Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. CDC Official Warns American Virus Will Spread; Trump Publicly Downplays Concerns About Virus; Rivals Take Aim At Frontrunner Bernie Sanders; Tokyo 2020: Olympics Preparations Continue as Planned; Sanders' Outreach to African American Voters Pay Off; Closed Gates, Empty Streets at Shanghai Disneyland. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired February 26, 2020 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. Coming up this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, it's not a question of if but when. The dire warning for Americans to prepare for the nationwide spread of the coronavirus while fears of a global pandemic send Wall Street tumbling for a second straight day.

Bernie feels the burn at the 10th Democratic presidential debate. The undisputed frontrunner for the nomination under fire for the cost of his campaign promises, his praise of Fidel Castro, with a socialist agenda that would lead to a Republican tsunami come November.

And Joe Biden's moment of truth. His campaign bet the house on not just winning South Carolina primary, but winning big. But the latest opinion poll has bad news for the former Vice President and good news for Bernie Sanders.

We begin this hour with fears of a coronavirus epidemic in the United States and a dire warning from federal health officials who say it's only a matter of time before the virus spreads to the U.S. The only question will be how many are infected and how many will die. The warning comes his efforts to contain the outbreak outside of mainland China appear to have failed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The difficulty is that other countries besides China are now having community spread. We're seeing it in Italy, we're seeing it in Japan, we're seeing it in South Korea and Iran. When that happens, it becomes ever more difficult to prevent infections from coming into your country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: The U.S. has at least 57 confirmed cases. None are in San Francisco, but in anticipation, the city's may has declared a state of emergency. And in stark contrast to the warning from health officials, the U.S. president seems to be downplaying the threat posed by the coronavirus. But as CNN Jeremy Diamond reports, what the President is saying behind closed doors is very different from his public statements.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sources telling CNN that President Trump has privately expressed frustration about his administration's efforts to contain the coronavirus epidemic even as he attempts to project confidence publicly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that's a problem that's going to go away.

DIAMOND: President Trump's optimistic note comes even as officials warn cases will rise in the United States.

TRUMP: I think that whole situation will start working out. A lot of talent, A lot of Brain Power is being put behind it.

DIAMOND: But sources tell CNN that behind the scenes, the president is not so confident in that brainpower, and is upset that Americans who tested positive for coronavirus were quarantined in the United States, and that his administration plans to quarantine some patients in the pro-Trump state of Alabama.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-AL): He was completely unaware of this. He was annoyed that these individuals had even been brought back to the continental United States while they were still infected.

DIAMOND: The President's frustrations reflecting a growing concern inside the White House that the viral outbreak will be a bigger challenge than previously thought. Recent outbreaks in Italy, South Korea, and Iran hiking global cases to 80,000 and triggering fears the disease could become a pandemic.

BRUCE AYLWARD, CHINA MISSION TEAM, WHO: Folks, this is a rapidly escalating epidemic in different places that we have got to tackle superfast to prevent a pandemic.

DIAMOND: Weeks after lawmakers called for more funding, the White House now finally asking Congress for $1.25 billion in emergency funds to build out a $2.5 billion federal effort. For some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, it was too little too late.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The administration has no plan to deal with the coronavirus, no plan. And the Trump administration is trying to build an airplane while already in mid-flight.

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL): If you lowball something like this, you'll pay for it later. I hope the administration would look at this as something that they cannot afford to let get out of hand, period.

DIAMOND: Bipartisan outrage grew as administration officials fielded questions on Capitol Hill.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): You're supposed to keep us safe. And the Americans deserve some straight answers on the coronavirus. And I'm not getting them from you.

CHAD WOLF, ACTING SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, UNITED STATES: I disagree.

DIAMOND: Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Dennis Carroll is an infectious disease expert and former Director of USAID's Emerging Threats Division. He's with us now from Washington. Dr. Carroll, thank you for taking the time to be with us. I guess at this point, if the U.S. government has some kind of response team, chain of command within the White House, a group of experts who could be working to head off these type of sort of viral emergencies before we get to the point of it being on the edge of a pandemic -- and of course, there was such a group who was called Predict and you helped design it. You oversaw it for a decade. And just as the coronavirus was emerging, the whole thing was shut down.

So the timing cannot be worse or as the headline in the Foreign Policy Magazine put it, "Trump is sabotaged America's coronavirus response. How do you see it?

