US unemployment filings surge, reaches two-year high amid coronavirus outbreak

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 20, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Bret Baier. "BREAKING TONIGHT", the governors of the three of the country's most populous states, California, New York and Illinois, are ordering workers in non-essential businesses to stay home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump is still downplaying the prospect of a national lockdown. Saying, he does not think he will ever be necessary. Members of Congress and the administration are working on a massive economic stimulus package right now.

As more Americans take tests for the coronavirus, the infection rate is skyrocketing as predicted to more than 14,000 cases. So far, 210 deaths in the U.S.

Vice President Pence, says about 90 percent of Americans who have taken the test, so far, did not have the virus.

While the president is strongly, and at times, compatibly pushing alternative therapies to fight the COVID-19 virus, he is receiving some pushback from one of his top advisors. Dr. Anthony Fauci is cautioning reports of success are anecdotal and data needs to be collected.

The U.S. is closing its borders with Mexico and Canada to non-essential travel because of the coronavirus. The president's response coordinator, says young people under 20 are being seriously affected but all have recovered.

Dr. Deborah Birx, emphasizing today that no one is immune, as she did last night on SPECIAL REPORT.

The administration is pushing back the tax deadline from April 15th to July 15th. It is also waiving interest on federal student loans. At least 32 states have activated or plan to activate National Guard forces. And that's what we begin.

Chief White House correspondent John Roberts, begins our coverage live on the North Lawn tonight. Good evening, John.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bret, good evening to you. Just a few moments ago, you mentioned this idea of some sort of looming national shutdown and is one on the way. Well, just a few minutes ago, the DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, tweeted out that rumors of a national lockdown are just that rumors and that there is nothing in the works. But the administration is taking strict new measures to stop the spread of the virus.


ROBERTS: President Trump, today moved to close the border between the United States and Mexico to all but essential travel and trade. Also taking steps to turn back people who crossed the southern and northern borders illegally.

Saying, in the midst of a global pandemic, illegal immigration could create a perfect storm to spread infection.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Left unchecked, this would cripple our immigration system, overwhelm our healthcare system, and severely damage our national security. We're not going to let that happen.

ROBERTS: On Capitol Hill, negotiations will continue all weekend to come up with a massive financial package that could top $1.3 trillion. Democrats concerned it means too much toward corporations and not enough toward individuals.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the president speaking by phone this morning.

TRUMP: All of that is being discussed right now. We talked about, as an example, buyback -- stock buybacks. I want that money to be used for the workers and also for the company to keep the company going.

ROBERTS: Are you in the same page with Senator Schumer?

TRUMP: Not so far away. I tell you, we're not very -- we're not very far away.

ROBERTS: And the need for a stimulus growing by the hour. New York State now joining California, telling all non-essential businesses to tell their employees to stay home as of Sunday night.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Today, we're bringing it to 100 percent of the workforce. Must stay home.

ROBERTS: From the podium at the White House today, applause for Governor Andrew Cuomo from infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci.


ROBERTS: But also in the briefing room, differing views on whether an anti- malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, might be quickly available to treat coronavirus infection. President Trump bullish on it.

TRUMP: I feel good about it. It's all it is, just a feeling, you know, smart guy. I feel good about it.

ROBERTS: Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying, it might be effective but more circumspect about its prospects as a treatment.

FAUCI: We need to do it in a way as while we are making it available for people who might want the hope that it might work, you're also collecting data that will ultimately show that it is truly effective and safe under the conditions of COVID-19.

ROBERTS: There was also a contradiction in whether President Trump had started using the defense production act to build up inventories of medical equipment in short supply, at first, saying he had.

TRUMP: I invoke the Defense Production Act. And last night, we put it into gear.

ROBERTS: But later indicating, he didn't have to.

TRUMP: So far, we haven't had to. It's an amazing thing that happened. We are literally being besieged in a beautiful way by companies that want to do the work. They want to do the job, they want to help us. They want to help our country.


