Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy was joined on the newsmakers line by War Room Pandemic host Steve Bannon.
During the third hour, Bannon gave his take on how the coronavirus could be managed in the United States based on the math proven in other countries. He described the dramatic steps that governor’s in Washington were taking around the nation and urged the public to take the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread until it becomes manageable.
Leahy: We are joined now by my very good friend, Steven K. Bannon. The guy who hired me at Breitbart eight years ago. The former head of Breitbart and the former head of the Trump campaign in 2016, and chief strategist in the White house. He is now the host of the very successful War Room Pandemic. Welcome, Steve Bannon.
Bannon: Michael Patrick Leahy, how are you doing? Thanks for having me on.
Leahy: How big is this coronavirus pandemic going to get in the United States? I see different estimates, Steve. The low end said we could have as many as 10,000 deaths and the high end of one million deaths. Where is this going to peak?
Bannon: Look, who knows. But I think what I would look towards is what happened in China, South Korea, and now Italy, and Europe. If you look at the math, Europe right now is exploding. We’ve had the pandemic show up since mid-January because China realized that something was happening historically in the Hubei providence of Wuhan and cast throughout the world.
But it’s been pretty predictable. The math hasn’t changed much since the very early days. If you look at the growth rate and particularly in Italy. We had folks on the show three and a half weeks ago when Italy had their first two announced people infected with the virus.
Now they have over 20,000 today and they just lost another 400 people last night. 400 people dead. This thing is growing exponentially. It’s an exponential function that I see exploding in Spain. Exploding in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom along the same sort of math as Italy.
If you look at tracking in the United States we are following the curve of Italy. We have very few tests up and all that’s changing. The Trump administration is flooding the zones now with tests.
Leahy: There were 4,000 tests last Monday. Today, I just checked, there are now 38,000 tests because President Trump jumped in and got the private sector involved shipped out 400,000 tests on Friday. They are being tested now.
Bannon: That will change things dramatically. At least till we get our arms around where we stand with this. You see the state governments, local governments, and private businesses are taking pretty dramatic steps here. Shutting the LA unified school districts and the NY school districts. Las Vegas just shut last night.
All the big sporting events have been canceled or delayed. So you’re seeing pretty dramatic action. People I think both from a liability point of view and also from a public health point of view. It’s pretty dramatic. The Trump administration now has a task force that is very focused on this.
There will be another press conference at 10:30 am this morning at the White House with the Vice President and Dr. Fauci and will be announcing some more measures. And I think people just need to pay attention to what they are saying and act accordingly.
Leahy: Here’s a question for you. I look at these stats and according to what’s reported in China, reported cases have been relatively stationary in the past couple of weeks at 80,000 total deaths at 3,200. Steve, I just have a hard time believing those numbers. Am I right to be skeptical?
Bannon: I don’t believe any number out of China. They lie about everything. The Chinese people are basically ruled by a dictatorship. I think the numbers are many many times higher. But one thing is definitely true directionally, essentially by taking draconian action, when I say draconian action, they shut down the providence of Hubei which is the size of France and has 80 million people.
They put that in total quarantine. I mean a hard lockdown. In Wuhan which is a 40% larger population than New York City where they went door to door to take your temperature and if they deemed that you had the virus, you went to a quarantine center. Most of the time, leaving the quarantine center was through a back door in an ambulance to have your body cremated.
The Chinese communist party, a dictatorship, really locked down on this thing much more than the United States or countries in western Europe could possibly do. In Italy, they tried three and a half weeks ago to lock down Lombardi, the industrial heartland of Italy in the north and really failed to be able to pull it off.
Newt Gingrich just wrote a great op-ed in Newsweek Magazine, who is in Rome with his wife as the ambassador to the Vatican. He talks about how Italy is teetering on a collapse in its healthcare system of collapse because they are not getting ahead of this virus.
Leahy: What’s the range? When will we know when we peak? Where do you see we will be in 30 days if you were to guess?
