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Shortage of Medical Supplies; Imperial College Warns that Coronavirus Could Overwhelm Health Care Systems; Taking Pressure Off the Health Care System; New York's Tri-State Area Shutdown; Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ), is Interviewed About the Coronavirus; Panic Buying During This Corona Crisis; Boots Company Says Increase Volume of Sales Never Happened Before; Health Emergency is an Economic Emergency; Interview With Dr. Laurie Santos; Interview With Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 17, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour" live from London. Here's what's coming
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): I go to bed every night, I'm sure I will tonight, asking myself are we doing enough?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: An unprecedented coronavirus shutdown turns New York's tri-state area into a ghost town. I ask New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy, how to
protect lives and livelihoods.
On the front lines of the American economy, we hear from the president of the Minneapolis Fed, Neel Kashkari.
And going the distance while keeping a distance. Yale psychologist, Dr. Laurie Santos, on how we can still stay connected.
Plus, from comedy legend, Mel Brooks, and his son, a spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
And we begin here in Europe, the current epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, but where the World Health Organization says there remains a
critical shortage of medical supplies. A scientific report from Imperial College here in London warns that unless measures are taken to stamp out
the virus, it could overwhelm health care systems and cost hundreds of thousands of lives in the U.K. alone and more than a million in the United
And so, world leaders from Donald Trump to Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron have shifted their tones dramatically. France is deploying elements
of the military to provide crucial support. The U.K. is calling for a war footing and says the economic crisis is the biggest ever seen in peacetime.
The E.U. is now preparing to close its borders to all nonessential travel as are nations an around the world. Social restrictions are tightening
around the United States with millions on lockdown in California. And the New York tri-state area under strict social distancing and in some cases,
New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy, join me to talk about how he's working to flatten the curve as cases of coronavirus keep rising.
Governor Phil Murphy, welcome to the program.
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): Nice to be with you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Well, these must be incredibly trying times and really, really stressful times. Just tell me because, obviously, the New York tri-state
area, your state, New York, Connecticut, have now imposed sort of a joint curfew, joint bans, joint social restrictions. Tell me exactly what you're
doing right now.
MURPHY: You bet. And by the way, I should add, while they didn't get the same amount of attention, Pennsylvania has done virtually the same step.
So, what we have done is we've restricted any gathering to 50 persons at most, we've canceled all public and private schools, we have called up in
New Jersey, the National Guard, to help us with any number of things.
We have closed all nonessential places of business. We have converted restaurants and bars from eat-in services to takeout and delivery only. We
have restricted nonessential travel between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. every single day until further notice. We strongly discourage any of that.
And frankly, if anything, Christiane, we are looking at maybe taking further steps. The whole notion here is to crack the back of that curve,
flatten that curve, so that by doing so over here, we can take the pressure off the health care system over there and God willing, save some lives. And
as you've said, we're doing it regionally. I think that packs more of a punch.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's really interesting, actually, because I guess the more people who do it or the more locations and states, the more of an
impact. as you say, it does. Even President Obama, former president, has been tweeting a "The Washington Post" article that has this curve
flattening diagram, depending on what kind of social distancing you actually take.
I do want to ask you, though, because, obviously, it hasn't escaped our attention that leaders, whether it's President Trump, whether it's the U.K.
prime minister, again, the French president and others, have suddenly, almost overnight, taken these dramatic new steps, there are curfews in
France, there are draconian lockdowns in many parts of the world right now.
Is it because of this Imperial College report here that has predicted these, you know, rather hefty number of deaths if this social distancing
and if necessary, self-isolation isn't taken seriously?
MURPHY: I can't say per se that that study dictated our moves and I certainly can't speak for the presidents and prime ministers to whom you
referred. But I do know this, that if you look at the curve that we will live through without action, it's unacceptable at every level. Infections,
loss of life, disruptions to the economy, disruptions to society.
And by the way, the steps we are taking have short-term disruptions and short-term pain and there's no replacing the role for federal government.
We're going to need the federal government right now for equipment, boots on the ground, but we are also going to need them to help them to help us
get our economy back at the feet.
But the alternative is completely and utterly unacceptable. So, that curve is allowed to go up in that big hump, we'll pay an enormous price including
in fatalities around the world. So, we are doing everything we can to jam that curve down, extend the amount of time, God willing, take pressure off
the health system and as a result, save lives.
And again, at the back end of this, there's no question we are going to need a lot of economic help from the federal government and that's
something we're already beginning to work toward.
AMANPOUR: Let me take some of those points first. How -- what is your worst nightmare, Governor? Yesterday, I spoke to the commissioner -- the
health commissioner for the state -- for the City of New York, and like many public health officials and many executives, there is a huge concern
about the basic lack of beds, emergency ICU beds, that can be used in the worst-case scenario. There's a huge lack of protective gear for health care
workers on the frontlines. There's a huge lack, obviously, of testing which is so, so important. What is your biggest fear right now?
MURPHY: Well, there are a number of concerns and there's enormous anxiety in the system. And one jobs, I think, we have as leaders is to be straight
with people, to tell them the facts, be transparent and try to do whatever we can to stay out ahead of this.
We started working on this in January. I formed a whole of government taskforce on, I think, February 2nd. At every step, we are trying to stay
out ahead of this. So, you're -- you have got a number -- you have gone through it, Christiane, a number of different variables here.
So, in our case, I think the testing regime as we sit here today is beginning to take off, both on intake as well as the actual testing. I
think we'll get to a far better place relatively soon. We look at the potential strain on the health care system. As you mentioned, the number of
beds. So, the -- you know, in many respects, the hipbone is connected to the thigh bone. So, the extent to which we're successful with social
distancing, we can preemptively take pressure off that health care system.
