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More Passengers On Cruise Ships Docked Outside Japan Found Infected With Coronavirus; China Quarantines Larges Parts Of Country To Stop Coronavirus Spread; Democratic Rivals Target Bloomberg. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired February 17, 2020 - 08:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than 300 passengers landing in the U.S. overnight after evacuated a Japanese cruise ship infected by the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will then begin a new ordeal in the U.S., quarantined at military bases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could be infected and have minimal symptoms but you still have the possibility of transmitting it to someone else.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to end a corrupt political system in which billionaires buy elections.

JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, $60 billion can buy a lot of advertising, but it can't erase your record.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is about making sure that everybody prepared to defeat Donald Trump is on the same team.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, February 17th, 8:00 now in the east on this special holiday edition of the show. John Berman is off celebrating his holiday, and Jim Sciutto is here. Thank you for working.


CAMEROTA: Thank you for working. Yes, you're right. It's festive here. John doesn't know what he's missing. Particularly with this breaking news. There are two charter planes carrying more than 300 quarantined Americans from that cruise ship in Japan. They have landed this morning in the United States.

Officials had thought that everyone on those planes was virus-free. However, 14 of them have now tested positive for the virus. The first plane landed at Travis Air Force base near Sacramento, California. You can see that there on your screen. The second touched down at Lockland Air Force Base outside of San Antonio, Texas. This is new video of the passengers boarding buses. And they will now be quarantined here for two more weeks.

SCIUTTO: And that's just one plane, one cruise ship. This is a global phenomenon now. Breaking overnight, 99 more people on board that cruise ship just tested positive for coronavirus. That brings total number of infected passengers there to more than 450, raising questions about whether the quarantine on that ship worked at all.

Now public health officials are concerned that passengers on another cruise ship, this one docked off Cambodia, may have been exposed to the virus, this after an elderly American tested positive days after disembarking, interacting with loads of other people elsewhere. That ship was believed to be virus-free, and more than 1,000 passengers were allowed to get off.

Let's begin coverage with CNN's Lucy Kafanov live at that base in California where one of the flights landed there. Lucy, I think folks at home have to know this. These people already went through one quarantine, now they are going to have to go through another.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. It's the end of one ordeal, the folks on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were trapped there under quarantine since February 5th. But all of the Americans who landed overnight in Texas and here at the Travis Air Base in California now begin another two weeks of quarantine. It's a source of frustration for many.

The other source of frustration was how 14 sick passengers were able to board. The initial word that we were getting from U.S. authorities is that anyone who had the virus had to stay back. We know that at least 46 Americans who had been infected had to stay back recovering in Japanese hospitals. Then we find out that these 14 people were allowed to board.

None of them had been showing symptoms, and it seems that U.S. officials got word of their positive test results after they had already been taken off the cruise ship. They were put in a special isolated area in the plane, and now we don't know if they are going to be taken off the military bases into hospitals.

We'll have to wait in the next few hours to find out. But it certainly does raise questions, as you point out, about the effectiveness of keeping people in quarantine on these ships. I know last hour you had the son of one couple that had been evacuated, he expressed some frustration with how folks were allowed to spend that much time on that infected cruise ship. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLAKE COURTER, PARENTS EVACUATED FROM QUARANTINED SHIP: Although there was a shelter in place policy initially announced, it didn't really pass the sniff test. That boat, it's hard to argue, even if you're not an epidemiologist, that that was a staff quarantine and that the staff wasn't passing infection around, and that the ventilation systems were the same specification that you would use in a hospital. It's been our position since the beginning that that was not a safe quarantine.


KAFANOV: And to his point, as you mentioned in the introduction, we know that 99 more people on the Diamond Princess cruise ship were found to be infected, bringing the total to more than 450 people. That's more than 10 percent of the population on that ship. A lot of the Americans who are here must feel like they have dodged a bullet, but a lot of questions about whether the U.S. government should have evacuated people sooner. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Whether these quarantines work. Hard questions here. Lucy, thanks very much.

