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

phased reopening TRANSCRIPT: 4/30/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Steve Schmidt, Tina Smith, Jill Colvin, Lloyd Minor

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: As you say, more leadership and scientific leadership, both under scrutiny here. Steve Schmidt, thank you, as always, we appreciate it.

A quick programming note, the one and only 50 Cent, is back THE BEAT, joins us here tomorrow, 50 Cent. We`re going to be talking music, COVID, Trump and a whole lot more, excited to have him, that`s tomorrow. Keep it right here right now on MSNBC.

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

It has been six weeks since the president announced federal guidelines on social distancing to stop the spread of the coronavirus. And tonight, those guidelines are going to expire. It is now up entirely to each state to decide how to go forward, what to open, when to open it, how to open it, or whether to keep things closed.

And those states are fully open right now, but some have been moving faster than others in that direction. According to The New York Times, ten states are in the process of partially reopening, 15 plan to follow suit within the week and 25 continue to have restrictions in place along with the District of Columbia.

Clearly eager to reopen, the president painted a rosy picture in a radio interview today saying the country can, quote, play this games anymore.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re having a lot of states open up but a lot of the governors are feeling like you and I, and they want to get it going, and maybe they`ll have to put out some hotspots, some embers or whatever it may be, and we`re getting good at that. We`re getting very good at that. But we have to get it going, Moon. We just can`t play this games anymore.


KORNACKI: At the same time, as NBC News reports, no state that is opted to reopen has come close to the federally recommended declines in cases over a 14-day period.

Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the virus could rebound in states that ignore that criteria and reopen too quickly.



But you have to have the core principles of the guidelines. You can`t just leap other things and get into a situation where you really tempting a rebound. That`s the thing I get concerned about. I hope they don`t do that.


KORNACKI: The sight last week end off crowding at the reopen the beaches in Orange County, California has already prompted that state`s governor, Gavin Newsom, to pull back. Today, he ordered the closure of the county`s beaches.

Likewise, according to The Atlantic, Georgia, is requiring protecting gear for businesses reopening in that state, forcing companies to complete with medical workers to obtain it at their own expense.

Meanwhile, nearly 4 million additional Americans filed for unemployment, in the past week, bringing the total number of jobless claims to over 30 million, that in just six weeks. According to NBC News, that means that around 18 percent of the workforce is currently unemployed.

Joining me now, Democratic Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Jill Colvin, Associated Press White House Correspondent. Thanks to both of you for being with us.

Senator, let me start with you. The onus is now on the states. The federal social distancing guidelines are going away tonight. The state that you represent is one of those states that has begun taking steps to reopening.

I want to put some statistics up on the screen here. On the current state of the coronavirus in Minnesota, you can see here, the overall numbers are low there are 4,600 cases, 319 deaths. But I know what we were just talking about. Anthony Fauci saying he wants to see a decline in the increase of cases before states reopening. In Minnesota, that`s not the case. The case number a week ago was 2,700. Right now, it`s 4,600.

With your state taking steps to reopen, are you doing it too soon?

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): Well, I think what our governor is doing is taking cautious steps. He is consulting with the public health experts and with the doctors and following the best practices. And, you know, what we`re doing here is working. We are slowing the growth of the virus.

Now, we`ve had a hot spot down in Nobles County where we have a meat packing plant. What`s going on in these meat packing plants is just a terrible thing. But we have to take it at step -- just to take it a step at a time.

And as you`re saying, the virus is going to do what virus does. And we have to use the tools that we have, social distancing, testing, quarantine where it`s necessary, in order to slow the progress of this virus.

KORNACKI: What you`re saying is interesting though, because you seem to be on board with the approach that your state is taking, your governor is taking. And we can just tell folks that was industrial, in office jobs, they were allowed. I think there are about 80,000 of those, they were allowed to go back a week ago, recreational areas are open, schools are closed. I believe the new guidance on retail is retail will be allowed to reopen curbside. So that`s the basic picture.

But, again, the federal guidelines that Anthony Fauci has been talking about, had been saying states shouldn`t be doing any of this until they get a two-week decline in case load. But it seems like you`re saying, hey, in Minnesota, it can work without that.

SMITH: Well, I think the most important thing is that you maintain the social distancing guidelines that have been laid out. And I think that that`s exactly what the governor is doing.

