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STATE OF THE UNION

Interview With Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA); Interview With Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE); Interview With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI); Interview With Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Interview With National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci; Interview With New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 29, 2020 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[09:00:18]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): New epicenter? More than 2,000 dead in the U.S., and confirmed cases top 100,000. And experts say infections in the U.S. have not yet peaked.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: This is truly an unprecedented situation that we're going through.

TAPPER: As President Trump pulls back on a plan to quarantine the hard-hit New York region, I will speak to one of his coronavirus task force leaders, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, next.

And desperate measures. As states plea for medical supplies, preparing for a wave of misery that's already hitting hospitals, President Trump describes two desperate governors this way:

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want them to be appreciative. If they don't treat me right, I don't call.

TAPPER: Those two governors of Michigan and Washington, plus the governor of Nebraska, join me to discuss in moments.

Plus, cash infusion? Congress passes a historic bill to help struggling workers.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Every dollar that we spend is an investment in the lives and livelihood of the American people.

TAPPER: But will it be enough? I will speak exclusively to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is staying at home. Today marks exactly one month since the first coronavirus death in the

United States. There have now been more than 2,000 deaths in America, a staggering number that has doubled just in the last two days.

For some context, the current number of deaths is more than six times the number of deaths at this time last week, more than six times.

Overnight, President Trump backed off an idea to put an enforceable quarantine on the New York region. Instead, the CDC is issuing a new domestic travel advisory, recommending that residents of New York and New Jersey and Connecticut -- quote -- "refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately."

Meanwhile, we're just learning that some federal health experts have submitted recommendations to the White House Task Force on Coronavirus that seek to reopen some schools and some businesses in cities where infection rates are low.

That's according to a senior federal health official directly involved in creating the guidelines talking to CNN's Nick Valencia. It would be an effort to strike a balance as Americans across the country are losing their livelihoods, an economic catastrophe in its own right that Congress is attempting to address by passing the biggest stimulus plan ever.

We're going to talk to a lead member of the president's Coronavirus Task Force in just moments.

But, first, I want to start with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Speaker Pelosi, thank you so much for joining us. I hope you are well and safe.

I know your home district of San Francisco has been particularly hard- hit. President Trump is considering relaxing federal guidelines for coronavirus for some of the less affected parts of the country. Do you think he should?

PELOSI: Well, first of all, let me just say how sad it is that, even since the president signing of the bill, the number of deaths reported has doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 in our country.

This is such a very, very sad time for us. So, we should be taking every precaution.

What the president -- his denial at the beginning was deadly. His delaying of getting equipment to where -- it continues -- his delay in getting equipment to where it's needed is deadly.

And now I think the best thing would be to do is to prevent more loss of life, rather than open things up, so that -- because we just don't know. We have to have testing, testing, testing -- that's what we said from the start -- before we can evaluate what the nature of it is in some of these other regions as well.

I don't know what the purpose of that is. I don't know what the scientists are saying to him. I don't know what the scientists said to him. When did this president know about this and what did he know? What did he know and when did he know it?

That's for an after-action review. But as the president fiddles, people are dying. And we have to -- we just have to take every precaution.

TAPPER: Speaker Pelosi, when you say that the president's denial was deadly...

PELOSI: Yes.

TAPPER: ... he obviously downplayed the risks of coronavirus for several weeks. And it wasn't until I think about two weeks ago that he started acknowledging the gravity of the crisis.

But are you saying that his downplaying ultimately cost American lives?

PELOSI: Yes, I am. I'm saying that, because when he made -- the other day, when he was signing the bill, he said, just think, 20 days ago, everything was great.

No, everything wasn't great. We had nearly 500 cases and 17 deaths already. And in that 20 days, because we weren't prepared, we now have 2,000 deaths and 100,000 cases.

[09:05:03]

So, again, I -- we really want to work in a unifying way to get the job done here, but we cannot continue to allow him to continue to make these underestimation -- underestimates of what is actually happening here.

This is such a tragedy. We don't even know the magnitude of it because we do not have the adequate testing.

Our first bill was about testing, testing, testing. The second bill was about masks, masks, masks, of course, it was a bit -- both of them were about addressing the emergency.

We still don't have adequate testing, and we still don't have the protect -- personal protective equipment. We -- and I thank you all for calling attention to the needs of our health care workers and other first responders who are risking their own lives to save lives.

So, again, let's review later what we should have done when. Let's now just stop doing the same thing, which is to deny and to delay, and, instead, to get what we need for the state, so they can meet their needs, to the hospitals, to our health care workers, who are heroes, our first responders and the rest, so that they have what they need, so, again, they don't risk their lives while trying to save other lives.

TAPPER: Speaker Pelosi, obviously, Congress just passed and the president just signed a $2 trillion relief plan. PELOSI: Yes.

TAPPER: Take a listen to what Governor Cuomo of New York had to say about that stimulus bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I was shocked that they were so irresponsible in addressing the state and the city need.

I mean, I never believed that they would just pass a piece of legislation that didn't address it. You know, they just did not address the revenue shortfall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: What's your response to Governor Cuomo?

PELOSI: Well, we have to do more.

I think this bill was just a down payment. We had in the House bill $200 billion. The final bill was 150. Neither amount was enough, because, again, every single day, the need grows.

I have talked to the chairman that said, of the Federal Reserve Bank, Mr. Powell, and asked him -- Chairman Powell -- and asked him to do much more, because they have the authority to do so, even more authority since we passed this bill.

But we have to pass another bill that goes to meeting the need more substantially than we have. We have other issues that we have to deal with in the bill in terms of personal protective equipment and OSHA rules that protects workers. We have to do more on family medical leave. We have to be able to make people who get tested also have their visit to the doctor covered.

