Gun sales skyrocket during coronavirus pandemic

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 18, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Juan. Thanks. Good evening, I am Bret Baier. Breaking tonight. President Trump, says the U.S. Is on a wartime footing in its battle against an invisible enemy, the coronavirus pandemic.

A 1,000-bed navy hospital ship will deploy to New York City to relieve pressure on hospitals there, treating people with COVID-19. Another is preparing for assignment on the West Coast.

The death toll in this country has risen to 115. The president's response coordinator predicts a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed infections over the next few days because more tests are being administered and a backlog of test is being analyzed. The number of cases worldwide has now eclipsed the 200,000 mark.

Stocks took another nosedive, massive nosedive today, or nearly a racing the last of the gains made since President Trump took office in 2017 and triggered another automatic 15-minute trading shut down. The Senate, meantime has passed the House version of a relief measure, it's now on its way to the president for a signature.

Meantime, Congress is working on a phase three, a bill to send cash payments to millions of Americans.

Ford and General Motors will temporarily close all of their North American factories. President Trump and Canada's prime minister have closed the shared border to nonessential travel.

The American Red Cross, says the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives has left it with a shortage of blood.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending foreclosures and evictions through next month. And also on the positive side, there is an increasing number of stories today of patients fully recovering from

COVID-19 and returning to normal everyday life. And that is opening new doors to treatment options and vaccine efforts around the world.

Chief White House correspondent John Roberts, starts us off tonight live from the North Lawn. Good evening, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening to you. In the face of continued economic uncertainty, the White House is considering more bold moves including possibly taking an equity stake in large corporations, possibly covering revenues for small businesses.

And on the health front today, there were more bold moves as well.


ROBERTS: President Trump, today called in the cavalry, directing the military to send the hospital ship comfort to New York harbor, the mercy to a location on the West Coast.

And he today signed the Defense Production Act to possibly ramp-up inventories of desperately needed medical supplies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The thing like this has never been requested, or we need respirators, we need ventilators is a big thing, because it's a complex piece of equipment. So, we have a lot of ventilators but we're going to be ordering more.

ROBERTS: President Trump, said, at this point, he was only authorizing the act. Earlier, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer urged him to use it and use it now.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We know that in two weeks, the number of ventilators might become a massive problem. We must get ahead of it, and get ahead of it now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill is passed.

ROBERTS: As the Senate move to pass the House bill on testing, paid leave, and unemployment insurance, the treasury secretary today said, the next phase of fiscal stimulus could top $1.3 trillion.

The Treasury Department will be sending out checks in two tranches worth

$250 billion apiece. The first on April 6th, the second on May 18th. The size of the individual checks' still unknown.

TRUMP: Hasn't been determined yet, but it will shortly be determined and people want to go big. As suppose, everybody seems to want to go big.

ROBERTS: The president saying, America is on a wartime footing.

TRUMP: Yes, I look at it. I viewed it as a -- in a sense a wartime president, I mean, that's what we're fighting. I mean, it's a very tough situation here.

ROBERTS: New data out of France and Italy, today shows a troubling increase in serious illness among younger people, who were assumed to have a natural resistance to the virus, and could even carry it without symptoms.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: There may be disproportional infections among that group. And so, even if it's a rare occurrence, it may be seen more frequently in that group, and the evident now.

ROBERTS: Dr. Deborah Birx, also alerting Americans to prepare for a spike in the infection numbers in the U.S. But only because a backlog of tests will now be run through a high-speed system.

BIRX: We will see the number of people diagnosed dramatically increase over the next four to five days.

ROBERTS: Several times today, President Trump referred to coronavirus as the Chinese virus. The president made no apologies, insisting he's only talking about where it came from and denied any racial overtones to the moniker.

TRUMP: Is not racist at all. No, not at all. It comes from China. That's why it comes from China. I want to be accurate. But, as you know, China tried to say, at one point -- maybe they stopped now, that it was caused by American soldiers. That can't happen. It's not going to happen. Not as long as I'm president. It comes from China.


