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U.S. Ramps Up Testing as Virus Spreads to more States; Trump Speaks on Coronavirus as he Meets with Colombian President; Second Person Dies from Coronavirus in Washington State; Buttigieg Exit Rocks Rapidly Shifting Field; Experts Urge Public not to Run Out and Buy Face Masks. Aired 11-11:30p ET
Aired March 2, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me. We start today with more developments in the coronavirus outbreak. It continues to spread across the United States and around the globe. And the numbers are expected to jump here in the states -- here in the United States because testing for the virus is ramping up in a big way.
Nationwide, 10 states have confirmed cases of coronavirus right now with Oregon, Florida, Rhode Island, and New York reporting new cases over the weekend. Just last hour, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo had a pretty lengthy press conference to give details on the first coronavirus case there.
The patient is a 39-year-old healthcare worker who recently returned from Iran. She is now in isolation at her home, along with her husband, who is also being tested. In terms of the death toll, there are now two deaths attributed to the virus in the United States.
That is significant, of course, but still that is a tiny percentage of the deaths that have been reported around the world. Both deaths here happened in Washington State. And moments ago, President Trump spoke about the coronavirus. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, we're talking. You know, this meeting was set up before, and that was about drug pricing. This meeting was set up a long time ago with the pharmaceutical companies. And that meeting was about drug pricing, because we brought the numbers down last year -- first time in 51 years that the drug prices, prescription, have come down.
And I have a meeting scheduled on drug prices, but now we're going to make another subject and that will be -- probably the first subject of that has to do with the vaccine, how are they doing.
QUESTION: Is it possible to accelerate the development of the vaccine? TRUMP: Well, that's what we're going to find out. We'll know that.
QUESTION: Dr. Fauci has said it could take a year.
TRUMP: Well, we've asked them to accelerate whatever they're doing, in terms of a vaccine. Absolutely.
QUESTION: Mr. President, is it safe or appropriate to be holding rallies during a public health crisis like this?
TRUMP: Well, these were set up a long time ago. And others are. I mean, you could ask that to the Democrats because they're having a lot of rallies. They're all having rallies. That's what they're doing. They're campaigning.
QUESTION: But do you think it's safe? Are you worried at all?
TRUMP: I think it's very safe. Yes. I think it's very safe.
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think that the inter-Afghan talks are going to actually start on the --
TRUMP: Say it?
QUESTION: Do you think that the inter-Afghan talks are really going to start as planned on (INAUDIBLE)?
TRUMP: Well, we're going to find out. But we're getting out. We want to get out. We had good meetings with the Taliban. And we are going to be leaving, and we're going to be bringing our soldiers back home. We've been there for almost 20 years. It's a long time. We've done a great job in terms of getting rid of terrorists. Now it's up to other countries to get rid of those terrorists.
QUESTION: What if the violence picks back up again?
TRUMP: Well, we're going to meet. We have discussions to go. But we've made a lot of progress. OK? Thank you.
Thank you all very much. See you later.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: All right. That was from President Trump just moments ago in the Oval Office. You heard him talk about and mention his meeting with executives from the pharmaceutical industry. That he's going to be holding in just a few hours.
Let's get over to the White House. CNN's John Harwood is standing by with much more on what this meeting is going to be about. What are you hearing about what more could come from this meeting? As the president says, he really wants to talk about a vaccine.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not much. We already know that they're hard at work on a vaccine through NIH and other countries for that matter. The work is going pretty well as Anthony Fauci said the other day, but it is still going to be a while until it is tested, verified to be both effective and safe on a broad scale.
And so, I think the most significant thing that will come out of this meeting is the president trying to communicate that the administration is on top of it and doing what it can. And the question is, is that going to be enough to calm some fears that have been flaring for the last couple of weeks, we saw what happened in the markets last week. They're a little recovered today. They bounced up.
That's a positive thing from the standpoint of investors, but we're all watching this play out in real time. The president said last week it wasn't inevitable we're going to have spread. Well, we're seeing that spread right now and everyone needs to brace themselves for how large this is going to get and, you know, the president is trying to do what he can to send a positive message today.
BOLDUAN: It does seem though a different tone from last week, as you mentioned from what we heard from the president. And also, of note, all health experts say that it is 12 to 18 months out before anything that --
BOLDUAN: -- we could be looking at a vaccine.
HARWOOD: Right. Exactly.
BOLDUAN: It's great to see you John. Thank you so much. More to come from the White House, John's going to be there.
