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Trump Announces Tougher Guidelines to Slow Coronavirus Spread; Dow Freefalls 2,997 Points Amid Coronavirus Fears. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] TRUMP: -- and we would have a whole different situation in this country if we didn't do that. I would rate it a very, very -- I would rate ourselves -- and the professionals. I think the professionals have done a fantastic job. As far as the testing, you heard the admiral. I think the testing that we've done, we really took over an obsolete system or put it maybe in a different way a system that wasn't meant to do anything like this. We took it over and we're doing something that's never been done in this country. And I think we are doing very well.

We took the system. We worked with the system we had and we broke down the system purposefully. We broke it down in order to do what we're doing now, and within a short period of time and even now we're testing tremendous numbers of people, and ultimately you're saying it will be, what, it will be up to - how many people will we be able to test?

GIROIR: We certainly expect with the high throughput testing that that's no longer a barrier. The barrier is actually doing the test on a person, and I'm sure as the president will - would inform you, in order to do the test a healthcare provider needs to dress is full, personal protective equipment - full, personal protective equipment, and there's a swab that's put in the back of the nose all the way to the back of the throat. It's called a nasal pharyngeal swab, which is then put in media.

The next person who has to get tested, that healthcare provider ahs to change all the personal protective equipment. When you put that in, it's highly likely a person coughs or sneezes, so you're at risk. So that's what we're trying to fix now by the mobile platforms, by all the things we're doing is to enable sort of high throughput of this swabbing, and we're doing some technological things, too, that might be breakthroughs to make it much fast, but we certainly expect that from thousands of people per day. We will be at the tens of thousands of people per day this week according to those who are...


QUESTION: Does the bug (ph) stop with you, Mr. President? Does the bug (ph) stop with you?

TRUMP: Yes, normally, but I think when you hear the - you know, this has never been done before in this country. If you look back, you know, take a look at some of the things that took place in '09 or '11 or whatever it may have been, they never did - nobody's ever done anything like what we're doing.

Now, I will also say, Admiral, I think we can say we're also getting this ready for the future so that when we have a future problem if and when, and hopefully we don't have anything like this, but if there is we're going to be very - we're going to be starting off from a much higher plateau because we were at a very, very low base. We had a system that was not meant for this. It was a smaller system. It was meant for a much different purpose, and for that purpose it was fine, but not for this purpose. So we broke down the system and now we have something that's going to be - and it's very special and is ready for future problems. I think we can say that very strongly. Yes.


Go ahead. Please.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.


QUESTION: How close are you to shutting down America's northern border with Canada? And could you also speak to the fact about the elections that are supposed to be taking place tomorrow? Is it your advice that those states postpone those elections?

TRUMP: Well, I'd leave that up to the states. It's a big thing postponing an election. It think to me that really goes to the heart of what we're all about. I think postponing an election's a very tough thing. I know they're doing - because they've been in touch with us, they're doing it very carefully. They're spreading people out very - at great distances as you can see, and I think they'll do it very safely. I hope they do it very safely, but I thin postponing elections is a very - is not a very good thing. They have lots of room in a lot of the electoral places. And I think that they will do it very well, but I think postponing is unnecessary.

QUESTION: Again on the northern border, sir, how close are you to shutting it down?

TRUMP: We think about it. We think about it. If we don't have to do it, that'll be good. We have very strong emergency powers when it comes to something like this both on the southern and the northern borders, and we are talking about different things, but we'll see. Right now we have not decided to do that. Steve?

QUESTION: Could we get Dr. Fauci to talk about the vaccine cloud today and whether the time table for a vaccine has - it is possible to accelerate it or is it still 12 to 18 months?

[16:05:00] FAUCI: So thank you for that question. The vaccine candidate that was given the first injections for the first person took place today. You might recall when we first started I said it would be two to three months and if we did that, that would be the fastest we've ever gone from obtaining the sequence to being able to do a phase 1 trial. This has been now 65 days, which I believe is the record. What it is, it's a trial of 45 normal individuals between the ages of 18 and 55. The trial is taking place in Seattle. There will be two injections. One at zero day, first one, then 28 days. There will be three separate doses. 25 milligrams, 100 milligrams, 250 milligrams, and the individuals will be followed for one year both for safety and whether it induces the kind of response that we predict would be protective, and that's exactly what I've been telling this group over and over again. So it's happened. The first injection was today.