ROBERTS: The White House today, defended the president on Twitter, saying, Spanish flu, West Nile Virus, Ebola, and Zika were all named for places.

Officials say today, they don't know if coronavirus will follow the typical seasonality pattern of other similar viruses though they are encouraged by a tail off of cases in places like China and South Korea. Bret.

BAIER: John Roberts, live on the North Lawn. John, thanks.

The Dow hemorrhaged 1,338 points today, a loss of six percent. The S&P 500 was down 131, the NASDAQ lost 345 today.

Let's get some analysis on today's big drop off. Kristina Partsinevelos of Fox Business joins us from New York. Good evening, Kristina.

KRISTINA PARTSINEVELOS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Bret, what a day today. Just within the last hour, or so, we found out that two New York Stock Exchange employees did test positive for COVID-19.

We're told that it's one employee that works upstairs, another one that works on the floor as a trader.

However, the New York Stock Exchange is telling us that, that trader was stopped at the front gate, they have been taking everybody's temperatures on their foreheads, and having them fill out forms, get a stamp in order to enter the building. The trader was turned around and told to go home. And then, afterwards, we have now found he has tested positive, and the New York Stock Exchange will close on Monday. Everyone will turn to all electronic trading.

In regards to today, it's been quite a volatile day. We're off to session lows. The Dow closed about six percent lower, the S&P dropped about five percent, and the tech-heavy, NASDAQ, closed about four percent lower.

But for the fourth time in two weeks, we had all markets halted, a circuit breaker was enacted in order to stop stocks from falling even further. We have oil that plummeted to lows. We haven't seen since 2002 closing at

$22.39 a share. And this comes as travel lockdowns have spread across the globe.

And then, last but not least, you have the big three automakers in Detroit.

Fiat, Ford, and G.M., all confirming that they're going to be ceasing operations until at least March 30th. This has to do with pressure from the union as well as employees who are concerned about the spread of the virus.

But I'm going to bring it full circle and try to end on a positive note in regards to Walmart. That is one Dow company that did end the day much higher today. It actually hit a record high, and this is because Walmart is benefiting from people stockpiling food as well as other retailers closing up shop. So, you had Walmart, one of the only Dow components to hit a record high in the last month.

Lots of volatility though here from the New York Stock Exchange floor.

Bret, back to you.

BAIER: Been -- have been down. Kristina, thank you.

We're going to talk about how the virus is impacting the economy and business. Joining us tonight is Frederick W. Smith, CEO of FedEx. He's in Memphis tonight. Thanks for being here.


BAIER: How do you see this? Your company is uniquely positioned in what you do, but how do you see how this is affecting the world and the world of business?

SMITH: Well, we first got into the coronavirus situation with our operations in China. Some of your viewers may not know, we operate virtually every place in the world. We move packages and freight to both people and businesses.

So, in Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of the coronavirus, we have 907 employees. We began to deal with the issue very early on. You might

(INAUDIBLE) to (INAUDIBLE) over those 907, four of them were diagnosed with COVID-19. Two erroneously, all four of them have recovered.

We continue to operate every place in the world. China at the moment, about

90 percent of the big manufacturing companies in China are back to work.

Smaller manufacturers probably 60-65 percent. Large backlogs from China now to the United States and to Europe, interestingly enough even though Europe where we have about 50,000 employees, a small number of diagnosed cases is in certain cases under lockdown.

We're permitted to operate as a central transportation. So, we are dealing with it in every place.

BAIER: Yes. So, for people, I want to get to the health of your company and look kind of the forecast about business. But I want to talk about the practical running your company, for people accepting a package. What do you tell them about interacting with your folks and how are you keeping your people healthy and safe?

SMITH: Well, the number one consideration when we first came up with this issue was the health of our teammates and the safety of our teammates. We have large flying operation in and out of China and throughout Asia.

To give you an idea of the scope of that, just last week, we had 200 and almost 50 flights in and out of China. So, we have taken extraordinary measures just cleansing everything, making sure the places where our pilots stayed were completely disinfected, mask and surgically protective equipment, and certain places for our ground employees, both the WHO and our CDC.