ROBERTS: At the coronavirus briefing today, for the very first time, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned Americans about disinformation regarding the coronavirus from bad actors overseas. Saying that elements in China, Iran, and Russia, are launching a coordinating effort -- a coordinated effort to disparage what the Trump administration is doing to respond to the coronavirus. Bret.

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

Speaking of coordinated effort, another message a short while ago, General Joseph Lengyel, the head of the National Guard, tweeting, "I hear unfounded rumors about National Guard troops supporting a nationwide quarantine. Let me be clear, there has been no such discussion."

The Dow today plunging 913 points to end its worst week since 2008. It's worth a month since 1931. The S&P 500 lost 104, the NASDAQ dropped 271. For the week, the Dow hammered 17.3 percent. The S&P 500 lost 15. The NASDAQ fell 12-2/3.

Let's get some analysis now from Susan Li of Fox Business, who joins us from New York. Good evening, Susan.

SUSAN LI, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Bret. A worst week, as you mentioned, for the stock markets since 2008. With the Dow on pace now for its worst month since the Great Depression.

The Dow trading at its lowest in four years, the S&P 500 lowest levels in three years, and the NASDAQ down 12 percent in just five trading sessions.


TRUMP: If you look at your stock market geniuses that some of whom are not geniuses, but they think they are. A lot of people think that I'm right about that, that once we defeat the virus. I think you're going to have a very steep like a rocket ship, it's going to go up.


LI: As America's two biggest states: California and New York orders nonessential workers to stay home. That means job losses and lost paychecks. Goldman Sachs predicting jobless claims will hit a record 2-1/4 million next week. That's more than three times the previous high of 695,000 back in 1982.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Mostly the federal government is going to underwrite probably 70 percent payroll in this country. If the containment policies continue to be this aggressive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that's --


GRAHAM: Nobody's ever thought of that before. The president has done that before. That's going to be a hell of a lot more than $1 trillion.


LI: Well, some businesses are laying off workers, others are hiring. Walmart, says that they will need 150,000 more staff to keep up with demand in stores and also backlog online orders.

Walmart's not alone. Amazon looking for 100,000 warehousing and delivery people. While Domino's says that they need to hire 10,000 to meet demand for pizza delivery.

Meantime, other companies are paying out bonuses. Facebook, handing out $1,000 to every full-time employee. J.P. Morgan giving a sweetener to its branch and call center workers, while Walmart is handing out extra cash to hourly staff. Money that will be needed to weather the steep economic downturn.

Goldman Sachs is forecasting the U.S. economy to shrink by a quarter from March to June this year. If that happens, that would be the biggest ever quarterly contraction since records have been kept. Bret?

BAIER: Susan, thank you. Businesses across the country feeling this. There is growing concern and uproar tonight in Washington, over news that several U.S. senators may have profited financially from their early and inside knowledge of the coronavirus outbreak.

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who is one of those named is now calling for an ethics probe. Here is chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel.


MIKE EMANUEL, FOX NEWS CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the days before coronavirus clobbered the markets, four senators sold-off stock. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, sold 33 different stocks last month worth more than $628,000. Burr says it wasn't based on insider information. "I relied solely on public news reports to guide my decision regarding the sale of stocks on February 13.

Burr was sounding the alarm privately about coronavirus in February 27th audio obtained by NPR.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history. It's probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.

EMANUEL: California Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband sold more than $1 million in stock, according to financial disclosure paperwork. Feinstein spokesman, says her husband made the trades.

Feinstein tweeted today, "During my Senate career, I've held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control."

Senate Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe sold more than $50,000 of stock on January 27th. But Inhofe insists it was not in response to a closed-door coronavirus briefing, which he did not attend.

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R-OK): And when I became the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I divested myself of all stocks because I thought someday that may come up.

EMANUEL: Georgia's new senator, Kelly Loeffler is under fire for selling the stock the same day as an all senators briefing. Her husband is chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange. Loeffler responded to the controversy today on Fox.

SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): That I'm only informed of my transactions after they occur several weeks. So, certainly those transactions, at least on my behalf, were a mix of buys and sells very routine for my portfolio.


