Dr. Deborah Birx says Trump administration is seeking 'combination solutions' to coronavirus pandemic

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," March 16, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST: Good evening and welcome to "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Just seven days ago, believe it or not, we opened the show with a warning. We told you that coronavirus might seem like a distant problem. It was then causing chaos in China and beginning to in Italy, but it was actually going to affect life in the United States significantly.

We warned you that major events might get canceled that you might have to at some point work from home, that there could be a recession on the horizon.

Since then, just 168 hours have passed. It's not even enough time to watch every episode of "The Simpsons," and yet in that time, everything has changed. Travel advisories have become travel bans, government requests have become government orders. Social distancing has given way to social shutdowns.

Events are still moving very quickly, so quickly that what we could tell you tonight might be obsolete by the end of this hour.

Nevertheless, of course, we'll try. Bill Hemmer is here to run down what is happening at this moment. Hey, Bill.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Hey, Tucker, good evening to you. And I try and tell a story through numbers. I've been looking at these charts and maps over the past three days, and so we'll dig into what we believe we understand now today in different states and different countries around the world.

That map you're looking at Tucker is from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I want you to look at three numbers on the screen. Upper left hand corner is the number of confirmed cases around the world 181,000. In the upper right hand corner, there are two numbers, the white number is the number of confirmed fatalities, more than 7,100. The numbers next to that 78,000 is the number of those cases that have been recovered so far, and we want that number to go a lot higher.

Now, as we look at that, Tucker, that was as of seven o'clock Eastern Time, about one hour ago, and these numbers are going to change throughout the night. In fact, what we have tried to do here at Fox is take our numbers and working now with the C.D.C. and the World Health Organization and the Associated Press and work with that map from Johns Hopkins to try and get a sense about the numbers and how well we can tell right now how this thing is moving.

I'm going to show you another chart, Tucker, too, and I'm going to explain this to you as we go. Back on the screen here, you'll see three lines, okay.

This is about a two-month span, Tucker. This started in the 20th of January, far left part of your screen. That top line is the number of cases in China. That number midway through spiked around the 14th of February, you see that?

Then a week later, it starts to bottom out and flatten out. That's a good sign for China, if you can trust the numbers.

That bottom line there that has a yellow shade to it. That's the number of confirmed cases outside of China. If you go back on the screen far right hand corner, that number spikes at the end, that's not what we want. We want that the level off.

Then that green number in the middle is the number of recoveries to and certainly when that yellow and the green can merge a bit more.

Here's what I find the most alarming through diving through all these numbers, three weeks ago today -- Iran was reported -- Iran was reporting 61 cases three weeks ago today. You know what the number is now? 15,000. Three weeks ago today in Italy, they were reporting 229 cases. And today, they're reporting 25,000.

That is an enormous increase for these countries, and if you think about what the White House and with the messages from people like Anthony Fauci and others, they don't want us to become Iran or Italy, and we can debate the merits about how we're going about it. But that is ultimately the objective as we sit here tonight -- Tucker.

CARLSON: So Bill, just to be clear, when you say recoveries, you're speaking of people who have recovered who physicians have said are out of the woods on corona.

HEMMER: That is correct. Those who have recovered and one more, because I know there's a lot of numbers here.

I think this is important, too, Tucker. Of those -- we were told this over the weekend on Saturday from the White House -- of those in South Korea who have been tested, 96 percent were negative.

So in the middle of all this bad news that's circulating around the country. I think those are a few things you can look to it. Don't forget about those data points -- Tucker.

CARLSON: That's right. Most people don't have it. At least so far and most people recover. Worth remembering. Bill Hemmer, thanks for that up-to-date information.

HEMMER: See you.

CARLSON: There's so much disinformation going around. You're probably getting it at this moment on your text. We certainly are.

We haven't faced a medical crisis like this in living memory. We know that coronavirus constitutes a major threat to the country. Of course it does, what we really don't have a clear picture of right now is what's coming next.

So we spent the weekend talking to some of the smartest people we know in medicine, in business and in politics. Everyone had strong opinions, needless to say, but what was striking was that there was no clear consensus on how the country should respond to this.

All decent informed people, but completely different points of view. That should not surprise you. People of good faith are working toward a couple of different goals tonight which at times collide with one another.

Our first obligation everyone agrees is to keep our people safe. If we can prevent Americans from getting the coronavirus, we should do that.

At the same time, though, we need to protect our economy and that is not just something that Wall Street cares about, to be totally clear.

Economic decline is dangerous for everyone, especially at the bottom of the economy. It's a legitimate human concern. It's not just financial, it's about families.

Here's the problem. We've got two imperatives and they often conflict. So if you ask an epidemiologist what we ought to do next, the answer is simple. Shut it down. Close every public space until the virus passes.