We have to do more in terms of the assault on pensions that is -- that was not addressed, but Senator McConnell said we would do it in the next bill. We have to address what happened to the District of Columbia, which was really cruel, that they called it a territory, and, hence, they got several hundred million dollars less in funding.

The list goes on about what we have to do. And, again, it is the states, the municipalities, hospitals. And other health-serving institutions need more resources. It's so self-evident.

And I understand the governor's anger. My own governor, we have big needs in California and other -- other states in the union. We -- why should the states and why should these hospitals be having questions about whether they're going to meet the needs, life-and-death needs?

On the subject of ventilators, for example, this is life-and-death equipment. This isn't about, let's breathe easier with the ventilator. This is about let breathe, period, life and death.

TAPPER: Right. Yes. PELOSI: And yet the president has been casual about the Production

Act -- the Production Act -- that would have called upon industries for -- a while ago to -- making this equipment.

So, again, it's no use -- my granddaughter even said to me, why keep talking about, if only he had done this, if have only he had done that. Let's put that aside for now, and let's say what we need to do now as we go forward.

And it really is a sign. Here we are on a Sunday morning. Last Sunday, we were gathered in Leader McConnell's office, Chuck Schumer and I, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, Secretary Mnuchin.

And I said to them, since this is Sunday, and the churches are closed, I want to begin bipartisan meeting with a prayer.

And I quoted Pope Francis' word of prayer under this circumstance. And he said, I pray that we -- God would enlighten those who are responsible for the common good, that they would take responsibility for those in their care.

[09:10:05]

TAPPER: So...

PELOSI: And Secretary Mnuchin said: "Well, since you quoted Pope Francis, I will quote the markets."

TAPPER: Right.

PELOSI: And so that has taken us to another area of values, to me, about this.

TAPPER: I want to ask you, because when President Trump -- pardon me -- when President Trump signed the bill, he brushed aside a key oversight provision with a signing statement.

The provision would have an independent inspector general reporting directly to Congress about how Treasury is going to loan out the money to businesses.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responded by saying -- quote -- "And just like that, the congressional oversight provisions for the half-trillion-dollar Wall Street slush fund, which were already too weak, are tossed away the day the bill is signed. This is a frightening amount of public money to have given a corrupt administration with zero accountability."

You and other Democrats, especially Chuck Schumer, insisted on this inspector general as a check on the administration. And then President Trump just blithely said they weren't going to abide by it.

What's your response?

PELOSI: Well, it's ridiculous. Two things I think the American -- well, three. This is about

America's families, how they deal with the health challenge that they have, about their lives, and about their livelihood.

And part of this bill was about making sure that we put workers first. The bill that the Republicans put forth was corporate -- a gift to corporate America that would trickle down to the workers.

We did jujitsu on it. We turned it around into a bill that put workers and families first, and, by that doing that, to have, again, conditions placed on any money that would go to corporate America, recognizing that certain industries were a threat -- were under threat, and that we needed, in order to protect the jobs, to put with sources they're conditioned on workers being paid, buybacks not being allowed, bonuses, all that CEO pay, the rest of that

TAPPER: Right.

PELOSI: The president wants to dismiss that.

And in doing so, that is one of the things that the American people are so upset about, that money is going to these big firms and the rest without any conditions.

He is really -- well, first of all, let's not even go into whether he's allowed to do it. But we don't accept that. We don't accept that. We will have our oversight in the Congress. We have a panel that we've established.

And I see that he said, we shouldn't be able to appoint the staff for our own panel? I mean, really.

TAPPER: Right.

PELOSI: But the fact is, it's just the same business as usual for the president. Let's turn it back in favor of corporate America, at the expense of America's workers, without any conditions that makes things better for America's working families.

We will not let that happen. And, as we go into another bill for more money for state and local hospitals and other priorities that I mentioned earlier...

TAPPER: Yes.

PELOSI: ... we will continue to do so in a way that has conditions on any money that goes to -- if there's any other further money that would go into the business community.

But let's not forget what is in there.

TAPPER: Right.

PELOSI: Imagine that we had to fight the Republicans to save $600.

TAPPER: We're running out of time, but I just want to ask you one last question, Speaker Pelosi. I'm sorry for interrupting.

The president did not invite you or any of the Democratic leadership or any Democrats to the signing ceremony. And it's been reported that you and he have not spoken in five months.

Have you reached out to him to try -- to try to talk to him directly? Because, obviously, at a time like this, it's important that all of our leaders are communicating as best as possible.

PELOSI: I'm the speaker of the House.

Legislation is my responsibility, responsibility, and getting the -- passing policy and passing it all. It has not required any conversations with the president on the nature of the policy or the passage of this legislation.

And, don't forget, I was there for the State of the Union address and did greet the president at that time.

So, again, this is -- that's not what's important. What's important is what's important to America's working families, their health, their lives, their livelihood.

And this is a -- again, you want to quote the pope or you want to close the markets in terms of where our values should be? It should all be balanced. It all should be balanced.

And I'm hopeful. I believe the American people have hearts full of love. I believe that they are hopeful. And that's why they're giving the president a chance.

And, again, I hope that those who advise him, the scientists who advise him, will get him on the right track, so that he is making decisions that are in favor of ending this deadly pandemic, rather than test whether he can quarantine a state or not, as he had to reverse himself again yesterday.

[09:15:03]

Don't fiddle while people die, Mr. President.

TAPPER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, we wish you the best.

Happy birthday, incidentally. We hope you're staying safe and healthy. Thank you so much for your time.

PELOSI: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: I want to go now to Dr. Anthony Fauci. He is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

He is a vital part of President Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, of course.

Dr. Fauci, it's always good to see you. I want to ask you about the latest development, the CDC now -- quote

-- "residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately."

This came after President Trump considered an enforceable quarantine, as he put it, for those states.

So, why did the administration go with this travel advisory instead? And will this help stop the virus?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, I think it ultimately will help stop the virus, Jake.

