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California May Have First Case Of Community Spread; Trump Contradicts His Own Health Officials; Presidential Candidates Responds To Gun Control Questions; U.S. Preparing for Potential Outbreak Across Country; Cruise Ship Crew Exposed to Virus as They Worked; Virus Forces Fast Food Chain to Adapt to New Normal. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 27, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause live at the CNN Center in Atlanta. It's 1:00 a.m. in the East at 10:00 p.m. out west. For days, the White House has been playing down the potential risk to the United States from the coronavirus, a message which has been clearly at odds with the dire warnings from government health officials, who've told Americans to brace for an outbreak of the virus.
On Wednesday, the President made a rare appearance in the White House briefing room. And while he insisted the risk to Americans is very low, he did notice that Vice President Mike Pence would take on the role of the czar to oversee the government response. And he again undercut his own experts saying an outbreak in the U.S. was not a sure thing. The CDC says it is.
Sources tell CNN, privately Donald Trump is especially concerned about a falling stock market and the impact that could have on his chances for a second term. On Wednesday, the Dow fell more than 100 points and it's down 2,000 points so far for the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I really think the stock market of something I know a lot about, I think it took a hit maybe for two reasons. I think they look at the people that you watched debating last night and they say if there's even a possibility that can happen. I think it really takes a hit because of that.
And it certainly took a hit because of this. And I understand that also because of supply chains and various other things, and people coming in. But I think the stock market will recover. The economy is very strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Meantime, another troubling development with the Centers for Disease Control reporting a patient in Sacramento could be the first U.S. case of what's called Community spread. CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains what that means and why it's a concern.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's unclear how this person got coronavirus. Maybe they did get exposed to someone who was infected. We're not sure exactly how this happened. But it could represent the first example of community transmission. And that's something that we've been talking about for some time. This idea that you haven't traveled there, you haven't come in contact with a known infected person, and yet you still have the coronavirus. That's an indication that the virus is now here and starting to spread within communities.
Again, the CDC is still going to chase this down. It's unclear if that's -- that patient represents this first evidence of community spread. But the President has been saying for some time, look, it's not inevitable that this will happen. Maybe we don't have any community spread at all. Which has been at odds with what we're hearing from the CDC who has been saying it's not a question of if community spread will happen, it's a question of when it will happen.
So that's why so much attention is going to be paid to that one patient, and we'll certainly give you details as we get them. I also want you to listen closely to an exchange I had with the President yesterday at this news conference. Take a lesson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Flu have a fatality ratio of about 0.1 percent.
GUPTA: This has a fatality ratio of somewhere between two to three percent.
TRUMP: We think, we think. We don't know exactly the number is.
GUPTA: And the fact -- based on the number so far.
TRUMP: And the flu is higher than that. The flu is much higher than that.
GUPTA: There's more people who get the flu but this is spreading. And it's going to spread maybe within communities. That's the expectation.
TRUMP: It may. It may.
GUPTA: Does that -- does that? Because that seems to be what worries the American --
TRUMP: No, no, because we're ready for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Now, the reason we were talking about this is because the President has been comparing this new coronavirus to the flu virus and in some ways understandably so. They both the flu virus and coronavirus very transmissible, they go human to human, and it seems to spread pretty easily. But when you're looking at a potential outbreak, a potential pandemic, you do want to look at transmissibility, but also how lethal something is.
With flu, the lethality or the fatality ratio is 0.1 percent. 0.1 percent of people who get the flu will die from it. With coronavirus, the largest studies suggest it's closer to two percent or even a little bit higher than that, so that's 20 times higher. If this coronavirus starts to spread like the flu does, and it's the fatality ratio is significantly higher, you can see the problem there. And that's why the public health community is so focused on this.
They got to be ready as they say they're planning for a pandemic hoping it doesn't happen. The planning nonetheless. Back to you.
VAUSE: Joining us now from New York is Rana Foroohar. She's CNN Global Economic Analyst as well as a columnist and associate editor for The Financial Times. So Rana, good to have you with us.