EMANUEL: There have been several calls for some of these lawmakers to resign. Burr, says he spoke today with the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, asking him to open a complete review of the matter with full transparency. Bret.

BAIER: Mike, thank you.

President Trump, says he is talking with one automaker about retooling its factory to make much-needed ventilators to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak. And there may be more companies answering that call tonight. It's part of an effort to bring a wartime style urgency to the shortage of vital medical equipment.

Senior correspondent Claudia Cowan has the story tonight from Fremont, California.


HARLEY SHAIKEN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: The ramp-up won't be trivial. It won't be overnight. But Detroit could wind up being the arsenal of life.

CLAUDIA COWAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: From Ford to General Motors to Tesla. Automakers who recently hit the brakes on producing cars are offering to jumpstart production of ventilators and other desperately needed medical equipment.

SHAIKEN: It truly is the American way, it's been demonstrated. It's not hypothetical. The challenge now has never been more urgent.

COWAN: And while urgent, it won't necessarily be easy. Cranking out tanks, planes, and ships during World War II was a simpler transition for automakers while making something like a ventilator is more complex.

Technicians would need training. And the production of medical devices has high sterile standards. Any new facility would have to be approved by the FDA, a process that could take as long as six months.

SHAIKEN: The quality control and making sure that the produced items pass all of that requirement of cleanliness as well as they're going to be, you know, 100 percent operable, that would be the biggest challenge.

COWAN: And not every part is currently made in the USA. Disposable single- use tubes and masks are specialized medical grade materials that come from Asia and Central America.

SHAIKEN: There are thousands of parts that are sourced around the globe, it's ensuring the supply of the parts. It's a complex job.


COWAN: General Motors tells Fox, discussions and feasibility studies are still underway. While Tesla CEO Elon Musk, says his other company SpaceX is "working on ventilators" too. Bret.

BAIER: Claudia, thank you.

Up next, we continue our segment this week answering your questions about the coronavirus outbreak with medical experts.

First, here is what some of our Fox affiliates around the country are covering tonight. Fox Eight in Cleveland as thousands of people lose power after severe thunderstorms roar through Ohio, causing flooding and knocking down trees across that state.

The storms that struck late last night and early today contained two heavy rains and strong gusty winds. The flooding led to travel issues in some areas, but no major problems were reported.

Fox Two in Detroit, where a 65-year-old man was killed and two other people injured following a house explosion that may have been sparked by a gas leak and a lit crack cocaine pipe, according to authorities.

The deputy fire commissioner, tells the Detroit News, a 46-year-old woman, claimed she was lighting the crack pipe when the explosion happened. The woman suffered burns and was in critical condition at a hospital.

Fox 29 in Philadelphia, where a funeral procession was held to honor Police Sergeant James O'Connor, who was killed in the line of duty last Friday. In his honor, city landmarks are lighting up in blue.

Lincoln financial field was first to take action by lighting up Thursday night. A law enforcement support group is asking that all landmarks participate after learning O'Connor's funeral will be postponed amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

And this is a live look at St. Louis from our affiliate Fox Two there. The big story, Colonel Mary Barton is named the country's first female police chief. She has been with the department since 1978. Barton replaces Chief Jon Belmar, who retires April 30th, after leading the force for six years.

That's tonight's live look "OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY" from SPECIAL REPORT. We'll be right back.


BAIER: OK, we're going to take your questions as we have all week. First, I want to clean up something I just said. I said that was the first female police chief in the country -- I meant, county there in St. Louis. We obviously have seen police chiefs -- female police chiefs around the country and especially in Washington, DC.

Joining us tonight, our doctor experts, Dr. Marty Makary, Johns Hopkins health policy expert and Dr. Manny Alvarez, Fox News's senior managing editor for Health News.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. We've been doing this all week. But there's a lot of great questions out there. Let's toss my first one, and this is about school.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Bret. This is Rory, Morgan, and Brett. All we want to know, is when do the experts think Morgan and Brett will be back in school?