We had very intensive discussions last night at the White House with the president. As you know, the original proposal was to consider seriously an enforceable quarantine. After discussions with the president, we made it clear, and he agreed, that it would be much better to do what's called a strong advisory.

And the reason for that is that you don't want to get to the point where you're being -- enforcing things that would create a bigger difficulty, morale and otherwise, when you could probably accomplish the same goal.

One of the issues is that the infection rate in New York City, in the New York City area, is about 56 percent of all of the new infections in the country are coming from that area. That's terrible suffering for the people of New York, which I feel myself personally, as a New Yorker.

So what was trying to be done is to get people, unless there's necessary travel, so, all nonessential travel, to just hold off, because what you don't want is people traveling from that area to other areas of the country, and inadvertently and innocently infecting other individuals.

We felt the better part of -- way to do this would be an advisory, as opposed to a very strict quarantine. And the president agreed. And that's why he made that determination last night.

And I believe he tweeted it out last night.

TAPPER: So, Dr. Fauci, the U.S. now has the most officially reported coronavirus cases on the entire globe. Of course, that requires that you believe all the other countries reporting, including China. But let's just for now assume that the U.S. numbers are the largest.

Do you believe that the U.S. is now the epicenter of this outbreak?

FAUCI: Well, certainly -- I mean, the semantics, Jake, of what you want to call it, but it's certainly is the focus of what's going on right now.

We have a very difficult problem here. We have areas of the country, such as the New York area. We're going to be places like Detroit and other cities starting to get into trouble, where the curve did what exactly I said on this show and other shows some time ago.

TAPPER: Yes.

FAUCI: It putters along a while, and then it just goes way up. And when it does that, you're really in full mitigation. It's very difficult to do containment.

So, we want to strongly do mitigation in those areas like New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area, at the same time that we don't neglect other areas of the country, where it looks like there are just relatively few infections, because we have a window of opportunity there, as the -- Speaker Pelosi said to get out there and test.

And if we do testing, identification, isolation, getting people out of circulation who are infected, and contact tracing, we might be able to prevent those areas from getting to that stage where we'd have to do mitigation, which is much more than difficult and much more frustrating than trying to contain.

TAPPER: Well, Dr. Birx said yesterday, as you know, that she doesn't think any city will be spared from this virus.

How many cases do you think the U.S. will reach? A million cases, 10 million cases? Or are these -- we -- or do we not even have any idea?

FAUCI: You know, Jake, the honest -- to be honest with you, we don't really have any firm idea.

There are things called models. And when someone creates a model, they put in various assumptions. And the model is only as good and as accurate as your assumptions. And whenever the modelers come in, they give a worst-case scenario and a best-case scenario.

Generally, the reality is somewhere in the middle. I have never seen a model of the diseases that I have dealt where the worst-case scenario actually came out. They always overshoot.

So, when you use numbers like a million, a million-and-a-half, two million, that almost certainly is off the chart. Now, it's not impossible, but very, very unlikely.

[09:20:03]

So, it's difficult to present.

I mean, looking at what we're seeing now, I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases. But I don't want to be held to that, because it's -- excuse me -- deaths. I mean, we're going to have millions of cases.

But I -- I just don't think that we really need to make a projection, when it's such a moving target, that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.

What we do know, Jake, is that we got a serious problem in New York, we have a serious problem in New Orleans, and we're going to be developing serious problems in other areas.

So, although people like to model it, let's just look at the data of what we have, and not worry about these worst-case and best-case scenarios.

TAPPER: Well, let me ask you.

So, Dr. Fauci, we're about to hit the last day of the 15 days to flatten the curve. Everybody watching at home wants to know how long you think it's going to last.

What steps does the United States need to take right now in order to be able to see some light at the end of the tunnel? And when might that be?

FAUCI: You know, Jake, what I want to see is, I want to see a flattening and a turning down to the curve.

So, if somebody asked me a question, what about New York, should we be pulling back on New York, obviously not. New York is doing this. New Orleans is doing this.

When we start to see a daily number of cases, instead of increasing and escalating, they start to flatten out, turn the corner and then start coming down, when we see that, then you could start doing the modification of the intensity of your mitigation.

As I have said before, it's true the virus itself determines that timetable. You can try and influence that timetable by mitigating against the virus, but, ultimately, it's what the virus does.

And when I start seeing this happen, then I will come back on the show and tell you, you know, Jake, I think we're at that point now where we can start pulling back a little, but not right now in several of the places that I just mentioned.

TAPPER: Well, there's this discussion out there about loosening the social distancing guidelines in some parts of the country.

CNN is reporting that some federal health officials are preparing a recommendation where some parts of the country will be able to open schools and open businesses.

And yet I hear that, and then I hear what you're saying and Dr. Birx, when you're saying that there are these hot spots that we know of, New Orleans, New York, and that we don't really have an idea of where other hot spots might be.

FAUCI: Right.

TAPPER: You just agreed with what Speaker Pelosi said.

Because of -- because of the lag in testing, there could be hot spots in all sorts of cities that we don't know.

FAUCI: Right. TAPPER: And we're just not there yet.

So, what do you think about the recommendations that some parts of the country might be able...

FAUCI: Right.

TAPPER: ... to loosen the guidelines, given the fact that we, at least according to you, don't even know where these next hot spots will be?

FAUCI: Great question, Jake.

And that's the reason why, if you look at an area, any area -- take one that has moderate degree of activity -- you can't just empirically say, I'm going to loosen restrictions there. You can do it, but you absolutely must have in place the capability of going there, testing, testing in an efficient way, not take a test, come back five days later, and find out if you're infected, testing, knowing in real time if a person is infected, and then getting them out of circulation, and contact tracing.

Because if you release the restrictions before you have a good eyeball on what's going on there, you're going to get in trouble.

