CDC Model TRANSCRIPT: 5/4/20, MSNBC Live

Guests: Donna Shalala, Jonathan Swan, Susan Athey, Irwin Redlener, David Ignatius, Susan Page

ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: And people show up to this space (ph), and we want to show you a little bit of that conversation. Also tonight on Instagram. I`m going to speak live with Kim Osorio, a hip hop journalist and really great person. That`s going to be tonight, I.G. live. check us out @arimelber.

And tomorrow, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, is on THE BEAT. So I hope you join us tomorrow on THE BEAT with Speaker Pelosi live. Keep it right here right now on MSNBC.

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

It has been almost two months now since we shut down the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus. And during that time, we saw case counts surge, death rates escalate to terrifying heights and tens of millions of Americans lose their jobs.

But thanks to Americans` willingness to endure this economic pain and social isolation, the daily increase in new cases appears to be stabilizing. That goal we heard so much about when all this began, flattening the curve. In many parts of this country, it is now a reality. Many states are now engaged in the fragile and tentative process of trying to reopen.

In addition, eight states today took that step, meaning that 35 in total now have begun lifting restrictions to gradually reopen their economies. And as we saw yesterday, the re-openings are being cheered on by the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Certain states are going to have to take more time in getting open, and they`re doing that. Some states, I think, frankly, aren`t going fast enough.

I really believe you can go to parks, you can go to beaches, you keep it -- you keep the spread, you keep -- you stay away a certain amount.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: State governors weigh the economic cost against the public safety, they also are contending with protesters who continue to demonstrate this weekend, often crowding together without masks, all this as the virus itself remains unchecked by a vaccine or the availability of any widespread treatment.

And with the death toll already exceeding to 60,000 that the White House had once projected, the president is now revising his forecast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Look, we`re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80, to 100,000 people. That`s a horrible thing.

You said it`s going up, no, I`m not. I used to say 65,000, and now I am saying 80 or 90 and it goes up, and it goes up rapidly. But it`s still going to be no matter how you look at it at the lower end of the plain if we did the shutdown.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And while mitigation efforts may have flattened the curve for now, Trump`s former FDA commissioner pointed out that we are not seeing the major decline in the rate of new cases that was expected to come with this. Here`s what Scott Gottlieb said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: While mitigation didn`t fail, I think it`s fair to say that it didn`t work as well as we expected. We expected that we would start seeing more significant declines in new cases and deaths around the nation at this point and we`re just not seeing that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: And this comes as researchers at the University of Washington today announced a major revision to the projected death toll. They are now projecting that 135,000 Americans will have died by the coronavirus by early August. And that is nearly double their previous estimate of about 72,000 fatalities.

I`m joined now by Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala of Florida, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Lipi Roi is an Internal Medicine Physician and MSNBC Medical Contributor. And Jonathan Swan is National Political Reporter at Axios. Thanks to all of you for being with us.

Doctor, let me start with you. Reading through some of those stats and about flattening the curve and what Scott Gottlieb said about there about, well, we flattened it but it`s not going down, it seems that it`s leaving us in a very difficult in between place where we have accomplished some of these major goals, some of these major challenges that we`ve talked about at the beginning of this but we are still enduring quite a few cases and deaths. Where does that leave us?

DR. LIPI ROY, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: So what`s happening, what we`re seeing right now is just a patchwork of public health measures. What we really need to see happen is widespread consistent, coordinated activity on behalf of the public, but also that has to come from leadership, from leadership at the federal level, at the state level and local level.

Right now, the only and most effective measure that we know in terms of reducing the transmission and lowering the curve is good old fashioned tried and true public health measures of physical distancing, staying at home, washing our hands, covering our faces in the absence of any FDA approved treatment, cure or vaccination. That`s what will know that`s going to work. And it`s not happening nationwide.

KORNACKI: So, what do we do then? Because it`s been -- as we say, it`s been two months. People have been in their houses. People have been good about this. People have lost jobs, their watching their savings in the window. Their watching -- in a lot of cases, I`m sure they`re looking at these numbers and saying, I`m watching my future disappear.

And we have flattened the curve, which is what they were told, this is what we need to do. What is the message now? Is the message you`ve got to stay in this condition until we`ve got treatment, until we`ve got a vaccine? Is there an in between they can get to here?