And what we really have here is a complete contrast in leadership styles. Our governor is transparent. He is consulting with everybody. He is laying out how he is making decisions and he`s providing compassionate and clear leadership. Compare to what the president is doing, which is just making stuff up, he`s veering from one thing to the other. He seems to be continuing to fight this P.R. war that he thinks he`s trying to win. We actually have a public health crisis that we`re trying to resolve here.

KORNACKI: How are you looking at this Minnesota beginning to take these steps and, again, this expansion to retail and curbside, that`s a further step in that direction. The case numbers are increasing and the opening is proceeding. What are you looking at, data-wise? What do you need see, data- wise, in the next couple of weeks to know if this is working or not?

SMITH: Well, one of the things that we need to take a close look at it what we`re doing here in Minnesota with testing. The governor in partnership with the University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic, has said that he wants to get 20,000 tests a day here in Minnesota, which would bet per capita. Our state is about 5.5 million people, one of the highest in the country.

This is also the direction that Mayor Garcetti is taking in Los Angeles, which just to dramatically expand testing. You know, I have forth a legislation that was passed in the second coronavirus package, which would make testing free for everybody.

We still have those such a shortcoming in the federal government`s response on testing. So when I hear the president say that we`re doing great and everything is wonderful when we are still not where we need to be on the federal efforts for testing. We`ve got a long way to go.

KORNACKI: We also have with us here, and let me bring in Dr. Vin Gupta, Pulmonologist and Global Health Policy Expert. Doctor, thank you for joining us as well.

I don`t know if you`re able to hear the conversation we`re having with Senator Smith, but I want to get your perspective on this question too as a public health expert. With the the onus on states now to decide whether they want to begin some process of reopening, whether they want to stay closed, you have these federal guidelines that have been out there for a few weeks that Anthony Fauci has been talking about, where he wants a two- week decline in the increase in new cases as a prerequisite for states to begin opening.

But what`s happening in Minnesota, and, frankly, every other state that`s taking steps to reopening right now, is they`re taking steps without that decline. Can you see that as being tenable?

DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Of course not, Steve. And I want to just thank the senator for all of her service and leadership on this issue. But how do we even know that infections are on the decline when we`re only measuring maybe 2 percent of the the population at best? So we have such a high degree of blind spots here. It`s untenable to really understand how can any state meet this mark of a decline in cases over the prior 14 days if we`re not the mass testing?

I`m not going to say they`re going to focus more and more on the mass testing. The senators have already done that. I feel like everybody has says aid testing, testing, testing, contract tracing, how do we get there? And there isn`t even enough discussion, just how do we simply get there? I love what Mayor Garcetti said in L.A.

But there are tools at our disposals right now that can potentially get us there with federal leadership, like saliva testing at home. We think saliva testing, bases on studies at the Yale and Rutgers, is better than nasopharyngeal test in where you stick a swab up your nose.

And we can potentially even scale that at home. There are paradigms for that here in Seattle. At-home saliva collection is where we should be headed and we need federal government to support in both regulatory to get that approved to the FDA, number one, but then, number two, of course subsidies, to make sure that samples can be transited from the home to clearly certified labs, that`s done. We need that support.

But to say that it`s up to the states, some states has more resources than others to implement this type of infrastructure, this type of mass scaling, so that we can have informed decisions. Right now, it`s the blind leading the blind. We have no idea what`s happening in Georgia from a case detection rate. But the governor has decided to open it all up. We all think that`s irresponsible. I think, in Minnesota, you have responsible leadership. And you`re seeing an effort to mass scale, but they have limitations too.

So we should be focused on the evidence. We should have public health experts be able to talk about this issues, wrestle with them, as opposed to try to defend the indefensible, like this infection talk and all the other nonsense that`s been thrown around at pressers.

KORNACKI: I want to get some to make sure I`m clear on this because, again, I want to get your perspective on. There`re a range of actions being taken. You alluded to there is a difference between what`s happening in Georgia and Minnesota. You called Minnesota responsible. I just want to make sure. Because the question I`m asking here is, Minnesota is doing something that`s to a lesser degree than Georgia but they are both engaged in opening up their economies in some way right now. And neither of them, and this is true, again, for every state, none of the states have had this 14-day decline.

Are you -- when you say responsible, is it okay, in your view, for Minnesota to be doing this and for other states to be doing this?

