CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Can you imagine -- let me ask you this. Can you imagine at all us being able to sort of geographically open up one part of the country and somehow -- and -- or is it too late because of our -- frankly, our inability to test?
FAIR: I think we have to change our constitution to cordon off certain states and not others. For example, if California is on a two-week shutdown and everything is shut down, and this is just a hypothetical, and Arizona is not doing exactly the same thing. Once California lift that two weeks and someone travels from Arizona with COVID-19 to California, it all starts over again.
So if you don`t do it everywhere, then it`s not going to work. And that`s why we are the United States because we are all united and free to travel to each state that we want to.
TODD: Dr. Fair, I wanted to end with with you because I want to end with the science and end with the medical understanding where this is all going, thank you. Kasie Hunt, Hans Nichols, thank you both.
And thanks for being with us for this second hour. MSNBC`s breaking news coverage continues with my colleague and pal, Ari Melber. Good evening, Ari.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chuck. Thank you very much.
I am Ari Melber continuing our special coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are the facts right now. U.S. coronavirus cases topped 64,000. That reflects a surge of 12,000 new cases in the last 24 hours. And 897 people have died.
I`m going to pause, let`s stop the music, please.
And let me tell you where we stand. If it sounds and feels like things are getting worse, that`s because the facts and measurable data shows things are getting worse. If all of this feels different than the president`s claims and his pledges to roll back medical precautions as soon as Easter, that is because the facts and the data show the president is incorrect and his suggestion of rolling back precautions is contradicted by all kinds of medical experts, you`ve probably heard them out across the nation. It`s also contradicted by top appointees in the Trump administration.
Now, here are the facts tonight, according to the World Health Organization, a warning that the U.S. may become the next epicenter of this crisis due to what it calls the very large acceleration of cases.
Now, we know something about that. The acceleration has continued to become the center of the outbreak in New York, which is home to almost half of the national total. You see it right there.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, the strict precautions, however, and the social distancing that are being used in that metropolis and around New York City, he says it`s working.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): To the extent people say, boy, these are burdensome requirements, social distancing, no restaurants, no non- essential workers, yes, they are burdensome. By the way, they are effective and they`re necessary. And the evidence suggests at this point that they have slowed the hospitalizations. And this is everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: I want to get right to it. We are joined by a top guest in a state that is dealing with this, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, of course, from New Jersey, joining us from Capitol Hill at a time when Congress has been busy pushing its plan. Good evening, Senator.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Good evening to you, Ari.
MELBER: Let`s begin with what many viewers have just seen, which was a presentation by the president making all kinds of arguments including continuing to hype or float the idea of getting back to normal soon and then his own experts at that very podium, the ones you`ve been hearing from in Congress as well, who seem to be trying to condition all of us for a long and careful road ahead. Your view, your reaction.
BOOKER: Well, again, you said it, we need to be looking at science and data and not looking at wishful thinking. We need leaders that can speak in a sober manner and a candid way to folks. We know, looking at other countries, there has not been another country that suddenly just come out of this in a matter of a couple weeks. Even Wuhan still has many people in China under some sense of lockdown or some sense of sheltering in place or social distancing. And so we have to be candid with folks and deal with what`s coming.
Now, the challenge for me as a senator from New Jersey, a state that has the second most cases, the state that is in the New York metropolitan area, is that we do not have the resources right now. There`s a lot of heroic actions going on from our governor to hospital officials to expand capacity. But we need more help and support from the federal government.
And to have a president who is standing in the most powerful position in the land, who is not only not using his power, like the Defense Production Act, but is actually denying the severity of what we`re facing, it`s unacceptable and it`s putting people`s lives at risk. We must get more ventilators, more protective equipment and do more to support our hospitals.
I`m very grateful about the bill that I hope we`ll be voting on very soon in the United States Senate. But, dear God, this is a time for leadership, for strong leaders to step forward, take responsibility for what`s going on in our nation and provide real direction and solutions to help to make sure we protect people.
