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Global Markets Plunge Over Coronavirus Fears; Up to 100 Health Workers Exposed to California Coronavirus Patient; World Health Organization Warns of 'Pandemic Potential'; Dems Make Final Push for Votes in South Carolina. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired February 28, 2020 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, February 28. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me this morning, and we do have breaking news.

Major developments in the coronavirus crisis hitting the world and your wallet. Global markets hemorrhaging overnight, major losses across the continents. Look at all that red.

At this moment here in the United States, Dow futures down sharply, about 231 points. It's been down as much as 400 this morning. This after the Dow suffered its biggest one-day point drop ever. Ever. Down nearly 1,200 points yesterday. That now puts it in correction territory, which means at least a 10 percent drop.

And it happened so fast. Basically, a week of trading. For the record, the market is down now about 2,200 points since the president and his economic advisers suggested it was a good time to buy.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: A whistleblower at Health and Human Services is asking for protection this morning after revealing that more than a dozen federal workers interacted with quarantined Americans without proper medical training or protective gear.

In California, dozens of health workers are being monitored following exposure to a coronavirus patient who, as of now, is the first person to contact the virus from an unknown source, and some of those health workers will be quarantined.

In response to that patient, the CDC actually changed its criteria for who can be tested in this country. That's because this patient wasn't tested for days, despite her symptoms, because she hadn't travelled to a country with the virus nor had contact with a coronavirus patient.

Meantime, President Trump trying to calm fears over this global outbreak.

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


HILL: Nobody really knows, but it could disappear like a miracle. Global markets, however, are clearly showing the growing concern about this economic fallout. CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, joins us now with our top story.

Yet another tough day.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: This has been swift and deep and this is a market coming to a reckoning here that there are risks because of the coronavirus. And companies all across the spectrum have been warning.

I want to show you what's been happening right now. You have global -- these are world markets, down hard. Asian markets down seven or -- six or seven Asian markets are now in what we call a correction. Down 10 percent from the recent high. Europe opened sharply lower here. And now you've got U.S. futures again down. This is actually an improvement. Futures were down harder earlier. Six days in a row now for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Let me show you how bad this has been. You've got yesterday's close. The Dow, the S&P, the NASDAQ down more than 4 percent each. Those are big one-day moves. But we're not talking about one day. We're talking about a whole week of this kind of behavior. Big, huge losses one after another. You haven't seen the investors step in and say, Hey, this is an overreaction yet. That just hasn't happened yet. Nobody knows when that will happen.

Let me show you a little bit more about what's been happening. This is what it looks like for just this year. You had record highs in the Dow back on, like, January 19. Just last week, you had record highs in the NASDAQ and the S&P 500. And then straight down as investors grapple with the uncertainty of the coronavirus.

Real quickly, I want to show you -- actually, I want to show you -- I'm sorry. The S&P 500 over the past ten years, because I think perspective is important here. This is this big selloff right there. That is what -- this is 2018. Remember we had a bad time there? We were worried about recession fears over there. But over time, you know, markets tend to go up.

The real trouble here is the president has said you should -- maybe stocks look good here. Larry Kudlow, his chief economic advisor, said on Monday, maybe you should buy stocks. For people who took that advice, they're down about 8 percent.

So traditional administrations don't tell people to buy stocks for just this reason. There's no way to know when the selling can end, guys. HILL: Important point. Christine, thank you.

In California, dozens of healthcare workers who were exposed to the patient infected with coronavirus from an unknown source are now being monitored, and some will have to be quarantined. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live outside UC Davis in Sacramento where that patient is being treated.

Steph, good morning.


Yes. And some of them would be quarantined right now, or isolated, as the case may be.

This all because what we know is that this one person who has had no contact, no travel outside of the United States to any of the points of concern, no reason to have this coronavirus at this point. This one person did actually stay in a hospital in Solano County where she is from, which is one county over from where we are in Sacramento County here. She was there for -- in her community for a number of days before going to a hospital there.

