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Dow Drops; Safety Measures Around the World to Stop Ebola; 2nd Ebola-Infected Nurse Flies on Frontier Airlines; Congressional Subcommittee Holding Ebola Hearing; Gen. Martin Dempsey Talks Ebola, ISIS; Obama Cancels Fundraisers to Deal with Ebola Crisis.
Aired October 15, 2014 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Now taken individually, these reports may not seem like much of a concern, but you roll them all together and they become this snowball effect. And then you take a step back and you look at the big picture and you've got investors looking at this picture and saying, you know what, maybe those record highs that we've all been talking about for so long weren't justified considering how the economies are doing in the Eurozone and how the economy in this country is doing.
Also keep in mind, it's been since 2011 that we've seen stocks, the market, go into correction. We're getting dangerously close to that. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of the market, only about 13 points away from correction -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Gone up to 17,000, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, right now 15,877. Although, some perspective during the recession in 2008, it was down at around 7,000. So people have made money over these years. But obviously, something's going on right now. Down about 1,000 points over the last few days, 435 points on this day alone.
Alison, stand by.
Up next, we'll get back to the breaking news. The latest patient to be diagnosed with Ebola just traveled by plane from Cleveland to Dallas. Much more of the continuing coverage right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington.
Around the world, various safety measures are being put into effect to try to reduce the risk of Ebola. Earlier this year, British Airways suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until March of next year. On the recommendation of the French government, Air France has temporarily halted flights to Sierra Leone. And airport screenings are now in effect at five major U.S. airports, as well as airports and trains in the U.K.
Richard Quest is joining us right now; as is Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent.
Richard, how effective is all of this? RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Not very effective at all
for a variety of things that Sanjay is much more qualified to talk about. You don't know at various points whether the person is symptomatic. You don't know at what point they are able to be infectious and contagious. And as we're seeing just today with Frontier flight 1143 with the nurse that flew on that flight, now you've shown no symptoms but, all of a sudden, everybody's looking for 132 passengers who took that flight. Now, you multiply this many times by the number of passengers who have come from Africa and then you start doing things like the laser temperatures and you start worrying about passengers on different passports and where they started their journey, and finally, Wolf, those passengers who have taken ibuprofen or medication to bring down any fevers. And, of course, it becomes an absolute nightmare. It's not practical. But it makes people feel perhaps more secure.
BLITZER: Sanjay, I want to put that map back up, because this second nurse, Amber Vinson, after treating Mr. Duncan, the Liberian man who came down with Ebola and died in Dallas, after treating him together with Nina Pham, the first nurse who contracted Ebola from Mr. Duncan, she left -- she took a flight to Cleveland. You can see on October 10th. Frontier Airlines, flight 1142. Spent a few days in Cleveland. And then flew back to Dallas on October 13th, even though she'd been with Mr. Duncan, apparently treating him. Give us your perspective on this. It sounds pretty risky to me.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It should not have happened, Wolf. Very clear now that should not have happened. It was another misstep.
Let me make one thing clear. The CDC offers up guidelines, recommendations, regarding how to care for people who have come in contact with Ebola. But these aren't mandates. These aren't laws. They're recommendations.
One of the things they talk about is something known as controlled movement. While someone who has come in contact with Ebola is not necessarily quarantined, again, unless they're sick, they're not going to be a risk to the general public, while they're not quarantined, they are told they can only have controlled movement. If they're going to fly, it must be a chartered plane, or if they can get in a car and drive. But commercial air flights, those are off the table. And yet, it still happened here twice. So it wasn't supposed to happen.
And you can imagine now, Wolf, the passengers on that plane, essentially seeing these notices on your program and told to call the CDC. You can understand, if you were on that flight, anybody on that flight, that would -- you'd be worried about that. I think the risk of any of them being sick, any of them having Ebola, is minimal to none. But you can understand the sort of concern this starts to cause.
