JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I’m Judy Woodruff. On the “NewsHour” tonight: The federal government
grapples with the fallout from COVID-19. New York state sets up a containment zone. And
more schools across the country send students home. Then: Voters in six states head to the polls,
as Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders battle it out for the Democratic presidential nomination. Plus: coronavirus and the crown — to a United
Kingdom preparing for the outbreak, where reactions range from the scrupulous to the
skeptical. GORDON ROBINSON, Mental Health Worker: Football’s
got to continue. You can’t stop things. You cannot stop your way of living because of
a virus that’s only killed a few people at this moment in time. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight’s
“PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: We have two big stories tonight. We will get to the latest on the coronavirus
and the government’s response to the spread across the U.S. But, first, voters in six states went to the
polls, as the race for the Democratic nomination narrows between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Here are the results that we are able to share
at this hour. In Michigan, the most contested state in this
election tonight, Joe Biden now the projected winner. Polls have just closed in the state
of Michigan. In Mississippi, Joe Biden also the projected
winner. And in North Dakota, the caucus there closed
an hour ago, the results still coming in. And voting continues for two more hours in
Idaho and in Washington state. There is no question, though, that the state
of Michigan is the crown Jewel of this election night. Both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have
put considerable time and resources toward the Great Lakes State. So that is where we will begin tonight. Christy McDonald has been following the Michigan
primary. She’s a reporter and anchor for our partners at Detroit Public TV. So, Christy, the — we are able to project
that Joe Biden is the winner. What do you attribute it to? You have been following.
You have been talking to voters throughout. CHRISTY MCDONALD, Detroit Public Television:
Yes, this is really a blow for Bernie Sanders. He was trying to build on what he was able
to do here in Michigan four years ago, Judy. But from the voters that we have been talking
to in the last several weeks, and especially since we saw, Super Tuesday, a lot of the
candidates get out of the race and coalesce around Joe Biden, was, who was going to be
able to beat Donald Trump in November? They share a lot of the same feelings, the
voters do, about health care, importance there, the economy, wage stagnation. But, again,
everyone is really rallying around the thought of, we have had three-and-a-half years of
a President Trump administration. Who can beat him in November? JUDY WOODRUFF: Do you have an understanding,
Christy, from talking to voters who supported Bernie Sanders four years ago, when he did
pull out a win over Hillary Clinton? It was narrow, but he won. What’s happened to that support for him? CHRISTY MCDONALD: Well, what happened in 2016
in Michigan, it’s a very different Michigan now in 2020. You have seen a flip in 2018. We took back
two congressional seats — the Democrats did. And then you saw a Democratic governor come
in, as well as a Democratic secretary of state and attorney general. And so there has been a real shift in the
mind-set here. And it’s really looking more towards electability. So, when they say, Joe
Biden, he has been there through the test of time, he’s been here a long time in the
Democratic Party, is he going to be the one who’s going to be able to take on Donald Trump
and win and end a Trump presidency after four years? Bernie Sanders, while he — again, we talk
about how many of the young demographic, the 18 to 35, are big supporters of Bernie Sanders,
but he wasn’t able to build upon that. He also has a lot of outreach for Hispanic voters
and also for Muslim Americans, who live here in the state of Michigan, but he wasn’t able
to expand upon that base. JUDY WOODRUFF: Christy McDonald, reporting
for us from Detroit. Christy, thank you so much. CHRISTY MCDONALD: Mm-hmm. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now on to Mississippi. It’s the only Southern state holding a contest
today. Southern states that voted on Super Tuesday broke for Joe Biden over Bernie Sanders. And the Associated Press, as we said, is projecting
tonight that Mississippi is following suit. Adam Ganucheau is following the primary there.
He is a political reporter for the nonprofit newsroom at Mississippi Today. Adam, based on what you see, how do you explain
the big win of — evidently, the big win for Joe Biden? ADAM GANUCHEAU, Mississippi Today: Sure. Like I said earlier in the evening, Mississippi’s
Democratic primary electorate is close to 75 percent African-American. African-Americans
in this state, because, I think, of their trust in former President Barack Obama and,
because of that trust, their trust in former Vice President Joe Biden, I think that went
a long way in this race. Looking at some exit polls that were conducted,
it looks like Joe Biden got roughly 84 percent of the African-American vote in Mississippi.
So, again, knowing that the African-American electorate makes up three-fourths or close
to three-fourths of that Democratic primary electorate, I think that kind of explains
it all here. JUDY WOODRUFF: It was interesting that Bernie
Sanders had a campaign event scheduled in Mississippi, and he canceled it in order to
head to Michigan. ADAM GANUCHEAU: That’s right, yes. I think a lot of people in the state, when
Senator Sanders decided to cancel that visit, and instead go to Michigan to try to pick
up some of the heavy primary voters there, a lot of people in Mississippi resented that.
They thought — they thought of that as sort of disrespect in a lot of ways. And that certainly
didn’t help, I don’t think, any rise in Sanders’ candidacy, specifically within that African-American
community in Mississippi. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we should say, Adam, that
as much as Joe Biden may be celebrating about Mississippi tonight, it’s a tough hill for
him to climb in November, when he’s — if he’s the nominee, up against President Trump. ADAM GANUCHEAU: That’s right. Here in Mississippi, this is a ruby-red state.