MELBER: Well, that brings us to the very next item to discuss, obviously. You are speaking from the Congress, where several of your colleagues are self-quarantining, where members of both the House and Senate have now been tested positive. Obviously it`s hit that place like it`s hit so many places in the country. What is in this new bill, what should Americans know about it?
BOOKER: Well, the first thing is there`s a lot of Americans that are afraid about the health crisis and the economic crisis. This is like a marshal plan. It`s a $2 trillion bill. We`ve never seen this kind of aid and support going out from Congress before. And for hospitals and medical centers, it is a tremendous amount of financial support for first responders and other people that need PPE and other things that have been dealing with the public with this support.
But in addition to that, hundreds of thousands of Americans are facing economic turmoil right now, it is real substantive support, from cash payments to families to improving unemployment insurance, raising the floor so a good number of workers will see virtually no decline in their paychecks. Their unemployment checks will now be at a level that`s almost as if it was their salary. And the duration of the unemployment insurance has been extended to four months.
Our small businesses, there are hundreds of billions of dollars being put forward in grants, forgivable loans and other programs to help keep our small businesses through this crisis and even incentivize them to retain employees.
So this is a very good bill, it`s not perfect. There are a lot of compromises. But it is going to be a tremendous help to states, to communities, small businesses and to families all around our country.
MELBER: Senator, that actually brings me to something else I was thinking about, and I wanted to ask you about, and it`s a little more big picture, but you ran a campaign proposing a lot of ideas, some of which were beyond, shall we say, the day-to-day norm in Washington.
And you and I have had conversations before on air and out in the country about fundamental changes, for example, the criminal justice system, to how governments and the federal government invests in people, schools versus prisons. You ran against someone, Andrew Yang, who was talking about things, but people said, well, we`re not going to just send out checks to Americans.
I think you and any viewer knows exactly where I`m going with this. What are we to make of the fact that for years on end, Washington, the town you work in, seems to speak with one voice that there are certain things that can`t be done, that are off the table, that are too expensive, then when we have a crisis like this and people -- I think a lot of people want the help, no one is saying don`t pass a big, expensive bill, but we suddenly have trillions of dollars to deal with things on an emergency basis. What does that make you think of and do you see any silver lining or hopeful sign that it means that actually things that we were told are impossible are suddenly possible and fundable?
And I`ll give you as much time as you need to give us your thoughts.
BOOKER: Well, look, it`s often during crisis that you see Americans expand their moral imagination. When four girls die in a bombing in Birmingham, it exposed people to the crisis there was in segregation. When women threw themselves out windows at the shirtwaist factory fire, being trapped in these sweatshop like conditions, dying on the pavement below, it expanded the moral imagination of the country to understand that we needed to change laws involving workers.
And now, this crisis has hopefully begun to inspire the moral imagination in our country, to have more empathy for those Americans who don`t have healthcare, for those Americans who don`t have paid family leave. Because in the time of pandemics, and, again, this is a real crisis, these kind of pandemics, and the vulnerability that we particularly have in our country because we don`t have universal healthcare, because we don`t have paid family leave. In fact, it`s already a fact that the flu every year is spread and thousands of people die because about 80 plus percent of our food service workers in America go to work sick with the flu, handling our food, because they don`t have paid family leave.
And so this puts a bright line underneath our vulnerabilities and truly is a testimony to that ideal that injustice anywhere in our country is a threat to justice everywhere, especially when it comes to medical conditions.
MELBER: I think you put it out -- I just wrote it down when you said it, that a crisis can actually expand our moral imagination. It`s really something to think about, because we`re seeing both spending and bipartisanship coming out of the Congress like we haven`t seen in a long time. So much sadness and tragedy here but you`re reminding us of some of the parts of this that might inspire. I hope we could speak again soon, U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Thank you, sir.
BOOKER: Thank you very much.
MELBER: I appreciate it.
We turn now to Dr. Kavita Patel, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, MSNBC Medical Contributor and expert at a time when we need experts.
I give you the floor Americans watched the president his experts speak here lay out some things that makes sense and others that would seem to go against the underlying precautions that we`ve been briefed on. So, for our viewers, what is the most important thing they should know and do at this time?
