Return to Transcripts main page


Second Coronavirus Death Recorded in Washington State; Global Businesses Restrict Travel Over Coronavirus Fears; Pete Buttigieg Bows Out of 2020 Presidential Race. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 2, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Everyone and welcome to EARLY START, I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And I'm Christine Romans, it is Monday, March 2nd, it is 5:00 a.m. in the east. And important developments on coronavirus' spread in the U.S. Public health officials announcing the second death in Washington State. A man in his 70s with underlying health conditions. The patient was hospitalized at Evergreen Health in Kirkland, the same place as the first person who died in Washington. And there are now three new cases connected to Evergreen Health.

JARRETT: "The Washington Post" reports analysis samples from two patients indicates coronavirus has been spreading for about six weeks in Washington State, with hundreds of other infections likely. CNN has also learned the Centers for Disease Control has so far failed to release crucial information about doctors. That includes what treatment worked for patients, who recovered from the virus in the U.S., and beyond, and to help doctors diagnose and treat the virus.

ROMANS: There are now 89 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. The first cases announced in Oregon, Florida, Rhode Island and New York now. Governor Andrew Cuomo says the New York patient is a woman in her late 30s who took herself to a Manhattan hospital after contracting the virus traveling to Iran. She's isolated at home with respiratory symptoms, though the governor says she's not in serious condition. There's no word on the health of the other passengers on her return flight.

JARRETT: You think we wouldn't want to know what happened to them --

ROMANS: Yes --

JARRETT: Well, public health officials have been warning coronavirus would spread in U.S. communities. So what should Americans look for this week? Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta puts it all in perspective for us.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Laura, I want to show you this animation real quick. You can take a look at these various outbreaks over the last several years and see how they compared. And if you look at the lines there, you see coronavirus and then H1N1. At the 9-week mark, coronavirus actually outpacing H1N1, and then -- and then obviously, H1N1, that flu pandemic sort of takes off.

And you can see it reaches 60 million people by year one. Big news I think this week is the president is going to be meeting with pharmaceutical companies to try and figure out are there therapeutics that could be in the pipeline and actually try to figure out what's happening with the vaccine. And then these 15,000 testing kits which will get distributed to these various points of care around the country.

Whether or not that will make a difference at this point, it's a little bit tough to say. Keep in mind, Korea has been testing thousands of patients a day. They've tested 65,000 patients total. In the U.K., they've tested close to 8,000 patients, and in the United States so far, we've tested only around 500 patients. Without that surveillance, it's hard to get a good idea of exactly how many patients are affected.

But let me end on this note, Christine and Laura, I think it's important and we've said it all along is that the vast majority of people who do get exposed to this virus are not going to have any symptoms or they're just going to have minimal symptoms. There may be many people out there who simply aren't getting counted because they're also not getting sick.

Christine and Laura, like I said, it's a fast-moving story as we get more details, we'll certainly bring them to you.

ROMANS: All right, Sanjay, thank you for that. And this new development, according to "Axios", a top federal scientist is sounding the alarm about possible contamination in the Atlanta lab where coronavirus test kits were made. Now, the Trump administration has ordered an investigation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Lab. It's not immediately clear if the possible contamination played a role in delays or problems with testing.

The White House is under scrutiny over its early preparations for the virus. Vice President Mike Pence admitting what President Trump initially down-played. The disease will likely spread in the U.S.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For people that have other conditions that would militate towards a worse outcome, that we could have more, we could have more sad news. But the American people should know the risk for the average American remains low.


JARRETT: Meanwhile, Congress is moving quickly on emergency funding for a coronavirus response. The White House has asked for $1.25 billion. CNN has learned Congress could approve as much as $7 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she wants new funding and not money pulled from somewhere else. ROMANS: All right, global markets in serious need of some calm this week after the worst week since the great recession. That's last week's worst week, wow, since 2008. For now, things are looking like they're trying to stabilize. You had Asian markets close higher and European shares have opened higher and now turned narrowly mixed here on Wall Street.

What's happening with futures markets here, up just a little bit, they had been down 500 points, then they were up 400 points. You can see searching for direction to begin this new trading week. There were concerns that a second coronavirus death in the U.S. could spark more selling, but so far that hasn't happened.


The reason markets feel the effect of the virus, of course, business disruptions around the world. Amazon is asking employees to postpone non-essential travel. Google canceled its upcoming summit in California. Nike is deep-cleaning its headquarters in Oregon, quote, "out of an abundance of caution." Lake Oswego, where a case was confirmed is near Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton.

The travel industry has already taken a huge hit, you know, some experts say this could be the worst crisis for aviation and travel since September 11th. It's not just business travel, Americans who are making plans for Spring and Summer trips are rethinking those plans. And imagine a March Madness with no fans. The National College Players Association has asked the NCAA to consider having tournaments with no crowds. The NCAA said it is monitoring developments with this outbreak.