The World Health Organization and our CDC have said that the virus not transmittable on packages. So, we don't have any risk there. Although we've done things like suspend signature delivery requirements. Except in the case of alcohol and things like that.

BAIER: So, your company reported sales surprisingly growing right through this virus. Although you pull back on the earnings guidance going forward because you simply don't know, no one really does.

I guess as you look forward, do you expect layoffs or is the low cost of fuel going to buffer you a little bit? How do you foresee it?

SMITH: Well, based on what we saw in China with the lockdown there, China's cases peaked at about 85,000. And as Dr. Fauci has been talking about on T.V., the curve flattened, which is what the president and all the political leaders are trying to do with the social distancing. And so, that actually happened in China.

Then you have Europe get the virus, particularly Italy, and to a lesser degree, Spain and Germany, and now, France and the U.K.

And so, you began had a lockdown as they did in China. So, you should start to see flattening there. And, of course, we've taken extraordinary measures here. Today, the auto manufacturers announced they were shutting down, many of the stores have shut down. So, that will affect our business to business traffic.

But you mentioned a moment ago, Walmart is delivering a significant amount of items and their business is up. Well, we deliver millions and millions of items over the period of time. We are talking about for Walmart, they're one of our great customers as many other retailers are like Target and Kohl's, and so forth.

So, we're involved on that side of the equation to supplying people who are staying at home.

BAIER: Yes, you're a member of the Dow transports, which obviously includes commercial airlines, and they are just really, obviously taking a hit, and their forecast not that bright. What is your thought about what the federal government should be doing? Do you expect help from the federal government?

SMITH: Well, we don't at the moment. We're -- we've taken extraordinary steps to make sure we've got adequate liquidity, and I think we have planned well for that. In the case of the passenger airlines, of course, we have a significantly different situation.

Our purple tails are flying across the Pacific and across the Atlantic. The passenger carriers who carry a lot of cargo including some for us and their underbellies are mostly shut down. So, they just have a tremendous problem with no revenue coming in.

So, we don't have problems like they do and I'm confident that the administration is going to do something to help them, perhaps, invest preferred shares, warrants some top of it like they did during the financial crisis, loan guarantees, and I suspect they will do the same thing for our great aircraft manufacturer, Boeing.

BAIER: Last thing really quickly. I'm sensing that you see a light at the end of the tunnel here, but from all the things that are talked about from the federal government, you had Larry Kudlow suggesting to reporters that if the government puts into some companies, some significant amount that they might take a piece of that company, as far as equity. Do you buy into that?

SMITH: Well, that's what the government did when they add the rescued Chrysler years back. It's what they did during the financial crisis, as I recall, with AIG. And actually, took a big piece of straight equity there, made quite a bit of -- a bit of money. But I'm confident if that's the route that the administration chooses.

Our great airlines, if they could have some help with some preferred shares will make a lot of money for the government, and they'll be able to redeem the shares in pretty short order.

I would think this is going to be a V-shaped recovery, not a long drawn out situation based on what we've seen in China. And we are hopeful in that regard.

BAIER: Mr. Smith, we appreciate your time and we hope you keep delivering all those packages around the world. Thank you very much.

SMITH: Thank you.

BAIER: Up next, we will take your questions about the pandemic with Fox News contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier.

Here is what some of our affiliates around the country are covering tonight. Fox 29 in Philadelphia, where police officers have been instructed to stop making arrests for certain nonviolent crimes because of the coronavirus.

The department says individuals who would normally be arrested and processed at the detective division will be temporarily detained to confirm identification and complete necessary paperwork, the individual will then be released and arrested on a warrant at a later date.

Fox 32, in Chicago, where progressive Marie Newman, won a primary rematch with Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski, unseating one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress.

The Chicago area's top prosecutor, meantime, Kim Foxx, won her primary despite opposition over her office's controversial decision to drop charges against to actor Jussie Smollett.

Fox 35 in Orlando, as SpaceX successfully launched its 60 Starlink satellites from the Kennedy Space Center. The launch was scrubbed over the weekend because of an engine power issue. This is the sixth round of satellites that SpaceX has lifted with the Starlink network.

