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First Person-To-Person Transmission Of Coronavirus In U.S.; American Airlines Pilots Sue Amid Coronavirus Spread; John Delaney (D) Live On New Day Announcing He Is Leaving Presidential Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 31, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Remind you of the balloons and the flowers and all of the outpouring of grief and, as you say, love.

Sara, thank you very much for that reporting.


CAMEROTA: There is a new case of coronavirus in the United States. Why this one is different.


CAMEROTA: Health officials are reporting the first person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus in the United States, and the World Health Organization declares the outbreak a quote "public health emergency of international concern."

Here to tell us what this all means is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. William Schaffner. He is the medical director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Doctors, it's great to have both of you here to help us understand what all these developments are.

Sanjay, why is this first case of person-to-person transmission in the U.S. so significant? Aren't they all person-to-person transmission, at least what we're seeing in China?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, person-to-person in China's been happening for some time, but you remember these first five patients in the United States, they developed the infection all because of their travel to China.

So, they're becoming infected in China, traveling back, probably during this incubation period before they develop symptoms, and then they -- the symptoms develop in the United States. But the idea then spreads within the United States is what's made this so significant.

[07:35:09] Now, I will point out this has happened in other countries -- we've known that. Obviously, it's been happening in China. But you can take a look at the list there. Vietnam, Germany, Japan, South Korea, they've all had person-to-person transmission.

Here in the United States, that's now happening. I will point out that the person to whom this was transmitted was the spouse of one of the patients in Illinois -- someone that the person had very close contact with.

So, in some ways, this sort of indicates that the system's working. They were able to find this person who got infected. And I think if you talk to public health officials, they'll say the risk to the general population is still pretty low.

This didn't happen during SARS. You never saw any person-to-person transmission within the United States, so it's significant for that reason. But the threat to the -- to the general population is still low.

CAMEROTA: OK, that is really helpful.

And, Dr. Schaffner, do you agree that the threat to the general population is still low because the World Health Organization, as we've just said, has categorized it as a public health emergency of international order?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL FOUNDATION FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES, CDC ADVISER: Well, I would certainly agree with Sanjay that this is a low-risk situation in the United States. It's expected that we will have more cases occurring among people who have come to the United States from China. And, of course, we may see some spread from them to others, but I don't think this is going to take off.

That the World Health Organization has declared this a public health emergency of international concern is important because it will martial the world's resources to help China work on this problem. And it will, in particular, garner some private monies and get the countries of the world to coordinate their response.

CAMEROTA: I mean, Dr. Schaffner, just one last thing. We just put up on the screen a graphic of the other things that have warranted the public health emergency of international concern and these were really scary moments in the U.S. -- the H1N1 flu virus; Ebola, we remember living through; Zika. Then there was another brief Ebola outbreak.

And so, it just -- it feels as though it's in a category that is alarming -- very alarming. But you're saying that for people in the U.S. it doesn't need to be right now.

SCHAFFNER: I agree with that. I'm -- I'd like to pour a little oil on the troubled waters here. Yes, it is a respiratory infection. Yes, it can be transmitted readily from person-to-person. But at the moment, our system in the United States coordinating the clinicians, the hospitals, and the public health response, they're working just elegantly together and so far, so good. And I think we are -- we all have this top of the mind.

CAMEROTA: Yes, true -- good point.

And, Sanjay, you were telling us the last hour that we -- there's an important context we need to keep this in, and that is that the flu is more deadly.

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, this is one of ironies, I think, that always comes up with this.

Take a look at the numbers. I mean, this is the U.S. flu season. This season alone -- all right -- there's already been 8,200 deaths, 15 million cases, the United States alone, and compare that to worldwide numbers with regard to coronavirus -- 200-plus deaths and 9,000-plus cases.

Look, I don't think anyone wants to minimize what is happening with the coronavirus and I think the concern is always could this start to spiral? Could the virus mutate even more in a way that makes it both more transmissible and more lethal? Hopefully, that doesn't happen and luckily, it doesn't seem like it's going to happen but, you know, that's why people are so frightened I think of things like a new virus like this.