Hospitals would get a pass of course, but restaurants, bars, hotels, movie theaters, airlines, everything.

From a public health standpoint, that makes sense. But what would be the consequences of doing that? Millions and millions of people would lose their jobs, some of them for good.

We'd enter a severe recession with mass unemployment and it could get worse from there. It's not a joke, that could happen.

You would see an awful lot of people in poverty in Middle America and that poses its own kind of public health risk.

Poor countries are never healthy countries. If you want great healthcare, you've got to pay for it and you have to have money to do so.

So you see the problem. Responding to this epidemic requires balance. It does. It's a complex question. And the deeper into it you dig, the more convinced that you will become, the answers are not obvious.

Don't want anyone to lie to you about that, and of course they are. You'll hear people claim they've got a simple answer that will fix everything. Ignore those people.

Only fools pretend they can see the future. Wise people admit uncertainty. That's the hallmark of wisdom.

As of tonight, here's what we do know. First, we're only at the beginning of all of this. We're pretty certain of that. Dr. Anthony Fauci said as much over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: As I've said many times, and I'll repeat it, the worst is yes, ahead, for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that is going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So shutdowns and travel restrictions, which are increasingly in place will help slow the spread, but they are not enough. They're not a big enough response for what's coming.

The New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now asking the administration to muster the military to fight the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-N.Y.: The coming crisis is overwhelming our health care system. That is going to happen. That curve is a wave and it's going to break on the hospital system.

We need additional beds and we need the Army Corps of Engineers to come in here and retrofit state buildings, dormitories, et cetera.

Start now. Bring in that Army Corps of Engineers. This is what they do. They build.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: At a press conference today, the President said the administration is strongly considering Governor Cuomo's request and it seems like they are, and of course, there are other ways we could use the military's expertise and manpower. It has a lot of both.

If things get bad, we will need more ventilators than we currently have. We may need more breathing masks, too.

In Italy, the military has been mobilized in an effort to quadruple production at that country's lone ventilator manufacturer. In South Korea, the military is assisting in mass production. That's what they're doing.

We have the most sophisticated Armed Forces on earth and the best funded, no doubt there are many other ways they can help -- use your imagination. They have helped so many other nations in crisis around the world and of course, they want to. They're Americans.

And then there's our second priority, keeping our economy stable. Now, once again, this is not the same as using monetary policy to prop up the stock market.

Washington, in case you haven't noticed has become convinced that the Federal Reserve is the only available instrument for managing our economy.

That's only unimaginative and small-minded, though it is, it is dangerous. How much cheap money can we print before the public loses faith in the system and inflation explodes?

Economists from Washington seem to think that'll never happen. We can do this forever, but we can't, and they know we can't on some level.

At some point, we will become Zimbabwe and you don't want that. And by the way, it's missing a point anyway. The real imperative right now is saving jobs.

For government bureaucrats, university administrators and corporate HR Directors, talk show hosts, actually, a month out of the office constitutes a kind of vacation.

But for the classes below, it could be the beginning of a long spiral, a real one. Waiters, bartenders, retail workers, huge parts of the service industry on which we are dependent, massive part of our economy could see their income drop to zero and not come back.

Kevin Hassett, the former Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers just warned that a million jobs could vanish in the month of April, a million people suddenly without jobs. That's the nightmare scenario.

Countries with high unemployment are desperate countries and more ominous, they are unstable countries, always. You don't want that.

Some of the professional class have suggested a guaranteed basic income as a response to this threat.

Mitt Romney has suggested sending every American a monthly check for $1,000.00. That's likely a well-meaning idea. A lot of smart people are behind it. But it's also decadent and foolish.

Name a place that's become happier and more prosperous under a scheme like that?

Indian reservations? The inner city? Rural areas where half the male population gets monthly disability checks? Or for that matter if we're being honest, how many happily idle inherited money people do you know? Rich people? None. They're all drunk. Of course they are.

People need to work. They want to work. Work gives them meaning and purpose and dignity. That's not some hollow slogan. It's true. It's true in your life. It's true in the life of everyone.

Happily, there is a model in progress for how we can save work. It's underway now in Germany. The German government runs a program called Kurzarbeit. It means short time.

Employees are encouraged not to lay off their workers, but instead place them on reduced hours. The government then steps into compensate some of those missing wages to help the companies with payroll.

Now, it may cost taxpayers more than Romney's grand a month program, but critically, it keeps people in their jobs. It's also straightforward, unlike so many of the double secret backward tax rebate programs the geniuses in Congress are always coming up with and telling you, you should love and be happy with. But you don't ever understand them and neither do they.

This idea has a clear goal and it achieves it. During the 2008 financial crisis, Germany's economy shrank by a higher proportion than ours did in America. Yet, at the same time, Germany's unemployment rate actually fell. Labor force participation rose.

