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State of New York has Over 160,000 Cases of Coronavirus; Observing Easter, Passover and Ramadan While Staying at Home; Blacks and Latinos are most vulnerable to infection in U.S.; Reverend William J. Barber, President, Repairers of the Breach, is Interviewed About Religious Weekends and Inequality; Testing Free for Every American; Representative Katie Porter (D-CA), is Interviewed About Testing for Coronavirus; Providing Help and Support to Parents and Teachers; Sal Khan, Founder, Khan Academy, is Interviewed About Education During Pandemic Lockdown. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 10, 2020 - 17:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
In this season of Passover, Easter and Ramadan, Reverend William Barber urges us to unite to help the dispossessed even while social distancing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing 40 to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American regarding
of his ranks?
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Well, I can say that we're going to do everything to make sure everybody
can get the care they need.
PORTER: No. Not good enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Holding them to account amidst disaster. Representative Katie Porter faces off with the head of the CDC. Michel Martin talks to the
California freshman who literally won't take no for an answer.
And helping homeschooling parents cope, inside from remote learning pioneer, the Khan Academy founder, Sal Khan. of the academy.
And finally, front line health workers unite in harmony. Why music can be great therapy.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour reporting from home in London.
The coronavirus pandemic is still surging. In Italy, it's going to be extending its nationwide lockdown and Britain remains in lockdown even as
other European countries, including Denmark, Norway and Austria plan to relax restrictions and open some schools after the Easter break.
In America, the State of New York reports over 160,000 cases. That's more than any other country in the world. Meanwhile, the world's faithful must
reckon with how to observe Easter, Passover and Ramadan while all their faith leaders are telling them to stay at home and stay away from their
churches, their synagogues and their mosques.
And the pandemic poses another major spiritual challenge by disproportionately targeting the poor and vulnerable all across the world.
In America, blacks and Latinos are most vulnerable to infection and most likely to die from the disease.
Now, the reverend, Dr. William Barber, is one of America's leading anti- poverty activists and most widely respected spiritual leaders. He is pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in North Carolina. And as co-chair of the
Poor People's Campaign, he despairs of the $2 trillion U.S. emergency relief bill ever actually protecting the needs of the poor. And he's
joining me now.
Dr. Barber, welcome to the program.
We're going to get to this disparity and the real dilemma that you guys face in a moment. But first, I want to ask you about this religious weekend
for so many. It's Passover week, it's Easter weekend and Easter week and soon it will be Ramadan. How do you tell your congregation and as far and
wide as possible to do the unnatural, to stay away from groups and churches and other places of worship?
REV. WILLIAM J. BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH: Well, thank you so much, Christiane. You know, as pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church
and President of Repairers of the Breach, we have combined to offer virtual services now for over the last month.
And one of the things we remind people, whether it's Islam or Christianity or Judaism, our first connection is a connection of the spirit. And then
these holy days are supposed to have a certain depth and spirituality with them that are far -- that's far deeper than just the buildings. And one of
the things we are saying to people is we must celebrate now.
Remember, in the Jewish Passover, they had to social distance. Everybody had to go into their own homes, but because the backdrop was a narcissistic
mean-spirited leader who was oppressing the people and the Passover was the counter to that.
In Christianity, remember that the crucifixion took place on a cross, not among the people, it was on a cross. It was an isolated place. And the
backdrop was Jesus had taken on the system of injustice and was being crucified because he dared to care for the poor, dared to care for the
lease. Ramadan teaches us to fast, to remember those who don't have.
And so, the holy virtuous of these seasons actually are discipline so that we can challenge the unholiness of society as it relates to how we treat
the poor and the least of these. So, I think, in many ways, this is a powerful moment for faith and for religion.
It's a powerful reflective moment. It's a time for us to use every tool we have available to us on social media to gather and to gather our strength
so that this weekend exhibit, these holy virtuous in a time when it's so needed, when we see so much public idolatry and self-worship and the
viruses of greed and lies, it is this during this holy time that we gather our strength for that we're going to need to continue to challenge
AMANPOUR: I hear exactly what you're saying and I know that you and other faith leaders are also saying one can be as spiritual and as prayerful and
as connected even if on this extraordinary occasion you're not in the actual physical proximity and inside the places of worship.
So, I want to ask you what you make of some of these mega churches in the United States, as you know, that are still going. I mean, one pastor was
fined. He was actually arrested for giving a -- you know, a service, where hundreds of people were gathered in there.
And Correspondent Gary Tuchman recently went to another church in Ohio and saw people crammed in and people coming out. Just listen to the kind of
comment he got and the exchange he had with one of the Christian worshippers who really did not want to obey the stay away, stay at home
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't be anywhere else.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Aren't you concerned you could infect other people if you get sick inside?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
TUCHMAN: People --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'm covered in the Jesus' blood. I'm covered in the Jesus' blood.
TUCHMAN: Well, what about other people who don't go to this church who you might --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All these people go to this church.
TUCHMAN: No, but you're going to be in places where other --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I go to the grocery store every day. I'm in Walmart, Home Depot, all of those people.