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK, the reality is the number of cases in the U.S. is low. One of the big reasons for that is because China acted quickly and decisively and slowed the spread of the outbreak. And this is something which the President seems to be taking credit for. Here is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Because of all we've done, the risk to the American people remains very low. We have the greatest experts in the world -- really in the world right here. The people that are called upon by other countries when things like this happen. We were ready to adapt, and we're ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If it spreads. What the Trump administration really has done is significantly cut the budgets of the government departments which would normally be on the front line of a crisis like this. This has happened over the past two years. His administration has eliminated funding and shut down the entire global health security unit which is part of the National Security Council, eliminated what was known as a complex crisis fund $30 billion, which was money which could be spent at the discretion of the Secretary of State, and over the past two years cut the health budget by a total of $15 billion.
And what is notable, what I've been told, is that yes, there is a plan in place for this crisis for this virus, but what about the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that?
FOROOHAR: Absolutely. And they are coming. There's no question about it. I mean, I find it so incredibly ironic that the President is taking credit for what China has done. Look, there have been criticisms, and compliments about how China has handled the crisis. There was a lack of -- a lack of transparency in the beginning about the number of cases but one of the, you know, ironic upsides of autocracy is you can actually order people to stay in their homes and apartments. We will not be able to do that here in the U.S. And meanwhile, all the health experts are saying we are not ready.
There are not the resources in place, that there should be for this kind of a crisis that we're under shooting on budget. And the fact that you've got the president really underplaying something that health officials are saying, get ready, this is going to be a big deal, is it just -- it's such a worry on so many levels.
VAUSE: And also, this administration has been lying since day one, about crowd sizes, about using a sharpie to change the projected track of a hurricane, Mexico will pay for the wall. The White House has a total lack of credibility. And it seems, could this be the moment when all the lies come home to roost?
FOROOHAR: You know, it very well could be particularly if you start to see schools being shuttered. You know, we're already hearing talk about large auditoriums and public gathering centers getting ready for being intake centers for patients if the -- if the outbreak should get out of control. I mean, these are the things that the President is going to have to deal with.
He's also going to have to deal with the market fallout. And I think that frankly, that may be one of the reasons that he's underplaying this. As you well know, the markets are reacting very strongly. They're very worried that this could be not only a dip in stocks, but the beginning of what could be a synchronized global recession.
VAUSE: And with that in mind, he even do that news conference on Wednesday night, the U.S. president continues to undercut the message from his own Senior Health officials. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And just the course of the last couple of minutes, you have disputed some of what the officials that are working in your administration behind you have said about the risk of coronavirus and its spread. Do you trust your health officials to give you good information or do you trust your instincts more?
TRUMP: I don't think I have. They've said it could be worse and I've said it could be worse too. I also think --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said you don't believe it's inevitable. It contradicts with --
TRUMP: No, I don't think it's inevitable. I don't think it's inevitable. I think that we're doing a really good job in terms of maintaining borders and turning terms of letting people in, in terms of checking people. And also, that's one of the reasons I'm here today, getting the word out so people can -- they'll know. They're going to know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you trust --
TRUMP: No, I don't think it's -- I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse as a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing is inevitable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Let's be clear. They made the point. It's not a matter of if but when this virus you know, spreads across the United States, it's almost beyond belief even for this president, that he would undercut the message coming from his own officials in a -- in the midst of a public health crisis because he wants to minimize the impact on the stock market because that's where he sees the key to his reelection, and yet here we are.
FOROOHAR: You know, John, I'd like to say that this surprises me, but it doesn't really. I mean, look, the facts are known. This virus has spread to 10 times as many people as the SARS virus that, you know, happened 20 years ago, which is the closest comparison really at this point that we have. It's killed three times as many. Public health officials at WHO and other organizations say it is going to infect millions and millions more people before we're done with this. Those are the facts.
This president, however, is looking forward to a November election. And a lot of that election are a lot of his case for his handling of the economy which is basically his selling point hinges on where the stock markets are. And you are seeing what I think is going to be a sustained dip because you know, we're just at the beginning of seeing the effects on any number of U.S. multinationals on supply chains. I think that the longer-term story here may be that we see this moment as a line in the sand with U.S.-China decoupling
I think a lot of American companies, a lot of big multinationals are going to look and say, Look, this is one risk too many and they're going to really continue and prolong that process of decoupling that we'd already seen.
VAUSE: OK, I want to finish off with a piece of information or a real gem which comes from the Washington Post which reports part of the funding for the coronavirus emergency response, the money that they've asked for Congress to provide, part of the money that the White House has proposed that it comes from is a program which provides subsidies for low-income families to heat their homes.
