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EARLY START

Coronavirus Continues to Rattle Global Markets; Mike Pence Leads Response to Coronavirus Crisis; Coronavirus Causing Growing Fears of a Pandemic; Joe Biden Hopes to Get a Boost from South Carolina. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 28, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:18]

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Global markets just cannot shake the coronavirus. The biggest single-day drop in history for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Looking like another rough start on Wall Street to finish out a wreck of a week. How will the president try to stop the bleeding?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And will the firewall hold? The fate of Joe Biden's campaign hinges on tomorrow's primary in South Carolina.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Good morning. We made it to Friday. I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, February 28th. It's a leap year, so there is a 29th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

Let's begin with the not-so-happy news of global markets struggling over the coronavirus. Take a look at Asian markets at this hour. These are big moves again. Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai down sharply here. And European shares have opened also sharply lower, 3 percent and 4 percent declines.

Those are big single-day moves and the problem is it's been big single-day moves one after the other. The bad mood extending to U.S. futures again. Another 1.5 percent on the Dow just above 25,000. It was a reckoning on Wall Street.

All three major averages fell into what we call a correction, dropping more than 10 percent from their recent high. And they did it so quickly. The Dow fell 1,191 points yesterday. That is the worst one- day point drop in history. That equals 4.4 percent. So really important context here. A 4.4 percent decline is not in the top 20 of worst declines percentage wise because of how strong the market rally has been over the past 10 years.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq both fell more than 4 percent. Look, a strong economy and strong stocks central to the president's re- election argument. Monday he tweeted, stock market starting to look very good to me, as stocks declined. Wednesday's news conference did not inspire confidence. Stocks continued to fall. Take a look at this. The Dow is still up 40 percent since the

election, up 40 percent since the election but the Trump rally, 36 percent of that rally has evaporated in a week. Trump often uses the stock market as his personal score card. Just eight days ago he claimed it was the highest stock market in history but as stocks decline and the recession fears mount, Goldman Sachs' warning if the coronavirus epidemic materially affects U.S. economic growth, it may increase the likelihood of a Democratic victory in the 2020 election.

JARRETT: Well, there are growing concerns this morning about the coronavirus spreading in the United States. And now a whistleblower at the Department of Health and Human Services claims more than a dozen workers who received the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, well, they were not properly trained and lacked proper protective gear. President Trump seems to be depending on the passage of time as his best weapon against the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to disappear one day. It's like a miracle. It will disappear. And from our shores we've -- you know, it could get worse before it gets better. It could maybe go away. We'll see what happens. Nobody really knows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Nobody really knows. Well, Vice President Mike Pence insists the risk of coronavirus spreading in the U.S. remains low because of President Trump's, quote, "decisive action." That decisive action includes the president praising himself on Twitter and blaming Democrats, and his impeachment for the virus fallout.

Kaitlan Collins is at the White House for us.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura and Christine, the vice president has been tapped as the new face of the administration's response to the coronavirus. And you really saw that on full display yesterday as he was leading that briefing alongside the Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, of course, who is still technically the chairman of the task force on this.

But Pence made clear that for the chain of command, he is going to be the one leading the response on this. And his office is also trying to take the lead on at least public statements from this because we're now being told by several sources that from now on out any officials who want to either appear on television or make a statement about coronavirus will first have to clear it through Pence's office.

Now Pence had been facing criticism for the way he handled, of course, the HIV outbreak when he was governor of Indiana and he seems to be trying to calm some of those fears by picking a State Department specialist to help him as he's leading the response to this. She is, of course, a physician and that is someone who is going to be helping him with this.

But the question is even as they are continuing to add more medical experts to the team, you're continuing to see President Trump downplay this virus, essentially saying that he does not believe it's going to be spreading in the United States, though we know that CDC officials have said it is not a question of if but when the coronavirus outbreak is going to spread here.

So there are still major questions facing this administration. Travel restrictions are still being weighed. We're still talking to people at the State Department. And, of course, the president himself has still got his eye on the markets and what the numbers are looking like.

[04:05:06]

ROMANS: Yes, Kaitlan, the numbers don't look so great this morning. We still will follow that.

The Northern California patient infected with coronavirus from an unknown source is in bad shape. California Congressman John Garamendi tells CNN the woman is in serious condition. She has been intubated to help her breathe. Solano County health officials say her family members are in isolation. They are awaiting test results. Dozens of health care workers exposed to the patient have been identified and sent home from work to be monitored for symptoms.