So amazingly, in the middle of an economic contraction, a bad recession, more people were working than before. That's the key as we look forward to turbulent times. Employment, stability, meaningful work -- if you want to help people weather this crisis, the one that's coming, save their jobs, it's that clear.

So I want to start tonight with an update on the medical response to coronavirus and for that we're happy to be joined by Dr. Deborah Birx. She's the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator. She joins us now.

Doctor, thanks so much for coming on.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Thank you.

CARLSON: So you have heard this idea from the Governor of New York, the military ought to be directly involved in creating more hospital space, in preparing our medical infrastructure for the surge of patients we anticipate. Is this something the administration is behind?

BIRX: I think we're looking at all the experience that has been gained around the world. We spend every day reviewing what has happened in China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran and across the world to really see how people have responded.

There's a China model. There's a South Korea model. We're taking the best of each of those models and working on seeing how we adapt them.

Obviously, I've come out of the military. I know the amazing work of the men and women in uniform and the work that they can do. I think we want combination solutions, combination solutions at the state level, at the local level whether we've learned from the Chinese about creating what we call COVID wards, where it really provides the ability to actually care for a larger numbers of clients and patients in a more concentrated way, which allows more oversight so you can really track patients.

We're asking every governor and mayor to look at canceling elective surgeries. I think a lot of pieces have to come together.

Certainly the military, and the men and women in uniform are always going to be there, but I think we're looking at every single possible solution at this point.

CARLSON: So it sounds like we've got some time to make these decisions by your description. How much time do you think that we have?

BIRX: Every county is different, and we're looking at the United States in a very clear way, not just looking at the state level, but looking at the county level, trying to understand where infections are occurring and how we stop them where they are.

You can see a whole series of governors have become very aggressive and really understanding their epidemic and really moving forward with what the President put out today, really what every American can do to stop this virus.

There's always two sides of the equation, there's the virus, and it's the person that the virus infects. The virus, we can't change at this moment. But we can change our behaviors to make sure that we don't become more susceptible to those viruses.

CARLSON: So over the weekend, as I'm sure you're aware, probably every third person in America got a text from an insider at the White House saying that there was a shutdown -- a national shutdown coming that would require Americans essentially to stay where they are, at home. Is that under discussion tonight at the White House?

BIRX: Well, first, obviously, that did that come from the White House, and I think people --

CARLSON: I am aware and I should have said that. It was a hope, right.

BIRX: Where it came from. I think what we have put out today for every American to do is quite serious, and I think you could see how serious the President was in the press conference today.

He understands the data, he understands the risk. His focus is on protecting as many Americans as we can and then that guidance that is put out is very clear.

We know who will get the infection and do well. We know who will get the infection and not do well. But it takes all of us, all the Americans to ensure that the people who won't do well are protected from getting this virus and that's all of those issues we've put out there about not bringing the virus into those households, and then ensuring you're not bringing the virus home.

And that's why it's not more than 10 people, that's why it's saying please don't go to bars or restaurants. Get takeout. Do drive-thru. There's so many options in the United States.

CARLSON: Doctor, thank you for that update. We appreciate it.

I want to correct a misstatement from the top of the show. We described Mitt Romney's plan to send $1,000.00 to every American, which is indeed his plan, it is the plan of many others, including Andrew Yang to make that a monthly payment.

We should tell you, the coronavirus epidemic is, according to what you've just heard, still manageable here in the United States. And the numbers seem to suggest it is.

Experts fear that the situation could grow very quick. How bad could it get? To understand that we have to look at Italy, where the healthcare system of entire regions has all but collapsed under the strain of cases.

Mattia Ferraresi is an Italian journalist. He joins us tonight from Rome. He's been watching this since the very beginning. Thanks so much for coming on tonight.

MATTIA FERRARESI, ITALIAN JOURNALIST: Good to be with you.

CARLSON: So how would you describe the actuation in Italian hospitals in the infected areas now?

FERRARESI: The situation is extremely complicated and the system especially in the north where the outbreak started, it's really serious. The system is on the brink of collapse and they are -- doctors are making very difficult situations, and so we are building new facilities, new capacities, new ICU beds, but not fast enough to meet the demand, unfortunately and the numbers of victims are not promising.

And so we're not -- we're not seeing the peak yet, and so this is like kind of a concerning situation right now by the point of view of the healthcare system being swamped.

CARLSON: Since you're going through this, and since it seemed to explode in Italy in a way that a lot of people didn't expect, what are the lessons you've learned about how Italy managed the crisis in its early days that we ought to be paying attention to? What can we learn from Italy?