So, I'm not against releasing the restrictions. I'm actually for it in an appropriate place. But I don't recommend it unless we have the tools in place in real time to do the things I just said.

If we can do that, we can keep things contained without slipping into the need of having to mitigate, the way they are in New York and New Orleans and other places now.

So, it's doable, but it's only doable if you put the tools in place.

TAPPER: Do we have those tools?

Vice President Pence said that there had been more than 600,000 tests across the country, which is certainly an improvement from where we were a month ago. But there are 330 million Americans; 660,000 or 600 -- whatever the number is -- 600,000-plus.

How -- how many tests need to have been done, need to be done before you will feel comfortable knowing where the hot spots are, so then some restrictions can be loosened in the future?

FAUCI: Jake, I don't think it's the quantitatively -- how many tests you need.

I mean, obviously, you want to get tests out there that one can get a test easily, in real time, with a result right away. So, right now, if you compare a couple of weeks ago to where we are right now, we have an amazingly larger number of tests than we had before.

[09:25:15] But what I want to see and I want to be satisfied is that those tests are being implemented on the ground where we need them. That's the connection I want to make sure, not just tests out there, but are the tests being able to be implemented?

If we can do that, Jake, I think we could reasonably, with the safety of the American people in mind, pull back on some of the restrictions.

But you got to have all the players and all the material in place. That's what we're trying to do.

TAPPER: Right, but it doesn't sound like those tools are in place right now?

FAUCI: You know, Jake, in some places, they are, and, in some places, they're not.

We have to be honest and realistic, because you go to a place, and people say, well, I still can't get testing as quickly as I can. But that situation is being less and less common as the days and weeks go by, because the more we're hearing of people who maybe could not get tests before are getting them now.

It still is not a perfect situation, because I'm sure people will be calling up and saying, I needed to get a test, and I couldn't get it. Hopefully, that's much, much less frequently than we saw a week or two ago.

TAPPER: When do you think you will be comfortable with the amount of testing being present, so that restrictions can be lifted in some parts of the country?

FAUCI: You know, I think it's going to depend a lot, Jake, on the availability of those rapid tests that you can get really quickly, 15 minutes or so, where you will know right away, so that when you identify someone who's infected, that person doesn't go out into society for a few days, infect a bunch of people, and then you bring them back because the test is positive.

When we get those tests out that you can do right away, rapid, point of care, and do it, then I think we're going to be closer. To put a time on it, Jake, I don't know. It's going to be a matter of weeks. It's not going to be tomorrow. And it's certainly not going to be next week.

It's going to be a little bit more than that. And exactly when it'll be, I think relates to the question you asked me. When are we going to get that material, those tests, and the PPEs and other things that people can utilize with that?

When we get it out there, that's when we're going to be able to do what you're talking about.

TAPPER: But that -- of course, what you're saying makes it very clear that, when the 15 days are up for the 15 days to flatten the curve campaign -- and that will be over this -- early this week -- you don't think that we're ready to lift guidelines yet?

FAUCI: Well, Jake, we're going to obviously seriously discuss and consider that.

My own opinion, looking at the way things are, I doubt if that would be the case. But we're a group. We're a task force. We're going to sit down and we're going to talk about it. But, obviously, what you see me describe, it's a little iffy there.

So we will take it as it comes. We will look at it. And if we need to push the date forward, we will push the date forward.

TAPPER: Governor Cuomo has been talking about needing 30,000 ventilators. They're not using them right now, but he says that his experts are telling him that he needs to prepare for that.

Do you have any reason to doubt that 30,000 ventilators for New York is what his health officials are recommending?

FAUCI: You know, there's a lot of different calculations.

I mean, my experience, I tend to believe Governor Cuomo. I mean, there are some that say there are -- there are ventilators that are there in a certain place that's accessible. We just need to connect the dots to get them accessible.

So, there are two issues here. Are there ventilators there that you can use that you need better accessibility to? And, if so, get them. If not, then give them to him.

One way or the other, he needs the ventilators that he needs. And, hopefully, we will get him the ventilators that he needs. They may be closer to him than is realized. But if they're not, we will get them there. And if they are, we will try to help him get access to the ones that are there.

Bottom line, he's got to have the ventilators, period.

TAPPER: Last question for you, Dr. Fauci.

I have to ask you about something that the president said at his press conference on Friday. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps, they're not appreciative to FEMA, it's not right.

I say, Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan.

You know what I say? If they don't treat you right, I don't call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Dr. Fauci, can you assure the American people that whether or not they get the help they need from the federal government, it does not depend on whether their governors are appreciative enough of the federal help or flattering enough of the Trump administration?

[09:30:01]

FAUCI: No, Jake, I think the reality, not the rhetoric, but the reality is that the people who need things will get what they need. There's the reality and the rhetoric.

I think that -- I mean, I know the spirit of the task force, and when we talk about, when people need things, doesn't matter who they are. We try to get them what they need.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Fauci, God bless you. Thank you so much for all the work you're doing. We really appreciate it.

And thanks for talking to us today.

FAUCI: Good to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: The CDC is issuing new domestic travel restrictions for the New York region, as New York City sets up makeshift morgues for the first time in that city since 9/11.

Joining me now is the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.

Mayor de Blasio, thanks for joining us.

The CDC now telling residents of New York to refrain from nonessential domestic travel for 14 days, effective immediately.

What's your reaction?

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Jake, actually, I don't think it's the most central question before us right now, because I'm just entirely focused on making sure we have what we need to save lives in New York City.

The only comment I'd have on it is, we have got to be mindful of families that, at this crucial moment, want to reunite, whether that means families coming back to New York or leaving New York to go to another place where they're based.

We have got to be really respectful of, in the middle of a crisis, families have a right to be together. And this is going to be a long crisis, Jake. I think this whole discussion of how quickly we can restart is missing just how deep a crisis this is, not only in New York, but it's going to spread around the country.

