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5 Coronavirus Deaths Confirmed in Washington State; Cases of Coronavirus Jump in the U.S. & Around the World; Taliban Divided over deal with U.S. to Reduce Violence. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And even though we haven't heard him heard him mention Amy Klobuchar onstage right here, he's giving pretty much his usual stump speech. He was in a gaggle with reporters just a few minutes before taking the stage about whether he was concerned that the moderates are getting a coalesce or trying to consolidate behind one candidate like Joe Biden. And he said, well you often hear him say the political establishment is nervous, the corporate establishment is nervous, they are nervous that we're going to bring all of this working people into the system.

People are going to demand fair wages. People are going to demand universal health care and this -- and the like. So, he's not -- they're not even seeing any concern at the moment, but he's sort of using what's happening and adding it to his argument for why it's time for real change and why he has the campaign, the energy, the organization, the money and the enthusiasm to go up to go up best against -- against President Trump. Brooke.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Athena in Salt Lake, Jessica in Houston, ladies, thank you very much. And let me remind all of you tonight, CNN have inclusive one on one interview with presidential -- democratic presidential candidates. You will be able to watch the biggest interviews before the biggest day of primaries live from Washington D.C. that is tonight starting at 8:00 o'clock eastern, only here on CNN.

Here's the other breaking news now, three more people in Washington State have died from the coronavirus bringing the total number of deaths now from the virus in the United States to five. We have new details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:40]

BALDWIN: Here is now is the update on the coronavirus in the United State. We have just learned several more deaths in Washington State. So let's get right back to Stephanie Elam. She's in Kirkland, Washington. So Stephanie, how many now?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a big jump here. We're looking now that they're saying over the weekend there were six cases, two of them being here in King County. And now they are reporting today four new cases, and of these four, two of those people have passed away in addition to the one that -- of the patients we already knew about who has died.

This brings a total number of cases now to 14 including five total deaths. This is coming from the health office public -- health officer who's in-charge of the public health of Seattle and King County. So this is a big jump here that we are looking at. Now five total people have lost their lives and they are attributing it to coronavirus. Now we know some of those people didn't have underlying health concerns that may have made their systems or bodies weaker, but still this is a big jump here and now this number increasing.

We knew of 13 cases but now this is telling us that there are 14 cases here in Washington State. Also worth noting that that is generally right here in this area, and also several of those cases presumptive or confirmed coming from this health care facility where I am standing in front of right now, the Life Care Center of Kirkland, which is a nursing home.

So this is obviously not the way people want to hear. This looks like a couple of these people passed away yesterday from the coronavirus. So a big update here in Washington state.

BALDWIN: I know we don't have much more than that, so we'll leave it for now, Stephanie Elam in Kirkland, Washington, as she mention now up to five deaths and 14 folks had coronavirus. Stephanie, thank you. We're watching those numbers carefully just in that one county in Washington State. From Asia to Europe, in the Middle East and right here in United States, 72 countries and territories are now faced with coronavirus. And you see all this red on the map and only three months after the outbreak began in one Chinese city. And more than 3000 people are dead.

The virus is now spreading faster outside of China that within the World Health Organization says that we're in unchartered territory right now. And financial experts warned its impact poses the biggest danger to the global economy since that 2008 financial crisis. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the global death toll from the coronavirus surpasses 3,000, governments around the world are taking extraordinary measures to try to contain it. In China where the outbreak began, the usually bustling streets are eerily quiet, a strict quarantine and travel measures remain in place. Some factories are open but output is limited.

Nearby South Korea is one of the worst affected countries with thousands of confirmed cases and dozens of deaths. The situation there has become so serious that military decontamination teams have been dispatched to clean up public spaces and drive-through testing stations are being set up.

KIM AN-HYUN, HEAD OF GOYANG CITY DEOKYANG-GU PUBLIC HEALTH CENTER (through translator): Citizens are becoming more worried as the number of infected patients and people who have been in contact with them rises.

AMANPOUR: From Asia to the Middle East, large public gatherings are being postponed and canceled. In Iran where the deputy health minister has been quarantined with the virus, authorities took the rare step of canceling Friday prayers in various cities.

The country is the epicenter of the coronavirus out break in the Middle East with more confirmed deaths than any other country outside China, but its health system already crippled by sanctions is struggling to cope.

PEJMAN, ARCHITECT (through translator): The disease has disrupted our lives. We are scared. There were no masks and no alcohol for sterilizations. People made them but cannot find them.

AMANPOUR: In neighboring Iraq, the government has begun making its own face masks because of the shortage of supplies, and across Europe some major monuments and public spaces are closed as the continents alert level rises to high.