But we can't assume that that all will be as successful as we want it to be. So, for instance, we are right now aggressively looking at building out
more beds, whether it's reopening closed wings of hospitals, reopening entirely closed hospitals, potentially converting college dormitories that
are now not being used into low level quarantine locations. So those are all steps we are taking.
If you said to me the singular thing that keeps me up at night other than shortage of beds and the whole reality here, it's that we didn't -- we
weren't aggressive enough. We didn't take the sufficient amount of steps early enough.
As I've said, I think from day one our mantra is get out ahead of this, be straight with people, be as proactive as possible. I go to bed every night,
I'm sure I will tonight, asking myself are we doing enough even in the face of an enormous cost associated with what we're doing? There's no cost that
is too high right now in terms of our ability to save lives and bring the curve down.
AMANPOUR: Some people are getting upset, apparently, because they are resenting all these closures. The World Health Organization said that all
of you have to be aggressive but also, obviously, there's a fine line and a balance to strike between, you know, social management of all of this. I
just want to play what your next-door neighboring governor, Andrew Cuomo, said in response to some of these complaints and I'll get you to weigh in
in a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): My phone has been ringing off the hook with a number of local officials saying people are very, very upset, who is upset
about the gym being closed, who is upset about their restaurant is closed, who is upset about the bar is closed. If you are upset by what we have
done, be upset at me. My judgment is do whatever is necessary to contain this virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, obviously, the buck stops there. He is claiming that buck. I guess you are, as well. Are you finding any resistance? Are people taking
it seriously enough?
MURPHY: They with respect. Christiane, they were not. And I think we had a break through yesterday, but we shall see. Last weekend, I observed with my
own eyes in New Jersey that bars were so packed, anecdotally, people couldn't get in and at same time, you couldn't find a roll of toilet paper
in the entire darn state. And we had to take dramatic steps to bring both ends of that behavior in.
And I said yesterday something similar to what Andrew just said, to those who are anxious, we understand your anxiety. Our job is to be straight with
you and by being so, to lower the anxiety. But there's a second and third group of people. The second group, there were too many out there who just
don't believe in this. They just -- literally, they think it's fake news. They don't believe in the reality of it. And my answer to them was,
believe. Trust us. And if we're wrong, it's on me.
And then thirdly, I think there's a more benign group, in fairness, particularly young people who look at the data and the statistics and the
science and say, you know, what, this isn't really something that's going to impact my age group. I'm really healthy. I'm virile. I should be able to
get through this. So, therefore, I could be business as usual. And my answer there is just as it is any time to panic and it is not, it is also
no time for business as usual. So, if you don't care, start caring.
And in particular, to young people, just remember, even though you may not be symptomatic, you will invariably sit with an older parent or grandparent
or aunt, uncle, teacher, coach and you may well unwillingly give them this virus.
So, I think, yes, there's some pushback. But honestly, the more folks understand how serious this is and that closing gyms and theaters and
restaurants and bars ultimately is good for all of us, I think the more folks understanding that the better off we'll all be.
AMANPOUR: You said that you had been implementing a whole of government, an all of government approach since early February. Do you believe the
federal government has been doing that?
MURPHY: Listen. I don't know that -- I can't get inside of the federal government. We have had a constructive relationship from the moment the
vice president was charged with this project. And with him and his team, as well as with HHS. You know, there's lots of folks who would suggest they
wish they had gotten to this earlier, that looks like any of us getting to this earlier would have been better. But I'm playing the hand I'm dealt
today. And my asks of the federal government are very specifically personal protection equipment. We have gotten some of our asks but we need more from
the strategic stockpile.
Secondly, boots on the ground. We are beginning to see good progress. FEMA has designated our state as one of their initial rounds. They're helping us
literally as we speak here set up two of our mobile drive-thru testing sites in terms of the intake piece of it, that's a good sign. And thirdly,
in the medium and long-term, we're going to have enormous economic and financial needs, both for workers, small businesses, for the state itself.
Those are the asks we have of the federal government and we'll keep on those.
AMANPOUR: Well, everybody is looking to the federal government to see if it can mitigate this economic pain, from big businesses to small to
individuals. What is the uptick been in your state in terms of unemployment benefit requests? What is the uptick been and are you concerned about small
businesses and contractors and self-employed? Just give us a sense of how it's impacting, you know, people and their livelihoods in your state.
MURPHY: It is impacting them in a big way. The unemployment requests, first time requests for benefits that are coming in literally this week as
we sit here are overwhelming. Probably not surprising. The impact on small businesses is overwhelming. Again, not surprising.
When you look at what we have done with gyms and theaters and nonessential entities and bars and restaurants. We have no choice. That's the one thing
I want to make sure folks realize the alternative is a whole heck of a lot worse. The alternative is equal economic pain if not more so and economic
loss of life and sickness.
So, we are going to need -- we'll do everything we can within the state. Our secretary of labor is going to join me for my daily press briefing
today in addition to the commissioner of health to walk through exactly what we have got in place for workers. But we are going to need an enormous
amount of help, Christiane, for both workers and businesses, particularly our small business community. And there's no amount of money any one state
has to satisfy those needs. We are going to need help from the federal government.
AMANPOUR: You think they'll all be covered by this bill that's going through and all that Congress is, you know, like the secretary of treasury
on behalf of the administration negotiating with Congress?