GUPTA: There is what`s aspirational and aspiration here is that we have mass testing and contract tracing up front. The reality is no state has that. No state is meeting that mark right now.

Do I want us to have a clear handle on what`s happening in terms of case infection rates with some confidence to these models that we`re wearing on top can be even better informed? Of course, Steve, I want that. I`m sure the senator wants that. But the American people want a safe reopening in phases. And instead of saying, no, we can`t do that, the question needs to be, how can we do it more safely?

So, to your point here, do I think Minnesota is wronged in trying to open things up safely, no, I don`t think they`re wrong. I think they`re being thoughtful about this in ways that Georgia is not being thoughtful about this. There is a safe way to reopen. There is a safe path, that means, everybody wears mask, that means social distancing is the norm for the foreseeable future.

So we need to think about infection control is top of mind, that has not been the message from the very top of the leadership. We have a president and a vice president that in feeble the policies on wearing masks. As a pulmonologist, it`s offensive. It`s offensive to all my colleagues in public health. I was in the ICU last night, we all have to wear masks, the second we walk into a clinic or into the ICU unit. You know, Vice President Pence choosing to be the only person in a photo op in Mayo Clinic not wearing a mask, it`s inappropriate.

So I think if we sit there and say contract tracing, as informed maybe by big tech, using those apps, if we`re wearing masks in public, that`s helpful, social distancing at restaurants, that`s a safe path to an incremental approach to opening up, and I know the senator feels the same way.

KORNACKI: Senator, let me ask you from a different angle on this. And I was taking a look at some of the debate in your state. And I saw there were some comments from a small business owner, a woman who owns a dance studio, a dance education studio, I think, for young people. And she said, look, under the guidelines in Minnesota right now, I can`t do anything with curbside. Obviously, I`m not that kind of business here. But I`ve got a plan where I can have social distancing, I can have masks, I can keep people -- but I am barred from the state from opening right now, or for the foreseeable future, under what the governor is saying today, and I am going out of business if I can`t open. What do you say to somebody in a position like that?

SMITH: Well, I would say is that it is terrible what`s happening to small businesses around Minnesota and around this country. This are the dreams, the life bloods of communities and the dreams of people who have been building them for years.

And I think we also know, we know in Minnesota, the doctor knows, that the path to reopening our economy, getting the businesses open, is through a strong public health response. People aren`t going to be feel safe going to a restaurant or going to any kind of a retail establishment unless they know that they`re going to be safe there, and that there are plans to keep them safe.

Now, one of the things that`s happening here in Minnesota, is that we`re learning a lot from businesses that have been deemed essential businesses that have continued to operate and have learned how to do it safely with -- as we`re talking about with masks, with marks out on the floor, is where they`re working, where they can make sure that they keep the appropriate social distance. Those are the tools that we have right now.

But the path to this, is always going to be through a sound public health approach rather than through just acting as if there`s a choice between reopening the economy or putting health first. I mean, that`s not the choice that we face here.

KORNACKI: I mentioned at the start of segment, I think, that Jill Colvin was with us. We had some technical difficulties. I think she is now with us. There we go, Jill Colvin, thank you for your patience and apologies for the technical issues. We do have you on.

I wanted to ask you the discussion we`ve been having here is about the states now, it is on the states decide the course they are going to chart here. The president today had a governor from a state that`s been very hard hit with this, Phil Murphy of New Jersey, to the White House to speak with him. What came from that meeting? Was there an understanding between them? What emerged from there?

JILL COLVIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Murphy was very careful when he walked in that meeting. He was very complimentary to the president. The president was very complimentary to him. The president has made a show really bringing in Democratic governors and his campaign has been highlighting efforts by the president to work with the two -- to work together.

And Murphy was really in there though with an ask. He said that his state is desperately in need of federal funding. That state aid that Congress has been discussing, he says the need between $20 million and $30 million to continue paying for frontline workers to be there and Murphy was really looking for a commitment from the president on that, while also discussing the complicated process of opening up and testing. It doesn`t sound like they came to any commitment from that, but at least Murphy was able to kind of make his case directly to the president today.

KORNACKI: All right. Jill Colvin from the Associated Press, thank you for the cameo appearance in the end. I appreciate that. Sorry again for the technical difficulties there. Senator Tina Smith and Dr. Vin Gupta, thank you all for being with us. I appreciate that.