JANEZ LENARCIC, EU'S CRISIS MANAGEMENT COMMISSIONER: The situation is likely to still get worst, so we need to be prepared and time is of essence here.

AMANPOUR: Italy remains the focus of the European outbreak and in the north of the country army checkpoints are being set up around the quarantine red-zoned to try to stop its spread. Nearby countries are reporting an increasing number of cases with direct links to Italy. Globally, authority say, containing the virus remains the priority for now.

[14:40:17]

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION DIRECTOR GENERAL: We are in unchartered territory. We have never seen before a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but at the same time which can also be contained with the right measures.

AMANPOUR: Optimistic words from the WHO, which is still not labeling this a pandemic. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Christiane, thank you. And as the number of U.S. cases of coronavirus is growing, health officials are now putting a major emphasis on getting people tested. Vice-President Mike Pence told CNN this weekend, 15,000 additional testing kits are being shipped out to state and local health facilities all across the country. But some are worried that these new kits are too little too late after the first batch of the coronavirus kits that the CDC sent to labs were defective. That flaw rendered those test kits useless severely delaying the start of the testing across the United States.

Jeremy Kenyndyk is the former head of the U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance and a Senior fellow for the Center for Global Development. And Jeremy, I -- we read your entire massive Twitter thread which is precisely why you are, you know, the best guy to talk about this because you make this great point. You say, the question is not why didn't the CDC test kits work? Instead what is the key question?

JEREMY KENYNDYK, FORMER HEADS OF US FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE: The key question is, why was that allowed to bottleneck the response when there were other options. I think this is the vexing thing. I can understand why the CDC might want to develop its own test protocol if they think there is an advantage to that. But if it's clear that's not working, why would you put all your eggs in that basket when, you know, there are WHO test that would work. China has managed to test hundreds of thousands. Korea has driver through testing stations. You know, and we're stuck here in this country blind to the disease until recently because we had this technical flaw on the test kits.

BALDWIN: We are getting to the -- here in South Korea drive-through testing just a second a correspondent to check that out. But back to your point, you know, because of this bottlenecked. How detrimental could that -- the result of this be?

KENYNDYK: Well I think we will get much more visibility on that in the coming one to two weeks, you know. We have been in effect blind to the potential spread in the country going back to mid January when the first cases emerged in the U.S. because we weren't testing widely. And the -- it's a matter of the test kits, but it's also matter of the test criteria. Up until last week, the test criteria still focused heavily on China. And so, you know, we were defining those test criteria in a way that ignored and excluded the potential for community spread. In retrospect, that was a huge mistake.

BALDWIN: Instead of considering scenarios A, B, C all the way to X, Y, Z.

KENYNDYK: Yes.

BALDWIN: And do you -- is this just an honest mistake?

KENYNDYK: I think it's -- I think it is an honest mistake within the context of a policy and crisis management process that looks pretty broken. You know, it is totally understandable that you make mistakes in crisis. And I have worked on crisis management in the U.S. government. I worked on the Ebola response costly in 2014. We made mistakes. The problem is you don't want your whole strategy to get bottlenecked by a single mistake. And that's what they allowed to happen here. And it's particularly problematic because they had other options and they just weren't turning to them.

BALDWIN: So then Jeremy, now what? You know, now that we have this community spread and still certainly this need for test kits, what is to be done?

KENYNDYK: Well I think the first, you know, the first step is to get a handle on where this is and how widespread it is in the country. I mean it's been really remarkable how -- as soon as they changed the testing criteria at the end of last week, we instantaneously began seeing cases pop up in many, many other places.

We're going to see much more of that over the next couple of weeks. I think it's important that people not panic as they see case numbers grow, because, you know, what we will be seeing is the fact that we finally opened our eyes to this. It's not a sudden explosion in cases. It's a sudden explosion in our ability to detect them.

BALDWIN: So last question, you mention now your work, you know, with Ebola at the time, what's your biggest take away from all that?

KENYNDYK: I think my biggest take away is, you know, it's unsexy, but governance and process really matter. You know, this is a technical failure in terms of the kits not working, but it's a compounded by policy and strategic process failure at the White House that they left all, you know, they left the whole U.S. surveillance capacity tied to this one dysfunctional test kit, when they had other options. And why they didn't turn to those? Why they didn't have a set of plan b and plan c scenarios in place I think is a question that we need to learn more about.

BALDWIN: Jeremy Kenyndyk, thank you so much. Appreciate you.

KENYNDYK: My pressure, thank you.