It’s one of President Trump’s strongholds of any state in the country. This is, like
I said, a conservative state. We will definitely on — in November, early November, we will
be having a conversation about just how well President Trump did here, undoubtedly. But, look, I think there are still — in Mississippi,
even, there are moderate voters who may have not necessarily appreciated some of what President
Trump has done in his first three-and-a-half years in office. And, certainly, as this year progresses, we
will see what happens. But sure, this is certainly a stronghold for President Trump. And that
will play out in November. JUDY WOODRUFF: Adam Ganucheau with Mississippi
Today, thank you, Adam. And now to Missouri, one of the closest primary
contests of the 2016 election cycle. Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic primary there
to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton by less than half of a percentage point. Tonight, the Associated Press is projecting
that Joe Biden will prevail over Sanders in Missouri this year. So, Jason Rosenbaum has been following the
contest, a political correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio. Jason, it’s the Show Me State. What is it
that Joe Biden showed to the voters? JASON ROSENBAUM, St. Louis Public Radio: He
showed that Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president may have ended tonight. And that may seem like hyperbole, but the
fact that the Associated Press called Missouri within two or three minutes, when it was only,
as you mentioned, less than a half-a-percentage point in 2016, showcases that Sanders could
not build on the coalition he had in 2016, and that voters in Missouri and other places
that are considered either Midwestern or Southern states are going toward the former vice president’s
column. This is a huge triumph for Biden, and a big
psychological defeat for Bernie Sanders. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we should say that this
call was made with just — it looks like, from what we were just showing there on the
map, just 4 percent of the precincts reporting. But that means the interviews with voters
today and the days leading up to today’s vote strongly suggest that Joe Biden is way out
front. What were voters telling you in the — Jason,
in the days leading up to the primary about what mattered to them the most as they cast
their ballots? JASON ROSENBAUM: It all came down to which
candidate will stack up best against President Donald Trump. Missouri is probably not going to be the battleground
state it was in 2000, 2004, 2008. But Missouri Democrats here need a better top-of-the-ticket
person than Hillary Clinton. When Hillary Clinton was at the top of the ticket in 2016,
she lost the state by nearly 20 percentage points. And that doomed down-ballot candidates like
Chris Koster for governor and Jason Kander for Senate. People like state Auditor Nicole
Galloway, who’s going to be running in a competitive race for governor against incumbent Governor
Mike Parson,s need someone like Joe Biden to close that gap in order to win. So, even though Missouri is not the battleground
it used to be, the result tonight, I think, is heartening for a lot of Missouri Democrats. JUDY WOODRUFF: Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis
Public Radio, we thank you. JASON ROSENBAUM: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: And all the way out West to
Washington state, where voters are still able to submit their ballots for a little more
than an hour-and-a-half. It has the second biggest pot of delegates up for grabs on this
election night. And Donna Blankinship is keeping track of
the primary there. She is the political editor at KCTS-9 Crosscut. That is the PBS member
station based in Seattle. Donna, when you and I spoke earlier this evening,
you were telling me about what voters were confronted with — it’s a state with mail-in
ballots. Earlier in this contest, you had a number of candidates running, most of whom
have dropped out, presenting a dilemma for a lot of voters. DONNA BLANKINSHIP, KCTS-9 Crosscut: Right. I just talked to a bunch of voters yesterday.
And they said that they had to make their second or third choice when they ended up
voting. Some of them voted before the candidates dropped out. So, that’s why our pollster thinks
— one of the reasons our pollster thinks that Joe Biden is probably going to win this
election in Washington. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we also have spoken, Donna,
about the fact that Washington state had caucuses, as well as a primary beauty contest four years
ago. This year is just the primary. DONNA BLANKINSHIP: Right. JUDY WOODRUFF: How does that affect, do you
think, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders in this contest? DONNA BLANKINSHIP: Well, it gives us a wider
view of what the voters in Washington are thinking. The caucuses attracted a small, select group
of voters. And a primary has always been more people showing up. That means that Washington,
which has a variety of Democrats in our state, will — all their voices will be heard this
time. So it’s more likely — I would just be speculating,
I guess that the tendency is to go toward more a moderate choice. That’s probably why
Hillary Clinton won the primary last time around, four years ago, and Bernie Sanders
won the caucuses. JUDY WOODRUFF: Donna Blankinship with KCTS,
thank you. We know you are, you and all your colleagues, dealing so much these days with
the coronavirus outbreak which has hit Washington state so hard. Donna, thank you very much. DONNA BLANKINSHIP: Thank you. Thanks for your
time. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now to look at what it
all means for the big 2020 picture, I’m here with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report,
and host of public radio’s “Politics With Amy Walter,” and our own Lisa Desjardins. So, hello to both of you. You have had all of, what, 10 minutes to digest
all of this. (LAUGHTER) JUDY WOODRUFF: Amy, what does it all up to,
three big calls already for Joe Biden? AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Three
big wins, right. There was a tidal wave that started on Super
Tuesday for Joe Biden. The question was, could that wave keep coming in for him? And the
answer, obviously, is yes. And it is propelled by his big wins in almost
every single demographic category. JUDY WOODRUFF: And what does that mean, Lisa? LISA DESJARDINS: Well, I mean, I think we’re
seeing him win urban, suburban, rural, men, women, black, white, so far tonight. I also want to give us an update on the delegate
count, where we are right now, with these races called. Right now, Joe Biden, the former
vice president, has, according to our count, 715 delegates, Bernie Sanders 584, of course,
both a long way off from the 1,991. But it is that trajectory, the margins that
Biden is stacking up that make it harder for Bernie Sanders. AMY WALTER: That’s right. That’s right. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, those are the numbers of
delegates you expect Biden to have at the end of this evening. Is that right? Or as
of… LISA DESJARDINS: I believe including the calls
that we have made right now, as of right now. JUDY WOODRUFF: Including the calls right now. AMY WALTER: The statewide… JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Amy, when you say winning
every voter group, including young people, which has been Bernie Sanders’ strong… (CROSSTALK) AMY WALTER: He hasn’t won young people. Here’s a statistic I think is really important.