And coming up, searching for signs of hope, how optimistic should be -- should we be about remdesivir? Get use to hearing that name, at least for now. Are we anywhere near to break through also when it comes to a vaccine? Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a pharmacist, the world looks to medicine to treat and cure illnesses.

These physicians and care providers that normally respect and look for us for our answers and now we have them to look to us now and we`re in the same boat as everyone in the world. We don`t have the answers.



KORNACKI: Welcome back.

Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci announce in potentially very good news about the treatment of coronavirus. During an Oval Office meeting, Fauci, the Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters that a recent study that has been sponsored by his institute has provided some evidence in experimental antiviral drug called remdesivir could shorten the duration of the virus from 15 days to 11 days.


FAUCI: The data shows that remdesivir has a clear cut, significant positive effect in diminishing the time to recover. It is very important proof of concept. Because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.


KORNACKI: And while this is good news, we should note, it`s not a cure. Instead, it represents the first time that any medication has shown the promise of helping patients recover faster from the coronavirus, which, of course, so far, has killed nearly 200,000 people around the world.

For more, I`m joined by Dr. Kavita Patel, physician fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Lloyd Minor, the dean of Stanford Medical School. And Stanford Medicine is participating in two clinical trials of this drug, of remdesivir.

So, Dr. Minor, let me just start with you.

I`m a complete layman here. I`m looking for optimistic news wherever I can find it. This caught my attention.

I see shortens the duration from 15 days to 11 days as the effect of this drug. In terms of curing people, what does that mean?

DR. LLOYD MINOR, DEAN, STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, Steve, thank you. It`s good to be with you.

I think the results of both trials are encouraging and do provide reason for optimism. The trial that Dr. Fauci spoke about in the remarks that you showed just a moment ago is a blinded trial -- that is, it`s a placebo controlled trial -- in patients with moderate disease.

And as Dr. Fauci reported, it did shorten the duration of the disease.

Also, from that trial, there was an indication that there could perhaps be a reduction in mortality in people treated with remdesivir, rather than placebo. But that difference did not reach statistical significance.

In addition to that trial, also yesterday the results of an open label trial in patients with more severe disease, a trial organized here at Stanford and led by Dr. Aruna Subramanian, who is a faculty member here, the results of that open label trial was also reported and showed encouraging evidence as well that a five-day course of remdesivir was as effective as a 10-day course in meeting a number of treatment milestones.

Both trials, taken together, do provide reason for optimism that remdesivir can stop or attenuate the replication and growth of the virus and then lead to improved clinical outcomes.

But neither is a silver -- neither trial indicates that remdesivir is a silver bullet. There`s still a lot of work to be done. But it`s important to have evidence that we do have a drug that`s effective in treating this - - this condition.

KORNACKI: So, Dr. Patel, the implications of this are -- I think one thing that I have been thinking about and certainly hearing all the experts talk about is this idea that we may get through the summer OK, but, in the fall, there could be a really big second punch from this thing.

And there`s the idea that potentially we have a window here to find remdesivir. Maybe this is promising. Maybe there are other promising drugs that can be developed in this time that might change the way the fall looks? Is that a fair way of looking at it?


I mean, we`re definitely in a race against time. And remdesivir is the first of dozens of treatments that are in some phase of clinical study.

But, as you point out, those studies -- there will be early readouts from some of the studies which are very promising, antibodies, convalescent serum, things like that. But we will also be fighting time, because some of those trials also will not give us results until much later in the year or next year.

But this was a promising signal. It reminds me and probably Dr. Minor of early HIV research, where AZT had a similar kind of promising first drug effect. And then, after a series of trials with other drugs, we learned over years that that was probably a modest effect.

And you`re seeing a little bit of the same thing play out with antiviral treatments for coronavirus.

KORNACKI: Yes, Dr. Minor, just on that, the comparison to HIV, I think some people think back, they say, wow, that took a long time, though. That took years in between there.

But it seems like -- again, as a layman Here, it seems like, from my perspective, every smart mind in medicine in the world must be thinking about this right now. Is that -- is that a fair assessment? And what does that do to the potential to get breakthroughs?

MINOR: Yes, I think that every smart mind in medicine.