BLITZER: She would only be contagious if she were showing symptoms, if she had a fever or were vomiting, anything along those lines. And presumably, when she at least flew to Cleveland, she was OK, right? GUPTA: That's what we're hearing. We don't know that she had
symptoms on those flights. But some of that's her own personal record. Was she taking her temperature? Did she have even a low- grade fever before she got on any of the flights? With the low-grade fever, still, I think she'd have a very low chance of being infectious. But part of this is you have to take people at their word as well in this situation. She shouldn't have been on those flights. Maybe not her fault because maybe she wasn't told that. But those guidelines, as Dr. Frieden pointed out, are pretty clearly spelled out.
BLITZER: Certainly are. Pretty frightening when you think about it.
Richard, thank you.
Sanjay, don't go too far away.
Richard, if you can stand by, we've got some more questions for you as well.
As I've been reporting, President Obama is scrapping his schedule. He was supposed to go up to New England to do some fundraising. But he's staying in Washington. He's about to hold a cabinet level meeting on this Ebola crisis.
Meanwhile, Congress is also taking action to try to prevent a significant outbreak in the United States. We'll update you on what we know with all the breaking news right after this.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. A second nurse in Dallas has now contracted Ebola. This is a serious development.
The president of the United States now deciding he's not going to do political fundraising. He's going to stay in Washington with top members of his cabinet to deal with this crisis. We'll have extensive coverage of that throughout the day here on CNN.
Let's get some analysis now. Joining us from Pittsburgh is Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, of Pennsylvania.
You're the chairman, Congressman, of the House Subcommittee on Oversight Investigations. You're holding a special hearing tomorrow on this Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The cases now occurring in the United States. I know that Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC; Dr. Fauci, of NIH, are going to be testifying. What's the most important thing you need to learn?
REP. TIM MURPHY, (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, the thing we need to learn is do we have a stable strategy yet on several levels, hospital training, where patients need to go. We're going to be asking questions about travel, travel restrictions, asking questions about what is being done in Africa. And of course, asking questions, what Congress needs to do to facilitate. I was on the phone with Dr. Frieden yesterday. And I said, please let
us know if we need to do anything. I'm sure there will be widespread bipartisan cooperation to work with the administration to come up with solutions here.
I think there are several areas we are concerned about. We don't know if hospitals are equipped, let alone, trained at this time. When I've talked to some hospital administrators, they say, quite frankly, we don't know what we would do because we may be overwhelmed by even one case. We don't think there's adequate transportation mechanisms set up for patients who do have Ebola, bringing them from overseas. So we want to know what are the plans in the works coming up, too, but dealing with the United States and in Africa.
BLITZER: What would you like to hear from the president of the United States? He's convening top members of his cabinet within the next hour or so to deal with this crisis.
MURPHY: Well, it is one of the important things, what are we going to do about travel? Do we restrict all travel from West Africa at this point? Are the screenings going to be adequate? I don't think they are. Do we have some sort of -- once someone comes back to the United States as a U.S. citizen, they're on house quarantine or restrict their travel? These are questions the American people want to know because worry has set in pretty deeply and anxiety about travel, going to hospitals are all a great worry. So it is important the commander- in-chief talk about what is happening with the military in Africa and that the president is talking about what is happening to calm people's fears when it comes to the CDC giving continued accurate information on this, which seems to be changing day by day.
BLITZER: A lot of Americans are deeply concerned about those 4,000 U.S. Military personnel either already in Liberia or on their way. There are thousands, not just a few, but thousands of cases of Ebola right now. Do you think they're secure enough, protected enough?