And we should get more girded for the sheer timeline here. But other than that concern, a travel advisory isn't something I'm going to fixate on. I want to know where we're going to get the ventilators and the PPEs and the doctors and the nurses to save lives here in New York that would be lost otherwise, because that's the standards to me.

Are we going to be able to save every life we can, or do we risk that possibility -- and I'm saying in a week or two -- do we risk that possibility of losing lives that could have been saved if the equipment and the supplies and the personnel were there when we needed them?

TAPPER: So, let's talk about that, because you have been calling for more ventilators, more ICU hospital beds, more masks, more PPE.

Your 911 system in New York City is overwhelmed, with almost twice as many calls as normal. What do you need from the federal government right now? And when do you think you're going to run out of the capacity to care for any New Yorker who is sick?

DE BLASIO: So, Jake, I have told the president, the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, all of them -- and I want to say they have all been very available, very responsive.

I have told them all the same thing, Sunday, April 5. We have enough supplies to get to a week from today, with the exception of ventilators. We're going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly.

But we have otherwise the supplies to get to next Sunday. We are going to need a reinforcement by Sunday, April 5, in all categories, especially ventilators, but in other areas as well. And personnel is becoming more and more of the issue.

And I want to say, the military has been very responsive on this. They have a lot of doctors and nurses. I have made a direct request to the president and to the military to find us immediately more military medical personnel and get them here by next Sunday, but also to start figuring out how to get civilian medical personnel from around the country here.

We're talking about a sharp escalation ahead. We have got almost 30,000 cases now, over 500 deaths already. We are over a quarter of the nation's cases here in New York City.

And I only can guarantee you the next week. That's how difficult, that's how challenging it is. And our front-line health care workers, Jake, are giving their all. They're in harm's way. And we need to get them relief. We need to get them support and protection, but also relief.

They can't keep up at this pace for weeks and weeks and weeks ahead...

TAPPER: Right.

DE BLASIO: ... and expect to save lives, the way we need them to.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about the way that you have handled the response in New York City.

I want you to take a listen to yourself and your message to New Yorkers. These are three different clips. One is from January, one is from February, and one is from early this month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DE BLASIO: It's important. Just go about your lives. Continue living as you have.

New Yorkers should go about our lives. Continue doing what we do.

This should not stop you from going about your life, should not stop you from going to Chinatown and going out to eat.

We want people still to go on about their lives. We want people to rest assured that a lot is being done to protect them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: The last clip was from March 13, just about two weeks ago.

In retrospect, is that message, at least in part, to blame for how rapidly the virus has spread across the city?

DE BLASIO: Jake, we should not be focusing, in my view, on anything looking back on any level of government right now.

This is just about how we save lives going forward. We all were working, everybody was working with the information we had, and trying, of course, to avoid panic, and at that point, for all of us, trying to keep -- not only protect lives, but keep the economy and the livelihoods together, keep ensuring that people had money to pay for food and medicine.

[09:35:19]

I mean, this was a very different world just a short time ago.

But the bottom line is, none of us have time to look backwards. I'm trying to figure out how we get through to Sunday, next Sunday, and then what we do the week after that. And that's the only thing we should be talking about in this country.

And, by the way, any other place in this country that thinks this is just going to pass them by and it's going to be a nonissue, it's in all 50 states now. And what we're all learning at the front line is, this moves very, very fast, in a way none of us have ever experienced in our lives.

So, the focus has to be on getting the personnel, the ventilators, the supplies where they need to be. And then, when each region of the country starts to see that improvement, the way Dr. Fauci just described to you, when you actually see the caseloads go down, and you actually have the testing to know what's going on, then send those personnel, send those ventilators to the next place that needs them most.

That's what we're going to have to do. And I think the military is the only part of our nation that can actually organize and engineer such a massive effort. TAPPER: So -- but, Mr. Mayor, you say you don't think you should look

backwards, but you have criticized President Trump for -- quote -- "actions that are far, far behind the curve."

I mean, Mr. Mayor, weren't your actions in this outbreak also far, far behind the curve?

DE BLASIO: Jake, I, in real time, said -- and this was weeks and weeks ago, as it was happening -- that we were not being given the testing we needed.

I think the big historical point here that will be looked back on is, if this country had had the testing when we needed it, this could have been a very different reality.

But there's no time to go back over that. There's only time to focus on getting through the next week and the week after that.

I mean, you can ask all the questions you want. They're fair, but I think the time to deal with these questions is after this war is over, because, literally, here in New York City, it feels like a wartime environment.

We -- I'm talking to doctors, nurses, front-line public health leaders. They're literally trying to figure out what's going to happen just days from now. And they're watching an escalation, Jake, that never -- we have never seen in our lives.

The only comparison is to 100 years ago, the Spanish influenza pandemic. The only comparison in terms of our economy and our lives is to the Great Depression. None of us have ever experienced this. We have got to focus on today, tomorrow, next week, if we're going to get through this.

TAPPER: Mayor de Blasio, thank you so much. Good luck dealing with the crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our brothers and sisters in New York City.

DE BLASIO: Thank you very much, Jake.

TAPPER: With the city of Detroit an emerging coronavirus hot spot, President Trump approved Michigan's disaster declaration, but not before taking a few shots at Michigan's Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Democrat, who joins me now from Michigan.

Governor, President Trump approved the major disaster declaration for your state on Friday. Yesterday, you tweeted that your state had received more than 100,000 masks from the national stockpile, and you expected to receive 8,000 more.

You have been critical of the administration's response and help from Michigan so far. Are you now finally getting what you need from the federal government?

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): Well, we're relieved, frankly; 112,000 masks yesterday morning means we're going to make it through the weekend.

We have got a lot of hospitals that are already at capacity. We had 1,000 new cases yesterday. We know that number is going to be even higher today.