After spending two weeks quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan, many returning Americans face two more weeks now, as we were saying, in isolation here in the U.S. on military bases. So what was it like on those planes making the long journey home? CNN's Will Ripley, live in Japan, with a CNN exclusive.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim, this was not a luxury flight home. It certainly wasn't a luxury vacation for people on the Diamond Princess. They might have thought that's what they were getting into when they boarded the ship. But then they had to sit for nearly two weeks in their cramped cabins, rarely allowed to go outside. And then when it was time to go home on U.S. government charter flights, a whole new ordeal began.


RIPLEY: Daybreak in Yokohama, Japan, the final day on the Diamond Princess for more than 300 Americans evacuated by the U.S. government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a converted cargo 747. So there is less insulation than a regular passenger jet. So bring extra layers to stay warm.

RIPLEY: American health officials try to prepare passengers for a long, uncomfortable journey, a journey Karey Maniscalco from Utah is reluctant to take. She and her husband already endured two weeks of quarantine on the cruise ship.


RIPLEY: Now, they are about to do it all over again at a California military base. MANISCALCO: They have sent over a dozen e-mails assuring us there

would not be an additional quarantine. And they just told us that we would be re-quarantined for 14 more days. I've just lost a whole month of my life.

RIPLEY: She's angry at the U.S. government, angry they waited so long to evacuate the American passengers. Others, like Gale Quarter (ph) from Florida, are grateful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go somewhere I can feel safe. And I just want to thank President Trump and the U.S. government. There's been a lot of silence on this. And now we know the silence has been putting together a brilliant plan.

RIPLEY: Executing that plan will take nearly 10 hours, even though the airport is just a 20-minute drive from the ship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The buses are starting to line up.

RIPLEY: Once they get on, there's no getting off, not even to go to the bathroom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The best I can do to find out where a bathroom is.

RIPLEY: As the hours drag on, this health worker tries to break the tension.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you call a witch on the beach? A sandwich?

RIPLEY: Passengers are beginning to feel like the joke is on them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're waiting. I don't really know what we're waiting for, but we are waiting indefinitely.

RIPLEY: Finally, they are allowed off the bus and onto the tarmac, boarding two 747 cargo planes. The cabin best described as barebones -- no windows, makeshift toilets, temporary seats.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First class, baby, first class.

RIPLEY: Lack of luxury aside, Maniscalco feels anxious.

MANISCALCO: It's not good conditions. No one on here has had their temperature taken by the federal government or any government, for that matter. So we're all in really closed, tight quarters, everybody sitting next to each other. I have a girl sitting here just a minute. It seems dangerous and not safe.

RIPLEY: The U.S. government says they are safe, even though 14 passengers who tested positive for coronavirus are allowed on the flight, all showing no symptoms. They are put in a specialized containment area, isolated from the other passengers. Just after daybreak, both planes finally take off, a long, sleepless night followed by a 10-hour flight. Now they have arrived in California and Texas. One ordeal ends, another begins.


RIPLEY: The spike in cases that we've been seeing in recent days really does raise questions about this quarantine here in Japan and whether it's working. Sixth-seven cases on Saturday, 70 on Sunday, and then overnight we learned another 99 cases, the largest single day jump that we've seen to date. You can bet a lot of Americans are happy, despite the discomfort, to be off that ship and back in their home country.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure they are. But other Americans are wondering what all this means for them. Will, thank you so much for being there and for your reporting.

Our next guest says the Chinese government has fumbled this response to the coronavirus, even attempting to cover up the severity of the outbreak. Joining us now is "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof. Nick, great to have you here. So what have they done wrong? What have Chinese officials done, including the president, done so wrong here?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": So, essentially, they tried to cover this up from getting out. The Chinese scientific did heroically well. The first case showed symptoms on December 1st. By late December they were having late night meeting in the health establishment in the city of Wuhan. By January 10th they have sequenced DNA of this and published it. They informed the CDC. The scientific side did great.