MURPHY: Too early to tell to be honest with you. I think the steps that have been taken have been constructive. I particularly like the bipartisan
spirit, and that's a good thing. We need that right now. My gut tells me whatever the number ends up in terms of stimulus, we are going to need
more. That would be my guess.
This is historic. This is unforeseen, at least, in 100 years and our economy is multiples, of course, larger than it was before. It's global in
its nature. And it's impacting deeply ranges of industries. You know this as well if not better, airlines, leisure, generally, cruise, obviously. But
in our state, up and down, especially in the small business community.
So, my gut tells me any step is a good step in the right direction. But my gut tells me wherever the number in terms of stimulus ends up, it's going
to need to be bigger. We're going to need a bigger boat, as they said in "Jaws."
AMANPOUR: And what about the homeless and the people who are so vulnerable who just have nowhere to go and just -- I mean, they're out there? What are
you doing with your homeless?
MURPHY: Yes. Listen, we had a problem and a challenge, societal challenge, with homelessness before this hit. In fact, I have just, not that many
weeks ago, presented our annual budget and explicitly, we had some significant amount of help to help the communities where the homelessness
is most prevalent in cities like Newark, New Jersey, one of our cities that's on a rocket ship in terms of its rise but it is still faces the
challenges that any big city faces, and this now exacerbates that. So, I've said to our team, we've got to go back to the drawing board.
Invariably, like any other crisis like this, those most in need are invariably the ones that are most impacted and most at risk to be left
behind and that's why every step we take has to contemplate that. I'll give you another example. We have closed all of our public and private schools.
Well, in many cases, to the tune of a couple of hundred thousand kids in our state, the only hot reliable meal they have in their entire day is
through that school.
So, one of the things preemptively we had to make sure was that we had a system in place in order to continue delivering those meals to the kids and
their families who need it the most. Again, invariably, the folks who do need government the most are the ones that are most at risk at times like
this and most at risk to be left behind and leaders like yours truly and others have got to do everything they can to push back against that.
AMANPOUR: And I mean, I know it's presumably not at the top of mind right now, but there is a presidential election going on and a Democratic Primary
Race going on. There's already been -- I think it's Ohio, Louisiana and Georgia have postponed their primaries for later. Yours is scheduled for
June. Do you plan yet? Have you made a decision on whether you will delay it or just have mail-in ballots or, you know, that kind of thing?
MURPHY: So, we're literally that -- this is a very good question with a real-time answer. We have got a meeting on this literally later today or
tomorrow with our team making recommendations. So, I don't have a complete answer for you except to say everything's on the table.
As we sit here on St. Patrick's Day, and by the way, to all my fellow Irish around the world, I wish you a great St. Patrick's Day. As we sit here on
March 17th, the New Jersey primary will remain, at least, as of this point, on June 2nd. But in terms of how we go about that, the role that vote by
mail will play, et cetera, we are reviewing all of the above.
AMANPOUR: And of course, I did notice your bright green pocket square. And it's a St. Patrick's Day that will not go ahead, right? There you go. There
it is. Yes, it won't go ahead this year. I hope -- I assume you're confident that people will take that closure seriously, as well.
MURPHY: You know, please, God. And to the great credit, and I mentioned there were skeptics, I mentioned there were folks that just sort of didn't
care, but to the great credit of the overwhelming amount of the 9 million folk who is call this great state their home, when we put provisions in
place, there's been really admirable compliance.
You know, I mentioned -- I may have mentioned earlier that we put a 250- person maximum gathering in place, we have now dropped that to 50. But we saw no willful violation of those -- of that limit. And on St. Patrick's
Day, believe me, as a murphy, a leader, as one of the great Irish-American states in America, it gives me no joy to have the bars and restaurants
closed, to have the parades canceled.
But I think folks, to their credit, get that this is bigger than any of us and that if we all do our part, and I'm completely convinced of this, we
will get through this. We won't get through it unscathed. I'm sure we'll make mistakes but we will emerge stronger as one family and the sacrifice
that we'll make on a day like today where we'd like to celebrate and we can't will have been worth it.
AMANPOUR: And I guess, just finally, because it goes to the heart of this, your state knows and many know that you, two weeks ago today, underwent a
successful operation to remove a malignant tumor from your kidney. I'm glad to see you're there and that you're healthy and that you seem to be well.
But it obviously puts a massive and personal focus on the health care system and the public health care system and health care, you know, that
people need and that now we can see that decades of underinvestment into health care is causing this panic and this worry.
AMANPOUR: And this real concern for loss of life. I mean, do you think that this pandemic might put health at the top of a political agenda to
come in the future?
MURPHY: First at a personal note, I appreciate the overwhelming amount of outpouring on my behalf. Thank God we caught it early. And so far, so good.
My leisurely reintegration into work plan is not going so well given the coronavirus but I feel great.
But the answer, I -- please, God, I hope the answer is, yes, Christiane. And I said this, this was pre the real corona crisis a couple weeks ago
that I'm lucky. I caught this early and I've got good health care. I don't have to worry about the financial realities associated with that.
What makes me angry are the millions of folks in America who don't even have this health care, who don't have access to the prevention, so the
stuff that I did wherein I caught it. And if that weren't enough, we're now having a health care crisis and it is exposing long-term underinvestment
So, I hope, I -- please, please, God, hope and join your plea that it becomes not -- if not at the top of the agenda, very near the top that we
say, OK, once and for all we address affordability, accessibility, that we once and for all have the systems and reserves in place, the institutions
in place that are resilient, that are staffed, that are stocked such that we can turn to them in a future crisis and almost flip a light switch and
have a whole of government response, not just in a state but across our great country. Please, God, that is a silver lining outcome of what we are
going through right now.
