Sen. Marco Rubio on Chamber of Commerce's opposition to 'buy America' push

This is a rush transcript from "Tucker Carlson Tonight," March 17, 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."

The death toll from coronavirus in this country has now passed a hundred, but based on what is happening tonight in other countries, epidemiologists expect that it will be far higher.

In Spain, deaths are up to 190 persons a day. Italy has had about 350 deaths everyday three days in a row. Bill Hemmer hosts "Bill Hemmer Reports" every afternoon on Fox at 3:00 p.m. He joins us from the big board in New York City for the latest numbers on this virus, which is now officially present in every U.S. state. Hey, Bill.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: Hey, Tucker, good evening. Like we did last night, I'm going to take you through the Johns Hopkins University website and we're using their information in a global sense here, Tucker, along with our Fox News reporting -- the C.D.C., the World Health Organization, and the Associated Press.

I know these numbers change. They can be different. You can read about them in different places and see different numbers. But this is our best baseline at the moment. Okay.

We talked 24 hours ago, Tucker. At the moment, you're at 197,000 confirmed cases around the world, all right. Here's the number approaching 8,000 fatalities as a result. Total recoveries, impressive number here, about 80,800 right now and again, we want that number to go higher.

I just want to come over here a moment. Here is as of eight o'clock East Coast time on this Tuesday, March 17th, St. Patty's Day, here's our total confirmed cases in the United States as of now, 6,421. Tucker, last night, that number was around 4,700 give or take. So we've jumped about 1,500 in the past day or so.

OK, I want to explain this graph over here to give our viewers a better sense about what's happening here. Ignore the bottom half of this and just pay attention to these three lines, Tucker.

This starts on the 20th of January. It runs through today, March 17th. We've got about a two-month period here.

Again, we're trying to figure out when it was worse, when it got better, all of that and what is expected, okay. These are the numbers in China. They spike around the 14th of February and see, then they level out for the past month.

Outside of China, all the other countries combined is this yellow line down here at the bottom. They start to get off the ground here in late February, and this is what we do not want, Tucker. You see that line almost heading do north? That is the point that we want to flatten out when they all describe -- flatten the curve.

I would say two things. When does the China line start going lower? And when does this line flatten out? I would say if you're watching at home, those would be two significant indicators for us here at home and around the world -- Tucker.

CARLSON: We will be looking for that. Bill Hemmer, thank you so much.

So once the coronavirus passes and thank God, at some point it will pass, the temptation will be in the United States to return to where we were before. But we can't do that. There's too much to fix, and we've just learned that.

This disaster arrived here for a number of reasons. Some of them we could not control. In the age of air travel, disease will always travel quickly. Pandemics are inevitable, we should accept that.

But our responses to them are not inevitable. Nobody forced us to outsource the production of essential medical supplies to China.

Our leaders did that and they did it on purpose. They don't want to talk about it now at all, but they did it and it was a crime.

When the country is well enough to function normally, we're going to have to change that immediately for our own sake and for the sake of our children.

We need to move essential manufacturing back to the United States. It's crazy not to.

More broadly, we'll need to start treating China like the dangerous Cold War level adversary it has clearly become.

Don't let them lie to you. This crisis began in China and that's significant whether coronavirus, escaped from a bio research lab as independent Chinese scientists have claimed or arose in a filthy street market selling wild animals for food. Either way, China's third world health practices played a central role in this disaster.

The virus grew to a pandemic because Chinese officials silenced health authorities in that country who tried to warn the public about it.

Even now, the Chinese government is determined to crush any unsanctioned reporting from the country.

Today, Beijing announced it is revoking the press credentials for reporters from the biggest American newspapers. They don't want us to see what they're doing there.

And at the same time, they're threatening us. One state backed media outlet explained that China may cut off our supply of pharmaceuticals that would kill Americans.

China is an imminent threat to the United States. One of the few upsides of this pandemic is we can now see that clearly, because it is clear, but some of us can't see it.

Amazingly, our ruling class is taking China's side, and that again, is the good news about a crisis. It clarifies things. You can see exactly what side people are on.

Now, some of our leaders are doing this on purpose because they're getting rich from China. Many of the media are just too dumb to know the difference. Dumbness is almost always the explanation for how they behave.

China to understand how to control their emotions and therefore their minds. The Chinese government knows that identity politics is the greatest weakness in the American system. It always is the greatest weakness in every country it infects. And that's why they don't allow identity politics in China.

The Chinese know that any debate in this country can be derailed instantly if someone screams racist as someone inevitably does. So the Chinese have decided to use wokeness against us. The most racist power on earth, this is the country that puts Muslims in concentration camps, the country that stamps out Tibetan culture, the country that would not accept a single Somali refugee at gunpoint. This country is calling us bigoted.