TUCHMAN: But you could get them sick from what happens in the church.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They could get me sick, but they're not because I'm covered in his blood. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Wow. What do you say to that?
BARBER: Yes, that is really tragic, that kind of mis-theology that has been put out by so many pastors and leaders that have mistaught people. And
it's coming even from the White House, it's teaching people to dismiss what this virus is. The first principle of faith is to love your neighbor. And
if you love your neighbor, you're not going put your neighbor at risk.
The bible also teaches us that we're not to tempt God. There is no great faith in going into a place when you know there's a virus and a pandemic
and putting at risk your neighbor and yourself. In fact, real faith, faith would say love one another enough to stay home. If you -- love one another
enough to find ways to be communicating.
And you know what, Christiane, the early church met in the home. So, this worship of temple gatherings, this worship of we have to be in congregation
-- I've even heard some pastors say, well, we can't miss our times and offering. It is abusive. It is a form of malpractice, I believe, and it is
a mistreatment and a misstatement of real theology that calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
And so, I -- it's hurtful to see that and to see a pastor endorse that and put people at risk for some kind of false understanding of what faith
AMANPOUR: Reverend Barber, there are two forms of inequality that we can talk about next. One is the inequality of information. As you know, many of
these pastors are taking their news or were taking their news from places that started calling this a hoax, wasn't so serious, it was just a flu, et
cetera. So, there's that problem.
Then there's the other problem, and I know you're very, very concerned about this. You know, the governor of New York and many others have called
this the great equalizer, the great leveler. And it's true. This virus attacks anybody.
But as you point out, it disproportionately affects how the poor and other minorities can deal with it. Talk to me about how, in fact, it is not a
leveler in that regard.
BARBER: And that we cannot merely call it the great equalizer. We must disaggregate how it is affecting communities. And particularly, all they
talk about how -- where people were even before the pandemic. It's one of the reasons that the Poor People's Campaign is calling for a mass poor
people's assembly march on Washington, June 20, 2020, digitally.
The White House and McConnell and the extremists did a disservice when the first $2.5 trillion that they passed, they abandoned 140 million people who
were already poor and low wealth. 62 million people who were working for less than a living wage and millions of people did not -- who did not have
And the stimulus bills, the one, two, three that have used trillions of our tax dollars have -- to be stacked for corporations with virtually no
accountability, has actually left out many people. People like Lola (ph), who is a woman living in her minivan with her three children who had a
part-time job and she's lost all of that.
These bills, for the most part, have abandoned most low wage workers, they've given trillions of dollars to corporations. The bill provides no
sick leave, no health insurance, no guarantee of rent relief. They still have to pay the three months that are (INAUDIBLE). In the fourth-month the
three months will become due.
You can -- this bill didn't make so water couldn't be shut off. It didn't make it so that there's an expansion of food stamps. There was nothing in
there for the $50 billion needed for child care, the $2 billion to protect our democracy. There's nothing in there for undocumented workers and the
majority of our homeless people. It's immoral, it's evil and more it endangers us all because pandemics live and breathe and grow through the
officials of our society.
And if you're a worker, Christiane, with no paid sick leave, you can't afford to take off. Even if you're sick, you get tested but you can't
afford to go in the hospital because of the medical bills. If your water gets cut off, you can't wash your hands then we are actually extending the
reach, the length and the time of this pandemic. And it is so immoral and so wrong the way we have not focused first on the poor and those who are
AMANPOUR: Yes. And I think you described this stimulus bill in that regard as evil according to the word of God. But also, there's an issue about
social distancing. There are many who are writing that social distancing is a privilege for those who have the space in which to social distance and
the ability to work from home. Many in the African-American community, the minorities, don't have that ability, do they? I mean, many are working as
carers or as really hands on workers that require them to actually be with other people.
BARBER: Yes. We call essential workers like orderlies and janitors and grocery workers and fashion workers but we haven't treated them like
they're essential workers. We haven't given them the essential things they need, protection gear, health care, sick leave, living wages. And so,
people are being forced -- and we call them forced into battle. We call them heroes but -- and we say they are the soul of the country but they
haven't seen the soul of the country care about them.
We have to do more than give people a medal for going into battle. We have to give them the gear they need, the protection they need. And what we
realize is that even when we -- this bill, this last bill, it said, 500,000 homeless people. There's millions of people who are homeless or at the
verge of homelessness.
So, when you say stay home, one sign says, what if I have no home to stay in or go to? And we also, Christiane, have to deal with the reality that
700 people were dying a day prior to this virus from poverty and low income, a quarter of million people a year were already dying.
So, we can't say, well, we lost 700 people a day, the highest total. No, that's hogwash and horrific. We were already allowing 700 people to die a
day from poverty and low income and it's only being exacerbated because of poverty or because the historic denials racism.
So, you get Mississippi where the governor and the legislature down there did not expand Medicaid. And what do you have? 70 percent of the cases
dying are African-American in Mississippi. That is not --
AMANPOUR: OK. That's what I was going to ask you about.
AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you about that, in fact, these terrible stories we are now seeing in many, many places, blacks, African-Americans,
minorities, are the main victims. I mean, they are really dying in disproportionate numbers to the percent to their proportion of the
population. What do you hope that this pandemic might change for your community, for African-Americans, for the poor afterwards, or do you think
it just will snap back to the same old, same old?
