Amy Klobuchar reacts to anxieties over coronavirus and long-term concerns

The Minnesota senator discusses the pandemic’s effect across the country and what her state plans to do in response.
5:56 | 03/18/20

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Transcript for Amy Klobuchar reacts to anxieties over coronavirus and long-term concerns
We're in New York City right now. There's a lot of anxiety. There are only 2,000 available hospital beds in New York City and 5,000 ventilators. A lot of those ventilators are already being used for other people. We saw last night the number of people who contracted the virus rose by almost 400 people in just a day. What do you say to really anxious new yorkers who maybe feel like the trump administration has not been on top of this in the way they should have been? We're all sitting here in midtown, and I can tell you it's very dystopian feeling both in here and out in the city. My daughter just spoke to me last night, and I say people have to listen to their leaders as hard as that is right now as whoopi was pointing out about the different views going on, but mostly they need help. The federal government should be helping. Think about when a hurricane comes in. You build tents. You make sure that you are prepared for it ahead of time, and a lot of that was not going on with this administration. That is behind us right now, but what is with us at this very moment is getting help that's needed in the places that are hit the hardest, and one of those places is New York City, but we're seeing it all across the country, and so what I think needs to happen is you've got to listen to the local officials. Everyone understands. We never thought we would have whoopi appearing on your show by Skype. Everything is changing right now, and we're going to have to adjust to it, and as we adjust to it, we're going to listen to our leaders and in different areas of the country, you're going to have different responses, and it doesn't mean it's because of politics, always. It just means because it's the science and what the medical professionals are recommending. In more concentrated areas, yes, you're going to have some stricter rules because the disease can be transmitted more quickly. Senator, this is sunny. You know, I have been saying this over and over and over again. 59% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, so it's very difficult for people to stay at home even when they don't feel well because it's the difference between feeding their families or not, and it's been four days since Nancy Pelosi and the house passed an $850 billion coronavirus relief package making testing for the virus free as you mentioned and also dealing with some of the economic impact of the virus. Where is this now in the senate, and why haven't things moved faster? I share your frustration. Yeah. I think this should have happened last week when they passed it in the house. Mitch Mcconnell chose to basically adjourn the senate. We have come back, and we will be passing that bill today. Now let's talk about the bill. It does help some people in the country greatly with paid sick leave, and that's really important, and it does some other good things with unemployment, insurance and the like, but we know that many, many Americans don't even have the $400 to afford an emergency room bill right now. A lot of this is going to be that this is the first step, and there's so much more that needs to be done to have more extensive work family leave. To make it easier for child that's another big problem for so many families, and one of my obsessions is these tests. We don't want to just find out you have it. Tests are being developed right now including at mayo clinic in my home state that would allow you to know if you had it before, you have immunimmunities. If you have immunities, you can go back to work. You can be a health care worker. You can give blood plasm to save other people's lives and that's about leadership and thinking ahead, and all of that has to be happening right now. So much of this is a federal response, right? Getting the ventilators, finding the contractors to build the tents, doing all this. It is not just local and state. Local and state are going to do a real good job deciding what's working in our state, what do we need to do, but the help must come from the federal national level. This is a national crisis. Senator, speaking of your state, San Francisco is in some form of a lockdown now. There's talk of a possibility of something similar happening in New York. Based on your conversations with the experts, do you support some form of lockdown in Minnesota? Not at this point. Our governor and our local mayors have been making decisions for their own communities. It's never easy. The decision was made just recently to close the schools down for a set amount of time. Other localities are making different decisions. Again, I don't think that's a bad thing because you've got to look at where the disease is, and what the levels are at. What I do know is this. We don't have enough supplies for the testing right now. This is a national crisis. There's not going to be enough swabs after a certain period of time, and that's why again, I emphasize we need to switch to other kinds of testing as well, and then I think we need to prepare whether it is V.A. Centers. Whether it is extended care places that have openings. We have to prepare to get the hospital beds we're going to need to help those who are most sick. One of the most moving photos I saw this morning was of a 90-year-old man in Connecticut who held up a sign to his wife of 67 years wishing her their happy, happy anniversary. There are people who have loved ones who are at serious risk, and our most important job in government is to protect people from harm, and so all of this should go in our thinking. We should treat this as a national emergency, and work together as a team and not try to divide people. People are going to make judgment calls. Some they'll have to correct. Some will be right on, and we learn from Well said.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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