QUESTION: Sir, the markets just closed down 3,000 (inaudible) percent...


TRUMP: Go ahead.

QUESTION: ... your response to the market close, sir?

QUESTION: What about pregnancy? Is pregnancy an underlying condition?

TRUMP: Go ahead please.


QUESTION: Dr. Fauci, is there guidance for someone who may have felt sick but then feels better? So you had symptoms but no - you no longer do, your fever's gone away. How long would you stay home after that point? That's not clear from the ...

FAUCI: Well if you - if you are positive for the infection, if you have coronavirus, it is less how you feel than whether or not you're still shedding virus. So the general issue about letting people out of a facility who - for example, a hospital or whatever - who have been infected, you need two negative cultures, the same way that was just described, 24 hours apart.


TRUMP: Yeah, no, the market - the market will take care of itself, the market will be very strong as soon as we get rid of the virus. Yes?


QUESTION: Could you clarify about pregnant women? Is that (inaudible) - the UK said today that pregnancy was one of those underlying conditions. Do we say that, too?

(UNKNOWN): There's very little data on pregnant women. I think I - about a week ago, I said that reports that came in from China - from the Chinese CDC of the nine women who were documented to be pregnant and have coronavirus in their last trisemester (sic) delivered healthy children and they themselves were healthy and recovered.

That is our total sample size and we will be getting more data from countries. While countries are in the midst of this crisis, like Italy, it's - I - I try not to bother them frequently to get us their data. We try to get it just weekly from the countries that are in the midst of responding to the epidemic so that their focus is on their individuals in their country.

QUESTION: Mr. President? Any comment on what people like Devin Nunes, the governor of Oklahoma have been saying, encouraging people to go out to restaurants, which goes directly against what this advice and your guidelines says?

TRUMP: No, I haven't heard that - I haven't heard that from Devin or anybody else.


QUESTION: Should they stop saying that?

TRUMP: Well I have to see what they said but ...

QUESTION: They encouraged people to go to restaurants if they felt OK with their families.

TRUMP: No, I would disagree with it but right now we don't have an order, one way or the other - we don't have an order but I think it's probably better that you don't, especially in certain areas. Oklahoma doesn't have a tremendous problem - Oklahoma - you said the governor of - the governor of Oklahoma?

QUESTION: The governor of Oklahoma, Devin Nunes ...


TRUMP: Well I haven't heard that.

QUESTION: So should they be ...


... they not be doing that ...

TRUMP: (Inaudible) to what the professionals are saying. That's - yeah.

QUESTION: And what you're saying in your guidelines, that people shouldn't be ...

TRUMP: No, it's adverse (ph) but I'll take a look at it.


QUESTION: I don't know who would be best to answer this question, maybe Secretary Azar or - or Dr. Fauci. Schools - school districts across the country are closing down, yet for the most part daycare centers remain open.

And considering that children can sometimes be asymptomatic carriers and - and go home to older individuals, are there any recommendations about daycare centers? (UNKNOWN): I - I'd prefer if one of our medical professionals discussed that (inaudible) clinical recommendation (ph).

FAUCI: That's a good question, John (ph). In - in - in the original guidelines, as they would - they would - they were presented, it was schools, not daycare. I think it's very important - we should probably be - I have not discussed that - go back and discuss that in some detail about whether or not that's equivalent to school. That's a good question.

QUESTION: But the - the question about the sort of underlying public health strategy behind some of these guidelines, telling people to avoid restaurants and bars is a different thing than saying that bars and restaurants should shut down over the next 15 days.

So why was it seen as being imprudent or not - not necessary to take that additional step off the additional (ph) guidance?

TRUMP: (Inaudible), do you want to answer that?

(UNKNOWN): Well I think we have to say the data that has been coming out, and I'm sure you're all up to the date - up to date on how long the virus lives on hard surfaces, and that has been our concern over the last two weeks.