[01:05:39]

DENNIS CARROLL, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Well, you know, the coronavirus response first off, it's -- this is a predictable event. We knew eventually there would be an event, a coronavirus and influenza that would pose exactly this kind of problems. And for years, there's been a significant effort to put in place the kind of preparedness capabilities that would make us ready to respond for events like this.

CDC, the U.S. CDC has an exceptionally good preparedness plan for what the U.S. government and local communities can do. The challenge has been significant reduction in resources over the last several years. It's one thing to have a plan. It's another thing to be able to put that plan into execution. And you don't execute a plan in the midst of a pandemic. You run it beforehand, make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.

And the actual response is almost a muscle memory response. We're not in that position now. And I think a lot of that has to do with the contraction of investing investments and resources under this current administration.

VAUSE: Three weeks ago, just before the Superbowl, President Trump told Fox News the virus and his words was under control and are being shut down. A similar question came up again during a news conference in New Delhi. And again, President Trump seem to play down the threat. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The coronavirus which is you know, very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, the people are getting better. They're all getting better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, there's obviously between trying to calm an anxious nation on the one side and then on the other sort of underestimating the threat level which a country is facing. It seems that -- is the president underestimating the threat here?

CARROLL: Well, I think there's a clear underestimation in his words. You know, the rule for public health response is that you pray for the best and plan for the worst. And you try and anticipate what the consequences of an event like this might be. And clearly, the events in China over the last month and a half have led us to believe that we're sitting on the cusp of a global event.

The Chinese have performed extraordinary in terms of slowing the spread of this virus. And we should be thankful that in fact, we've had an extra month to put in place preparedness plans for what is really an inevitable global event. And I think what we heard and the clip that you displayed was, there are people outside the global health community who don't appreciate just how valuable this extra time is and how valuable it is to be able to put in place the kind of preparedness responses that are needed.

VAUSE: But the White House has asked Congress for an extra $2.5 billion in funding to respond to this virus and export criticism from both Republicans and Democrats as essentially low balling it. Senator Richard Blumenthal tweeted out, "This morning's classified coronavirus briefing should have been made fully open to the American people. They would be as appalled and astonished as I am by the inadequacy of the preparedness and prevention."

Also, the minority leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, called out the administration of having no firm plans to deal with the crisis. Here he is.

SCHUMER: It is clear this administration is in total disarray when it comes to the crisis of the coronavirus. At the same time, Larry Kudlow said it's contained and CDC said it's going to spread, the question is when. There is no plan. The administration has no plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: I guess you know, the big crucial question here is you know, is there a plan? Are they ready not just to deal with this emergency at home but crucially take a lead in a global response because that's what is needed at this point, right?

[01:10:00]

CARROLL: Absolutely. First off, I think what we're hearing in the various reports that you're showing is that there is an absolute concern that we are not ready as a nation, we do not certainly at the political level, have the kind of leadership and the planning to be able to respond to this kind of event, both in terms of what is required to minimize the impact of this virus domestically.

But we're also part of a global community. And for -- as potentially significant impact that this may have in the United States, there are regions in the world where this impact will be orders of magnitude greater. They have far less resilient health systems far less capable. And we have a responsibility as a nation, to be able to provide leadership to assist and put in place the kind of support that will minimize the impact in these countries. Not just countries but regions where we see civil wars and disorders.

And we've not seen the kind of leadership from this administration to provide a global response, preparedness response for the world.

VAUSE: Very quickly, final question for you. And this is a question I hear most often from a lot of people. How bad is this going to get?

CARROLL: Well, we don't know. I mean, you know, the truth of the matter is every -- we're concerned. But there's more about this virus we don't understand than we do.

VAUSE: Doctor, we'll leave it there, but thank you very much for your time. Dr. Dennis Carroll, thank you for coming in and we appreciate your insights and your work up until this point. Thank you, sir.

CARROLL: No, I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you very much.

VAUSE: Fears of a global pandemic continue to rattle the stock market. Tuesday saw another big fall on Wall Street. The Dow tumbled almost 900 points, and that comes after 1,000 point drop on Monday. The S&P and NASDAQ so losses around three percent. In the mix of the sell-off, the White House try to reassure investors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: We have contained this. We have contained this. I won't say airtight butt pretty close to airtight. We've done a good job in the United States. I don't think it's going to be an economic tragedy at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Trading is underway right now in Asia. It was a rough start to the week for some markets there. Journalist Kaori Enjoji is live in Tokyo. So Kaori, what's the headline for today so far?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Well, the equity markets still believe that the coronavirus is going to wreak havoc on economies around the world. The equity markets in Asia pretty much lower across the board with the exception of Shanghai which has been trading pretty much around yesterday's closing levels. Granted, the losses are not as steep as we saw yesterday, but the Nikkei two to five is closing the day down three quarters of one percent, 22,426, and we're seeing weakness in other parts of Asia as well. I think they're battling two fronts. One, of course, the health risk,

but two, the economic fallout. And people are very concerned that with the factory of the world, China basically shut down in many parts of the region and demand drying up there because of the lockdown and this spread that's going through not just Asia, but now to European cities, Iran, far-flung places might trigger a downturn in economic growth worldwide.