FERRARESI: I think what we learned with like few weeks of delay is that social distancing is not one aspect of the problem, it is the problem, it is absolutely the solution the thing that we can do in order to slow this down.

The goal of social distancing is not like miraculously finding a cure. It's avoiding that so many people get ill at the same time. And so the strongly -- the system, that thing was not understood properly from the beginning, which in my view and in light of the experience of the last few weeks is the problem.

I think that message should get out now in the mind and hearts of all the people who are behind Italy a few weeks like the United States, because that's a personal responsibility.

Now, it's not just a state that mandates rules. It's really a personal responsibility that I think is the big lesson that we are learning the hard way, unfortunately.

CARLSON: And it is unfortunate. Godspeed. Mattia, thank you so much for coming on tonight. Appreciate it.

FERRARESI: Thank you for having me.

CARLSON: Well, there's been a lot of shaming online -- there always is -- but especially recently of people who are still going outside traveling, congregating with others. Should that be a shameful act? How much outside activity is reasonable right now given the risks? Are public officials being prudent? Are they overreacting? It's tough to answer these questions.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat is an Emergency Medicine doctor. She's making her first appearances as official Fox News contributor and she joins us tonight.

Doctor, thanks so much for coming on.

DR. JANETTE NESHEIWAT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: So sort through the judgment, the conflicting recommendations that we're getting, should we go to the park with the dogs et cetera?

NESHEIWAT: You need to avoid dense crowded areas, Tucker, because remember, this virus spreads very easily from person to person.

So you can go to the park as long as you have about six to 10 feet distance between you and another person. We want you to be able to go outside, get some fresh air and you know, enjoy the sunshine, but you still have to take precautions because this is a highly infectious, highly contagious virus.

And the goal is to prevent the spread of this virus, and especially when it comes down to our millennials who are very active youth, they want to be out there, they want to go out shopping and parties, and to clubs and to the bars.

So they are really the ones who hold the key to curbing the trajectory of this wicked virus that is metastasizing through our nation and causing so much havoc and disruption.

So if we can get them, this largest population of millennials to really adhere to these strict guidelines and C.D.C. protocols to help mitigate the spread of this virus, we can see a decrease in the number of cases and the reason why it's so important, Tucker is because, you know, the youth have such a robust, strong immune system.

So they'll have either no symptoms or very mild symptoms, and they'll have the energy to want to go out and about and do things and not realizing they can easily spread to those who are more susceptible to this virus.

CARLSON: Is there some reason do you think that that message, which we've all heard before -- thank you for amplifying it -- but it's been out there, it doesn't seem to be penetrating. Do you have any guess as to why?

NESHEIWAT: I think, we haven't really made it obvious that this can be a really serious life threatening disease for those who are most vulnerable, which of course, we all know our older population who have underlying medical disease, severe medical disease, heart disease, lung disease, cancer patients.

But one thing we need to also realize, our youth are not exempt from this virus from complications of this virus, especially if they vape or if they smoke, they are at a higher risk.

But I think it's just a matter of educating them and letting them understand how much power they have in really helping protect their neighbors, their loved ones and turning this disease around and you know, making a difference in the lives of many Americans.

So it's a matter of education, educating them, letting them understand how much power they have in making a difference and also, we need to tell them what they can do as an alternative.

You know, they need other things to do to keep them busy. So that can be difficult because it does require sacrifice, staying indoors, social distancing, that sort of thing.

But we have to also understand and point out to them, there's a difference between social distancing and quarantine and quarantine is stay away from people as much as you possibly can versus social distancing. You can do things, but do it with commonsense precautions.

We just saw today, our President set out some new guidelines. Avoid gatherings of less than 10 people, not to have more than 10 people, you know, try to work from home if you can, closing down bars and casinos and restaurants just to help prevent the spread of this virus as well.

CARLSON: Dr. Nesheiwat, thanks so much for that.

NESHEIWAT: My pleasure. Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Congratulations by the way. Glad you joined us.

NESHEIWAT: Thank you. Appreciate it. Thank you.

CARLSON: Amazing photos from the nation's international airport showed long lines, dense crowds as Americans returned home following the President's announcement of severe travel restrictions.

Fox's Matt Finn has more on what is happening there from Chicago tonight. Hey, Matt.

MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Tucker. Today we went to Chicago's O'Hare Airport and from our observation fortunately, it seems like those long lines and a lot of the chaos has now been resolved.

Beginning Saturday over the weekend, a huge crush of passengers returning to the country were outraged sharing their pictures and stories of waiting for up to six hours in shoulder to shoulder lines at Chicago's O'Hare Airport and in Dallas and New York.

The Department of Homeland Security called the lines unacceptable and now says staff has been increased and the problems fixed at the 13 airports that are receiving customers back into the United States.

Homeland Security says passengers returning to the country can now expect to wait about 30 minutes or less.