JARRETT: The patient is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center, not far from Travis Air Force Base where coronavirus evacuees were flown from China. But California Governor Gavin Newsom says commercial air travel may also be a factor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Thousands and thousands of other people have come in on more traditional flights through the state of California. Some 8400-plus are currently being monitored with 49 local jurisdictions doing those protocols and monitoring as it relates to more traditional commercial flights that came in from points of concern and potential points of contact, particularly in Asia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Meantime, the U.S. now faces its first coronavirus-related medication shortage. So far the specific drug and reason for this shortage is unknown, but the U.S. relies heavily on Chinese-made drug ingredients.

ROMANS: Meantime, the CDC is warning of far-reaching effects if the virus spreads widely in the U.S. We're talking schools, childcare centers, and public gatherings like concerts and sporting events. It could also tax the medical system and affect critical infrastructure like EMS, the transportation industry, and law enforcement.

JARRETT: Fears of a coronavirus pandemic are growing. There are more than 83,000 confirmed cases worldwide and nearly 2900 deaths. A total of 53 countries outside of mainland China are now reporting cases of the coronavirus. That's just up from just 29 this time last week. The World Health Organization says Italy, Iran, and South Korea are at decisive points in their responses. The U.S. Navy has ordered all ships that have visited countries in the Pacific region to, in effect, self-quarantine, remaining at sea for two weeks.

ROMANS: Disney is closing its Tokyo theme parks for two weeks as the outbreak in Japan escalates. Upcoming Green Day concerts in Asia have been postponed and the popular K-pop band BTS is canceling shows in South Korea that were expected to draw more than 200,000 people. I mean, the schools in Japan are closed.

CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul for us -- Paula.

PAULA HANCOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, schools here in South Korea also closed, not expected to open until at least March 9th, but that of course could be pushed back as well. Now there have been 571 new cases reported this Friday. That is the highest daily amount there has been. There's been 1,000 new cases in just the last 48 hours, and so clearly this is picking up speed here in South Korea, a great concern by officials.

And more than half of those confirmed are still from this one religious group. Now there is more focus on this religious group as the mayor of Daegu, which is the city in the southeast of the country that has really now ground zero for the fight against coronavirus. He has said that he is going to file a report to police that they have been omitting members' names as he's been trying to do contact tracing, and also that they've been hampering the fight against the virus.

The group itself denies all of this, but there has been a forced search on their headquarters we understand by officials today as well. Now there have been a number of events that have been canceled. You mentioned BTS, Green Day. In addition, when it comes to the military, the U.S. and South Korea say that they are postponing their joint military drills which would be held around now.

And of course they are concerned because there is increasing numbers of cases within the military. USFK, U.S. Forces in Korea, has three related cases. The South Korean military has 26 cases across the board. And of course you have those kind of militaries living in close quarters, working in close quarters, in barracks. It's a great concern to both militaries.

ROMANS: Of course. All right, Paula Hancocks for us in Seoul. Thank you. Keep us posted.

JARRETT: Well, still ahead police have named the five victims of this week's shooting in Milwaukee. How one man may have cheated death with a split-second decision.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:13:41]

JARRETT: Everything is on the line for former vice president Joe Biden in tomorrow's South Carolina primary. Biden desperately needs a jolt ahead of Super Tuesday where a third of the delegates are going to be awarded. But he says he's focused on the long game.

CNN's Arlette Saenz spoke with Biden in South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): After three straight losses Joe Biden is now banking on a state he's called his firewall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to win?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. All right, because South Carolina is the trajectory towards winning the Democratic nomination.

SAENZ: The former vice president betting his longtime ties to South Carolina and its African-American community will pay off. A new Monmouth University poll shows Biden with a double-digit lead over his rivals here with a backing of 45 percent of black voters who made up a majority of the Democratic primary electorate in 2016.

TOMI GREENE, BIDEN SUPPORTER/SOUTH CAROLINA VOTER: He understands people. He's dealt with death. He's dealt with single parenting. You know, he really feels people and expect what we as black people feels at times.

SAENZ: Days before the primary Biden picking up a key endorsement from Congressman Jim Clyburn who says the former vice president needs to win by a substantial margin.

[04:15:02]

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): One point may be a win but I don't think it's the propeller that we need. I want to see a much bigger victory than that.

SAENZ: After South Carolina a quick turn to Super Tuesday three days later.

(On camera): A lot of your rivals are already spending time on the ground campaigning in those Super Tuesday states. They are outspending you on the air waves. How do you plan to catch up with them in these three days before them?

BIDEN: I can't catch up with the money. I -- you know, I don't have Steyer's money. I don't have the billion dollars he has or I don't have the money that Bloomberg has. But just since the debate we've raised $2 million online so we've had the best run we've had and I think we do here -- do well here, we'll be able to compete across the board in terms of the money we need to be able to compete.