Well, all of the people who work at the hospital who came in contact with her the hospital has tracked down. They're saying it's dozens of people but less than a hundred people that they are now monitoring of some sort.

Also, we know that the family of this woman has been isolated, and they are monitoring these people, as well, to see if they show any symptoms at this point. That's the big thing that they want to do is make sure that this virus doesn't spread because of people who came in contact with her at the hospital.

But just to give you an idea, this is what officials in Solano County are saying about this woman's progression and how they were able to nail down she had coronavirus. Take a listen.


DR. BELA MATYAS, PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICER, SOLANO COUNTY HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICE: This patient, we don't know what their exposure was. So at this point, we don't know where the patient was exposed.

The patient was hospitalized in our county at a local hospital, became progressively more ill, was transferred to UC Davis in Sacramento. At some point the patient became ill enough to warrant testing for coronavirus, and the result came back positive.


It is, again, worth noting that the patient wasn't tested prior to that, because they weren't severely ill enough and they had no connection to any of the known risk factors for coronavirus.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ELAM: Now, it's also worth pointing out that Travis Air Force Base, which did accept flights coming with those repatriated Americans coming from China back here, that they have no reason to believe that she's come in contact with any of those people there at the Air Force Base. That was one question that a lot of people had.

And then outside of that, the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, saying that there are some 8,400-plus people within the state who are being monitored for whether or not they have symptoms of coronavirus, because they traveled in on more traditional flights coming in from points of concern, as he put it.

So there's -- while people are looking at these first bit of flights that are coming in or repatriated Americans, they're really saying there are a lot of other places that this could have happened. They're still trying to narrow it down. Still not clear how this one woman ended up with coronavirus -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Stephanie Elam for us in California. Stephanie, thank you very much.

That's just one case that is causing major concern. But the WHO overnight going further than it has to date, saying that this has pandemic potential. What does that mean? What does it mean, especially as there are new concerns in the United States about how few tests have been conducted for coronavirus?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us next.



BERMAN: Developing overnight, the World Health Organization now says that the coronavirus crisis has the potential to develop into a pandemic. Much more forceful that language, using the word pandemic. This is after more than a dozen countries in the past 48 hours reported their first confirmed cases of coronavirus. And it comes as the CDC has announced it has changed the criteria for testing.

We want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Doctor, I thought it was fascinating that the World Health Organization inched closer to using the world "pandemic." Anthony Fauci, when he was still allowed to talk the other day with us on NEW DAY, did the same thing. He seemed to be moving closer toward "pandemic." Why is that important, especially as I know this morning you have major concerns about whether the United States is even conducting enough tests for this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, I think that this is basically a pandemic now. I mean, I think it's a -- a question of semantics. I think the World Health Organization, understandably, you know, they're looking at data from all these different places around the world. It took them some time to even get to the point where they called this a public health emergency of international concern. So they're conservative in their language.

But look, we can see what's happening over the last several days, even the last several hours. You're getting more and more cases around the world. And you have more and more countries around the world where you have community spread.

Take a look at this map for a second where we now know that the virus is not just present in these areas. There's not just people who have infections in these areas. But the virus is actually spreading within the community.

Again, people are understanding what that means now, because we've been using these terms a bit, but that basically means that the virus is circulating among people and within the community. And you don't necessarily know who those people are. Many of them may not even have symptoms. Many of them may be just mildly ill. But when you say the virus is circulating in the community, that means it no longer depends on people coming from these other places such as China. It means that they no longer have known exposures to infected people. The virus is just taking foothold in these communities.

Public health officials in this country have been -- have been sounding the alarm on this for some time. But I think there has been this disconnect between what we're hearing from the administration and peoples at the highest level of the scientific community.

Let me just say, as well, you know, this 15th patient, the one that we were just talking about in California who was in the community, acquired this virus, is in the hospital quite ill. If we're saying she got this in the community, that definitely means that there are other people in the community who have it. That's where she got it from.

So then when we say there's 60 people in the United States who have a confirmed diagnosis, that number becomes kind of meaningless, because clearly, there's more people with this infection.

