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THE BRIEF WITH BIANCA NOBILO

South Korea, Japan, Italy And Iran Facing Large Outbreaks; U.S. Stocks Gain Ground After Dismal Week; Italy Struggles To Contain Largest Outbreak In Europe; E.U. Raises Coronavirus Risk Alert To High; Australia Reports First Human-To-Human Transmission; Indonesia Confirms First Two Cases; Iran: Highest Death Toll Outside Of China; Israeli Exit Polls Project Netanyahu's Bloc In The Lead; U.S. Assesses North Korea Launched Two Short-Range Missiles; Thousands Amass On Greek Border After Turkey Won't Stop Them; Greek Coast Guard Forcibly Confronts Refugees In Dinghy; Klobuchar And Buttigieg Drop Out, Expected To Endorse Biden; Pope Pius XII Archives Opened. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Sarah Westwood is in Washington for us. Sarah, we're expecting Vice President Mike Pence to speak at any moment now. What

kind of reassurances or potentially new ideas for the containment of coronavirus can we expect him to present?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Bianca. And we heard from Vice President Mike Pence also over the weekend. He appeared in

the White House Briefing Room and in a series of television interviews, talking about coronavirus. One of the things that Vice President Pence was

talking about then was upping the number of coronavirus test kits available across the U.S.

Something that the Trump administration had been criticized for over the past few weeks, was not having those tests available and the coronavirus

test kits that some labs did have turned out to be faulty. So now the administration is making clear that they are upping their manufacturing of

those kits. They're trying to get as many distributed as possible.

And it is possible that once those kits go out, we will see the number of cases in the U.S. go up, but that is something the administration is trying

to do, get more kits in the field. They are also trying to reassure health care providers in the public that they're going to be enough facemasks

available.

We've heard Pence repeatedly be the one to tell the public that it's not necessary that they go out and buy facemask. A shortage would be

detrimental, obviously to health care workers. He's also been talking about a contract the administration as entered into to production of those.

But really what we're seeing overall for Vice President Pence and what I think you will see from him again today is reassuring the public that while

this global outbreak has spooked markets, it has sickened thousands of people, the risk to the average American still remains low.

The administration is trying to walk this fine line between having people be prepared for the possibility of a larger outbreak here in the U.S., but

also not trying to spark some kind of public panic and something that could rile the markets further, Bianca.

NOBILO: Of course, and that that is always the concern. It's interesting you mentioned the masks as well, because all the scientists that I've

spoken to, and people who study viruses say that either the jury is out or that they don't really work effectively.

It's very difficult for administration or government to ever come across particularly well in the face of a crisis like this, because it's always a

matter of damage control and trying to keep people safe. But based on that balancing act you just outlined, how do you think Americans and, you know,

Republicans and Democrats feel about the Trump administration's response so far?

WESTWOOD: Well, certainly, I think the attitudes are starting to shift. At first, you did see a lot of criticism of the Trump administration, the

message was not consistent across all of government, for example, you had the Head of the CDC and other health agencies across the U.S. warning that

this could be very serious, almost an inevitability that eventually there would be some kind of outbreak in the U.S.

When you had at the same time, the President of the United States saying it was likely this virus could disappear when the weather got warm. That one

day it would disappear like magic. That was the words that he used.

And so now you've seen the message a lot more streamlined. It's been run through Vice President Mike Pence's Office. You see everyone sort of seeing

off the same song sheet, and so that has a blessing to a lot of the criticism, blunted the criticism that the administration isn't being

prepared. So you do see them being a lot more communicative with people about the efforts that they're doing.

NOBILO: Thanks Sarah. Sarah Westwood there for us in Washington and we will return to Mike Pence's press conference as soon as he arrives behind that

podium for you.

U.S. stocks close higher despite deepening concerns over the coronavirus outbreak that Sarah was just referring to. The Dow snapped seven day losing

streak, and its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. U.S. fell in line with markets around the world, which gained ground on hopes that

governments are preparing to act to lessen the virus's economic impact.