It's hilarious in a way. What's amazing is how many in our media take it very seriously. Today, Xinhua News -- that's one of China's propaganda organs tweeted this, "Racism is not the right tool to cover your own incompetence." Okay.

In Europe, China actually promoted the spread of coronavirus. In early February of this year, China global television network released a video entitled "Italian residents hug Chinese people to encourage them in coronavirus fight." The video featuring a young Chinese man wearing a face mask soliciting hugs from passersby. A month later that video doesn't look quite as heartwarming.

More recently, the same Chinese network tweeted this, "Shall we call H1N1 American flu? No, we'd rather focus on saving lives," said the country that lied about the pandemic.

By the way, and point of fact, the 2009 H1N1 outbreak began in Mexico, not the United States.

Meanwhile, China's ambassadors are already spreading the lie that the Wuhan virus originated here in America, maybe created in a lab by the Pentagon. Don't be shocked if at least one American media outlet promotes that idea.

Many of them already parroting the rest of the Chinese Communist Party line.

A week ago, aging propagandist, David Frum of "The Atlantic" suggested calling the coronavirus, "The Trump plague" instead of the Wuhan virus.

Today, NBC News sent a tweet suggesting the President's use of the phrase Chinese virus was, "both inaccurate and harmful in tying racist associations between the virus and those from China."

Another statement written by morons in our news media. How is it inaccurate to call a virus from China Chinese?

The President to his credit does not seem intimidated.


QUESTION: China and others have criticized you for using the phrase Chinese virus. How do you feel about that? Are you guys going to continue using that phrase?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, China was putting out information which was false that our military gave this to them. That was false. And rather than having an argument I said, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China.

QUESTION: Critics say using that phrase creates a stigma?

TRUMP: No, I don't think so. No, I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.


CARLSON: Good for him. That was Trump at his very best. Why would our media take the side of China in a crisis like this? Well, because instead of preparing to confront China and free ourselves from their control, our professional classes defending the Chinese government and sharing their propaganda. Why?

Well, it's not a sinister plot by Asian communists. It's actually worse than that. In many ways, you can't blame the Chinese for this. They're doing what any government should be doing. They're putting their country and its interests first.

If it takes a little disinformation to get it done, they're willing to do that. No. China dominates America because our own leaders sold us out. They didn't know what they were doing. But even worse, they were greedy. They were looking out for short term benefits for themselves, rather than long term security for our country.

Some of them seem to generally despise America, particularly in academia, which is why they raised to call this country evil while happily placating Beijing. That's what Hollywood does every day of the year.

Someday, these people may be punished for what they've done. Again, it's a crime. At a minimum, they will have to be deprived of power or influence going forward.

But for now, we don't have time for that. We need to be honest about what the problem is and we need to work as hard as we can to fix it.

Gordon Chang is the author of "The Coming Collapse of China," and he joins us tonight. Gordon, thanks so much for coming on.

You've been such a clear voice on this for so long. You've taken an awful lot of crap for doing it. So I appreciate that.

Why do you think journalists in this country instinctively take the side of the Chinese government over their own government or their own people?

GORDON CHANG, SENIOR FELLOW, GATESTONE INSTITUTE: You know, this is really beyond me, Tucker, especially because we've seen Beijing attack American media outlets, for example, today, as you pointed out, the press credentials of reporters from "The New York Times", "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Washington Post" have been taken back. They're going to be effectively expelled. They can't even go to Hong Kong.

You know, it's just -- it's really beyond words what they're doing.

CARLSON: So it seems to me that they're paralyzed by their guilt and self- hatred. I mean, if this were happening in a European country, people -- and I would be among them, I think would see clearly enough to say, this is fascism. It's wrong and it's hurting us.

But they're so afraid of being called names by being called racist by the most racist country in the world that they can't say what's obvious.

CHANG: Yes. And you know, your point about global elites is really a critical one. The elites in the United States see the elites in China really is having much more in common with them than with their fellow Americans. And there is the stain that people talk about, the flyover country and all the rest of it.

You know, we Americans need to get together because we do have a common enemy. And by the way, Tucker, today, "Global Times," which is controlled by "People's Daily," which is the most authoritative publication in China said that China might start dumping U.S. Treasury obligations.

That's an attack on the dollar. That's an attack on the global financial system.

And you know, Beijing has shown its hostility to the United States as you point out.

CARLSON: They smell weakness, and they're planning to leverage this moment to surpass and displace us. I mean, if they were to do that to the dollar, I don't even think we should have a conversation in public about the consequences of that would be. Do you think they mean it?

CHANG: Yes, I think they mean it because they've always wanted the Renminbi, their currency to become the world's reserve currency, and they're willing to do anything to further that.

Right now, what they're doing is this disinformation campaign about the dollar. They say the dollar is weak. But today, the dollar was really strong as it increased 1.6 percent against other major currencies.

