This is a rush transcript from "The Five," March 24, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: We'll keep you posted on that. Also keep you posted on others who are reacting to the president's goal of at least maybe the start on winding a lot of this extra (ph) time, a little too soon. But we're going to be debating that. For now, here comes "THE FIVE."

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Dana Perino, along with Jesse Watters, Juan Williams, Greg Gutfeld, and Katie Pavlich. It is 5:00 in New York City, and this is THE FIVE. President Trump telling the country that we have to go back to work. And he is hoping to have the economy back open by Easter, which is just about two and a half weeks from now.

We are also awaiting a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. It comes as worldwide cases of COVID-19 top 400,000. More than 50,000 of those cases are here in the United States where over 600 people have died. The World Health Organization is warning that America could become the epicenter of the outbreak.

President Trump saying he is weighing these factors, while trying to find a balance between public safety and protecting the economy and jobs. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Our country's not supposed to be, you know -- it's not built to shut down. Our people are full of vim and vigor and energy. They don't want to be locked into a house or an apartment or some space. It's not for our country. We're not built that way. You can destroy a country this way by closing it down, where it literally goes from being the most prosperous.

And we had the best economy in the history of our country three weeks ago. And then all of a sudden, we're supposed to shut it down. And then we're supposed to pay people not to go to work. We never had that. But we can socially distance ourselves and go to work. And you have to work a little bit harder. And you can clean your hands five times more than you used to.


PERINO: And White House Coronavirus response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, saying that testing in America is ramping up.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: In the last eight days, we've done more testing than South Korea. But we did that because we transformed the testing process as the president spoke to. But we don't want people who are just worried to go get tested. They're about 50, 60, 70,000 tests a day now.

They could get potentially to 150,000 a day, but we want to make sure we're testing in the areas that really have the problems.


PERINO: Jesse, on the testing front, like, we knew that the testing would increase, and we knew then that the number positives would increase. And so you are seeing those numbers. And they are pretty stark, but she was saying that part of that is in the plan.

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS HOST: So right now, America is playing defense. And in about two to three weeks, we're going to start going on offense. We are now crouching down, but that's kind of pausing everything to ramp up production to fight this thing and eventually kill it. We've mobilized the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the National Guard.

We're going into hot zones and building up hospitals. We're unleashing the private sector in a way that hadn't been done before. And now, we are really starting to get serious with the test. About 300,000 tests conducted in about a week, and 90 percent of the people that get tested are clean. And then of the 10 percent that are not, the mortality rate is now dropping below one percent, it looks like.

So those are really good numbers, also good numbers looks like -- they are coming out of Italy, indications are that this thing may have peaked there. We are not sure yet, but that's what the indication is. And also, in a couple of weeks, you're going to get the self swab test, which you can purchase and use at home, or you're going to have the finger prick test, which is going to give you immediate results.

So that's a good thing. Andrew Cuomo also agrees with the president that we are going to have to soon start pivoting to getting back to work. That doesn't mean everything opens up all at once. Things are going to be different in Seattle and San Francisco and New York, but we're going to work smartly and we're going to roll it through.

People are going to be washing their hands. We're going to be cleaning all surfaces. We're going to be fist-pumping and all of that stuff. Greg's not going to sit on everybody's lap anymore. You just have to work smartly. And it's also like --


PERINO: I've been waiting for this day.

WATTERS: Finally, finally. And it's like 9/11. Remember, Dana, the thing to say was if you see something, say something, everyone. When they see their grandparent doing something silly or they see their college student doing something ridiculous, they have to say, hey, and they say something. Knock that off. That's not the right way to do it.

And we are all learning from this. We can't overwhelm the hospitals if we have a little sniffle. Things are going to get back to normal, not in a matter of months. We hope it's just in a matter of weeks.

PERINO: Greg, talk to us about your thoughts on the desire for Americans to get back to work. The concern if you do it too early, you risk a health relapse. You do it too late. You could possibly have even more damage. And so it's -- if we had more data, more information we could maybe pinpoint a little bit more.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Yeah. First, if you see something, wash it.  So OK, what you're talking about is -- when I talk about the prison of two ideas. It's a war between two straw men, right? No one wants to destroy the economy, and no one wants to let the virus ravage the population. The media, however, loves to create that illusion that there are only two choices because then they can pit Fauci against Trump, and they have a lot of clicks from that.