And people are concerned because many economists even before this outbreak going into 2020 were on the brink of recession. And I mentioned Japan in particular, negative growth in the final three months of this year. People are concerned that if Japan Inc. doesn't get up and running as usual soon, it could technically fall back into recession. We're also seeing companies tell their employees to basically stay at home.

The governor is saying that the next two weeks are going to be critical. And if people are staying home, what does that mean for economic growth in major cities like Tokyo. So Looks like, John, continued weakness pretty much in major Asian bourses today. Back to you.

VAUSE: Kaori, thank you. Kaori Enjoji there live for us in Tokyo. Well, the first known case of the coronavirus among U.S. service members has been reported with an American soldier stationed in South Korea testing positive. CNN's Paula Hancocks live this out with details. So, Paula, what more do we know at this point?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we know that this individual is a 23-year-old male, according to the U.S. forces Korea, and that he was based at a camp called Camp Carroll which is about 20 kilometers away from Daegu. Now that is the key area of South Korea just in the southeast of the country that we're looking at. That is where the majority of those cases are, where that religious group which is at the heart of the spike in numbers is as well.

So we know that that he did visit another base in Daegu and then went back to his existing base. He is now in self-quarantine at an off base residence, but clearly, there is going to be an active effort now to try and track down exactly who he was in contact with. And that's what the U.S. forces say they're doing at this point, trying to make sure that they can prevent, if possible, any further spread.

Now already, the alert level is at its highest point for U.S. Forces Korea. For South Korea, a national alert level as well. And we also know from three U.S. officials that the U.S. and South Korea militaries shortly will be announcing that they will have to scale back some upcoming military drills that will be happening shortly.

They say that it's just too challenging and too difficult for both militaries to be able to function as normal at this point. So we're expecting that that to be announced at any time as well. Also, in the South Korean military side, 18 soldiers have been confirmed to have the virus on that side. And of course, the fact of the military is they are living in close quarters. It is a barrack situation which is why there was such concern here.

[01:15:57]

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks live for us there with very latest on that case of the U.S. servicemen testing positive. Well, the number of confirmed cases globally is now approaching 81,000. More than 2,700 have died. The vast majority of both are in mainland China, but notably, the virus continues to spread with new cases detected every day around the world.

Algeria and several European countries are confirming their first cases. Beyond China, South Korea has the largest outbreak with more than 1,100 infected. And Italy and Iran appear to be new epicenters of the virus in Europe and the Middle East. Iran's deputy health minister is among the latest confirmed case. The head of the country's anti- coronavirus task force tested positive after appearing on T.V. Monday, sweating profusely. He was clearly not well and clearly not wearing a face mask.

Still to come, it was part two base but mostly shouting match as Democratic rivals classed in South Carolina and the candidate with the biggest bullseye on his back, the front runner, Bernie Sanders. Also ahead, Joe Biden's push to secure a win in South Carolina. This could be a moment of truth, a turning point in his campaign. We'll explain in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Hello there, I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. Bayern Munich will be confident of reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a really big way win at Chelsea on Tuesday. The Germans run to a three-nil victory at Stamford Bridge giving the blues an uphill climb in the return leg next month in Germany.

Robert Lewandowski scored yet again for buying his 11th in Europe this season, but it was Serge Gnabry who stole the headlines with a brace. He's now scored six goals against London teams in the English capital this season. He got four against spurs back in October.

In the other game, Barcelona should be contempt with their one-all draw at Napoli in Naples. The Italians took the lead with a brilliant first-half goal from Dries Mertens, making him their all-time joint top scorer with 121 goals. But the Catalans drew level in the second half through Antoine Griezmann, a valuable away goal for Barcelona.

So we have now seen 12 of the 16 teams who made it to the knockout stage of this tournament. The two remaining first leg games will be played on Wednesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo's pursuit of a six title with a third different team continues when the event is going to Leon. Will Ronaldo's former club Real Madrid are going to be at home to Manchester City?