BAIER: I don't know who wants to know more, the dad or the kids. But we don't -- obviously, experts are not telling us exactly. It's a case by case. But Dr. Manny, what do you tell families right now?

MANNY ALVAREZ, SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR HEALTH NEWS: Well, what I -- what I would say is, look, we know that this is going to be several weeks. Now, the president and the CDC has told you that they're going to give an announcement as to the curve by day 14.

So, by day 14, you're going to have 10 or 12 or 14 days of data in a, so far, as the number and the rates of cases in different communities around the country. At that point in time, you're going to have a better idea, whether it's going to be a four-week, five-week, six-week, type of period, but I would wait until that data before.

But it's not going to be for the next -- for the next two or three weeks, the kids are going to be home. So, let's start the lessons at home.

BAIER: Yes, and just kind of break it to him or break it to the parents who are going to have to deal with that.


BAIER: Let's toss to Bill. Interesting question here. Just about timing. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Bret. My question is very simple. There was something going around in October, November, December, where people were having a cough, sore throat for 10, 14, 15, 20, some days. We weren't testing for this back then.

Can they absolutely say that COVID-19 was not here during those times?


BAIER: Dr. Makary, what do you think about that?

DR. MARTY MAKARY, HEALTH POLICY EXPERT, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, common things being common, Bret. We know that the influenza virus was out there in the fall and that's typically when it's going around.

We know most global pandemics with a novel virus strain lasted about three months, and we know that the first incident was probably in late November back in the Wuhan province of China.

So, I think what we're going to learn from this are probably some best hygiene practices that we're going to carry on for years to come with the future flu epidemics.

BAIER: OK, this one is from Twitter. This is Sandy about blood donations. "If one donates blood, and he is a coronavirus carrier, unknowingly, does the donated blood get tested? And if so, will the donor be told?"

Doctor Manny, you know the answer to that one?

ALVAREZ: Well, I don't think we're testing for coronavirus in blood donations right now. I think that there's a question and answer format that will include some of the coronavirus risk factors if have you had a fever? Which is typically when you donate blood, whether there's any risk factor.

So, you know, I think from that perspective, it is safe to receive blood, and I think it is safe to donate blood. This is one of the factors right now that the Red Cross is saying, do not be afraid to donate, do not be afraid to receive, because I think that mechanism of this type of virus is not going to be a factor in you donating or receiving blood.

BAIER: And there are shortages. So, that's important.

ALVAREZ: Absolutely.

BAIER: OK, next video. Question is from Michelle about pre-existing conditions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've heard a lot about people who are more at risk with this virus, namely the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions. But what exactly does pre-existing conditions mean? As a three- time cancer survivor myself, living with chronic lymphedema, as do millions of other Americans, can your experts be a little clearer as to who should be more careful than others? Thanks.


BAIER: Dr. Makary.

MAKARY: Well, that's a good point. We need to distinguish not all medical conditions put somebody at higher risk. It's particularly those where your immune system is weakened, and it's also those were the lungs and the respiratory system may not have a -- may not have the same strength and health to expand big.

That's why people with severe disabilities may not have a great lung capacity and be at increased risk. That's why older people may not have -- may, are at higher risk because their immune systems are weaker than younger people. And encouraging study just this week, American Academy of Pediatrics found that only one child has been -- has died from this in any documented form. And that's out of 2,100. So, this virus for some reason spares kids in its case fatality rate.

BAIER: But there are kids that are getting it and Dr. Birx has said that they're not immune, to your point, but they -- they're in low, low numbers.

But the question about immunity, Doc, and Dr. Manny, take this. This is about stress. And this is Juliet, final one.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Bret. Still unafraid in Fullerton, California. My name is Juliet. I'm just wondering how all this stress is affecting our immune system when we are all alone. I'm an extrovert and I find it a happy thing to be out and about.

So, I'm wondering, if your doctor can tell us how extroverts can deal with this situation?


BAIER: Dr. Manny, a little bit of mental health in there too.

ALVAREZ: Well, listen, mental health is very important. You know, I -- look, if you listen to the governor of New York, he basically said, Look, we don't expect people to stay in their homes for five or six months at a time, never come out.