Tonight, the CDC says at this time, any traveler returning to the United States from one of the level three countries will be asked to self- quarantine for 14 days. They can also expect to go through a medical screening at the airport and fill out a questionnaire or provide more information about their recent travel locations.

The full growing list of countries of concern can be found on the C.D.C. website. And at midnight tonight, the next wave of travel bans from passengers in the U.K. and Ireland goes into effect -- Tucker.

CARLSON: Matt Finn for us in Chicago tonight. Thanks so much, Matt.

Well, at some point this will be over, the virus will burn out pass on. We'll be waiting for the next one. But our reliance on China is likely to remain.

Does Congress have a plan to break that dangerous dependency on a country that's threatened to kill Americans? Well ask that question next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: The coronavirus is a Chinese virus no matter what they're telling you. It originated in China. It was able to spread to the rest of the world because the Chinese government hid the truth of what was happening early in the outbreak from the rest of the world. They lied about it and that caused the terrible consequences we're watching now.

If the coronavirus causes a global recession, you can blame China for that. Again, they'll tell you on CNN that's not true. You know perfectly well it is true, and so do they.

Now, the government of China is promoting conspiracy theories spreading on social media the lie that the virus originated here in America.

The state propaganda in China is musing about cutting off drug exports to this country and killing Americans. That's not the behavior of a friendly nation. It's the behavior of a dangerous adversary.

So is Congress ready to treat China like what it is? Congressman Jim Banks is a Republican representing the state of Indiana. We're happy to have him on tonight.

Congressman, thanks so much for coming on.

REP. JIM BANKS, R-IND.: Great to be here.

CARLSON: You've been one of the few and loudest voices calling attention to the threat that China poses to the United States. Do you think that this crisis will awaken your colleagues to this threat?

BANKS: Well, there's no doubt about it, Tucker. I've heard from colleagues on both sides of the aisle who are ready to engage in the same fight that I've been fighting now for several months to hold China accountable for their bad behavior and we need to start by forcing China to pay the burden and the cost incurred on the United States of America because of the -- and due to the coronavirus.

I think there are many ways that we can do that. The President could force China to relieve a great amount of American debt. He could institute tariffs on China and designate the funds from that into a Coronavirus Victim Relief Fund to pay the cost incurred on Americans and American taxpayers due to the negligence on China's behalf that's led to the crisis in America today.

CARLSON: So by erasing the debt, the American the U.S. debt held by the Chinese, we could fund that. Do you think the administration is willing to push for that?

BANKS: I hope so. President Trump has shown enormous strength and efforts so far in the trade deal. When we talk about future trade deals, there's an opportunity and avenue and I believe an appetite to go after China to make them pay even further costs.

So I hope that would be the case. But I have no doubt that President Trump will do everything that he can to hold China accountable for what they've caused on Americans today.

CARLSON: So one thing I've noticed is that the more people learn about how dependent we are on China for critical goods like pharmaceuticals, medicine, the more upset they are, the more bewildered they are that we let this happen.

Do you think -- and I know this is complex, but if you could just sum it up for me. Do you think Congress will actually act in meaningful ways to make this country more independent?

BANKS: Well, I hope so, Tucker, I'm going to do my part. And one other thing that we can do is stop the VA and the DoD, two of the largest healthcare networks in America today from buying medical equipment from China.

I mean, those are substantive, real ways that we can begin to disentangle ourselves from China's economy and hold them accountable.

I'm going to do my part by authoring more legislation to do things just like that, but it's going to take a partnership between Congress and the Trump administration to get there.

CARLSON: It's shocking to me that the Department of Defense buys medical equipment from our chief global rival. That is just so reckless. I hope you fix that. Congressman, thanks a lot for coming on tonight.

BANKS: Good to be with you.

CARLSON: Well, the C.D.C. is asking Americans to refrain from attending large gatherings for at least eight weeks, two months. Many schools are warning that classes could be done for the rest of the school year.

Just how long could America expect to be in suspended animation because of this epidemic? Fox medical contributor Marc Siegel joins us tonight. Doctor, thanks so much for coming on.

DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Tucker.

CARLSON: Simple question. I mean, we all see where this is going, a much longer shutdown, shelter in place order issued tonight, apparently in San Francisco. How long do you think this will extend?

SIEGEL: I've been monitoring this and you and I have been looking at this since January and I'm here to report tonight that it's a lot worse than even we anticipated, I think.

It's a very dangerous virus. I think that the Governor of New York is correct to say we're on a wartime footing with it. That's actually a good choice of words because this country has won wars before, major wars and we need to win a war against this virus.

We've got to stop being so afraid and hysterical and start considering how to face it with the bravery that this country has shown. We are the land of the brave after all.