BARBER: It can't. We cannot come out of this pandemic and emerge -- go back to normal. It's almost, as Dr. King said in his speech, in I Have a
Dream, the actually title of the speech was "Normalcy is No Longer Accepted". We can't accept it. Poor people are saying, we can't accept it.
But disproportionate numbers of poverty are being reflected in the disproportionate numbers of death. In this pandemic, we know that black
people, for instance, 61 percent of black people are poor, low wealth. But we also know that 66 million White People are poor and low wealth. And
these realities are being exploited by this pandemic.
What we have done is we have put together a 21-point plan called a moral response to poverty in the midst of pandemic, demands that we are making
that said we must treat people like people and not corporations like people. We are organizing to build a mass movement to put deep pressure,
even if we're inside, it doesn't mean we can't use social media to put deep pressure on our government. But we cannot go back and we cannot lie
Before this thing, we said we couldn't afford health care, we couldn't afford living wages. And all of a sudden, we find $2.5 trillion for
corporations. No longer will those lies hold water.
AMANPOUR: Yes. Reverend Barber, it's a really important message at this time of spirituality and rebirth and renewal in the Christian faith. So,
let's hope that, you know, from your mouth to God's ears and to the government's ears. Thank you very much indeed for joining us tonight.
And to that point, our next guest did the math and the research and put it to the government. Democratic representative, Katie Porter from California,
sits on the congressional oversight and Reform Committee and she asked the CDC director how much it would cost an American to get tested for COVID-19.
And in a feisty exchange that went viral, she got a pledge from him that testing would be free for every American. Our Michel Martin asked her about
that and what she makes of the government's handling of this crisis.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.
REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Absolutely. Delighted to be here.
MARTIN: So, for people who don't know who you are, we are just going play a short video of you, you'll certainly be familiar with this. This is where
you were questioning the director of the Centers for Disease Control and you're taking about why testing for coronavirus needs to be free, and here
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PORTER: Will you commit to the CDC right now using that existing authority to pay for diagnostic testing free to every American regardless of
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: Well, I can say we're going to do everything to make sure everybody can get
the care they need.
PORTER: No, not enough. Reclaiming my time. Dr. Redfield, you have the existing authority. Will you commit right now to using the authority that
you have vested in you under law that provides in a public health emergency for testing, treatment, exam, isolation, without cost, yes or no?
REDFIELD: What I'm going to say is I'm going to review it in detail with CDC and the department.
PORTER: No. I'm reclaiming my time. You can operationalize the payment structure tomorrow.
REDFIELD: I think you're an excellent questioner so my answer is yes.
PORTER: Excellent. Everybody in America hear that? You are eligible to get tested for coronavirus and have that covered regardless of insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN: So, what did you make of that moment?
PORTER: Well, I think two things. One was heard in the moment what my reaction was, you know, it shouldn't take sort of browbeating public
officials into getting them to do their job. So, my staff and I had written a letter to him asking him to use his authority. We followed up the night
for the hearing and actually told him, we are going the ask you, I, Katie Porter, am going ask you exactly this question. And yet, he seemed
unprepared to give an answer and seemed to expect that if he just said a bunch of mumbo jumbo about operationalizing and assessing that I would go
And the reality is what the American people need, especially in a moment like this, is straight answers. And they need to believe that their
government is using the tools that we have. In retrospect, as I think back about that hearing now, it frustrates me because it fits into this larger
pattern, which is our administration not using the tools that it had to prepare for this pandemic.
MARTIN: But that leads me to the whole question of -- well, first of all, what do you think is going right at the moment, if anything? And what is
PORTER: So, the main thing that's going right, I think, is the actions of the majority of the American public. One of the things Dr. Fauci and Dr.
Birx both emphasize is that when they built these initial models, we didn't really know how good of a job will Americans do with following these rules.
And so, they sort of estimated, well, half of all people will follow the rules.
And we're actually seeing a lot of parts of the country much stronger compliance and that is potentially going reduce the toll that this pandemic
creates and give us more time to get to get working antiviral drugs, to get antibody tests, potentially to get a vaccine, to improve the supply of
protective equipment, all of those things.
And what's not going right for us, I think there's a lot of anger by the American public about how this has been handled and a lot of fear and a lot
of confusion, and I think there remains a really, really strong need for government to communicate in a way that people trust about what is being
done, what isn't being done, what's coming next and why.
And so that's something that from my role as kind of being known for being a truthteller, being known for being a tough questioner, I think when I say
to people, here's the deal, I hope the American people feel like they can trust me, because I think that trust in government is a really important
part of how we get through this.
MARTIN: Well, what else do you think they have been doing though? I mean, they've having these daily briefings. It's true that the president tends to
dominate them and he isn't a physician and doesn't have medical knowledge, but we are seeing the leader of his task force just about every day, for
people who choose to watch it. What else should they be doing?