But, you know, we do have a vaccine for flu and less than half the country gets the flu.

One of the most common questions we're getting, Alisyn, is when will there be a vaccine for coronavirus. The answer is it will take months to develop that vaccine. Whereas, on the other hand, for something that is far more significant, far more deadly, we have a vaccine. It's not a perfect vaccine but it does exist and still doesn't get it.

So, it's one of these ironies -- you know, the enemy that we know versus the enemy that we don't. I'm not sure what the proper adage is here. But pay attention to the flu. Maybe this is a good opportunity to remind people of that.

CAMEROTA: Such a good reminder. Everyone wants a vaccine until they're available.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thank you, Dr. William Schaffner. Great to talk to you. Thank you both for all of that.

SCHAFFNER: A pleasure.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Airlines around the world canceling flights to China to stop the spread of coronavirus. What impact is that having on the global aviation industry? That's next.


[07:44:07] BERMAN: It is time for CNN Business. The deadly coronavirus outbreak spreading globally, creating uncertainty for the airline industry. CNN's chief business correspondent and the world's favorite birthday girl --


BERMAN: -- Christine Romans joins us with the latest on this -- Romans.

ROMANS: Another trip around the sun. Thanks, guys. Happy Friday.

You know, the Allied Pilots Association, the union representing 15,000 American Airlines pilots, has sued the carrier to stop flights between the U.S. and China, citing serious and, in many ways, still unknown health threats posed by the coronavirus.

Now, on Wednesday, American Airlines said it would suspend two routes from Los Angeles to China starting February ninth -- the ninth -- because of a significant decline in demand. The pilots' lawsuit claims the airline hasn't taken any action to cancel or suspend flights before then.


They also want immediate action taken on flights from its largest hub in Dallas-Fort Worth. Noted, the airline currently operates about 56 monthly flights between that hub and Chinese airports.

Now, they operate, creating uncertainty for the airline industry, of course. Earlier this week, United Airlines said it was suspending some flights between three Chinese cities and its U.S. hubs. British Airways, Air Canada, Air Asia, Air India, and Kenya Airways have all suspended flights in and out of China.

Now, the union is telling pilots they should decline any assignments to operate flights between the U.S. and China. Other companies are banning their employees' travel to China. And in some cases, companies are asking their employees to stay home, you guys, if they have recently traveled to China. Work from home -- don't come to the office -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Makes sense at this moment. Thank you very much, Christine, and happy birthday.

It could be a stormy start for the first half of Super Bowl weekend in Miami, but what about the weather for the big game? Let's get right to meteorologist Chad Myers. How's it looking, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I think it looks amazing. Kickoff, sunshine and 63 down there. Now, we have some getting to get there. Unfortunately, a couple of cold fronts coming through.

This weather is brought to you by the Ninja Foodie Deluxe pressure cooker -- the pressure cooker that crisps. And it's the cold front that's going to move all across the U.S. and make some snow for Virginia and North Carolina. But really, it's just going to cool us down back to almost normal in some spots.

So here we go. This is what the radar is going to look like -- a simulation. Some storms around 5:00 in South Florida -- Miami-Dade today. But around 11:00, that's when it starts to get very stormy. So, if you're going to be outside in South Florida or know someone that is, you need to know where you are, what county you're in, what area you are because there very well may be some warnings out there.

A slight risk of severe weather both today and tomorrow. That's a level two out of five that we always use.

But look at the next couple of days. We go from the 80s to the 70s. And during the game we will go from 70 down to 64 and probably somewhere around 60 by the end of the game.

I know you'll be watching with Tom Brady, John. Tell him hi for me.

BERMAN: Yes, we're going to be on the couch together eating popcorn.

CAMEROTA: What do you do with Gisele during those moments?

BERMAN: Oh, she's there, too.

CAMEROTA: Oh, she -- but you're just -- you don't even notice her. She's invisible.