And I think part of the issue, John, is that we have been really inadequately testing in this country for several weeks. I mean, Korea's been testing thousands of patients a day. We've tested not even a thousand patients over several weeks. Surveillance is the primary pillar of public health. If you don't know what you're dealing with, how can you possibly deal with it? And testing is at the forefront of that. And I think we just haven't done enough.

You talk to some of my sources who have been, you know, working with -- on pandemics, you know, various other outbreaks in the years. They say we're probably in the bottom tier of the world when it comes to testing right now. And that's obviously not where we should have been.

HILL: Not where you want to be. And in terms of that testing, we know that this was one of the issues in California with that one patient who presented symptoms, apparently, that doctors at the medical center thought they would like to test her for coronavirus. She didn't meet what was then a very narrow criteria.

GUPTA: That's right. HILL: So it went for days before she was tested. The CDC has now revised those requirements for the test. Is that enough? Do they need to go further? And do enough medical centers have access to the testing?

GUPTA: The sort of loosening up on the guidelines is an important point. And this gives doctors, healthcare professionals, more discretion.

Look, someone is coming in with a strange respiratory sort of picture, pneumonia, we don't know what this is. There's not a clear-cut virus or a bacteria that's causing this. We should be allowed to test for coronavirus. Doctors, hospitals, they've been asking for this for some time.

But here's the issue, Erica, because I think this is an important point. Some of the initial testing that went out, and we reported on this. They had some flaws in some of those tests, right? They couldn't be used. They were coming back as having false negatives and false positives. And so those tests were pulled back.


As things stand right now, there's only seven public health systems, three Department of Defense systems and the CDC that can test for this. It's supposed to go up to 40 by the end of next week.

But to your question, right now, people in California, people in other places around the country probably have patients in hospitals where the patients are saying, Look, I wasn't in China, but I was in Italy. I was in Korea. I was in one of these other countries, again, where we know the viruses are circulating. I am now sick. Can I get tested for coronavirus? What happens to me?

And right now, many of these place, they're being told, you can't be tested. You don't -- you don't meet the criteria. And by the way, if you now meet the new criteria, we don't have the testing capabilities here.

What happens in the interim? Healthcare workers are exposed to that person. Other people in the community are exposed to that person.

You know, I don't want this to sound overly alarmist, and I always give the context, every time we've talked about this, that the vast majority of people who get this infection will have minimal, if any, symptoms. But the idea that we -- you know, the basic containment strategies, the basic health strategies have kind of fallen short here, because people haven't recognized the significance of this up until, you know, the last few days, seemingly, is a problem.

And I think the numbers in the United States, I think we can disregard, almost, this number 60. Because I don't think it means anything any more if we haven't done the testing. The number is much higher, I think; certainly in many parts of the country.

BERMAN: This is important stuff, Sanjay. I think we are waking up to this idea that we have a testing deficiency for this growing crisis, which is either now a pandemic or about to be. So thank you very much for being with us. We're going to talk to you again throughout the morning, because this is developing so quickly here.

HILL: Absolutely. And the WHO also saying this is, quote, "a very delicate situation" as we teeter on that pandemic term.

Also, we're following this morning South Carolina, of course. A lot of talk about whether it's make or break for Joe Biden. We have a preview for you of tomorrow's primary, next.



HILL: We are counting down to tomorrow's South Carolina primary. And with so much on the line for each of the Democratic candidates, probably none more so than former Vice President Joe Biden, who is banking on a convincing win. The big question, of course, can he pull it off.

CNN's Jessica Dean is live in South Carolina this morning with a preview for us.

Jessica, good morning.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Erica.

Yes, we're now one day away from Saturday's primary. As you mentioned, Joe Biden has always really said that South Carolina is the place where he was going to show his strength; show the coalition that he could build to be the Democratic nominee in 2020.

A Monmouth poll from yesterday shows him up 20 points here in South Carolina.

And look, this week has been a good week for the Biden campaign. Things have definitely broken their way all along the way. He had a strong debate performance. He had the CNN town hall. He's been making his way across the state of South Carolina.