That is a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.

[01:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: The gloves were off, the claws came out, and they debated like their hopes and dreams, their very futures were on the line. The 10th Democratic debate quickly became a chaotic shouting match among the seven presidential candidates. The stakes could not be higher with South Carolina's primary this Saturday, Super Tuesday next week, when 14 states will vote. It seems everyone hates the front runner Bernie Sanders. He took the brunt of the attacks Tuesday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you think the last four years has been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am scared. If we cannot pull this party together, if we go to one of those extremes, we take a terrible risk of reelecting Donald Trump.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we spend the next four months tearing our party apart, we're going to watch Donald Trump spend the next four years tearing our country apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Ron Bronstein is CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor at the Atlantic, and he joins us now. Good to see you, Ron.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, John.

VAUSE: OK, so here's how Sanders responded to that consistent attack line that his nomination would mean electoral disaster for Democrats in Congress and in statehouses across the country.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of last 50 polls that have been done nationally, Mr. Bloomberg, I beat Trump 47 of those 50 times. If you look at battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania polling just --

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The polls aren't the election.

SANDERS: I beat Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: OK, so opinion polls are reflective of a particular point in time, but poll trends can be indicative of what's yet to come. But is that an effective counter-argument from Sanders? Is that enough?

BROWNSTEIN: To a point, but only to a point. I mean, there's a circular logic here. I mean, this was the first debate in this cycle. And really going back to the 2016 race, the first debate where we began to get a serious examination of the potential vulnerabilities, Bernie Sanders would bring to the table as a general election nominee. And then we heard a debate about his previous praise for Castro and

other left-wing autocratic governments. We heard about the question of whether he's been effective in Washington. We began to get some debate about the extraordinary cost of his agenda which adds up to somewhere between 50 and 60 trillion over the next decade, a doubling of the total federal budget, something that's never happened in peacetime.

So we began to get all of those issues aired. The problem is, of course, they've not really been fully aired. They certainly not been aired the way that Republicans will air them if he is the nominee. So it is an enormous question among Democrats whether those polls are the best-case scenario for Sanders and can only get worse, or in fact show a durable level of support that he could take you to the fall as the general election nominee.

VAUSE: Well, as you mentioned, this was really the first time that Sanders had to account for several days past statements, in particular ones about the Castro regime. Here is responding to Pete Buttigieg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: When dictatorships, whether it is the Chinese or the Cubans do something good, you acknowledge that, but you don't trade love letters with them.

BUTTIGIEG: We're not going to win these critical, critical House and Senate races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic Party is telling people to look at the bright side of the Castro regime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And so, to your point, how will Sanders explain his past? Like in the 70s, he was calling for nationalization of industry, public ownership of banks, 100 percent tax on the wealthy.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, how about now? You know, he as I say, he is -- he is calling for doubling the size of the federal government. He put out -- he handed Chris Cuomo a document last night at the CNN Town Hall in which he identified $30 trillion in new taxes which does not even cover all of his new spending but would nonetheless be by far the largest peacetime tax increase in American history, something approaching the level of revenue increase that we had during World War Two as a share of the economy.

His current agenda includes banning fracking, banning the sale of the internal combustion engine in 10 years. Only electric cars would be allowed to be sold. The federal government taking over essentially all electricity production, eliminating private health insurance. I mean, there's a lot here and it is just extraordinary to me.

And I've kind of been, you know, stunned all year that he has kind of risen through the fall, and none of the other Democrats have really challenged him until tonight at a point where it may be too late to prevent him from amassing a pretty significant lead in delegates on Super Tuesday whatever happens Saturday in South Carolina. [01:25:47]

VAUSE: Well, Joe Biden, he's looking at a moment of truth come Sunday's primary. And so he went out to Sanders on his record on gun control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Joe has voted for terrible trade agreements. No, no, no, no, no. Joe voted for the war in Iraq. My point was not to be -- I have cast thousands of votes, including bad votes. That was a bad vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And so you know, gun control obviously a core issue for Democratic voters, but what was known was none of these attacks be it the Castro attack or the record on socialism wasn't sustained, none of them were searing, they didn't seem to stick. And so this debate was all about slowing Sanders in a moment, but I think, you know, you feel it like it didn't work. That he still has the momentum and he still has a very good chance of wrapping this up by next week.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I don't know about wrapping it up. But I kind of have mixed feelings about the debate. The debate was a terrible debate. The moderation wasn't good. It was really not a great night for CBS. They kept getting in the way of the candidates when they want to engage. The candidates are talking over each other. It was disjointed. It was chaotic. And that, as you say, prevented any of these lines of attack from being sustained or searing as we saw last week when Elizabeth Warren, you know, filleted Michael Bloomberg, particularly over the non-disclosure agreements.