According to the Post, reporters have seen the document that the Trump administration sent to Congress which they say we have seen indicates that the administration is transferring $37 million to emergency funding for the coronavirus response from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP which funds heating for poor families.
In the grand scheme of things, $37 million is not a lot. But the Post reports up to three-quarters of one million families could be impacted. And someone actually thinks that's a good idea.
FOROOHAR: You know, I see a talking point here for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries. I think we are just at the beginning of a lot of fallout and it's going to have a big impact on November and many things going forward.
VAUSE: Yes. It's been an incredible response leading up to this because those budgets were cut just as the coronavirus was emerging. And now we hear with you know, budget cuts in all the areas. It's been incredible to say the least. And as you say, it's just getting started. Rana, good to see you. Thank you so much.
FOROOHAR: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well for more on the outbreak's global impact, journalist Kaori Enjoji is standing by live in Tokyo. We also have CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul this hour. And Paula will begin with you because there is now word that this coronavirus is the reason for postponing joint Korea U.S. military exercises. So what more do you know?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We heard this from the U.S. forces in Korea and also from the South Korean Defense Ministry in tandem this morning, John. And they said that they were going to postpone these military drills that they usually have around now.
They are usually fairly large-scale military drills, some of them are computer simulations. But the reason they've said that is because of the novel coronavirus. Because of the fact they do not want to have a large number of military personnel in the same area. And the reason for that is they already had one case confirmed within USFK, the U.S. forces here of which there are 28,500.
A 22-year-old male has been confirmed with having the virus. And when it comes to the South Korean side, 20 personnel have been confirmed with having the virus across the board in the Navy, the Army, the Air Force, the Marine Corps. And when it comes to living quarters for some of these younger size Korean military personnel, that they're in barracks. They are in very close living quarters.
So certainly, this is something that militaries are extremely concerned about, and they want to try and contain it as soon as possible. And then at the same time is that just shortly afterwards, we also heard from the State Department when it comes to South Korea. They have raised their alert level two level three, which effectively means that people from the United States should reconsider travel to South Korea.
VAUSE: OK, Paula, thank you. Stay with us. Now to Tokyo, Kaori Enjoji, it's been a rough week for Asian stocks. It seems those losses though, at least in some parts keep coming.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That's right. We're seeing continued losses in the equity markets here in Asia, with the exception Shanghai with one of the biggest markets in the region. Tokyo down close to 500 points again. That means 1,500 points wiped out over the last four trading sessions fresh four and a half month lows.
I think investors continue to try to insulate themselves from the fact that the world's second largest economy, China, has effectively been paralyzed for the last month and governments across the region are responding. We have seen New Zealand say today that they may have to announce some emergency measures given the fact that a quarter of its exports are bound for China.
You also saw South Korea announced today that their economic forecasts will be lowered to 2.1 percent. And as a result, we're seeing continued weakness in the equity markets with trillions of dollars being wiped out in value. Productivity is continuing to fall with companies urging their workers to stay at home. Consumption is bound to be weak this month across the region as concerts, events, and other gatherings continue to be canceled.
We're also seeing a schools with cluster outbreaks across Japan say that they will be closed for several weeks. And that is sparking fear and renewed anxiety across the region. So we're seeing now equity markets continue to fall, the safety seems to be in the U.S. Treasury market. So, we seeing Treasury yields on 10-year government bonds continue to fall. And with an expectation that prolong demand from businesses will be weak for the next -- for the foreseeable future. We're seeing weakness in the oil markets as well.
So it's not really as jumpy in the equity markets as we may have seen over the last couple of days, but certainly a sea of red with the exception of Shanghai here in Asia again today, John.
VAUSE: OK, Kaori, we appreciate that. Kaori Enjoji with the very latest on the financial side and also Paula Hancock is in Seoul with the very latest of these military exercises which are now on hold. Thanks to you both. So what started out as a normal work day turned deadly at a brewery in Wisconsin. Coming up, a look at how the mass shooting unfolded.
Also, a full back to back U.S. Democratic presidential town halls right here on CNN just days before South Carolina goes to the polls. We'll tell you what the candidate had to say when we come back.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hi there, I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN World Sport headline. Just one place to start. That's in Madrid where Europe's club kings Real took to the field to play Wednesday. This in the first leg of their round of 16 tie with Manchester City club. Still reeling from that recent two season European bound for allegedly breaching financial fair play regulations.