AMANPOUR: Let us hope, Governor. Thank you so much, Governor Phil Murphy, for joining us.
MURPHY: Thank you for having me, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: Now, the government there and frankly, leaders everywhere you hear are alarmed at what they call unnecessary panic buying and hoarding,
toilet rolls. They say basic supplies will not run out and demand will be met.
Meanwhile, some are adapting to meet the desperate public demand in all sorts of areas such as the fashion and cosmetics giant, LVMH, which says
it's converting one of its perfumeries to make hand sanitizers, particularly for desperately needed health workers. Others are simply
learning as they go such as the U.K.'s largest pharmacy chain, Boots, which carried on through two World Wars but says that it has never seen anything
Here's Correspondent Nina Dos Santos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The sign has become familiar around the world. And so, have the empty shelves. As the U.K. steps up its effort
to fight COVID-19, the country's largest pharmacy chain, Boots, on the front lines of supplying a panicked public trying to hoard supplies.
And this is what they're after. We had to travel three hours north of London to find it, deep in Boots headquarters. While the government
continuing to urge people to wash their hands, demand for products like these has soared. Boots said that hand soap sales increased nearly 1,000
percent. Other items like this paracetamol and vitamins are also selling fast. Which means Boots has to turn these truckloads around quickly as soon
as they reach the warehouse.
The supplies aren't the problem, Boots says, it's getting them to where they're needed that presents the challenge. That means calling up seasonal
workers and hiring more delivery drivers. Still at this shop, just a few miles away, the aisles of painkillers are empty, thermometers gone and hand
sanitizer, don't ask.
MARC DONOVAN, CHIEF PHARMACIST, BOOTS U.K.: Undoubtedly, what we are seeing at the moment is unprecedented. I have never seen it in my career
and many of my colleagues have never seen it.
TRACEY CLEMENTS, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, BOOTS U.K. AND IRELAND: Clearly, people are very anxious.
DOS SANTOS: Tracey Clements is the Boots' top operations executive. As such, its' her job to keep the firm's 2,500 stores stocked.
Why is hand sanitizer something that even on shelves of Boots is missing?
CLEMENTS: As we -- I think as we were saying, the increases of volume of sales are like nothing we have seen before.
DOS SANTOS: Like other retailers, Boots now limits how much any customer can buy. But as soon as the shelves are replenished, they're cleared,
leaving shoppers disappointed and Boots' staff facing their frustration.
CLEMENTS: So, customers may find that we have it for a part of the day but not the whole of the day. But we continue to try procure as much as
DOS SANTOS: To increase provisions, the company is bringing on new brands and is in talks with fresh suppliers.
CLEMENTS: We learning every hour and that's what we need to do actually. We need to accept that in this type of situation there is -- you can't be
perfect. You have to make decisions that you believe are right.
DOS SANTOS: Boots has more than 170 years of history on its side. Supplying Britain's through two World Wars and the Spanish flu. But for all
retailers and pharmacies, coronavirus is a learning curve and for customers too.
Nina Dos Santos, CNN, Nottingham, England.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer, the finance minister, has said that this health emergency is an economic emergency and he's
announced a vast package of economic support. Massively upping the government's pledges to ailing businesses. France, Germany and other
European nations have done so too as is the U.S.
Minneapolis Fed president, Neel Kashkari, oversaw the massive bailout program for the 2008 global financial crisis. And he now says his bank is
acting aggressively to combat the coronavirus crisis. He's joining me now from Minneapolis.
Welcome to the program.
NEEL KASHKARI, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF MINNEAPOLIS: Thank you for having me. It's great to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, this is just such a roller coaster and health is one thing but people are losing the shirts off their backs and they are
really, really worried. To your mind, are governors, central banks and ministers saying and doing what's necessary now?
KASHKARI: I think we are beginning to. And many governors across the country, I heard Governor Murphy of New Jersey, our Governor Walz here in
Minnesota are taking this very seriously, they're closing down shops, they're closing down restaurants and schools. Those are prudent measures to
try to slow the spread of the virus. But, of course, there are economic costs with doing so.
Many businesses are going to be under tremendous strain and probably laying off many of their workers. And so, this is quickly going to become an
economic crisis for America. The question is, are we going to follow the path of South Korea and Japan which seem like they have done a good job so
far managing the crisis without shutting down their economies or are we going to head to Italy and Spain where we would have to shut down our
economy effectively for the foreseeable future?
That could lead to a very, very deep recession. And so, it is very important that governors and national policymakers are stepping in to
provide support to businesses and the workers. They're going to need the help.
AMANPOUR: So, to your mind, why is it that those countries in Asia you mentioned, Japan, South Korea, have managed to get a grip on this and have
not closed down their economies? Why is the West in such dire, dire threat here?
KASHKARI: You know, it's a good question. People say that the Asian countries had more experience with avian flu and prior episodes of
different types of diseases. And so, perhaps they were better equipped to scale up the responses quickly.
I actually don't have a good answer to that. One of the key questions is, you know, China appears to be coming back online. Many of the multinational
firms headquartered here in Minnesota have told us that they are ramping production back up in China. They are reopening their stores and factories.
As China relaxes their economic controls, will the disease flare back up again? That's an open question. I hope not. But it's certainly possible.
And so, one of the key questions that's causing financial markets to be so volatile is no one knows. Do you have to keep the controls firmly locked
down until we get a vaccine, which is a year or more away? This could be a very long crisis with profound economic implications. And unfortunately,
there's more that we don't know than we do know at this point.