So this is just you know, China doing anything possible to attack the U.S. and today, it was the U.S. financial system, and indeed, the global financial system.

CARLSON: It's scary. We should stop overusing the Federal Reserve Bank, I would say. You know what I mean? You don't want to create weakness that incites aggression in them.

Gordon Chang, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

CHANG: Thank you, Tucker.

CARLSON: So the coronavirus is now in every state in this country. West Virginia was the last and now it is there. Cities are locking down.

In a situation like, does testing for the virus still matter in the way that it once did? Dr. Marc Siegel is a Fox News medical contributor. He's been following this story from day one -- and testing specifically -- he joins us now.

Doctor, thanks so much for coming on.


CARLSON: So people who want tests are still frustrated because they can't get them easily. There are a lot of criteria and hoops you have got to jump through. But does it matter? Does it matter less now than it did?

SIEGEL: I don't think so. I think it matters more. I'll tell you why. Because there's something called the public health numerator. And I'll tell you what that is. That's people that are showing up in hospitals in hotspots.

I know in New York, for example, there's probably over a hundred people in hospitals, a majority of them, many of them I should say on respirators and on ventilators. That's why you heard the President today talking about getting many more ventilators.

We're seeing that in other hotspots -- Washington State, California, Chicago -- and I have personal information about that from Chicago and also Boston.

But the question is, the more I see sick people, the more I wonder, what's the denominator? How many cases are there? Why would I want to know how many cases there are? Because there could be so many people that are mildly ill or moderately ill that I could then try to separate out so that they don't spread the virus to people who will get more severely ill, especially the elderly, especially people with chronic conditions.

That's why I'm very glad to see that Admiral Giroir is finally sending out the pods, the mobile units, huge mobile units, 47 of them are going out around the country to hotspots, and they will be testing probably about a hundred thousand people over the first week.

Tucker, that's still not enough. We need way more than that.

CARLSON: May I ask you one quick question I had just been thinking about all day. On the question of respirators. I read a study out of China that indicated -- and I don't know if the numbers were real -- but they didn't help really.

Do they help in this country? If you're very, very sick, will a ventilator save your life?

SIEGEL: Well, first of all, I'll answer that indirectly. I'll say that I think and this part may scare some people, I don't think it's only 80 year olds that are having this pneumonia. It's a very widespread characteristic pneumonia, but the respirators will help.

The ventilators help. They can save your life because they get you over the acute period. The problem is it also looks like there may be some long term lung damage in some cases.

So you get people over the hump. You get them to the point of recovery where the body starts to heal itself, and many will recover still, but again, may have some long term scarring and that worries me and concerns me.

This is why we need -- we're going to control this by locking down cities or locking down public events and keeping people in their homes and this is all correct. Dr. Fauci is correct.

But on top of that, I need to know exactly who has this. If you have a mild case, I need to know about it so I can tell you to stay home.

CARLSON: Right. In severe cases, it's a nasty disease. We're learning that for sure. Doctor, thank you.

SIEGEL: We need to know everybody who has it or even associated with it or come in contact with it. Thanks, Tucker.

CARLSON: Yes. Thanks for that. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York is warning residents of his city, more than eight million of them, they could be ordered to shelter in place within 48 hours. What does that mean exactly? What are the ramifications?

Chief breaking news correspondent, Trace Gallagher is on that story for us tonight. Hey, Trace.

TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CHIEF BREAKING NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Tucker. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio started kind of hinting at the possibility a few days ago of locking down the nation's most populated city saying that nothing could be ruled out.

De Blasio said he was concerned that if drastic action wasn't taken, the city's hospitals could be overrun. Nobody has really laid out a plan of what the shelter in place would entail. But the truth is, New York City doesn't have the resources to enforce a lockdown of eight million people.

So it would likely follow the model of the San Francisco Bay Area's current shelter in place mandate, meaning that people would be asked to stay in their homes and only leave to get food, medicine and limited exercise.

On that same note, most businesses except grocery stores including grocery stores, pharmacies and other limited businesses would of course shut down.

San Francisco's shelter in place is there for three weeks. But Mayor de Blasio is now getting big time pushback from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who says a shelter in place will not happen. Watch.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, D-N.Y.: No city in the state can quarantine itself without state approval. And I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever to quarantine any city.


GALLAGHER: Despite those comments from the New York Governor, Mayor de Blasio says it absolutely could happen and that it could happen for much of the country and noting we should say breaking right now, we're learning that an NYPD officer in the First Precinct has now tested positive for COVID-19 and around 17 other New York City police officers have been sent home due to possible exposure -- Tucker.

CARLSON: Trace Gallagher. Thanks so much for that update. Well, despite what's happening in the country, elections are still being held today in several states. "Fox News Tonight" anchor, Shannon Bream is following that for us, and we join her now. Hey, Shannon.

SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tucker. Well, you know Ohio postponed its primary over the coronavirus. But Florida, Illinois and Arizona all went ahead with voting and the Fox News Decision Desk can now project that former Vice President Joe Biden will decisively beat Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in the delegate rich states of Florida and Illinois.

The polls have just closed in those states. Illinois has 155 delegates up for grabs, Florida 219. These victories will further cement Biden's position as the dominant frontrunner.

Polls in Arizona will close 7:00 p.m. local time. That's 10:00 p.m. Eastern, and we will be here with the call when that happens -- Tucker.

CARLSON: Thanks so much. Shannon Bream for us in Washington.

Well, eventually America will stop the coronavirus, but in the long term, the greater challenge might be mitigating the economic damage that results and it could be bad and we should be concerned about this and working to mitigate it.

Marriott has already furloughing -- Marriott Hotel Company furloughing tens of thousands of employees without pay. Millions of other Americans facing lost wages, in some cases lost jobs.

The restaurant industry devastated in many parts of the country truly. Places are going to go out of business.

Here in Washington, the White House is getting behind a mitigation plan that would involve sending billions of dollars directly to American households.

Melissa Francis hosts "After the Bell" on Fox Business. She joins us for more on that. Melissa, thanks for coming on. So this has been presented in the media anyway in a way that makes it hard to understand what it is. Can you tell us what they're thinking of doing?

MELISSA FRANCIS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: So there are a bunch of different components. Let me break down what was announced today.

First of all, I bet most of our viewers didn't know that 99.9 percent of the businesses in our country are small businesses. I mean, we talk about IBM, Apple -- all the big ones. Well, that's a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction -- 99.9 is the guy in the corner who has the restaurant, the bar, the hair salon, all of those people.

So what Treasury Secretary Mnuchin at the podium right there said today was, we are going to set it up so that the government, the Fed backed by the Treasury, can put out a line of credit without a bank in between just right to those businesses on your corner in your town, so that they can make payroll at the end of the week.

They can pay their employees. They can pay their rent, so that they're not going to go instantly out of business and belly up because not only would that hurt them, obviously, but all the people that work for them. So that's one thing that they talked about today.

And notice I said alone, not a bailout. This isn't -- they're not giving that money away. They're lending it to them until they can pay it back.

Now you talk about this cash injection. The waiter or waitress that works for that restaurant, 60 percent of their income comes from tips. Even if they're doing takeout or delivery, they're not getting those tips.

The other place that shuts down in the meantime that isn't paying their workers while they're trying to get that money, those people need cash, too.

So those are the main injections that they're talking about right now. The larger package that's going with Congress, deals like airlines and this and that and all the other places. They also said, if you owe money, don't file your taxes. We won't penalize you. Don't pay that now whether you're a business or an individual. You don't have to pay the penalty. You will have to pay it at some point, but not right now.

If you want money back, file your taxes. You will get that money back. That's what we learned today -- Tucker.

CARLSON: Huh. Interesting. Melissa Francis. I hope you'll come back because this is clearly still developing, so we need the details here.

FRANCIS: Every day. Every day, I'll bring you more. All right.

CARLSON: Thank you. Good to see you. Well, the coronavirus has completely exposed our vulnerability to supply shocks. It turns out supply chains are quite complex and many of them originate in foreign countries far away.

Suddenly, when everyone really needs life-saving drugs or medical supplies, shipping, the production stops overseas, and that's a huge problem for us.

The obvious response is that America ought to bring manufacturing back to this country and the government ought to create incentives to do that.

But the Chamber of Commerce, the same organization that wants grade schoolers put on puberty blockers in some places, isn't happy about this.

In a recent letter to the administration, the chamber said there should be no expansion by American rules.

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida joins us tonight. Senator, thanks so much for coming on here.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: Thank you.

CARLSON: So this is a little -- this is one of the stories that is a little strange, because I think most conservatives, I always have think of the Chamber of Commerce as on their side and advocating for them, and I think in some ways it does.

But in this specific case, it's baffling why they would oppose a Buy America incentive. Why would they do that?

RUBIO: Well, they have members and look, I'm a big fan of the chamber. They've been very supportive of a lot of my initiatives and I of their, but they do have members that are multinational corporations that do business around the world.

Look, this country made a decision about 30 years ago that the most efficient allocation of capital was to move many of the means of production to other countries. It was cheaper. China, but not just China, other places.


RUBIO: Well, now that vulnerability is being exposed. It's not just China anymore. India, Germany, Japan, a lot of the key ingredients and components for all kinds of things from Tylenol all the way to, you know, pharmaceuticals and even in the electronics realm, those components even if we make the final product here, we depend on those countries for those components, and they're hoarding them.