Well, City falling behind you this one thanks to Isco's goal for Real. But the visitors hitting back superbly. Two late strikes from Gabriel Jesus and then Kevin De Bruyne on a penalty to take a 2-1 first leg lead back to Manchester. Real's Sergio Ramos (INAUDIBLE). He will miss the return.
Wednesday's of the match featuring Italian champs Juventus traveling to France to face Lyon, the (INAUDIBLE) are two-time club champions of Europe. But it's almost unthinkable you have to go back to the year 1996 that they last one it. Lyon languishing in seventh place in France but they would shock the Italian giants here.
Lucas Tousart, the 22 year old, what a really special career moment for him. Lyon 1-0 surprise winners of a mighty Juventus. And it's the end of the road for Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova who's announced her retirement from the sport. Sharapova who turned 33 in April taking the social media Wednesday to confirm the news. A career that yielded five major titles including the prestigious career grand slam.
Those are your World Sport Headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. Coming to 20 past one here on a Thursday morning, and there has been another mass shooting in the U.S. with a gunman opening fire and killing five of his co-workers at a brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Police say the 51-year-old gunman died from self-inflicted wounds and for now, there's no word on a motive. CNN's Omar Jimenez has details
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Mayor here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin describing it as an unspeakable tragedy for this city. Six people killed in total including the shooter. Five people who went to work today and thinking it was just like any other day, thinking that they would be able to come home just like again any other day. But of course, that reality tragically cut short.
Now when police responded to this just after 2:00 in the afternoon, local time, they say they found a 51-year-old man dead for an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. They say that man was the shooter dead from that self-inflicted gunshot wound, but not before taking five of his coworkers with him according to police.
They say, when they responded, it was in those initial moments that some text messages went out to employees telling them to shelter in place, even one text message showing where the shots were originating from across this wide campus that is part of the Molson Coors Complex here.
Now, moving forward, they are going to be trying to work toward a specific motive in this. But to give some perspective, the Lieutenant Governor here in the state says this is now the 11th mass shooting to happen in Wisconsin since 2004. But again, as this investigation continues, the governor said that instead our thoughts should be with the families. Omar Jimenez, CNN Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
VAUSE: That mass shooting has put the issue of gun control in the political spotlight just hours ago during four Democratic presidential town halls right here on CNN. The candidates weighed in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I was watching the president, he said our prayers should be with the families and I'm sympathetic with that. But what he should have said is, and we're going to do something to have background checks to stop guns being sold to people who shouldn't buy them.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No amendment is absolute. None of you can stand up in the First Amendment of free speech and yell fire here, you'll be arrested because you're going to cause damage and danger. From the very beginning, the founders said, not everyone is able to have a gun and you can't have any weapon you want. That's simply never been the case. There are limitations.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So in light of what happened today in Milwaukee, the mass shooting that you saw here, the mass shootings we see all over the country. I still do not want us to forget the everyday gun violence. The kids that get killed every single day in this country, the victims of domestic violence.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to see us do the things that are obvious, the background checks, get assault weapons off our streets. But I want us to treat this as the public health emergency that it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Lives in Los Angeles and Democratic Strategist Caroline Heldman is with us. Caroline, it's been a while, so it's good to see you.
CAROLINE HELDMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to see you, John.
VAUSE: And it seems that the shooting in Milwaukee was kind of a wakeup call, if you like, that this country is facing some very real issues, among them a need for gun reform. And there wasn't a lot of daylight between the candidates on stage, but there was a lot of daylight between them and President Trump.
HELDMAN: Absolutely. And what we've seen is that the only candidate who stands out is Bernie Sanders. Everybody else, you're right, John, is basically in the same place. And Bernie Sanders is actually in the same place now too. He has walked back his position in in favor of, you know, a lot of the Republican measures to not have gun control over the years. And he now does support you know, what we call common sense gun control, which is background checks, which is having a national registry, which a vast majority of Americans support.
So yes, all of the candidates are in the same place. The only person who's flip flopped on that a bit is Bernie Sanders, but he walked that back this week. VAUSE: You know, South Carolina will hold its primary in a couple of days. And this is the primary Joe Biden has been waiting for. He's had a pretty good week so far. His campaign, especially when he answered the question from the pastor of the Charleston church where a white supremacist shot and killed nine African Americans having junior Bible study, the pastor's wife was among the dead. He asked Biden about how he would use his faith in making decisions about running the country. Biden said his late son Beau played a big role in his faith. Here's the answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: He asked me when he was dying, promised me dad, promised me dad, promise me. He said, I know no one loves me more than you do, dad. But promise me, you stay engaged. He knew I'd take care of the family but he worried what I would do is I would pull back and go into a shell and not do all the things I've done before.