ROY: So let me push back a little on that and say that, actually, I don`t think it`s actually accurate and we have television evidence, video evidence that not everyone is staying home, right? We know that. Not everyone is staying home. And people -- and I get this. I am a human being that`s want to to go outside and be outside too. But we know for a fact not everyone in the country is staying home. And I believe it`s because they feel that, oh, in my county, my city, we just don`t see so many cases.

But it goes back to that expression, you don`t know what you don`t know. And in the absence of widespread testing, we don`t know how many people have the virus. And we know that we have symptomatic transmission, right? So we also know that you, me, anybody can carry this virus and infect others. So until that happens, we`re really not going to see a true flattening, persistent flattening and we most certainly won`t see a decline until we have that widespread physical distancing.

KORNACKI: Congressman, let me ask the same to you. To the millions of Americans, tens of millions of Americans who are are following these guidelines, in many cases, have lost their jobs, as I say. They have played by the rules when it comes to this, and it has been two months now. is the message to them, stay like this until there are widespread treatments or a vaccine or is the message to them, we`re going to get you to some in between place?

REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): Well, there`s no such thing as an in between place. Maybe we can open some parks so people can get out and certainly people can walk around their neighborhoods as long as they practice social distancing and for the most part wear masks whenever they go out.

But we have not done the testing. We don`t know how many cases we have. Flattening the curve isn`t good enough. We have to go downwards and more importantly we`re going to have to have contact tracing as part of this, and I personally think we`re going to have a treatment (ph). All the conversation is about a vaccine. We never found a vaccine for AIDS.

Now it`s more complicated of that disease to find a vaccine. But we did find a treatment. And, frankly, it`s easier to make a pill than it is to make a vaccine. So just getting a treatment would help as part of the strategy.

I hate to tell people to be patient. I`m impatient. I hate being inside so much. And I go out at 6:00 in the morning and walk the neighborhood. But, frankly, we have not had enough testing kits, we`re not testing everyone that`s giving us services now, whether they`re in hospitals, whether they`re cleaning buildings, or whether they`re in grocery stores or in drug stores. They are not being tested.

And until we have testing for them, we`re just going to have to demand that our public leaders get that testing supplies, purchase it, preferably centrally by the federal government, and get everybody tested that needs to be tested, a much deeper group of people, so that we could see decline in the numbers.

Meanwhile, we`ve got to figure out creative ways in which people can get fresh air. And part of that --

KORNACKI: Let me ask you about that, because I hear you on the testing. And I want to ask you some specifics about what`s going on in the state that you represent, in Florida, because Florida is beginning phase one of its reopening. You`ve got retail businesses, you`ve got restaurants open at 25 percent.

Of course, Florida is one of the last states where the governor issued a stay-at-home order. There were all sorts of dire predictions when that happened. The Wall Street Journal reporting that in Florida, quote, public health professionals warned of a potentially devastating wave of infections that could imperil the state`s large senior population.

But, so far, the state seems to have dodged that fate. A key factor, many say, is a change in the behavior of Floridians. But the governor did not impose a statewide stay-at-home order until April 3rd. People began hunkering down on masks in mid-March.

And, Congressman, I ask you this because I remember this. When this happened, Governor DeSantis in Florida, one of the last to order a stay-at- home, you said that he had put the state in a dangerous situation. You said numerous people will die because our governor hesitated. I want to ask you how you feel about that a month later.

Because I`m looking at the statistics from Florida, the death rate in Florida is significantly lower than the states where you`ve had the worst outbreaks. Six deaths per hundred thousands, 97 in New York, 56 in Massachusetts, 42 in Louisiana. Obviously, one death is too many, but were dire predictions about what would happen in Florida wrong?

SHALALA: No, they weren`t. And remember, he only opened part of the state. The devastating news is in South Florida where I live, Miami-Dade County, in Broward, in Palm Beach, where he didn`t lift sanctions. And, look, we`ve had 36,000 cases, 1,379 deaths. That`s one too many.

He is taking a big risk because Floridians travel a lot. And he is doing it before he has adequate testing in all of the places that being opened. We don`t have adequate testing in those restaurants. I don`t care if they`re opening up only 25 percent. If all the people that work there are not being tested, then I am worried.