DR. KAVITA PATEL, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: The most important thing, Ari, thank you, is to stay home. I mean, this is -- even in a matter of two to three weeks, we are not going to necessarily be on the kind of downward trajectory. And keep in mind, America is experiencing this in kind of spurts, hotspots as we`re calling them. So now, we`re starting to see the hotspots that many of us had predicted, New Orleans, parts of Florida, Texas. I think there`s almost a predictability. So stay home.
Number two, I think one thing that I have to do is just applaud regional and local leaders, because what they`re doing is really showing up and helping to give guidance.
And then number three, I will just say it, this stimulus package is not enough for the healthcare system. It`s a start, but we have a lot more we need to do. And if you doubt that, all you have to do is look at the images coming out of New York City. And think about what if that happens in my community, what am I going to have in terms of support for our healthcare system? Ironic it`s coming from an administration that crippled our access to healthcare by overturning important parts of President Obama`s Affordable Care Act.
MELBER: So, again, with you keeping the floor, you say there is more beyond even this very expensive, very big bill coming out of the Congress shortly. What more do you have in mind?
PATEL: So a couple of things. I think, number one, we`re going to have to get even more creative. Hospitals are just not only filled to the brim, Ari, but there is not enough protective equipment. And why are we all stressing about that? If I go in and see someone and do not have the right protective equipment, then I`m going to be much more likely not only to infect myself but the next person I see who might not have coronavirus or COVID-19. So, protective equipment.
And then at some point, in order to help the country heal and stabilize, we`re going to need much more of a public health infrastructure. If anything, I think, this has exposed some of the cracks in what we didn`t have before.
MELBER: Well, let me jump in and ask you on that very point, stitching together something that Senator Cory Booker had just said at the top of this broadcast. Is it -- and, again, I ask this as a factual question, not gunning for any particular outcome, but do you agree or do you share the concern that he raised that the United States would be better equipped to deal with pandemics if it had universal healthcare coverage access and testing to the nation? Is that something that is medically true or do you see that as a debate?
PATEL: No, I don`t see it as a debate. And, in fact there`s been studies, academic studies that show that actually having that access can help save lives. So there`s no question in my mind that you still have Americans across this country, despite a lot of flexibility that our leaders have established all across the federal government, you still have Americans who are worried that if they go to the hospital, they`re not going to be able to pay for these bills. And as they`re losing their jobs, that`s a legitimate concern.
So he is correct, and how we get to universal access, that`s a rich debate. We can have that debate. President Obama took one path, Vice President Biden can take another. But it is clear that we need to do more for this country through access to healthcare.
MELBER: Really interesting and striking to hear you say that.
Before I let you go, I want to play something from a governor. We`ve been hearing from different governors about the challenges, striking a different note than the president. That is to say, this president, any president, obviously, is within their rights to discuss potential policy, that he has policy ideas for at some point shifting back to a higher workload, higher involvement in the economy.
But what was striking from this governor and others is the view that there is a fine line between saying that and giving out information that may lead people to take risks and underestimate what they need to do right now, that the notion of just going back to your house of worship by Easter, for example, is not actually good scientific advice.
So take a listen and give us your view on the other side of Governor Murphy. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): I think the order of business is pretty clear to us, that we break the back of the coronavirus first and then we begin to open up the economy and society, that if we somehow transpose those steps and we begin to prematurely open things up, I believe, we only throw gasoline on the fire of the virus and that we pay a far bigger price down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Medically, in terms of the precautions that people are taking, do you agree with what he said?
PATEL: Yes, and here is why. We don`t have a vaccine yet. We don`t have a way to kind of prevent healthy people from getting this virus. So just from a strict medical perspective, if you have, lets say, Ari, if we`re lucky, 70 percent of our population does not get sick, and in two to three weeks they come out and we have no vaccine, no treatment and they become susceptible to this virus, and we have another kind of second wave, we are in very big trouble. And it prolongs not only economic recovery, it will prolong the ability of our entire health system to actually be able to function. Because remember, Ari, people are still having babies, having heart attacks, have cancer diagnoses. Their doctors` offices are closed and the E.R.s are full. We have to find a better way to get through this.