We have to follow what we need to do to shut it down. We need to follow these public health measures to the tee. We need to avoid gatherings. We need to stay at home whenever possible or needed.

We need to do things remotely, and if we think we're sick, we need to call our doctors and ask them are we -- do we need testing? Testing finally expanding. We need that test so that I can say how do I sideline someone who may be spreading virus?

Because the goal of the war is to decrease the amount of virus. I'm not as confident tonight about the seasonality of it as I was before because it's spreading so much. It may not obey that.

CARLSON: Yes.

SIEGEL: It may continue on into the summer if it continues to spread like this.

CARLSON: So what you're saying is that typically with flu seasons, of course they die out as the sunshine extends and it gets warmer. You think this may be an exception.

SIEGEL: Because it's a new pandemic, because we don't have immunity to it, because it's not slowing at this point, because we're seeing people on ventilators and people in the hospital at greater numbers.

And I mean, if we follow all of these guidelines of social distancing, everything we're thinking about doing, maybe we can slow it, and I think we will. I think we will. I'm very hopeful that we can actually beat this, but we've got to really, really clamp down now.

CARLSON: Well, that's sobering. Dr. Siegel, thank you very much for that.

SIEGEL: By the way, Tucker, I want to also to say for our children out there, your parents have to show courage, and then you'll be courageous. We're going to beat this thing.

I don't want our children to be afraid. Courage uses the same pathways in the brain as fear. If we are courageous, our children will be and they won't be afraid.

CARLSON: I think that's right. There are a lot of fearful people right now. Thank you.

SIEGEL: Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON: So it's pretty clear that in some basic sense, Americans are going to have to look out for themselves in the next few weeks in a way maybe they're not used to doing, but the Federal government is also begging the public not to be too self-reliant, not to stock up on too much.

Don't be a hoarder. What's the right answer there? We will tell you after the break.

Plus, it's easy to forget, but there was a Democratic debate last night. Mark Steyn watched it, one of the few. He joins us to tell us what happened, after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: In the last week, you may have heard public officials and television pundits discouraging you from going to the grocery store too much. Hoarding is wrong, they are saying. Just get what you need for the week. It's not like we're going to run out or anything.

And honestly, you can kind of see the point they're making. Don't panic. America produces more food than any country in the history of the world. It's not like anyone here is going to starve. And that's fair.

On the other hand, it's not clear why we would ever encourage any American to be less self-reliant. Self-reliance built this country. We ought to admire it and encourage it.

We should also be aware that just because we imagine the future will turn out in a certain way, doesn't mean that it will. Things change fast. We have massive agricultural capacity in this country. Distribution, though, is another matter.

What happens if large numbers of truck drivers or grocery workers get sick? We still have a lot of food, whether it got to your neighborhood is another matter.

Now, that's not a reason to panic. Famine is pretty hard to imagine here under any circumstances, but it is a reason not to be passive.

It's always tempting to imagine someone else will take care of the details. That's the attitude that got our entire industrial base offshored to Asia. We wouldn't have allowed China to make 97 percent of our antibiotics, if we'd remembered that it's better to do the important things yourself.

Our leaders used to understand this. At the beginning of the Second World War, the Federal government encouraged Americans to start growing their own food. Within a year, families across the country had planted 18 million so- called Victory Gardens in their yards and public parks, on the front lawn of the White House.

By the end of the war, those plots were producing as many vegetables as all the commercial farms in the United States combined. Normal people doing it themselves for their families and their neighbors. That used to be the way people lived.

In a crisis, it still is. When it comes down to it, you are in charge of protecting the people you love. You. No matter what they tell you on TV.

Well, you may have completely forgotten in the frenzy of the past week, but there is a Democratic presidential race still ongoing and there was even a debate last night, a kind of Potemkin debate, but still, thanks to the coronavirus, there was no crowd to play to, but frontrunner Joe Biden still did plenty of pandering.

Biden vowed to atone for having the wrong sex and skin color by hiring those traits rather than merit. He will let the way someone looks decide who he picks for Vice President and the Supreme Court. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I commit that if I'm elected President, have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, it will be -- I will point the first black woman to the courts.

My cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I will in fact, appoint a -- pick a woman to be Vice President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: It doesn't matter who the person is or what the person believes or has done in life, I'm going to pick someone who looks like this.

But that's not patronizing or anything. Biden didn't stop there, though. He also promised that in his first three months as President, nobody will be deported from this country, not even violent criminals. Seriously. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: In the first hundred days of my administration, no one -- no one -- will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.

QUESTION: So to be clear, only felons get deported and everyone else gets to stay?

BIDEN: Clear. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Well, with time running out for his presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders did nothing significant to tear down Biden because he doesn't actually want to win. He just wants to jump around and play revolutionary. He doesn't want to be President. Why doesn't he just say that?