Its Italy that's experienced the largest outbreak in Europe with a 50 percent increase in confirmed cases reported there Sunday, making it a

hotspot for the region. At least one case of coronavirus in each of these countries has been linked to travel in Italy. Some flights to the country

have already been suspended, but officials say strong, swift action is needed to contain the spread.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has been covering the story from Milan. And earlier we asked him about what's been done right to contain the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianca the Italian Civil Protection Agency has come out with the latest statistics on

coronavirus, 2036 recorded cases in the entire country, 52 dead, that's 18 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the largest single death toll so far.

Now, what's interesting is that the number of new cases, 342, is dramatically less than the previous 24 hours, which was 566. It's still too

early at this point to say whether this is the beginning of a downward trend in the number of new cases.

The authorities here in Lombardy where we are, say that they will continue with the measures to try to restrict the spread of the virus, continuing

with exposure in schools, universities, museums, those red zones where 50,000 people live in basically under - in their houses. They're not

allowed to leave their villages. Those will continue for at least another week.

The authorities are also advising anybody over the age of 65 to minimize social contact to try to stay in their homes for the next 15 days, because

they are the ones most susceptible to this virus. Bianca.

[17:05:00]

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: Our Ben Wedeman there for us. The European Union has raised the risk alert level for the virus from moderate to high. That announcement

made Monday by President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Who said that containing the virus will require quick, effective.

As CNN's Melissa Bell reports France has made some unconventional recommendations aimed at doing just that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The French love to kiss. Even those at the very top deliver a peck on each cheek as both a greeting and a

good bye. But that for now is over.

After an emergency meeting at the Elysee, on Saturday, the Health Minister announced that it should be avoided along with handshakes and other

measures designed to stop the spread of Coronavirus

OLIVIER VERAN, FRENCH HEALTH MINISTER (through translator): All public gatherings with more than 5,000 people in a confined space will be

canceled, and local authorities will receive advice to cancel in collaboration with local mayor's gatherings even in the open air where they

involve mixing with people who come from areas where the virus is possibly being transmitted.

BELL (voice-over): France is becoming the new front line, with authorities trying to encourage caution without spreading fear. A third cluster of

cases was announced this Monday in Brittany after two major hotspots where schools will be closed and gatherings banned, were identified over the

weekend. A few villages in a department to the North of Paris and the area around the village of La Balme-de-Sillingy in the Alps.

FRANCOIS DAVIET, MAYOR OF LA BALME-DE-SILLINGY (through translator): I did the test this morning and I got the results this evening. I am positive,

which means I'm going to the hospital, joining 13 other people from the La Balme-de-Sillingy.

BELL (voice-over): But not before he had attended the agricultural fair in Paris, visited by thousands every year and event cut short on Saturday by

the nationwide ban on gatherings of more than 5,000.

The half marathon due to be held on Sunday in Paris was canceled and the Louvre was closed. Although, by Monday, the lines of people waiting to get

in were back.

France, this Monday feels a lot like Italy did last Monday. A country dealing with a medical emergency and already looking ahead to its likely

cost. The country's economy minister warned this morning have slowed growth, appealing to the European Union for help. Mellisa Bell, CNN, Paris.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: Even with new cases in China on the decline, the coronavirus epidemic is hitting hardest in Asia. South Korea has more than 4,200

infections, the second highest in the world. More than half of them are linked to a secretive religious group, whose leader has apologized to the

public, saying they're cooperating with the government.

Australia is reporting three new cases, including its first human to human transmissions. One health minister says two of the newly infected caught

the virus on Australian soil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD HAZZARD, NEW SOUTH WALES HEALTH MINISTER: That he has not traveled for at least three months. So that would indicate a second case that is highly

likely of transmission on New South Wales soil. So today we've had effectively two out of the three that have been confirmed this afternoon,

who have high likelihood of transmission here in New South Wales.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Indonesia now has its first to coronavirus cases. President Joko Widodo says that both people had contact with a Japanese national who

tested positive after leaving the country. In Iran a massive spike in cases. The virus has infected more than 1,500 people and killed 66,

including a top adviser to the supreme leader who died on Monday.

