Sen. Marco Rubio on China's coronavirus disinformation campaign: They were worried about their image

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," March 19, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Welcome to "Hannity."

Big breaking and perhaps hopefully, hopefully game-changing news tonight. The red tape has been cut, the FDA is acting, the president is acting, all at unprecedented speed.

And America's top scientists, medical researchers, doctors are now working around the clock on new, major, breakthrough ways to treat the coronavirus, actually using medicines that are FDA-approved and already in use. We have these incredible details coming up tonight. Three, separate areas we're working on right now.

And we're also in the midst of the major worldwide pandemic. Sadly, this full-blown global crisis might have been prevented or at least mitigated if not for the corrupt actions of the communist Chinese government. According to this top study from a British university, 95 percent of all coronavirus cases may have, in fact, been prevented if China didn't try to hide and cover up this deadly disease at every important moment.

And as the president indicated earlier today, he had been saying it really more loudly than anyone else I can think of -- China cannot be trusted. Take a look.


JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: China, they reported for the first time since the outbreak, no new cases over a 24-hour period. Do you have any reason to disbelieve them?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: As far as believing what they're putting out now -- I hope it's true, who knows? But I hope it's true.

REPORTER: Are you thinking about any types of repercussions for China? And are you also rethinking sort of the supply lines for our manufacturers?

TRUMP: I don't want to comment on that right now.


HANNITY: Sadly, we can't trust anything coming from China's government.

So, here are the facts. As early as December, high-ranking Chinese officials, they actually silenced the doctors on the front line in the journalists -- if you can even say they have journalist, they don't have freedom of the press -- who bravely tried to tell the truth to the entire world, give the important information, vital information to the world about the coronavirus. Now, many of those doctors who put their lives at risk, they are dead. They died trying to save others in their country and worldwide.

And on January 18th, when the disease was rapidly spreading in the Wuhan province of China, well, the city hosted a massive potluck dinner with tens of thousands of attendees, beyond -- it's incomprehensible how dumb that is.

It wasn't until January 20th, after the virus already spread all over the world that China actually admitted the disease was contagious person to person.

Now, the 21st of January, we had our first known case here, the 31st, 10 days later, that was the travel ban. We'll get to that in a second.

This is the kind of botched Chernobyl-like cover up sadly predictable for communist governments. It doesn't mean we shouldn't get along with them, but we need to know that they are hostile actors. They did not act alone.

The World Health Organization -- everybody needs to know this -- they are a corrupt and frankly useless organization, not unlike the United Nations from my perspective. They were supposed to be an organization the world could trust. Instead, they have been doing and all they have been doing is spreading Chinese communist party propaganda from day one.

They haven't done any independent fact-checking. And they deserve blame for this as does China.

Look at this, January 14th, that's late in the game by this point, World Health Organization tweets, quote: Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human to human transmission of the virus.

If they had any sense, they would have known that's not true. They've done their own research, they would have known in five minutes that's not true. Now, WHO's director and general in chief is a pretty sketchy individual, no medical training. He's been caring China's water for months on this.

According to a brand-new report in "The Hill" tonight, he turned a blind eye to what has happened in Wuhan and rest of China after meeting with President Xi in January. And, quote: From the outset, he defended China despite his gross mismanagement of the highly contagious disease. Even suggesting the president's travel ban to and from China was a racist.

That one decision, history will bear this out, ten days after the first identified case in this country, January 21st, first case, January 31st, travel ban. That one decision did more to protect the health and lives of American citizens than any one thing that has happened. Thousands and thousands of more Americans would have contracted this virus, and it is incalculable how many more Americans would have died, exponentially. We would have been in a far worse position than we are in now.

And how sad is your mob and the media? Do they ever give the president credit? In retrospect, the president was right with that. Don't hold your breath.

Same with the Democrats. Dr. Joe Biden, that very day that the president implemented that travel ban, oh, this is what he had to say. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In moments like this, this is where the credibility of the president is most needed as he explains what we should and should not do. This is no time for Donald Trump's record of hysteria, xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia to -- and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.


HANNITY: Hysterical xenophobia, fear -- wake up, Joe.

What is even worse, though, is even knowing what we now know. This is even worse. You know, Dr. Quid pro quo says he would not have implemented the ban. Like everything else this man does, he is clueless with zero awareness stuck in that swamp style thinking and stupidity.