But you cannot be forbidden to ask the important questions. It doesn't make you heartless to ask when people should go back to work, because if you have 330 million people at home doing nothing, there are risks that go up for other things, including suicide which a lot of experts have been talking about, or if your business is ruined.

Psychologically, that's devastating. So the economy and the epidemic don't have to be Sophie's choice. I hope I'm using that correctly. It's not war or peace. There's an infinite number of phases in between shut down and 100 percent open for business. And smart people understand this flexibility, which will factor in your age, your health status, family status, type of business, for example.

Maybe some businesses can open and others things can't. I have an analogy, two kind of weird analogies. Number one, the economy is like a transformer, right? Right now, we folded it up, and now depending on risk, you're going to start unfolding it again. It's not all going to come at once. It reminds me of my mom's dining room table.

You know, she could extend it when people were coming over, then she'd shorten it when it was just us. Our economy is incredibly flexible. And it's going to return in phases. So stop thinking about either or, it doesn't exist.

WATTERS: What do they call that thing that you slide into the table? Was it the leaf or something?

GUTFELD: A leaf. We have economic leaves everywhere.


PERINO: Great analogy. Juan, I wanted to ask you about this part and play it for you. President Trump addressed this question about whether there is tension between him and Dr. Fauci. He said this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is everything cool with you and Dr. Fauci? He wasn't there last night for the briefing. He's not here today.

TRUMP: Because he has other things to do. No, we get along very well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your relationship is good?

TRUMP: I think it's been very good. You would have heard about it if it wasn't. I respect all of these people. These are great people. And Deborah is extraordinary, and Tony is extraordinary. I get along with all of them.


PERINO: It is always tempting to try to see what's going on from a personality standpoint. But I think there is a risk of the media constantly asking if there is a rift between Dr. Fauci and President Trump. They're probably going to disagree on some things. But for the most part, it does not look like they are getting along?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, I think the big item here, Dana, is that there seems to be a disconnect between what the president is doing in terms of pushing in the direction so quickly of getting the country's economy back up and what the officials, you know, the doctors, the scientists like Dr. Fauci have been saying.

Because I think that their -- from the scientific medical community's point of view, how does it help the economy if we have a large number of people continuing to get sick? It's not a matter of hyperbole. I mean, there really are facts, data that indicates that right now 40 percent of the people in the hospital are between 22 and 54.

So it's not just saying, you know, oh, we can just push grandma, granddad to the side and move on. There are lots of working people, productive people in the middle of their careers who would be hospitalized. So I think there's lots of questions. Dr. Oz today on the Fox special with the president asked just that question.

You know, how can you make a decision now about what's going to be in reality two and a half weeks from now? And the president said we will keep an eye on things. But at this moment, I think you have lots of people like Dr. Fauci who are a little bit unsure about this rush to get the economy and get things reopened.

PERINO: Yeah. I mean, -- and of course, Katie, it's just going -- we need more information. We have to be flexible. We have to have a goal. And I think that letting people know that there is going to be end in sight. I think that probably helps a little bit. Just want to point out, the Gallup poll today showed President Trump at a 60 percent approval for his handling of the virus, Katie.

KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, and, Dana, as you know presidents have to speak to a number of different audiences on a variety of topics, especially on something as important as this. And he's been speaking to everybody who was scared about what the virus could do to them, to their families, to their livelihoods. That is something they've been addressing for weeks on end now.

Ad now he is pivoting to discuss and to target and to specifically address the concerns from people who are saying, OK, we've all gone along with the 15 day period where we are all supposed to follow these guidelines. We are willing to do that. The private industry has stepped up and done all of those things, but we didn't need to hear about what's going to go forward with the economy, and whether we are going to be able to get back to work.

And as Dr. Birx said yesterday, if you give people a deadline, they are actually more willing to work towards really hunkering down and making sure that what they have to do in that time period works. And so having a deadline is a good thing. The president can talk to both groups the same time and have empathy for what people are going through, whether it's being scared about being hospitalized or being scared about losing their entire livelihood due to the economy.

PERINO: And all of us can be flexible as well and listen and do the right thing in the meantime. All right, members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force will be holding a press conference. That'll be in just a little bit. And we will take you to that when it happens. Up next, Congress nearing a Coronavirus stimulus deal, finally. And the Democrats are now changing course after being called out.


WATTERS: Welcome back. Live look at the White House where the Coronavirus Task Force is set to hold a briefing moments from now, and we will take you there once it starts. In the meantime, lawmakers say they're a lot closer to a deal in a $2 trillion aid package after Democrats blocked the bill two days in a row. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are now optimistic about working with Republicans, but only after being exposed.