MELBER: Dr. Patel, I really appreciate your time and your sober medical counsel, which I think we can all follow. Thank you very much.
We have a lot more on tonight`s special coverage this hour, including how do you solve a healthcare crisis when the president keeps talking about the economic angles.
Also, Congress working out this deal, as mentioned, as I was discussing with Senator Booker, $2 trillion, where is that going, and what about new checks that could be coming to your home, a lot more. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They came in, experts, and they said, "We are going to have to close the country."
I said: "We have never closed the country before. This has never happened before. You`re going -- you`re saying" -- I said, "Are you -- are you serious about this?
Don`t forget, the doctors, if it were up to the doctors, they may say, let`s keep it shut down. Let`s shut down the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: President Trump suggesting that many people who are responsible for basically the health, well-being and economic security of the nation are at war with his ideas about rolling back these precautions.
Take a look at some of this new reporting, for example.
"The Washington Post," Donald Trump increasingly minimizing and pushing aside top public health and experts in his own administration -- quote -- "instead relying on advice from economic advisers and outside voices."
Then there`s Trump confidant Lindsey Graham telling "The Post" that Dr. Fauci is at odds with the president -- quote -- "He believes we should be doing more, not less."
The president, charting his own course, though, saying as recently as yesterday that, as we have reported, all this should be done by Easter.
I want to bring in a couple of experts on this, Dr. Larry Jameson, dean of the, I should say, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and "New York Times"` Michelle Goldberg.
Doctor, your view?
DR. J. LARRY JAMESON, PERELMAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: Ari, thanks for having me.
I`m speaking on behalf of academic leaders at major institutions, like the Mayo Clinic, NYU, which is in the heart of this outbreak right now, Johns Hopkins Hospital, University of California-San Francisco, Baylor, and the Mass General in Boston.
We lead major health systems and research institutions. And we think it`s really important that our voice is heard, because we are planning for these events. We know there`s a tsunami coming. We have modeled when it`s going to hit our shores.
And we`re getting ready by canceling elective surgeries, canceling outpatient appointments, changing our operating rooms into ICUs. And our model predicts, at least in Philadelphia, it will probably hit our shores in mid-May. May the 10th, we should have 1,000 patients on ventilators across the Penn Medicine health system.
Hopefully, we can...
MELBER: Let`s slow down. Let me slow you down for a second, because, if I`m having trouble following, some other people may be as well.
When you say May 10 is your model for this bad stuff happening, what do you mean? May 10 is the worst day or the peak that you would hit in Philadelphia?
JAMESON: Yes, so, we have a model that allows us to predict, based on the doubling rate, when the peak will occur.
And with a three-day doubling rate, which it currently is, we think it will hit on about May the 10th. Now, with physical separation, we can lower that peak, so that we don`t have so many patients come in all at once.
And, that way, we can save lives.
Well, I`m not an expert on Easter. That`s not how I was raised. But May 10 sounds like about a month after Easter. Let`s keep that in mind and then hear from the president on his timeline.
This was the remarks that drew so much expert condemnation yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`d love to have an open by Easter, OK? I would love to have it open by Easter.
QUESTION: Oh, wow. OK.
TRUMP: I will -- I will tell you that right now.
I would love to have that. It`s such an important day for other reasons, but I will make it an important day for this too.
So, I think Easter Sunday, and you will have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time.
QUESTION: Who suggested Easter? Who suggested that day?
TRUMP: I just thought it was a beautiful time. It would a beautiful time, a beautiful timeline. It`s a great day.
QUESTION: So that wasn`t based on any of the...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Doctor, how does that square with your scientific timeline?
JAMESON: Well, obviously, it`s not realistic.
People who are being infected today -- and there are a lot of them -- are going to go through their infection through the next 20 or 25 days. People who are infected next week will need to be in isolation for another 14 days at least.
So, you play this out, and the peak is more like the middle of May. And, hopefully, we will see it start to go down after that.
The thing I want to emphasize is that we really need to lower this peak, so we don`t have so many people arriving in the health system all at once. And we also need to protect the health care workers who are taking care of those patients.