It took a long time for me to get to the point to realize that that purpose is the thing that would save me and it has. And every morning when I get up, I say to myself, when I give you my word as a Biden, I hope he's proud of me. I hope he's proud of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, it was touching, it was moving, but I guess is it enough for Biden? Is that enough for this primary to win big, and then even moving forward? If he wins South Carolina, then what? There's no ground game, it seems, for Biden in the states yet to come.
HELDMAN: Well, and Biden is expected to win in South Carolina. With that said, Bernie Sanders has been surging. And this is the fight for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, right? You have the one moderate candidate who will do well likely in South Carolina first or second position, which is Biden. And then you have the more progressive candidate Bernie Sanders.
And his momentum is such that even if Biden wins in South Carolina, Super Tuesday comes and we're talking 14 states, we're talking so many delegates, that Sanders is expected to do quite well with. It will be very difficult to slow his momentum. This is the last shot that any of the candidates have to slow the mow Bernie Sanders.
VAUSE: The Trump administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak was also a big issue for the candidates. Michael Bloomberg made his first appearance at the town hall. His answer about the coronavirus outbreak, it wasn't especially great. The good news is he does have a campaign ad about it. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health experts warn, the U.S. is underprepared. Managing a crisis is what Mike Bloomberg does. In the aftermath of 9/11, he steadied in rebuilt America's largest city, oversaw emergency response to natural disasters, upgraded hospital preparedness to manage health crises, and he's funding cutting edge research to contain epidemics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, the thing which keep thinking about here is clearly this is a potentially huge problem for Donald Trump. At the same time, though, do Democrats have to be careful in how they use this sort of health emergency to attack the president?
HELDMAN: Well, I think they're actually in pretty solid footing to go after the President on this, mostly because there aren't heads at the CDC and the National Institutes of Health. He's cut funding there. I really think that his lack of response -- Donald Trump's lack of response to getting in front of this looks very similar to what actually happened in China where you act like it's not a problem, and then you respond quite late, and then maybe you put Vice President Pence in charge who's not a medical doctor.
I actually think this is a very good opening for Democrats. And unfortunately, it's become political, right, when you have Rush Limbaugh, for example, saying that the coronavirus is like the common cold and it's being used against Donald Trump. At the end of the day, this shouldn't be political, but Donald Trump's response has been so backwards on this that I think it's an opening for Democrats.
VAUSE: Vice President Pence is not known for being you know, the stand-up guy if you like to the -- to the President. I mean, he 00 you know what I mean. So is that the best choice for someone to oversee this coordination of the response to this outbreak?
HELDMAN: Definitely not. We need a medical professional. It would be nice if there was someone at one of these agencies who is should be in that position, right? But these, these offices are open. And putting Pence in place is very much a political -- it shows that this is a political issue for Donald Trump. It's not a public health issue. And it's really going to blow up in his face if it spreads more quickly than it otherwise would. We're talking about people's lives. We're not talking just about the stock market.
VAUSE: Yes. Just following on Bloomberg. You know, he had a better town hall than he had on debate, put it that way. During the town hall, though, he kind of sounded like a Democrat. Here he is talking about climate change and then immigration. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOOMBERG: We have a president that does not understand and doesn't believe this is happening. But you can measure -- well just turn on your television and look at the floods, look at the fire, look at the storms. The numbers are coming in so much worse than all of the scientists had predicted.
One of the things in immigration is you got to do some things quickly in immigration, stop this craziness with 11 million people who are living in the shadow. You've got to give them a clear path to citizenship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Does Bloomberg had much of a chance at winning the nomination here. You know, will the hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign ads be enough?
HELDMAN: Well, I doubt it. He is taking a big risk on Super Tuesday states. He's not even on the ballot in South Carolina. You're absolutely right, John, that he did much better at the town hall and this debate than he did it the Las Vegas debate where he got shellacked by Elizabeth Warren.