And this is a live look at Salt Lake City, from our affiliate Fox 13 up there. One of the big stories there tonight, a 5.7 magnitude earthquake shakes that region. It knocked out power to some homes, brought the city's light rail system to a halt.

No media reports of injuries or major damage. Good news there. That's tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.


BAIER: We will continue this segment as long as we have to. We're going to take more of your questions about this pandemic. Joining us tonight, Fox News contributor Dr. Nicole Saphier.

Doc, thanks for being here. Let's get right to the questions first. Sam is up. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bret. This is Sam (INAUDIBLE), in Gainesville, Georgia. And here at the office, we have been vigilant about washing our hands. I'm just wondering is it necessary to have antibacterial soap or can we use just the soap that we have on hand?

Thank you and I appreciate you doing this segment.



BAIER: Doc, for that --

SAPHIER: That's a really great -- that's a really great question, and I have been asked that a lot. And the truth is though you don't necessarily need antibacterial or antiviral soap. And actually, a lot of our data shows that those don't necessarily work any better than just plain all soap and water.

The most important thing is you wet your hands first, and rub it together for about 20 minutes or 20 seconds. Make sure your fingertips, in between your fingers, back in your hands, really get those suds going, and rinse it all off. Rinsing it off is key.

And then, make sure you don't just use your hand and turn off the faucet.

Dry your hands first, and whatever you used to dry your hands, then turn off the faucet. But, the answer is no, you don't necessarily need antibacterial and a viral soap to clean your hands effectively.

BAIER: OK, good deal. And I'm glad you said, 20 seconds. I don't know if I have the 20 minutes --

SAPHIER: I don't have --

BAIER: James is -- yes. James is up next. Here we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Bret. I'd like to know what our risk is with takeout service from restaurants in light of the many people behind the scenes.

BAIER: So that I get a lot of questions, a lot of Twitter, Facebook -- you know, a lot of people going to take out, getting carry out or take out, what's the risk there?

SAPHIER: Great question, and unfortunately, we don't necessarily know. I do implore people to please continue to support your small businesses, you're local restaurants. We don't want to stop ordering take-out.

But the truth is there has been some data that's come out over the last week or so that shows that the virus can actually live on cardboard containers, plastics. So, we have to be as careful as possible.

So, when you -- if you are getting takeout delivery, you know, sometimes I say actually, open -- take off some of the packaging outside of your house.

When you bring it in your house, make sure you're really washing your hands, wipe down any surfaces it touches. Use your own utensils.

Honestly, it's really hard to reduce your risk to zero, but by practicing these methods, you definitely are reducing your risk.

BAIER: But what about the food itself, Doc? I mean, I get the packaging, but what about the food?

SAPHIER: I mean, I would really hope that the people packaging them are not necessarily breathing on or coughing on, but the truth is we don't necessarily know. You can absolutely call ahead to your restaurant and ask them, say, what are they doing? Are they having their food handlers and their cooks with the mask on to protect any aerosol transmission of the virus?

Now, these are very legitimate and reasonable questions that you can call ahead and ask. And if they're not taking the appropriate measures, then, perhaps you don't order out.

BAIER: OK, quickly, I've got a couple of Twitter here. T.C. Lowery, can pets contract coronavirus? There is back and forth about this, no?

SAPHIER: There is back and forth and the latest data, or small -- very small studies coming back saying that no, the pets themselves, specifically dogs cannot actually contract the virus and specifically cannot and re- infect someone or infect someone in general.

However, certain viruses tend to go with species -- you know, we are all mammals and mammal's viruses can go from mammal to mammal, although this one isn't showing that it can.

II think, best case scenario is you want to keep yourself -- you still want to keep your pets safe, as well. So, you know, I like to say that everyone should just pretend that they're infected, and everyone around them is infected. So, maybe humans should just also consider that their pets may be infected, although the likelihood is they actually are not.

BAIER: Yes, that's a great point. Act like you are even though you may not be. Here's another tweet, Charlene, "How many strains of the virus are there? There is a report that there are two and we could get more." Also, "Is ibuprofen OK to take if you contract the virus? There are reports ibuprofen can make the virus worse."