MELBER: Yes, sure.
So, hang with me, Doctor.
I`m going to bring in Michelle Goldberg here.
You know, what I think about in covering this every day, observing it, reporting on these press conferences, listening to the doctor and other experts, Michelle, is, nobody likes bad news, by definition, but it seems like what`s worse than bad news is lies that endanger your health.
I wonder your response and your analysis of this.
MELBER: Go ahead.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think one thing we know about this president is that he doesn`t think very far in the future, and that he says what he thinks people want to hear in the moment, which is one thing when you`re talking about his imaginary or pseudo, half-imaginary border wall.
It`s another thing when you have people right now, you have a political division in how people are responding to this virus, and how people believe they need to protect themselves from this virus, right?
New York is locked down. California is locked down. Many other states are locked down. But not all states are locked down. And not all people are obeying these lockdown orders.
And it matters when you have a president who basically says, we have turned the corner, there`s light at the end of the tunnel, right as we`re kind of, every day, so far has been worse than the last. You see New York is going to run out of, I believe, ventilators or ICU beds in about two days.
Atlanta is at the breaking point. You see all of these health systems already in crisis, when the wave hasn`t even really crashed on us yet. And I understand the president -- the more his approval ratings go up as he kind of feeds these lies and misinformation to the American people, the more he`s going to do it.
And a lot of people like to hear that this is all going to be over in a couple of weeks. And so it`s not surprising why he`s getting positive feedback. But it`s going to be catastrophic if it ends up disincentivizing a lot of people, particularly in red states, from taking the precautions that they could take to make sure that their states aren`t in two weeks where New York is right now.
JAMESON: Well, I want to see us buy some time, so that we can protect the people on the front lines, like the health care workers. They really can`t have this surge, and (INAUDIBLE) optimally.
So, if we can each take responsibility and protect our health care workers, and support them, the same way we do our military -- everyone has a role to play here. And I would recommend that every person in this country make the assumption that anyone they come into contact with could have the coronavirus, and they should interact with as few people as possible, isolate as much as is reasonable, and take all the precautions that we have been advocating, so we can lower this peak and protect our front-line health workers and save lives.
MELBER: Well, Doctor, I don`t know if you ever listened to M.C. Lyte, pathbreaking female rapper. She used to say, act like you know.
And it sounds like you`re saying, act like you have it, act like everyone else has it, and just act like that for a few weeks, until we do know, and that that is one way to think about the safety. We need to take doctors and experts like yourself as seriously as possible.
So, that`s how I`m going to act, following your public medical advice.
Dr. Jameson and Michelle Goldberg, thanks to both you.
JAMESON: Thank you.
MELBER: Appreciate you.
We have a lot more on the broadcast, new information about the contours of this $2 trillion virus relief package which is on its way out of Congress and with paychecks coming into your home, although there are Republican senators who are saying that there is a drafting error that must be fixed first.
We have that story and an economic fact-check of the White House when we come back.
MELBER: Welcome back to our special coverage.
After days of negotiating, the Senate was on track to pass this $2 trillion bill, sending emergency aid to workers around the nation, businesses, as well as hospitals, absolutely slammed by this virus.
But Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott, Rick Scott and Ben Sasse objecting to some language in this big bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This bill pays you more not to work than if you were working.
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We cannot be paying people more money on unemployment than what they would get paid in their job.
SEN. BEN SASSE (R-NE): The American people do not think you should get paid more money to not work than to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Now, moments ago, Secretary Mnuchin telling reporters he`s confident the Senate will still pass the bill later tonight and checks will be going out within three weeks.
The deal, which was tentatively announced this morning, sends direct payments to many taxpayers. If you`re watching this, you may be getting a check. It also creates a $500 billion loan program to support businesses hammered by the virus and the ensuing economic problems, and increased unemployment insurance payments and expand the number of people covered.
It also creates a $150 billion Marshall Plan that funds hospitals, provides medical equipment and supports health care workers. Over $2 trillion makes this the largest spending package in American history.
For more, we turn to Gene Sperling. He was the former director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Obama and Clinton and knows his way exactly around the type of tough trade-offs and emergency measures that are in play.