Looking at Missouri, a state that, as you pointed out, was very, very close last time,
Hillary Clinton narrowly winning it, in 2016, young voters made 45 percent of the electorate,
according to the exit polls. This year, the Associated Press voter survey,
young voters are only 37 percent, Bernie Sanders winning them by 24 percent. That’s a big — that’s
a big number. But he won them by 33 percent in 2016. Older voters — I hate that they call everybody
over 45 older, by the way — but, anyway, voters over the age of 45 make up almost two-thirds
of the electorate. LISA DESJARDINS: Look at that. AMY WALTER: And look at how big of a win Joe
Biden there — more than 50 points. So, losing younger voters, but not by as big
of a margin as he’s winning older voters. JUDY WOODRUFF: A lot of ways to slice and
dice this electorate. Lisa, what else are you looking at here. LISA DESJARDINS: Oh, I think watching Michigan
is going to be fascinating, not just for the — for this primary race. but, of course,
for November. What does the Democratic coalition look like? Can they beat Trump in that state? JUDY WOODRUFF: For sure. For sure. I’m looking at graphics in front of you that
are all about urban and rural. And there’s so much to look at. (LAUGHTER) LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins, Amy Walter,
thank you both. AMY WALTER: You’re welcome. LISA DESJARDINS: You’re welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: And we would ask you to please
join us at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for our special live coverage of these election results as
they continue to come in. On the COVID-19 front tonight, the U.S. death
toll rises to 30, with more than 800 confirmed cases. That is up from than one-third from
yesterday. Officials order new cancellations, closures
and quarantines. Congress and the president huddle on softening the economic blow. The
Biden and Sanders campaigns cancel rallies tonight in Ohio. And the stock market recovers
half of its losses from a day earlier. Amna Nawaz begins our coverage. AMNA NAWAZ: After Monday’s steep sell-off,
signs of recovery on Wall Street, as investors reacted to new efforts to slow the spread
of COVID-19, in New York, some of the strongest measures yet. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It is a dramatic
action, but it is the largest cluster in the country. AMNA NAWAZ: Governor Andrew Cuomo sent the
National Guard into New Rochelle, outside New York City, and closed schools and businesses
in a one-mile radius for two weeks. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO: New Rochelle has more than
double the cases of New York City. I mean, it’s true. It’s a phenomenon. AMNA NAWAZ: Also today, North Carolina joined
Colorado in imposing a statewide emergency. In all, more than two-thirds of states in
the U.S. now have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with the majority in Washington
state. In Olympia, Governor Jay Inslee warned that
more cases are coming, raising the risk for seniors. GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Remind them that this
is not a time to exposing themselves to large groups of people in confined spaces. AMNA NAWAZ: And in Oakland, California, some
2,000 passengers waited in turn to leave the docked grand Princess Cruise ship and enter
quarantine. Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., President
Trump met with insurance executives and pledged to help the struggling airline and cruise
industries. Later, he met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill,
as they weigh any legislative next steps, still days from coming together. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, there are
going to be a number of different things considered in putting together this package, which, as
I said before, I hope ends up being a bipartisan, bicameral-negotiated way forward that will
reassure others. SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): This shouldn’t
be a partisan issue. We want to solve the problem. We’re ready to work with the administration
on a coordinated, government-wide, focused plan to respond to the coronavirus. AMNA NAWAZ: Among the options under consideration,
payroll tax relief, help for hourly wage workers, and making testing and treatment more affordable. The president also addressed questions about
his own health, after contact with lawmakers now under self-quarantine. DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States:
I feel extremely good. I feel very good, but I guess it’s not a big deal to get tested.
And it’s something I would do. But, again, spoke to the White House doctor,
terrific guy, talented guy. He said he sees no reason to do it. There’s no symptoms, no
anything. AMNA NAWAZ: One of those lawmakers? Republican
Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, tapped to be White House chief of staff. He
was exposed to the virus at a Washington area conference last week, and announced he would
self-isolate as a precaution, even though he tested negative. The availability of testing kits led to questions
today in a hearing with the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, Director, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention: Any physician that feels there’s a need, or public health
person, can order that test. But it was a series of going through that regulatory process
to get that test available. REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): But I think the
conclusion is that we are behind the curve in testing, when South Korea can test 10,000
people in a day. AMNA NAWAZ: Overseas, the streets of Rome
lay quiet, as a nationwide travel ban took effect in Italy, hard-hit by the virus. SILVANA, Rome Resident (through translator):
This is the best thing the government could do, because people were not respecting the
rules. A stronger decision was needed to counter the situation. AMNA NAWAZ: At train stations, masked police
officers checked documents for all passengers, who had to justify their travel. Poland announced
health checks for travelers crossing its border from Germany. And Austria conducted similar
checks along its border with Italy. In China, President Xi Jinping toured Wuhan,
the epicenter of the original outbreak, and said the worst there was over. XI JINPING, Chinese President (through translator):
I extend greetings and thanks to you and to all the community workers nationwide, including
those fighting on the front line. AMNA NAWAZ: And, in South Korea, the number
of new cases fell to its lowest level in almost two weeks. Back in the U.S., the markets endured ups
and downs, but finished the day finished higher, despite the uncertainty of where the virus
will move next. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Amna Nawaz. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the end, Wall Street recovered
about half of its record losses from Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 1,167
points to close back above 25000. The Nasdaq rose nearly 400 points, and the S&P 500 added
135. All of this as hopes build for a major economic
stimulus package from Washington. We get more now on the federal government’s
response now with our Lisa Desjardins and Yamiche Alcindor. So, Yamiche, to you first. What are the options that the president is
looking at? What are you hearing at the White House? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the president is looking
for the fastest possible economic response to the coronavirus. And he’s looking at two tracks, first, what
he can do individually through some sort of national emergency declaration in the next
week or so, and he’s also looking at working with Congress and negotiating some sort of
larger legislative bill. On what he can do himself, he’s looking at
some sort of executive action where he would be able to do a couple things, including giving
small businesses loans. He also wants to try to give some sort of financial relief to hourly
workers that have already lost paychecks because they had to be — they had to self-quarantine
or because they had the coronavirus. The other thing he’s looking at is trying
to defer tax payments, so that, if you owe the government money, you might have between
90 to 180 days to pay the government, which would put a little bit more money in your
pocket short-term. Then he’s looking at Congress for a payroll
tax cut. That would be some — some are saying between 2 percent. That would be what President
Obama did in 2010. Larry Kudlow is in the White House right now briefing as I speak.