There is so many reports, Doc. First, take the ibuprofen --


SAPHIER: Right. There's a two very -- two very big -- oh, first, ibuprofen, well, the two very big questions are, let's talk about the two strains.

China has identified two separate strains. They call them the L and the S strain.

The L strain being a bit more severe, a bit more lethal if you will. And that is what they found the majority of people were dying from. As opposed to the S strain, which has more mild symptoms.

Think of it this way, viruses actually want to survive. They want to live inside of you. They sometimes, they find if they are killing you too quickly, that's not good for them. So, oftentimes, they will mutate and they tend to mutate to a more mild strain.

You know, we don't have any -- people are starting to question is there something more lethal going on than Italy? Do they have another mutation?

And we have not heard anything, at least, I have not heard anything.

I think there are multi-factors that are actually causing the problems that we're seeing in Italy right now. But as far as the two strains, it just sounds like those two, and actually the S, so, the more mild is what we seen to be seeing a lot more of the United States.

Now, the other question is very good. The World Health Organization, just came out today's recommending not to take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and Motrin or naproxen.

BAIER: Is not.

SAPHIER: Not to, because there had been some whispering -- since some reports out of France over the last few days that are actually saying, when you take these anti-inflammatories, it seems to be exacerbating symptoms, and that's possibly due to the interruption in the inflammatory pathway, between (INAUDIBLE), inside the kinds, which just are fancy terms for these chemicals that are released in your body to fight off infections. But that's what we're seeing with people who have the more severe forms.

It's not necessarily that the virus is taking over their body, it's the body's response to the virus that is just consuming the body.

BAIER: OK, well, that was a big one. Thank you for that question. We are going to end on this, Tom on silver lining. Take a listen.


TOM WIEDMAYER, GENERAL MANAGER, SARATOGA CASINO HOTEL: I wanted to ask your experts, what their thoughts are on the silver lining of this extreme measures to contain the coronavirus impact on regular contagious diseases like the influenza? And the impact that, that has on reduced number of hospital visits for those folks. So, just looking for a single silver lining.


SAPHIER: Sometimes just --


BAIER: And of the good story, maybe, Doctor, is the regular flu go down because we're doing all this stuff?

SAPHIER: Well, I mean, it's always great to look at the silver lining, and the truth is all of these non-pharmaceutical methods that we're doing right now, the social distancing, the washing of the hand, the not touching of the faces, I mean, these are all great things. And I would imagine that we would be seeing fewer flu cases.

They have been actually saying that more people going to the doctor's office are not presenting with flu, where is this time last year, they had more flu cases and I think that has to do because people are following directions.

You know, and these are -- there are things to learn with what we're dealing with right now. The good news is we're likely going to have a vaccine for coronavirus by year's end.

We haven't had one before that's actually been proven effective and safe.

So, this would be a great thing for us in case there ever is another novel coronavirus.


SAPHIER: We can step up and utilize the one we have. And we can also have a lot more data for how antivirals and anti -- and antibody treatments to help treat such viral infections.

BAIER:  All great stuff. Dr. Saphier, thank you so much for your time.

SAPHIRE: Thanks, Bret.

BAIER: We'll continue to do this, we have many more questions that we gathered, and we will bring them to you each night.

Up next, another big primary night for Joe Biden and another tough night for Bernie Sanders.


BAIER:  The coronavirus pandemic is giving President Trump's opponents and critics a lot of ammunition heading into the fall reelection campaign.

Today the president dismissed any concern. Tonight correspondent Kristin Fisher looks at some of the potential political risks and rewards.


KRISTIN FISHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  President Trump is facing the most critical test of his presidency in the middle of his reelection campaign.

After initially comparing the coronavirus to the flu and suggesting it would all be over by April --

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  In theory when it gets a little warmer, and miraculously goes away.

FISHER:  He has now declared a national emergency and conceded it may not go away before Election Day.

TRUMP:  They think August, could be July, could be longer than that.

FISHER:  The shift in tone and the delays in testing have given an opening to his Democratic opponents.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Shut this president up right now, because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The administration's failure on testing is colossal.