We don`t have adequate testing, as I indicated, in grocery stores or in anything else that we are opening up. And without that testing and without contact tracing, I think we`re putting people at risk. Most public health people would agree with me.

It looks like maybe you could open some rural areas, but I believe that the next spike in this country may well be in those places. They`re simply lagging behind.

Look, this disease doesn`t know where it is and we don`t know enough about it. So taking this kind of risk, I think, is very high risk. And this is about life and death. And we have to figure out a way in which, number one, he should fix the unemployment system since we have given him hundreds of millions of dollars and less than 20 percent of the population has been able to get on unemployment.

KORNACKI: All right. Jonathan Swan, we mentioned that new projection from University of Washington. Their model on this has been widely watched. There`s also a stir today when The New York Times reported on an internal administration document that was apparently based on data from the CDC, which appeared to predict a dramatic uptick in the coronavirus death toll by early June, but the model was incomplete.

It was apparently designed to show extreme range of possibilities, this according to Johns Hopkins professor who created it. As he told The Washington Post, the numbers are unfinished projections shown to the CDC as a work in progress. He added, it was not in any way intended to be a forecast. And yet those numbers still made their way into a government report. It had the CDC`s logo on it.

Among other things, the model that was in this report seemed to suggest an additional 200,000 Americans could be infected every day by June 1st. That would be eight times the current daily rate of new cases we`re seeing today.

Jonathan, again, given what the scientist behind this is saying, given how dramatic those numbers are, dramatically different they are from what we`re seeing on the ground right now, do you have any sense how this document got an official CDC seal on it, how it got to see the light of day and be presented as what seems for a while to be an official administration document?

JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: I don`t know the exact chain of events. I do know it that it was presented by FEMA and that it was not presented in the task force that you see that meets and then comes out, the task force led by Mike Pence. People in the administration, some had seen this, many had not.

And I spoke to sources in there who were pretty taken aback by it. Number one, because the modeling that Dr. Birx has been sharing internally has not been as bleak as this. It has been more optimistic in terms of the death count.

But, secondly, there was a huge amount of anger at the city level (ph) of the White House that this should leak out because what they want to do is to pivot away on a messaging -- from a messaging standpoint, pivot away from talking about death counts and health statistics and all the grim news of this virus and they were wanting a sort of morning in America, being a little bit facetious, but really a pivot towards the economy reopening, bright days ahead, showcase the businesses reopening. You`ve started to see that in the last week. This was a very inconvenient return to a pretty gloomy outlook.

KORNACKI: All right. Jonathan Swan from Axios, Congresswoman Donna Shalala, Dr. Lipi Roy, thank you all for being with us. I appreciate that.

Coming up, President Trump says he thinks we will have a COVID-19 vaccine by end of the year. Is that realistic? What is the latest on treatments and antibody tests? That is next. Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURTNEY MAKOWSKI, NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE, ILLINOIS: We all wish we knew to treat this like a marathon and not a sprint. I think we`re just starting to see how mentally taxing, physically and emotional taxing this whole experience is caring for these patients.

I think It is something I would like to see in the next coming month, the obvious answer is better medical therapy for these patients.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We are very confident that we`re going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by end of the year, have a vaccine.

The doctors would say, well, you shouldn`t say that. I`ll say what I think.

I just want to get a vaccine that works. I really don`t care. If it`s another country, I`ll tip my hat off to them. We have to come up with a vaccine. We are working with other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Welcome back. That was President Trump expressing confidence there will be a vaccine by end of the year. And in an opinion piece posted in The New York Times, several economists warn that a massive financial investment is required if we are to achieve a goal anything like that. They write, quote, the challenge facing us has been underestimated. Vaccines often take ten years to bring to market. We want a new vaccine as fast as possible.

The U.S. government could go big and create a COVID-19 vaccine, advanced market commitment, guaranteeing to spend about $70 billion on new vaccines.

Today, the European Union hosted an online donor conference where governments and organizations pledged $8 billion to support the search for a vaccine. The United States did not participate in that, however.

For more, I am joined by Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, and Susan Athey, Economics and Technology Professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she was one of the authors on that New York Times piece I just mentioned.