Also, you have the focus of the big pharmaceutical companies, smaller biotechs. A lot of intellectual capital and monetary capital is being devoted to discovering and developing more effective prevention and treatment for this disease.

I do think Dr. Patel is entirely correct. I think the analogy to the early days of HIV is appropriate. I hope that it won`t take as long. First of all, we know a lot more about antivirals today than we did turning the clock back 30-plus years ago to the early days of HIV.

But I think the analogy to the AZT is a good one, in that room remdesivir is showing an effect, a beneficial effect. But it was only with multidrug regimens that we were able to really have the type of benefit for the treatment of HIV and, ultimately, the antiviral protection from infection with HIV that we have today.

That took multiple drugs and multiple trials to get -- get to that place. And I think -- I hope in a more accelerated pace, but I think we will need multiple trials, particularly focusing in the outpatient arena, because what we want to do is to move into a phase where, with expanded testing, we`re going to be diagnosing infections with SARS-CoV-2 much earlier.

And we want to be able to offer treatments in the outpatient setting that will prevent patients from getting so ill that they require hospitalization.

I think, moving forward, there will be a lot of focus on testing, developing, implement getting those outpatient therapies.

KORNACKI: So we`re talking about this now from the standpoint of drugs for treatments of folks who have the coronavirus.

There`s also this question of vaccines. On that front, Pfizer has announced that it will begin testing an experimental vaccine in the United States as early as next week. Oxford University will also pair up with British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop and manufacture a potential vaccine for the coronavirus, if their tests are successful.

Dr. Patel, obviously, that`s the 20 trillion, 20-gazillion-dollar-word there: if.

Talk me through this, because I hear two different things here. I hear just about all the experts out there saying, look, if you get a vaccine in 18 months, if you get it within two years, that is already light years faster than anything we have done in the past, and that would be an incredibly wonderful, optimistic scenario.

I also hear from one of the scientists who`s working on this out at Oxford saying, we think this is it. We think we`re going to have this by September.

How do you -- how do you square those two? Is there cause for the kind of optimism that would -- that would have this even faster than 18 months?

PATEL: Well, there`s cause in a similar analogy to the development of some of the treatments. There`s actually been kind of existing work against like SARS-CoV-1, and even analogies of the Ebola vaccine.

These are all kind of lessons that researchers are building upon. So I do think it`s incredibly optimistic to say, in September, we will have some sort of global vaccine.

But, Steve, I`m just going to make a point here. This is exactly and precisely the moment that we actually need a completely coordinated effort to actually -- different researchers, different development, and have kind of our moonshot strategy.

And that requires national leadership, quite frankly, international leadership, and it`s not going to benefit us to have different companies, no matter how large they are, doing different things, because, at some point, once we do have a vaccine, everyone`s going to want it.

And we`re going to have the same supply chain issues that we see right now with tests and masks. So, this should be something that we are spending a lot more attention, coordinated attention on. But it is going to take time.


Dr. Minor, I`m curious, what are you seeing on that front? You`re involved with one of these trials. In terms of cooperation, in terms of coordination, how does it look on that front?

MINOR: I think we`re seeing unparalleled cooperation and coordination among pharmaceutical companies, also between academics and pharmaceutical companies, the National Institutes of Health.

I agree completely with Dr. Patel. It`s going to take a coordinated, collaborative approach to defeat this virus. And it`s going to take multiple shots on goal to work towards vaccine development, also work on more effective antivirals.

There isn`t going to be a single approach that gets us to where we need to be. It`s going to be multiple approaches, but multiple approaches that are coordinated, and that also leverage the talents of different institutions, different governmental agencies and different industries.

KORNACKI: All right, Dr. Lloyd Minor, Dr. Kavita Patel, thank you both for being with us.

MINOR: Thank you.

KORNACKI: And, Dr. Minor, good luck to you on this -- on this research. Really appreciate the update on that.

Coming up: The coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy, forcing nearly four million more Americans to file for unemployment. That brings the total number of jobless claims since the start of this crisis to 30 million.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Impacted a lot because, right now, I`m unemployed. Right now, a lot of people are hurting sitting at home not working.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will great to start working ASAP, especially now. It`s getting ugly. I would love a job, though. A job would be awesome.



KORNACKI: All right, welcome back.

Well, usually, we`re up here showing you election data, polls, demographics, trends in the election. But, of course, we`re in a very different place right now. And we have been getting a very different kind of data lately.