President Trump calling out the Democrats from pushing elements of the Green New Deal in the negotiations.


TRUMP: We almost had a deal the day before. And it was between Schumer and Mitch, and it was really a good solid deal. All of a sudden, they start throwing all of the little Green New Deal stuff in, right? And the boardrooms, what they look like, and we want green energy. We want all the stuff. Let's stop drilling oil. They had things in there that were terrible.

Windows all over the place, and all sorts of credits for windmills, they killed the birds and ruined the real estate, right? A lot of problems, I mean a lot of problems. And I said I'm not turning this deal.


WATTERS: And even though Nancy Pelosi's own bill is filled with wind and solar tax credits, $35 million for the Kennedy Center and corporate board diversity standards, the Speaker claims that's not the case.


NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: That's not a bill I would have written in terms of some things that relate to family medical leave, that relate to worker protections that -- ruling on worker protections, but we -- that can be done next administratively. We can find other ways. Not enough money for elections, etcetera, at this time.

All of -- everything we are suggesting just relates to COVID-19. It's not about making law for the future.


GUTFELD: Katie, takes a lot of you know what to try to shoehorn some of the stuff in there. I mean, did they think that no one was going to find out? What do you think the strategy was, Katie?

PAVLICH: Oh, sorry, Jesse. There was a break in your microphone. I think the strategy was that Nancy Pelosi saw an opportunity to walk all over Chuck Schumer in the Senate, and say we are going to push a lot of these unrelated pork projects into the bill because no one is going to question us on it because it's an emergency.

Well, it's a good thing Republicans were paying attention, because $35 million to the Kennedy Center is an affront to taxpayers everywhere. Americans are losing their jobs. And they want to take hard-earned money from them and give it to the Kennedy Center when they could be doing private fundraisers to make up the difference if they're losing money.

The other issue here that is alarming is the pushing throughout of the federalizing of our elections with the ballot harvesting, the long-term effects of the early voting they wanted to push through on this. I mean, Nancy Pelosi has seen an opportunity here, and Chuck Schumer who said Sunday that everything was going along just fine.

Let her walk in. Walk all over him and blew up the whole system on behalf of Democrats seeking power rather than working on something that will help everybody regardless of whether they are a Republican or a Democrat.

GUTFELD: Yeah. Juan, Dana made that point the other day. Everything was going swimmingly until Nancy showed up and made Chuck kind of cater to her every whim at the last second and rocked the markets. Do you think Chuck saw that coming or was he taken by surprise?

WILLIAMS: I think this whole description that we are going through right now is a caricature. I think what's going on is Democrats are out about protecting America's workers. And I think the sticking point has been that there was money being set aside for corporations, to make sure the big corporations, to make sure they didn't go under. But that the Democrats wanted transparency and accountability for that money.

They didn't want those big corporations to simply get locked into buybacks and executive pay raises. They want to make sure those companies are protecting and keeping workers during this time period. And I think that is what we saw now from the Democrats.

WATTERS: But what does that have to do with the Green New Deal, Juan?

WILLIAMS: Listen, a lot -- it does. That's why I say. I think what -- the way we presented it this evening is a caricature of what's really going on.

WATTERS: Oh, I didn't notice that.

WILLIAMS: We have -- I think so. I think the president is quick to say he can put Democrats at a disadvantage by making it seem as if they are involved in some kind of power grab or self-promotion of some wild agenda. But you go back and you look at TARP, you know, the Troubled Asset Relief Program from 2008, and you will see similar protections are in there.

And again, so many Americans felt the big business is too big to fail. They've got the money. But the average person -- and Jesse, you and I agreed on this yesterday. You have got to put more money into the average person's pocket so they can go out and spend --


WATTERS: -- I thought it was something else.


WILLIAMS: Absolutely. Look at the reality, Jesse.


WILLIAMS: -- for unemployment relief.



WATTERS: I got you. Greg, what are your thoughts on this whole relief package?

GUTFELD: I'll tell you what. I think that the only way you can fight a virus is through diversity. So I'm really happy that that's a priority. Look, we are all making sacrifices. I said this before. But what's depressing is you know the very same people are up to the very same tricks even when times are urgent and ugly, like I get it with the normal stuff.