They're holding on to them, because they need them to deal with the downturn and so forth, or because their factories have been closed.

It has revealed that industrial strength is a key component of the national security of any country. And sadly, it's taken this crisis to reveal that to a lot of people.

CARLSON: Yes. It's such a good point, and I wonder why so many conservatives -- I'm definitely in this category, I'll admit it -- sat there as we got lectures about the glories of efficiency and never asked the obvious question, which is, aren't there other concerns?

I mean, it would be more efficient to put my kids to work in my basement weaving rugs, but no, I send them to school because it's a good thing. So if efficiency is your only goal, then maybe you're going to miss the target. Shouldn't we have said that?

RUBIO: Yes, so I believe in capitalism 100 percent, and capitalism will always find the most efficient allocation of capital.

But from time to time, the most efficient allocation of capital is contrary to our national interest.

So the fact that we depend on China for rare earth minerals is not in our national interest. The fact that we can't make basic pharmaceuticals because they make all the ingredients is not in our national interest and it is in those instances where government and policy leaders have to stand up and say, this is a vulnerability we can't allow.

Bottom line is, we don't win World War II, if we can't turn car factories and appliance factories into munitions plants and tank makers. We don't win that war.

Industrial capacity is a critical component of our national security and we're learning it the hard way right now.

CARLSON: It is very nicely put. That was a balanced and smart answer and I appreciate it, Senator. Thank you.

RUBIO: Thank you.

CARLSON: Well, as of right now, this country has about 6,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus. The real figure many believe could be a lot higher than that and new study suggests tens of thousands of people are spreading the virus because they have no symptoms and they don't know they have it. Details ahead.


CARLSON: We've known for a while now that it's likely America has far more cases of coronavirus than the official numbers suggest.

Now a new study says that 86 percent of coronavirus cases are asymptomatic, meaning the carriers don't know they have it, but they can still spread it.

Dr. Marty Makary is a Professor of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and he joins us tonight. Doctor, thanks so much for coming on. So asymptomatic, does that mean that there's no indication at all that the people who are infected are?

DR. MARTY MAKARY, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY:  Yes, it means no cough, no sneeze, no sore throat -- nothing. And you know many people have mild symptoms and blow it off.

This study was based on Chinese patients and again, it was based on those diagnosed and tested. We know that those numbers have not been reliable.

Look, China has not been transparent. At the worst time, they were reporting 3,000 deaths. I called doctors in China and they said they weren't even counting the body bags. They had so many bodies. They were busy. They were not in the business of reporting. They were in the business of taking care of people.

So I am a little skeptical about this study. But we do know that about half of people, if we look at the Diamond Princess and other examples, probably have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

CARLSON: Do we have any idea why some people exhibit no symptoms while others just get creamed by this? I've read a number of accounts of people in their 40s who were knocked off their feet by this and wound up in intensive care and no -- who didn't have emphysema or asthma. Why are some people more susceptible to it? Do we know?

MAKARY: Everybody's immune system is different, Tucker. And we know generally, it's hard for this virus to hurt young, healthy people. But it's those exceptions that make us cautious about giving people sort of, you know, green light to go out there and do whatever they want.

Young, healthy people tend to be the community transmitters, and they affect the most vulnerable. This is one of those rare things where what we do as healthy people affects somebody we've never met before.

Now, one piece of good news amidst all of this bad news has been that a study published today by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that only one child died out of 2,100 children infected, so that's good news for the kids.

CARLSON: Well, it is -- it's very good news. But for people in their let's say 40s through mid-60s, which we think of is prime of life years really, I mean, most -- many people are vigorous during that time. Is there anything that we're not aware of that might make a person susceptible to being really hurt by this?

MAKARY: The inflection point, Tucker, increases after age 40. The 40 and younger is probably the strongest population in terms of their immune response.

But remember, it's anything that affects that immune response and there's some things we don't understand.

For example, people with seizure disorders are at increased risk. Those with disability may not have the increased lung capacity from being disabled, those with organ transplants, those on chemo, those with certain medications, and of course, just with advanced age and being totally healthy, that risk goes way up as well.

CARLSON: Yes. Interesting. Last question. We spoke to someone last night who said that health care providers, nurses, for example, even young healthy nurses seem to be at much higher risk for getting hurt by the disease. Do we know why?

MAKARY: Well, we know that health care workers are at the highest risk of getting this infection. I'm really concerned about our nation's nurses, respiratory therapists, doctors, and while there may not be a physiologic explanation, there is certainly an exposure explanation.

Because in the hospital, those infections sometimes can be ubiquitous. So I am concerned about healthcare workers because we're about to see a double whammy of a reduced workforce and a massive influx of patients. That's what we're concerned about.

We only have 100,000 ICU beds in the U.S. right now, and we could be seeing hundreds of thousands of critical care patients.