So, Dr. Athey, let me start with you. You make an argument here. You say something I think that resonates with everybody who read this. You say, we are desperate for a vaccine. You have a specific proposal here on how you think that can be sped along the most efficiently. Take us through what you`re talking about.

SUSAN ATHEY, PROFESSOR, STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Sure. So when we think about the vaccine, most vaccines really have a high chance of failure, even when they`re in the clinical trial phase.

And there are risks not just in efficacy and safety but also risks in scaling up to this magnitude that we`re talking about, hundreds of millions. And when we think about getting the world economy going, which is, of course, important for the U.S., billions of vaccines.

And scaling that up quickly is simply unprecedented. We can have failures in getting the manufacturing facilities certified. We also might have supply chain bottlenecks. Think of the swabs that happened with diagnostics. We could have bottlenecks in the pill and finish (ph) and vials and so on.

And so, in order to take as many shots on goal as we can, we need a much larger-scale approach. It is sort of like having an optimal portfolio for investments. Here, we think of each -- each vaccine candidate is a risky investment.

And there`s also correlation. If we have two or three candidates on the same platform, they might all fail for similar reasons. And, when you take all of that into account, we think you need a portfolio of 15 to 20 vaccines to really -- that are subject to accelerated investment, so that we would be ready actually get them out to the world once we know that they`re safe and effective.

That`s simply unprecedented. And it requires very strong incentives for firms, because they`re going to be producing, when the risk of failure is still quite high.

So, what we`re going to be looking for a mix of what we call push and pull, where you subsidize the scale-up of capacity that gets people to repurpose existing capacity that`s being used for other profitable things, as well as pull, which is incentives, pay for outcomes.

Whoever gets that vaccine ready and is ready to distribute it widely will get a guaranteed high price for that vaccine. That really induces them to speed up and be ready to produce.

KORNACKI: Let...

ATHEY: And that combination of push-and-pull incentives is what we think is needed to really get people to make this un -- truly unprecedented effort.

KORNACKI: Right.

And so I understand that the point you`re making here, a massive investment that`s going to incentivize all sorts of innovation here and potentially speed this on.

Let me just ask you quickly here, in terms of the timeline, I know you`re going to hear a lot of experts say, this is impossible within the next 18 months, two years. That would be a -- how fast do you think this could be accomplished?

ATHEY: Well, so I`m not the expert on how likely these are to be effective.

I think that you will hear a lot of people say that we have just never tried to get to the scale of tens of millions or hundreds of millions this fast before. But I wouldn`t be writing our proposal if we hadn`t -- don`t believe that it`s possible.

And, indeed, when you -- when you -- things that might have never been economical before become possible when the incentive is strong enough. And so what we`re arguing is that, if you place that incentive there, and you need cooperation from regulation to pre-regulate manufacturing facilities and so on, we could be prepared within a year or so to scale up.

The six-month timetable, it really depends on the -- which candidate you`re talking about. Some -- if some succeed, there`s -- it`s easier to get to scale quickly. The ones that are moving the fastest have less -- might have less of a track record in terms of manufacturing at scale.

So, each of these candidates has their own risks to getting up to large- scale production in a short time frame.

KORNACKI: So, Dr. Redlener, let me bring you in on that now, because I know your view on this has been, it is going to take some time to get a vaccine.

DR. IRWIN REDLENER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY`S NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Yes.

KORNACKI: Listening...

REDLENER: That`s true, Steve.

KORNACKI: Listening to what Susan is describing there, could that make a difference, in your view?

REDLENER: Well, there`s several limiting factors to creating vaccine rapidly.

And one of them is the incentives to make sure that whoever`s making the investment to develop the vaccine has got a guaranteed market to sell them afterwards. I actually don`t think that`s the problem right now, because no matter -- and, by the way, we have hundreds of laboratories now that are commercial and academic, et cetera, that are working on this.

And there`s certain part of the process that cannot be accelerated, specifically the human trials. They take a really long time, and for a very good reason. We cannot be producing, distributing and giving people vaccines that have not been tested for efficacy and safety in particular.

That is a process that just takes a certain amount of time. And don`t forget, the fastest vaccine we ever have made was for mumps, and that took four years. And we still haven`t made a vaccine for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C, a number of other vaccines.