PORTER: So, I think the more that we can hear from the leaders of the task force, the better. And so, I think that is really, really important. I
think the lack of coordination here was notable. And one of the big areas where we've clearly struggled is with regard to the supply chain of
personal protective equipment and medical equipment.
And so, in addition to that, the fact that we mismanaged our exports and imports. We were still exporting. In fact, our supply of masks to China
went up by over 1,000 percent from the prior year's average in January and February of this year. And our import of masks, ventilator, hand sanitizer
went down by 11 percent during that January/February period. So, we really failed to do the coordinating and planning.
We know that we have tapped into the strategic stockpile and we've sent equipment out to different states, but there's not a good system in place
to understand which health care providers have what they have and how to get it to where they need. So, we're seeing the rear admirable work on that
(INAUDIBLE) but it's clearly coming way, way, way too late to be optimally effective.
MARTIN: Yes. But what about the Democratic leadership? I mean, couldn't they have been asking these questions? Couldn't other Democrats other than
you have been asking these questions?
PORTER: So, I think there were two things going on. One is a specific problem, which is that once you're in a crisis or an emergency, then it
becomes very -- we'll say -- I don't want say justified, but I'll say understandable why administrative officials say, we can't come and sit
around all day and answer questions for Congress. We are out there actively trying to solve the problem.
So, I think the problem here was that Congress didn't begin to have hearings early enough. Instead, what we have, beginning in late January, is
we had the second case in the country, it was right here in Orange County, where I represent. So, I wrote a letter asking for a briefing. And what we
kept having were these briefings. They were unclassified. So, we were able to talk about what we learned, but they weren't really visible to the
American public in the way that a hearing is.
And so, I think the fact that when we finally had the hearing, that's why you had such a dramatic moment of questioning between Director Redfield,
director of the CDC, and me. And then, I think, the larger question is just that oversight is kind of a subspecialty of Congress pass.
A lot of those people live to pass a bill with their name on it, right? The congressman so and so act. The -- you know, these catchy acronyms,
C.A.R.E.S., Families First. The oversight work that Congress does is, in my view, equality important. It's making sure that when we have passed a law
that it is being used to address the problem.
And that's where I have devoted a lot of my time and energy, is really being able to make good use of that five minutes I get to try to figure out
what's actually going on and to hold government accountable rather than adding layers of law. Well, let's make sure the laws we have are being used
MARTIN: Well, you talk about the fact it oversighted something that you consider a part of -- core part of your responsibility in Congress and
certainly it's a priority for you. So, I have to ask you about the fact that President Trump, in recent days, has removed the chair of the panel
that Congress created to oversee this $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
He's removed two inspectors general, as we are speaking. He's criticized the third. People might say, well, the president does have the authority to
remove these figures. But why does that matter?
PORTER: So, look, what the president is doing with these inspector generals is terrible. It's a disservice to the American public. Inspector
generals exists to provide accountability and to root out waste and fraud and abuse.
The president's argument based -- it boils down to, these people are part of the executive branch. I'm the president. I can control the executive
branch. So, I can fire and hire these people.
MARTIN: But what are the Democrats going to do about that, except express outrage? Anything?
PORTER: I think there's very little we can do, frankly, which is why, I think, we need to be stepping up our alternative oversight mechanisms. So,
one of my things I began to work on months, I guess it's been over a month ago now, was remote voting for Congress. We're talking a lot about how
people should vote. And, of course, that's an incredibly important issue.
But one of the problems with this pandemic is that we are not able to gather in our traditional way to have oversight hearings and to have public
And so, we need to begin to activate those tools and use technology to have remote hearings so that the American public can get answers to their
questions, so that the administration is being forces to be accountable, is being forces to acknowledge where there are shortcomings and where things
are going well, frankly. And so that we can show the American public, too, the bipartisan way in which we're approaching this. And that's something we
can do through public hearings.
So, I'm again repeating my call on House leadership to begin to have video based hearings and to being to have remote voting so that we're not having
to fold everything into one ginormous 800-page bill that passes on voice vote, but instead we're able to move legislation that would address the
pandemic in the ordinary voters so that we can hear from our constituents, craft legislation and move it forward with the feedback of the American
MARTIN: What response are you getting to your call for remote hearings?
PORTER: I think we're starting to see more acknowledgment about the need for Congress to implement technology during this pandemic and as part of
the response to the pandemic. And I think -- you know, I was questioned for this a month ago. I wrote a bipartisan letter. At that time, House
leadership, both Democrat and Republican, was resistant to this. But I think a we are starting to see progress. I can see more and more people are
talk about it. But I think there's a couple of different issues at play.
One is, the fact that Congress, for too long, has acted like we get to be the exception rather than we should set the example. And there's, frankly,
an ugly history of that with regards to how Congress treats interns, for example, how Congress deals with sexual harassment in the workplace. So,
here we are, public health guidelines, we're asking businesses, schools, nonprofits, local governments, all these local entities to think
differently and to do things differently. We should be holding ourselves up as an example of being willing to that rather than saying, were an
The second point about it, I think, is that we're some hearing people say, well, but, you know, Congress isn't good with technology. We have a lot of
older members. We have members who don't know how to use their phones or use iPads or whatever. So, one, is you can train people to get better. And
as Congress members, we should have that mindset that we can learn.
