Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Representative Will Hurd (R-TX) about the Coronavirus Outbreak; South Carolina Voters on Bloomberg, Money in Politics and Beating Trump; China Implements Contactless Food Deliveries Over Coronavirus. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 27, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Congressman.

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): Good morning, Alisyn. Always a pleasure to be on with you.

CAMEROTA: Great to have you. And I want to read a little portion of the -- or the piece that you wrote about how you think China botched this. You say, "Addressing this crisis must be a global effort but China's record of opacity has hindered efforts aimed at understanding its origins and mitigating its effect. As the outbreak began, Chinese officials downplayed the severity of the virus and cracked down on doctors attempting to warn the public."

How did China go so wrong in your opinion?

HURD: Well, I think it's their style of government. They're not used to being transparent. And when you're dealing with something of this severity, transparency is important especially when it's a global health risk. And so the fact that they didn't allow WHO, the World Health Organization, folks on the ground. They delayed that for several weeks. It prevented us from gathering additional detail that could help determine a task, to help determine a vaccine.

And in cases like this, in order to contain you have to move quickly. And so the lack of information was something that could have -- if we're to change it, if there would have been more information, we could have been moving a lot sooner.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And that of course leads us to the U.S. response.

HURD: Sure.

CAMEROTA: Are you seeing a rapid and robust and transparent effect from officials here?

HURD: I am. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do regular updates for members of Congress. Those updates are provided to the public. Locally, you know, my hometown in San Antonio, is dealing with this. Lackland Air Force Base is a place where people are being quarantined. And you have five cases of people with the coronavirus that were -- that got it outside of the United States and were ultimately brought here.

And the CDC has made it very clear that the potential threat of COVID- 19 to the United States and global community is high.


HURD: But the risk to an individual, it depends. The general public, the risk is still low. And -- but it becomes to people and health care professionals that are working with folks with COVID-19, it's a little bit higher.


HURD: And you know, this case that you talked into the lead of the program about community spread. And that's community spread means we don't know how that person contracted the illness.

CAMEROTA: Yes. It's worrisome. I mean, people -- you know, Dr. Emanuel -- Zeke Emanuel has said that it's a turning point today. The fact that they can't trace it where we traveled and that that's really worrisome.

HURD: Well, one of the things CDC and HHS and all the broader health community is trying to do is detect, tract and then isolate people that had this case. There are a lot of resources that are being put to try to understand where this came from.


HURD: But CDC has been preparing for this type of case. And we have to go all the way back to 1998 with Avian bird flu.


HURD: And then you move forward to the swine flu of 2005.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, not to interrupt, Congressman, but the problem is if they have been preparing.

HURD: Right.

CAMEROTA: As of this morning they do not have enough test kits. It took four days for that patient who is in a California hospital right now to be tested for coronavirus. So it doesn't feel as though they're preparing. And in terms of the messaging, I just want to bring up the message from the Trump administration has been mixed. I'll play a couple of things for you --

HURD: Well -- sure, Alisyn --

CAMEROTA: Just one second.

HURD: Before you play those -- yes. CAMEROTA: Before I just -- before you comment, just listen to what one

of the president's advisers, this is Larry Kudlow. He did not talk about the risks. He talked about the opposite. So listen to this moment.


LARRY KUDLOW, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: We have contained this. We have contained this, I won't say airtight but 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.


CAMEROTA: The virus is not contained, Congressman.

HURD: Well, I don't know the question that Larry Kudlow was answering or the context for that. But I think this is important. Let's not play politics with public health. The fact that you had two spreads from people that had -- had gotten the illness in Wuhan, China and this is the first case of potential community spread. They're still working to determine that. When there are over 81,000 cases in the rest of the world.


HURD: This is something that you're not -- you cannot hermitically seal the United States of America. But the threat to the general public according to the CDC as of last night is still low. But the potential for this threat is high.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But the -- just hold on, Congressman. I just want to make sure that we're on the same page.

HURD: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Because this is not playing politics. This is about getting the real information.

HURD: Sure.