The World Health Organization arrived in Tehran to help. A W.H.O. staffer there has tested positive for the virus. But officials say that his case is

mild.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has more about Iran's response to the outbreak.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A typical site in Tehran these days, police water cannon trucks spraying

disinfectant, hoping to protect residents from the novel coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in Iran continues to rise.

Most of the cases have gone to health centers in recent days and suspicious cases have also been hospitalized. And the cases reported by the laboratory

are from Tehran city and Tehran provinces. The spokesman for Iran's Health Ministry says.

Iran is the country most affected by the coronavirus in the Middle East with dozens dead and hundreds having contracted the disease, and it's

wreaking havoc among the Islamic Republic's leadership.

Even an advisor to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mohammad Mir-Mohammadi has died after contracting the novel coronavirus. He was 71

years old. Iran's Vice President for Women's Affair Masoumeh Ebtekar is also currently being treated after coming down with the illness, as have

various other political and clergy figures. Even Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps is now involved in trying to combat the outbreak.

[17:10:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Following orders from the commander in Chief of the IRGC, we have established a central operations room for the

purpose of coordinating efforts in the fight against coronavirus.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): From Mashhad in the East of Iran to the Capital Tehran, the Islamic Republic is ramping up its efforts to get the

coronavirus under control. And this country which is under severe international sanctions, is also trying to develop its own vaccine.

ALI JALILI, IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS MEDICAL UNIVERSITY (through translator): We have three projects working on a coronavirus medicine and

our researchers are working on it seriously and one of our medicines had good results in the lab, and hopefully in the future we will have a

medicine for the clinical cases says the Head of the Revolutionary Guard for Medical University.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Until the vaccine is available, many Iranians are hunkering down and trying to protect themselves as best they can. hoping

the outbreak will subside before too long. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOBILO: Still to come on THE BRIEF, votes in Israel are still being counted, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is already claiming victory.

We'll see why exit polls are giving him reason to celebrate just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

NOBILO: Benjamin Netanyahu is celebrating tonight, calling his strong showing in Monday's election "Victory for Israel." The Prime Minister is

expected to speak any moment now at his Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Votes there were still being counted and we don't have any official results just yet, but three leading exit polls all predict the same thing. Likud

not only winning more seats than any other party and the party of Benny Gantz, but Mr. Netanyahu, and his right wing coalition is doing much better

than others expected.

It now requires 61 seats in parliament in order to have the majority and his party is projected to win 60. CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the

Likud headquarters. Oren, as I just outlined, the projection is currently at 60, which is one seat shy of what's required. Does this mean that the

deadlock continues? Surely not?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's an excellent question at this point. We'll get to 60 and 61 in just a moment here. I do want to

point out, it's not his party that has won 60 seats. It appears to be according to the exit polls, his right wing and religious bloc of parties

that has, according to the exit polls, 60 seats.

But already here as they await Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in what will be a victory speech, they are jubilant, they are excited, and they are

absolutely energized by the numbers they're seeing in the exit polls. This has been a celebration since shortly after those exit polls came out about

2 hours and 15 minutes ago.

All of the exit polls show that it is Netanyahu's Likud party that has a lead, perhaps even a big lead, somewhere between three and five seats over

Benny Gantz's Blue and White Party. That is the reason they're celebrating here. That is the reason that fairly soon after those results came out

Netanyahu claimed victory.

[17:15:00]

And it is a victory of sorts for him. It was a battle actually shown for him in September a much stronger show at this time and for Netanyahu it is

a sort of political vindication of the trial on charges of bribery and fraud and breach of trust that starts in just two weeks. These voters here

don't care about it. And he will see this as his instruction, his vote of confidence from voters here in the country.