And now, that brand of identity politics is like the new favorite tactic of China's propaganda department which is now working overtime to deflect blame. And other frequently used disinformation campaigns include a conspiracy theory that U.S. troops are responsible for the Chinese coronavirus. That is a lie. That is an outright lie.

China's oppressive regime caused hundreds of thousands worldwide to get sick. It has caused sickness, deafness and destruction for thousands and thousands more. They must be held accountable. And, by the way, another is laughable to claim that more propaganda, they are now claiming that they are leading the way worldwide in the fight against the virus even though they are the ones that covered it up all these months.

Unfortunately, some Democrats and of course the gullible media mob that just hates President Trump so much, they are echoing these ridiculous Chinese lies and propaganda, including, yes, former Obama national security advisor, the genius that she is, Susan Rice. Take a look.


SUSAN RICE, OBAMA NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (via telephone): China is not behaving well and trying to blame this on the United States. But the flip side of it is, we are not behaving well when we talk about as the president does every day, the Chinese virus, the Wuhan flu and all of these racist descriptions.


HANNITY: Really, Susan? Susan Rice, what a single least trustworthy individuals on the face of the Earth, a national disgrace. Remember, five Sunday shows, blatant lies after the Benghazi attacks. That will never be forgotten. Good rule of thumb with Susan Rice, whatever she says, believe the opposite, but I digress.

Now, the media mob they are new favorite hysteria around a picture for a "Washington Post" photographer showing an up close shot of the president's notes where corona is crossed out and replaced with Chinese. This is inside an article suggesting he was using racism against China to try to distract the president's disastrous coronavirus response.

Fake news, CNN called inaccurate, stigmatizing, thousands of Americans will be sick and died. This is what they are focused on? Really? Because we have all sorts of diseases, we laid them out last night. Name after the location where they are discovered. More lying to their viewers because, of course, their agenda is to hate the president, even willing dupes (ph) to spread Chinese propaganda. It is pathetic.

And today, President Trump had a message for his friends in the media mob. Take a look.


REPORTER: Why does the United States not prepare with more testing?

TRUMP: We were very prepared to. The only thing we were not prepared for was the media. The media has not treated it fairly.

I will tell you how prepared it was. I called for a ban from people coming into China long before anybody thought it was -- in fact, it was your network, I believe they called me a racist because I did that. It was many of the people in the room, they called me racist in other words because I did that, because I went so early.

So, when you say we weren't prepared, had I left these tens of thousands of people come from China a day, we would have had something right now that would have been -- you would not even recognize it compared to where we are.


HANNITY: Extremely well said.

Here are some facts that the mob won't report. You know, the ones "The New York Times," oh, I just love "The New York Times." Trump virus, if you're feeling awful, you know who to blame. Oh, and the president's call with the governors, oh, the president says you're on your own. Now, he said, if you can do it faster, do it, we'd have your back. They forgot that part. That is called edited fake news.

Now, thanks to the president's decisive action, the new precedent has been set. I call this a paradigm shift. Going forward, future pandemics, and unfortunately, they pop up, I wish they didn't. Travel bans will now be used quickly to slow the spread of the disease, because it saves lives of Americans.

The success of the president's public-private partnership surrounding testing, another new massive paradigm shift. They're doing all of this on the fly in record time. Keeping people out of hospitals, that will be how things work going forward, telemedicine.

My son has a fever. My daughter has a fever. Take a look at my son or daughter. What do I do? Do I need to go to the emergency room?

Well, not now, but call me back in an hour and you facetime again.

Now, the United States is actively looking for ways to decrease dependency on important goods and medicines manufactured in China. You know what, we can't afford to risk this any further.

Now, the person has been warning us about China, that one person for the longest time, President Trump. He's been right all along.

Here now with more, Senator Marco Rubio of the great state of Florida.

Senator, by the way, I'm glad to hear spring break ended. That was kind of -- beginning to get so much troublesome.


HANNITY: OK. China isn't (ph) -- a hostile regime, but with that said, we can do business with people they don't like because that is good business for Americans. But there's a fine line here. What they did here has now caused death, illness around the world.

What should we do to react?

RUBIO: First of all, I encourage people to look at my Twitter feed from late January and early February, when I was writing, and it was largely ignored, I was writing then that China was threatening countries. China went around and told countries, do not cut off lights or we're going to stop doing trade with you.