All right, so as we mentioned off the top, the two deaths that have been attributed to the virus in the United States happened in Washington State. Stephanie Elam is standing by. She's in Washington State with more details on this. Stephanie, what is the latest there?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, what people are really concerned about here in Washington State is this facility you see behind me. This is the Life Center of Kirkland. This is where we know of six cases that are related to this one location. Five of them being residents, and one of them being a healthcare worker who have all tested -- preemptively they've tested for having the coronavirus.
So, this is something that they're trying to figure out, how it actually got to this building and then how it was able to lead to the death of at least one person. Right now, we know that there is -- a man in his 70's who passed away. He did have some underlying health concerns, they're saying. They're also, earlier, not related to this one place, but there was that other death of a man in his 50's that did happen also had some underlying health concerns.
But obviously this is of concern for many people. We actually spoke to one woman who drove for four hours to get here, to check on her mother. She said because they weren't getting an answer on the phone. She just wanted to see her, see how she was doing, her 89-year-old mother.
So, people are concerned about that. In the community abroad, we're seeing that some schools are closed today. I think there are six schools that are closed today because of people who have tested positive for having the coronavirus.
There are 13 people in the state of Washington that do have the coronavirus based on the testing. And so, because of that, you're seeing abundance of caution, even some medics who are now being quarantined because they may have been involved in getting some of the people out of this building. So, that's what they're doing here, trying to contain as much as they can. But obviously these numbers are expected to grow. Kate?
BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. Thank you so much for bringing that. I really appreciate it. Stephanie, it's great to see you.
So, as the numbers of the U.S. cases of coronavirus grow, health officials are putting a very big emphasis on getting more people tested, quite frankly. As we mentioned, that means the number and Stephanie just mentioned it there. That means with more tensed testing it is likely that the number of confirmed cases is going to jump.
Vice President Mike Pence who lead is leading the government's response. He says that they're shipping out something like 15,000 additional testing kits to state and local facilities across the country. That is in order to make the testing time, like the lag time between getting the test and getting the results, to make that shorter so you can put a plan of action in place faster.
CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, she's tracking this very important aspect of it. Elizabeth, more tests are on their way. What exactly -- where exactly do things stand in terms of testing capability right now?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So Kate, we don't know exactly how many state or county health departments can do their own testing throughout the U.S. But I will tell you that over the weekend, we heard of confirmed cases in Oregon -- or presumptive positive cases, I should say in Oregon, in Rhode Island, in New York, where they did the testing locally. The reason it's presumptive is it still needs to be confirmed by the CDC lab here in Atlanta. But that's several states that just this weekend, were able to do the testing on their own that happened quite quickly and that is good news.
BOLDUAN: Yes. And you're also hearing concerns from doctors that they're not getting the treatment guidance that they think they need.
COHEN: Right. So, whenever there is an emerging infection, doctors want to know, hey, if someone walks into my hospital, with this infection, I want to learn from the doctors who've taken care of these patients beforehand. You know, before there were no patients, but starting January 21st, there was a series of patients, only one of them has been written up and distributed.
And the CDC was involved in writing that up. But the other ones haven't. There have been least 10 or 11 more that could be written up. The information is available. But the CDC hasn't put it out there yet. So, I'm told that they're working on it. But doctors I've been talking to are saying, what's taking so long? Why can't we get this information out there? So if a coronavirus patient walks into my hospital, I'll know what my colleagues did for their coronavirus patients.
BOLDUAN: It seems to be an understandable concern and one with real immediate need and urgent need for more information. Elizabeth thanks so much. She's going to be on top of that for us.
So, another aspect to all of this, of course, is travel. The president has announced new travel restrictions. He announced them this weekend. People arriving from these, we can call them high-risk countries, or countries with high number of cases will face enhanced screening procedures at U.S. airports.
CNN's Brynn Gingras, she's live at Newark Airport, New Jersey with details on this.
So, Brynn, what do these new screening procedures mean?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes well, Kate, it's designated -- those four countries that the Trump administration announced over the weekend. Let's name them. It's Italy, Iran, South Korea, and China. So essentially what we're learning from the administration is that there is going to be a double screening happening from international travelers from those countries.
So, they're going to get screened before they get on the plane in those four countries and then also again when they get States side.
That's one of the measures. Another one that they announced is advanced ban on the Iran travel ban. Essentially, if you are a foreign national and you traveled to Iran in the last 14 days, you will not be allowed back into the United States.
And also, we heard from the vice president over the weekend, really urging Americans to not travel to Italy, the parts where that's most affected and also South Korea, raising the travel advisory to level four, which is the highest it could be. And really in response to that, we're seeing airlines cancel flights. We know American Airlines, Delta, they both canceled flights, at least for the time being to Milan.