If you do, what I call, responsible social distancing, you can go off for a walk. You know, find a path that you can walk by yourself, get a little sunshine. You know, you could go into the balcony, you can go into your backyard. You can do some gardening if you have something like that.

So, you can sort of, you know, have a social aspect of social distancing, that you can be saved, but also you can enjoy the outdoors. Now, I think that that's going to be part of the overall solution to deal with some of the stress and some of the fears that people have, which is very important.

And it's going to take a toll because, indeed, excessive stress can lead to, you know, your body not feeling right and your immune system being compromised.

BAIER: And Dr. Makary, are you do the things like take vitamin C, you take supplements and do what else do you build up the immunity?

MAKARY: Yes, we know that when you're well-nourished, when you're eating well, your immune system is strongest. Look at kids that are studying for exams and pull all-nighters and don't eat well. They break out with acne. Why? Because their immune system is down.

And so, good sleep and good nutrition is the best thing you can do for your immune system.

BAIER: All right, doctors, thank you very much as always, we'll continue it next week.

Up next, how to response to the virus is throwing Americans out of work in alarming numbers. And what that means big picture?

First, "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight, Afghans -- Afghanistan's military, says, at least 17 police and army personnel were killed today in an apparent insider attack at a joint military and police base.

The Defense Ministry statement, says the Taliban carried out the attack with the assistance of Afghan police and army personnel inside that base. 11 soldiers, six police killed.

A Dutch court has convicted a radicalized Muslim man of murder with a terrorist motive and sentenced him to life in prison for opening fire on a tram, killing four people last year.

The defendant walked onto that tram, used a pistol to shoot passengers at a close range, then jumped out of the tram and shot a driver sitting behind the wheel of a car.

An Olympic torch event in Japan, drew hundreds of spectators as the flame arrived today. The Greek part of the torch relay began last week, but a day later, the remainder was canceled to avoid attracting crowds.

Olympic officials insist the games will go on this summer despite pressure to cancel or postponed, including from the U.S. swim team because of the coronavirus.

Just some of the other stories "BEYOND OUR BORDERS" tonight. We'll be right back.


BAIER: Here are a couple of Democracy 2020 stories making news tonight. The virus has forced the postponement of another primary election. Indiana is moving its event from May 5th to June 2nd. The announcement came shortly after Indiana health officials reported the state had 23 new cases of COVID-19, raising its total count to 79, including two patients who died.

Meantime, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is transferring $18 million from his failed presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee. It's the largest single such transfer ever. Bloomberg ended his campaign last month after a lackluster showing in the March 3rd Super Tuesday primaries. Since dropping out, the billionaire businessman has given tens of millions of dollars of his own money to various Democratic groups and causes.

Talks between the Trump administration and Congress are proceeding tonight on a $1 trillion economic rescue package amid the pandemic. It would include payments to many Americans who are no longer working, forced from their jobs and shutdowns triggered by the response to the outbreak. Correspondent Matt Finn looks at the situation tonight that is quickly becoming desperate for many people.


MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Coast to coast Americans are shocked with the sudden reality of lost jobs and perhaps no long-term relief in sight.

JULIA ROSENWINKEL, CHICAGO RESIDENT: My income is zero for the rest of the month likely.

FINN: Julia Rosenwinkel is personal trainer and a bartender for 12 years. Both of those jobs are suddenly gone. Julia and her husband have two children and recently bought a new home.

ROSENWINKEL: Cancel everything that is not absolutely necessary, which I know impacts our economy, even our local economy.

FINN: Julia's husband is a chef partner at a popular restaurant. He is trying to keep the family afloat without dine-in customers.

ROSENWINKEL: Steven is trying to work some delivery mode, but it's not going to support his staff. And it may or may not keep the restaurant open for more than two weeks.

FINN: Bridget Wheeler has stage four breast cancer and just gave birth to three-month-old child. She has a low white blood cell count, a compromised immune system.

BRIDGET WHEELER, CHICAGO RESIDENT: It's not a joke. It's very, very rear.