CAMEROTA: And so the officials, except for the president, are saying things like it's inevitable, that it's coming here. Americans need to be on guard. People need to start preparing. We need more money for it.

HURD: Sure.

CAMEROTA: We need more test kits. And the president is saying things like, it looks by April, it looks as if by April, when it gets warmer, it will miraculously go away, That's not true.

HURD: Well, again, I don't -- I didn't see all of the briefing about what the president says. When it comes to the government response, the government response is being led by HHS and CDC. Those are the folks that have the latest information. Those are the folks that are working with the World Health Organization and other parts of the world, and making sure that we're communicating to the American public because they're concerned as they should be. The threats of COVID-19 is potentially high.


HURD: And there are steps that communities should be taking.


HURD: We know the basics. Wash your hands, don't travel to China, don't travel to Italy. Don't travel to South Korea.


HURD: Don't travel to Iran until they're able to get control over the spread over the virus.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And --

HURD: And in schools and cities, you know, we have a pandemic national plan. Counties and cities have pandemic plans within their communities.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and the question is --

HURD: Schools since 2005 have been practicing how to deal with this.

CAMEROTA: Sure. I mean, look. Vice President Mike Pence is now in charge of this. I mean, I know that you're saying the CDC.

HURD: Sure.

CAMEROTA: You think that he's the right point person?

HURD: Yes. He's trying to make sure every branch of government is focused on this. But you're intimating, Alisyn, which is disturbing that CDC and HHS has not been working hard in order to contain this.

CAMEROTA: No. I'm intimating that there's different information coming out of the government. The press conference yesterday had all sorts of things that were not factual. The president didn't seem to know the fatality rate of the coronavirus versus the flu. He has been trying to tamp down concerns. And so I'm just making sure that everybody's on the same page.

HURD: Yes. Of course. And that that same page is The same page when you want to understand what's happening within the global community is the, I believe is the domain. That's where the folks that have the expertise, the latest information on the ground information folks should get.


HURD: Schools are evaluating what they should do.


HURD: Because you've got to go back to '05 when you had the --


HURD: Swine flu. Right?


HURD: Where a number of steps, some schools closed to be ready. It's good. I'm glad people are concerned because that means they're paying attention and that means they're going to be prepared.

CAMEROTA: For sure. And I can tell you -- I mean --

HURD: And so -- so that's the important piece.

CAMEROTA: Understood. Our viewers are very concerned and paying a lot of attention to this.

HURD: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: And we'll be answering more questions coming up with Sanjay Gupta.

Congressman Hurd, thank you very much.

HURD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We appreciate you coming on NEW DAY. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Great discussion.

Heavy snow falling in the Great Lakes and now it is heading toward New England.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers with the forecast -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: This is a big windy storm, John. And it is going to really get cranking today. We're already seeing some wind gusts around 45 miles per hour.

This is brought to you by the Ninja Foodi Deluxe pressure cooker. The pressure cooker that crisps.

So let's get to the radar. Here it is. If you look outside, you have a snow stream or snow squall, it can pile up an inch or two in an hour. Then all of a sudden the sun comes out. It's going to be one of those days. If the snow is around -- coming off the lake around your area, that's when the blizzard conditions could happen. Even toward Jamestown, New York, down here where Panama Rocks Parks is one of my favorite places to go in the world.

Down here we will see the snow all the way into New England as you said. Into Ontario and Quebec as well. This is a big storm for Atlantic Canada and winds there may gust to 70 miles per hour. More streamers today. You'll see squalls, they come and they will go. But we will see some snow piling up.

There are some spots around Lake Ontario that could pick up 36 inches of snow. That's a lot of shoveling. Even if you have a snow blower, that's a lot.

CAMEROTA: You make an excellent point, Chad. Thank you very much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: Mike Bloomberg will not be on the ballot this Saturday in South Carolina's primary, but his candidacy still looms large with South Carolina's black voters.


DARION MCCLOUD, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: He's done a lot of things actually I like. He has a checkered past. But if he wins, I'll vote for him. But for me that's a real personal -- it's visceral.