BERMAN: I won't go that far. The story just keeps getting better and better. We'll talk about that in the break.

Chad, who's going to win, quickly?

MYERS: Kansas City.

BERMAN: OK. You're wrong about that.


MYERS: I was born in -- I was born in Omaha, so yes.

CAMEROTA: What did you just say, Chad? (Puts on Kansas City hat)

MYER: Kansas City.

CAMEROTA: There we go. Thank you.

BERMAN: Chad Myers, thank you very much.

Just three days away from the Iowa caucuses. And up next, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate joins us to make a major announcement.

CAMEROTA: That does sound major.



CAMEROTA: The Iowa caucuses just three days away. The candidates make their closing arguments to voters this weekend.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live in Des Moines for us. So, how's this going to go this weekend, Jeff?


There are three days and 72 hours for candidates to make their closing arguments and for campaigns to turn out their supporters.

We noticed a different tone yesterday from Pete Buttigieg directly going after, by name, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. He said we cannot afford to fall back on the familiar and he says Sanders' revolution is not real. It doesn't meet the reality check.

We are also, though, meeting new voters who said they've never caucused before. Take a listen to this from Sandy Rubio from Des Moines.


ZELENY: Why is it important to caucus this year? Why are you doing it this year if you haven't before?

SANDY RUBIO, WAUKEE, IOWA RESIDENT: Well, I think I just feel like a neutral third-world country the last three years. Things are not the same. Nobody can openly talk to another person if they are a Trump supporter. I don't know, it's just kind of scary the way things are.

Like, my saying is I feel the underworld has come to life and the crazy people are starting to overtake us normal people. And I just feel it's important.


ZELENY: So, we met Sandy Rubio yesterday at a Joe Biden event. She had not seen any candidate before. She said that Donald Trump -- President Trump is driving her to participate for the first time in the Iowa caucuses.

She responded to Joe Biden's argument that it's not time to take a risk in the election and she said she'll be caucusing for him.

Speaking of President Trump, he was here in Des Moines last night talking about all the Democratic candidates. So, there are many undecided voters beginning to make their minds up here in the closing days of this Iowa caucus campaign. But, President Trump -- not on the Democratic ballot -- he is driving many of their decisions -- John.

BERMAN: No doubt about that. Jeff Zeleny for us in Iowa. Thank you very much. One of the 2020 Democratic candidates has some big news to share this morning. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney joins me now live from Des Moines. Congressman Delaney, thank you for being with us this morning.

What is your news?


Well, I'm announcing this morning that I am withdrawing from the 2020 race. And this campaign has never been about me. It's been about big ideas to move the country forward -- ideas that can get done bringing this country together and most importantly, beating Donald Trump.

And I've campaigned harder than anyone in Iowa. I've been to all 99 counties. I've done hundreds of events across this great state.

But it's clear to me on Monday, on caucus night, I will not have sufficient support to get to the 15 percent viability threshold that as you know, John, is needed to get delegates out of Iowa.

But my support is sufficient enough to take from other more moderate candidates. And I just don't want to do that because I think we need a candidate who is running in the center who can bring this country together to solve problems, to accomplish the objectives that we need to do, which is to beat Trump and govern in the future.


So, that's my news today.

BERMAN: Other more moderate candidates -- you don't want to take support away from them. So, what will you tell your supporters? Who will you suggest that your supporters caucus for then on Monday?

DELANEY: Well, I think -- it's pretty clear to me that my support, which is particularly strong in rural Iowa where I've spent a lot of time -- you know, they're looking for problem solvers. They're looking for someone who's got realistic solutions, pragmatic solutions to the big issues of our time. And so, there's several candidates running in Iowa that meet that criteria --


DELANEY: -- and so I'm not endorsing anyone. I'm not directing any of my supporters to go to any particular candidate.

BERMAN: But which candidates -- but which candidates -- which candidates are they, just so there's no ambiguity here? Which candidates fit that bill?