We are working all angles. So, we're grateful for FEMA. We're grateful for the vice president. He and I chatted yesterday. We have got -- we know that they're working 24/7. We are, as a state, trying to procure everything else that we can to meet the needs of the people of our state and asking our residents to chip in as well, if they can -- if a business, a manufacturer has N95 masks, to just take them over to the local hospital.

We have got distilleries that are making hand sanitizer. So, I mean, it's got to be all hands on deck. We're not one another's -- we shouldn't be fighting one another. We need to be fighting COVID-19 together.

TAPPER: Governor, President Trump's been going after you personally, saying that you don't appreciate the job that the federal government has done for Michigan.

He said, on Friday, this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps, they're not appreciative to FEMA, it's not right.

I say, Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan.

You know what I say? If they don't treat you right, I don't call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Your response, Governor?

WHITMER: You know, I don't have energy to respond to every slight.

I -- what I'm trying to do is work well with the federal government. And I will tell you this. There are people from the White House on down who are working 24/7, just like we are at the states.

We're all stressed, because we have people that are dying right now. I need assistance and I need partnership.

[09:40:05]

And so that's what we're starting to see out of the feds. We're grateful for it. But there's so much more work to do.

Detroit is the -- the dire situation in Detroit is getting worse by the minute. And so all of our energy really needs to be focused on getting PPE to the people of our country.

But, right, now in Michigan, we are in need. And I need all the help we can get.

TAPPER: You said on Friday that -- quote -- "Vendors with whom we had contracts are now being told not to send stuff here to Michigan, and we're instead working with the federal government."

Two Michigan state lawmakers are now seeking to help you -- quote -- "remove any and all roadblocks" you might be facing with those vendors. But they say you haven't released the names.

Can you tell us the names of these vendors and what exactly is going wrong there?

WHITMER: So, I think people are trying to make this into a different story than what it.

The story in Michigan is the same as Massachusetts, the same as New York, the same as Illinois and Minnesota.

We, the states, are trying to actively get every piece of PPE that we can. We're bidding against one another. And, in some cases, the federal government is taking priority.

We have had contracts that were in place that were set aside or were delayed or were canceled altogether because the goods that we had contracted for are going to the federal government. And it's a source of frustration not unique to Michigan, but it's a unique situation that we have in our country right now.

And it's really, I think, creating a lot more problems for all of us. And that's what I was -- that's what I was talking about.

My role is not to out vendors, because I think that they're concerned about retribution and potential problems for them later. My role is to get every personal protection equipment, every piece I can get, into the state of Michigan.

We have nurses wearing the same mask from the beginning of their shift until the end, masks that are supposed to be for one patient and one -- one point in your shift.

We need some assistance. And we're going to need thousands of ventilators. And so my point that I was making is that we're doing everything we can to get the kind of help that we need. We're getting help from the federal government.

But these -- these other pressure points are real, and there are a lot of lives at stake.

TAPPER: Right, a lot of the cities and states competing against each other, bidding against each other for these direly needed supplies.

The surgeon general said on Friday that this coming week is going to be worse than last week, especially for cities such as Detroit.

WHITMER: Yes. TAPPER: Your state's chief medical executive told CNN Friday that,

when it comes to coronavirus cases -- quote -- "We think we're still on the aggressive upslope," and that you still have several weeks until you hit the peak.

You added almost 1,000 cases yesterday alone. How long can your health system survive this and hold up without being so inundated with patients, you face -- your doctors face the kinds of choices that nobody ever wants to face?

WHITMER: I know.

It's heart -- it's gut-wrenching, Jake. We knew that it was a matter of time, not a question of if, COVID-19 would come to Michigan. And that's why we have been on the front end of taking aggressive steps.

Part of the job is to make sure that people understand why the stay- at-home order is so important. This is a novel virus. There's no cure, there's no vaccine. We don't have enough of the equipment that our nurses and doctors need.

And so the best thing that we can do is slow the spread. That means staying home. The virus can't go from me to you if we're not together. And that's really the most important thing that we're always trying to educate the people of our state.

And I know my fellow governors across the country are doing the same. We need to slow the spread, so that our hospitals have a fighting shot at treating people.

TAPPER: Right.

WHITMER: We have got a number of hospitals that are already at capacity. We're going to see this number continue to climb, because even though the order has been in place, it's going to take a while before we see the benefit of it.

And so we're asking everyone to do their part, to stay home and stay safe and save lives and support our health care system to meet the needs of the people that are in such dire straits.

TAPPER: Governor Whitmer of Michigan, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of your great state. Thank you so much.

Stay in touch if you need anything that we can help bring attention to.

WHITMER: Thank you.

TAPPER: One of the nation's first coronavirus hot spots, Washington state, just saw its biggest one-day surge in deaths, as the president is also criticizing that state's leader, Washington's Democratic Governor Jay Inslee, who joins me now.

Governor Inslee, thanks for joining us.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): You bet.

TAPPER: Your state's been dealing with this crisis the longest.

Just yesterday, the mayor of Seattle told CNN that they're -- quote -- "running blind" and still have almost no testing in the Seattle area.

So, I want to ask you, what does your state need? What do you not have enough of right now?

[09:45:01]

INSLEE: Well, we have a desperate need for the testing kits.

We have been -- had some considerable success building up the capacity to analyze the samples when they're taken. University of Washington has been successful. We have done some really good things there.

But we simply don't have the materials to take the test itself, some -- things as simple as the swabs. When the little vials -- when you put the swab in it to send it to the lab, it needs a particular medium in it to preserve it. We just do not have those simple things.

And that's why we have got to mobilize the entire manufacturing base of the United States, like we did in World War II, for things as simple as these testing kits.