When you're doing a normal budget, sneak all the stuff in that you can't so get re-elected, but that's not this time. And what's doubly depressing is that we really, honestly don't know who's doing it. I mean, we could say, you know, Nancy flew in and said stop it. But she probably did not write this stuff, right? She didn't do it.

Chuck didn't do it. They would have just been happy to sign the damn thing and go back and have a glass of wine. So no one knows who is ever screwing this crap up. It's not all Democrats and it's not all Republicans. Who are the people that are making this so complicated and where is the media? That's a great story. Rather than screwing up every other story about the virus, why don't you try to find out who the people are who are mucking this up. And then, we can fire those creeps.

WATTERS: That's probably the lobbyists, but what do I know. Dana, it would be like if Republicans try to jimmy in, like, de-funding Planned Parenthood into the relief package. Like, if that happened, the media would go wild. Go wild.

PERINO: Believe me. The media would find that one. That would not be a problem. That would not be hard for them to find. The $35 million for the Kennedy Center is the new bridge to nowhere. Remember that way back when?


PERINO: How can this happen? Why are we doing this? Does it make any sense? I'm all for the arts, but this is not the time or the place. And if Nancy Pelosi thinks that this wasn't something that she wanted in there, then she has got to police her troops a little bit better because they look really bad. I think the Democrats came -- once again, you know, you think about the Schumer shut down.


PERINO: Every time they want to fight against the president, they end up with egg on their face.

WATTERS: Maybe -- you know she is fighting for the workers, Dana, just the workers at the Kennedy Center. That's who she cares about.

PAVLICH: Nancy Pelosi could write a check to the Kennedy Center if she has enough money to do it.

WATTERS: And the post office. Don't forget about the post office. All right, the Coronavirus Task Force set to hold a press briefing coming up very soon. Next on THE FIVE, though, Greg tackles misleading media reports on the virus pandemic. It's a good one.


GUTFELD: You probably don't need any more evidence that the media is a joke, but I got some anyway. Apparently, a man died after eating a chemical used to clean fish tanks. It made the news, why? Well, he did it to prevent Coronavirus, but also it could be blamed on Trump. BuzzFeed, the Hill, NBC, even Forbes claimed he took a drug that Trump had touted.

And NBC headline says Arizona man dies after absorbing Chloroquine in an attempt to prevent Coronavirus, not really. He took something else, Chloroquine phosphate, which is deadly. It's like mistaking sodium chloride, which is salt, and sodium hydroxide. That's live (ph) the stuff that eats your flesh. It's so close. Here's a quote from the Forbes piece.

When President Trump incorrectly announced that the FDA has fast-tracked approval of the drugs Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19, he added, the nice part is it's been around for a long time, so we know that if things don't go as planned it's not going to kill anybody, except it did, adds the writer.

Well, no it didn't. Like the guy who ate the fish tank cleaner, the writer replaced the promising drug with something worse. And why, because it fits the narrative, Trump kills someone finally, and he didn't even shoot him on Fifth Avenue. This isn't just normal Trump derangement. It's derangement that might cause people to avoid treatment out of fear.

Look, all drugs carry risks, and the companies put them on the label. Maybe it's time for the media to have a warning label, too. Warning, can be mistaken for truth, only take with a grain of salt. Oh, what a clever ending, if I do say myself, Dana, a clever ending.

PERINO: I was wondering, Greg. Do you miss sitting with us at the table or are you quite happy there by yourself?


GUTFELD: -- and I'm talking to myself --


WATTERS: Let me just tell the audience and you. He's going crazy down here. Every commercial break, he's screaming at the top of his lungs. It's weird stuff. Like, it's crazy -- he's crazier than normal.

GUTFELD: Yes. I am.


PERINO: Are you taking notes for your book, Jesse?

WATTERS: Yeah. Some of this stuff is too hot to handle.


PERINO: I think that this -- well, I go back to this whole thing of -- Americans cannot expect the government to do everything for them. The government is not going to save you. And this idea that President Trump killed the guy because he mentions one chemical that turns out to not be the same chemical that -- again, anybody that's ingesting any sort of chemicals, you should do that if a doctor advises you to. I don't care if the president tells you to do something -- only take chemicals into your body if it is recommended by your doctor.

GUTFELD: Or a good friend like me. What do you think, Jesse?

PERINO: As I was saying, I realized that Greg is going to totally disagree with it.

GUTFELD: No, no, no. I agree with it.

WATTERS: It's always about drugs with Gutfeld. This is what this would be like. If Nancy Pelosi told the country, we need a Green New Deal, and the next day some guy, in order to reduce his carbon footprint hung himself. And Fox News came out with the headline, Nancy Pelosi is climate hysteria drives man to suicide.