DELANEY: Well, there's a few top of mine that obviously meet that criteria. I think Vice President Biden does, I think Sen. Klobuchar does, I think Mayor Buttigieg does. You know, I think there are -- there are several. And again, I'm not endorsing anyone. But it's clear to me to have the best chance of beating Donald Trump,

which is the most important thing for our party at this moment in time, and to actually be able to govern and kind of stop the noise and bring this country together, and put forth big ideas but pragmatic ideas, we need someone with that type of orientation, and I think it's incredibly important.

And so, for me, I think at this moment in time this is not the purpose God has for me. And so, what I want to do is what's right for my party, what's good for the country, and continue to advocate for the ideas that have been so important to my campaign and, in many ways, so unique.

And to some extent, a lot of things that candidates are talking about now are things that I started talking about very early in this campaign. So, I think we've clearly shaped the debate in a very positive way --

BERMAN: I notice --

DELANEY: -- and now is the time for the voters to make that important choice.

BERMAN: I notice you did not name Bernie Sanders as among those candidates you would like to see your supporters go caucus for. He is leading in some Iowa polls. What is the risk, in your mind, to Bernie Sanders winning in Iowa and maybe winning the nomination?

DELANEY: So, look it, I'm going to support and do everything I can to help get the Democratic nominee in the White House and beat Donald Trump. So, I will support whoever our nominee is and I think any of our nominees can win.

But I do think -- you know, if you look at what's going on in the country right now, right the economy is not working for everyone. But let's face it, unemployment is relatively low. And people like Bernie Sanders who are running on throwing a whole U.S. economy out the window and starting from scratch. He's running on taking private health insurance away from 180 million Americans.

I just think that makes our job so much harder in terms of beating Donald Trump. And I also think that's not real governing. That's not responsible leadership because those things aren't going to happen.

So, you know, just to be clear, I am absolutely going to support the Democratic nominee because the most important thing for us to do is to beat Donald Trump. And I think any of our candidates --

BERMAN: But you think -- you think --

DELANEY: And we're all good-minded people, by the way.

BERMAN: You think that nominating Bernie Sanders as the nominee or Elizabeth Warren, for that matter, would reduce Democrats' chances of beating Donald Trump in November? DELANEY: Let's put it -- let me -- let me try to make it positive. I think some of the other candidates I made -- I mentioned have a better chance. So, yes, obviously, I do think that's a tougher -- I think Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren, they have a tougher campaign against Donald Trump for the reasons I said.

Listen, if you -- I've always said in this campaign the Democratic Party should be the party of addition, not subtraction. So, when we talk about fixing health care and we talk about making sure the uninsured have health care in this country -- which my proposal does, for example -- their proposal takes health care away from a lot of people and forces them on some new government plan. I think that's a hard way to win an election.

You know, I think throwing out the entire U.S. economy, in many ways, and starting from scratch with a central planning-type approach, I think that's a tough way to win the election.

Will I campaign incredibly hard for them if they're the nominee, absolutely. But I -- you know, laying my cards on the table, I absolutely believe more moderate candidates -- candidates that can win in the center and bring people together, they are our best chance of beating Donald Trump. And I want to make sure the odds of those candidates being viable in the Iowa caucus are as high as possible.

I have sufficient support -- I have significant support here in Iowa but not enough to get to 15 percent. But as I said, enough to take votes away from some of them. And I don't think that's productive. I think my campaign has been enormously constructive the whole time and I don't want it to be reductive in these last couple of days.

BERMAN: Congressman John Delaney, you've been campaigning very hard for months and months, the first candidate to jump in. We thank you for being with us this morning.

And as we say to all candidates, you know, putting yourself out there, it's a lot harder than people think and you've done that for a long time. So, thank you for being in the arena the last --

DELANEY: And I've had amazing support -- I've had some amazing supporters here in Iowa and I want to thank them all. And, of course, most importantly, I want to thank my amazing wife and my four daughters.

BERMAN: You got it.

DELANEY: It's been an amazing journey. We've made a difference.