FINN: Bridget's husband is a building engineer, their only income. So far, he cannot work from home. Bridget says he scrubs down when he gets home, but they worry what he might bring in the house. He checks on her wellness nonstop.

WHEELER: My husband calls me every half-hour asking me, have I taken my temperature today? How am I doing? How are you doing? You are not coughing, are you? Every half-hour, and it's scary.


FINN: There are plenty of GoFundMes to help people who have lost their jobs, but there are always bad apples. The attorney general has instructed U.S. attorneys to be vigilant for fraud. Bret?

BAIER: Matt Finn in Chicago. Matt, thanks.

Many churches in the U.S. have cancelled services for this weekend and last weekend, and are, instead, seeking to preach to the flock through different means. Tonight, religion correspondent Lauren Green reports on the lengths the faithful are going to keep the faith.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are being forced to think outside the box.

LAUREN GREEN, FOX NEWS RELIGION CORRESPONDENT: Online sermons are the new reality for people of faith as countless houses of worship in the U.S. and around the world have shuttered and closed their physical buildings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But there is a silver lining.

MAX LUCADO, AUTHOR AND PASTOR: The Kingdom of God does not depend upon church buildings. And this is a good reminder for us.

GREEN: Technology is fast becoming a tool for a higher calling. The number of houses of worship switching to online services has quadrupled. the platform sharing company Life.Church added 6,000 churches to its free service last week. A few days later it jumped to 10,000 and is still climbing. It's not only the once a week service and sermons going online, a Jewish Chabad on Long Island is web streaming a pre-Shabbat talk so the Rabbi can answer members questions how do the weekly sabbath.

RABBI ANCHELLE PERL, CHABAD OF MINEOLA, NEW YORK: We may not be in our synagogues, our sanctuaries, but we have built sanctuaries in our hearts.

GREEN: There are online prayers, Facetime, and YouTube chats, even hymn singing online, bringing spiritual communities closer as people must isolate themselves. Webinars are also popping up, teaching churches and temples how to use the latest tech. But one Maryland priest has gone low tech with drive-through confessions. He is one of many who are praying and hoping these changes are only temporary.

PASTOR JIM BAUCOM JR., COLUMBIA BAPTIST CHURCH: The church will always be a place that people gather, where they convene and congregate. That said, this is probably going to be disrupt things in a way that is even hard to visualize right now.


GREEN: Many churches are also learning what the platform sharing site says, that a church is so much more than a building. It is a shared experience. Bret?

BAIER: Lauren, thank you.

Up next, the panel on the response to the coronavirus pandemic.


BAIER: Breaking tonight, we have just learned a member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for the coronavirus. A statement just released says neither the president nor the vice president had close contact with this individual. However, they are saying that this person did test positive. Don't have a name as of yet.

The president today talking about a shutdown along the north and southern border.


TRUMP: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has decided to exercise its authority under the Title 42 of the U.S. code to give Customs and Border Protection the tools it needs to prevent the transmission of the virus coming through both the northern and the southern borders.

As we did with Canada, we are also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry, to suspend nonessential travel. These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.


BAIER: And as we look at the map of the U.S., every state, Washington, D.C. as we have said has a positive case, at least one. Total cases over 17,000, total deaths 224. Worldwide the number of cases over 259,000. Almost a little over 11,000 deaths. And total recovered, 87,377, an important number.

The markets, not a good day today, actually the worst day in a while, since the just earlier this week, the big drops. But you can see the Dow this week, how it took a major drop and continued to slide even though had some come backs there throughout the week of news on action on Capitol Hill.

With that, let's bring in our panel, Marc Thiessen, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Kimberley Strassel, a member of the editorial board at "The Wall Street Journal," and Charles Lane, opinion writer for "The Washington Post." Kimberley, your thoughts how this is shaping up. There is this balance about the health of the country, concern about the health aspect of things, and obviously the economic aspect as we are seeing these shutdowns affect small businesses in particular across the country.