FAUCI: No, I'm sorry, go ahead - go ahead. I just wanted to - there's - there's a - there's a - there's an answer to this.

(UNKNOWN): Oh, yeah.


He was my mentor so I'm going to have to let him speak.


FAUCI: The small print here, it - the really small print, in states with evidence of community transmission - bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.

QUESTION: So Mr. President, are you telling - Mr. President, are - are you telling - are you telling governors in those states then to close all of their restaurants ...

TRUMP: Well we haven't said that yet ...

QUESTION: Why not?

TRUMP: ... recommending but we're recommending things - no, we're - we haven't gone to that step yet. That could happen but we haven't gone there yet. Please?

QUESTION: So on the election, you're saying it's a bad thing to postpone it but if you've got a 10 person maximum, you know, guideline, in a practical sense, can you have rallies? Can you - primaries surely gather more than 10 ...



TRUMP: Well, hopefully, this will pass through and hopefully we'll have -- everybody will be going to restaurants and flying and being on cruise ships and all of these different things that we do. And it will very, very hopefully be at a fairly quick period of time.

But we're taking a tough stance. We may make certain other decisions, we may enhance those decisions. We're going to find out, as per the question that you were asking. Some of those decisions may be had -- how about one more?


TRUMP: Jennifer (ph)?

QUESTION: On the cyber-attack on HHS...


QUESTION: ... is there any reason to believe that they were trying to hack into the system and gather information from the system?

TRUMP: Go ahead, please.

QUESTION: And also, is there any reason -- so were they trying to hack to get information? And also do you have any reason to think that it could have been Iran, Russia? Do you have any reason to believe it was a foreign actor?

AZAR: So in the previous 24 hours, we saw a great deal of enhanced activity with relation to the HHS -- HHS computer systems and website. Fortunately, we have extremely strong barriers. We had no penetration into our networks, we had no degradation of the functioning of our networks, we had no limitation of our capacity for people to telework. We've taken very strong defensive actions.

The source of this enhanced activity remains under investigation, so I wouldn't want to speculate on the source of it. But there was no data breach or no degradation in terms of our ability to function and serve our important mission here. Thank you.


QUESTION: ... what are you looking for in another stimulus package, sir? Could you speak to that?

TRUMP: One thing Mike just said, it's very important to get out that this is for the next -- what we're talking about, much of what we're talking about is for the next 15 days.

Mike, go ahead.

QUESTION: Mr. vice president, have you been tested?

PENCE: I have not been tested yet. I'm in regular consultation with the White House physician, and he said I have not been exposed to anyone for any period of time that had the coronavirus. And that my wife and I have no symptoms. But we're checking our temperature regularly, every day, and we'll continue to follow guidance, which I think may be a good -- a good place to land, at the end of the day.

And that is, as we expand testing rapidly around the country, through the new public-private partnership that the president facilitated, we want the test to be available for people who have symptoms, people that -- who have symptoms and are in vulnerable populations, and our health care workers, to make sure that they can have the peace of mind that they're doing their jobs and they're properly protected.

And so our best counsel, the counsel of the experts, is if you have a question, call your doctor, call your health care provider, ask whether or not you should be tested and that's what my family is doing as well.


PENCE: Let me just emphasize one more point, if I can. The president asked the task force to continuously review the data and the information that we have, not only in this country but from around the world, to give the best guidance to state leadership and local health care leadership and all of the American people, about how to keep themselves, their family and their community safe.

This guidance, for the next 15 days, is what our experts say is the best opportunity we have to lower the infection rate over the entire course of the coronavirus. Just as the president did by suspending travel from China, just as he did with travel advisories and screening from Italy and South Korea, just as we've done with Europe and at midnight tonight, with the U.K. and Ireland, we'll continue to take very decisive steps to lower the spread of the coronavirus.

But we want every American to know -- and we would ask all of -- all of you in the media to spread the word to the American people that this is advice on behalf of the president of the United States to every American, what you can do over the next 15 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And we're calling on every American to do your part because together, we'll get through this and we'll find our way forward.