And there are a lot of countries in the world that have huge infection rates because they continue those direct flights from China. There were plenty of countries around the world instead of asking questions about what China was doing, those countries went along with it and even covered for them. China was on a P.R. campaign.

This disease crossed over from animal to human sometime in early December. The first case popped up in the middle of December. It wasn't until late December that they acknowledged this.

And they, as you already pointed out in your monologue that, again, they threatened people. They fired people because they accused them of spreading socially divisive information. What the people are spreading was, I have people in my house that will die of pneumonia from a virus that we've never seen before.

The last one point I'll make -- the virus, the actual virus, they put the genetics on the system, but the actual virus sample, they refused to share that with the world for a long time. If they had shared that from the very beginning the way you do in an open, transparent society, people would have been working on antivirals and they would have been working on the vaccine a month ago. We wouldn't have had one today, but we would have been further along.

China absolutely turned this into a P.R. campaign instead of a public health one. And the world knows it and the world should know it.

HANNITY: Look, look at this British study. I mean, 95 percent of these cases could have been prevented had they reached out. We have secretary of state, somebody I respect a lot. I got it wrong on -- he graduated number one from West Point. I said Harvard. How do you mess up West Point and Harvard?

But Mike Pompeo -- I said, Mr. Secretary, if they came to you and they told you that they got this medical issue, would you have provided our -- the greatest medical researchers, scientists, doctors to go over, the Anthony Faucis of the world to help? Of course, he's been willing to help Iran because it will help stop the spread of this virus.

RUBIO: Right. And so what happened is China in the early days after they reported the first case, a bunch of countries, including the U.S., offered to send up epidemiologists over there to help and to learn about it. And China said, no, we have it under control, it's not a big deal, because they're worried about their image. They were worried about their image.

I wrote about that consistently two months ago. A lot of that was ignored at the time. We were in the middle of impeachment and all of that sort of stuff, but that's what they were writing and people ignoring that.

This is what China did. There is zero doubt that this has become a global pandemic in significant part because of the way China handled this in the early days. That is something that is beyond dispute.

HANNITY: All right. And you were right about -- oh, Cuba has well. Bolshevik Bernie praising dictatorships in the world.

Senator Marco Rubio, thank you tonight.

RUBIO: Thank you.

HANNITY: Also breaking today, the State Department issued a major warning to all Americans.

Here now with more, our own Trace Gallagher -- Trace.


The U.S. State Department has raised the global travel advisory to level 4, meaning that Americans should avoid all international travel and Americans abroad should consider returning to the U.S. immediately or risk staying there, through whatever means possible, they should get home the president is saying.

In the meantime, the latest numbers coming from Johns Hopkins now puts the number of cases globally at more than 242,000 with worldwide death toll at just under 10,000. It's notable that just under 85,000 people have fully recovered.

In this country, the experts have been saying for weeks when the testing goes up, so will the numbers. And that is proving true. The United States has more than 13,000 cases, and the death toll late today hit 200. Washington state has the most death with 47, followed by New York with 34.

And experts also said when the number of infected goes up, the fatality rate will go down. Again, true. The death rate is 1.4 percent last week at this time, it was almost 2.5 percent. That is a significant improvement -- Sean.

HANNITY: One development. We first saw this in Great Britain, we're now seeing it here, Trace, is that this was not the case early on. Younger people now are susceptible and are being hospitalized, 21 to 45, 45 to 54. That was not happening before.

GALLAGHER: They are and they are, Sean, but you have to remember some of these people have underlying conditions. So, yes, younger people are getting hit with this. It's unclear the number of those are being hospitalized.

But some of those younger people, in fact, a lot of those people have asthma, they had underlying conditions. So, they are still trying to figure out how hard it will hit the younger population. For those who are 15 and under, 10 and under, almost no instances of death worldwide which is a very good sign, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. And that's where chloroquine is going to be a big factor. We'll get to that in a minute.

The announcement by the president is very big.

Earlier tonight, the First Lady Melania Trump issued a message to Americans on Twitter. Take a look.


MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: What changes need to be made now, this is not how we will live forever. Her children will go to school, people will return to work and we will gather at places of worship, concerts and sporting events again. I urge you to stay connected to family and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, social media and other safe technologies.