And, today, we got another batch of it, very, very troubling, unsettling, dire economic news.

Let`s take you through, though, just to give you a fair and accurate portrait of where things stand right now on that front. We will give you a couple of numbers here.

First of all, this one came out earlier this week, this particular number, the quarterly gross domestic product. And you can see here, typically, it rises. Doesn`t always rise by a lot, but typically it rises, through 2017, 2018, 2019.

And then, boom, all of a sudden, we got the number for the first quarter, for the first three months of 2020. And there it is. Look at that. It`s minus-4.8 percent. You have not seen a number like that in our GDP since -- you guessed it -- the 2008 meltdown.

And, of course, the worst news on this front, as you say, first quarter of 2008, January, February, March, you think back. Of course, the coronavirus didn`t really start wrecking havoc in this country until well into that. And so you can only imagine, if the first quarter, which was partially affected by coronavirus, you can only imagine when you get to April, May, June, the second-quarter numbers.

We`re a ways away from getting those, but it`s probably get a fair bit worse than that minus-4.8 percent there. That`s one indicator. Of course, there is this. We mentioned this at the top of the show. These are the weekly unemployment insurance claims here.

And you can just track this going back. Again, this is just about the time here late March when you suddenly had the country grinding to a halt, folks being furloughed, filing those first-time claims.

Look, and the same week, March 21 this year, in the same week last year, this is a pretty normal number that we have been seeing for a while now. It was just over 200,000. In the March 21st week, this year, it was 3.2 million, 215,000, 3.2 million this year. And it just hasn`t stopped, I mean, 6.6 million the next week, again, about 200,000 last year.

You just keep seeing this, 6.6 million again, 5.2 million, 4.4 million, and then today, again, the number is down, but it`s 3.8 million. It was 230,000 a year ago.

You add all of these together, and you have seen, in the course the last six weeks, 30 million Americans file for unemployment. So that is just something -- I mean, what can you even compare that to at this point?

The unemployment rate, again, it was 4.4 percent, up point 0.9 percent when we first checked it. But that was a month ago. We`re getting the new one. We`re about to find out what that number is and how much it`s gone up. And get ready for that.

And, of course, here`s the one number -- we say terrible, terrible economic news. Weirdly enough, here`s the one thing that hasn`t tracked with that, Wall Street, the stock market. Start of the month, this was the Dow Jones industrial average. It was 20943. Today, last day of the month, trading closed, look at this, 24345.72. It`s up.

This was the highest one-month increase the stock market has seen in 33 years. And we got it amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, remember, it had those big, big drops. Wall Street apparently has accounted for it. And, in the month of April, you did see that go up.

So, you got everything else going this way, and you got the stock market going that way, at least for now, though. Let`s see where it all goes.

Still ahead: Cities are having to make some very tough decisions, trying to balance public health with their economic well-being.

We`re going to ask the mayor of Austin, Texas, how to make those tough calls.

Stay with us.



GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): It`s time to set a new course, and a course that responsibly opens up business in Texas.

We will open in a way that uses safe standards -- safe standards for businesses, for their employees, as well as for their customers. Standards based upon data, and on doctors.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

That was Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday, announcing that he will let a stay at home order expire tonight as his state moves into phase one of its reopening.

Starting tomorrow in Texas, retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, libraries and malls are allowed to reopen with limited capacity. No more than 25 percent, that means, and a second round of reopenings for personal care, businesses and gyms could come as soon as May 18th, provided there is not a spike in cases.

Texas state parks reopened for daytime use last week. The current order also allows outdoor sports if there are no more than four participants. Texas is one of biggest states moving to reopen. It`s a population of nearly 30 million, and a stand-alone economy that is the world`s tenth largest.

Texas right now has more than 28,000 confirmed cases of the virus and at least 782 people have died in the state. During his announcement on Monday, Governor Abbott emphasized that his order opening up businesses supersedes all local orders.

And I`m joined now by somebody who is affected directly by that decision and that is the mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for joining us.

So, you`re not going to really get a say in this. This is -- the governor says it and says, when I say go to cities and towns and cities like yours. I have seen you quoted expressing some displeasure with this. Take me through -- you`re saying 25 percent capacity at restaurants or retail establishments, movie theaters. As I understand it, bars are closed, and there are a lot of those in Austin certainly.