But I've got to tell you, we've been here all morning here in Newark, welcoming travelers who are coming back from not those countries, but ones that are next to them, adjacent in many cases, and they'd like to see more screenings you know, not just designated for those four countries, the way travelers are nowadays, going all over the world, people think that really there should be more checks. There should be checks no matter where you're coming from. Your temperature checked when you come into the United States, if we're really going to get a handle on this situation. Certainly, that's what people are telling us here. But that is not the case right now with what the administration announced over the weekend.
BOLDUAN: All right, Brynn, thank you. Appreciate it.
All right, there is also coming up for us big news when it comes to the 2020 presidential race. Pete Buttigieg ends his historic bid for the White House. And this of course is just days before Super Tuesday. What is the impact of that big announcement on other candidates? Are they adjusting their strategy, especially a big, big delegate haul that will occur tomorrow on Super Tuesday.
And also, later, much more on the coronavirus, your coronavirus questions answered. Baltimore's former health commissioner will be joining us for some Q & A on specific things that you want to know about this outbreak. We'll be right back.
BOLDUAN: It is Super Tuesday eve. But a whole lot has happened, even just last night. Over the weekend, Joe Biden is feeling a boost after his South Carolina win. Pete Buttigieg has suspended his history- making campaign. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our goal has always been to help unify Americans to defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values.
And so, we must recognize that at this point in the race, the best way to keep faith with those goals and ideals is to step aside and help bring our party and our country together. So tonight, I'm making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That big announcement from Pete Buttigieg. Tom Steyer also ended his run also this weekend. That's the new backdrop for tomorrow's contests. The new landscape which is the biggest day coming up tomorrow, which is the biggest day of the Democratic presidential race so far in terms of delegates. Roughly a third of the party's pledged delegates are on the line. You can see the list of them right there in terms of the states.
CNN correspondents of course are on the ground in all of the states on the campaign trail.
Let's go first to Jessica Dean. She's in Houston, following the Biden campaign. Jessica, what are you hearing from the campaign today?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I think the fact that I'm in Houston with the campaign tells you a lot of what you need to know. The Biden campaign focused on turning out the vote here in Texas. Using the vice president's blowout win on Saturday to really infuse his campaign with momentum, with cash flow, hopefully they hope enough to blunt Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who perhaps people may have been going back and forth between. But that they hope that Joe Biden showing that strength on Saturday will convince people to come back to Joe Biden.
Another thing we're hearing a lot from the campaign today, Kate, endorsements. And look, do endorsements like Jim Clyburn, who really moved the needle in South Carolina, really -- are they all equal? No.
But what they are doing are sending a signal, sending a message with some of these endorsements out of Virginia, out of Florida, out of all these key states, California, a lot of them Super Tuesday states, showing that a lot of the people within the Democratic Party are aligning themselves with Joe Biden.
What the Biden campaign is hoping to do is to really consolidate this more moderate lane of the party and make Joe Biden the de facto candidate as an alternative to Bernie Sanders. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Jessica. Appreciate it.
So, from Texas to Utah, Athena Jones is standing by. She's following the Sanders campaign. Athena, what are you hearing there?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. Well the Sanders campaign has a lot of reason to be confident about Utah. This is a state with 29 delegates at stake and Bernie Sanders really swept up back in 2016. He won 80 percent of the vote. But they're not leaving anything to chance. That's why they're here, kicking off this sprint to Super Tuesday with a rally in a couple of hours here in Salt Lake City.
He'll go on to Minnesota later today and then on Tuesday he'll be in Vermont to vote and hold a primary day, a rally there. But the Sanders campaign has been hard at work here on the ground as well. According to his staffers, they've had volunteers hosting some 300 events or more since the campaign launched last year, including several hosted by Sanders' wife, Jane Sanders.
Just in the last few days she's held events, small business round table, an event with Mormon supporters of Sanders, an event with black people for Bernie Sanders. When it comes to the senator himself, we expect to hear more of what we heard from him yesterday in California where it's clearly reacting to Joe Biden's big win in South Carolina. He's really directing his fire at the former vice president, making the argument that he is better positioned to beat Trump. He has the energy. He has the enthusiastic supporters and he said yesterday in California, we've got to be honest and we have to say which campaign can beat Trump. He's going to say that it's his. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Yes, he is. Great to see you, Athena, thank you so much.