Biden almost sabotaged himself anyway though, when he mistakenly used 2005 era democratic lingo, which is now banned because it's racist. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Anyone who shows up to be tested for coronavirus or gets coronavirus treated would be held harmless.

There are certain things you cannot deport an undocumented alien for, an undocumented person for and that would be one of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: Notice the question at the bottom of the screen. How can we make illegal aliens feel safe enough to get tested for coronavirus? Because that that's kind of the number one concern over on CNN.

Well, a whole year of effort and tens of millions of dollars and he nearly blew it right there by using the wrong phrase. Can he still make it? Author and columnist, Mark Steyn watched last night's debate and he joins us now. How do you assess this, Mark?

MARK STEYN, AUTHOR AND COLUMNIST: I think it's terrible. This is what it's like. It's different if you're one of the younger candidates.

If you're like that skateboard guy, Beto, or if you're like a little old frumple Pete from South Bend, it is bred in you. You don't even know what the word alien is. You don't know what it means.

But like, they've left themselves --

CARLSON: It's a movie.

STEYN: Yes. They've left themselves with two cultures who find it very difficult to walk on these eggshells and so they naturally default to old time words that you only hear in the recreational lounge at the seniors' home like alien.

This is the same guy who was -- Biden was a guy who was telling us that Trump was xenophobic for using the word foreign virus. A virus can't be an alien. A person can't be an alien. Joe Biden completely lost it. He said we are -- this virus is attacking us from abroad.

And by that very phrase, he's kind of implying that the virus is sort of -- is foreign in some way. So he is in danger I think of defaulting to sanity, which is always the problem when you've got people who are old enough to remember before the lingo had been corrupted.

CARLSON: Would they remember reality before Brooklyn became cool? No, you're totally right. So did Bernie Sanders make any headway whatsoever last night?

STEYN: No, he didn't at all. He threatened to. What's ridiculous about this whole debate? And to go back to Beto and Mayor Pete, you know, when you see them, it's like watching ideological college students and the naivety is rather sweet when you're 22, 32, 47, 58.

When you've got two guys pushing 80, and nothing they're saying is actually relevant to the situation, the challenges facing the country, it's kind of pathetic.

We waste so much time -- yes, I said ages ago on this show, you know, we'll be talking about transgender bathrooms when the mullahs nuke us. The Democrats will be talking about whether they should have a Muslim transgender Vice President, when the zombie apocalypse is finally unleashed, and breaks into the debate and devours them all.

This was a complete waste of time, utterly irrelevant, stale, world view of clapped out globalism.

CARLSON: That's exactly right. But the good news is they'll feel good about themselves as they do it. Mark Steyn, the Great Mark Steyn, thank you for coming.

STEYN: Thanks a lot, Tucker.

CARLSON: We've got the very latest on the spread of this virus just ahead and the reactions from cities across the world country.

We thought from the beginning that young people were safe from this. That was kind of the one upside, but there's ominous news from Europe tonight to suggest that's not true, actually. We've got the details for you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Could the Federal government have prepared better for this pandemic? Well, of course we've got international air travel -- it was coming at some point.

The government failures are inevitable and so are crises and emergencies.

As an individual, the best way to get through them is by being prepared. When things get bad, the only person you can always count on to look out for your family is you.

That's just true, no matter what they say. Brock Long is a former head of FEMA, and Executive Chairman of Haggerty Consulting and he just wrote a piece for The Hill. Warning, "Government alone cannot protect us from epidemics."

Brock Long joins us now and we're happy to have him. Mr. Long, thanks so much for coming. So what specifically would you recommend?

We just did a segment a second ago about how we're hearing, you know, don't overburden the grocery stores, and I understand why they're saying that. But in real life, as someone who ran FEMA, what should we be doing?

BROCK LONG, FORMER HEAD OF FEMA: Well, Tucker, first of all, good evening. That's a great question.

So I've always said that citizens are the true first responders for any type of disaster, whether it's a hurricane or the virus that we're facing, and we do have to create more personal responsibility. Go back in and rethink the way that we ask citizens to be prepared.

Because our past public awareness campaigns have not worked. FEMA has been, you know, overburdened and working tirelessly for the last several years to help citizens overcome several different types of disasters and large magnitude disasters.

And so we have to go back and understand the root cause of the problem. So for example, one thing is, there is no financial resiliency in American families. We've got to go back and teach kids, parents, disadvantaged communities, how money actually works.

We need to instill that three to six months' worth of savings is very important. Insurance is the first line of defense, not disaster relief funding from the Federal government. We've got a lot of work to do.

CARLSON: So you're worried and I think it's such a smart point that too few have made that people just don't have the financial reserves to weather economic chaos that we know is coming.