Meanwhile, the political side, when eight doctors are discussing this in a chat group, they summon them to the police station. They warn them not to do this again. And most strikingly, they announce on national television that these eight doctors have been reprimanded to send a signal across the country that nobody talks about this.

So meanwhile in Wuhan, you have the local legislature is meeting. There are banquets. And 5 million people leave Wuhan for the rest of the country before the clamp down. Once the clamp down comes, of course China does it with its extraordinary efficiency, and one might say ruthlessness. But they were -- Xi Jinping, the president, was very late and his instinctive response was to cover up.

SCIUTTO: And did that delay help lead to the spread. For folks at home to understand the scale of what China is doing right now, we're talking about a cruise ship here or there, a few hundred passengers. They blocked off parts of the country where hundreds of millions of people live. I don't think the world has ever seen this.

KRISTOF: Yes, I can't think of any analogy. It's not just that the highways and air traffic and rail lines have been largely cut off. It's that even within cities, you go out to the store and you get three checkpoints back to your apartment. Farmers find that they can't get feed for their livestock, and so their livestock risk dying. In some ways it may well be quite effective in preventing the spread. On the other hand, it's devastating for the economy, and it raises, obviously, fundamental questions about rights.

SCIUTTO: We have a way of visually showing that, just how air traffic has dropped so dramatically in China, by 80 percent in and out of the biggest airports. On the left-hand side of the screen that's what it looks like. It's crazy. But now just a fraction. That has economic impacts, too.

CAMEROTA: That's remarkable. Nick, what we've seen from our correspondents on the ground, these normally teeming metropolises that China is known for, some of them look like ghost towns now.

KRISTOF: That's right, that's right. And it does give people a lot of time on their computers to raise questions about the response. So we're also seeing a level of outrage on the Chinese web despite the censorship that I can't recall since maybe the times of Tiananmen in 1989 when the Internet in China didn't exist. But you have people denouncing Xi Jinping and in particular memorializing one of the doctors, Li Wenliang, in Wuhan in terms that make one wonder whether there will be some political consequences for Xi Jinping.

SCIUTTO: I would say China is not a democracy, but people, they think for themselves, and they have strong views for the government, and they often express that on social media here. I wonder economic impact. You see flight traffic dropping. You talk about truckdrivers can't get their pigs to market.

The streets are empty, that means people aren't going to work. We're talking, your paper had a great story on how one of the iPhone factory lines is now making surgical masks, so that speaks to a global economic effect on this. When the world's second largest economy virtually comes to a halt, that has economic consequences.

KRISTOF: China now matters to the world in a way it did not at the time of SARS. And at that time, also the world economy was more siloed. These days it is so integrated that every production line in the U.S., in Europe, may well depend on Chinese components. And those supply chains have been truly devastated. So this will be extremely damaging for the Chinese economy, but that will ripple through the world. For all the talk about decoupling, that has not happened yet.

CAMEROTA: Here is what President Trump tweeted about this, I think this was 10 days ago, February 7th, I think. He says "Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp, and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the coronavirus.

He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but he will be successful especially as the weather starts to warm and the virus hopefully becomes weaker and then gone." President Trump is really banking on this spring theory that spring is going to magically wipe out coronavirus. We've heard from CDC and FDA officials on there, they are not confident that warm weather is going to rid the world of this.

KRISTOF: The fact that you have cases in Cambodia where it's in the 80s, in Singapore, where it's in the 80s, suggests that while warmer weather may help, that that is certainly no cure.


I found it -- I just found it problematic for an American President to be praising China's President for his handling of this at a time when Chinese citizens are risking their freedom to criticize that process, when clearly we need transparency, when we and everybody around the world is endangered by that instinctive Chinese repression. This should be a moment to call for a little more freedom, a little more transparency, as Chinese themselves are doing at great risk.

SCIUTTO: Some of the President's own advisers concerned about his praise for Xi in the midst of this and of course, Xi is the latest in a long line of strong men that the President has kind of public words about.

Nick Kristof, it's so good to have you on with your expertise.