First of all, good evening. Thanks for joining us.
GENE SPERLING, FORMER DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, thanks for having me. It`s my first one from home. So...
MELBER: We`re happy to see you staying home.
I tell folks, the only time when I`m not at home is when I`m on air reporting the news.
So, Gene, there`s a lot in here. Big picture, beyond even some of the last- minute fighting, this does appear still to be on the way to passage. What do people need to know and understand, A, about what it does, and then, B, who watching may be getting a check?
SPERLING: So I think, unfortunately, what the senators are fighting about is the single most important thing there, because Dem -- first of all, my hat`s off to Democrats, who have dramatically improved this.
Remember where we started. We started with Donald Trump calling for a payroll tax cut for all companies that would have done very little and a big industry bailout. Now what you have is, you have families are going to get $1,200 checks per adult and $500 per child.
That could be $3,000, $4,000, very much needed. But what`s really important is that, for the families who are just going to get crushed by unemployment, because -- because the economy is shutting down, on purpose, for many reasons, what Chuck Schumer and the Democrats did was give a dramatic increase in unemployment insurance.
And what they did is say, we`re going to bump up every check by $600, which, by the way, happens to be what a minimum wage of $15 an hour, as most of us support, times 40 hours would be.
That means that, for at least half of Americans, they`re going to get 100 percent wage replacement. What`s shocking is that, right now, Lindsey Graham and them, their big worry is that some people might get slightly more. And so, therefore, they think this is terrible, as if, like brave nurses who are risking their lives are going to quit their jobs in the middle of a work depression just to get a couple hundred dollars more, when they will need that desperately.
So, one, this is a broad unemployment benefit. And I want to let people know, if you are a gig worker, you may have to show that you have stopped working altogether, but it will help you. And that`s a great victory and expansion.
And then I think one of the key things is going to be whether the small business loan program works. This is -- unfortunately, this is going to depend a lot on how well this administration executes a good idea.
This will give a small business a loan, and it will say that they can get the loan forgiven if they`re keeping all their workers on the payroll. So, if it works well, it could really help.
But this is going to rely on the leadership and execution of the Trump administration. And if it`s anywhere near as incompetent as it`s been on the health crisis, then this could be as much frustration as relief for people.
MELBER: How do we analyze the surge we have seen in several states on unemployment insurance, hundreds of thousands in some states, 800,000 in bigger states like Texas, north of that in the Northeast?
SPERLING: I think it`s going to be one of the most dramatic things we have ever seen.
I mean, when you have a recession, usually -- let`s say you work at a restaurant. You might lose your jobs. You might lose some hours. You might have to go to another place to get work. Here, you`re having the entire industry shut down, so many hardworking waiters, waitresses, people cleaning dishes, people managing who have now lost their jobs, at no fault of their own, and their entire industry is shut down.
So, I think, when we see these numbers, they are going to be shocking.
We`re -- I mean, I hate to say it, but it`s going to feel like a Depression-level unemployment. And that`s why the idea that we would be worried that we were going to hurt work incentives? I mean, look, when you`re designing a long-term policy, of course you try to encourage people to have more incentive to work.
But this is not the problem here. Americans have an amazing work ethic. We had 3.5, 3.6 unemployment. These are people who could lose everything, at no fault of their own. And so our focus should be on getting them as much relief as possible, the people who are losing their jobs.
I think, Ari, it`s going to be just shocking. It may not show up in the unemployment numbers that you see at the beginning of April. But I promise you, at the beginning of May, the degree of unemployment in -- that will come out that happened in April will be as shocking as we have seen in our lifetime, and I think higher than we saw in the Great Recession.
MELBER: Well, you just said it, shockingly high numbers arriving in May.
And stitching that humanitarian and economic impact together with what we heard earlier in the broadcast from a doctor whose model shows May being the time where, if things aren`t slowed, it could be the worst time for hospitals, we have to brace ourselves for a tough period, one we can get through, but one we will better get through with facts.
Gene Sperling, thank you, as always, sir.
SPERLING: My pleasure, Ari. Thanks for having me.