He’s saying that this would be something that would last through the end of the year. But the president is gearing up for a fight
with Democrats on the Hill, because some Democrats are already saying that this is a tax cut
that looks something like possibly the 2017 tax cut that they say benefited the wealthy
people and not working-class individuals. So the president is looking at two things
to try to figure out how to stem the economic issues that are coming with this virus. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, it’s true that there
are some different ideas in the Congress. LISA DESJARDINS: Right. Yamiche and I were a team reporting on the
Hill today. And I think we can safely say that there are a lot of ideas, but not yet
a clear focus. Democrats and some Republicans are skeptical of this pay tax — payroll tax
cut, because that payroll tax comes and helps Social Security and Medicare. Seems to be warming up today. But that kind
of 2 percent cut would be over $100 billion in spending. Marco Rubio told me he thinks
this whole package could be $300 billion, if it’s a larger payroll tax cut. We’re talking
about very big dollars here, Judy. Other ideas floating today Republicans, three
of them, senators, raised the idea of including a highway infrastructure bill as part of this.
That’s something others think is not related at all. But if you’re talking about economic stimulus,
it enters the picture. The point here is that there are a lot of ideas. They don’t yet have
a real handle on what exactly will help the workers who probably will need it the most. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, no doubt, Yamiche, the
White House trying to deal with concerns, rising concerns, on the part of the American
people and fears. I mean, the death toll is going up. The number
of cases is going up exponentially. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That’s right. And White House officials just now said that
it’s guaranteed that the numbers of deaths and the number of cases in coronavirus will
be going up. Now, today, President Trump, when he was visiting
the Hill, was playing sort of calmer in chief. Here’s what he had to say: DONALD TRUMP: We’re prepared. And we’re doing
a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away. We want to
protect our shipping industry, our cruise industry, cruise ships. We want to protect our airline industry, very
important. But everybody has to be vigilant and has to be careful, but be calm. It’s really
working out. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: So, there again is the president
trying to be calmer in chief. He’s trying to tell people, calm down, take a deep breath,
things are going to get better. But, of course, the issue is, of course, that
the president has contradicted some of the health officials working for his own administration.
He said at one point that there was going to be a miracle, that the cases were going
to go down. He was on Capitol Hill today shaking hands, which is what health officials have
said Americans should try not to do. They should be washing their hands very vehemently
and very frequently. But the president has been saying other things. But, today, he did
acknowledge that the cases will go up. But when he was asked about the cases possibly
reaching to 100 million Americans infected, he didn’t tamper that down. Instead, he said: I have seen a lot of different
numbers, and I’m just telling people the risks continue to be low. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Lisa, right now, what is
it, seven members of Congress have been under quarantine? How is the Capitol doing in terms of dealing
with all this? LISA DESJARDINS: That, again, is a very mixed
picture. When you talk to senators, some of them are
even joking about this. I spoke to Senator Pat Roberts and his aide. He said, I’d like
to self quarantine at Mar-a-Lago. So he’s trying in some sense to walk this
line of not increasing panic. But, also, many staffers, Judy, say they’re not taking this
seriously enough at the Capitol. While I saw some senators using their elbow
to hit an elevator button, the truth is, they’re not really changing their patterns very much.
There are a few, fewer handshakes, some travel, like going to NATO next week. Some senators
are not going there. But there are more serious considerations
going on as well, Judy. I can report from multiple sources that the sergeant at arms
at the Senate is looking at trying to find an alternate location, should the Capitol
itself be seen as not a healthy place for senators to meet. That is normal in this kind of situation.
But that tells you how high the issue has risen at this point. JUDY WOODRUFF: Interesting, in the wake of
Speaker Pelosi saying, we’re going to keep going, no matter what. LISA DESJARDINS: That’s right. That’s right.
They just want a backup plan. And also want to note, quickly, on the Biden
and Sanders campaign canceling their events in Ohio, that is because Ohio announced their
first cases of coronavirus today. Joe Biden, we expect to speak in Philadelphia instead
tonight. So this is having that political effect that we expected. JUDY WOODRUFF: For sure. Lisa Desjardins, Yamiche Alcindor, thank you. A small, but growing number of schools around
the country are shutting their doors to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus. That
includes a number of colleges and universities. It’s just a fraction of public elementary
and high schools. But, so far, more than 620 schools have closed or are scheduled to close,
affecting more than 430,000 students. Washington state was the early epicenter in
the U.S. And John Yang has a look at one of the school
districts there that decided to take this step. JOHN YANG: The Northshore School District,
north of Seattle in Washington state, has shifted all its classes for its more than
23,500 students from brick-and-mortar classrooms to the Internet for at least two weeks. Michelle Reid is the superintendent of the
Northshore School District. She joins us from Seattle. Superintendent Reid, thanks so much for being
with us. In your letter to parents explaining this
decision, you said that: “We are no longer able to provide quality instruction and maintain
an environment that is safe for our staff and students to learn.” What led you to that conclusion?