[14:45:00]

BALDWIN: More on our breaking political news. Hours before Super Tuesday, Senator Amy Klobuchar will end her campaign and endorse Joe Biden. Is Pete Buttigieg, next to announce his support? And what will all these mean for Senatory Bernie Sanders, a huge shake up, so standby.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Breaking news, CNN is learning that hosts and TV Veteran James Lipton has died. He was 93. He was of course known for his in- depth style in interviews with actors dating back to the 1950s. Most recently Lipton's peer headed the popular brother show inside the actor studio.

[14:50:00]

The network put out a statement on Lipton's passing on. It reads, "We'll miss him dearly, but we wish him peace as he arrives at those pearly gates." In reference to that question he would ask all of those guests who came on a show.

BALDWIN: On the heels of the just signed peace deal with the Taliban Defense Secretary Mark Esper says troops will begin coming home from Afghanistan within 10 days and President Trump sounding very optimistic at the White House this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: But we are learning members of the Taliban are divided over the deals specifically whether to resume fighting, and the Afghan President is outright rejecting a provision to release 5000 Taliban prisoners by March 10 and return for 1000 Afghans being held by the Taliban.

CNN Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon. And Barbara that the top U.S. General said today that violence in Afghanistan won't go to zero immediately, but our cracks in this deal emerging and are they putting the deal in jeopardy?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a really interesting proposition. Let's start with what President Trump said. We had good meetings with Taliban, referring to the signing in Doha over the weekend. Good meetings with the Taliban. When did any of us ever expect to hear in the last 18 years a U.S. President say that?

Look, there is an absolute feeling in the State Department at the Pentagon, that this war can only end with diplomacy. So that's all to the good, but to get there, in fact, is a rocky road right now.

Troop withdrawal first step, there's 12 to 13,000 U.S. troops there. The deal calls for them all to come out in the coming months. But here at the Pentagon today, Secretary Esper emphasized that is conditional on the level of violence. He said they would go down to 8600 U.S. troops stop, pause and take a look at the situation and make a decision then about going further.

Another wrinkle and all of this, those 5000 Taliban prisoners. The U.S. is supposed to facilitate having them release but nobody knows what that really means. And the Afghan government, as you said, Brooke very much saying the U.S. has no authority over those Taliban prisoners. So look, this is going to be a rocky road. Everybody hopes it where -- it's going to work in the end, but it may take some time. It will take a lot of effort to get there. Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara. Thank you

Back to the news in the 2020 race, Senator Amy Klobuchar dropping out and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden head of tomorrow Super Tuesday contest. And this comes after Mayor Pete Buttigieg calls it quits as well, Buttigieg now mauling an endorsement for Joe Biden to leave those details. Next.

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[14:57:33]

BALDWIN: The news it just keeps coming this Monday afternoon. Good to be with you. I'm Brooke Baldwin, when you're watching CNN. And then there were five, five democrats running for president, that is, and Senator Amy Klobuchar no longer among them. And a two Klobuchar's campaign telling CNN she will end her campaign and she will throw her support behind Joe Biden. The Minnesota senator pulled off a surprising third place finish in New Hampshire, but failed to crack the top three ever since.

And we just got even more Breaking News pretending to former Mayor Pete Buttigieg who pulled out just over the weekend, and Abby Philip has the scoop. And Abby, I'm not stealing your thunder, you tell me what you just learned?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, this is turning out to be a very big day for Joe Biden. Because in addition to the Klobuchar endorsement, I'm told by a source familiar with the plans that Pete Buttigieg who ended his campaign yesterday, is planning to head to Dallas, Texas tonight to appear at a rally and endorse Joe Biden.

Now this is a major, major moment. It appears that there will be two former presidential candidates appearing with Biden tonight endorsing him on the eve of Super Tuesday, a major, major development for the Biden campaign, as they hope to get some momentum going into those contests.

Sources have been telling me over the last 24 hours or so that Buttigieg has been deliberating over this. He spoke to Joe Biden last night. Biden asked him for an endorsement but that decision had not been made definitively, but it was clearly heading in this direction. Pete Buttigieg, in his speech last night seemed to be very clear that he still thought that the country needed to go in a different direction from the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders. And it seems to point very much to a Biden endorsement. And we expect that to happen tonight, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Abby, stay with me.

Dana Bash, let me bring you in. Because in addition to that, Joe Biden phone call to Pete Buttigieg last night, guess who else called him? Former President Barack Obama, and President Obama, my understanding reading all of your great, everyone's great reporting is that, you know, he essentially congratulated him on this incredible run, highlighted the leverage that he now has, and we now see he's using it.

I'm wondering what you think of just everything that must have been happening behind the scenes. We know Mayor Pete wanted to sleep on it. What do you make of this?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I was talking to a Democratic Party official just a little while ago, who said things are happening and moving very, very quickly. And they are warp speed given what has transpired, where we were just for --