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. But I think what we are beginning to see now, and we are starting to have this debate, is that we began this by saying, listen to the doctors, listen to the science. And they have been giving their absolute best estimates of how you handle this and their best advice on how to contain and get us ahead of the curve a little bit, flatten that curve and ramp up for what may come.

But at a certain point you also have to have somebody thinking about the economy and that overall balance. And I think people are beginning to look at this and say, you know those 14 days, maybe we need to start getting ready for what comes after it. Maybe more aggressive use of drugs. Maybe more isolating those most vulnerable. But the current situation from an economic perspective is simply not sustainable. So what comes next?

BAIER: Marc, I guess part of the problem here is the testing backlog and the beginning not knowing who is testing positive and who isn't. They are trying to remedy that quickly, but it is obviously taking a long time.

MARC THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It is taking a long time, and we don't know how long this is going to last. And we may not be able to end the social distancing in 14 days. It may take longer. And that's why the economic package that Congress is considering is so important.

What we are trying to do, Bret, is we are trying to create a V-shaped recession. And by the way, we are creating a recession. It is a government mandated recession. We are telling businesses to stop functioning, we're telling workers to stay home. We want that to be rapid and fast in the decline so that we can get ahead of the -- flatten the curve of the virus. But then we want to have a V-shaped recovery. We want to have a very rapid recovery going up.

And so the only way to do that is to make sure that the businesses that are caught in the middle survive between the V. And so we need -- this package that the Senate is putting together is very important, but what it really needs to do, and it's not enough of it, is grants to small and medium sized businesses to cover their lost revenue if they don't lay off workers, because these businesses can never make up that revenue. If you are a factory, you are going to fill back orders. If you are a restaurant or a store or a hotel, you are not going to be able to do that. We need to make sure that these businesses survive by covering their revenues during this period so that they are there to lead the recovery.

BAIER: That's a big number. I want to play this soundbite. The president, Chuck, is very optimistic about these other treatments and medicines for malaria. And there is a little bit of pumping the brakes, I think, from health officials until the data is there. Take a listen.


FAUCI: We are trying to strike a balance between making something with a potential of an effect to the American people available at the same time that we do it under the auspices of a protocol that would give us information to determine if it's truly safe and truly effective.

TRUMP: I'm probably more of a fan of that maybe than anybody.

FAUCI: It was never done in a clinical trial.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Fauci said there is no magic drug for coronavirus right now.

TRUMP: Maybe there is. Maybe there isn't. We have to see.


BAIER: Chuck, what do you think?

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, "WASHINGTON POST": I just think the president knows even less about drugs than I do, and that's not very much. And it's unfortunate that he would engage in that kind of speculation. On the other hand, it's a little bit understandable because I think everybody in this country is clutching at straws right now.

I want to underscore some of the things that Marc and Kim have already said about the economy, and emphasize that one of the possible meanings, significance of the downturn on Wall Street today is a lack of confidence in the solutions that are coming out of Capitol Hill. There is a kind of cumbersome nature to this big package, which has a lot of rules attached to it. It addresses in terms of sectors, airlines here, hotels there. What business needs right now, Bret, I believe, is liquidity. They need a loan. They need some kind of financing to get them from here to the summer still alive.

And the best way to make that happen is not by a small business program where you have to sign up and prove that you have only 500 or fewer employees. It's going to be through massive liquidity backed by the Federal Reserve with the reserve fund approved by the Congress, and I really hope that kind of thinking starts to take hold soon.

BAIER: That's going to be something to watch, how that comes together. Panel, stand by. Thank you.

Next up, the Friday lightning round. It is Friday. The political implications of the virus, plus Winners and Losers.



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My whole focus has basically been how we deal with this crisis. And, quite frankly thus far, it's been less about how I campaign.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would hope that governors listen to the public health experts. I'm thinking about some of the elderly people sitting behind the desks, registering people, doing all that stuff, does that make a lot of sense? I'm not sure that it does.

TRUMP: They're going by the rule of 10 as opposed to 50. And that's pretty tough. I would say probably you could violate that if you wanted to for an election. I just think an election is a very special thing.


