would ask about my parents about it, and they would say, that`s because she remembered the Depression her whole life.
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.
"ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is up next.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END