But as you point out, in Israel, you need 61 seats out of 120 to govern and Netanyahu doesn't have it right now. He has 60. That's the same number he

had in April when we failed to form a government. What's different this time? Well, as the votes come in, they hope that those - it will get from

60 to 61.

They also know they have some other options. They can try to pull a member of Knesset from one of the other parties, it can certainly offer a sweet

deal in that package and they hope that soldiers' votes that will be counted later in the week those, they hope, will also break their way. So

they have options. Regardless of 60 or 61 it is a celebration here tonight, Bianca.

NOBILO: Great to see you Oren. Oren Liebermann there for us in Tel Aviv. I'm sure we'll be checking back in with you shortly. And when Benjamin

Netanyahu does speak we'll bring that to live. Thanks.

The U.S. believes North Korea launched two short range ballistic missiles Monday. That's according to an American official familiar with the data.

The South Korean military says the North fire two projectiles from an area near the coastal City of Wonsan into the waters between the Korean

Peninsula and Japan.

The South Korean and U.S. militaries are monitoring the situation. The Joint Chiefs of Staff for South Korea says that the tests are likely part

of North Korean military drills that began on Friday.

Since Turkey announced last week it's no longer stopping migrants from crossing into Europe, seriously overcrowded camps have become even more so.

Turkey open the border saying that EU is not keeping up its end of the 2016 bargain to stop the flow of migrants from the Middle East to Europe. One UN

official is now calling conditions along the border with Greece appalling. CNN's Arwa Damon shows us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's quite chaotic, it's quite intense. People are just trying to bust through towards what

they think is going to be a better life.

DAMON (voice-over): Europe doesn't want them. Never really has. Striking a financial aid deal with Turkey back in 2016 that it never fully paid up on

to stem the refugee flood.

Turkey hosting upwards of 3.5 million refugees, mostly from Syria, have long threatened to open the gates if left to shoulder the refugee burden

alone. And now Turkey is even more angered by the west's refusal to support it in Idlib with anything more than rhetoric. Many here are aware they are

being used as leverage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: And in an anxious confrontation in the Aegean Sea, Greek authorities there turning around a dinghy packed with refugees. At one

point it seems that they fired live rounds into the water near them. It began with the Greek Coast Guard boat speeding past and rocking the dinghy

in this way. Then prodding and hitting them with rods. A Turkish official has told CNN they will return to Turkey with the help from the Turkish

Coast Guard.

Democratic presidential candidates are making their final pictures to voters on the eve of tomorrow's high stakes Super Tuesday primaries. Take a

look. A wave of states, plus one territory are heading to the polls in less than 24 hours' time. More than a third of the pledged delegates are up for

grabs Tuesday. California and Texas are the two biggest prizes of all.

Senator Bernie Sanders holds a substantial lead going into tomorrow's vote. He's betting big on California and is favored to win there. But he's facing

a growing challenge and former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden won a decisive victory in South Carolina over the weekend that's rejuvenated his

campaign.

And adding to that momentum, Biden's two centuries rivals have both dropped out as a race in the past 24 hours. Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg are

expected to endorse Joe Biden at a rally tonight in Texas. Pete Buttigieg says he's ending his historic campaign in order to unite Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG, FORMER MAYOR OF SOUTH BEND: 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.

[17:20:00]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBILO: Stay with CNN for special coverage of the Super Tuesday contest. We'll have a team of journalists across key states to bring you in-depth

coverage all day long.

And we're still waiting on the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to speak on coronavirus. So while we do let's bring in Dr. Celine Gounder. She is

Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Medicine and Host of the podcast, "American Diagnosis." Very good to have you on the program. Thanks for

joining us Celine.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CLINICAL ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE & INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NYU: My pleasure.

NOBILO: What's your assessment so far of the U.S.'s response to the threat of coronavirus?