CARLSON: I bet that's right. I hope it's not. Doctor, thank you very much for that.

MAKARY: Good to be with you, Tucker.

CARLSON: Well, as you just heard, this epidemic is likely to push our healthcare system to the limit and not simply because the flood of cases.

The virus is so infectious that as they fight it, countless healthcare professionals will fall ill themselves and they have in every country where this has broken out.

Sadly, lack of testing is making that situation harder. Last night, the Governor of Connecticut revealed that hundreds of nurses have been furloughed in that state because they may have the virus, but they don't know because they can't get tests.


GOV. NED LAMONT, D-CONN.: I can tell you, Danbury Hospital is already at capacity, and they have 200 nurses who are on furlough because they were in contact.

If I could test those nurses, I could potentially get them back into the game a lot sooner.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Wait a second. You've got 200 nurses sitting on the sidelines right now who can't get back to work because they can't be tested to confirm whether or not they have the virus.

LAMONT: Exactly. We got a surge in use, demand is going up and I'm losing nurses by the day. They have to furlough themselves for a period of time. That's a priority for testing for me.

Our testing capacity is going up, but it's going up very incrementally, and that's dangerous.


CARLSON: Dr. Brandon Carr is the Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and he joins us once again. We're happy to have him. Doctor, thanks so much for coming on.


CARLSON: So how about rather than speaking nationally, let's just speak about where you work, your hospital. Are your nurses and respiratory technicians, physicians, are they getting the test they need?

CARR: Did you say the protection they need? The test they need?

CARLSON: The testing they need. So if a nurse is exhibiting symptoms, can he or she get tested?

CARR: Yes, we've been pretty lucky. We have both availability of send out tests, which take a couple days to turn around, and the availability of some in-house rapid tests.

But I know that that's not true everywhere. New York is a hotspot right now and there have been lots of folks working really hard to make sure that we can get some results.

CARLSON: So the numbers in New York are low as of tonight. There was an outbreak in New Rochelle right outside the city. I think everyone watching expects that things will become more intense in New York. What's your assessment of how it's progressing there right now?

CARR: You know, you had a guest just a short time ago who said it is probably much more widespread than we realized and that's an important thing to recognize.

We are largely -- the Department of Health sent a notice today that said if you are sick you should assume that you have it because people have not had had widespread testing.

And the question becomes then what do we do for our providers to make sure that they're as safe as possible? How do we protect them?

And you know, that requires understanding a little bit about what it is that we're protecting them from. We often see on TV people in the, you know, the big BSL-4, the spacesuits that have positive pressure inside. They blow air out so that nothing can get in. Those are for infections that hang out in the air for a really long time. Respiratory infections.

It's important, I think, you know, although this is a very contagious virus. This is a virus that is primarily a droplet and the difference between droplet and respiratory is how big the particle in the air is and what it can get through.

So primarily a droplet, but we do things in Medicine, and we do things all the time when we interact with other people that makes it into an aerosol temporarily -- coughing, sneezing.

We talked the other night, you and I about putting a breathing tube into somebody, putting them on a ventilator. Those things make your droplets turn small and then it can spread a little bit more readily. We have to be very careful in those circumstances and change what we wear.

CARLSON: Can I just ask one last question, so we keep hearing that there is potentially a large population of asymptomatic people who have been infected, but don't exhibit symptoms.

CARR: Yes.

CARLSON: Is there any way short of testing them that those people can know whether they've been infected or not? Is there any -- you know, any kind of informal test for it?

CARR: No. But you know, this is a great point, because it's really important to think about where they're getting tested. We all watched the press announcement the other day. We watched corporate America show up to try to help to get a sense of who has got it and who doesn't have it.

And the first time I spoke with you, we talked about keeping people away from where the sickest folks are in the hospital. If we can put them out and let the sick folks go to the hospital and the pretty well folks go get tested somewhere else in a parking lot or a drive-thru that would be great.

CARLSON: That would be great. Dr. Carr, we appreciate having you back. Thanks very much for that.

CARR: Thank you, sir.

CARLSON: I know you're busy. Italy has been forced to ration its health care in the face of coronavirus. It is not impossible that could happen here. What principles do we follow if we have to do that? What's the ethical, the humane thing to do in the face of rationing?

Hopefully, a question we won't have to address, but we're going to address it anyway in the next segment.


CARLSON: Just as a note, we played a soundbite in the segment right before the commercial break of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont saying a whole bunch of nurses at a hospital in his state were on furlough because they couldn't get tested and they didn't If they were infected with the coronavirus.

In the commercial break, we got about a bunch of texts from people who live in Connecticut and we've seen in form saying that is untrue. That is not exactly what happened at all.