AMANPOUR: OK. So, you have said that those countries have experience. You too have experience. As we said, you were in charge of implementing TARP,
the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in 2008 for the Bush and Obama administrations.
What experience did you gather from doing that that's at all relevant now?
KASHKARI: Two things.
I mean, well, first, of course, this is a health crisis, not a banking crisis. At least it's not starting out in the banking sector. But there are
two key mistakes that we made that I think are relevant today.
Number one, we were always late and we were always too timid in our response in 2008. The reason is, we didn't know how bad the crisis would
end up being, and we didn't want to overreact. Well, when the downside scenario is a deep, deep recession, with millions of jobs lost, the right
answer actually is to overreact to try to prevent that scenario from happening.
That was a mistake we made in 2008. I hope we don't make it today in 2020.
And then, second, we were trying to be very targeted in our responses to really focus on firms and individuals who just needed a certain amount of
help. Many Americans didn't like the idea of bailouts, either for big banks or for their neighbors.
That -- our targeting ended up being a mistake as well. We ended up rescuing far fewer homeowners than we would like to have. And I think the
correction was worse because we were so narrow in our response.
In a sense, we were penny wise and pound foolish. I think, back then and now, policy-makers, fiscal policy-makers, should err on the side of helping
as many businesses as possible keep their workers and weather this downturn, so that we don't have these devastating economic consequences.
AMANPOUR: Well, you can certainly see that people who resented bailouts for their neighbors have done an about-turn. Now everybody is begging for
bailouts, everybody, from the airlines, to the restaurants and the gyms.
I mean, it's a terrifying situation for a lot of people. To that end, we have seen that the chancellor of the exchequer here, we have seen our
President Trump and his team and Congress go from an $8.3 billion agreement with Congress some two weeks ago to nearly a trillion.
I mean, they're talking about $850 billion. And it could go even higher. Here, masses and masses of hundreds of billions of pounds of being pledged.
Are they doing what's necessary now, to your view and in your experience?
KASHKARI: I think they are.
And I think the key is going to be not just the size of the response, but the speed with which it can be actually implemented. And this is where
sending checks to Americans -- they're talking about that -- I think that can be done fairly quickly.
A key question in my mind is, how do you get help to the individual restaurants, the bars, the coffee shops, all of the small businesses that
employ millions of Americans across the country? How do you get assistance to them right now? Because they need it now.
They are going to be making layoff decisions in the very near future. And while we have them employment benefits, it is much better for the economy
if the workers can be retained at their businesses. Once people are laid off, it takes years for the labor market to recover.
So we want to keep them employed. So the assistance has to move very, very quickly.
AMANPOUR: OK. So that's interesting, because President Trump today said that, actually, the economy will pop up once the country emerges out of the
And you're saying, not necessarily. What do you predict? Once the health emergency is flattened, God willing, soon, what do you predict for an
KASHKARI: Well, I think it's going to depend on how long this downturn is. If it's just a few months, some scientists are saying, when the summer
comes, the virus will become more dormant. I hope that they're right and give the health care workers time to catch up before the fall comes.
Or it could just go raging right on through. So, the duration of the health epidemic is going to be very important here. But we saw from 2008, I mean,
it took a decade or more for the labor market in the United States of America to recover from where it was before the financial crisis, a decade
or more of job growth, to bring all of these workers back in.
The longer somebody is unemployed, the longer it takes to find them and bring them and reattach them to the labor force. And so it is much, much
better to keep people employed, if it is at all possible, than to let them go through the unemployment cycle, and then try to bring them back in
later. That could take years.
AMANPOUR: Something I think you have said or certainly others have said, that there just don't seem to be the right tools in the toolbox for what's
happening right now, this massive tsunami of everything colliding at the same time, and just not quite enough.
You have seen, obviously, where you are, the Fed cut the rates several times. Here, they cut the rates, and it didn't make a difference. The
markets kept plunging. And now you see posturing, in a way. There's some bipartisan agreement in Congress, but there's also some posturing about,
what's the best, the phases of the stimulus and this and that.
Just give me your view on why the Fed rates didn't work and whether these various phases of stimulus are going to work.
KASHKARI: Well, I think the markets are responding not so much to the Fed. They're responding just to the fundamental uncertainty.
My base case scenario is, the U.S. economy is likely headed into a recession this year. My base case scenario is, it could be a fairly mild
recession, like after 9/11. But it's also possible we could be heading into a 2008 deep, deep recession. We just don't know.
We don't know at the Fed. The markets don't know. And when there's this wide uncertainty, financial markets don't know how to price risk. They
don't know how to price investments. And that's why you're seeing these giant adjustments. And until that becomes clear for them and for us, I'm
afraid we're going to see more volatility, until the science shows us the way through.
AMANPOUR: Are you satisfied -- I mean, my experience is in sort of war and disaster and watching the response to that.
And there's generally a sort of immediate coordinated global response, at least amongst allies, in order to tackle an enemy. It hasn't happened, up
until maybe now. It may start to be happening.
Is that a fair characterization? And do you believe that the lack of global coordinated response has gone some way to what has been an incoherent
response and a panic-inducing response?
KASHKARI: I think more coordination is clearly better. I mean, I think we -- if we had learned -- all of us, I think, are on the hook here -- had
learned from what was happening in China, South Korea, some of the Asian countries that were on the front end of this, we could have been better
So I think that that's something that we need to take away, and certainly better global coordination is needed going forward. But I will tell you
this. I'm positively optimistic by what we're seeing out of Washington.