CAMEROTA: And everyone should buy your book, "Tightrope."


KRISTOF: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: You are the co-author along with your wife of "Tightrope: Americans Reaching Out for Hope."

SCIUTTO: It's a great read. I've had my team read articles from this just because it's so reflective of America today, Nick Kristof.

KRISTOF: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: As the presidential race heads to Nevada this weekend, the Democratic candidates are targeting a rival who is not even on the ballot. Will it slow Mike Bloomberg's rapid rise in the polls?



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: $60 billion can you buy you a lot of advertising, but it can't erase your record.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've got to answer questions like I just did on my record, and he has to do the same thing. I don't think he should be able to hide behind airwaves and huge ad buys.



SCIUTTO: The Democratic candidates are stumping across Nevada making their pitch and targeting one of the rivals in particular, who continues to climb in the polls.

Early voting kicked off over the weekend. The Nevada caucus is now just five days away.

Joining me now, CNN Political Analyst, Lisa Lerer. She is a national political reporter for "The New York Times" and CNN political reporter, Arlette Saenz who is live in Reno. Thanks for both of you to come on.

Lisa, I suppose if you're Michael Bloomberg, one good sign of being attacked, it means that you're rising in the polls, right? You're getting people's attention. You're getting your opponents' attention.

LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's exactly right. The knives are out for Michael Bloomberg and that is a reflection of his rise in the national polls.

It's also a reflection of how close we are to Super Tuesday and how much all these candidates have a stake in that race. That's of course, the moment when Michael Bloomberg actually starts competing in this contest.

He may -- we're all waiting to see if he qualifies for the debate stage on Tuesday. But you can imagine that he would face a pretty contentious audience.

I think there is, however, a real question about whether these attacks will be effective. What we've seen in this race so far is attacks on someone's record, haven't really moved numbers. What has moved numbers is when those are connected to a candidate's electability, you know, their ability to beat Donald Trump.

We haven't seen anyone quite draw that line yet. But I suspect that if Michael Bloomberg is on the debate stage, that is something we could see.

SCIUTTO: Arlette, you're in Nevada, and one thing clear from this race is don't bank on anything, right? Yes, we've had two results early on, but for instance, Joe Biden, and you've been following that campaign for some time, numbers are looking better in a state like Nevada, and then of course, you have South Carolina and these are much more reflective states in terms of the ethnic breakdown.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Jim. And over the weekend, Biden was essentially arguing that compared to those first two contests, Nevada looks like the rest of America. He has been here on the ground trying to court Latino and specifically black voters, spending a lot of time with them over the weekend.

But all of these candidates are going to be making this push with this diverse group of Democrats that live here in the state, and the first two contests, you have Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg coming out quite strong. Amy Klobuchar coming into this state with a bit of momentum.

But the Biden campaign is hoping for a bit of a turnaround here. He has long argued that he will be able to bring together a diverse group of supporters, and this is really the first test of that argument to see if he could actually carry through with that.

And you've also heard Biden go after Michael Bloomberg while he has been here in the state. Bloomberg isn't competing in Nevada, but Biden has shown a willingness, saying that his record needs to be looked into when it comes to stop and frisk.

He has also called out Bloomberg for embracing President Obama in those campaign ads nothing that before Bloomberg hadn't endorsed Obama back in 2008, that striking a little bit of a nerve with Joe Biden given his close relationship with Obama.

But certainly, Nevada could hold different results in those first two contests and that's something that the Biden campaign is hoping for going forward.

SCIUTTO: Listen, yes, we've got to watch. We've got to watch those races there that the picture could change very quickly.

Elizabeth Warren, another one, Lisa Lerer who just a month ago, right, I mean, folks were talking about a potential front runner particularly with strength among progressive voters. Not great results in the first two races, but again, a long way to go. Have a listen to what she was saying going into Nevada and the other races to follow.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is our time to choose hope over fear. This is our time to show courage. This is our time to dream big.