MURPHY: Well, we don't know, and we need to find out the answers to that. In some case, they're not going to be going anywhere near villages or clinics, et cetera. But in other cases, we're not going to be able to combat this unless people go into the villages, provide supplies, teach them the basics of hygiene and sanitation, which they may not know. We know some charitable organizations are sending over buckets and gloves and chlorine bleach and masks to teach people how they need to culturally handle bodies differently, how to clean things differently. If our soldiers are doing the same thing, it's going to be a situation where we're going to have to make sure that they're protected. And following from that, what happens if they do show symptoms of Ebola? Do we even have the capacity to bring them back here? Right now, it appears that capacity is only about one person at a time with a several-day turnaround time. That's not a very comforting situation.
BLITZER: Even at those four university hospitals where they do have specialized equipment, there are only about 10 beds prepared to deal with this here in the United States, which is shocking.
Congressman Murphy, thanks very much for joining us. We'll monitor your hearings tomorrow.
Coming up, we're also going to check in with what's going on at the Pentagon. From Ebola to ISIS, there's a lot of news. The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, he talks about his fears about the virus. A special interview with CNN. We'll have details when we come back.
BLITZER: As we told you, the president of the United States has cancelled his travel today to New Jersey and Connecticut. Instead, he's staying right here in Washington, D.C. Because of the Ebola outbreak in the United States. The president is gathering members of his cabinet to talk about the government's response.
Joining us now, CNN's investigative correspondent, Kyra Phillips, who just came from the Pentagon, where you had a sit down interview with General Martin Dempsey. You asked him about Ebola?
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I did. We thought our entire interview was going to be about ISIS and learn exclusive information about that mission but he had even more to say about Ebola. He said not only is it just a national security priority, Wolf, but he made it very clear he sees this as a global threat and he's concerned. He's been concerned for a long time. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Are you, General Dempsey, worried about Ebola here in the U.S.?
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I've been worried about Ebola globally for about 90 days. And I have had some on my staff that were probably a little more worried than I was even a few weeks or months before that.
DEMPSEY: I'm worried about it because -- because we know so little about it. You'll hear different people describe whether it could become airborne. If you bring two doctors who happen to have that specialty into a room, one will say, no, it will never become airborne, but it could mutate so it would be harder to discover. It actually disguises itself in the body which makes it so dangerous, and has that incubation period of 21 days. Another doctor will say if it continues to mutate at the rate it's mutating and we go from 20,000 infected to 100,000, the population might allow it to mutate and become airborne and then it will be an extraordinarily serious problem. I don't know who is right. I don't want to take that chance so I'm taking it very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: So what is he doing? He's taking extreme measures right now with the troops that are overseas. They are monitoring them. They are training them, those ones that are going into the Ebola hot zone. When they come back there's concern, will they bring the Ebola back. They are under specialized observation periods, Wolf, with the hopes that it will be contained and it won't be a problem. He also made the point that, unlike the civilian sector, they are constantly monitoring each other. I mean, he is on top of this.
BLITZER: We're talking about 4,000 men and women of the United States military who are already in a -- a few hundred are already there in Liberia, some of the others are on their way. When they come back, for 21 days, they will be quarantined?
PHILLIPS: Yes. You mentioned those troops right now in West Africa, they will be helping setting up specialized units to support the health care workers.
BLITZER: This is a dangerous mission and we salute these men and women of the military who are doing it. But let's not kid ourselves. There are thousands of cases of Ebola in those three West African countries so clearly they are at some risk. They will have to be very, very careful.
I know you also had a chance to ask him about ISIS, the war against ISIS, the U.S. troop levels. What's going on?
PHILLIPS: The first thing we learned, and we were the first to find out about this, the name of the mission is called "Inherent Resolve." Everybody wanted to know, they knew the mission was named, wee didn't know the name. We found out this morning. What does it mean? He told me, quote, "Credible and sustainable over time." I also asked him about Baghdad. We know he's been concerned about that. The U.S. has been concerned about that. Iraqis have been concerned about Baghdad. The Apaches were sent in there, because --
BLITZER: Apache helicopters.