It's definitely been a learning curve for him. His weaknesses are that his stop and frisk policy which he defended for five years after it was, you know, shown that that it was racially biased, is not playing well with voters of color. And also, his refusal to release women from NDAs who worked for him who may have faced sexual harassment is not playing well with women.
I think he's a very interesting candidate but I don't think he's a very viable candidate when you have so many other good candidates in the race who are ahead of him in the polls.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ok. Interesting times ahead. Caroline -- great to see you. We appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
HELDMAN: Thank you.
VAUSE: We'll still to come. As President Trump downplays the threat of the coronavirus, some parts in the United States where there are no confirmed cases at all are now taking their own precautions.
VAUSE: Welcome back to our viewers watching us here in the United States and also around the world. I'm John Vause live at the CNN Center in Atlanta. It's gone 1:33 here on a Thursday morning.
With public health officials warning the coronavirus will spread across the United States, Donald Trump has now named Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. government response to the outbreak. The President insists his administration is ready to deal with the contagion.
And despite warnings to the country from health officials, he insists the risk to Americans is actually very low. Sources though tell CNN, Mr. Trump is concerned the falling stock market could threaten his chances for reelection.
After two days of precipitous drops, the Dow fell another hundred points on Wednesday, for a total loss of 2,000 points so far this week. California has 15 cases of the coronavirus, but the latest one may be of particular concerned. A congressman told CNN's Chris Cuomo about why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: They call it community infection or community transmission. That is what they believe this to be. They have no indication that this fellow was involved with a sick person or traveled from a country from which there was extensive coronavirus.
GARAMENDI: So yes we have perhaps the first community transmission in the United States. And yes it is in my district and the individual is in a hospital, as we understand it, in Sacramento.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Now -- so what is your concern here?
GARAMENDI: Well I think it's a concern that all Americans have. It's certainly a concern that the President spoke to today. And I'm grateful that he did. His proposal of $2.5 billion, $1 billion for the development of the vaccine is terrific. But that will be probably six months to a year off before that is available. Equipment masks --
CUOMO: At least.
GARAMENDI: -- other kinds of equipment. That's good too.
But what we really need is to beef up, make sure that the public health system, which every state has but which in many places is dormant or inactive -- that that be fully funded, brought up online very, very quickly so that when you do have a case, such as this, they are able to track down where that contamination may have occurred. And then put together the normal, isolation programs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Right now, six states in the U.S. have patients confirmed with the coronavirus.
But as Nick Watts reports around the country in parts that there's not even a suggestion of the virus, preparations are underway.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a preemptive state of emergency in San Francisco.
LONDON BREED, SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR: We need to allocate more resources to make sure that we are prepared.
WATT: Hundreds of infected and potentially infected Americans are isolated or quarantined on military bases. At spring training in Florida, the Red Sox keeping a young Taiwanese pitching prospect who arrived from Taipei last week quarantined for days just in case. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND
INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You need to be prepared for what very likely will occur. We need to be able to think about how we will respond to a pandemic outbreak.
WATT: The federal government now saying it needs to stockpile 300 million more masks.
ALEX AZAR, U.S. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I do want to caution, it will take time because China, as you rightly mentioned, China does control a lot of the raw materials, as well as the manufacturing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
WATT: And this morning a warning from the CDC on ABC.
DR. ANNIE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, U.S. CDC: We recognize that our very strong measures here in the United States to contain the virus, to keep it limited to very low numbers may not hold for the long haul.
WATT: Right now there are 60 confirmed cases in the U.S., among them, 42 from aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three repatriated from China, eight infections in California, two in Illinois, and one each in Massachusetts, Arizona, Washington and Wisconsin.
Clues to what we could face here from Italy where there are 400 cases and 12 deaths. Schools, universities and museums are closed in Milan. Ash Wednesday services canceled in many places. The Italy versus Ireland rugby game postponed, and 11 northern towns now on complete lock down. No one in, no one out.
VAUSE: Medical experts in Japan have admitted the quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship was almost expected to fail because the passengers were kept in isolation but the crew was not. Seems simple.
CNN's Blake Essig right now from Tokyo with more on this. And you know, I guess in hindsight it's a beautiful thing but wow what an admission.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John -- you know the next one to three weeks for the Japanese government are critical in order to prevent the further spreading -- contain the coronavirus from spreading across Japan. And that problem, that situation is perhaps made more difficult by what happened on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
I recently spoke to a Japanese health official who admitted to me that early on the quarantine procedures that they put in place, they in fact knew would not be successful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just have to knock on the door for food,
ESSIG: In a cruise ship infected by an invisible enemy, protective isolation was extended only to Diamond Princess passengers. It's crew continued going door to door.