FISHER:  But in crisis there is also opportunity, and political strategists on both sides of the aisle say this pandemic has the potential to do for President Trump --

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  The people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.


FISHER:  -- what 9/11 did for former President George W. Bush.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  He's the president of the United States in the midst of a crisis. It took them a long time to acknowledge the depth of that crisis. But if he consistently appears to be wrestling with that crisis, this is a country that likes to rally behind the leader.

FISHER:  All political rallies have been canceled until further notice, but the Trump campaign believes it is uniquely equipped for this moment.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE:  We are shifting into data and tech mode, and this is our strong suit. We are the most technologically savvy campaign in the history of politics.

FISHER:  The good economy was the president's strong suit. Now it's in jeopardy. But many strategists say the American public would not hold him responsible for a recession.

KARL ROVE, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH SENIOR ADVISER:  I think the biggest judgment they are going to render on him is, how did he handle the moment of crisis? Did he get us through it? And they are going to make a global judgment about that, and that is going to color his image in the fall a great deal.


FISHER:  So we are now entering uncharted territory for political campaigns. Yes, there was the Spanish flu of 1918, but that was a midterm election. This is the first time in modern history that a pandemic that is this disruptive to daily life is happening during a presidential election.


BAIER:  Kristin, thank you.

In tonight's Democracy 2020 report, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is denying a report that he's preparing to withdraw from the race. Joe Biden is celebrating a clean sweep of three primary contests Tuesday in Illinois, Florida, and Arizona. Remember, Ohio delayed.

Correspondent Peter Doocy has the latest tonight.


PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Bernie Sanders is not dropping out today, but after going winless Tuesday, his campaign manager emailed supporters, "No sugarcoating it. Last night did not go the way we wanted."

In fact, Senator Sanders didn't say one word about Tuesday's primaries in his primary night remarks, keeping coronavirus front and center.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  The main point to be made tonight is that in this moment of crisis, it is imperative that we stand together.

DOOCY:  After work, he's heading back home. The campaign manager explains "After this vote today, Bernie and Jane are going to get on a plane back to Vermont. Once there they will begin holding conversations with supporters to get input and assess the path forward for our campaign."

It's not impossible for Sanders to catch Biden in the delegates fight, but Biden leads by 296 delegates, more than halfway to a majority, and his campaign is applying pressure, writing in a memo "Senator Sanders would need to win every remaining contest by roughly 40 points. That would require reaching 70 percent support, which is double his current national polling average of 35 percent." So now Biden is trying to get Sanders supporters to cross over.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Let me say especially to the young voters who have been inspired by Senator Sanders -- I hear you. I know what's at stake. I know what we have to do.

DOOCY:  Biden logged on and live-streamed from his house in Wilmington, the second week in a row Biden and Sanders have scrapped election night rallies as contenders confront the new reality facing voters.

BIDEN:  I want to thank all the public officials and the poll workers who worked closely with the public health authorities to ensure safe opportunities for voting, to clean and disinfect voting booths, and to make sure voters could cast their ballots while maintaining the distance from one another that was safe.


DOOCY:  A candidate did drop out today because his opponent reached the delegate threshold to clinch the nomination, but it was over on the Republican side. Bill Weld departs, and this summer the RNC will nominate Donald Trump. Bret?

BAIER:  Peter Doocy, thanks.

Up next, it is not just toilet paper and water. We will tell you what else your fellow Americans are buying in huge numbers now.


BAIER:  You know Americans are stocking up on bread and water and toilet paper, yes, toilet paper. You've seen the pictures. You're probably been in line at the store. But tonight we'll tell you what else your fellow citizens are buying in big numbers. National correspondent William La Jeunesse shows us from Los Angeles.



KEN WONG, GUN BUYER:  With everything rapidly declining, it's now or never.

LA JEUNESSE:  to Colorado -- 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It's a little bit of maybe I won't be able to get it tomorrow, a little bit of uncertainty.

LA JEUNESSE:  -- gun sales around the U.S. shooting sky high.