CAMEROTA: All right. More of our "Pulse of the People." Next.



CAMEROTA: The South Carolina primary is two days away. Mike Bloomberg will not be on the ballot there. But he is very much on the minds of black voters. We sat down with a group of black South Carolinians to see how they feel about Bloomberg and the rest of the field. Do they think anyone can beat President Trump?

Here's the latest "Pulse of the People."


CAMEROTA: Show of hands. How many of you today still feel optimistic in that one of your Democratic candidates can beat President Trump?


That says a lot. Why are you optimistic?

ALEX BELK, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: Last time I was the one that wasn't optimistic. I was the one who didn't raise the hand. I'm raising my hand now because I feel like I have a candidate that can beat Trump.

CAMEROTA: Since the entrance of Bloomberg, you've become more optimistic.

BELK: Right. I feel like he can compete against Trump. I feel like the other candidates can't.

MCCLOUD: If Bloomberg wins, I'll vote. But I don't want Bloomberg. You know, there's a bunch of things I don't like. New York, you guys called it stop and frisk. You gave it a name. We're all living under it. Every candidate has a blemish. That -- for me that particular blemish on Bloomberg is huge.

VANITY DETERVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: I have the most contention with Mr. Bloomberg. I don't think that he has a true understanding of the types of people that his policies have affected, black and brown, men and a lot of times (INAUDIBLE) as well.

BENNY STARR, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: I've never had a speeding ticket in my life, right? But I've been stopped over 10 times that I can recall. I'm not getting stopped for speeding or reckless drive -- I'm getting stopped for little things. Like hey, we see the top light of your back hatch is out on your SUV, so we pull you over. The top light on the back hatch on the top.

MCCLOUD: I have been in physical altercations with police for walking in my neighborhood. For driving with a white woman in my car. For -- I've had speeding tickets. And when I get stopped for speeding, I am reaching into my glove compartment. That is not hyperbole. That is real.

CAMEROTA: You have to say that out loud.

MCCLOUD: I say that.

Alex, when you hear your fellow panelist say they have real reservations about him, what was your response?

BELK: I mean, nobody's perfect. I didn't like stop and frisk. I'm a black man. I understand that. But at the same time, he did come back and apologize. And said that, you know, that was wrong. You know, that was the wrong policy to implement. I have to take him for his word.

MCCLOUD: I totally agree with Alex. He's done a lot -- he's done a lot of things actually like he's a real checkered past. But if he wins, I'll vote for him. But for me that's a real personal -- it's visceral.

STARR: The apology got to match the action. He's caused a lot of harm. And I don't think he's undone the harm that he's caused just by saying oh, yes, you know, like guess I was wrong, I'm sorry.

MCCLOUD: Or even really address it.

STARR: Or even really address it.

MCCLOUD: Without just, hey, I'm sorry.

STARR: He was defending it not too long ago.

DETERVILLE: I also feel like he can diminish the impact of his wrongdoings by just writing a check. Those have been his actions. Basically if I do something wrong, I will cough up a check and it'll be OK.

STARR: Yes. Money is all throughout politics, right? Come in. Spend hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars and kind of -- you kind of circumvent actually being vetted. Because in many instances you're offering up amounts of money that is hard for a lot of people to say no to.


CAMEROTA: Do any of you feel that Bloomberg's wealth should be held against him?

MCCLOUD: I don't have a problem with Bloomberg being rich. Rich people have the right to be rich. It's the system that creates these billionaires. To me in a lot of ways at the expense of the rest of us.

STARR: Like, we have a problem with the system and we do not believe anymore that if we just play by the rules, if we just do everything like you say we do, wait our turn, that it's going to change because it's only been getting worse.

CASSANDRA WILLIAMS RUSH, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: In the process of studying the lives of African-Americans, I have developed this one statement and I'm sure it's not going to go over really well with a lot of people. And it is, just think where you and your family would be if you had 400 years of free labor.