WATTERS: Hopefully, we've never written a headline like that, but that's what that would be like. It's like headline porn. And do you remember the example of the headline that said, ICE agents arrests immigrant couples on the way the hospital to deliver the baby. And at the way end, at the last paragraph, it turns out the guy driving the car was an illegal immigrant wanted in El Salvador for a double homicide.

That's what they do. They're cheap shot artists. Do you ever play basketball? Some guy can't shoot, can't rebound, can't defend, all he does is foul you, he hacks you, he trips you, he's terrible.

PERINO: I hate that.

GUTFELD: Yes. That's why I got out of the NBA.

WATTERS: That's the media. They can't play. They just take cheap shots.

GUTFELD: You know, Juan, I can understand screwing up on chemical labels because they do sound a lot alike. What drives me nuts is that they copied the same mistakes. It's like I think like, one guy at one place sees it, and just copies it, and doesn't actually read and go like maybe I should fact-check this. That drives me more crazy than the actual honest mistake is that the copying.

PERINO: Right.

GUTFELD: I don't know.

WILLIAMS: Well, no, I think that was a terrible mistake by the media, obviously, and I think you called them out on it. I think that, you know, to my mind, the real tragedy here, though, is that somebody lost their life.


WILLIAMS: And it was a fatal error in terms of this person. So what the wife has said is that they heard about this drug and they heard it on television, and then she's looking at the fish cleaner and sees that it has that similar name in it, and that's why she in the husband and just did the drug. And obviously, it killed the man.

That's pretty shocking. I mean, but again, to my mind, it's you know, from my perspective, it's the tragedy here is the death. And I think that people, you know, picking up on what you guys have said, I think people should not be listening to T.V. to get medical advice, and they should -- even from the President. I think the prescription should come from a doctor or at least someone who's in the medical community, not just someone in passing saying, oh, yes, this struggle cure you. We don't know.

As Dr. Fauci said about this drug, we have some anecdotal stories about this, but we don't know for sure because we've never tested it. And so we shouldn't be like, you know, test animals for somebody saying, yes, well, this might work.

WATTERS: Well, Juan --

WILLIAMS: We're all looking for a miracle cure right now.

GUTFELD: It actually might work.

WILLIAMS: So I think we're pretty much, you know, vulnerable.

WATTERS: Governor Cuomo just ordered like 10,000 doses of it, so there is promise in this drug.

GUTFELD: All right, let me get to Katie. What do you make of this?

WILLIAMS: No, I didn't say there wasn't, Jesse. I agree.



PAVLICH: You know, Greg, this is an opportunity for the media to do something good. The first thing is, to your point, you can do some research and you should be shouting from the rooftops about how these two things are not the same. The media could be writing fact checks about how you should only be taking prescriptions from your doctor, like the task force at the White House has been they've been saying, like doctor, Dr. Fauci has been saying, and by the way, New York Governor Democrat Andrew Cuomo has been saying.

And also, they should be highlighting stories of the real drug that has been used in America for people who have COVID-19 coronavirus that has helped them in their own testimonials. But instead, they're so focused on fear-mongering over this and getting at the president for some reason. I'm not really sure what their goal is.

Do they want people to think that there's never going to be a treatment that we've seen work in other cases for American citizens or what is the point of doing this?

WATTERS: The goal is to dunk on Trump. That's it.

GUTFELD: All right.

PAVLICH: Well, that's pretty pathetic.

GUTFELD: We are still awaiting the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, but coming up, desperate Joe Biden trying to get back in the spotlight by attacking President Trump. We'll show you what he said on The View today.


WILLIAMS: Welcome back. You're looking live at the White House where the Coronavirus Task Force is set to hold a briefing at any moment. We're going to take you there once it starts. Meantime, Joe Biden increasing his media appearances in an apparent bid to take the spotlight back from President Trump during this Coronavirus outbreak.

The former Vice President went on The View today, and he had some critical comments about President Trump.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Number one thing I'm most concerned about would be is misinformation. Listen to the scientist. Listen to the doctors. Listen to what they have to say. The president not make false -- I shouldn't say false -- not make assertions not based on hard science. And I don't agree with the notion that somehow it's OK to let the let people die, and I'm not sure that would happen. I heard earlier comments in your show and because -- to make sure the economy's there for our kids.