Stay safe. And remember, where many of us are apart, we are all in this together.


HANNITY: And we will get through this.

Also, tonight, lawmakers are continuing to work to get the much needed relief to our fellow Americans that are suffering. They deserve that help.

And with the latest on that front, Melissa Francis -- Melissa.

MELISSA FRANCIS, "OUTNUMBERED" CO-HOST: Sean, there are two big questions tonight that people have out there, how much money and when am I going to get it?

How much first. This is what they are talking about, $1,200 per person. Double that if you are married. If you have children, $500 per child.

That's up to $75,000 in income. If you make $75,000, you'll get that. They are basing that on your tax returns for 2019.

This is the proposal. Nothing is final, but this is the latest thinking. Up to $95,000, income for 2019, you will get a smaller portion of those numbers.

Now, for small businesses, they are saying that they're going to be doing loans, but they may be grants if you use the money to pay your mortgage, to pay the rent, or to make your payroll, to pay your workers. In that case, if you prove afterwards with the line of credit that you took was for that purpose, you may not have to pay it back.

When you talk about big companies like the airlines, they're going to have to pay a back. That is not going to be a bailout. That is going to be definitely a loan.

Now, how soon? That's the question. They are talking they don't know how to get the money out. A couple of different proposals.

I got one for you, how about FEMA? When FEMA puts out disaster relief checks, they do it within seven to 10 days. That is for housing. Well, this is for food. I don't know, it seems like a disaster, it seems like a disaster to me. Maybe they should consider distributing it through FEMA.

I know they are looking to do it to the IRS and different things. I don't know, that will take a little bit longer, but we are getting clarity on the numbers, $1,200, double if you're married, $500 per kid, if you make under $75,000 last year.

Sean, what do you think? Back to you.

HANNITY: Melissa Francis, thank you.

All I think is that to no fault of their own, we rebuild Europe, we saved the world from fascism, Nazism, communism, radical Islamism, we pay the price of freedom worldwide. We now need to help our fellow Americans and do it quickly, very quickly.

We have major new developments tonight in the fight against the Chinese coronavirus. This is important. Another huge paradigm shift today unfolding before our very own eyes tonight. At the direction earlier today of the president, the FDA is fast tracking multiple new treatments for COVID-19. This could be the breakthrough we need right now. Take a look.


TRUMP: And I directed the FDA to eliminate updated rules and bureaucracy so this work can proceed rapidly, quickly, and I mean, fast. And we have to remove every barrier. There were a lot of barriers that were unnecessary. And they've done that to get the rapid deployment of safe, effective treatments. And we think we have some good answers. We'll find out very, very soon.


HANNITY: And tonight, thanks to the elimination of this red tape, a policy called compassionate use, at least two new treatments are now already in use among patients who are seriously ill. I had two calls from my radio show today. They talked about chloroquine.

Now, it's been in the United States and used to treat and prevent malaria since 1945. In fact, already approved by the FDA as an anti-malarial medication.

According to some doctors, U.K., China, South Korea, elsewhere, study done in consultation with Stanford University School of Medicine, UAB School of Medicine, this drug has been successful in mitigating the symptoms of the coronavirus.

And look at this map, look at this. Places like Africa where chloroquine has been frequently used to prevent and treat malaria, very few cases are coronavirus. The early data beyond promising.

And, of course, correlation does not always equal causation but the scientists are now looking to connect those dots. We may have had a breakthrough today.

And meanwhile, the second experimental treatment is something called remdesivir is what it's called. You know, this is a drug which was first use as a test treatment for Ebola and now showing positive effects in patients with coronavirus.

Both of them are prophylactic. It works in terms of prevention but more importantly, in showing that, oh, it's clearing up CT lung scans faster, getting people out of hospitals faster and literally changing it dramatically.

The other experimental treatment involves plasma taken from patients who already recovered from the virus, in other words injected into other patients in an attempt to jump-start their own immuno response and early indications are, it's working and working quickly within 24 hours. We have to watch this play out.

In the meantime, good news to report. According to the Vice President Mike Pence, thousands of it additional ventilators located and converted to treat the coronavirus patients. And get this, our friends in the auto industry, Ford, General Motors, Tesla, all gearing up to manufacture massive quantities of ventilators if needed. Thank you all.

Joining us now with the very latest is the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administration, also a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, we've been seeing her every day -- Seema Verma is with us.