So I think the president is kidding himself. I think that people who think this can be accelerated by money or investments or desire are really, unfortunately, putting themselves in situation that is just not realistic. It just -- it just cannot happen.

KORNACKI: Can I...

REDLENER: Yes, please.

KORNACKI: Yes.

Let me ask you about one outside of this country. And I approach this, I always say, as a layman. I think I`m hoping for some kind of major breakthrough here, like everybody else.

And when I see news in the newspaper or online, I get excited if it looks encouraging. I just want to run this by you and have you tell me what you think about this.

REDLENER: Yes, sure.

KORNACKI: Oxford University, you have probably been hearing a lot about this.

REDLENER: Sure.

KORNACKI: What are the folks working on this says she is -- this is what she`s saying. She says she`s 80 percent certain that the vaccine her team is working on will be successful in inoculating against COVID-19.

The team plans to go to human trials within the next two weeks. They have asked the British government to back the manufacturer of tens of millions of doses before the trials are completed, so, if they are successful, the vaccine will be available to roll out immediately worldwide.

Is there any reason on the spectrum of hope...

REDLENER: Sure.

KORNACKI: ... to have some hope here?

REDLENER: Listen, there`s nothing more than I would like than to see something like that developed quickly.

But I don`t know how you accelerate the process of making sure the vaccine is effective and safe. And, by the way, the production -- J&J is working on this also. They`re talking about being able to build -- to develop 900 million vaccines over a certain period of time.

But, like you indicated earlier, Steve, we`re going to need billions and billions of doses worldwide. There`s a lot of hopefulness out there, but I -- no one has an idea of how you can accelerate the human trials. I just don`t want to be -- I don`t want to be obsessive about this point.

But I don`t want to -- I`m not giving my grandchildren a vaccine that`s had limited human trials. We have had too much experience over the years with trials that turn out to be -- either prove a drug not as -- a vaccine not as effective as it needs to be and -- or certainly not as safe.

We cannot take a chance on this. And I`m waiting to hear somebody like the Oxford group or J&J tell me how it is and how they have rationalized this hastening of this process of making sure the vaccine is safe.

There`s just nothing out there that has convinced a lot of us that that`s even feasible in any kind of way.

KORNACKI: All right. Dr. Irwin Redlener, appreciate that.

Susan Athey, thank you for joining us as well.

And up next: Some in the Trump administration say there is enormous evidence the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China. We`re going to break down what we know, what we don`t know, after this.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS: Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Martha, there`s enormous evidence that that`s where this began.

We have said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outset, but I think the whole world can see now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Welcome back.

That was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the weekend declaring that there is -- quote -- "enormous evidence" that the coronavirus originated in a research lab in Wuhan, China.

Pompeo did not provide any details about that evidence. This puts the secretary of state in line with President Trump, who made a similar assertion last week, also without details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I have. Yes, I have.

QUESTION: And what gives you a high degree of confidence that this originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology?

TRUMP: I can`t tell you that. I`m not allowed to tell you that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: But that conclusion is not one the nation`s intelligence agencies say they have reached, at least not yet.

In a statement released on the same day as the president`s comments last week, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence wrote this -- quote -- "The intelligence community will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals, or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."

For more, I am joined by David Ignatius, foreign affairs columnist and associate editor for "The Washington Post," also author of "The Paladin: A Spy Novel."

David, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Steve.

KORNACKI: So, Trump and Pompeo are talking with confidence here, and Trump saying he has seen something to give him this confidence.

The director of national intelligence, the only thing with specificity that`s come out there, is to say, this was not genetically engineered. This was not manmade in a lab.

Do you have any sense what Trump and Pompeo are referring to here?

IGNATIUS: Steve, I honestly don`t.

The intelligence agencies have been clear in their public look statements, and certainly intelligence sources that I have talked to have been clear, that they have no evidence whatsoever that the Chinese deliberately created this virus in a laboratory, that it`s manmade, that it`s engineered, no evidence whatsoever.

They have a strong conviction that that`s not so.

On the question of how the COVID virus emerged in the first place, there`s a lot of speculation, but no proof. There is circumstantial evidence, because there are two virology labs in Wuhan near where the initial outbreak took place.