But nonetheless, I think for many voters, it is the first time they've heard about some of these vulnerabilities for Sanders. And certainly, it lay down lines of argument that we're going to hear more of. The question, of course, is why did it take this long and is this too late to prevent him from establishing a substantial lead on Super Tuesday.

It is worth noting, though, John, that even post his wins in New Hampshire and Nevada, I believe there's only one state poll that has come out this week that has him higher than 25 percent. So it's not like the party is kind of falling down and throwing rose petals in front of him, it is just that the majority of the party that is still uncertain about him hasn't been able to coalesce behind a single alternative.

And what does that remind you of? Obviously, the early stages of 2016 Republican race when Donald Trump was the same kind of plurality, not majority front runner.

VAUSE: Which is why so many were counting on Michael Bloomberg to come out and have a good debate the other week. It wasn't the case. He seemed a little sort of short-footed this time. But he came up with this very bizarre line right in the middle of this debate. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BLOOMBERG: I really am surprised that all of these my fellow contestants up here, I guess would be the right word for it, given nobody pays attention to the clock. I'm surprised they show up because I would have thought after I did such a good job and beating them last week that they'd be a little bit afraid to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Is Bloomberg getting the best campaign advice.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, he -- you know, he has a brilliant campaign in terms of the advertising they're running and the organization they're building. But there's only -- you know, there's only so much you can do with the clay that you have. And his -- you know, as someone said to me tonight, his best moments in this debate were the 32nd ads that ran during some of the commercials.

I mean, he's not -- he's not -- you know, I think that it's interesting. To me, the two debates suggest -- and he was better tonight than last week. But regardless of his performance, I think that the point of the two debates is there's just too much in his record to ever imagine him being accepted by a majority of the Democratic Party as its presidential nominee.

I think Elizabeth Warren was wrong was exactly right when she said that tonight, the core of the party is just not going to trust someone who has been a Republican for most of his life, who has the background. And despite all the admirable things he is doing from a Democratic perspective over the last decade or so, it's just hard to imagine him being the nominee at the end.

He still has a role to play in this. You know, the question now maybe whether the moderates combined between them and prevent Sanders from reaching a majority of the delegates are getting close enough where his nomination is inevitable, and they can find some way to come together at the convention. That may be the best they can hope for. And in such a world, Bloomberg and still be an asset, but it is really hard after these two debates. So imagine a scenario here is actually the Democratic nominee.

VAUSE: It is so confusing right now. It is one of the sort of great mysteries of who will end up with this nomination. I guess we'll just have to keep watching and we'll keep talking about it. Ron, thank you. Good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you. Thank you, John.

[01:29:53]

VAUSE: Still to come. Growing fear the novel coronavirus could impact the Summer Olympics in Japan. Tokyo though says don't worry. Everything's going according to plan.

Also ahead, the happiest place on earth now one of the loneliest, as Disney parks in China are hit hard by the coronavirus.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Preparations for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo are moving ahead as planned, according to officials. That's despite concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Will Ripley, live in Tokyo with more on this. So Will -- they have a plan to move the games if they had to. It's in the IOC charter, so where are they at right now?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, John -- I have lived here -- I have lived here in Japan for four years and I have covered so many Olympic stories. I have seen the blood, sweat and tears, and the billions and actually tens of billions of dollars that Japan has put into the Olympics.

And if you would ask me if there's any chance that Japan would allow the Olympics to be postponed or to be moved I would say it would take nothing short of a zombie apocalypse to do so.

And yet, here we are. There is now discussion months out of the Olympics about the coronavirus, which we've just learned has claimed now a fifth or sixth life here in Japan. These are all seniors citizens -- five or six? Five lives, five people have been -- six, six people have been killed, ok.

So that information just came in minutes ago. The point here is that this is serious. And the way that the Japanese authorities handled the Diamond Princess situation with the quarantine that a lot of people have viewed as a failure has not given people a lot of faith in the Japanese authorities.