TRUMP: Just one more. Steve (ph), go ahead.


TRUMP: Yeah, we had a G7...

QUESTION: ... video conference today, what was the upshot...

TRUMP: It was... QUESTION: ... and are you still going to be able to meet at Camp David? I think (ph)...


TRUMP: Well, it looks like it will (ph) be.

QUESTION: And are you confident in their responses, as you are with your (ph)...


TRUMP: I'm very confident. They're in a position that -- some of them are in a rough position, if you look at a couple of them. And some are heading toward pretty rough territory.

We had a very good conference, it was a teleconference. Everybody was on the phone, every leader. And almost a hundred percent was devoted to the subject that we're talking about today. And they are working very hard. And they're -- you know, they're very concerned, obviously, but they're working very hard. But I would say just about all of it was -- Steve (ph), all of it was devoted to what we're talking about.


QUESTION: ... still (ph) going (ph) to (ph) hold that summit at Camp David?

TRUMP: I think so. I mean, so far, it seems -- we haven't -- we didn't even discuss that. It's still a ways off.

But it was a very good discussion, and they have -- there's a great camaraderie, there's a great togetherness. I think it was -- I think I can say that very, very strongly.

Thank you all very much, thank you. Thank you very much.



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: You have been listening to the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. President Trump appearing during the briefing and making a noticeable shift in tone than what we have heard from him before.

The president saying that the virus is not under control. The president sharing recommendations that you should stay home if you feel sick or if you're elderly or if you have an underlying condition. The president noting that even if you are young and healthy, you have a role to play in defeating this virus.


TRUMP: Therefore, my administration is recommending that all Americans, including the young and healthy, work to engage in schooling from home, when possible, avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people, avoid discretionary travel, and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts. If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus, and we're going to have a big celebration all together.


TAPPER: Let me repeat those guide leans so everybody gets them. And to be clear, these guidelines are for the next 15 days after which the government, the U.S. government will revisited them, OK?

All Americans, including the young and healthy, so everyone, work to engage in schooling at home where possible, avoiding gathering in groups of more than ten people. Ten people.

Not even that, they said. Avoid discretionary travel. Don't go to bars or restaurant or public food courts. This is over the next 15 days. This is what the president said.

Let's talk about all of this.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I want to start with you. I should note since the briefing began and ended, we have learned of two other people in the United States who have died from the coronavirus.

What is your response to the new guidelines?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we knew there was going to be a big change in tone today. I mean, obviously, there's been a lot of rumors about what was likely to be said, but this is -- this is very different. It was a direct appeal to all Americans, Jake, to do their part.

Still, recommendations, not mandates, you know? But making these recommendations for the entire country as opposed to these states that have sort of been doing this ad hoc. You had one state act a certain way, another state act another way. President Trump, Ambassador Birx saying this needs to be the entire country.

Also, Jake, I'm sure you caught that the president also said that he expects this outbreak within the United States to not subside until July or August. So, that was another big change obviously as well from what we heard before.

One thing I should point out -- it's very interesting. You read the guidelines. It says 15 days to slow the spread, and then we hear that this isn't going subside until July or August. Dr. Fauci said, two weeks, 15 days to slow the spread, but then we're going reassess.

TAPPER: Right.

GUPTA: So, I think we're going to keep hearing that. Let's see where we are in two weeks. And then these recommendations may continue I think is what Dr. Fauci was saying, Jake. TAPPER: It's entirely possible, of course, that after 15 days, the

American people will be asked to continue with this rather extreme suggestion, recommendation from the CDC. I'm not saying that it shouldn't be enacted. It is something that they say will save lives.

But it certainly, it will be disruptive of how we go about our day-to- day life, although necessary, Dr. Murthy. This is something public health officials have been saying for weeks needs to be taken with this degree of seriousness and finally, it seems President Trump is on board.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Yes, you know, today, we saw a significant shift in the message as well as the tone, and I think we're starting to see the administration speak with one voice and with greater clarity about the urgency of this situation. The measures you heard being called for today, in particular the restriction on domestic travel, the restriction on groups that are larger than 10 people, as well as the urging of Americans to stay home and to avoid traditional social gatherings, these are recommendations that public health leaders have been calling for for some time now. Some of us, in fact, took out an op-ed, a PSA that ran in "USA Today" just yesterday calling for the same measures.