MELBER: Appreciate it.
Let me tell you a little bit about what we`re going to do in the rest of our hour. We have covered a lot of things, including some darker and sad topics.
But, coming up, we have some special information about ways that Americans are coming together to lead this fight and how they`re working together to get the needed masks and other equipment out there, and, at the end, a little uplift from Michelle Obama.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: The need for equipment, for PPE, is just so, so great. It is literally in the millions.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: Desperate need for more personal protective equipment for our health care workers.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Right now and for the foreseeable future, we have a supply. We do not yet have secured a supply for three weeks from now, four weeks from now, five weeks from now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Just let it sink in, what we`re hearing from leaders on the front lines. We are the richest country in the world, the United States. And we don`t have equipment, sometimes equipment that costs less than a buck per mask, to keep the people taking the biggest risks out there, our nurses and doctors, to keep the rest of us safe.
Consider this reporting from "The Washington Post." the mad scramble for masks, gowns, and ventilators now pitting states against each other and, yes, driving up prices. The market for medical supplies descending into, quote, chaos. States and hospitals describing the extraordinary efforts just to get equipment.
We turn to Dr. Rob Davidson, emergency room doctor and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.
We have been letting the experts lead here, so I will ask for the expert answer to the question, what is wrong with the way we do health care and the way the government supports supplies that we`re even in this situation, given how much money we have as a nation?
DR. ROB DAVIDSON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Yes, it`s incredible that we don`t have stockpiles of these items as we have stockpiles of other items in the case of war. However, we have a president who has said he has enacted the Defense Protection Act, and yet now we hear conflicting reports on whether or not that has been truly operationalized.
You know, I represent a committee of doctors in 40 states across the country and we`ve put a letter out now with three parts to it, that over 3,500 people have signed, health care workers. One piece of that is to fully operationalize the Defense Production Act so we can get ventilators for our patients but also personal protective equipment for our health care workers on the front lines.
There isn`t enough. Even in places that haven`t seen quite adequate the number of cases as New York, we`re running on short supply, we`re using a mask for an entire shift in my hospital. That`s the case in most everywhere that I hear of, that they`re using masks and using these as ways they weren`t intended to be used.
MELBER: Right. Well -- and it`s interesting, against the backdrop of a presidential campaign, which, of course, is still ongoing, but there was a lot of talk about capitalism and Democratic socialism. And I think it`s fair to say capitalism is good at certain things.
But it`s certainly not good at distributing these supplies to the people who need it as mentioned, the people literally risking their lives like health care workers.
Take a look at this reporting from Bloomberg, an online auction out of Texas, that notes that while protective gear shortages have health care workers at risk, more than 750,000 masks went up online for auction. Purell bottles going for over 40 bucks a pop, 16 masks went for 170 bucks that normally would be $3 each.
How shall we as a nation deal with that?
DAVIDSON: You know, again, I think the president has the power. I think if there was ever a time for him to be a hero in this, you know, certainly, this entire response has been bungled since mid-January, but he has the opportunity to pull back out of that and truly be a hero and tell us he`s going to tell these companies they have to make this equipment and they have to make it available at a reasonable cost.
The federal government can be the purchaser and the distributor of these items to places where they`re needed. We shouldn`t have my governor, Whitmer, who is doing everything she can do for us in Michigan, competing against Governor Cuomo in New York for equipment. We should have a coordinated response from our federal government, putting the needs of the entire nation first rather than, you know, the whims of corporations and how they want to supply these items.
MELBER: Dr. Davidson, for your work in the E.R. and your expertise tonight, thank you.
DAVIDSON: Thank you very much. Have a good night.
MELBER: Appreciate it.
DAVID: We`re going to fit in a break. When we come back, a hopeful story I mentioned -- medical students in California helping fight this pandemic by organizing a mask drive to distribute these very masks that people need. One of those very students joins us. There are good things happening out there. We`re going to bring that to you when we come back.
MELBER: We have seen reports of more and more shortages. Medical professionals not getting the protective equipment they need. Take this weekend, though, something happening. Medical students at the University of California San Francisco doing something about it. They`ve been collecting all sorts of medical supplies for hospitals that need it. And in over three days, they were actually able to get and then donate over 14,000 of these critical masks.