We're going to look into this and find out exactly what did happen. We apologize if that soundbite was wrong, and we should also warn you there are people disgustingly in our political system who are trying to use this crisis to gain political advantage and we're going to call them out because that's totally wrong, especially right now. So we will get back to you on that.

As Italy's healthcare system crumbles under the pressure of coronavirus, doctors there have had to take some dramatic steps. First, ventilators were reserved for those most likely to survive. Others were effectively left to die.

Now, the country is rationing hospital beds as well. This happens in crises not just in Italy, our healthcare system is superior to theirs. But this is inevitable if things get really bad.

So the question for us, at least potentially is how do you save lives without losing your humanity in the process? Charles Camosy is Professor of Theological Bioethics at Fordham University, author of the book "Resisting Throwaway Culture" and one of the people we trust on the question of bioethics. It's great to have him back. Thanks so much for coming on tonight.


CARLSON: So I've seen you make the point that very hard choices, choices that no decent person would ever want to make are inevitable at some point in a crisis. How should we approach this question?

CAMOSY: Well, it's inevitable. First of all, let's just mark that as a really important point to make. Doctors are even talking about recruiting people to use handbags to ventilate people if we don't have enough ventilators.

Governor Cuomo is saying, let's turn college dorms into ICU units. So this is going to happen.

The concern, Tucker, I have is that the people who are making decisions about how this is going to happen have a very utilitarian approach to this. One may even call it a QALY approach. QALY stands for something called Quality Adjusted Life Years and the thing that we've seen in Italy, as many people are saying, hey, wait a minute, we got to treat the younger people, not the older people because they have more QALY that could be added to our particular interventions.

And that is absolutely not what justice-centered people stand for, especially social justice centered people stand for, it is blatant discrimination against the old and we need to be on guard for it happening here, too.

CARLSON: So what -- and I think that's a very fair point that sometimes the people who are the most capable in science aren't the most capable of making ethical decisions under pressure. That's just true.


CARLSON: So how should we think about this? What should the criteria be? How do you make that decision?

CAMOSY: Well, there's lots of disagreement, as you might imagine about this. And in one sense, we're going to have lots of disagreement in different ethics committees, different hospitals, religiously affiliated hospitals, secular hospitals are going to come to different conclusions.

But one thing we generally can agree on, is that it should it be about who can benefit from the treatment? That should be the primary thing we think about. If someone is not likely to benefit from the treatment, there may be -- there probably will be just a very difficult wrenching decisions to be made about not treating that person in favor of somebody who can benefit.

But it's not again, it's simply not about age necessarily. Tom Hanks has the coronavirus, or at least recently he did. We're hearing 65 years old has been a cutoff in Italy in some places, apparently in United States. Some states have this is their protocol.

Tom Hanks turns 64 next year, is that the kind of person we want to deny a ventilator from or do we want to focus again on what medics should be focused on? What healthcare providers should be focused on? Will this in fact help the patient? And that should be our only and primary focus?

CARLSON: I agree with that. Never forget these are people, first and always. Professor, thanks so much for coming on tonight. Great to see you.

CAMOSY: Thanks for covering this topic. Can I just finish by saying, your getting out in front of this early has saved countless lives and your influence has really meant a lot. So thank you for getting out in front of it.

CARLSON: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks.

Well, there are good signs tonight in the fight against coronavirus and we want to highlight those. Enterprising doctors are finding promising new treatments for the disease and we'll share one of them with you next.


CARLSON: Well, as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, nations around the world are rediscovering the value of borders. Even Canada has closed itself off from outsiders.

Of course, if we wanted to shut our border, it would be difficult along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, it would be impossible.

According to The New York Times the Border Patrol will soon be instructed to immediately return all people detained at the border, even without a hearing.

But even then, if Mexico was hit hard by coronavirus outbreak, are we remotely ready for the ramifications of what could happen next?

John Daniel Davidson wrote a piece about this recently for "The Federalist." We're happy to have him on tonight. John, thanks so much for coming on. Explain what could happen if you would?

JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, right now Mexico doesn't have a huge outbreak of the coronavirus. I think they have less than a hundred confirmed cases right now.

But the danger is if there is an outbreak there, and there will be an outbreak there, health officials have it is inevitable, it will be uncontrolled partly because the Mexican state is incredibly weak and corrupt.

They barely exercise control over vast swathes of their own territory, and the healthcare system there is virtually non-existent in some places.

So an outbreak there is going to put communities in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California that border Mexico in great danger even if the coronavirus is introduced to those areas from the United States.

Crossing back and forth over the Rio Grande is going to be a very great concern because of the lack of any kind of governmental control and the lack of any kind of preparedness in Mexico right now.

CARLSON: So if that happens, and if the Mexican economy collapses, I mean, some countries are going to see likely a severe recession or depression because of this and Mexico is one of them.