JARRETT: The global death toll from coronavirus now tops 3,000 with almost 87,000 people sick. The epidemic has triggered a homicide investigation in South Korea. Seoul's city government just filed a complaint against leaders of a religious group at the heart of the outbreak in that country. Italy has now the most cases of any nation outside of Asia, nearly 1,700.

That's a 50 percent increase in 24 hours. The famed La Scala Opera house will be closed until March 8th.

ROMANS: The Louvre in Paris is closed. There were long lines on Sunday, normally a free entry day, but workers decided the risk of contamination was too great and the museum turned everyone away. And look at these NASA images of China before and after the outbreak with production in many factories halted and transportation-restricted the air quality has improved dramatically.

And there was a number overnight of Chinese, you know, factory output number that basically was the weakest on record, and that's exactly what you're seeing there. You have factories shutdown to, you know, protect the people who work in them --

JARRETT: Sure --

ROMANS: From the spread of the coronavirus, and that improved the air quality.

JARRETT: But it's so dramatic, and it's just a month --

ROMANS: Yes --

JARRETT: Apart those two pictures. All right, well you thought U.S. politics was gridlocked. Israelis are voting today for the third time in a year. CNN is live in Jerusalem.



JARRETT: A major shakeup in the 2020 race. Pete Buttigieg ending his historic presidential run. The openly gay former South Bend, Indiana mayor turned into a national political player with his unexpected rise. But Buttigieg made the decision to step aside, seeing no viable path to success on Super Tuesday and beyond.


PETE BUTTIGIEG (D): 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.


ROMANS: Buttigieg did not endorse anyone, but critical support in states like California and Texas could gravitate to Joe Biden whose convincing win in South Carolina revived his campaign. Biden is calling on Super Tuesday states like Virginia to keep that momentum going.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On Tuesday here in Virginia, you could be the launching pad to the path to beat Donald Trump.



ROMANS: Former New York mayor -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on the ballot for the first time tomorrow. Now, some polls show him gaining support among African-American voters, but anger persists over some of his policies as mayor.

JARRETT: And protesters silently turned their backs on Bloomberg as he spoke at a historic black church in Selma, Alabama yesterday. His appearance coincided with the 55th anniversary of bloody Sunday, a historic civil rights march, demanding the right to vote on that day. Seventeen people were hospitalized after a violent confrontations with white police officers as they attempted to cross Edmund Pettus Bridge that day.

And ahead of Super Tuesday, CNN will have exclusive one-on-one interviews with the Democratic presidential candidates live from Washington D.C. starting tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

ROMANS: All right, breaking overnight, North Korea firing two short- range missiles into the sea. It's the first test of its kind in three months, and comes just days after South Korea and the U.S. postponed joint military drills because of the coronavirus outbreak. And the launch also follows a rare public sighting of Kim Jong-un late last week. The North Korean dictator presided over a military drill. He's been out of sight lately presumably to protect him from the coronavirus.

JARRETT: All right, coming up, the king and his heir apparent going head-to-head. Andy Scholes has the LeBron-Zion showdown in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT".



JARRETT: All right, LeBron James outdueling Zion Williamson in an epic show-down last night. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT", hey Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Hey, good morning, Christine. This is the second time these two have faced off. It was awesome again, and each time it's had that, you know, Jordan-Kobe-feel to it. The present of the NBA versus the future. This is just Zion's 15th game of his career. LeBron in his 17th season, and the two matching up in the second quarter.

You'll see LeBron trying to take Zion on to the hole for the reverse lay in. Later, Zion facing up, watch him just power right over Kyle Kuzma throw-down. The 19-year-old threw like 35 points in the game, LeBron responded immediately to that, hitting a three-pointer from nearly half-court. LeBron had a 34-point triple double in this one. He leads the Lakers to a 122-114 win. LeBron embracing Zion after the game, delivering an encouraging message to the rookie.


LEBRON JAMES, FORWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS: You just see all these guys, these young guys, you know, the league is in a very good place. And if I'm able to give my wisdom and game and pass it down no matter while I'm playing or after I'm playing, you know, I feel like it's my job because the game has just given me so much since I started playing when I was 8 years old. So it's my responsibility.


SCHOLES: Giannis and the Bucks meanwhile continue to roll. Look at the nearly 7-footer with a spin move, and a one-handed slam, plus the foul. Incredible skill there. Giannis 41 points, 20 rebounds and 6 assists in just 35 minutes of action. Giannis, the first Bucks player to go 40-20 since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


Bucks beat the Hornets 93-85. All right, an advocacy group for college athletes is calling for the NCAA to play all of its March Madness tournament games in an empty stadium due to coronavirus or at least they're asking for a serious discussion about that. The National College Players Association released a statement, saying in part, there should be a serious discussion about holding competitions without an audience present.