SCIUTTO: And if you thought she was giving up, I mean, listen, she is clearly battling through a cold there and yet still out there pushing. But is it too early to say that Warren is out of this race?

LERER: OH, I'm not counting anyone out of this race. This race has been surprising for its twists and turns. It's rare. You know, you get to this moment in the race without -- with so many candidates still in it.

I mean, look, Bernie Sanders, as some of us may remember, had a heart attack in the fall, and he is now leading the polls. Biden was considered the front runner, and now we're talking about whether he can survive through Super Tuesday. So this race has been highly dynamic, very unpredictable.

I saw Elizabeth Warren last week. She was in Northern Virginia, 4,000 people turned out. So you know, I don't believe that crowd size indicates necessarily momentum in a race, but she does have a strong base of support.

She has held reasonably strong in Nevada, given how poorly she did in the first two states. So I think we're just going to have to wait and see how this all shakes out.

The question for all these candidates, including Senator Warren is whether they have the money to really do the organization that it requires to run in those expensive Super Tuesday states.

SCIUTTO: And some candidates have more money than others. Just look at the numbers that Bloomberg is putting in, I mean, it's an order of magnitude bigger.

Lisa just quickly, you have Pete Buttigieg responding to Rush Limbaugh, of course, the recent awardee of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who made some really obnoxious comments about Buttigieg's sexual orientation.

I want you to listen to his response and see how you think he handled this.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love my husband. I'm faithful to my husband. On stage, we usually just go for a hug. But I love him very much. And I'm not going to take lectures on family values from the likes of Rush Limbaugh.


SCIUTTO: Right tone there?

LERER: Yes, this is something he is going to have to deal with as he moves in the race. We've never seen a gay presidential candidate come this far in the race.

But it is interesting that Rush Limbaugh really has been an outlier in the Republican Party who just haven't heard a lot of that -- those kinds of homophobic attacks from people in Donald Trump's orbit. So I do wonder whether this will be a major line that's being pushed quite as openly as Rush Limbaugh pushed it.

SCIUTTO: All right, Arlette, Joe Biden, in a state -- well, really two states here that he says has an ethnic makeup. First of all, it is true, it is more reflective of the nation. But I think, a makeup would suit his campaign. What's his message there to voters as he heads into these races, which could be, you know, it could really determine the future of his candidacy?

SAENZ: Well, Biden has been making the case that it's time for African-American and Latino voters to have their voices heard and he believes that that that first opportunity is going to occur right here in Nevada.

Biden has also been making a strong push when he tries to -- when he is trying to get support from union workers. He has been talking a lot about healthcare here, pointing out that under his plan, workers would be able to keep their negotiated plans that they've negotiated through their unions, that he is comparing that to Bernie Sanders and Medicare-for-All. You know, the culinary union here has expressed their disapproval of

Medicare-for-All, so that is an issue that Biden thinks could resonate with union workers here since there is a very large group, a large union presence in the state, particularly in a city like Nevada, where you have a hospitality workers working in this casino as Biden has actually been making back at house visits at the casinos trying to get face time with those workers.

He has also been making a strong push on gun control. You know, it was just over two years ago, where the largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred on the Las Vegas Strip, and Biden has been pushing that he is ready to take on the NRA, he believes stronger than the other Democratic candidates.

So those are just a few of the campaign's messages in these final days before the caucuses. They've redeployed resources here. They have more than 130 staffers on the ground. So they're really hoping for a strong finish here to hopefully propel him into more diverse states, like South Carolina and also those Super Tuesday contests.

SCIUTTO: We will be watching. Way too early to call this race. Arlette, Lisa, thanks to both of you.

It is a big night on CNN with five Presidential Town Halls. Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren live in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Watch the back-to-back Town Hall starting tomorrow night, eight o'clock Eastern Time only on CNN.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jim, I'm sure you've seen the viral video of the man on board the airplane pushing repeatedly the back of a woman's seat. Well, it has sparked a nationwide debate about airplane etiquette. Are you allowed to recline your seat or not? What is the answer? We'll get to that.