SAENZ (voice-over): Biden predicting he could win in states like North Carolina and Texas.

BIDEN: I think, you know, the good news for me is the vast majority of people in those states think they know me. I've been around. And they know my record and they know that I am pretty straight with what I tell them I'm going to do. So I feel good about it. SAENZ (on camera): After South Carolina the contest quickly shifts to

Super Tuesday. And some of Biden's rivals have already spent time on the ground in those states campaigning this week. Biden will hit five of those states before Super Tuesday including California and Texas, but ultimately he is hoping for a win here in South Carolina to push him into Super Tuesday and beyond.

Arlette Saenz, CNN, Conway, South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: Arlette, thanks so much for that.

The vice president will be on "NEW DAY" later this morning. And tonight President Trump hosts a "Keep America Great" rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. So far he's held his own rallies ahead of each Democratic contest.

ROMANS: Is he trolling the Democrats?

JARRETT: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: All right, flashbacks to Hurricane Harvey. Streets flooded, cars submerged after a water main break in Houston.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:21:22]

ROMANS: The five employees killed at the Molson Coors complex in Milwaukee have been identified. Police the victims were 33-year-old Jesus Valle, 61-year-old Gennady Levshetz, 33-year-old Trevor Wetselaar, 57-year-old Dana Walk, and 60-year-old Dale Hudson. The CEO of Molson Coors says they were electricians, power house operators and machinists at the facility. Another co-worker says a split-second decision to grab new work gloves in a different part of the complex may have saved his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BYRON JOHNSON, MOLSON COORS EMPLOYEE: A second-shift employee comes in and he was like did you see what happened downstairs? I'm like, no, what happened? I just came up and I didn't see anything. He says there's a -- there's a guy who has an open wound and he's bleeding out on the floor.

The fact that I needed new work gloves and I decided to grab those work gloves before I went back to doing the next part of the project, I felt like that was the best time to go because it might have gotten busy later.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Police have identified the shooter as 51-year-old Anthony Ferrill, an electrician who worked there for more than a decade. Police say they found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No word yet on motive.

JARRETT: Well, St. Louis County set to ban domestic violence offenders and anyone with an order of protection against them from carrying concealed weapons. The measure is expected to be signed into law on March 10th. The city council -- county council passed the ban along party lines with four Democratic women voting in favor of it and three Republican men opposing it.

ROMANS: A huge water main break in Houston causing major flooding that submerged streets, freeways, and vehicles. Houston's mayor says the main provides as much as 50 percent of the city's water supply. A boil water notice was issued for all Houston residents. The mayor says private contractors were working on the 35-year-old eight-foot main when it burst.

JARRETT: Those pictures are incredible.

Actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli are expected to stand trial starting October 5th for their alleged involvement in the college admission scandal. Six other parents will be tried alongside them. Loughlin and her husband face conspiracy counts charging fraud, bribery, and money laundering. Both have pleaded not guilty.

ROMANS: An Oregon man has been arrested for allegedly using counterfeit cash to buy a box of Girl Scout cookies outside of a Walmart. Thirteen-year-old Ava Brown says she knew the $20 bill she received was fake because it wouldn't bend, but she accepted it because the man who gave it to her had a large knife strapped to his belt. Ava's mom called police. The suspect, 35-year-old Camden Ducharme, he was arrested a few days later and charged with forgery and two counts of third-degree theft.

JARRETT: Even a shark can get scammed sometimes. "Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran confirms she was duped out of nearly $400,000 in an elaborate e-mail scheme. Someone pretending to be Corcoran's assistant billed her bookkeeper this week for a renovation payment. The bookkeeper wired $388,000 thinking it was Corcoran's assistant, but the e-mail address was from -- was one letter off from the assistant's address. Corcoran says the scammer vanished and that money is lost. Wow.

ROMANS: It's amazing.

All right, in the blink of an eye concerns about coronavirus wipe out more than a third of the gains on Wall Street since the president took office. What will he say today and when will global markets recover?

[04:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: Global stock markets just cannot shake the coronavirus. The biggest single-day drop in the history of the Dow and looking like another rough start on Wall Street. What will the president try to say to stop the bleeding?

JARRETT: And will the firewall hold? The fate of Joe Biden's campaign hinges on tomorrow's primary in South Carolina. Everything is about that race tomorrow.

ROMANS: Yes, it is.

JARRETT: Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is just about 30 minutes past the hour this Friday here in New York, and global markets are ending the week still struggling over the coronavirus. Take a look at Asian markets. They have closed now and they have closed down sharply. European markets are now open for their Friday trading.

END