And the second thing is, there are a lot of other barriers at play. So, the technology barrier might be more likely to affect older people or people
who are more used to have these secretaries of assistants. For someone like me, the first single mother of young children to serve in Congress, the
physical need to travel and to leave my children during this pandemic is a really serious barrier and it's not something that I can do a tutorial to
improve. It's -- so, I think there's a sort of an interesting aspect of kind of who serves in Congress to how Congress is reacting to the idea of
using remote technology.
MARTIN: And one of the things that, you know, we're seeing right now is the data seems to be suggesting that, you know, women accounted for 60
percent of the job losses in early March. It could be worse as the figures come out. But it makes me think about the industries that have been hardest
hit, hotels, bars, restaurants, health care offices, retail.
MARTIN: Do you feel that that is kind of understood by the people who are crafting these packages to trying to figure out how to frankly respond to
PORTER: No, I don't. I don't think Congress is sensitive to this issue yet, but it was one that was very much on my mind right away. We know that
nurses, for instance, disproportionately women. So, one of the early calls I had was with my hospitals talking about what kinds of emergency health --
child care they were going to be able provide to keep help keep their nurses coming to work. Not only keep them healthy, which incredibly
important, but recognizing that without child care we don't have a lot of these essential workers.
But there's all kinds of assumptions built into the legislation. I'll just give you a couple of examples. One is the way that they way that we treat
heads of household. So, we have these stimulus checks and they begin to phase out for single people at $75,000 and for married couples at double
that amount, $150,000.
I'm listening to this briefing and I say to the chairman of the ways and means committee and to the staff, well, but I don't file at single -- I
don't file as married. And he was like, well, how do you file? I was like, it's a little thing called head of household, which millions of American
families have that filing status. When I started thinking about it, and I may be the only member of Congress that actually files as head of
And guess what? Heads of household who are in the worst shape economically. Because definitionally, they only have one worker and they have a bunch of
-- or one or more dependents. They get half way between the single and the married on the stimulus phase out. So, they're being disadvantaged because
nobody is advocating for the needs of single parents, for example.
The result of this, I think, is that you see women, in particular, they're not just (INAUDIBLE) economic harms of this pandemic, but also a lot of the
strain, both emotional and physical of doing not just the health care, but the shopping, the distance learning, all of those things fall
disproportionately on women.
MARTIN: Right. How are you keeping it together, if you don't mind my asking?
PORTER: Yes. I mean, I have my good -- I'm going to be honest with you. I have good moments and bad moments keeping it together.
PORTER: And being honest about that is really helpful. I have appreciated the people who have spoken up, who said, like, it turns out that I don't
want to homeschool my child. It turns out that I hate making bread. It turns out that I don't want to sew face masks and don't know how to sew. I
mean, sort of -- some of this honesty about each of our individual limits, I think, is helpful. But, you know, each person is going through this
And in a way, we talk about the virus as this equalizer, that is, we're all at risk of getting sick. But let's be clear, we are not all at equal risk
of getting sick. Those essential workers, who more likely than not are lower wage workers who are brown and black, women, men, immigrants, all of
these people are at much higher risk than the rest of us. And so, I think about sort of my single mom perspective, I think, helps me then think about
what other perspectives is Congress not considering and not thinking about in this moment?
MARTIN: Congresswoman Porter, thank you so much for speaking with us today and I hope we'll talk again.
PORTER: Absolutely. Thank you for continuing to keep the American public informed about what's going on.
AMANPOUR: And Congresswoman Porter is one of those parents who's also, as you could hear, having issues with having to be at home and homeschooled
and exactly all of that that so many are doing. Because nearly a billion students are staying home each day as schools and colleges close down
because of this pandemic.
And perhaps this amazing video that went viral says it best about the parents' struggle. So, here is one Israeli mother's meltdown for every
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRI KENIGSBERG LEVI, PARENT: Enough guys, teachers, dial it down, lower expectations. And all day, how's the child feeling? How? He should draw a
picture. How's the child feeling? He's spending the entire day on his cell phone. He's fine. Sleeping file, eating fine. They don't stop eating. How's
he feeling? Ask me how I'm feeling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: It still makes me laugh and I'm sure there are many, many parents who can identify with that.
Now, remote learning pioneer, Sal Khan, is stepping up to help stress parents. His Khan Academy is publishing schedules and learning plans for
kids while providing support to parents and teachers.
Sal Khan, are you there?
SAL KHAN, FOUNDER, KHAN ACADEMY: Yes. Great to be here.
AMANPOUR: Good to see you. Well, I can't really see you because we're social distancing. But do you identify at all with that mother who totally
KHAN: There have been moments in my household over the last few weeks that definitely parallel. I have three young children, 11, 8, and 5.
And I think the 5-year-old in particular has sometimes caused a little bit of strain for us.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, you can imagine what a strain it is, not just on parents' nerves, but for kids' education, for their -- sometimes their
nutrition at school.
UNESCO says a billion students, kids and all the way up to college are out of school right now. What does that mean for education, first of all? And
when you think about that, what does that mean for these kids, for society?