WILLIAMS: So, Katie, when you hear the former Vice President speaking out, is it all about getting attention for himself or do you think he has a legitimate role as what -- you know, now he's the presumptive Democratic nominee.

PAVLICH: This is -- this is all about Joe Biden trying to make himself relevant at a time when he is completely irrelevant. I saw this headline on Wall Street Journal that says Trump-Biden dueling coronavirus press briefings. There is no duel here. The President is the one who is taking all of the oxygen up as he should at this point.

He has scientists every single day at the White House briefing the country and the media in that room to talk about what they're doing, how they're going to move forward. There's new information every single day. There's almost so much information, you can't cover it all. And Joe Biden is coming to the table with things that have already been done. And he's not answering any kind of questions and he's doing it by himself.

He doesn't have a Dr. Birx or a Dr. Fauci to back up some of the things that he's been saying, or this group of experts that he's been working with at the White House to reassure the country, that we're going to get through this.

And when you're Joe Biden, and you're only criticizing during a crisis, and you look at the president whose poll numbers have gone up as a result of this, you're certainly losing the argument and only criticizing rather than giving some praise such as Andrew Cuomo has done as the governor of New York and talked about how they can work together on this, I think doesn't do him any good services, and it certainly isn't going to help him politically.

WILLIAMS: Well, Jesse, when you see Joe Biden, he's not saying that he's all about the criticism. He's saying, there have been some lapses, and we all know about the testing and all the rest. Isn't it legitimate to point these things out if you are, in fact, going to run against this guy for president? We haven't stopped the election.

WATTERS: It's legitimate. I don't know if you want to do it on The View. Maybe go on a Sunday show or primetime cable but he doesn't want to do that. I have advice for Joe Biden, he won't listen, but here's the advice. You can criticize, but you could also help out a little, Mr. Biden.

You've been in government, what, 40 years. You can't call a buddy in industry and hey, make some masks. You can't call your other buddy, Barack Obama, maybe put out a video to raise money. How about call on all your supporters or your staff, send him to go donate blood. There's 1,000 creative things that this guy could do to help America through this crisis instead of sit back and criticize on The View.

The other thing I think tactically he's doing wrong with the criticism is he's saying, I'm going to be president and when I'm president, I'm just going to do what I'm told. I'm going to do whatever the scientists tell me, whatever the generals tell me, I'll do what they want. No, you're supposed to listen to the advisors and then as the commander in chief or the president, take decisive action and execute it with vision.

That's what he should be doing. He shouldn't just be saying, hey, when I'm there, I'm going to be a puppet. I'm just going to listen to all the experts, and then after the first term, I'm going to leave. That doesn't inspire confidence or project any sort of leadership. And I know it's hard to project leadership because you don't hold office and you're quarantined in your own library, but he has to do a little bit more than what he's doing.

WILLIAMS: Well, it's interesting, Dana. I didn't think that he was lacking there. I think that he's not the president, and the President has used, as Jesse was saying, the bully pulpit to have a daily T.V. show basically and to promote the idea that he has experts behind him even as he has differences with those experts.

PERINO: Well, I think here he comes now, Juan. Here's the President now.

WILLIAMS: Oh, we have a break now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank the American people for the incredible sacrifices that they're making on behalf of our nation. And I want to encourage everyone to keep following our guidelines on social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and hand washing and all of the other things that everybody knows they're supposed to be doing.

Ultimately, the goal is to ease the guidelines and open things up to very large sections of our country as we near the end of our historic battle with the invisible enemy. You go on for a while, but we win, we win. I said earlier today that I hope we can do this by Easter.

I think that would be a great thing for our country, and we're all working very hard to make that a reality. We'll be meeting with a lot of people to see if it can be done. Easter is a very special day for many reasons, for me, for a lot of -- a lot of our friends, that's a very special day. And what a great timeline this would be. Easter as our timeline, what a great timeline that would be.

My first priority is always the health and safety of the American people. I want everyone to understand that we are continuing to evaluate the data. We're working with the task force and making decisions based on what is best for the interest of our fantastic country. In order to defeat the virus, we must continue to be very strong. Your resilience and spirit has been inspiring to everyone.

Right now, this virus is attacking 149 countries, but everybody looks to us and they're watching us, and I'm very proud to be a president. I can tell you that. There's tremendous hope as we look forward and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stay focused and stay strong and my administration and myself will deliver for you as we have in the past.