LONG: Right. So one of the problems is not poverty as in I don't make enough money to make ends meet, but asset poverty, which is I can't put my hands on 500 bucks, or I can't put my hands on three to six months' worth of savings because I'm too highly leveraged.

Well, what we see in disasters and what FEMA is seeing is that because people are highly leveraged, you know, they're actually pulling back on insurance.

So for example, when you pay off your mortgage to your house, don't let your fire insurance lapse, so that you can have a couple of hundred extra bucks in retirement, or to operate in daily life.

You've got to have that insurance, you know, to be able to pay if catastrophe hits, and so we're seeing bad behaviors and things that we've got to correct through educational systems and create a true culture of preparedness.

We also need to give citizens tangible skills. We've got to go back to basically teaching things such as CPR. Far too many people don't know CPR. They don't know how to turn off the gas and water valves to their house.

And we've got to go back and almost essentially make Boy Scouts again.

CARLSON: I think that's really wise. And we ought to have hearings for the people that are sending credit cards to college students, so they'll have to account for themselves in my opinion. Speaking of over leverage. Thank you so much for coming on tonight. That seemed wise to me.

LONG: Hey, thank you.

CARLSON: So you're seeing people shrug off coronavirus, typically younger people because it's dangerous only to old people. Well, so far most deaths have been among the elderly.

But Dr. Birx who you saw earlier on the show warned that even young people can be in danger if they aren't in perfect health. Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIRX: You could be 40 and have a significant medical condition and be at substantial risk. You could be 30 and having come through Hodgkin's disease or non-Hodgkins lymphoma and be of a significant risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: So in France, where the epidemic is more advanced than it is here, more than half of those in critical care are under 60. They're not over 80 like you've been reading, they're under 60.

Here in the U.S., a Washington emergency room doctor is now in critical condition despite being in his 40s.

Dr. Pete Hotez is Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He's also co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, a lot of relevant knowledge there. He joins us tonight.

Doctor, thanks for coming on. So this is a little bit shocking to those of us who are sort of following the news, and we keep hearing, no, no, only the elderly people with COPD, people getting chemo -- is there actually a threat, do you think to younger people as well?

DR. PETE HOTEZ, DEAN OF NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, there could be a real possibility, and thanks for having me on.

You know, so much of what we're saying about this virus is from what we learned from the Chinese or from Chinese data, which showed indeed that older people are at risk, those with underlying disabilities.

They also showed us that healthcare workers for reasons that we don't understand are at risk for worsening disease despite their younger age.

So there was already a hint that there was a cohort of younger people that could still get very sick. Those were healthcare workers for reasons that we don't understand.

And there's no reason to expect that things will exactly play out the same way in Europe as it would in China. And indeed, we are seeing some younger people get infected.

That's a wakeup call for us that we may have some younger populations at risk and we can't be complacent. This is a brand new virus. This is a virus we didn't know existed 10 to 12 weeks ago.

So to assume that things are going to play out exactly as they do in China in the United States, we have to be careful about that.

CARLSON: I mean, it's such a reminder what you just said to those of us who are covering the news and repeating what we read and hear that there's a lot we don't know about this.

And why are we assuming? As you were saying, I was thinking, why are we all assuming it's going to play out in the U.S. as it did in China according to some template? It's not necessarily correct.

HOTEZ: That's right. We're in a steep learning curve on this virus and we're learning more every day and my lab is -- our laboratory is really working hard to accelerate a new vaccine.

It's now been manufactured with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in collaboration with them, and we're hoping to get this into clinical trials very soon.

So there's going to be a lot of excitement moving forward, at least five or six vaccines are going to be moving into clinical trials over the next few weeks. Hopefully ours will be one of them.

Look, remember, this is why America is great, right? We set big, audacious goals and we get things done.

CARLSON: Of course.

HOTEZ: We did -- we did this was scaling up penicillin in World War II when no one said we could do it. We defeated polio through creating the vaccine. We defeated smallpox. We can do this as well.

And I think that's something we have to remember that America doesn't just lay down. We can do big things.

CARLSON: Amen. And it's so reassuring to hear that. Doctor, thank you for coming on tonight. Appreciate it.

HOTEZ: Thanks for having me.

CARLSON: One last thing before we go. Because of coronavirus, a lot of blood drives are being canceled. That doesn't mean hospitals suddenly don't need blood or less. No.

Many regions are already reporting shortages of blood, so if you have the ability to donate in the next couple of days, we urge you to do that for your friends, your family, for your neighbors, for America really. It's important.

Make an appointment by visiting redcrossblood.org or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app and don't worry there are no known cases of coronavirus being spread by blood transfusions.

If you're healthy enough to give blood, donating will not make you significantly more vulnerable to this virus. So please consider doing that.

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