JEFF TAVERNER, GUNSLINGERS GUN SHOP:  They're like literal zombies. They don't care. They just want something. They don't care what it is, make, model, it doesn't matter, just give me something. That's all they want.

LA JEUNESSE:  The FBI says background checks surged to a near record of 3 million in February.

ALBERT TURNER, GUN BUYER:  I'm afraid of what might happen if they go into martial law, they can't get to the markets or have food. They are going to resort to probably looting other people's houses or whatnot, so I'd just rather be safe than sorry.

BREYON BURK, GUN BUYER:  I know everyone is scared right now and they are uncertain. So what you're going to experience is people preparing themselves. It's not a bunch of vigilantes. It's just people who are concerned about protecting their families.

LA JEUNESSE:  Ammunition is also in short supply.

TAVERNER:  Ammo is ridiculous. About an hour ago we got in an order of

6,000 9-millimeters. They are already gone.

LA JEUNESSE:  Owners say 90 percent are new buyers, including many Asian- Americans.

WONG:  I have already encountered people who tell me to stay inside, wash my hands, get out of here.

ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF:  These panic gun sales are not going to cure anything. They're not going to put food on the table for anybody.

LA JEUNESSE:  Law enforcement fears new buyers means more accidents.

VILLANUEVA:  If you have one in the home and you secure it safely, it's locked, it's inaccessible to anyone.


LA JEUNESSE:  Most gun buyers only have to pass a background check. Not true here in California and nine other states which require a waiting period, three to 10 days. So for these people concerned about the coronavirus and its fallout, they will have to wait. Bret?

BAIER:  William, thank you.

Up next, the panel with the latest on the pandemic and the response.

First, Beyond our Borders tonight, other news. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had declared a unilateral cease-fire with communist guerrillas to focus on fighting the coronavirus outbreak. He has placed the northern third of the country under quarantine. The government is urging the Marxist guerrillas to respond with their own ceasefire.

Pakistan's military says security forces raided a militant hideout in a former Taliban stronghold bordering Afghanistan today, triggering a shoot- out there that killed four soldiers, seven terrorists. Police and intelligence officials say the suspect belonged to a Pakistani terror group and were planning to carry out attacks.

Clashes broke out overnight on Greece's border with Turkey after 500 migrants attempted to break down a border fence and enter Greece. Greek police say they used teargas to repel the migrants. They say Turkish authorities also fired teargas just at the Greek border.

Those are just some of the other stories Beyond our Borders tonight. We'll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I view it as, in a sense, a wartime president. That's what we're fighting. We will be invoking the Defense Production Act. We are sending upon request the two hospital ships are being prepared right now. They're massive ships.

MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY:  I have directed, as the president mentioned, that the hospital ships Mercy and Comfort be prepared to deploy to increase the nation's medical capacity. And we have also alerted a variety of field and expeditionary hospitals to be prepared to deploy as well as needed.


BAIER:  Defense Secretary on our show last night talking about the deployment of U.S. military assets to fight this, as the president called, invisible enemy. Taking a look at the numbers now, the coronavirus in the U.S. all 50 states, total number of cases 7,663, total deaths 115.

Worldwide more than 214,000, 8,700 deaths, but total recovered at this 83,313.

The Dow taking a big dive and then recovering a bit. The senator obviously moving forward with the House bill to phase two. If you look at the Dow, just one market, obviously, but the Dow Jones since the president's election, take a look at that rise and then that dramatic fall when the coronavirus hit.

Let's bring in our panel, Charles Hurt, opinion editor for "The Washington Times," Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio, and Steve Hayes, editor of "The Dispatch."

Steve, we are looking at all the federal government is doing. We have obviously seen the second phase, the bill heading to the president's desk, and it seems like more is on the way, a significant amount more.

STEVE HAYES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes. I think it's an encouraging development that you heard the president describe himself as a wartime president because I think that's what we need from the White House and from the administration in order to make up for some lost time. You need the federal government scrambling, I think, in some ways to catch up to the states in the kinds of measures that we now see the federal government take, and whether it is the military ships to places that could be a good outcome. At least we are preparing. I would like to see them now move on ventilators, move on additional protective gear for physicians, health care workers, and other things to really make sure that the people who are on the frontlines of this are protected as they try to take this on. 