®MD+IT¯®MD-IT¯ MICHELLE REID, Superintendent, Northshore
School District: Well, there are several issues. Northshore is uniquely situated, with two
counties and three cities, and within our two counties, we have the highest number of
coronavirus-identified cases and deaths in the United States. We also had a significant number of staff
that met the four criteria for at risk. So I really could no longer safely open and operate
school without quality staff supporting the educational process in a brick-and-mortar
campus. We also had escalating absentee rates, up
to 20 percent just prior to us making the decision to transition school from the classroom
to the cloud. And it’s our first day. We were only at 500
students not able to log again. Therefore, we actually are at a 2 percent absence rate. JOHN YANG: How does this actually work? Students
log in on their computers at home, and what happens? MICHELLE REID: So, we’re — it’s an online
platform we’re utilizing. So we actually a daily schedule for students.
And there are times that they log in for classes and their discussion boards. And the teachers
have been working really hard and our support professionals to provide lessons and content
that is sent in some cases by video and others by attached documents and discussion boards,
so that we’re able to maintain our Northshore quality of education during this health crisis. JOHN YANG: Was there an issue with students
who didn’t have a computer or didn’t have Internet service at home? MICHELLE REID: Absolutely. We are a district that has a lot of resources
that not all communities and districts have. We have received approximately 4,000 requests
for computer devices and about 300 requests for mobile hot spots, which we have been able
to meet. And I also think it underscores a broader
national conversation about equity and access to technology and the Internet and students’
access dependent still on their zip code in this country. So, hopefully, when this health crisis passes,
it’s a conversation we can take up in earnest. JOHN YANG: In your letter to the parents,
you also said that education is a service, it is not a place. But there are certain things that are provided
at that place that the service is usually provided. For instance, I know that 15 percent
of your students qualify for free or reduced lunches. You obviously have students who require — have
special needs, and there are certain families that have child care issues during the day
for younger students in particular. What happens or what are you doing about those students? MICHELLE REID: Well, so, let me be clear that
overriding all of those concerns are the health and safety of our students and staff and our
ability to slow the spread of this coronavirus, whereas social distancing has been the recommendation
number one for us. Having said that, we have gotten a team together.
And we are providing food today to those students who have asked for food. We’re doing at four
brick-and-mortar sites and also delivering to 16 remote school sites. So, all students and families who want or
need food as — or rely on the schools for food are able to procure food. The same with
child care. We’re going to be supporting community sites for child care for those families who
require it, as long as we can maintain that in a health — healthy and safe way. So we’re trying to continue to provide those
services, while we take care of our professional educators and support staff and students by
keeping them safe with a social distancing plan. JOHN YANG: You said that this is initially
going to be for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, how do you decide
whether to go back to the brick-and-mortar classroom? MICHELLE REID: We’re going to be evaluating
that on a day-to-day basis. We will continue to look at our data and the fact pattern locally
and nationally, and we will make those decisions as they come. Our ability to move from classroom to cloud
and back is going to enable us to continue to be nimble in our decision-making. And we’re
providing parents daily communication, as well as students. JOHN YANG: Michelle Reid, superintendent of
the Northshore School District in Washington state, thank you very much. MICHELLE REID: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: A federal appeals court has
ordered the U.S. Justice Department to hand over grand jury testimony from the special
counsel’s Russia investigation. A three-judge panel ruled 2-1 today that House Democrats
are entitled to the material as part of continuing investigations of President Trump. The case could end up before the U.S. Supreme
Court. In Moscow, Russia’s Parliament laid out a
path today for President Vladimir Putin to stay in power. Existing law requires him to
step down when his latest six-year term ends in 2024. But lawmakers approved a constitutional
amendment to change that. Putin welcomed the move. VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through
translator): Technically, today, we could lift the presidential term limits. Such precedents
exist in other countries, including our neighbors. In principle, this option would be possible,
if the Constitutional Court gives an official ruling that such an amendment wouldn’t contradict
the principles and main provisions of the constitution. JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin is 67 years old. He has
been Russia’s leader for more than 20 years. If voters approve the proposed constitutional
amendment next month, he could stay in power until 2036. The U.S. general who is overseeing the Middle
East warned today that Taliban attacks on Afghan forces have to let up, or U.S. forces
may not withdraw as agreed. Marine General Frank McKenzie said that the militants must
keep their part of a bargain that calls for cutting U.S. troop levels from 13,000 to about
8,600 by summer. He spoke at a U.S. House hearing that was
livestreamed. GEN. FRANK MCKENZIE, Commander, U.S. Central
Command: They are continuing attacks. Those attacks are relatively low in scale. They
are not directed against coalition forces. They are not occurring in city centers. They
are occurring at isolated checkpoints, but those attacks are occurring. And they are
not consistent with a movement toward a negotiated settlement. JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s President
Ashraf Ghani, signed a decree for the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners. It is to begin
within four days. And retired Army General Jack Keane received
the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. It’s the nation’s highest civilian honor. President
Trump presented the medal in a White House ceremony. Keane had once served as the army’s
vice chief of staff. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: after Brexit,
the United Kingdom prepares for its next crisis: the coronavirus; and much more. We return now to COVID-19, and to Britain,
where, so far, the virus has killed six people there; 370 people are infected and quarantined. The British government is watching developments
in Italy, amid fears that levels of infection could rise dramatically, and soon. But as special correspondent Malcolm Brabant
reports, for the time being, the attitude in Britain is very much, keep calm and carry
on. MALCOLM BRABANT (singing): God save our gracious
queen. Long live our noble queen. I haven’t suddenly become super patriotic