KHAN: Well, we have always known about things like summer learning loss, that, for most of the world, there's three months off in summer.
And not only do kids not learn in that three months, but they forget in those three months. And there's things like the summer slide. It's well-
Now we're in a situation where it's likely that these closures will continue through the end of the school year, and then you have summer. So
you're going to have five months of not learning, and also probably forgetting.
And some of our assessment partners, the NWEA, recently released a study showing that it's indicative that the average kid might lose a year of
learning if they're not able to engage in some way, shape or form.
And the real tragedy of it is, that's the average student. But a lot of students who don't have forms of access, they might fall further behind,
while other kids might be able to keep up.
AMANPOUR: Because the theme really of this program has been the disparity and the inequality gap.
So we have seen it in terms of who the disease is hurting most. And you just heard the congresswoman from California about the inequality of who's
going to get the best equipment and the testing and all the rest of it, and also in education around the world.
You're just speaking to that right now.
So, what happens, then? I know that the Khan Academy is stepping up to try to mitigate some of this. But when kids or parents don't have the tools
that it takes to remote-learn, whether it's that Internet connection or the actual computers, what happens?
KHAN: Yes, this is a huge issue that we have been trying to work with partners on for the last 10 years.
Obviously, us, as a not-for-profit. We have had this mission statement for some time, a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. We always
imagined that we could be used in physical classrooms to help teachers personalize, let students fill in the gaps, give teachers better
But we also imagined this use case around the world that we have seen where Khan Academy is used in places where kids don't have access to school or
they don't have access to extra supports.
But it's all predicated on having some form of Internet access. We were work on even a fairly simple smartphone, but you at least need that. And so
we're trying to work with telecom carriers, school districts, whoever we can find to help solve this.
We're starting to see -- this has been a surprise for everybody. It's happened very, very fast. I was talking to the superintendent in Clark
county, which is Las Vegas. They're the fifth largest school district in America.
They have done some pretty heroic efforts of getting laptops to at first their older students. And then they had recently got a shipment of 40,000
Chromebooks to give to their other students. They're working with the local telecom carriers, the cable companies, Cox, to be able to get the hot spots
So that's the type of thing that we need to see more of, not just in the U.S., but throughout the world.
AMANPOUR: And what are you doing, the Khan Academy? I mean, already, you - - I mean, you do remote learning and mentoring, but I'm sure that your subscriptions or people trying to get your services have skyrocketed.
What are you doing to help them, what subjects, what schedules, what advice?
KHAN: Yes, when we started -- we started to realize that something was going on about six weeks ago.
We saw our Asia traffic pick up, and we started getting letters from teachers in South Korea saying how they were using Khan Academy during
school closures. And then when it started become clear it was happening in the U.S., we -- it's one of those moments where you kind of look right,
look left, and you're like, I guess this is us.
We have to help. We have to step up. It's our duty to step up as we go through these closures. And so, over the last decade, we have built -- and
everything I'm talking about is free. It's non-commercial. We're supported with philanthropic donations from folks all around the world.
We have Khan Academy kids. You can see Cody Bear right behind me. It's a free app. It starts as early as ages 2 or 3, goes through the first grade
standards. That covers math, reading, writing, social-emotional learning.
Then I can just the core Khan Academy, math, goes all the way through elementary, middle and high school and even early college. We have -- we
just launched some English language arts. We're the official practice partner with the College Board, on the SAT.
We also have your physics, chemistry, biology, economics, things like that. And so we have always had that in place. And so what we realized is, a lot
of parents and teachers and students were being told, well, there's a lot of stuff on the Internet. Here's 500 resources you might use.
But that was really overwhelming for everyone. So we said, we have to put more supports in place. We published schedules for students of different
age groups, just so that parents and teachers could understand what a day could look like.
And we have gotten a lot of feedback that that de-stressed them a lot. We have made it very clear that parents shouldn't beat up on themselves right
now. As you just talked about, there's a lot of stresses going on, especially for, let's say, single parents.
The first thing is take care of yourself. We have a few weeks to get this going. And if your students can even do two hours a day, that's a lot. If
they can get that core math, get that core reading and writing, and then anything that you can layer on top of that is great.
And then we have been doing Webinars for parents and teachers, so that they can understand how all this works. And we're also trying to do more
supports for students.
AMANPOUR: So you said layering on top of the core issues. And one of the things that you recommend is to go out with your kids, take a walk, have a
look at whatever animal, wildlife, plants, and this and that.
Tell me -- I mean, that's not just -- I guess -- well, maybe it's a de- stressor, but it's also a different level of knowledge and education, right?
There's a silver lining here, which is, the schedules we put out, they're not just about learning the math or your reading comprehension or the
science. We were very careful to put spaces in there so students could take breaks, they can go outside, get a little bit of physical exercise, and
also have a lot of time in the afternoons and evenings where they can explore.
Ideally, it is exactly the type of thing that you just described, have an interesting conversation, work on a project of some kind. But, sometimes,
creativity can be a byproduct of having time on your hands.
And we think that this -- that could be an opportunity for a lot of students and families.