JENNIFER WINSTON, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRAT: A lot of families that I work with, a lot of them are losing their housing vouchers. The families are being moved out of their areas just for millionaire and billionaire contractors to come in and build homes close to the coastline. A lot of people that are moving to the area don't look like the students that attend the school.

CAMEROTA: The feeling in terms of polls is that the economy is doing great and things have gotten better. But you're not seeing that.

WINSTON: I'm not seeing that in my school. Several students that are homeless. Their parents just cannot afford even the rent.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Jim Clyburn will be endorsing Joe Biden. Does that help make your decision or influence anything in South Carolina, do you think?

MCCLOUD: Not for me.



BELK: No. Not at all.

DETERVILLE: They haven't proven to be that big of a deal. So the endorsements in my opinion don't mean as much. They don't hold as much weight. MCCLOUD: This is a process. We're not at the end yet. The function at

the primary is to show the weaknesses and the strengths of said candidate, but the least of our candidates is superior to Trump. The least of our candidates.


STARR: I think anything is possible and once South Carolina has its say, we can go from there.


BERMAN: You know, that explains a lot of the reaction we heard on that debate stage the other night. When Bernie Sanders went after Michael Bloomberg for being a billionaire, you heard boos because people were like, we don't care about that. Michael Bloomberg can be a billionaire. Talk to us about us and what we're going through here. And you heard them say, for us, for instance, the economy may not be as good.

CAMEROTA: It's not as good for them.

BERMAN: As it is for other people. So talk about our issues and our problems.

CAMEROTA: What I learned from them is that they are willing to vote for someone they are deeply personally uncomfortable with because they want to beat President Trump that much. They will sacrifice their own personal comfort level if it's the right thing to do in terms of voting for the Democrat.

BERMAN: South Carolina. Two days away.

All right, we have breaking news this morning. Japan closes all public schools out of fears of coronavirus. A new case in California represents a possible turning point here. What have past cases told us about what we can expect in the United States? That's next.



BERMAN: Breaking global developments in the coronavirus outbreak. New confirmed cases in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Denmark, Estonia, Italy. Japan's prime minister now calling for all public schools in that country and more than 100 million people to close for a month starting Monday. This will have a huge impact on daily life there and also ultimately here.

How do we know? Look at China and see how something as simple as ordering fast food is now so incredibly complicated.

CNN's David Culver who has been doing pioneering work covering the coronavirus joins now us live from Shanghai to explain -- David.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, I stepped down here a few days ago and I noticed something was different about this location. We've been broadcasting from here for about a week and a half. A noise that I heard. It's traffic. Starting to resume. It's starting to come back to life. Little by little, this massive city of 24-plus million people is coming back online. But it is not business as usual. Life here has become all about keeping your distance.


CULVER (voice-over): 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 smart phones, 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 take away only. The goal, keep people from gathering. This as the corporate side 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 Yum China Holdings CEO Joey Wat. 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.

(On camera): 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.

(Voice-over): For Wat it is as much about being health conscience for customers and staff as it is to give her employees financial comfort.

WAT: And that's part of a company's responsibility to make sure that our staff and their families will continue 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 that.

CULVER: And this challenge is real. At the onset of the outbreak the company closed more than a third of its roughly 9200 restaurants. And even the ones that stayed open saw a 40 percent 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: Wat 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 time builds confidence, bad time builds character. This year we're going to build some really good character.

CULVER: Yielding hope from a surplus of uncertainty.


CAMEROTA: Are we seeing our future there? And the way you were having to order dinner, is that -- is there a sense that that's a sign of things to come for the U.S.?

CULVER: Here's what I can tell you, Alisyn. Life here has been radically different from what I am used to certainly. I mean, you walk out of your apartment, one of the things I always think about is, you know, when you don't have your cell phone with you, you feel like a part of you is missing, right? Same here with the face mask. As soon as you walk out, something is not right. You realize you got to go back in and get it.

Getting a rideshare here, forget about the mints, forget about the water. It's all about getting a vehicle that has been sanitized. They advertise that.