There is circumstantial evidence, speculation that perhaps some of the viruses that were collected at those labs for scientific research purposes may have accidentally gotten out. Somebody walked out, having gotten infected in a lab, garbage was improperly disposed of, all sorts of things that happen at labs.

Many scientists think that the accident didn`t take place in a laboratory, but in nature, this was passed from one species to another, it was a natural accident.

But I think the point to make is that China really does need to help the world understand, as best we can, the answer to the question you posed. How did this happen? How can President Trump`s, Secretary of State Pompeo`s criticisms, questions be answered?

And it`s really in the Chinese hands to make an investigation that`s credible, so we know answers.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s -- and so much of the suspicion here, I think it gets to China`s lack of transparency and some of the information that China was passing off in the early stages of this.

There`s also this. U.S. officials are accusing China of covering up the severity of the virus, so that China could hoard medical supplies. A new four-page report by the Department of Homeland Security intelligence service indicates that in early January -- quote -- "China initially delayed in forming the World Health Organization that the coronavirus was a contagion."

And, at the same time, China dramatically increased its imports of surgical masks, gowns and gloves, while cutting exports of those same items.

David, talk a little bit more about that period in January, when this was just a distant headline in the United States, I think very few people here where they thought it was going to get here, obviously, at this magnitude.

What are we finding out about what was happening in China then?

IGNATIUS: So, Steve, China is a ruthlessly self-interested state, A police state.

And we know that, in January, as the magnitude of the outbreak in Wuhan became apparent to the Chinese authorities, they basically panicked. They instituted a whole series of emergency measures. They dispatched top party and Chinese PLA army officials to Wuhan.

Scientists who were trying to investigate the origins of the virus initially had a lot of latitude. But I discovered in my research that, in early February, a paper published by two scientists in Wenzhou in Southern China, saying specifically that they believe, based on the evidence they`d seen, that this was an accidental release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

That paper was published in China and then immediately suppressed. It was just taken out of circulation. And the scientist who was the principal author gave a completely unclear response when he was asked about this by "The Wall Street Journal" many weeks ago.

So the Chinese had been trying to contain information. There`s a famous case of this courageous Dr. Li in Wuhan who tried to spread the word of how serious this was, who was arrested, along with other doctors who were trying to do their jobs.

I mean, that that`s how hard the Chinese were trying initially to keep the lid on. They do seem to have then come to more reasonable positions. But in the beginning, there`s no question that they were trying to suppress information, didn`t know what was going on, were in their own version of panic and disorganization.

KORNACKI: All right, David Ignatius, thank you for the time and the insight on this. I appreciate it.

All right, and up next: The hunt is officially on for Joe Biden`s running mate. It`s veepstakes time in some unusual circumstances here.

But we`re going to fire up the Big Board, and we`re going to take a look. Who is going to be Joe Biden`s number two?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BREGIN VIDEO CLP)

LLOYD BENTSEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have as much experience in Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.

DAN QUAYLE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you`re no Jack Kennedy.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Well, there you go. You can be the vice presidential nominee, and you can get off a line that lives forever.

That was Lloyd Bentsen, you remember that name? He was the running mate for Michael Dukakis back in 1998. That was 32 years ago. He got that line off in the vice presidential debate against Dan Quayle. Might have been the most famous thing that Lloyd Bentsen ever did, might have been the most famous thing that Dan Quayle was ever involved in, maybe the potato thing, too.

But anyway, that is what happens. You get number two on the ticket, you can have a moment like that. What else can you do? That`s question we`re asking because Joe Biden, now that he is the presumptive Democratic nominee, he is starting to look at potential running mates. He`s going to have to make a decision the next couple of months.

You can take a look here, see if we can get that going. Here`s what we do know so far about Joe Biden. He said it will be a female running mate. This will be third time in history, Geraldine Ferraro in 1984, with Walter Mondale, Sarah Palin in 2008 with John McCain.

This will be the third major party female vice presidential nominee in history. Fourth time on the ticket because Hillary Clinton was at the top of the ticket in 2016, but you`ll have a major party, female vice presidential candidate. That is what we know.

So, any male prospects, take them on a list. Which females might Biden be looking at to put on his ticket. When you take a look here at some prospects who are getting talked about here. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but these are names.