By the way, thank you for what you're doing. I know you probably are not getting a lot of sleep.

Let's go to these three possible treatments, the two drugs and plasma treatments, chloroquine particularly helpful. I had two calls from the radio show said that young kids used it and effectiveness was dramatic. Not for this but for what underlying other issues.

SEEMA VERMA, MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES ADMINISTRATOR: Well, the president received high praise from the nation's governors today because of his strong leadership across the federal government and the FDA was no different. You know, we got a great commissioner there, Steve Hahn. And he is working with the president around getting out red tapes so that these types of therapeutics can become more readily available.

And we're looking at medications that already out there to see, could they have a potential impact, looking at new therapeutics. And then the vaccines are in development. And those are progressing in record time.

HANNITY: Well, OK. So, if we look at this -- now, we have some data of what apparently we are learning from South Korea, what we're learning if you believe China, OK, from them, even France has some data on this. It is showing -- it works two ways, prophylactic use that actually helps prevention, of contracting the disease, and secondly, quickly, altering the trajectory of getting to better health dramatically, people are getting out of hospitals faster, et cetera.

VERMA: Yes. Well, I think that all of these -- the discussion of the new drugs that are development (ph) are going to give Americans hope. And it's really important that we have the strong --


HANNITY: Now, I want a little more than hope, though. Hang on, not try to be -- I know you were working hard. We are now seeing -- they are saying in their early studies, they're seeing dramatic results, correct?

VERMA: I think that's what some early data is promising. But that's why we have the FDA there to make sure that these treatments are safe and effective. And we're getting the red tape out of the system so that we can do the types of trials and review the data to make sure that this could be something that would be potential --


HANNITY: Let me throw it to you this way -- knowing what we know now, if you had this virus, would you use them if you had a choice?

VERMA: Well, I'm going to leave that to the FDA commissioner. You know, he runs a great agency.

HANNITY: Oh, you're ducking me.

VERMA: Well -- those guys, I'm not the FDA commissioner. Those guys are the ones that are going to look at the studies on this to determine --


HANNITY: But if you had the choice, knowing what we know -- because if I had the choice, I would use it for me and I'm only speaking for me.

VERMA: Well, again, you know, I think if you had this virus, one of the things that the FDA is done is through compassionate use, or making these drugs more widely available.

HANNITY: I like that, all right.

VERMA: And again, yes, it's making it more widely available and that's because the president is cutting through all the red tape.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you so much for what you're doing every day. I know none of you're getting any sleep.

When we come back, Lindsey Graham on what lawmakers are doing to make sure you and your family get the help during this pandemic.

A lot of other news tonight. Stay with us.


HANNITY: Now, the coronavirus pandemic is being met with unprecedented national response. The U.S. Senate now working on a multi-prong emergency package plan. One of the key senators devising the plan to restore American's income, those Americans that need our help will get our help -- Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina. He joins us with the very latest.

Senator, welcome back. I apparently just told by one of my producers that you just spoke with the president.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: Yes, basically, we're going to counterattack the virus. We're going to starve it. We're going to bomb it. And we're going to kill it.

The way you starve is you stop human to human transmission. Social distancing will starve the virus.

The way you bomb it is drug therapies that you were talking about it. We're going to bomb the hell out of it. We're going to take it from a 10 to hopefully to a one or two, and then we're going to kill it with a vaccine.

Until then, we're going to stabilize the economy to make sure you get income coming from the fact you've lost your job to no fault of your own, but the containment policies that will pay dividends, we're paying for them now.

HANNITY: All right. And this is going to be only those Americans. You agreed with me the other night. They should be a clean bill.

GRAHAM: Clean.

HANNITY: Only the Americans, and -- I mean, it's got to be a level where Americans can keep their homes, pay their rent, keep their cars and not to have to pull their kids out of college, correct?

GRAHAM: Yes. What we're going to do, you've lost your job because of -- we decided to contain the virus by requiring us to stay away from each other so you can't go to work. So, you're going to have your income replaced either through unemployment insurance or the Marco Rubio idea where companies can go borrow money and make their payroll.

So, we're going to keep the income coming to you. It's going to take a while to get there, but you're going to have an income stream you can rely upon as we work together to defeat the virus. We're going to starve it. We're going to bomb it through drug therapies, and the president is working on accelerating the vaccine that is the most promising idea I've heard yet.