PHILLIPS: That's right. Because ISIS was just outside of the Baghdad International Airport. He said, the advantage of that they got, quote, unquote, "tactical glimpses into the enemy." And so my next question was, OK, you're learning more about this enemy what about U.S. combat troops, will you ask the president to send in more U.S. troops. And this is what he told me:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: Apache helicopters have joined the fight against ISIS. So at what point do you say to the president, sir, I now recommend U.S. combat forces on the ground?
DEMPSEY: Yeah. Well, I said a moment ago, war is discovery and I haven't discovered that point yet. I can't foresee a circumstance where I see introduction of units of U.S. combat forces taking control of swaths of Iraq. But, I could foresee a case where the advisers we have -- we have 12 advisory teams there right now. And yesterday, we got a significant commitment from other coalition members to add advisory teams. We're going to set up three training bases where we can, you know, give this offensive capability to the Iraqi security forces. I can foresee that leading to some point on the ground where I say, "Mr. President, we need a forward air controller in this particular mission for this purpose." But I can foresee a case where we should reintroduce large combat ground forces into Iraq. But, again, war is discovery. ISIL is a national security threat. If we get to that point, I'll make the recommendation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIPS: You know, how the president said we all under estimated ISIS, I wanted to drill down on that. General Dempsey, was it the Pentagon that underestimated ISIS? Was it the White House, intelligence communities? He made it clear to me -- and I quote -- "They have been watching ISIS since the time it was al Qaeda, talking about the risk in monthly counterterrorism meetings." He said they all missed the fact that the Iraqis wouldn't stand up and fight them, but they knew this was a threat. Back in February, an intelligence agent actually came in and said ISIL is re-entering Iraq.
BLITZER: Good stuff. I know much more of the interview will be airing later today, including on "A.C. 360."
Kyra, thanks very much for that.
PHILLIPS: You bet.
BLITZER: I want to get back to the Ebola breaking news. I want to play for you -- this is President Obama when he was down in Atlanta visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back on September 16th. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts here at the CDC and across our government agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We have been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn't get on a plane for the United States.
In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we've taken new measures so that we're prepared here at home. We're working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We're working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared and to ensure our doctors, our nurses, and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I want to bring back our own doctor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent; and also Jim Acosta, over at the White House, senior White House correspondent.
Sanjay, it sounds like the president was upbeat, overly optimistic about the readiness of the United States to deal with Ebola. GUPTA: Yep. I think that's right. Wolf, I think it reflected what I
think a lot of people were saying including the leaders at the CDC and even within the NIH, and so it sort of -- they all had a similar message that it was an unlikely thing to occur, that a patient would come here with Ebola, although they thought it could occur, they thought it was unlikely. That has happened. They also talked about flight crews would be informed and trained to recognize someone who is sick with Ebola. Laboratories would be increased in their capacity to test for Ebola. And I think most importantly, and to this discussion, that hospitals would be prepared to be able to take care of patients once they were diagnosed with Ebola. So all those things that he talked about back on September 16th have now been tested, Wolf, and just once, you know, this Dallas hospital, and so far, the track record has not been very good.
BLITZER: It's pretty sad when you think about it because, Sanjay, this is one of the excellent hospitals in not just in Texas but in the United States. And if they are not prepared, you can only imagine what can go on elsewhere.
GUPTA: Yeah. Absolutely, Wolf. It's a hospital I visited. I have colleagues of mine who are on staff there. I keep bringing up one point and it's worth raising with you again, and that is that when we talk about the fact this hospital isn't prepared, you know, what does that mean? I have been to West Africa. I have seen literally a field filled up with tents where the Doctors Without Borders set those up to care for patients in a very tough environment and they do a good job. They are able to take care of those patients and simultaneously keep themselves protected.
Difficult, obviously, here in Dallas for some reason.
BLITZER: We'll stay on top of this story.
Sanjay, you'll be with us throughout the day.
I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."
For our international viewers, Christiane Amanpour is next.
"Newsroom" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now for our North American --
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.