BAIER:  Mara, we should get our heads around the fact that these numbers are going to just exponentially go up -- 



BAIER:  -- as this testing goes into place in big numbers.

LIASSON:  Yes, and the administration has been trying to prepare people for that. We have been flying blind. Unlike some other countries, we didn't test massively in the last two months since it arrived on our shores. So people are going to get tested and we're going to find out hopefully how widespread this is, and it's going to be a shock.

On the other hand, once we know who has it, it's going to make social distancing more targeted. At least we will have the ability to do that.

That's what they were able to do in South Korea and in Singapore. But yes, we're going to have a big explosion, and then it will also make the fatality rate get smaller because we are going to understand how many people have it and how many people are dying.

But in terms of the response, I think you're going to see this rolling response. Today it was all about paid sick leave, free testing. Next, it's going to be about actual cash in people's pockets.

BAIER:  And just to put that up, Charlie, in phase two, expands paid sick leave and family leave to those in quarantine or caring for a family member with the illness, offers free coronavirus survivors testing for those without health insurance, extends unemployment insurance, boosts food assistance, provides school meals for children whose schools have closed, and provides additional federal funding for Medicaid.

But are ready for phase three, as Mara mentions, and that is really just a check to all Americans. Andrew Yang left the race a month ago, and he's saying, man, there is my $1,000 a month, my idea. It may actually come to pass. We don't know the numbers yet.

CHARLES HURT, OPINION EDITOR, "WASHINGTON TIMES":  It really is kind of amazing when you look around and you see these orders coming from governments to shut down restaurants, to shut down gathering places of 10 people or more coming at the state level or local levels. It's kind of amazing. Those people obviously that work in those environments are going to be the ones that are going to be hardest hit. And that's a very real thing.

This whole time we have been in this waiting game, and it's hard to do because most of the stories that we read about are stories about effects of quarantines and effects of things that have taken the steps that were taken as precautionary measures as opposed to actual results of the actual virus.

And this is particularly true outside of places like New York and Washington and rural parts of the country where you see that great report that we just had about people purchasing guns and ammunition. What that is more than anything, it's a very healthy American indication that people trust themselves to take care of themselves and their neighbors more than they trust governments, whether they're the local government or the federal government.

I think the important thing at this point, wherever you are on your level of concern about this is, it's kind of like the saying, if you find yourself walking through hell, don't stop. And I think Mara is exactly right, anything that we do at this point, wherever you are on the concerned scale, whatever you can do at this point to keep going to march through the bear market, to march through this stuff, is a good thing.

BAIER:  We were talking about not going to places with 10 people or more.

Obviously Capitol Hill has a few more than 10 people. I'm just getting word right now that Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart has tested positive for coronavirus. After voting on Friday, March 13th, he self-quarantined, not going back to south Florida with his wife, but just passing that along.

Something tells me we will get a lot more of these positives as the tests continue.

Panel, thank you very much. Coming up, we look at the brighter side of things as we do every night about this time. Stay with us.


BAIER:  Finally tonight, as the nation and much of the world is fighting the coronavirus, humanity is making the best of it, the Staples Center in Los Angeles donating more than 7,000 pounds of food to local charities.

Officials say the food would've been wasted because of the cancellation of concerts and other events. Some distilleries are now brewing hand sanitizer instead of liquor. One owner says making that switch is the right thing to do.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So we want to get that out to folks in need. We will give it to them for free.


BAIER:  Unexpected positive results in Venice, Italy. With fewer people in the famous city, the water in its iconic canals now appears crystal clear, some visitors even spotting dolphins swimming in those canals.

And while concerts across the country have been canceled, musicians are taking to the Internet for virtual performances. Keith Urban, Pink, Rascal Flatts, Coldplay, all posting insta-concerts to Instagram. That's pretty cool.

Thanks for inviting us into your home tonight. That's it for the SPECIAL REPORT, fair, balanced, and still unafraid. 

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