You could have a massive number of refugees, some infected coming over our southern border. The left has said -- Democrats have said that's totally fine, you know, everyone is welcome. Will they be able to continue saying that if that happens?

DAVIDSON: I don't know. I mean, this changes the whole scenario. You know, this is sort of like the return of borders, right? All of a sudden we've rediscovered borders and that borders are important.

Controlling our borders is important, and the measures that are being taken right now by the Trump administration are appropriate. But it's important to understand too that we're looking at decades of neglect along our southwest border, where we don't have operational control over vast swathes of the border, and the kinds of surges in asylum seekers and migrants that we saw last year, last spring coming from Central America, we could see the same thing only not coming from Central America, but coming from Mexico itself.

As you say, if the economy collapses there, if there's an uncontrolled outbreak. We have very few options of how to control if that happens to our southwest border, and it's something we need to start thinking about and taking seriously right now because Mexico is not up to the task, and they are not making any preparations.

They just had a huge Music Festival in Mexico City this past weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people and other events similar like that are happening all over the country. There's no travel restrictions. There's no precautions being taken on crowd, you know, limiting crowd sizes, nothing like that.

CARLSON: The President of Mexico is mocking those ideas. In the middle of a pandemic, it would be nice to have a border wall, if I can just say. John, great to see you tonight. Thank you.

DAVIDSON: Thank you.

CARLSON: We want to end tonight, a pretty heavy show, with some happy news, some promising news. There are developments in treating coronavirus patients using plasma and antibodies.

What does that mean exactly? Well, Dr. Arturo Casadevall is Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and joins us tonight to explain. Doctor, thanks a lot for joining us. What does that mean? Plasma?


CARLSON: Of course.

CASADEVALL: What it means is that when patients recover, when people recover from the coronavirus, a few weeks after, they often have antibodies in their blood that can kill the virus, and those antibodies, they can donate those antibodies by donating their plasma and then those antibodies can be used to treat people that are sick, as well as given to people who've been exposed to prevent disease such as our healthcare workers.

And this is an approach that medicine has used for over a hundred years. It is well-known. It is safe as a transfusion. It has been used in China with encouraging results, although we have not really seen the published data yet.

And I can tell you today across many states and medical centers, people are working very hard to put together the protocols in what is called the investigational new drug applications to the F.D.A., such that this option can be deployed.

CARLSON: At what stage in the illness is it effective? If someone is really sick and you know, facing death, could this bring that person back?

CASADEVALL: Well, usually antibodies don't work very well with severe disease. But some of the reports from China suggest that even people who have been in respirators have benefited from them.

We think that antibodies work best in preventing people from getting sick. So for example, if you have a large exposure like healthcare workers, one could give it to them and then prevent those people from getting sick and they don't have to stay home.

And so these antibodies could protect the healthcare system, and for patients that are in hospitals today, requiring oxygen, which we fear could deteriorate and end up in the Intensive Care Unit, these antibodies could prevent that from happening.

CARLSON: Well, that is great news. Are they hard to get? I mean, do we have an ample supply?

CASADEVALL: Well, once we have people who recover from this, we will have a lot of individuals who could donate. We think that a single individual may be able to protect two people or may be able to protect more. And this is one way in that those who recover could help those who follow them in the disease.

CARLSON: Interesting. One person could protect two people. So are hospitals asking people who are recovering now to donate?

CASADEVALL: So, not yet. Right now, what is happening today, in fact it is happening tonight in many places, people are working on the protocols. It is very important to do this right and to do it within a regulatory framework, which means you put in an application to the Institutional Review Board, and you need to put an application to the F.D.A. and do that.

And then once you have the approvals in place, you can invite those who recover to donate their plasma, just like we ask people to donate blood when there is a need.

CARLSON: Yes. Amazing. Well, I hope in this case those regulations are streamlined. Doctor, this is a really promising thing to hear and we appreciate your coming on tonight, very much.

CASADEVALL: Thank you very much, Tucker. Good night.

CARLSON: So before we close tonight, earlier this hour, we played you a soundbite of Ned Lamont, who is the Governor of Connecticut, a Democrat, saying on another channel that there were 200 nurses at a hospital in Connecticut, who may be exposed to coronavirus, but they couldn't get tests.

So they had to be furloughed, and they were waiting around. They weren't treating patients. The second we aired that, we started getting texts and e-mails from people in Connecticut saying it was untrue.

And so we took a deeper look at that story, and it turns out, it was untrue, factually untrue. In fact, it was 200 employees, not just nurses of a company called New Vance Health. That company owns seven hospitals across both Connecticut and New York, not just a single hospital in his state.

This is an example of someone using this crisis for political gain, you bet -- and he is not the only person who is doing it and we're going to be on that from here on out.

We'll be back tomorrow, 8:00 p.m. It was great to see you tonight.

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