This is so severe in my state, I have had a person have to drive 300 miles to pick some up to deliver him 40 vials. So we have a desperate need for all kinds of equipment. And we need a full-scale mobilization of the incredible manufacturing base of the United States, like we started on December 8, 1941.

I think that's what we need.

TAPPER: So, Governor Inslee, earlier in the show, Dr. Fauci said that there are parts of the country where it's not difficult to get tests or testing kits, and parts where it is.

I -- I am flummoxed, I'm stunned that, so long into this crisis, Washington state, which was the first real hot spot, that you still don't have enough tests.

How are these tests being given to states and localities? How could it possibly be that Washington state still doesn't have enough?

INSLEE: Well, here's why we need a federal response to this.

Let me give you an example. I was talking to Elon Musk the other day, who's helping us get some ventilators, which we really appreciate. There are some businesspeople who are helping states.

And he was pointing out that we don't really necessarily maybe have such a shortage of ventilators, but we have a maldistribution of ventilators, where we have ventilators sitting in places where they're not being used, and aren't going to states who are going to be hit the first, like New York, like Washington state, like California. And this is where we need a federal coordination to get the assets

where they're really needed, A, and, B, to mobilize our manufacturers to produce these sometimes very simple products for the entire national stockpile.

We need both of those. And that's where the federal government can really help. The governors, Republicans and Democrats, are being as aggressive as possible to build the manufacturing capacity.

But I really think having a federal response to that would be helpful. Now, we're getting help from the national stockpile. We have got thousands and tens of thousands of masks and gloves, and we really appreciate, from the step federal stockpile.

We're having soldiers. The 627th from Colorado arrived yesterday to build a hospital for us in CenturyLink Field. So, there's some good things happening from the federal government. And we have a lot of gratitude for everybody involved in that.

But we could use a more coordinated federal response.

TAPPER: President Trump has said that he hopes to use increased surveillance testing to get people in some areas of the country that have not been hard-hit back to work for -- faster.

I understand your state is not one of those places, necessarily, and it has a lot of hot spots. But if President Trump were to issue the guidelines, guidance to do so, would you lift your statewide order, so that people in parts of the state that are not hard-hit would open their schools or businesses?

INSLEE: No.

We need to make decisions based on science and reality. And there are some hard realities we have to understand. And that is, unless we continue a very vigorous social distancing program in my state, this is going to continue to spread like wildfire to every single corner of my state.

That is an inevitable scientific fact. And we have only one weapon to prevent that. And that is to continue our social distancing.

We are seeing some very modest success in bending that curve just a little bit, but that's very unpredictable. And we have a long, long ways to go.

I think it's highly probable that the two-week stay-home, stay-healthy initiative that we started just a few days ago is going to have to be extended, just because of the epidemiological evidence.

And, boy, I would not want to be responsible for opening the door to this virus to ravage our places that seem OK today, but, within 10 weeks, within 10 days, can be at full-scale burning through our hospital system.

And we have seen this happen. We have got to be ahead of this curve. TAPPER: President Trump's been going after you repeatedly.

He said on Friday that you have been -- quote -- "constantly chirping." He said you weren't showing enough appreciation for the administration's response.

[09:50:06]

And I want you to take a listen to what he says he told Vice President Pence about you and Governor Whitmer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When they're not appreciative to me, they're not appreciative to the Army Corps, they're not appreciative to FEMA, it's not right.

I say, Mike, don't call the governor of Washington. You're wasting your time with him. Don't call the woman in Michigan.

You know what I say? If they don't treat you right, I don't call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you think that your relationship with the president and his clear animosity towards you is impacting your ability to get what you need from the federal government to save lives of people in Washington state?

INSLEE: Well, I certainly hope not.

And we're going to expect the best from all our partners. And we have partners. I mean, I met with the Army in my state yesterday building a hospital. We certainly have a great working relationship with the Army.

We have good open lines of communication with FEMA. And, as Gretchen Whitmer indicated, we're still talking to the vice president. After the president said that, she had a conversation with Mike Pence, and I assume that I will as well.

So, those communications are helping. And I spoke -- are happening. And I spoke to the director of FEMA yesterday about a glitch that I hope can get fixed.

So, I think that we're continuing to have good partnership. We're not distracted by some of the noise out of the White House. And we're continuing to work as a team. So, I feel good about that.

But, boy, we have got a lot more work to do.

TAPPER: All right, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington state, God bless you, and our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Washington state.

INSLEE: Thank you.

TAPPER: Let us know if there's anything you need that you're not getting from the federal government, so we can bring attention to it.

INSLEE: Just wash your hands.

TAPPER: I am -- I don't even leave my house.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: The pandemic is now expanding deeper into the United States. This week, Nebraska reported its first coronavirus deaths.

And the Republican governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, joins me now.

Governor Ricketts, thanks so much for joining us.

President Trump has said he's going to be making a decision on whether to relax social distancing guidelines in certain parts of the country, such as your state that aren't right now hot spots for the disease.

But I have to ask you. While Nebraska does not have the same kind of caseload as other states, you just reported your first two coronavirus deaths. Do you think loosening the restrictions is a good idea right now?

GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R-NE): Well, I think one of the other things the president said is that this is not a one-size-fit-all answer, that states are going to be on their own -- or, rather, the states are going to be able to make their own decisions.

And that's what we're doing here in Nebraska. We have got one of the world-leading experts at University of Nebraska Medical Center in infectious diseases.

Weeks ago, we put together a plan for how we were going to address this. I think the president kicked the entire country off with the 10- person rule that he put in place almost two weeks ago. But we have got a plan. And we're going to continue to work the plan.

It involves breaking our state up regionally by public health districts, and how many cases we have in those districts, and putting our restrictions in place. And we're just going to continue to work that plan.

TAPPER: How many tests have been done in Nebraska? Because, as you know, one of the concerns that we have heard from people such as Dr. Fauci and others is that this disease is likely far more widespread than we know because of the lag in testing, only about 650,000 tests so far in a country of 330 million.