HANNITY: Let's talk about removing the burdensome regulations to move forward with chloroquine --


HANNITY: -- and remdesivir and this plasma blood with those that have been infected.

This is -- these are huge. I've read a lot, especially about chloroquine. And, apparently, early signs -- for me, reading medical research, I was impressed.

GRAHAM: Yes, so what the president is doing is saying get the hell out of the way when it comes to developing drug therapies. Get them to the marketplace.

These drug therapies are very promising. They can take the virus from being lethal to nonlethal. They can take it from a 10 to 2. We're going to bomb the hell out of it with drug therapies just like you described, but the way you eventually kill it is through a vaccine.

It takes a year or more to get a vaccine to the market. We're going to try to cut that in half.

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you -- I saw a piece in "Politico" magazine. You agreed with me tonight, and you agreed with me another night --

GRAHAM: Right.

HANNITY: -- these are going to be clean bills.

OK. Politico magazine is reporting -- and I want to know if there's any truth to this -- that you are using the coronavirus recovery bills specifically to dramatically expand what's known as an EB-5 green card that will allow wealthy Chinese if they lend money or purchase or invest money in the U.S., which, by the way, is a common practice. You can get -- New Zealand, Australia, it's a way of creating jobs and investment dollars in the U.S.

I actually support it except we have to be very careful with countries that are hostile like China, Iran and North Korea -- that are you making that part of this recovery bill?

GRAHAM: Absolutely not. I haven't talked to anybody on the planet, much less the Trump administration, about putting EB-5 on the coronavirus bill. That's -- this is not the time or the place. The president supports the program and I do too.

We're not going to put a damn thing on this bill that doesn't protect you and your family from the virus and doesn't give you money that you desperately need.

HANNITY: Let me be clear, so "Politico" magazine's report is an outright falsehood?

GRAHAM: I don't think it's Politico. I think it's another -- yes, absolute garbage. I haven't talked to anybody. I would object to putting anything on these bills that are not related to solving the problem.

What's the problem? People have lost their jobs because of their containment policies that we need, and we're also speeding up bombing, starting and killing the virus.

HANNITY: All right. Senator, the quicker you guys clean bills, help America's workers --


HANNITY: -- help those small businesses, help those restaurant workers, help everybody -- the truckers. I mean, there are so many people that are going to suffer.

We bailed out Europe. We rebuilt Europe. We now have to help Americans. That's my --

GRAHAM: This president will do it. He will do it.

HANNITY: Thank you, Senator.

When we come back, facts without fear. Information -- the hysteria, the panic, the mob is trying to instill in everybody. Laura Logan, we'll give you the very latest details on coronavirus numbers, we'll put it in context.

Also tonight, what's going on with China, the U.S., the U.K., Nigel Farage. Karl Rove will be here to tell you why China is to blame for the massive destruction to your daily life and the destruction worldwide, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Now, as the Trump administration continues to take unprecedented bold action to slow the spread of the coronavirus and deliver aid to American families, Italy is seeing the death toll increase dramatically.

Now, here to explain that much, much more, she's the host of "No Agenda",, we call it "facts without fear".

We are Americans, land of the free, home of the brave. And we beat back every evil, faced depressions, world wars. We will beat this -- Lara.


Yes, here are some of the facts about the coronavirus today. You were right. Italy has taken over from China as the epicenter of the virus. And at this point, it announced the death toll there has reached 3,405, which is a number that far surpasses China. It's been almost of those deaths were in the highest risk category.

And who is in the highest risk category? It's the elderly, Sean. Most of the people who died were 80 years old and above and according to Italian health officials, they also had existing, pre-existing medical conditions which made them vulnerable to the virus.

Although the news from Italy is bad, there is still more than 90 percent chance of surviving the coronavirus in the Italy at present. You have 91 percent chance of surviving it if infected there. In the U.S., the survivality rate stands at 98.5 percent based on the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins.

While Italy has taken over at the epicenter of the virus, the situation in China appears to have improved drastically. Last week, China's state media reported that all temporary coronavirus hospitals, Sean, were closed because of lack of patients. And today, China reported zero, new local coronavirus infections.