So when you are talking about the Olympics that are supposed to start at the end of July, and you have people from 200 plus countries flying here to Tokyo, staying in relatively close quarters, hundreds of thousands of people for a few weeks altogether co-mingling and then flying back to their respective countries -- well, frankly that is like the Diamond Princess on steroids, of course steroids, no because we're talking about the Olympics. The is doping-free.

[01:35:05]

RIPLEY: But clearly this is a serious situation. And the International Olympic Committee is trying to assure people that plans are moving forward to conduct a safe games.

Let me read you a portion of what they told CNN. "Tokyo 2020 will continue to collaborate with all relevant organizations which carefully monitor any incidents of infectious diseases and will review any counter measures that may be necessary with all relevant organizations. The rest of speculation."

Now, they're talking about speculation because of an AP interview with a member of the IOC who clearly raised some concerns and said that by the end of May they could have to make a call about whether to keep the games here or come up with another plan. They have not had to -- basically cancel the Summer Olympic since

World War II -- John. And so this is a very big deal but this is also a very big health crisis. And right now it is all changing by the day so we just don't have the answer to what's going to happen.

VAUSE: Will -- we appreciate that update. Will Ripley, live in Tokyo.

And we'll be back after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Joe Biden's bid for the White House is facing a make-or-break moment this Saturday with the Democrat primary in South Carolina. A new NBC/Marist poll has the former vice president leading 27 percent; Bernie Sanders though 23 percent, not far behind; billionaire businessman Tom Steyer comes in third with 15 percent; Pete Buttigieg, and Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are all in single digits.

Biden is counting on the African-American vote in South Carolina for a big win. The new polling has Sanders overtaking Biden with African- American voters.

Ryan Nobles explains that's a key change from when Sanders ran four years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This time, Senator Bernie Sanders is taking a different approach after he struggled to win broad support from voters of color in his primary battle with Hillary Clinton four years ago.

How is your campaign different in 2016 than it is now in reaching out to those --

[01:40:00]

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good questions. We're much more diverse. I mean that's the simple answer. I can't tell you exactly but we have hundreds of Latinos and African-Americans on our staff right now, reaching out into the Latino and African-American community.

NOBLES: That concerted effort already yielding results.

SANDERS: My God, there are a lot of people here tonight.

NOBLES: The minority vote in Nevada helped fuel his blowout win in caucuses there. Still, entrance polls showed Sanders trailing Joe Biden by 10 points among black voters. While here in South Carolina, even skeptical black leaders like the Reverend Joseph Darby, a long time ally of Biden, have noticed a change.

REV. JOSEPH DARBY, NICHOLS CHAPEL AME CHURCH SENIOR PASTOR: He's done a splendid job of outreaching to the African-American community. Whoever is advising him kind of pointed him in the right direction. NOBLES: In 2016, Sanders lost South Carolina to Clinton by nearly 50

points. Getting trounced among black voters by more than 70 points. With the primary now just four days away, the latest polls shows Sanders in striking distance of the former vice president.

And some voters who may not have considered him in 2016 are keeping an open mind this time around.

ROCHELLE SMITH, SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: I like that he's honest and he's truthful about a lot of his topics that he speaks about.

NOBLES: Sanders is investing time, meeting with black leaders, addressing issues of specific concerns to the African American community, and sharing his own story of participating in the civil rights movement.

NICK CRUISE, SANDERS SUPPORTER: So he marched with MLK, he decided he's going to run. He's going to have a people power campaign.

NOBLES: Sanders has also surrounded himself with prominent black leaders and activists. And even celebrities such as hip-hop star Killer Mike and actor Ray Fisher who spent Mondays stumping for Sanders in South Carolina.

Ray Fisher, Actor: Our mission is to do is make people aware as to what Senator Sanders actually stands for and to show people that that they have -- that he has their best interests at heart.

NOBLES: And while Sanders has made gains, black leaders like Congressman Marcia Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, say there is still more work to do.

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: You know, black people -- we believe -- we're pretty conservative. We're pretty moderate people. And so all in all, we are looking for someone who we think is kind of more center left than far-left.

NOBLES: And because of his poor performance here four years ago, the Sanders campaign didn't expect that Bernie Sanders would have a chance to win this time around. But because of the significant inroads he is making in the black community, they are now starting to think differently. and to that end, the campaign is investing in his presence here, expanding their ad buy across the entire state, putting in some $500,000 dollars into that effort.

While Sanders will travel to some Super Tuesday states before the vote here on Saturday, he is adding events in South Carolina as well hoping to pull off an upset.