We are seeing both parties come together. They may have some differences on the margin, but they both seem to be putting politics aside and saying,
let's do the right thing for the U.S. economy and for the American people. And I didn't know if that was going to be the case, given that this is an
So I'm really happy to see it. And I applaud our leaders in Washington for coming together and putting the country first.
AMANPOUR: So, given you have just said that, I'm going to bring out a sound bite from President Trump from about a few days ago.
And he was criticizing the Fed. And I think things are -- there's not so much criticism now, because I think they all know that there's just a
massive problem that they all have to get to grips with. But this is what he said just a few days ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Jerome Powell is not making it easy. No, I have the right to remove. I'm not doing that. No, I'm not
I have the right to also take him and put him in a regular position and put somebody else in charge. And I haven't made any decisions on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: How do you analyze that statement this far into this crisis?
KASHKARI: Well, we have -- Chairman Powell, I think, has done a terrific job leading the committee to just focus on data and analysis and economics
and leave the politics aside.
And so I think he's -- Chairman Powell has done a great job at that. And we all support him doing that. We have to make our decisions based on what we
think is the right thing for the U.S. economy based on the best facts in front of us, and so we just shield politics.
And so it really doesn't enter into our deliberations.
AMANPOUR: You're not sort of the usual Fed president. You have political ideas, and you have had a background in rocket science that perhaps leads
you to look at issues and how to solve them in a slightly sort of maybe counterintuitive way.
I mean, you have said, for instance, about being at the Fed, you're committed to working with the community on issues like wealth inequality,
poverty, racial disparities.
What can you do, as Fed president, to address these things? And all of this is being exposed right now.
KASHKARI: Yes, I would say two things. One is, we have amazing economic research capabilities.
And so, even if we don't have the direct tools to affect some of the things you just talked about, if we can do the research, do the analysis and arm
legislators or other policy-makers with the best analysis possible, then they can help make better decisions, number one.
Number two, one of the things I learned up until this crisis is, over the last several years, as the labor market has gotten stronger in America, we
have, in fact, brought back in folks that have been left behind.
And you're starting to see wage gains. You were starting to see wage gains for low-end workers, low-paid workers finally starting to boost up.
And so what I realized is that monetary policy does have a role to play in some of these distributional consequences, if we allow the expansion to
continue and allow the labor market to continue to tighten, and don't raise rates prematurely.
So I do think monetary policy has an important role to play. But when a shock like this happens, you really need the fiscal policy-makers to step
in, because they can act much more directly than we can.
AMANPOUR: Are you sort of given to making predictions? As I said, you're literally a rocket scientist.
I mean, you're very much evidence-based and in the realm of facts. Do you have any predictions for the next weeks or months on how this is going to
play out? Or is it entirely the health issue that will dominate and determine the economics?
KASHKARI: It is entirely -- it's the two factors.
It is the health issue and the degree to which, as Governor Murphy talked about, the American people are willing to socially distance from each
We at the Minneapolis Fed and many companies in Minnesota have moved to a work-from-home posture for most of our employees. We're taking aggressive
steps to do our part, not just to protect our employees, but to slow the spread of the virus.
But then it really is up to the health care workers, the health policy experts in how they can catch up and try to slow down this crisis and
hopefully develop a vaccine. But we know that is a year more away.
AMANPOUR: Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed, thank you so much for joining us.
It is worth noting that the biggest threats right now are also invisible, from the coronavirus itself to the loved ones that we can't see in person
or our unspoken fears about the future.
But what is out of sight is certainly not out of mind, especially not for psychologists like Dr. Laurie Santos. And she's joining us now with more on
how to stay connected in a time of social distancing.
And, Laurie Santos, welcome via Skype from New Haven in Connecticut. We can't even get you to a studio. It's important to point that out.
DR. LAURIE SANTOS, HOST, "THE HAPPINESS LAB": Yes, I think we are all in a completely unprecedented territory, where our normal reaction to a crisis
like this, which is to get together with friends, which is to meet up with the people we care about, we can't use that strategy in this crisis.
It's just really problematic for the virus. So, I think we're in an a particularly challenging, not just in terms of this health crisis, this
physical health crisis, but also a potential mental health crisis as well.
AMANPOUR: So, you're so-called sheltering in place. I mean, there's a whole city doing that. The San Francisco mayor has instructed her people to
What does it actually mean? You have been a student -- or, rather, a teacher at Yale. What does it mean for students, for young people, for the
people who you started your course for?
SANTOS: Yes, I think it means that we need to, again, avoid this strong intuition we have. When bad things happen, we want to be together.
We want to be in a crowded yoga room with other people. We want to be hugging our grandparents and visiting them at the nursing home. And for our
physical health and for everyone else's physical health, we need to not do that.
If we're going to flatten the curve and protect these valuable health care resources, we need to stay by ourselves. The good news, though, is that the
science suggests that being socially isolated doesn't necessarily have to come with feeling lonely. It doesn't have to come with feeling socially
isolated just because you're physically isolated.
AMANPOUR: So, that's one great thing about social media and online and being able to connect, like you're connecting now. And people can do it via
all sorts of methods using their technology.
That's one of the great things, as we try to tell young people, don't stay on your social media for too long or your social devices.
What are students being told? And, of course, you also have that phenomenally successful podcast, "The Happiness Lab." And you have done a
special episode on how to deal with this corona crisis in terms of mental health.
What are the students feeling? I mean, I think they all were just told from one day to the next to leave, right?