And you can start to see what the calculations might be for Biden behind some of these pictures. You look at Elizabeth Warren. Elizabeth Warren is somebody who the base, the sort of true believers of the Democratic Party, the base of the Democratic Party, activist, she`s got a lot of -- she`s got a lot of energy there. So, Elizabeth Warren could bring that to you.

Move out here, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, she`s certainly been in the news lately.

Amy Klobuchar, senator from Minnesota, of course, ran for president against Joe Biden. What they could bring you, Michigan obviously very important state. That`s one of the states that Trump flipped in 2016. Could Whitmer ensure the Democrats hang onto Michigan.

Minnesota, it`s a state that the Democrats won in 2016, but it was close, point and a half. Republicans, Trump are talking about flipping Minnesota in 2020, making a push there. Klobuchar potentially could shore up Minnesota and maybe help again in that sort of critical Midwest area. So, geography might be on the mind of Biden if he looks here.

The party base if he looks at Elizabeth Warren. Stacey Abrams is somebody again the party base has been excited about. She`s been openly campaigning for this job, certainly more assertively than anybody else.

Val Demings, congressman from Florida, her name has come in the mix. She got some attention during the impeachment hearings. That`s somebody who doesn`t have the same national profile maybe of a Warren or Klobuchar, but we have seen surprise choices for vice president before.

This would be another, Michelle Lujan, the governor of New Mexico. Again, that would be a surprise candidate nobody has talked as much about.

Kamala Harris, also had run in the primaries against Biden. We see many candidates who lost in the primaries turn around and get picked to be a nominee. Of course, it`s the wildcard, because you see these veep stakes. You can go back in history and there`s always a short list, there`s always the four or five candidates who are supposed to be under consideration, and there are surprises sometime. Remember Sarah Palin.

There`s also this question. Once you put the candidate on the ticket, what do they deliver?

These three, Lloyd Bentsen, we mentioned at the top, most famous moment a vice president got, came to delivering home state of Texas for Dukakis couldn`t do that in 1988, and, of course, Dukakis got swamped in the general election. John Edwards in 2004 with John Kerry, couldn`t bring North Carolina his home state to the Democratic ticket. Paul Ryan, 2012 with Mitt Romney, couldn`t bring Wisconsin, a swing state, to the Republicans.

You did have Tim Kaine in 2016, he was somebody, he did have a swing state he represented. He did get Virginia for the Democrats.

This is, though, the most important thing when it comes to Joe Biden and veep stakes, if we can -- there you go -- it`s this. It is the age that Joe Biden will be if he is elected, at the first inauguration, Donald Trump was the oldest person ever inaugurated, beat out Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison back in the 19th century. If Joe Biden is elected, he will move right to the top of this list -- 78 years, 51 days. That`s what makes this VP pick so important.

It may not be about, can this candidate help carry a particular state, carry the election. It`s about, is Joe Biden going to be a one term president if he`s elected because he is 78? Would he run for re-election at 82? And potentially serve until 86 or would he be a one-term president, putting the vice president in prime position for 2024?

So, that`s an awful lot of power that Joe Biden has potentially with that pick. He could pick a VP. If they win, and he doesn`t run, he said last week, he thinks of himself as a transition figure, could put that VP in position to become the nominee or be certainly a major contender for it. So, it is a very important pick as things go. They all are, of course.

Still ahead, Trump banking on an economic recovery, start of one in time for the election. What are the chances of that happening? Will it be enough to get him reelected?

We`re back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Welcome back.

With the economy faltering in the coronavirus panic, President Trump`s re- election campaign is shifting gears to try to tout the president`s response to the crisis. In a new television ad, the Trump campaign heralds what it calls an American comeback, pushing an optimistic message on the economy as more states begin to reopen.

The president`s stewardship of the economy is central to his reelection pitch. And for more, I`m joined by Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today", and Jonathan Allen, national political for NBC News Digital.

Susan, it`s interesting. We`re talking about states beginning take steps towards reopening, more doing that today. We`re also talking about a new model that`s come out, an updated model from the University of Washington with a death toll of well over 100,000.

People are still dying as states are reopening. Do you have any sense what that means about how people think about the economy in a political context?