NEVILLE SOLDANAS, MAITRE D, DIAMOND PRINCESS: With beverages and everything included, even including wine and spirits and everything that was delivered to the state rooms.
ESSIG: Maitre D Neville Soldanas (ph) said even through the end days of the quarantine, no detail was ever too small to making sure guests were well cared for.
SOLDANAS: We made sure that all our guests had a fulfilling experience.
ESSIG: A consideration for the passengers, which the government's own advisers admit wasn't extended to the crew.
DR. NORIO OHMAGARI, HEAD, JAPAN DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION CENTER: We suspect that some of the crew, staff they had to be already infected. But as you know, because they had to handle -- the operate the cruise facility, they help the passengers. They have to deliver the meals (INAUDIBLE).
OHMAGARI: So that may have caused some sort of close, you know, contact with the workers and also the passengers. That may have caused some secondary or tertiary cases.
ESSIG: Should the crew members have continued to work? Is it fair to have continued to expose them to potentially contract this virus?
OHMAGARI: Strictly, scientifically speaking -- you know, what needed was strict isolation for the crew members -- all the members.
ESSIG: From the start, Dr. Norio Ohmagari admits it was a flawed quarantine. But the ship needed to run. So the crew continued to work -- until the last of the passengers disembarked.
Diamond Princess crew members say they were just following Japanese government orders. By the time the crew were the ones receiving the meals from the shore, around 50 percent, more than 150 ended up testing positive for the novel coronavirus.
OHMAGARI: I'm very sorry for what happened here in (INAUDIBLE) because there was a limitation in terms of facilities, in terms of structure of the cruise ship.
ESSIG: Was there ever the option to your team that says, listen, if you don't want to go door to door, you are not comfortable, you don't have to do it. Was that ever a conversation that was had.
SOLDANOS: It never came up because every team member was willing to serve our guests. ESSIG: A willingness for many, but fear for others, expressed only a
few days into the quarantine.
"We are extremely scared," says Benet Sarkarn (ph) this Facebook post on February 10th -- a request, he says, is to separate the crew from the infected.
Finally after weeks of uncertainty on board the ill-fated ship, for the crew members on board who tested negatives, it's down the gangplank and on to dry land toward a line of buses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goodbye Diamond.
ESSIG: Where the only journey left is the one home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
ESSIG: Japanese health officials and advisers did say that they were sympathetic, regarding the human rights of the crew who were from all over the world. But John -- they also said that somebody had to take care of the passengers, and keep the ship running.
VAUSE: Yes, absolutely. So it was them I guess, and that ship was basically a petri dish by the end with the coronavirus. Blake -- good to see you. We appreciate the story. Blake Essig, live there in Tokyo.
Still to come here, a powerful winter storm heading for the north eastern parts of the United States and now some areas are bracing for heavy snowfall expected within hours.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.
Heavy snow blanketing parts of the Midwest and the Great Lakes region in the United States. The storm pushing into parts of Canada and New England. And that's bringing some strong winds and once that storm passes through, get ready for the very cold air.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam joins us now. So DVD -- how cold is really cold?
DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I mean if you're ok with it feeling like negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit on your skin I would say it's pretty cold, enough to make your voice raspy because I just came from a cold weather place as well. So I'm feeling it.
And many people from the Great Lakes and New England will feel it but to look at the storm John -- along the major East Coast cities from D.C. to Baltimore, New York as well as Boston -- those areas are going to stay warm enough for rain. You really have to work your way into northern New England to
experience the brutal temperatures, the snow fall, and the extreme wind chills and even into eastern sections.
Here's the storm system right now. There's a low pressure system associated with it. And I want -- this shading of red -- the National Weather Service has hosted -- this is blizzard warnings. There's a certain criteria that needs to be met for this to actually occur.
We need winds over 60 miles per hour for consistently two to three hour period, falling snow from the sky. And will it fall, most definitely up to two feet of snow possible downwind from Lake Erie into the Lake Ontario region.
So significant snow event taking shape for places like Watertown into Buffalo, New York. And the reason for this is because our ice coverage across the Great Lakes just is abysmal this year, to say the least.