And as someone who was with him in New Hampshire, where he lost and really came in much lower than they thought he would, and someone who's now been with him here in South Carolina, you can certainly tell the difference in the way that crowds are responding to him.

So of course, looking for a solid, convincing lead, that his campaign then hopes boomerangs him into Super Tuesday where he can really do well all across so many states that will be voting with so many delegates up for grabs, hoping to really slow down Bernie Sanders' accumulation delegates.

Here in South Carolina, a number of candidates will be here today, including Joe Biden and others. But remember, we are so close to Tuesday and Super Tuesday, and candidates are already spreading out. If you take a look at the map, you see that not all of the candidates will be here in South Carolina today. They're starting to try to get to some of these Super Tuesday states where they are shore up support from that tight window from Saturday into Tuesday where, again, a lot of these candidates hoping that they can accumulate some of these delegates, get a win.

Erica, one thing that we are going to start to look at, especially after Saturday and then into Super Tuesday, when so many more people have spoken in this Democratic nomination process, is will the field begin to winnow? If you -- if one of these candidates isn't getting big wins in any of these states, if they're not getting delegates, if they're not growing support among certain demographics, voters of color, what are they going to do? Will they begin to drop out? Will they stay in this race?

You know, Erica, that's the big question that we look at. But again, tomorrow's South Carolina primary here looking to be a good day for the Joe Biden campaign. We'll see how that all pans out.

HILL: We certainly will. Jessica, thank you.

Joining us now, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon; CNN commentator Bakari Sellers. It's the all-South Carolina panel this morning.


HILL: The Palmetto panel firing on all cylinders.

BERMAN: The peculiar Palmetto panel.

HILL: Maybe we should stop with the alliteration. Please.

BERMAN: I'm just saying.

HILL: Looking at all of this as Jessica pointed out, the crowds, the difference in the crowds that she's seeing for Joe Biden. The response in New Hampshire versus the response in South Carolina. Crowds are one thing, but votes are an entirely different thing. Does that translate?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not a big believer in just counting the crowds and saying, that's going to translate into votes. But I am a believer in demographics. And this is the first time that you're going to have a large amount of African-Americans play a role in this process.

Just to give you an example, there were about 100,000 people total to vote in Nevada. There were anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent African-American. So you're talking about 6,000 to 10,000 African- Americans.

In South Carolina, you're going to have three to four times that many people vote total, 60 percent of which are going to be African- American. So you're talking about a large swath of voters. And Joe Biden feels right at home.


It's funny. When you look at the ads that are running in South Carolina -- and God, can they please stop? Like, Sunday morning, no more ads, please. It's like white guy Obama. Right? That is -- that's, like, the formula for -- for the ads that we're seeing. Because Barack Obama is so popular. And Joe Biden still wears that Obama halo. And that's probably going to carry the day tomorrow.

BERMAN: It is interesting to me, if you look at the map of the states after South Carolina, we can put that up there. And you try to go through them and see which of these states -- we'll put it up here -- which of these states most resembles South Carolina in its demographic makeup there, John. You look at that, what do you see? If Biden is able to do well, really well in South Carolina, where can that carry?

AVLON: Look, Super Tuesday is incredibly close to South Carolina, but the momentum will shift if he has a big win. Historically, South Carolina has delivered big wins to people who become their party's nominee. There are really only two exceptions in the last 30 years. Newt Gingrich and John Edwards. Expectations are high, and to some extent, it's an expectations game.

But the Clyburn, you know, impact is real in South Carolina. And so, you know, if Biden has a big win -- and Bernie's a bad fit for the state with the exception of the fact that, you know, you've got some Republicans doing an Operation Chaos to vote for him. He's going to have a constituency, but how that translates over 72 hours is a question. The fact that a lot of the Super Tuesday states in the south might benefit.

BERMAN: Let's put that map up. What I was hoping for was we can actually look at this map here and identify which states have a larger African-American population. We talked about crowd size in South Carolina. One of the reasons the crowds might be bigger for Biden is there are black people voting for the first time.