All right so, Jeff Zeleny is -- also has some fresh reporting. He's in Washington for us. So, Jeff, you got fresh reporting on Pete Buttigieg. What are you hearing after him suspending his campaign last night, what are you hearing about a possible endorsement?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHIGINTON CORRESPONDENT: Well Kate, good morning. After that speech last evening, after the former mayor decided to step aside, I'm told that he had a phone call with the former President Barrack Obama and Joe Biden as well. In those phone calls, first with the Biden phone call, he did ask him for his endorsement directly. The former vice president asked Mayor Buttigieg for his endorsement.
I'm told that Mayor Buttigieg said, look, I want to sleep on it, I want to sort of take all this in, so talking to people around the Buttigieg campaign, they do expect an endorsement of Biden at some point. The question is will it come before Super Tuesday or not? We do know that there is an all-staff campaign phone call happening in about 30 minutes or so about noon in South Bend.
So, it's unclear if it will be announced on there or not. But we do know his preference. Mayor Buttigieg made clear that he believes the majority of Democrats are supporting someone other than Senator Sanders. So, we'll see if he puts his weight behind that or not. Kate?
BOLDUAN: That will -- let us see. Let us see. Great to see you, Jeff. Thank you. Great reporting as always.
Quick programming note for all of you tonight, CNN has one-on-one interviews with the Democratic presidential candidates. Don't miss the big interviews before the biggest day of primaries. It all starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
Still ahead for us, what are your questions about the coronavirus? A doctor and former health commissioner joins us to help separate fact from fiction on this outbreak. We'll be right back.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There really is no reason right now for people to run out and buy masks and wear masks. Wash your hands as frequently as you can. If you cough, cough in the -- in your elbow and not on your hands. And try to stay away from crowded places where there are a lot of people who are coughing and sneezing. Those are the common sense, easy things to do right now.
BOLDUAN: That is Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's one of the country's leading experts on infectious disease. He's also one of the experts that is advising the administration in the response to the coronavirus. And you hear what his common sense approach is right now too, being careful. Being careful with the coronavirus out there, common sense is the best defense.
But let us be honest, there are still a lot of confusion and questions that people understandably have, with so much unknown about this virus. We have been receiving thousands of viewer questions about the outbreak.
So, we're going to continue to try and answer some of them with experts that are kind enough to join us. Here with me today, joining me now is Dr. Leana Wen. She's a former Baltimore City health commissioner, and a visiting professor at G.W. school of public health. Doctor, thank you for coming in.
DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Of course. Hi, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Hi there. So, let's get right to it. One of the top questions continues to be, coming in from viewers, what Dr. Fauci is mentioning right there, the whole question of masks. And here is one of our viewer questions. Which is, when should a mask be worn? Should I be putting it on when I go outside or heavily populated areas? You hear what Dr. Fauci said, do not go out and buy one. But can you talk to folks about why that is?
WEN: Sure, this is a question that I'm getting a lot in my medical practice as well. And there is a good question about who should be wearing masks. There are people who should be wearing masks.
That's healthcare workers because you want to make sure that our frontline workers are protected and that they're not spreading disease to other people, and if you have an illness yourself, because it's much better for you to be coughing into a mask or sneezing into a mask than sneezing on to other people.
The other circumstance too is if you're the caregiver for someone who is ill, then you should also be wearing a mask too, because you're constantly exposed to that person. But everybody else should not be wearing masks. And this is the reason why.
First of all, a lot of masks don't give you the type of protection that you need against coronavirus. Only the N95, a very particular type of mask does.
But second of all, most people aren't used to wearing masks, and one of the key common sense measures that Dr. Fauci mentioned too is washing your hands and touching your face less. So, if you're wearing a mask, you might be actually be inadvertently adjusting your mask a lot, which would be counterproductive and so don't go out and buy masks yourself. But instead wash hands more and touch face less.
BOLDUAN: Yes. It's really an important message that really does seem to be out there. Another question that we're getting a lot about is detection. And one viewer writing and asking how soon after exposure would a test be able to detect the virus? What are you hearing, Doctor?
WEN: Sure, well, first of all, I'm glad that there are a lot more tests that the U.S. is going to be able to do soon. South Korea has done 65,000 tests. The U.S. has done just a few hundred. And so, it's good that we're going to get testing available soon -- more testing available soon. But the incubation period, which is the time from exposure to the time that somebody gets symptoms of coronavirus is somewhere between two and 14 days, which is a long time, because you could be carrying the virus and maybe even be exposing other people without realizing it.
And so, the test is also important because you may get tested early in that incubation period and maybe negative. But you may actually ended developing the new --