Ryan Nobles, CNN -- Charleston, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Joining us now -- Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry -- it's always good to see you. LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS-UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Thank you -- John.

VAUSE: Very quickly -- the Democrat debate on Tuesday night or let's all beat up on Bernie as it's also known. Sanders is clearly the front runner here. He was clearly the punching bag.

It was the first time he sort of had to answer so many sustained questions. He came under attack from all sides to this degree. Will this have any impact on the final result, do you think, in South Carolina?

SABATO: I think it will have a little impact. You know, these debates throughout this whole process -- this is the tenth one -- they've actually had some impact on the process. And this one, it's hard to believe that it wouldn't hurt Sanders a bit with at least the moderates that he continues to attract to vote for.

I don't think they know about all of his history in foreign policy. But he was lucky. I don't think there was a sustained attack that went from four or five candidates after the first piece of the debate. And Bloomberg -- Mike Bloomberg, as always, was there to take more than his share of the arrows.

VAUSE: Let's take a closer look at that poll which has Sanders closing in on Joe Biden in South Carolina because obviously, this is the big one for Biden.

And the news for Biden keeps getting worse. On the question of commitment and loyalty, one in three Biden supporters say they would consider voting for another candidate. Among Sanders supporters, just over one in ten.

Among those who voted early had a clear preference for a candidate. Seven in ten Bernie backers strongly supported him; for Biden 61 percent. And while Biden still leads among black voters with 35 percent, 20 percent are backing Sanders, and 19 percent for billionaire businessman Tom Steyer.

So, you know, those numbers show that Sanders has this committed, loyal, enthusiastic group of supporters. While for Biden, even if he wins the primary, it won't be anything like Hillary Clinton's landslide four years ago. And right now a close win for Biden in South Carolina may as well be a loss, right.

SABATO: Absolutely. If this was a squeak or a point or two, I don't even think Biden can claim it is a win. After all he has been way ahead for years worth of polling in South Carolina. So he has to worry about winning closely, much less losing.

I also think Steyer has really hurt Biden. He has moved up, at least in some polling, to the upper teens. And most of his votes are moderate votes that come from Biden rather than from Sanders.

[01:45:01] VAUSE: I guess all of this explains why Joe Biden has stepped up his

attacks on Bernie Sanders. Take a look at part of an ad from the Biden campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we rallied together to defend our president and all the progress he made, they had his back. He had his back. And you had his back.

But back in Washington, there was one guy with another plan.

SANDERS: I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders was seriously thinking about challenging our first African-American president in a primary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Now, Sanders says back in 2012 he was focused on being reelected as senator from Vermont. He was also always an Obama supporter. But the Biden campaign, you know, the problems it's facing will not be fixed with a few attack ads on Bernie Sanders.

SABATO: Yes, that's absolutely correct, although I do think some African American voters who are very dedicated to President Obama won't like what they have heard. And remember the key part of that ad was in Bernie Sanders own voice.

And it's true. I don't think he ever made a statement that he was thinking about the primarying Obama. He was actually looking for someone to do it, and that's almost as bad in the eyes of Obama supporters.

But you know, we are at the end and people have had a thousand messages thrown at them from the major candidates. I don't think there are that many people left to change their minds. There are people left to attract to the polls. And that's what the candidates are really trying to do.

VAUSE: You know, just two weeks ago a surging Bernie Sanders -- that was meant to be good news for, you know, the billionaire Michael Bloomberg. But then he opened his mouth on the debate stage and, you know, things didn't go so well for Mr. Bloomberg.

And so now Democrats are freaking out that a self-described Democratic socialist could in fact be the party's nominee for president.

Listen to Rahm Emanuel the former Democratic Mayor of Chicago and Obama White House chief of staff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Is there panic in the Democratic process right now? RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would say

panic would be the apt adjective to describe the mood right now.

AMANPOUR: Should there be?

EMANUEL: Yes, sure. This is a consequential election and you don't want to make a mistake. First thing, I am friendly with Senator Sanders. I am not a fan of the politics. I think it will lead to an electoral defeat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: But this is how democracy works right? If the voters go for Bernie then he gets the most amount of support and he gets the nomination? Didn't the DNC learned anything from, you know, four years ago when they put the thumb on the scale for Hillary Clinton?

SABATO: No -- That's the very short answer. But they didn't learn much from it. And they really need to remember. A lot of the criticism of Sanders coming from Democrats is simply going to be replayed in Trump ads in the fall if indeed Sanders is the nominee.