In fact -- 42 percent right now we only have nine percent of The Great Lakes covered in ice. So when we have ice on the Great Lakes it totally shuts down the lake effect snow machine but of course, without that ice and we get that cold blast of air from the north, we set up and crank up the lake effect snow machine.
And that is why we are so concerned about these areas just downwind of the Great Lakes that could see snow measuring not in inches but in feet. But again along the east coast cities no problems for your travel plans with the exception of some heavy rain and the wind that will move in behind the system and the colder weather.
But if you're looking for snowfall, check this out Toronto and points to the north and east, we have the potential to experience a foot and a half of snow for you, not quite the two to three foot totals that we could see downwind of the Great Lakes. But nonetheless that will bring travel impacts to places like Toronto for instance.
Look at this wind gust there. We're expecting over 60 miles per hour, that's why the National Weather Service has issued a high wind alerts for those locations. A classic winter storm shaping up across the Eastern U.S. and the eastern parts of Canada.
John -- back to you.
VAUSE: Yes. Classic but a cold one. Ok, DVD -- appreciate it.
VAN DAM: Right.
VAUSE: Thank you.
Still to come, desperate measures for desperate times. After the break, how the coronavirus is shaking up China's fast food industry.
("CNN WORLD SPORT HEADLINES")
VAUSE: Prince Harry has made it official, maybe informal -- just call him Harry. At a tourism conference in Edinburg, Scotland, he asked to be introduced without the royal title.
He's making his final round of public engagements before stepping back from official duties. On Friday, he'll take part in a recording session with John Bon Jovi who's re-recording a song for the Invictus Games. He's jokingly referred to Harry as "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince".
The times are changing in China especially in the fast food industry. It is taking some extreme measures to keep customers and employees virus-free. They're doing everything from installing body temperature scanners to deliveries at a distance -- even some intense cleaning.
CNN's David Culver reports from Shanghai.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are looking at the new normal for many fast food restaurants in China. Customers entering this KFC passing through the now standard temperature checks, walking up to a giant screen. They either transfer their order from their smartphones thus avoiding touching the surface or they type it in. As soon as they step away, an employee swoops in to disinfect.
Some stores like this Shanghai Starbucks, takeaway only. The goal keep people from gathering. This as the (INAUDIBLE) to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.
JOEY WAT, CEO, YUM CHINA: We have been having daily crisis meetings since the end of January.
CULVER: We sat down with the Yum China Holdings CEO Joey Watt. Her company runs some of the most popular food brands in China including KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.
WAT: What's the best way to deal with adversity is to stay calm. Protect ourselves.
CULVER: That protection continues outside of the restaurants. Food delivery -- also about keeping your space.
This is what happens Here. They leave it there, he tells me I can go. I move in, pick up the food and head home to eat.
And as soon as you get your food, you'll notice on top of the receipt is this little card. It has two different types of readings on it. The temperature reading of the person who prepared your food along with their name and the name and temperature reading of the person who delivered your food.
For Wat, it is as much about being health conscious for customers and staff as it is to give her employees financial comfort.
WAT: And that's part of the company's responsibility to make sure that all our staff and their families will continued to have their jobs and the money to put food on the table.
So therefore we always make sure that we have enough cash to prepare for challenges like this.
CULVER: And this challenge is real. At the onset of the outbreak the company closed more than a third of its roughly 9,200 restaurants. And even the ones that stayed open saw a 40 to 50 percent drop in sales compared with the same time last year. Yet Wat stresses that keeping restaurants open does not always mean turning a profit.
WAT: We reopened six restaurants in Wuhan just to serve the food for the medical staff.
CULVER: Sending off meals to feed doctors, nurses and others working at the epicenter of the outbreak.
WAT: Every great company has a soul inside. Of course we need to learn how to make money but at the same time in a moment like this, we need to learn how to not make money sometimes.
CULVER: What says she often reflects on her time as a young factory worker and as a waitress before rising the ranks to her current leadership role.
It's inspired her to learn from these difficult moments.
WAT: It's tough right now but I always cite to my staff that -- good times build confidence, bad times build character. This year we're going to build some really good character.
CULVER: Yielding hope from a surplus of uncertainty.
David Culver, CNN -- Shanghai.
VAUSE: That's all the time we have this hour. I'm John Vause.
Please stay with us. CNN's live coverage continues with Rosemary Church right after this break.