because of Brexit, but I’m following, to the letter, the instructions from Britain’s prime
minister. BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: The
best single thing we can do is wash our hands, two verses of the national anthem or happy
birthday, hot water, bar of soap. Two verses. MALCOLM BRABANT: After winning the general
election three months ago, Boris Johnson’s main leadership challenge was to negotiate
post-Brexit trade deals. But now his premiership is being tested by
war with an invisible enemy that threatens both the health and wealth of the nation. BORIS JOHNSON: If we continue to look out
for one another, to pull together in a united and national effort, I have no doubt that
we can and will rise to that challenge. MALCOLM BRABANT: Currently, the government
is trying to contain the virus, and has postponed measures such as establishing exclusion zones
to delay its spread. But more stringent controls are coming, says
Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser. CHRIS WHITTY, Chief British Medical Officer:
So, we are now very close to the time, probably within the next 10 to 14 days, when the modeling
would imply we should move to a situation where we say, everybody who has even minor
respiratory tract infections or a fever should be self-isolating for seven days afterwards. MALCOLM BRABANT: That means anyone with a
cough or cold will be obliged to stay home. The government has guaranteed that sick pay
will kick in from day one, instead of the usual day four. But what about financially vulnerable groups? ROBERT DINGWALL, Sociologist: How do you self-isolate
if you’re in precarious employment? How do you self-isolate if you’re too poor to have
sufficient stocks of food in the House? MALCOLM BRABANT: Sociologist Robert Dingwall
advises the government on morality and the ethics of its emergency planning. ROBERT DINGWALL: Essentially, if the government
is going to ask people to self-isolate, the government has to take responsibility for
the consequences of that. And that’s in terms of ensuring those people
have an income, that they have access to food, they have access to other services that they
might need during that period of self-isolation. You can’t just ask for the self-isolation
on its own. MALCOLM BRABANT: For now, Britain has decided
not to follow Italy, where soccer matches have taken place in empty stadiums. At Derby County, attendance at the latest
game was above average. The club’s mascot was tactile, despite advice to reduce human
contact. Here, 130 miles north of London, characteristic British stoicism was on prominent
display. GORDON ROBINSON, Mental Health Worker: Football’s
got to continue. You can’t stop things. You cannot stop your way of living because of
a virus that’s only killed a few people at this moment in time. STACEY GOODWIN, Warehouse Worker: For me,
the media is blowing it all out of proportion. They’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
They’re causing people to panic-buy. And, yes, me, I’m not worried. MARGARET EDWARDS, Soccer Fan: I know, with
me being older, you see, they’re talking about stopping older people from coming because
they’re more vulnerable to it. But I have had all sorts over my life. If I have got
to go, I have got to go. SHIRLEY COX, Postal Worker: People are starting
to panic. When we went to Sainsbury’s yesterday, you couldn’t get a toilet roll. People are
stockpiling already. What does it say about Britain? Well, we go into panic mode too easily,
I think. MALCOLM BRABANT: The latest British obsession
with hoarding toilet paper puzzles some, because the virus impacts the respiratory, and not
other systems. The disappearance of hand sanitizers from
shelves is more understandable. Retailers have insisted that they have enough supplies
and will restock. But shoppers don’t appear reassured. SIR SIMON WESSELY, Behavioral Scientist: I
hate that phrase panic buying. MALCOLM BRABANT: Sir Simon Wessely is a leading
psychiatrist and expert in mass hysteria. He’s one of the behavioral scientists advising
the government how to best handle the crisis. SIR SIMON WESSELY: You would have to be an
idiot not to go and get essential supplies, toilet paper, dog food, et cetera. I have
done both of those myself. So this isn’t panic buying. This is a rational
decision by people thinking, I might be stuck in my house for 14 days. MALCOLM BRABANT: But in an age of individualism,
of diminishing community spirit, coupled with skepticism of authority figures, could the
public revolt against future tougher measures? SIR SIMON WESSELY: In general, I think the
public have already shown that they will follow instructions, so long as they understand them,
so long as they are given clearly, and so long as the purpose is there, particularly
if, instead of frightening people that if you don’t we will send you to prison or fine
you, but, actually, if you do this, you are helping the common good, you are protecting
your relatives, you’re protecting the sick and the vulnerable. MALCOLM BRABANT: Britain’s royal family is
playing its part. There was no handshaking at Westminster Abbey for a service notable
as the last official engagement of Prince Harry and his American wife, Meghan Markle,
who are withdrawing from royal duties. The queen’s heir, Prince Charles, proffered
an Eastern greeting. But for such gatherings to continue, Britain needs to amend the lyrics
of its national anthem to still send her victorious, but over a new foe. For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant
in London. JUDY WOODRUFF: Students of today’s politics
are often looking for echoes in history that inform our present. A new book explores a chapter in American
history with relevance to today that you may not know very much about. It is a story of
how the illegitimate son of an immigrant rose to become the Republican Party’s first presidential
nominee in 1856, with a lot of help from his wife. Lisa Desjardins has the latest edition of
“NewsHour” Bookshelf. LISA DESJARDINS: In the mid-1840s, the United
States was undergoing immense expansion, expanding its borders into the uncharted West in what
was characterized as America’s Manifest Destiny. A new book explores that era through the story
of John C. Fremont, a wilderness explorer turned politician, and his wife, Jessie. Together,
they became the country’s first celebrity power couple. The book is “Imperfect Union: How Jessie and
John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War.” And it’s by NPR’s Steve Inskeep. That’s quite a lot in a subtitle. (LAUGHTER) STEVE INSKEEP, Author, “Imperfect Union: How
Jessie and John Fremont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War”:
It’s a long title, but they had long lives and fascinating lives, and were at the center
of American history for a couple of decades that I focus on in the 1840s and ’50s, this
period leading up to the Civil War. LISA DESJARDINS: But I’m curious, why do a
book about both of them? STEVE INSKEEP: Because they were a team. John C. Fremont was a Western explorer. He
didn’t actually discover that much that was new. His accomplishment was making the West
more famous and making it seem more alluring. And so he would go back and write these bestselling
accounts of his adventures, but he would write them in collaboration with his wife, Jessie
Benton Fremont. She was the daughter of a senator who wanted
to be involved in politics in a way that women weren’t supposed to be involved in politics.