Bannon: You’ve got two solutions for this. A vaccine or social distancing until you get “herd immunity” to the population. The question is, what actions do you take and how tough are those actions to try to get to it faster?
And that’s the issue. Do we do some sort of social distancing herd throughout the country or particular areas of the country that are really likely to be quarantined to get those viruses to pass through here? It’s about the actions you take. I don’t want to speculate. There is plenty of analysis out there.
On our website, we link every new study and every new report that comes out. And there’s plenty of that. If you go to your news sites you can see this and come to your own conclusions. The CDC and Dr. Fauci are giving testimony. He’ll be up on Capitol Hill all this week.
He’s not shy about putting out their analysis. Some of it is pretty dramatic. According to the CDC reports there could potentially be up to one million deaths if not handled appropriately. But it all depends on the actions that are taken.
Leahy: On your program War Room: Pandemic that I listen to every day – excellent job by the way. You make a point, the human agency actions by the Trump administration and state governments can, in fact, impact how high the peak is going to be and whether it’s flattened. Are we going to see those kinds of actions in the near term?
Bannon: I think what President Trump has said has been the most powerful in this entire process and the bold action he took initially back in January to limit the influence from China and to really quarantine American citizens for the first time in 40 or 50 years and then Friday when he declared a national state of emergency.
His comment, that nothing is inevitable. What that means is through human action and human agency, it’s kind of what has built America right? Were not the kind of people to sit back and let things happen to us. We’ve always been very forward-thinking and action action action. And I think that is what’s going to get us through this.
We’ve had three things happen simultaneously. You have a global pandemic. You have also what I call an economic crisis which is a kind of mainstream crisis. Then you have a capital market or financial crisis which is kind of a Wall Street crisis.
You have to solve really all three parts of that which add to the complexity. To make sure you don’t have an economy that collapses. At the same time, you are dealing with a health crisis. Remember, the health crisis is not just social separation to make sure that the virus passes through here as fast as possible.
But also a healthcare crisis because you have to have this capacity strength, particularly with the ICU unit, ventilators, and really teams of doctors and nurses that can deal with this. So that’s what we see governors’ in Washington and particularly New York’s governor Cuomo stirring the call for either the National Guard or the Army Corp of Engineers to come and assist in building a surge capacity in ICU units.
That’s what really hurt Italy. They didn’t have that capacity. They had to start making very tough decisions on who was going to live and who was going to die. And you are going to see this throughout the rest of Europe here in the coming days and weeks.
Leahy: Yesterday the federal reserve announced that it was dramatically cutting interest rates by 100 basis points. They went between 1 and 1.25% and 0 and 0.25%. The markets today seem not to be reacting well to that. How do you see the markets reacting?
Bannon: I’ve been a big advocate of not (inaudible talk) I think lowering the interest rates is dangerous territory. It’s kind of unchartered territory. For the first time in history is very dangerous. Because Japan and the European central bank have already done that which I think leads to lower growth. This is unchartered territory.
I wasn’t surprised at all. I advocated people that I deal with and work with on the financial side that I thought a big rate cut, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, would send a warning shot to the market.
The Dow Jones industrial average for futures dropped immediately and hit the kill switch. It’s called limit down. So we really haven’t traded a future for 12 or 14 hours. It has hit the bottom that you can hit and when that limit down goes off aftermarket I think you’re going to see it go even further down.
The S&P is down nine percent. The Asian markets in Europe are just getting crushed. The reason is, the underlying problem of the economy which is not really a financial problem. What you have is a demand problem.
Think about it. All the small businesses and all the small businesses people that listen to your show and advertise on your show to no fault of their own are being impacted by this virus. And so over the next 30-60-90 days, till we get through it, how do they get through it and actually make it?
Leahy: Exactly. We’ll have you come back. Listen to War Room: Pandemic. You can also go to The Tennessee Star and click that link and listen to it.
Steve Bannon, thanks so much for joining us. We’ll have you back. Thanks for all your good work, Steve.
Listen to the full third hour:
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