AMANPOUR: So, we know -- maybe tell us. I mean, we know that there are some students who excel at online and remote learning, and then there are
others who may be really good students in the classroom, but can't really cope with the remote part of that.
And then do you think that this could have a positive or a kind of a difficult legacy, this, because even -- I mean, I'm looking at the studies
and reading the research. Even with the most trained teachers, with the best technology, the best setups, many, many sources have said that
constant homeschooling or remote primary schooling has delivered sort of lackluster results.
I wonder what your take on that is.
KHAN: Yes, so I think there's a couple of issues going on. In the short term, this is clearly a suboptimal situation, especially for younger kids.
They need that socialization. They need that great teacher to help unblock them, to mentor them. But if we view it as kind of a glass-half-full or
glass-quarter-full type of situation, that skill that you just talked about, that metacognitive skill of being able to self-direct, have a to-do
list, have a schedule, and be able to check that off, in some ways, that is a more powerful skill than any of the academic skills.
I'm someone who's obviously made a lot of content in a lot of areas. But for my own children, more than knowing how to factor a quadratic, I want
them to have that skill of self-regulation. What are my goals? How can I work through that in a given day?
And so this crisis is putting pressure on students, for sure, to do more of that. So, my hope is, it puts more of an emphasis generally in the school
system on that kind of self -- that -- a little bit more independence, because, in the 21st century, once kids are out of school, it's not like,
50 years ago, where you're out of school and you work in the same job and then you collect a pension.
They're going to have to continue to learn, sometimes in these types of modalities.
With that said, as you -- there's a lot of kids who need more supports, and that's why we're trying to do whatever we can. Before this crisis, Khan
Academy was being used by about 19 million students a month. We've, in the last few weeks, seen our traffic be around 2.5 to 3 X of what it typically
We're seeing registrations from parents and teachers are sixfold.
KHAN: Students are sixfold.
And so we realize that we are -- we have to make sure that all of those kids and even the kids who haven't come on yet feel supported. And it's not
going to be a perfect solution right now, but we're trying to work with as many partners as possible to give them those supports.
AMANPOUR: All right, Sal Khan, thank you so much, indeed.
And, of course, everybody's going to wonder whether the nature of education, like the nature of so much else, might change after this
Thank you so much, Sal Khan, for joining us.
KHAN: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight to our phenomenal health care workers, again, because we can never thank them enough or admire them enough or
respect them enough.
And maybe, maybe, after all of this, more resources will be poured into doctors and nurses and the whole idea of a national health system.
For some respite and relief right now, Britain's NHS Breathe Harmony Choir has produced a cover version of Mariah Carey's hit single "Anytime You Need
From the United States to Australia, more than 100 singers from across the globe came together to send a message of solidarity to everyone on the
front lines fighting this pandemic.
Take a listen.
AMANPOUR: Sometimes, you just need a musical interlude.
And joining me now is Fionnuala Donovan. She is a neuro-physiotherapist working at both St. Thomas' and Guys's Hospital who sang the first line in
the video that we just saw. And we're also joined by the musical director behind this project, Mike King.
Welcome to both of you.
Let me just ask you first, Fionnuala.
You have a great voice. And you were singing, as we said, that first line and throughout.
What was it like for you to step out of your medical role and take on that now very, very public performance?
FIONNUALA DONOVAN, NEURO-PHYSIOTHERAPIST, NHS: Hello. Thank you.
It was, to be honest, just trying to look at it of how we can try and help people more, because we appreciate people are being quite afraid and a bit
anxious and lonely at home. So, I wasn't so much thinking from that point of view, but more thinking, how can this help others?
And we have got a great, supportive team. So it was good fun as well.
AMANPOUR: And, Fionnuala, how does it help you? Because you guys are all under such stress right now.
I mean, if anything, this story is about the front-line medical workers. And you're still in the hospitals. You have got your own wards and patients
that you're dealing with. How does the music help you to de-stress, if it does?
DONOVAN: I think, well, music has always been something that I think helps a lot of us to de-stress.
And I think being part of the Trust Choir, thanks to Breathe Arts Health Research, it's been something that we have been able to do where we can
feel connected, it helps us to laugh, to switch off and just to really relax, while still being part of a big NHS family.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you Mike King, because you are the musical production wizard who put it all together.
How does one do that? I mean, you think that, oh, all of a sudden, all these people suddenly can get the tech and get the songs and get the
musician -- the instruments and do it, but clearly not. They need a Mike King.
What's the sort of production?
MIKE KING, MUSICAL DIRECTOR, BREATHE HARMONY NHS CHOIR: Well, it's been nice.
The quality of what you hear, I think, really is quite fantastic. And the reality is, is that this song was recorded on mobile phones, both
(INAUDIBLE) where we had people recording their parts and joining us for virtual choir rehearsals, if they wanted to run over the parts with us.
So, we had people from all over the world connecting together on these rehearsals, and then they would then record their parts on their phone and
send them in. And we would just put more together, and then create the song you hear now.
AMANPOUR: It's amazing. And we just must mention, because I'm sure you all know this, Mariah Carey herself has responded. And we have her tweet.
She said: "This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much to all the people at NHS. We are so grateful to you."