And I think we now have a better chance of slowing the spread of this virus if we're taking the steps together.


So, that was I think the most important messages that came out of today.

TAPPER: And let me ask you and Sanjay and Juliette Kayyem --


TAPPER: And I'll start with you, Juliette, how much -- because you're all parents. I'm a parent. How much are all of you limiting or ending your children's ability to interact with other children? I'll start with you, Juliette.

KAYYEM: It's completely over. There's no ifs, ands or buts at this stage. What you saw -- all my girlfriends even text me and go, can you do a play date?

There's nothing like that anymore. I don't know why we're trying to work around it. It is -- it is what it is. And the reason you saw what happened today, which is the federal government finally got aligned with state governments.

The state governments were already there. They saw this coming. They had these rules down. It is good to have the federal government unified.

I should say that a lot of these authorities reside with state governments. They do not reside with the federal government so that's why some of them are recommendations just in some ways to give the state cover or at least a baseline. And I think the big takeaway for me is finally the White House admitted that containment, border stops, all that stuff, can no longer protect us. They finally sort of opened their eyes that we have to just get very aggressive mitigation, social isolation, and get people like me, or how I used to be and Homeland Security planners out there to begin the process of trying to slow the spread and stop with the sort of trying to get it -- keep it away from our borders.

I thought it was a big unstated concession that they know now that it is here. The governors already knew it was here and now we have alignment.

TAPPER: And I just want to put a button on this, Sanjay and Vivek, you agree, no play dates for your kids, that's it?

GUPTA: Yes, I agree. You know, it's tough. It's my youngest daughter's 11th birthday today. And we had a long conversation over the weekend, a tough conversation about canceling a birthday party and all that.

And, you know, I get it -- it's hard, but it's necessary. So, you know, we had some good conversations about this over the weekend and I think we also want to set an example, Jake, because I know you do and Vivek does and Juliette --


GUPTA: -- for other people as well.

TAPPER: And, Vivek, I know your kids are a little younger so maybe not as big an issue with you.

Kaitlan, let me go to you. This is a marked change in tone and substance from President Trump. You just asked President Trump about the containment of the virus. Let's play that for our viewers.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You're not saying it's under control, right?

TRUMP: I'm not referring to it, meaning the --

COLLINS: The virus.

TRUMP: Yes, if you're talking about the virus? No, that's not under control for any place in the world.


TAPPER: It's not under control for any place in the world. This is not about gotcha. I'm glad the president landed where he landed, but let's note this is quite different from the president yesterday. Let's roll that sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It's a very contagious virus, it's incredible, but it's something we have tremendous control over.


TAPPER: OK, again, I am grateful that President Trump is finally talking about what the real and the truth of this horrific pandemic.

What do you make of the shift, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Yes, he's definitely cleaning up that remark from saying it is something that's under control, and this is really larger than just a president. We've also seen it from his own aides who have said, this is contained here in the United States. This is under control. We're clearly seeing it's not, and that was on evidence by these guidelines they're giving us today, saying the outbreak could last in the United States through July and potentially August.

And so, that's why we wanted to ask the president, after saying, you know, we have tremendous control over this -- if his supporters are watching and they hear something like that, it's important for the to say, it's not the virus he's talking about. He's clarifying today or trying to clean up today and say he meant the -- essentially how his administration is responding to this, he says in the confine of what we're working with. Saying the coronavirus, admitting it is not under control, not in the United States, not anywhere in the world, the president said.

And, Jake, I also want to note something else the president said he would follow up the us on is how many ICU beds and ventilators there are across the nation. Something Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I talked about several times, how many are there and are essentially they're prepared for the next phase of this, which is moving from just the testing and whether or not these hospitals are going to be prepared for the coronavirus patients.

The president could not say how many ICU beds there are, how many ventilators there are. His administration has refused to say a flat number like the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar saying it's a national security reason, though the president said he would get us that number.