And she operated through her husband and became a major political player. She is in some ways
almost more interesting than he is. LISA DESJARDINS: I want to talk about the
decisions that John was making on the trail. He made several voyages out into the West,
as you say. Not all of this was undiscovered territory, but harrowing journeys nonetheless.
He risked many lives. Sometimes, he expended lives on his journey. And I’d be interested if you could read one
of the excerpts. STEVE INSKEEP: Yes. This is after one of his nearly catastrophic
decisions. John C. Fremont was in what was called the Oregon Country. He decided the
middle of winter would be a perfect time to find a new trail across the American west. LISA DESJARDINS: Of course. STEVE INSKEEP: And his men got lost. They
got stuck. Fremont had risked his men’s lives with little
need, much as when he climbed the highest point in the Rocky Mountains, which is another
thing that he had done that was a needless exploit for fame, really. He’d done the same thing, except on a grander
scale. Again, he got away with it, as persistence and endurance overcame his erratic decisions.
The experience shifted the orientation of his life, because fate had momentarily brought
him to California, a great stage, where he sensed there would be more acts for him to
play. He accidentally discovered California. And
I don’t mean discovered it like the first person to go there. I mean, he himself realized
what it was, realized its potential, and resolved to return, and ended up being seen as the
conqueror, the American conqueror, of Mexican California a couple of years later. LISA DESJARDINS: There’s so much in this book,
but I do want to come back to the center of Jessie… STEVE INSKEEP: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: … his wife, Jessie Fremont. Can you tell me a little bit more about how
she managed to make him a national hero, and then catapult herself into a limelight like
women had never been in before? STEVE INSKEEP: Yes, it’s an amazing story. She was ambitious from a very young age. And
she said: My father early gave me a place a boy would have had. And she would follow him hunting and follow
him to the Senate. There was a point when she grew up where this was no longer seen
as appropriate. She eloped with this young penniless Army lieutenant, this adventurous
lieutenant. And she would receive his letters from the
West, and she would put it in the newspaper and publicize what he was doing. After a while,
she was writing letters herself that would get published in the newspaper. And this immediately began to publicize her.
People would notice and comment that a woman was commenting on politics. LISA DESJARDINS: You also wrote an op-ed in
The New York Times. STEVE INSKEEP: Yes. LISA DESJARDINS: And you’re entitled it: “It’s
1856 All Over Again.” I am intrigued. How? And what can we learn? STEVE INSKEEP: One thing that is similar now
and then is that the nation in the 1850s was undergoing a great demographic change. The country was divided in a way that can
feel familiar to us. The division then was between Northern states and Southern states,
Northern states that had gradually abolished slavery and Southern states that had ever
more fervently embraced slavery. That was the big divide. And the demographic change was that the North
was becoming much, much more populous, which, in a democratic country, means the North was
becoming more and more powerful. The reason that should feel familiar today is, we are
again going through a great demographic change that is seen as benefiting one party, the
Democrats, a little bit more than the other party, the Republicans, and that can be destabilizing. It creates fears on one side that they will
be overwhelmed and not just lose an election, but lose forever. And this is something that
President Trump told his supporters when running for office in 2016. He would tell them, this
is your last chance, your last chance to save the country before we’re overwhelmed by immigrants. Now we have Democrats who fear being shut
out of power forever because of the way the president governs the country in what they
see as an authoritarian manner. And that is something that leads to extreme
politics, when people feel the stakes are so very, very high. They are high now, just
as people felt they were very, very high back then. LISA DESJARDINS: A time of high stakes, a
very interesting look at the past and, as you say, a little bit of present as well. Steve Inskeep, thank you so much. Your book,
“Imperfect Union.” We appreciate you talking with us. STEVE INSKEEP: Thanks for reading. JUDY WOODRUFF: Now take a moment to hear from
your local PBS station. It’s a chance to offer your support, which helps to keep programs
like ours on the air. Rural America has experienced a rebound of
sorts in recent years. And many point to an unexpected reason: the arts. Jeffrey Brown has this encore report for our
ongoing arts and culture series, Canvas. JEFFREY BROWN: Friday night, hot jazz, but
we’re not in a flashy club in New York. This is the VFW in the town of Grand Rapids in
Northern Minnesota. On the guitar, Sam Miltich, who grew up here
and has performed in hundreds of venues around the world, but this small stage is home. SAM MILTICH, Jazz Guitarist: People thought
I was kind of crazy to try and make a life as a jazz musician in Northern Minnesota. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes, it does sound a little
crazy. SAM MILTICH: It does sound a little crazy.