Let me provide you an update on critical preparations and supplies in a war on the virus. Through FEMA, the federal government is distributing more than eight million N-95 respirators, 14 million surgical masks and many, many millions more under order and there'll be arriving soon. 2.4 million face shields, 1.9 million surgical gowns, 13.5 million gloves, and more than 4,000 ventilators to the areas of greatest need have already been sent, and we have 4,000 being delivered to New York.

The federal government is using every resource at its disposal to acquire and distribute critical medical supplies. The core element of this strategy is my executive order authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act which has, as you know, already been activated actually a long time ago, quite a long time ago.

Private companies are heating our call to produce metal equipment and supplies, because they know that we will not hesitate to invoke the DPA in order to get them to do what they have to do. It's called leverage. You don't have to you use it from the standpoint of actually, it's been activated but you don't have to use it. But the threat of it being there is great leverage and companies are doing as we ask, and companies are actually even better than that. They're coming through and they're calling us.

And it's been really something to see this morning. Ford, 3M, General Electric Healthcare are many making tremendous numbers. They've already started respirators, ventilators, and face shields. They're working together. We didn't have to exercise or utilize the DPA in any way. The fact that we have it helps, but we didn't have to, and for the most part, we won't have to.

We're receiving full cooperation from companies with the understanding that the federal government stands ready to compel cooperation if need be. We haven't found that to be the case. It's been really amazing to see these big, strong, powerful, and some cases, very small companies, family-owned companies, step up and make a lot of great products for our going through and what we will continue to be going through for a while.

The Army Corps of Engineers and the National Guard are building four hospital facilities in New York City at the Javits Center, which will be operational very soon. They've already started. In addition, they're building four separate medical facilities in different parts of the state. We're dealing with Governor Cuomo on that. So you're going to have four hospitals and four medical facilities at the highest level to really incredible facilities. Temporary but incredible.

We're also deploying the U.S. Navy hospital ship and that will be arriving in New York Harbor in the not too distant future. It's finishing its maintenance. They're doing a very big maintenance, and what we did is we condensed it very seriously. And as you know, the other hospital ship, and these are incredible ships, it's already on its way to Los Angeles.

So we're in frequent contact with state and local officials and getting a lot of work done. We're likewise building hospitals in Los Angeles. We're working also in the state of Washington. We're working with the governor of the state of New Jersey, building a medical facility, a hospital facility, and doing a lot of work.

I want to thank the people from FEMA, the great people from FEMA, and also the Army Corps of Engineers. Secretary Mnuchin and the members of my administration continue to work closely with Congress. I'm pleased to report that we are working to pass the biggest and boldest financial relief package in American history.

Senators will soon hopefully vote on a $2 trillion bill that will deliver direct cash payments to struggling Americans. No fault of their own. This came out of nowhere. Nobody can imagine this even happened. But it's not their fault. We want to protect and we will all have the things that a person needs protected and a family needs protected.

We're working on job retention loans for small businesses, and extended unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. The legislation will also include billions of dollars for additional resources for our -- and really heroic, these are incredible doctors, nurses, brave -- and hospitals as well as support for hard-hit industries such as the airline industry and the cruise ship industry which employs tremendous amounts of people.

And obviously, these are very important functions beyond that, with very tough protections for the American taxpayer, the loans will be very secure and they will be very profitable. And at the same time, they'll bridge -- they call them bridge loans in many cases. There'll be bridging these companies back into very good health. Some of them are very important companies that four weeks ago didn't have a problem.

I'm also confident that the Democrats will do the right thing. I feel very confident. They're working very hard together right now, Republicans and Democrats, and they're getting very close to a very fair deal and a great deal for the people of our country.

Today, as you probably saw, the Dow surged over 2,100 points. That's the all-time record history of the exchange. This is very encouraging. And I think part of the reason is they are looking at what is close to being passed and I think a very big part of it is they see that we want to get our country open as soon as possible. They see we're working very hard on that. That's a very big factor, I think, in today's historic gain.

The legislation developed in the Senate is the first step to restoring confidence and stability to America's economy as we look ahead to the time when we can carefully and responsibly reopen our country for business. And we hope that's going to be very soon.

I want to assure Americans that we have a team of public health experts. You've gotten to know them as well as I know them. They're great people, incredible, talented, and they love our country. Also, economists and other professionals working to develop a sophisticated plan to reopen the economy as soon as the time is right. One based on the best science, the best modeling, and the best medical research there is anywhere on Earth.