SELLERS: Well, if you look at North Carolina, Tennessee, you look at Virginia, you look at Arkansas, those are states where he can do extremely well. The diversity of Texas. He's already up in Texas. Those are states where Joe Biden can do really well.

The name that we haven't mentioned who is going to -- is actually siphoning votes away from Joe Biden is -- I believe Joe Biden will have a substantial victory tomorrow. It could be much larger -- is Tom Steyer.


SELLERS: And see, the -- one of the most amazing narratives that I'm looking forward to tomorrow is how close Tom Steyer is to Bernie Sanders for that second and third. And if Tom Steyer beats Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren, people who have been -- who have a track record and a history, but if he beats them with the first time African-Americans are voting, those candidates have to look at themselves and say, What are we doing or what are we doing wrong? HILL: Well, I remember it coming up, too, in one of Alisyn's voter

panels, probably at least a month ago, when she sat down with South Carolina black voters. And it was Tom Steyer -- and this was a right after Bloomberg had jumped in. He may not be on the ballot tomorrow, but still, Tom Steyer was coming up among those voters.

AVLON: Steyer has been all-in on South Carolina for months. He's been doing Bloomberg-type spending, focused on South Carolina, for months. So really, for Steyer, South Carolina really is do or die.

The question is, if Super Tuesday is three days out, do you get out even if you have a bad showing in South Carolina? And where do your votes come from?

BERMAN: I don't even think you functionally can get out between -- it's very hard to drop out.

AVLON: Well, you'll still be on the ballot.

BERMAN: Ran out of time. I know, John, you were interested in this Operation Chaos idea. I have to preface this: I've never fully believed, when Republicans or Democrats say they're going to try to mess with each other's primary, that it works.


BERMAN: But let's play some of the sound, it's being driven by conservative talk show hosts and conservative television.

AVLON: Correct.

BERMAN: Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, it's an open primary here --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- meaning anybody can vote. You already voted. Who did you vote for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Republican. I'm a Trump supporter. But we have an Operation Chaos going on. And all over the state we're encouraging Republicans to go vote for Bernie, because we believe Bernie is the best/worst candidate in contrasting his socialism against President Trump and his capitalism.


AVLON: I just want to emphasize this is not a lone nut. You have, like, Hugh Hewitt announcing he was going to do this on "Meet the Press" in Virginia a few months ago. It's been pumped up by the South Carolina GOP, "Post-Courier" had the exclusive that this is a real thing. It's an open primary. No registration, no barriers to entry. And so it's part of a pattern we've seen. What's the impact going to

be? Probably not decisive. Could it be a couple points? Let's look at the exit polls. But it shows the extent to which bad faith can dominate. Look, the ghost of Lee Atwater does hang over South Carolina politics, particularly the GOP. And so this is something to keep an eye on. And it's not just --

SELLERS: It's the cowardice of Drew McKissick, who's the state party chair and others who just want to influence the election. Where it's going to have -- where you're going to be able to see is tangible result is, instead of having a 61-percent, 60-percent African-American electorate, because you have these Republicans, these older white Republican voters, it may be a 58 percent African-American electorate. It may dilute it slightly, which hurts Joe Biden.

See, the funny part about Joe Biden is he has these unique obstacles. First, he has Tom Steyer that he has to overcome. And then he has somebody who's been a $500 million spoiler, which would be Michael Bloomberg, on Super Tuesday, who's simply taking votes away from him, especially if he gets that momentum. I don't know a state where Michael Bloomberg actually wins, but I do know states in which he shrinks the percentage by which Joe Biden can win.

AVLON: That's right. That's right.

SELLERS: We agreed.

BERMAN: Look at the Palmetto panel.

AVLON: I just like Palmetto panel. That was fine.

HILL: Yes, they liked it better with just two "P's."

BERMAN: How about "pretty"? Pretty Palmetto panel. All right. That's bad.

So coming up on NEW DAY, former Vice President Joe Biden, he will join us live to talk about where his campaign is.