And, actually, maybe it is a little bit crazy. But the quality of life where I grew up was
just so high. And I was, like, acutely aware of how good that life was. And I wanted that
life. JEFFREY BROWN: And he’s not alone, as we saw
in the nearby performing arts center that played host to a recent rural arts and culture
summit and. The summit is a biennial event held in different
towns. This one brought together some 350 artists and community leaders from 25 states
to exchange ideas, celebrate the role of creativity in small towns, and fight a national narrative
about rural America in decline. LAURA ZABEL, Executive Director, Springboard
for the Arts: That’s a pretty simple way to tell that story. And I think underlying that
story is often this attitude of sort of, well, why don’t you just get over it or why don’t
you just move? I think that kind of ignores the history and
the complexity, and it often ignores all of the people who are working really hard to
make what’s next for that community. JEFFREY BROWN: Laura Zabel heads Springboard
for the Arts, a Minnesota organization that helps artists and organizations in both urban
and rural areas and puts on the summit. Where do you see the arts fitting in? What’s
the role of arts and artists? LAURA ZABEL: They sort of have this ability
to make meaning from — sometimes from the really hard parts of what it means to live
in a rural community right now. And I think that’s necessary for a community
to move forward, that, rather than just telling people, get over it, people need outlets for
their pain and their shame and their joy. JEFFREY BROWN: The summit focuses on the practical
side of succeeding in rural areas: There are consultations for legal aid, economic planning
and career advice. With a dream of being a professional dancer,
Molly Johnston left her hometown of Battle Lake, Minnesota, with a population of less
than 1,000, for college in Philadelphia. She remembers thinking she wouldn’t return
until retirement. MOLLY JOHNSTON, Co-Director, DanceBARN Collective:
I was the first one out of town after graduation ready to explore the world. JEFFREY BROWN: But family and lifestyle pulled
her back to Battle Lake. The problem? How to make it work as a dancer. MOLLY JOHNSTON: I’m creating opportunities
that didn’t exist in the first place. So it’s not like I… JEFFREY BROWN: In what sense? I mean, explain
that to me. MOLLY JOHNSTON: Well I mean, there’s no dance
studio in Battle Lake, for instance, so I can’t just like walk in and be like, hey,
I have my master’s in dance. Can you give me a job and a weekly paycheck? JEFFREY BROWN: So she and a colleague created
their own organization, DanceBARN Collective, to put on a festival and give opportunities
to those living in rural communities. She also teaches dance classes to make ends
meet. MOLLY JOHNSTON: We’re becoming part of our
town’s makeup, that when they see that DanceBARN is doing a pop-up show at the bar on Thursday
night, people show up. I think that’s something really beautiful and surprising about living
in a rural town. JEFFREY BROWN: Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux came
to the summit with a different perspective, as mayor of Grand Marais, Minnesota, a small
town of about 1,300 people that sits on Lake Superior near the Canadian border. It’s a town that’s long valued the arts, he
says, but is now making them part of its planning and policies, like incorporating artists and
creative design into the reconstruction of a local highway. JAY ARROWSMITH DECOUX, Mayor of Grand Marais,
Minnesota: The idea is that if you can at least consider art when you’re working on
any policy then you won’t create barriers to the development of art in your community. JEFFREY BROWN: Everyone here acknowledges
the challenges of making a life in art in a small town: earning enough income, housing,
finding an audience. AMBER BUCKANAGA, Fashion Designer: There’s
a lot of this that is really — that’s uncomfortable for us. JEFFREY BROWN: Amber Buckanaga has faced those
and other challenges firsthand. A member of the Leech Lake Band of Chippewa, she lives
in East Lake, on the reservation, and works as a fashion designer, incorporating traditional
patterns into contemporary clothing. But lack of access to proper equipment and
technology are a constraint. The Wi-Fi in her area, she says, isn’t even worth paying
for. AMBER BUCKANAGA: We do have those challenges.
And then on top of us being indigenous people, it becomes more challenging. The access that these that the non-indigenous
population has to, like, arts spaces and resources, it just — it’s there right in front of them,
and it comes to them, and people feel more comfortable inviting them to those things.
So… JEFFREY BROWN: You don’t have that network. AMBER BUCKANAGA: No. No, we just don’t have
that. JEFFREY BROWN: Here in Grand Rapids, where
the massive paper mill and the crucial timber industry have struggled, an arts community
has blossomed. There’s a gallery and small shops, pop-ups
in the beautifully-restored old school house, an art walk on the first Friday of each month.
And jazz guitarist Sam Miltich, a full-time musician, is a regular at the VFW. With grants
from a state sales tax fund for arts and culture, he’s able to bring musicians from urban areas
to play with him in Grand Rapids. Miltich says he feels a sense of mission. SAM MILTICH: I think someone dubbed the term
jazz ambassador of the north or some such thing. You know, and I have always… JEFFREY BROWN: Which you embrace? SAM MILTICH: Which I embrace. JEFFREY BROWN: Yes. SAM MILTICH: And I have always felt, I think
it’s a little bit of an equity thing, where I always have felt that rural people are every
bit as deserving of art as any other group, and maybe more so, because they don’t have
as much access to it. So it’s about providing access. JEFFREY BROWN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m
Jeffrey Brown in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. JUDY WOODRUFF: And now for an update on the
results of the six-state primary election night, which is shaping up to give another
big boost to Joe Biden. In Michigan, the most contested state of the
night, with 125 delegates at stake, Biden is the projected winner. In Missouri, a key state in the general election,
Biden also the projected winner. In Mississippi, the only state in the South
voting today, Biden again is projected to win. In North Dakota, the results are still coming
in. And voting continues for another hour in Idaho and in Washington state. At this hour, Joe Biden has 774 delegates
to 620 for Bernie Sanders. Biden now has more than a third of the delegates needed to capture
the nomination. Please stay with us for the latest results. And tune in at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for our
“NewsHour” live election special. Before then, on the “NewsHour” online, we
will have livestream coverage and analysis featuring Lisa Desjardins, other “NewsHour”
reporters, plus insights from local public media around the country. That is live right
now on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour. I’m Judy Woodruff. For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank
you, and we will see you soon.

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