So, let`s get right to it. We`re joined by one of those very students. India Perez-Urbano, a third-year medical student at UCSF.
Thanks for joining us. Tell us about what you did here.
INDIA PEREZ-URBANO, UCSF SCHOOL OF MEDICINE THIRD YEAR MEDICAL STUDENT: Hi. So a lot of us medical students have been pulled out of clinical rotation, so a dear friend of mine Hunter Jackson had the idea to hit the streets and collect masks from the community, and we were able to get, as you said, over 14,000 in three days.
MELBER: And so then you passed them on. What does it tell you as someone who is entering this profession that we have these needs, that they come up and get worse during a crisis like this and that in this case, we need enterprise students like yourselves to start help filling the need.
PEREZ-URBANO: I know. This pandemic is honestly hurting the health care system, was not prepared for something of this massive nature and it`s unfortunate we have to turn to the community but we`re so grateful people are generous with their donations and we hope we`ll never have to be in this position again for sure.
MELBER: What do you -- what do you feel as someone entering the profession while America goes through this pandemic?
PEREZ-URBANO: It`s an interesting time for all us. We are by nature entering medicine because we want to help save lives and we want to feel prepared in order to do that. At the same time, we don`t want to see our community facing something that is just so horrific and something that we don`t know much about. That`s the probably the scariest part.
But all of my classmates would agree with me when I say that we are ready to get out there to the clinic and we are ready to help out in any way possible.
MELBER: NYU is one of the schools that`s had students graduate early and just go on ahead.
What`s happening in your medical school community and what are your peers saying?
PEREZ-URBANO: I`m a third-year medical student and we have not been in clinical settings for the past few weeks, and it`s unclear what that -- what our role will look like in the clinical settings. We don`t have as much skills as a fourth-year medical student.
But fourth-year medical students are out there and there has not been discussions about early graduation and I think that NYU has been considering that because the pandemic is a lot bigger over there. But this is, you know, definitely not something that we can predict and not sure what the future is like --
PEREZ-URBANO: -- but we`re hoping that we can continue in the way that we have been.
MELBER: Well, as I mentioned when we were getting ready to talk to you in the broadcast, there is so much here that the obviously tragic and sad and quite frankly scary for many people around the world. You guys stepped up and did something you didn`t have to do, which I guess is makes you great for the profession you`re entering.
So, thank you for doing it. Thank you for telling us about it and good luck to you, India Perez-Urbano.
PEREZ-URBANO: Thank you so much.
And we`ll be back with one more thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DJ D-NICE, DISC JOCKEY: I just wanted to do something good for people, and it turned into something really good. So unexpected.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: DJ D-Nice there. He was just speaking with "The Tonight Show`s" Jimmy Fallon about how he started live-streaming his music DJ-ing to help people come together during the self-isolation period. And that`s how something called Club Quarantine was born. This gathering caught on drawing over 100,000 people at a time and big names like J.Lo, Oprah, Drake, Senator Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders dropping into his visual spinning. It`s a safe virtual gathering that has now tonight led to this -- Michelle Obama and D-Nice teaming up to talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DJ D-NICE: We`re texting eligible voters, this is for you. Our goal is to get 50,000 new registered voters. Come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELBER: Yes, you`re looking at how Michelle Obama herself got involved. She toted tonight`s program teaming up with him as a quote voter registration live set. It`s taking the music club that people have been joining in, as you saw, watching him spin and take this energy to get more people civically involved.
We`re sharing this because it is another reminder that while this pandemic is hurting many people and obviously changing how we all live, there are also ways to make sure we do keep living and support each other and keep connecting within these obvious safety guidelines.
If you want to connect with us online, I can tell you, you can always find me @arimelber, that`s @arimelber on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And, by the way, if you do have ideas for guests or programming you want us to consider, you can also email me if you want to call that the old-fashioned way at email@example.com.
That does it for us. You can find me again tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE BEAT" or guest-hosting here again tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Now, "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.