BAIER: Well, the 2020 election taking a huge turn in just a few days because of the situation we are in. Back with the panel. Marc, it seems Joe Biden has wrapped up the Democratic race, but campaigning is not going to be like it has ever been before, and it's going to be an interesting way forward.

THIESSEN: Nobody cares about the election right now when they are stuck in their homes and they are not sure where their next paycheck is coming from. So I think with what everybody really needs to do is focus on solving this problem and getting us through this crisis.

If we have a V-shaped recession and a V-shaped recover where we can contain the economic damage to spring in a bipartisan way, then voters are going to reward the people who did that. If this goes on and people see mismanagement, then they are not. Trump right now, his approval, an Axios Harris poll just came out, 56 percent approval of his handling of the COVID crisis, 44 percent disapproval. It's up five points from the last few days. He needs to remain presidential and focus on that and he'll be OK.

BAIER: Yes, Kimberley, that is a big bully pulpit that he has every day. Some political writers are writing that this is the new rally in the White House briefing room from the past couple of days, a different tone from the first part of the week. What do you think about that, the president's ability to command, obviously the attention but also in this environment?

STRASSEL: Well, yes, he is using that bully pulpit. And you also see him over the past week really seeming to embrace this new position as sort of wartime commander, as it were, in the middle of a crisis. I think that that probably helps him in the near term, but I actually believe sort of what Marc was saying, that the measure of this is going to be what comes next. How does this sort of hit an end game? And that's going to be as big of measure of White House performance as anything that's happening now.

BAIER: Chuck, quickly, before we get Winners and Losers, this story about the senators selling stocks after getting briefed, you have four senators so far, maybe more, put up the full screens there. Thoughts on that story?

LANE: It's a bad look no matter how you slice it. Each of them had their own individual explanation. Frankly, I think some of their explanations are probably valid. But this calls to mind, if it is a wartime situation, back in World War II, the most hated people in the neighborhood were the people who went out and bought extra meet over the ration level, and these senators are in that position.

BAIER: Super lightning, winner and loser, Marc first.

THIESSEN: My winner is Governor Andrew Cuomo, who in contrast to Mayor de Blasio who is stoking fear and partisanship, has been a picture of calm and bipartisan.

My loser is Zhao Lijian, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, who has been spreading this rumor, this conspiracy theory, that the U.S. army started. China started this. China is responsible for the global pandemic through its mishandling, and Trump should send him the bill for all this legislation when we're done.

BAIER: Kimberley, winner around loser?

STRASSEL: Private industry is my winner for its remarkable effort it's making right now to help with the testing, the drugs, everything else. It's an impressive thing to see.

And my loser, opposite of Marc, is actually Mayor de Blasio. We have seen some good leadership this week, and we have also seen guys talking about how we're about to go into the next great depression. Not helpful.

BAIER: Quickly, Chuck?

LANE: My loser is obviously Bernie Sanders. He lost three primaries and he is pretty much done. My winners are the folks at the Shedd Aquarium out in Chicago. This was the only bright spot in an otherwise extraordinarily dismal week. Those penguins got the run of the place. They gave the whole country a laugh, and we all loved it.

BAIER: All right, panel, thank you. We had some bright side throughout week that we brought at the end of the show. Panel, thanks so much.

When we come back, "Notable Quotables."


BAIER: Finally tonight, "Notable Quotables."


TRUMP: We have an invisible enemy. We have a problem that a month ago nobody ever thought about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tomorrow I won't go to work for nobody knows until when.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation, there may be disproportional number of infections among that group.

CUOMO: This is so unintelligent and reckless I can't even begin to express it.

FAUCI: I was in New York City on September 11th, 2001. And I know what the New Yorkers can do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a main street recovery, not a Wall Street bailout.

CUOMO: Don't touch anyone. Don't hug. Don't kiss. We're human beings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you keep calling this the Chinese virus?

TRUMP: It comes from China.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are running out of toilet paper, don't dial 911. The number for that is 922.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just committed here tonight that your running mate if you get the nomination will be a woman?


TRUMP: I watched the debate.

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