Just talk to me, Fionnuala, about that, because you are obviously a fan of hers. What does it mean to have her validate it? And, more to the point,
what does it mean to have so many people now, maybe for the first time in recent memory, literally step up and step out and show their respect,
affection, thanks to all of you?
DONOVAN: It's quite overwhelming. It's incredibly humbling.
And, I mean, we are just going out, and we're doing our jobs. But if we can help people, and they're starting to kind of appreciate that, and it's
bringing the country really together, then I think it's -- yes, it's very, very moving, and, yes, quite -- very, very overwhelming, as I say.
But it's amazing, yes.
AMANPOUR: Tell me what it's like inside the hospital. What's the atmosphere these days? I know you have to wear heavy protective gear.
You're teaching -- sorry -- you're treating, amongst others, HIV patients.
If you're not doing the COVID treatment, are you able -- I mean, we have heard so much about potential secondary issues with patients who may not be
getting all the care they need because so many resources have gone to clearly fighting this emergency.
DONOVAN: Yes, I mean, I can only speak on behalf of kind of what we're doing in our hospital, but we're very, very well supportive.
We are making sure that all of our patients are being well-looked-after, even if their care changes ever so slightly. We're still certainly giving
them any information and support that we possibly can.
I think one of the big things about the NHS is that we always rally together and we always make sure that we're really well-supportive and try
to bring a little bit of light into dark situations, if we can.
AMANPOUR: And there are some very dark situations, but a lot of light ones too, because you really have, I mean, just captured the imagination of the
whole world right now. People suddenly finally know what it is that you all do.
Mike King, I just want to get from you as sort of a person feeling about what it was like to take this choir on board. I mean, I think you have
worked with Florence and the Machine. And tell me some of the other sort of major rock bands that you have worked, and what it meant to you to come on
board with this particular choir at this particular time.
KING: Well, I mean, as a choir director, my choirs has, yes, backed the likes of Florence Welch and Mark Ronson.
But, to be honest with you, this is -- I mean, community music is at the heart of what I do. And I think working for the NHS Choir and working
specifically with Breathe Arts Health Research has been really fantastic.
It's great to give the NHS workers a place where they can come and de- stress and be together and have some positive focus on. And so I think what we have achieved is really quite wonderful. And the fact that we can now
share this with the world and uplift people at -- as you say, at the most kind of dreadful of times, is fantastic.
AMANPOUR: Did you know -- I didn't know. I have only just realized by reading it that sound-based therapies, they interact with various specific
frequencies and trigger responses in the body, in the brain that are de- stressors.
I mean, we all know, intuitively that music and this kind of art, I guess, community work, is therapy, but did you know how specific actually it was,
what an actual cure it is?
KING: Well, just from my experience of working in community music, as you say, the benefits of -- on mental health, on physical health are just
And it always also brings people together. And I think, at the time when the world is being very isolated, and you have got people on their own in
homes, in lockdown, we have got nurses and doctors going home to their families worried if they have got this illness, I think music and a song
like this that really uplifts people, the lyrics really speak out at this time, I think, will really do well for people's mental health and their
well-being and hopefully inspire and uplift.
So, yes, music and singing, as you say, is so positive for people. And we just hope that this song and the fact it's been recorded by, as you said,
the NHS Choir themselves, will resonate with people.
AMANPOUR: And I guess you were pretty pleased to see Mariah Carey's tweet?
KING: It doesn't get much better than that, does it? That was fantastic. We were really pleased.
KING: And to get her support is wonderful.
Fionnuala, lastly, I mean, can you just perhaps sort of walk us through 24 hours on your ward?
I mean, what does it take and what goes through your mind when you wake up? Can you get any sleep? Can you get any rest? What is it like being on the
front line, as everybody says?
DONOVAN: I mean, I think it's probably similar for the whole population, not just us NHS workers.
DONOVAN: There's obviously a bit of anxiety from day to day
But, if I'm honest, was so, so well-supported that, actually, we're a big family. And going in and just getting to work with my colleagues and help
each day just -- it makes it manageable, and it's nice to be there to be able to do something in this kind of pandemic.
So a day in the life hasn't changed necessarily massively in terms of work, because we're still going in and helping as much as we can.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think and what message would you have for the bigger world out there after this, once we get out of this dark tunnel?
I mean, everybody's been just staggered by the fact that you don't all have the right protective gear, that the patients don't all have the right
equipment and enough ventilators, and the whole issue of testing, I mean, the stuff that has been exposed, the cracks that have been exposed by this
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you want the future to look like for the medical and health professionals?
DONOVAN: I mean, I can't comment too much on that side, because I can say that I am quite well-protected in our hospital.
And I think just don't forget that the good hark work that the NHS does for everyone, really. And it's just continuing to support us even after this
pandemic has gone, and remember the good things that we are managing to do.
AMANPOUR: Well, we do remember. And we thank everybody for it.
Fionnuala Donovan, thank you so much. And, Mike King, thank you so much.
KING: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And that's it for now.
And we're going to leave you with a little more of that inspiring piece to play us out.
Thanks for watching, and goodbye from London.