SANTOS: Yes, I mean, I think the students are feeling devastated right now.
On our campus, students had to leave over spring break, which meant that they didn't even get to say goodbye to their friends, which would be
devastating generally, but it's particularly devastating when they're all feeling so anxious and uncertain in the same way that all of us are feeling
The good news is that my students' generation are quickly taking advantage of all these technologies that I think our generation and even older
generations need to take advantage of now to protect ourselves.
One thing that we know is that loneliness is also a lethal killer, just like COVID-19. Loneliness is as bad for our physical health as smoking 15
cigarettes a day. And it's particularly devastating to our immune system.
And so what we need to do now is to find ways to work to feel less lonely. And I think businesses get good at this. Here at Yale, all of my meetings
are now on Zoom or on FaceTime, or we're talking through Skype and so on.
But we forget that we can engage with our social lives in the same way. You could have a FaceTime meeting where you just cook with a friend of yours.
This afternoon -- actually, later tonight, I'm meeting with a friend of mine who lives in Seattle. I'm on the East Coast. But we're going to get
dinner together, because that's how you get dinner in this day and age.
The key is that just feeling physically isolated can be bad enough, but we don't also have to be socially isolated. We can use these technologies to
connect with the people we care about.
AMANPOUR: And it's actually really interesting, because I did that with my son last night. I FaceTimed him while I was eating my dinner alone in my
house. He's in the United States.
And it actually made a difference. And this is at a time when some 61 percent -- even before this, some 61 percent of Americans identify as
SANTOS: Yes, I think we're already in a loneliness crisis.
And the double-edged sword for the COVID virus is that the people who are most susceptible to catching this virus, folks who are elderly or folks who
are otherwise physically incapacitated, they're also the folks who are most likely to be lonely.
Our loneliness crisis is worst among our elderly. And so one of the things I would suggest for your viewers to do is that this is the time where you
can reach out to those who might be feeling the most socially isolated, particularly the grandmothers and the grandparents and so on, and teach
them just to use some of these technologies.
Some of these things are easily available on people's smartphones. And you would be surprised how powerful it can be to just see another person across
the way and have a quick chat.
We -- again, we know we can do this for specific purposes, like we're having a specific business meeting or so on, but what we forget is that we
can use these same technologies for the kind of random interactions. You don't necessarily have to have a purpose. You can just kind of call
somebody up and leave the laptop going while you go about your daily business. Watch your favorite TV show together.
And it's these simple, kind of subtle social interactions, the dumb things we forget about, those are the things that make us feel connected. But the
good news is, we just can harness our technologies that we all have to do those as well.
AMANPOUR: So, I wonder -- I want to get you to react to Yuval Harari, the author of "Sapiens," and a really sort of deep thinker about society and
culture and, of course, history.
This is what he told me about sort of counterintuitive collision of what's happening now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YUVAL NOAH HARARI, AUTHOR, "SAPIENS": When somebody's sick, the obvious, natural thing to do, especially if this somebody is a friend or a family
member, is to come to them, to give them support, to take care of them, to give them emotional support, to touch them, to hug them.
And this is exactly how the virus spreads. So, the virus really makes use of our -- the best parts of human nature against us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, just say, how can one -- you started by saying you can come together, you can try to help others in a safe way.
SANTOS: Yes, I think what we need to do is we need to harness those instincts that we have to be compassionate to help others, but we need to
do it in a slightly different way. And it's a challenge, right?
This takes work. I remember, when some of my students were leaving campus, they all wanted to run up and get a hug, they're scared. And it was like,
oh, can't do that, you know, social distancing.
But the good news is that we have these other technologies that allow us to do that. One of the ways we can harness those technologies is really to
reach out more than we would and to think about populations that we wouldn't have normally thought about.
I think that can be particularly powerful. And a different thing to think about is to realize that just the act of doing what I'm doing now -- you
called it sheltering in place -- I'm basically trying to socially distance and just not go out of my home, unless I need to do so.
That act, in and of itself, is a way to help people. This is a way that I'm helping my elderly mother, who has COPD, and is really, like, particularly
vulnerable to this bias.
By me not going out, I can take action to flatten the curve. And I think that can be particularly powerful. It's a pain to not go out to brunch on
Sunday morning with your friends because this is going on. But when you reflect on that choice as a decision to help other people, as a decision to
help those that are most vulnerable through the bias, it does two things.
It allows that action to feel like you're doing something good. But it also allows you to feel like you have some control over this bias. There is
something that all of us can do to stop this bias and to help other people.
It just involves a little social distancing.
AMANPOUR: It's really interesting.
And, in a way, it might, even in the end, sort of strengthen community bonds. I don't know.
SANTOS: I think that's powerful.
I think one of the fearful things about this crisis is that it's causing us to think of all the people around us as a threat. I see someone in the
grocery stores today near me who sneezes, and it's like, oh, gosh, this person could kill me, literally.
And I think it -- this virus has the potential to kind of allow us to fear other people. It's already turning into -- us a little bit more than a
phobic, as we think about some of the racist incidents that have come up in the bias.
But I think the good news is that, by reframing all the things that we're doing as helping other people, we can kind of engage some of our compassion
muscles. We can start to think of our choices as ones that are really making a difference, as ones that are really helping people.
And that can allow us to do what humankind has always done in disasters, which is to come together, to cooperate with another -- with one another.
It means we do it in a slightly different form than is typical, not the usual kind of hugs and getting together, but we can still do it.