VAUSE: With that in mind, we'll finish up with some words of wisdom from the Senate Leader, the Republican Mitch McConnell on what a Bernie Sanders nomination would mean for 2020. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: When the Democrats back in 1980 were all pulling for Ronald Reagan to be the nominee because they thought he'd be the easiest to beat. I think Republicans are speculating about which Democratic candidate for president would be the easiest to beat maybe a bit foolish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: McConnell's got a point in some ways. Because if you look at that sort of Venn Diagram Trump supporters in one circle and Bernie supporters in the other, there is a significant overlap between them. The supporters can go either way, which we have seen in the polling over the years.

And there's also this concern about down ballot. That if Bernie is elected as the nominee, that Democrats will be wiped out down ballot and it will be a rout. How do you see it?

SABATO: I don't think it will be a wipeout because we have strong partisan polarization. And most Democrats, particularly in blue states will end up voting for any Democratic nominee. They're not going to do anything that will get Donald Trump reelected.

So it's not going to be like McGovern in 1972 losing 49 states to Nixon. But I do think that some of the Democrats who were elected in 2018 in suburban districts are very concerned. Bernie Sanders is not their kind of candidate and they don't want to spend the fall running away from Sanders. They want to run toward the Democratic nominee.

VAUSE: Yes. A good point to finish on -- Larry. Thanks so much, as always. Good to see you.

SABATO: Thank you -- John.

VAUSE: Still to come -- at the House of Mouse in China, it's as quiet as a mouse. The coronavirus keeping the crowds at home and hitting Disney's bottom line.

[01:49:34]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:50:59]

("WORLD SPORT HEADLINES")

[01:52:18]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: There's not a lot which could keep the usually huge crowds away from Disney parks in Shanghai. So take it as a sign of how seriously concerned they are about the coronavirus which has transformed this park from the happiest place on earth, to the loneliest.

CNN's David Culver reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When it opened in 2016, Shanghai Disney instantly became an iconic attraction for mainland Chinese tourists. CNN was there as crowds packed the theme part,

But amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, China's worked to prevent mass gatherings like these so as to stop the spread. And that's meant to helping business. Shanghai Disney's vibrant walkways, now nearly empty. You could spot one person strolling in the grounds, likely an employee given it's shutdown to visitors a month ago.

Its parking lots deserted and the many roads surrounding it, clear of traffic. It comes at a cost. If the parks stay closed another 30 days, Disney projects operating income for the Shanghai resort could drop 135 million dollars this quarter alone.

But the burden does not all fall on Disney. The Chinese government owns a majority stake in the venture.

This is pretty much as close as you can get to Disney Shanghai. Can you see it? The castle is way back there. The reality is it's not only the theme park that's feeling the economic hit but several of the surrounding communities and those businesses likewise feeling the pain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I estimate the loss of business will be 20 percent to 30 percent.

[01:54:57]

CULVER: Miu Changlung's (ph) convenience store sits on the outskirts of the Disney property. He relies heavily on the crowds that normally pass through.

BUSINESS OWNER: If this goes on for another month, it will be really hard to keep open.

CULVER: Nearby hotels -- already closed. We found several homes listed for rent on AirBNB with a clear travel advisory posting. We drove to one of the communities in which the rentals are located. The road leading in was sealed off to protect against the virus.

The guard telling us --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now that Disney is closed, all the bookings have been canceled.

CULVER: It goes beyond mainland China. Hong Kong Disney also shut down. It had already been affected by months of protests. Now the outbreak.

Disney says this park could lose roughly $145 million in operating income over the quarter. Here, it's the Hong Kong government that owns a majority stake. The closure has ripple effects beyond the park.

RONALD WU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GREY LINE TOURS: This coronavirus came in and, you know, pretty much -- business has been, you know, even worse than what it was during the protests time. And we're looking at, you know, 95 percent even more drop in business compared to the same time last year.

CULVER: In Japan -- Tokyo Disney staying open for now at least as the country works to contain the virus.

It seems the mostly local crowd is still determined to enjoy the park. But notice the characters are not the only ones wearing face masks. Many of the visitors and staff encouraged to sanitize their hands and keep a comfortable distance from one another.

Back in Shanghai, while you cannot physically take in the shows, Disney is releasing online clips of their characters trying to lift spirits and keep people moving amidst the lingering lockdown.

David Culver, CNN -- shanghai.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN newsroom. I'm John Vause.

Please stay with us. My colleague Rosemary Church is up after the break.

[01:56:47]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END