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Well, you know, we know people are concerned about the economy. We know there are a lot of Americans out of work, worried about making their next rent payment. But what we know also from every national public poll is they are more concerned about the health consequences of what`s happening with this pandemic. There is, in fact, a pretty good store of American patients for trying to do the right thing and deal with the economy. So, that is one of the big risks that the president is taking. He`s clearly really eager to get the economy going again, but if there`s a repercussion for that, that people see in their own lives and health, in the health of their families of their neighbors and of their friends, that is going to make for a tough reelection campaign for President Trump.

KORNACKI: It does, I wonder, Jon, when I look at this how much of this just depends on the trajectory. We talk about the politics and what might happen in the fall and November. I almost feel like say tell me what the trajectory of this virus is. If it`s anything like it is right now, it`s -- you just the terrible position and see that center stage if there is a scenario where there is some kind of breakthrough or unexpectedly positive development, it would change the politics of this completely, wouldn`t it?

JONATHAN ALLEN, NBC NEWS DIGITAL SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, everybody is obviously opening for the shortest possible trajectory for the disease in the public health threat. The issue the president is facing is that so many of the people in his administration who are public health experts and disaster response experts, members of the task force as NBC News reported exclusively last week have been telling him that they fear a catastrophic resurgence of the virus if the economy opens up too early and they believe there aren`t enough tests, that they realize there is not a vaccine or treatment. So that public health element is so incredibly tied to everything that`s going on in our lives in everyone`s lives across the country, including the economy but the president can only really affect one of those things, which is the economy because even if you wanted to, he`s not going to be able to stop governors from bringing people back to work.

So I think he`s going after the thing he can control and I think he`s going to hope that the disease is less bad than some of the people in his administration think it will be.

O`DONNELL: In his town hall last night that we were talking about, President Trump was asked by a viewer who appeared to be friendly to him overall about his interaction with the media throughout the pandemic. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question I have is about your presentation. Why do you use descriptive words that could be classified as bullying and why do you not directly answer the questions by the press but instead speak of past successes and generally ramble?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am greeted with a hostile press, the likes of which no president has ever seen. The closest would be that gentleman right up there, they always said, Lincoln, nobody got treated worse than Lincoln. I believe I am treated worse.

You`re there, you see those press conferences, they come at me with questions that are disgraceful, to be honest. Disgraceful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So, Susan, the answer from Trump to the person asking that question was -- let me reconsider this. He went right into how central to his reelection strategy is the tension with the media.

PAGE: Yes. Well, first of all, of course, Lincoln had the civil war. He had assassination but it`s nothing to compare with the kind of travails we have now. I mean, it`s really a remarkable statement by the president -- by the president that just makes you wonder what`s going on.

But here`s the thing, presidents get reelected in optimistic times and they tend to get defeated in modern times if Americans are pretty pessimistic. Americans are pessimistic in 1980, that they defeated an incumbent president in 1992.

We were in a recovery. Americans didn`t feel it and decided to go with Bill Clinton over George H.W. Bush. So, this is an existential threat to Trump`s presidency if Americans feel as downbeat about both the state of the nation, the health of the nation, the economy of the nation as most Americans feel today.

KORNACKI: I think you just put that really well there, Susan. You said it much better than I was struggling to a minute ago there. That really is -- you see incumbents who have lost reelection. You`ve seen where the sentiment was and tell me where the -- how the country is feeling about the coronavirus in the fall and I bet that`s the best way to find out how this election is going to go.

Of course, nobody knows how it`s going to be going in the fall. We will see.

But, Susan Page, thank you. Jonathan Allen, thank you as well. Appreciate that.

And up next, some good news for baseball fans. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: And before we go, we got the news that will give sports fans something to smile about. Early tomorrow morning, it`s not Major League Baseball, it`s not the NFL, it`s not college basketball but live professional baseball is going to return to ESPN. You`re going to see the top teams of South Korea`s top leagues. ESPN announced today it will broadcast six games a week in English. You`re going to have to stay up late to watch, though. The season opener is 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Other games will air at 4:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

Of course, you might be able to DVR those and watch them during the day or the night next if you`d like as well. South Korean baseball, take me out to the ball game.

Thank you for being with us.

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