AMANPOUR: And what about -- I mean, this is very real. Obviously, you cannot escape a screen that is not full of this, scrolling and looking and
listening and just getting all the news all the time, even before you go to bed, first thing when you wake up.
I think it's called something like panic scrolling or whatever. What is your advice for the amount of this information that you should consume?
SANTOS: You know, we all need to know what's going on, but that doesn't mean to be 24/7 hooked to your Facebook or Twitter feed.
We can be more intentional about our choice to, like, be viewing information about the coronavirus at any one time. And one of the things I
have done is to kind of put some limits on how much I'm doing, like -- and to try to be really intentional about it.
I think this is especially true when we're stressed. We have these urges to kind of reduce our stress. And many of us choose to just kind of quickly do
a social media scrolling when we're feeling anxious.
Unfortunately, at this point, it's going to make things feel worse. And so a better strategy when you kind of need something to reduce the anxiety,
rather than popping on Twitter and taking a quick look at your feed, is to take a moment to realize, what I need to do is to kind of drop the anxiety
And you can do that really quickly and really simply by just taking an intentional breath. Just breathe really slowly, especially if you breathe
in your stomach and not through chest.
That can kind of give you this moment of pause. I think so many of us need to kind of just breathe at this moment. The good news is that the science
suggests that something as simple as a few intentional breaths can reduce the kind of heightened anxiety we're all feeling right now.
AMANPOUR: And what about the community of the most vulnerable when it comes to mental health, which goes beyond loneliness and anxiety, to the
really mentally challenged, OCD, depression, illnesses?
What about people like that?
SANTOS: Yes, these are enormous struggles for folks who are facing these issues.
Consider folks who suffer from OCD and are working really hard to, for example, avoid the urge to wash their hands. Now the CDC is telling
everyone, wash your hands all the time.
I think your best strategy for helping those individuals, again, is to reach out. If it was normal times, and you know that someone like that was
going through something, you would reach out. You would drop them an e- mail. You would give them a call on the phone.
We can still do those same things. And what the research suggests is that the act of taking time to become other-focused, to try to help other
people, that can reduce your own anxiety and can improve your own well- being too.
And so we end up helping the person that we're reaching out to, especially those in vulnerable populations, but we end up helping ourselves at the
AMANPOUR: And, as for students, because that's what you are also, a teacher of students -- and there are students all over the United States,
here, everywhere, who are seeing their schools close down, and who don't know whether they're going to be able to take their final exams and do all
the milestone things that many of them have to do.
What -- do you have any idea how long this is going to take at Yale? I mean, is it for the rest of the academic year? How is online teaching going
or going to go? Is it a -- is it a significant sort of replacement for in - - face-to-face classroom?
SANTOS: Yes, I mean, I think there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty.
Right now, Yale isn't closed. It's just moved to online classes. And I think we're going to see how that goes. The great news is that these
students are digital natives. They are used to all technologies that will allow us to teach them via online learning tools.
And I think the exciting thing is that these tools were there, and we weren't really making use of them in the educational opportunities. Now
it's a moment when faculty who might never have tried any of these tools have to sort of say, OK, how can I get creative with these things?
I think we're going to be finding ways to develop new educational technologies and new experiences for these students that might actually be
better, students from a generation who really want more of these tools.
Now we're, in some sense, forced to do it. But what we might get on the other side is actually faculty who are better at teaching using these
mediums, and students who can learn using the kind of tools that they grew up with.
AMANPOUR: It's really fascinating to talk to you, because the first time we had an interview was in September, when you started "The Happiness Lab,"
And that came out of your highly oversubscribed course at Yale. I think it's called the most oversubscribed course in the history of Yale
University. But, clearly, people were looking for something, and you filled that void.
I mean, who would have known that this had happened, but describe for me a little bit about how you see that -- the class that you have been teaching
and the podcast filling a gap that's been -- that's there.
SANTOS: Yes, I mean, I think we -- my students and all of us were kind of feeling like we're not flourishing as much as we could be.
The kind of growing mental health crisis among our young people, and even among many demographic groups, is real. I think that's the particular
challenge of this situation. This would have been an awful situation anyway. But it's also happening already when so many of us are feeling
lonely, already when anxiety is skyrocketing in the population.
The good news, though -- and I think one of the reasons I love having the online course up and also the podcast "The Happiness LabrMD-BO_" is that
science gives us these real tools that we can use, simple tools that we can use to make things better.
We have just launched, just as of Monday, a new mini-season of the podcast specifically focused on the coronavirus.
SANTOS: We are going to give you specific strategies for what you can do to increase your social connection and decrease anxiety and so on.
AMANPOUR: Well, it's really important.
Thank you so much, Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University. Thanks for joining us.
SANTOS: Thanks for having me.
AMANPOUR: And, finally, as we know, as we have just been saying, the elderly are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
So those who are young, fit and healthy have a responsibility not to spread it. This is a message that Max Brooks and his father, the producer Mel
Brooks, the legendary Mel Brooks, took to Twitter to highlight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAX BROOKS, ACTOR: Hi, dad.
He's 93. If I get the coronavirus, I will probably be OK. But if I give it to him, he could give it to Carl Reiner, who could give it to Dick Van
Dyke. And before I know it, I have wiped out a whole generation of comedic legends.
Do your part. Don't be a spreader, right, dad?
MEL BROOKS, ACTOR/PRODUCER: Right. Go home.
MAX BROOKS: I'm going. I'm going.
MEL BROOKS: Go.
MAX BROOKS: Love you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's great. It's a call to action there that we all can and must get behind.
And that is it for now. You can always catch us online, on our podcast, and across social media.
Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.