GOUNDER: I think it's been too slow. It's actually something we saw during the Ebola epidemic as well, bit of foot dragging, and I think we really

need to be starting to kick into gear. It's great news that we're making some improvements in terms of diagnostic test kits, and expanding access.

But there are a lot of other - what might sound like boring policies and procedures kind of thing, but those things need to be done too.

Now, we're both being monitoring this situation for a number of months now, as I'm sure have all viewers, and there are still a couple of key pieces of

information which seem uncertain to me. So the fatality rate being one. The fact that we - do we know yet exactly how long the incubation period is,

would you be able to clarify either of those two things?

GOUNDER: Yes, so on average, it seems like the incubation period is about five days, but there's a range, as with any other infectious disease, so it

may be as short as two days for some people as long as 14 days. So, there's a wide range.

In terms of how the case fatality rate, how deadly this is, that does depend a little bit on where you are. So for example, Iran, they're seeing

case fatality rates that are much higher, as high as 16 percent.

Now part of that maybe that they're under accounting the mild cases, so your denominator is actually much larger, bringing down that percentage.

But, it may also be a reflection of healthcare systems and the quality of infection control in those in those facilities. So, we still think it's

probably not higher than 2 percent. But, only time will tell as we collect more, complete and accurate information.

NOBILO: And when you talk about the discrepancies between health systems around the world - for example, between Iran and the United States, what

type of supportive care would you be expecting to be administered to these people who are in the most critical condition that is left wanting it in

somewhere like Iran,

GOUNDER: Well, when somebody has respiratory failure, so when their lungs fail and aren't breathing properly, not oxygenating properly, sometimes we

do have to give them anything from just supplemental oxygen through the tubes that you see if somebody have in their nose to actually being put on

a ventilator. And there's a lot of things in between as well.

And you know, many, many countries have those things. The question is, how many do they have? And do they have the staff you know, necessary to man

them and that's going to be highly variable from country to country.

NOBILO: The advice that's repeated most frequently at the moment is to wash your hands and to wash them frequently and very carefully. How long does

the coronavirus live on surfaces like doors or public transport?

GOUNDER: Well, with other coronavirus as we've seen them able to survive out to 10 days on a surface, again, that's highly dependent on humidity in

the environment, temperatures. There's a wide range again with that as there is with a lot of the other estimates we have with regard to this

virus.

NOBILO: I don't think we have that much time left, but as somebody who has been watching a lot of the media coverage of coronavirus so far and perhaps

looking at what people are saying online, are there any misconceptions that you think are very important to clear up or any information that you'd like

to see corrected out there?

GOUNDER: I mean, I think, the number one thing is this is real. Coronavirus is real. It is a real concern. It is not something to panic about. But it

is something that we need to be preparing and instituting the policies and procedures necessary to deal with the influx of patients we may well have.

NOBILO: Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you very much for your time today. We appreciate you joining the program.

GOUNDER: My pleasure.

NOBILO: When THE BRIEF returns, the Vatican opens up millions of controversial files about Pope Pius XII. He was the pope during the Second

World War.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:25:00]

NOBILO: "The Church is not afraid of history," that's how Pope Francis announced the opening of the Vatican archives to one of the most

contentious Popes in history. Well, from today, that history will be out in the open. Scholars will be able to pull over the life and times of this

man, Pope Pius XII.

He was the head of the Catholic Church throughout the Second World War, and has been accused of failing to help save Jews during that time. The Vatican

normally waits 70 years after the death of Pope before making his archives available. But after sustained pressure from Jewish groups, among others,

they sped up the process.

Pope Francis says that he hopes that quote, "Hidden but active diplomacy of Pius XII would be evaluated in its proper light. The millions of letters

now being combed through may provide some answers.

That's THE BRIEF. I'm Bianca Nobilo and we'll bring you U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's briefing when he gives it, as soon as it starts. And "WORLD

SPORT" is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END