And, Jake, just one more important thing from this guidance we got there today, in addition to limiting those gatherings to people of ten or fewer, they also say even one person in your household has coronavirus, the entire household needs to self-quarantine, needs to stay at home and none of them need to be going out.


So, it's really important guidance there coming out of the White House today.

TAPPER: Let me bring in Sanjay -- Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, look, this is -- you know, looking forward -- I mean, we've spent a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror and talking about all the mistakes about testing and all that, I mean, I think that time has passed. We need to be looking forward.

And as Kaitlan brought up and I brought up and we've asked the administration about this specifically, there is -- there is a shortfall when it comes to ICU beds and breathing machines. By the federal government's own estimates, based on a moderate pandemic, which this looks like this is going to be -- hopefully, it's not going to be a severe pandemic, but with moderate pandemic sort of numbers, you would need 200,000 ICU beds. We have about 100,000. You need about 64,000 ventilators, which is about the number that we have, a few more with the stockpile.

But, Jake, as we've talked about, many of them are currently in use, you know? They've talked about canceling elective surgeries to try to free up more ventilators, things like that, but we've got to be doing this. You know, I think today was the first day -- Kaitlan can correct me if I'm wrong -- I heard somebody, in this case, the president saying, we'll go buy ventilators, we'll buy them as needed.


GUPTA: One thing I should point out is everybody on the planet wants to buy ventilators now, because this is a pandemic. So it's going to be challenging to buy those ventilators at this point.

TAPPER: All right. Everyone, stick around.

I want to keep talking about this, but it's -- let's go to the money lead now because it was another hideous day on Wall Street, the markets plunging today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking down almost 3,000 points, its worst closing day since 1987, 1987.

Let's go straight to CNN's Alison Kosik at the stocks exchange.

And, Alison, the largest point loss ever today, is that right?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The biggest point and worst point loss ever for the Dow, really jaw-dropping. And if you watch what the president was speaking and what he was saying it's when he said the outbreak could last until July or August, that's when it nosedived hundreds of points. And as he was talking, the closing bell rang, almost to the relief of everybody at the stock exchange, because this is going hurt the economy much longer than everybody expected.

I mean, you think about what happens here at the stock exchange, with investors and traders, trading stocks and buying and selling, it's all about trying to predict the future and what it's going to be like, how stocks could be priced. But now that we're hearing this outbreak could last into the summer, how do you even price for that? So that's why we saw all the selling towards the close and as the president was speaking.

And this is despite the Federal Reserve's action over the weekend cutting interest rates to zero, pouring billions of dollars into mortgage-backed securities and government bonds. There's only so much monetary policy can do at this point. What investors want to see is the number of coronavirus cases peak and then fall -- Jake.

TAPPER: Alison, let me just ask you, health experts and health officials have been saying for weeks now -- certainly for the last week, that this was going to last months and not weeks. President Trump, what we said today, that this could last until July or August, is -- you know, it's in alignment with what these health experts have been saying. The only difference is that President Trump was acknowledging the reality.

I guess my point is, if this news had been given weeks ago or over the weekend, or if this reality had been acknowledged by the president earlier, would what happened on Wall Street today be different? Did Wall Street not know what the health experts were saying?

KOSIK: I think it probably was stunning hear the president have a different tone today, very different than we have seen in the past with him acknowledging this is bad and going last longer than expected. I mean, I think that at this point there was hope that this would end a lot earlier. But obviously with the president now acknowledging that it's going to be bad and could last a lot longer, I think that's why you're seeing this sort of -- the real quick shot to the market that we saw today.

You know, never mind what happened this morning. There's also an underlying worry that the Federal Reserve sees something that investors don't see, meaning are the credit markets freezing up more than experts had realized? Why did the Federal Reserve make the decision on a Sunday when, by the way, Jake, its meeting starts tomorrow? Could have waited until tomorrow or even Wednesday -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange, thanks so much.

We have more breaking news for you. New York City is now considering everything, including a citywide curfew in New York City. That's next. We're going to squeeze in this quick break. Stay with us.