Are you uncomfortable with all of this or just some of this?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-TX), AUSTIN: I think that everybody is scared. Obviously, the economy is hurting, and people are looking to see what happens next.

But no one knows what`s going to happen with the governor`s actions. The governor doesn`t know. The doctors, the scientists, they don`t know.

All we know is that we have been successful in really stopping this virus almost completely, by getting to a place where we have 90, 94 percent of reduction in virus transmission.

We don`t know what`s going to happen now that the governor is doing this. But we do know from the model is if we drop below 80 percent, and we`re going to be back to the second surge that you were talking about a little bit earlier. So, we`re going to have to watch it really carefully. I wish we have waited another week or two to get testing in place and contract tracing in place.

But we`re going to monitor it now. We will continue to do the things we can do and, frankly, as a community, we get to decide a lot of things, by our conduct, by our culture and by our actions. And that`s what we`re going to rely on now.

KORNACKI: So, that`s question. I mean, it`s one thing to say, the restrictions are lifted. Businesses can open under these circumstances. It`s another thing for the business owner to decide, OK, I`m going to do that, and it`s another thing yet still for customers, for citizens to say, OK, I`m comfortable going out, going in to the business and being a customer again.

Practically speaking, how much do you think Austin is going to be reopened in the next week?

ADLER: You know, I think that most people are going to be pretty cautious about this. I got asked this morning whether I was going to be in any restaurant or mall this weekend. The answer is no. And my family won`t be there either.

And everybody has got to make their own choices. I was disappointed that our governor said we couldn`t make mandatory, we couldn`t have penalties for people that didn`t wear face coverings. And all the public officials, health officials tell us that we should, he said we should, the lieutenant governor said we should. But they are trying to stop the cities from trying to enforce that.

My hope is that our community just does that. We`ve gotten used to doing it now. It`s going to save lives. It`s going to stop the virus from transmitting and I hope people don`t go into business establishments that aren`t requiring people to do it in their businesses. It`s going to take a lot of that conduct right now I think.

KORNACKI: You mentioned, the first question I asked you, you said you wish it was happening a week or two from now. You like to see more testing in place. It does suggest -- and this is what I`m curious about -- it does suggest you think the state is at least close to being ready, to begin reopening. Is that -- is that a fair statement?

ADLER: You know, different parts of the state are dealing with different kind of challenges right now. Here in Austin, I think we`re probably a week or two away from being able to try something. I probably would have started a more limited than what the governor is doing.

But what we have learned over the last six weeks is we have the ability to be able to monitor the signals pretty quickly. We know we can shut this thing down and get a handle on it.

So, every day, we`re going to be taking a look at hospitalizations, new cases. We`re going to be plotting those on the maps and on the trends to see what curves, and we`re going to decide as we start this process what are the triggers that we`ll eventually see, if things go bad. What are the triggers that will require us to act quickly?

And then the whole community is going to be able to watch those numbers, watch that data. We`re all going to be following it together, pretty transparent and open, we`ll all know how we`re doing.

I hope the governor`s plan works. I hope that we don`t get on those curves. I do anything I can to make the governor successful by wearing my face covering. And I hope other people do too.

KORNACKI: You know, we`re talking about this earlier with Minnesota. Another state that`s doing -- it`s doing a more limited version of partial reopening than Texas is.

But you have these guidelines from the federal level, from Anthony Fauci, saying the states need a two-week decline to even begin in his view -- his recommendation, to even begin reopening.

And yet, Texas, Minnesota, all thee other states, Georgia, Colorado, are embarking on this a little bit. And to hear you talk right now, it sounds like it`s something you`re thinking about too.

It just strikes me, red states and blue states are reopening right now. It seems that on the ground in some of these states, there`s maybe a view that that two-week decline is not necessarily something that has to be in place.

ADLER: You know, I -- we`re close to that here in Austin, the numbers that we -- that we see. But again, no one knows the answer. The real critical point is to now have a much better handle on the data we had before.

You know, the governor has indicated that he`s going to wait two weeks and then he`ll go to the next phase. I`m real concerned about that because there`s a two-week lag before a policy today has its first day when you see numbers change.

So, what is happening today in our communities, because of the policies two weeks ago, what the governor is going to see in two weeks from now as a result of policies we have on -- we have today. His policies over the next two weeks, we really need to have two weeks and then a week to ten days of seeing those results. So I`m concerned.