There might be a lot of hot spots out there that we don't even know about. How many -- how many tests in Nebraska? Do you know?

RICKETTS: So, we have done a little over a couple of thousand tests. And I don't think there's any governor who thinks they have enough tests.

But, again, working in conjunction with our experts at UNMC, we put together a plan and a program that assumed we would have limited testing to begin with. And so we're using rules of thumb, like how many people in every region can you find that you can't figure out how they got it? That's a good indication of community spread.

And when we get those cases, that's when we put our most restrictive directed health measures in place.

TAPPER: One of the big concerns, as you know, is rural hospitals.

One of the deaths in your state that we reported was in rural Hall County. Studies show that many rural counties don't have any ICU beds, and that rural areas are more vulnerable to the disease because the residents are older, they possibly have more health problems.

Can the rural health system in Nebraska handle this crisis, assuming it does become a full-blown crisis in Nebraska?

RICKETTS: Well, I think the key there is, first of all, managing it, so that we slow down the spread, right? I mean, that's why we put these restrictions in place.

The second thing is, we are working with our local public health districts to distribute out personal protective equipment to make sure that we have got that distributed to where we need it. So, we're requesting people to let us know what their needs are.

We do the same types of testing in our rural areas that we would do for our urban areas. So, it's the same criteria, the same screener, if you will, to be able to indicate that we got the testing.

[09:55:05]

And then, frankly, with regard to these rural hospitals, they already transfer patients today based upon their ability to be able to handle it. So, it's a practice that's already in place, that if a hospital has a case that they don't feel like they can give the proper amount of care to, we make an arrangement to transfer to a different hospital.

TAPPER: After President Trump referred to the criticisms voiced about his administration's handling of the crisis, after he called that a hoax in February, you felt the need to tell your constituents that coronavirus itself was -- quote -- "not a hoax."

Do people in your state think this is a hoax? Why did you feel the need to make that clear?

RICKETTS: Well, I was actually in a press conference, and a reporter said he had received directly a text from somebody saying that this is not serious, this is a hoax.

And so I -- in the middle of the press conference, the reporter asked me that. And I said, no, this is very serious. We have to take it seriously. We have got a plan for how we're going to work it. We need people, though, to pay attention to the plan, so when we ask them to take these measures, these restrictions, like closing down restaurants to dine-in and limiting the size of groups to 10 people, we need people to follow that.

TAPPER: You have said that you have 600 ventilators in your state, but that you're seeking more.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said this week that things in his state are so bad, extra ventilators should be sent from other states to New York, and then, when the disease leaves his state and goes to other parts of the country, then they can be redeployed as needed.

I understand that you have to do the best thing you can for Nebraskans. Does it give you any pause to compete with a state like New York that is facing crisis levels? How have you found the difficulties I have heard from other governors about competitive bidding between states, without one -- one federal government overseer of who gets the supplies?

RICKETTS: So, we are doing an analysis right now of what we are projecting our knees for hospital beds and ICU beds and ventilators. And we're going to be seeking to be able to get that.

And so I have not experienced the issue that some of my colleagues have talked about with regard to the federal government stepping in, maybe, in front of their orders and their orders being delayed or canceled.

But we also are going to be continuing -- looking to buy personal protective equipment and other supplies directly for the state of Nebraska. And, frankly, I think that, again, you can either have it one way or the other. You can either have the federal government do everything, or you can have the states do everything.

I think we're trying to get a process down right now. I would actually prefer that we leave it up to the states to be able to manage this, because I think that's going to be a better outcome.

But you got to -- you can't have it both ways. You can't complain because the federal government is stepping in front of your orders and then have -- and then say, well, the federal government should be doing everything in the first place.

It's -- you have got to kind of pick which model you want to go with.

TAPPER: OK.

Governor Ricketts, best of luck to you. I hope that it does not hit Nebraska as hard as it hits other parts of the country.

Please stay in touch with us, and let us know how we can help.

RICKETTS: Great. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

TAPPER: Finally from us today, we want to take a moment to honor and thank the medical workers on the front lines. Trying to save the lives of others, stretched beyond all reasons yet still showing up to work every day fully aware that they could be exposed. They're shorthanded and short on supplies, many are being told to reuse single-use masks for a whole week. They see patients without the protections they need.

Dr. Lisa Dabby, bluntly put it this way to me just a few days ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. LISA DABBY, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, UCLA HEALTH: You wouldn't take a firefighter and ask him to run into a burning building in a bathing suit. And that's essentially what they're asking us to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: New Yorkers in the epicenter of this outbreak leaned out of their windows and flooded their balconies Friday to try to give a two- minute ovation to the medical professionals working under these conditions, changing shifts. One from their number tragically unable to hear the appreciation Kious Jordan Kelly, an assistant nurse manager at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. He tested positive for the virus on March 18th, and he died on Tuesday. And this is how Kious' sister described him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARYA SHERRON, SISTER OF SINAI HOSPITAL WORKER: Everything happened very quickly. He was healthy and he did love his job. And the smile on the pictures that you're seeing that was him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Other doctors and nurses and health care professionals from coast to coast are right this moment, some of them, in critical condition, intubated, fighting for their lives. As of now the majority are healthy. But knowing that the dangers they face every day, many have been updating their wills and funeral plans as "The Washington Post" reporter this week. Some of them just in their 20s or 30s.

[10:00:02]

It was great to see that video of New Yorkers applauding health care workers during the shift change, but a better way for the United States to honor health care workers would be to get them the masks and the personal protective equipment they need, so they can be there when and if you or someone you love needs them.

Applause is nice. Politicians getting them, the box of N95 masks that would be even better. And the fact that too many professionals don't have them, that's a national disgrace.

"FAREED ZAKARIA, GPS" starts now.