Now, the NCAA responding, saying in a statement, "we're keenly aware of coronavirus and we'll continue to monitor in coordination with state, local health authorities and the CDC." The men's NCAA tournament starts with the first four on March 17th.

All right, finally, check this out. Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Jimmy Fallon attending the Syracuse, North Carolina game over the weekend, and Edelman while on camera saying, he's coming back. Brady then actually mild there, he's not. Later fueling the fire that Brady might leave the Patriots, the two appear to be face-timing Brady's former teammate and current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.

Now, Christine, you know, Tom Brady could just be having a good time with all of us here, trying to --

ROMANS: Yes --

SCHOLES: Fuel the fire that he might be leaving the Patriots or there could be something to it --

ROMANS: Come on --

SCHOLES: We'll have to wait and see --

ROMANS: He's so social media savvy, he knows exactly what he's doing there --


ROMANS: He's just trolling all of us. Andy Scholes, nice to see you.

SCHOLES: All right --

ROMANS: Laura, what's coming up next?

JARRETT: All right, Christine, officials are ramping up containment efforts after a second death from coronavirus on American soil. We'll tell you about some new travel restrictions and whether the markets are rebounding after the worst week in a decade.



ROMANS: Israelis are voting in a general election today for the third time in less than a year. That is unprecedented. The country bitterly divided between its indicted sitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main rival, Benny Gantz. Let's go live to Jerusalem and bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann. Here we go again, Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here we go again. And I think I'll start all my live shots today by saying those words because really as you pointed out, the third election in 11 months and all of the election polls that were released on Friday in the final round of election go polls predict ongoing political deadlock at this stage.

Israel's president weighing in on what he saw as an ugly campaign after he voted today, he said Israel does not deserve another awful and grubby election campaign like the one that ended today. He's trying to do his part to end the political deadlock, encouraging Israelis to go out and vote, saying, every vote counts, every vote is the right one.

All of those polls predicting ongoing political deadlock released on Friday. But it is worth noting that there are two interesting trends to keep an eye on. First, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have the momentum now. He was behind rival Benny Gantz for most of the campaign over the last 3 months.

But in the last week and a half, he's either taken a small one or a two-seat lead, or in the final polls tying Gantz moving into election day. His goal has been to bring out 300,000 Likud voters, can he keep an eye on that goal, can he keep that in focus and in sight? We'll get a sense of that as he's trying to push voter turnout.

The other interesting trend is the Arab voter turnout, is also expected to go up. If it's easier to vote against something you hate than for something you like, they've been given something to hate. What is that? Well, that is the Trump administration's peace plan, and the Arab parties are using that to galvanize voter turnout.

Every vote for an Arab party is a vote against Netanyahu. Those two trends will be critical in deciding this election and in deciding if there actually is a decision in this election or if it's ongoing political deadlock. I can't wrap this without mentioning coronavirus. There are 10 confirmed cases here as well as more than 5,000 people under self-quarantine for having potentially come into contact with those 10.

That means there are some 16 polling stations across the country, specifically for those people as well as the fear that the knowledge of that could be weaponized to try to suppress voter turn-out in areas that lean one way or another --

ROMANS: Sure --

LIEBERMANN: That is one more thing we'll keep an eye on, today, Christine, with nine and a half hours or so until the polling ends.

ROMANS: A very important wrinkle there. Oren Liebermann, you'll be on it all day for us, thank you.

JARRETT: All right, a federal judge in Washington D.C. says Ken Cuccinelli's appointment to head up U.S. citizenship and immigration services was unlawful because the appointment didn't follow how top federal jobs are supposed to be filled. That means two policies Cuccinelli implemented are now void. One is a director giving asylum seekers less time to talk to a lawyer before they can try to establish a credible fear of persecution back home.

A DHS spokesperson tells CNN, the department is looking closely at the decision and disagrees with it.

ROMANS: All right, bye-bye plastic bags in New York State. A new law banning plastic bags now in effect -- the idea is to protect the environment. New Yorkers have been using more than 23 billion plastic bags a year. Most stores and businesses will now charge shoppers a 5 cent fee for paper bags. The ban won't be enforced until April 1st because of a lawsuit filed by corner market owners and a packaging company that claims the law will put it out of business. EARLY START continues right now.

JARRETT: The second death from coronavirus on American soil, it's refocusing containment efforts in Washington state. What to watch for in this week as global efforts to expand, to slow the spread.

ROMANS: And a big surprise ahead of Super Tuesday. Which Democratic candidate has bowed out and who will get their support tomorrow?