Our great people have been especially when it comes to our public health experts and officials have been helping other countries dealing with other countries, constant touch with other countries, helping them out because many of them have never seen anything like what's happening. But our decision will be based on hard facts and data as to the opening.

I'm also hopeful to have Americans working again by that Easter, that beautiful Easter day. But rest assured, every decision we make is grounded solely in the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens. This is a medical crisis, this isn't a financial crisis. But it's a thing that nobody has seen for many, many decades, nothing like this.

Marshaling our economic strength is a key feature of defeating the virus, producing the material supplies and equipment that we need and they're doing a really fantastic job. We're helping the governors. We had a conference call the other day with a governor and we allowed the press to join us on the call and the spirit between us and the governors has been really great.

We should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival. I think we've learned a lot. We've learned a lot. This crisis has underscored just how critical it is to have strong borders and a robust manufacturing sector. For three years, we've embarked on a great national project to secure our immigration system and bring back our manufacturing jobs. We brought back many jobs, records numbers of -- record numbers of jobs.

And this really shows, this experience shows how important borders are. Without Borders, you don't have a nation. Our goal for the future must be to have American medicine for American patients, American supplies for American hospital, and American equipment for our great American heroes.

Now both parties must unite to ensure the United States is truly an independent nation in every sense of the word. Energy independence, we've established that and something incredible that we've established. Where energy independent. Manufacturing independence, economic independence, and territorial independence enforced by strong sovereign borders.

America will never be a supplicant nation. We will be a proud, prosperous, independent and self-reliant nation. We will embrace commerce with all but we will be dependent on none. Above all, we know that the best thing for our economy and the world right now is a very, very powerful victory over the virus.

Every day, the American People are showing the unity and resolve that has always defined the character of our nation. In New York, citizens are using 3D printers to make hundreds of face shields. They're making them by the hundreds. In Texas, businesses and churches are uniting to collect gloves and thermometers for hospitals.

In the selfless actions of our amazing citizens, we're seeing enduring strength of our magnificent nation, a spirit that can never be broken, and a victorious future that can never be denied. It never will be denied. Now, what I'd like to do is, perhaps ask a person who has really established herself as maybe the world's greatest expert on what she does.

If I could ask Deborah to come forward and say a few words, and then I'll ask Tony to come up and speak and then our Vice President, and then we'll take a few questions and we'll do it quickly. And we'll probably see you again tomorrow. So Deborah, please.

DEBORAH BIRX, CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. I think those of you who heard the town hall, we are continuing to accelerate testing at a record rate. We now have 370,000 tests that have been done. The majority of those over 220,000 in the last eight days, which those of you have been tracking the South Korea numbers put us equivalent to what they did in eight weeks that we did in eight days.

This was made possible because of the HHS team working together, bringing together the strength of the FDA, with the CDC, and under the leadership of Secretary Azar. We're very proud of those numbers, but we know that we have to do more and we continue to accelerate in testing to ensure that those who need the test are tested first, and have access.

As we talked about yesterday, we're working on the ability for people to take their own sample. That does not mean home testing, that means taking your own sample in the front of your nose with available swabs into normal sailing that can be transported to the laboratories. That will allow and free up all of the drive-throughs to be very sparing on PPE because you'll be able to do that with gloves rather than the full PPE outfits. This will allow for more that PPE to be dedicated to our hospitals.

I think those of you who are tracking this epidemic closely like I am, you will begin to see that there is encouraging results coming out of Italy. We are impressed by the decreases that are seen and mortality, the number of people succumbing to this illness, and the number of new cases.

Our new cases will continue to surge because we're still working on our backlog. Although we will be in touch with the laboratories after this press conference to really find out how many are still in backlog and how many were run in the last 24 hours. Until we can get into a 24-hour cycle, we're going to have disproportional number of new cases compared to the actual new cases. And we will let you know when we've reached that equilibrium.

Finally, and I know Dr. Fauci will talk about this further, we remain deeply concerned about New York City in the New York metro area. About 56 percent of all the cases in the United States are coming out of that metro area, and 60 percent of all the new cases are coming out of the Metro New York area, and 31 percent of the people succumbing to this disease.

It means, because they still are at the 31 percent mortality compared to the other regions of the country, that we can have a huge impact if we unite together. This means as in all places, they have to be following the presidential guidelines that were put out eight or nine days ago, and this will be critical.

But to everyone who has left New York over the last few days, because of the rate of the number of cases, you may have been exposed before you left New York.

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