And a new study out of Wuhan, China, also puts the death rate at 1.4 percent, which is far below the figure out for the World Health Organization earlier this month which was 3.4 percent. And back here in the United States medical sources tell me that the anti-malaria drugs, chloroquine, which you mentioned, and President Trump discussed today, they favor this drug as a solution because it is cheaper and easier to produce.

And the doctor said it can be most effective in treating patients before they get so sick that they end up in the emergency room or on a ventilator, which is really what they are trying to prevent. Because at that point, once you are on a ventilator, death rates go up significantly. A vaccine, they say is, while it's much discussed, especially in the media, it's 12 to 18 months to wait typically. So, health professionals and doctors see a vaccine more as a future solution rather than answer to the crisis, Sean.

HANNITY: All right. Lara Logan, "facts without fear". One other thing, as we now also discovered that from Wuhan province in China, hundred thousand people back and forth, even direct flights to Italy, big factor in what Italy is going through. And, unfortunately, during this difficult -- extremely difficult time for our country, there is a report tonight, Democrats are going to spend millions politicizing this serious public health threat and the mob and the media, of course, they're going after the first family.

Like deranged CNN commentator Rick Wilson suggesting that First Lady Melania Trump should, quote, be infected? Rick, what a jackass you are.

And one of my next guests, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage says coronavirus is yet another reason we now need to rethink the West relationship with China.

Nigel joins us, along with former White House deputy chief of staff, FOX News contributor, Karl Rove.

Let me begin with you, Nigel Farage.

Look, I understand, our close friends are Israel, our friends in Great Britain. We know we can count on you. You're an ally.

We know that Russia, China, Iran -- well, we shouldn't have anything to do with them for the most part, North Korea, the hostile regimes. But we can still do $220 billion trade deal that helps American manufacturers, farmers, the auto industry, et cetera.

Here is my question. Now after this, how big a game changer?

NIGEL FARAGE, BREXIT PARTY LEADER: It's a huge game changer. I mean, you talked about Italy a moment ago. You know, why is Italy got this problem? Well, the reason is, of course, there have been huge Chinese investments in northern Italy and many, many people going back and forth between China and Italy.

So, you know, globalization, which always seems to be good, has brought problems. And let's just remind ourselves -- this is the third viral crisis we've had this century. SARS, swine flu, now coronavirus, all of these things have come from China.

So, you know, let's be clear -- this is the fault of China. They're not the good guys. They're not the heroes. And it is an oppressive, horrible, communist dictatorship that imprisons and executes large numbers of its own peoples, it steals our intellectual property, it threatens our security, and I think we need to think, have we become too reliant on Chinese made goods? Is our supply chain too dependent now on China?

And certainly, in this country, the U.K., we need now to say that China will have no part in our 5G network. So, a total rethink in my view of our relationship.

HANNITY: And Newt was warning about it, and swine flu is not from China, just SARS and corona.

You know, Karl Rove, I'm looking at all of this and this relationship in particular. And I'm watching all of this -- you broke on this show, Joe Biden's fund-raising off of this. Now, the Democratic Party is doing it and politicizing it.

Now, they're putting out ads on this. And I'm thinking, are you people kidding me? Really? I know we have an election 229 days, there'll be plenty of time to have elections. But you're going to raise money and you're going to politicize it in ads now?

Americans, OK, we're trying to save lives right now.

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, with all this, for example, Chuck Schumer. He went out and attacked the Republican Senate for not taking up the Democratic bill passed by the House before the House ever passed the bill. And, yes, they're going to try to turn this into a political circus.

I think that in politics, the punch sometimes is weaker than the counterpunch. And I think the Democrats are going to make mistake if they go down this path with a PAC -- you know, the group that was responsible for the miscount in Iowa is now doing all the digital work against President Trump on this issue. So --


HANNITY: Karl, let me -- let me jump on you. This is just breaking, the governor of California has now issued stayed at home order for the state. Your reaction?

ROVE: Well, governors have the primary responsibility for determining public health issues inside their states, so I'm not going to second-guess him, but it is a sign of the severity of the crisis in California and the desire to stop the spread of the virus in that -- in that -- in that state.

Can I say one quick thing on a subject? I'm so wired up about all these attacks by the media calling the president racist for referring to this as a China variety -- virus. May 13, 2014, Obama briefed on U.S. MERS cases, White House says. MERS, that's the Middle East respiratory syndrome.