KORNACKI: All right. Austin Mayor Steve Adler, you, your city, your state are embarking on something tomorrow I think we will all be watching closely -- good luck to you.

ADLER: Thank you very much.

KORNACKI: All right, and up next, students and educators across the country are trying to figure out how to salvage the school year. Is it salvageable? And how soon will America`s education system bounce back?

Stay with us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never realized how much I miss school until I don`t get to go to school, or how much I miss outside.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

With schools around the country closed for the foreseeable future, millions of children now face a lost school year.

A striking new study from the Northeast Evaluation Association which assesses learning throughout the country projects that students will return in the fall with approximately 70 percent of the learning gains they would typically have in reading and less than 50 percent of the gains they would usually make in math, nearly a full year behind in some grades.

While school systems are using remote classes to try to make up for those learning gaps, not every family has the same capability to facilitate that kind of education.

NBC News senior national correspondent Chris Jansing takes a closer look at the effect coronavirus is having on one school system in Cleveland.


CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you hear Damian Goggins playing, you can feel his longing for a bigger life than the world around him, for a degree and a career in music therapy.

But now that dream is increasingly uncertain.

DAMIAN GOGGINS, STUDENT: Feels like I have to grow up fast.

JANSING: How does that make you feel?

GOGGINS: I don`t know. It makes me feel kind of scared because I don`t know if I`m ready to grow up yet.

JANSING: The 16-year-old starts his day not by practicing but by helping his little sister study. His family has had to move from his grandmother`s house because she works in the COVID unit of a local hospital.

Across the country, a generation of at risk and low income students like Damian are facing the prospect of a lost school year.

In Cleveland, school CEO Eric Gordon knows the families have a lot of challenges.

ERIC GORDON, SCHOOL CEO: Are they sad? You know, are they comfortable and safe? Do they have proper care? Do they have access to the Internet?

JANSING: When schools closed in Cleveland, Gordon and his team set up 22 sites for takeout meals for their students and families, distributed learning packets and have 20,000 laptops for kids in need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have to see you online with our classes.

JANSING: But one problem is proven harder to solve. A survey finds 36 percent of students in low income schools are essentially truant, not logging into classes or making any contact.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The students who are most vulnerable in the classroom are the same students it`s harder to contact now. But you got holistically, even the students are engaging right now, I still feel like they will be behind.

GORDON: We`re looking at a recovery that`s going to take a minimum of the next couple years.

JANSING: And the coronavirus pandemic is taking another unforeseen toll. Cleveland schools are 68 percent black and people of color have been especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

So children of color are far more likely to lose a family member or know someone who has or have a parent with a job suddenly deemed essential and they`re home unsupervised.

GOGGINS: When I move to senior year, I want to be able to understand what teachers are talking about. So, that`s a little bit scary.

GORDON: What the kids want is the things they feel have been taken from them. I got to figure out a way to give back some sense of fairness where fairness feels stolen.

JANSING: You seem emotional about that.

GORDON: Look, I love this job but they`re my kids and I work every single day for all of my kids to have what they want and deserve.

GOGGINS: I keep saying I never realized how much I miss school until I don`t get to go to school.

JANSING: And hoping to again make music in a world where his future is back in tune.


KORNACKI: NBC`s Chris Jansing reporting.

And a quick programming note, tune in tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. for a "MORNING JOE" exclusive. Former Vice President Joe Biden joins Joe, Mika and Willie. He will respond for the first time to the recent allegation of sexual assault. Watch the exclusive interview "MORNING JOE" tomorrow, 6:00 a.m. Eastern on MSNBC.

We`ll be right back.


KORNACKI: Welcome back.

Across the country, hospital staffs are cheering for patients as they head home after recovering from the coronavirus.




KORNACKI: Those are the scenes you like to see and how about this one? This story might top them all.

In New Jersey, Jack Holzberg`s family rolled out the red carpet as the 94- year-old Holocaust survivor headed home to Queens after weeks of fighting the virus.




KORNACKI: That`s a great scene there.

Thank you for being with us and don`t miss the exclusive interview with former Vice President Joe Biden. That is tomorrow morning, 6:00 a.m. on "MORNING JOE."

Don`t go anywhere. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" is next.