Did any of these news organizations call President Obama --


ROVE: -- a racist for being briefed on the MERS, the Middle East respiratory syndrome?

This idea that calling it the Wuhan virus or the China virus is somehow or another racist is just ridiculous.

HANNITY: All right. Karl Rove, thank you.

Nigel Farage, keep our friends in Great Britain safe. I'm giving you that task. We know you will. Thank you.

All right. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy responding to all of this and that news out of California. If you are just joining us -- a stay at home order issued for all Californians. I can predict, probably New York is next, straight ahead.


HANNITY: Fox News alert, just moments ago, California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a stay at home order for the people of California. It goes into effect midnight.

Essential services, shopping can continue, but non-essential businesses will be shut down.

Joining us from that state is House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

I assume you are watching.

First of all, I want to say something, there are a lot of people that I work with, colleagues at every level here at the FOX News Channel. And I've been here from the beginning. I'm an old person. No one ever thought I would last this long, neither did I.

But in all seriousness, they put themselves at risk because this is essential, news and information now matter. And I want to thank my colleagues all across this network for what they do.

OK. Your reaction to Gavin Newsom. People have to get food. People -- I'm glad he kept the shopping open.

Your reaction? Is that the right choice, in your view?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, R-CALIF.: Well, you know how serious this virus is and how contagious it is. But California is 12 percent of the nation's population. There are essential things that are produced in California that when you think of the pharmaceutical industry and others based in San Francisco. When you think of the manufacturing, that even maybe makes the items that we need for masks and others.

I would have thought the governor would have called a number of us to consult and talk to us why he would make this decision. I know I never did get a call from him. But maybe he feels there's a need behind it.

We do think there was an ability to do this without shutting down the entire state. I hope he consulted with a lot of experts before he just made this decision.

HANNITY: I would like to know that -- especially when the needed manufacturing of pharmaceutical, very crucial.

All right. Let's get your reaction. Today could be -- I hope we look back to this day as a breakthrough day with the FDA and all of those burdens and regulations, red tape wiped away by the president, because chloroquine, plasma treatments and everything else, an opportunity here with very promising initial results.

MCCARTHY: Very promising. You know, it took two years before we were on clinical trials for a SARS vaccine. We are already there where individuals in Washington have a vaccine in their arms. It will still take us a year.

But, you know, this president took action long before the coronavirus ever showed -- showed its face, when he got right to try. He lifted this for all the drugs because we have an ability, and some of our greatest technological advances are going to be in drugs. You see what's happening in cancer and others.

But we have found the ingenuity of America, the public-private partnership, Gilead with the ability to treat, the therapy right now, and others were finding old pharmaceuticals that could actually treat other diseases may work on this as well.

This is what we're going to find. We're going to look back, Sean, and say we conquer this. Just like everything else that America puts their mind to, we will overcome this, when we allow people and unshackle in their ability --

HANNITY: All this new --

MCCARTHY: -- to do what they know best.

HANNITY: I think America will save the world again, my prediction, and I hope we do it for everybody's sake.

MCCARTHY: Exactly.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you, Congressman. Stay safe.

And coming up, some spring breakers still refusing to listen to all of these warnings. Hello! Wake up!

Trace Gallagher, he explains next what's being done.


HANNITY: All right. So, despite the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing the country and the world, spring breakers seem unshaken, still, refusing to heed warnings from health officials.

Trace Gallagher with the latest on this story.

Trace, can't they just listen for 15 days, just 15 days from now?

GALLAGHER: A lot of the focus this week, Sean, has been Clearwater Beach and the Gulf Coast. That's where many spring breakers gathered pretty much with a continuing stream of hugs and high fives. Well, the spring breakers are still spread across Florida, but the rules have now changed. Governor Ron DeSantis said that he will now abide by the CDC, meaning the party isn't totally over. Governor DeSantis is following CDC guidelines, meaning the state of Florida is leaving the beaches open, but you have to maintain social distancing.

And large groups will no longer be allowed, but some local cities are taking a much tougher stance. For example, Fort Lauderdale Beach, Miami Beach, beaches in Tampa shutting down altogether and some beaches in Alabama are also shutting down, kind of giving spring breakers the boot.

So, if you're in Florida right now and on spring break --

HANNITY: Trace, I got --


HANNITY: Thank you, Trace.

Let not your heart be troubled -- Laura Ingraham.

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