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CNN NEWSROOM

Second New York State Coronavirus Case Appears Possibly from Community Spread; Interview with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) New York About Most Recent Coronavirus Case. Interview with Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) on Warren's Campaign. 9 Coronavirus Deaths Confirmed in Washington State. Alabama Set to Execute Man Despite Questions About His Guilt. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Andrew Cuomo, Governor, thank you so much for being with me and tell me about this -- this man. Because it's my understanding he hasn't traveled to any hotspots. He does work in midtown Manhattan. Do you know how he got it?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: This is one of those cases, Brooke, that you can't trace back to a specific source, there's no specific travel to China et cetera. So the call it "community spread." But this is also a gentleman who has an underlying respiratory illness. And so he is in a target category where it may have a greater affect, right. Because we're really focused on senior citizens, people who have compromised immune systems or some other underlying illness. And he is hospitalized.

But the reality is community spread. It is inevitable but that you're going to see more and more cases. We've been saying that all along. You'll see dozens and dozens of cases as we go over these next few weeks. And you'll see more and more community spread where it's one place removed where you can't say this person went to China, and that is the natural mathematical evolution of what we're looking at.

BALDWIN: But how do you -- Governor, how do you track the people that he has come in contact with?

CUOMO: You do the best you can. But for example, people lead their lives, you know. They go to a party. They meet dozens of people. A child goes child goes to school. He's in contact with dozens of other children, so you do the best you can.

But it's not going to be a precise system, obviously, and that's why you're going to see a spread. But I think, if anything, Brooke, we have a coronavirus epidemic. We have a fear pandemic.

The fear factor is way ahead of the facts of dealing with this disease. And the fear factor is -- has to be managed as much as the reality of the situation. And the fear factor, I think, is based on the fact that people are so distrustful of government now, and it's so hyper politicized and the Democrats are blaming the Republicans for understating it, and the Republicans are staying the Democrats are overstating it.

So people don't even know what to believe anymore. Because if they believe the facts that 80 percent are going to self-resolve. Of the other 20 percent some will go into the hospital, and the mortality rate is about 1.2 percent, which is double the normal flu rate, and that's unfortunate. But it is manageable, and it can be reduced even from that because we have a better health care system.

The facts are not frightening if you believe the facts, and I think that's the real pandemic here. People just don't believe the facts that government is telling them, and that's unfortunate for a much broader set of reasons.

BALDWIN: Of course, I just know a lot of New Yorkers who are hanging on your every word. You know, we live on top of each other. We're on trains smushed together. The concern, you know you say there will be more community spread. Of course the concern is what do you do when you're living in New York City? Just quickly, what's your advice?

CUOMO: You live your life. Yes, you take extra precautions, hand sanitizer, et cetera, but we have 15,000 people in New York in hospitals today, Brooke, 15,000 for the flu. That's the normal flu. Are you going to see this virus spread? Yes, and this obsession of one case, one case, one case, new case, new case, you will see dozens and dozens and dozens of cases. That is going to happen.

BALDWIN: OK.

CUOMO: Understand it, prepare for it, but the underlying reality is we can manage the system. We're doing more testing. We have the hospital beds, and the mortality rate, the lethality of this disease is double the normal flu rate, but it is manageable. Although unfortunate. And that's what this is, if people actually believe it. The fear factor --

BALDWIN: Sure. I got you.

CUOMO: -- in some ways harder to deal with than the reality.

BALDWIN: Right, right. Governor Cuomo, thank you. Live your life. Governor, thank you.

CUOMO: Live your life.

BALDWIN: Nice to have you on.

The former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg throwing some super serious shade on this Super Tuesday, it is his first day on the ballot, yet he told reporters he didn't realize Senator Elizabeth Warren was still in the race. Maybe he said that in jest, but let's discuss that and much more with a Warren supporter. That's next.

[15:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Senator Elizabeth Warren is hoping for a boost this Super Tuesday, and today Warren, whose delegate total is far behind that of rivals Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden shrugged off questions about her campaign's struggles after voting in her home state of Massachusetts and said her campaign is for the future.

With me now Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California. She has endorsed Senator Warren for President. So Congresswoman, welcome.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): Thank you.

BALDWIN: Out of the gate here, I just have to play this quick clip. This is what Mike Bloomberg said about Senator Warren this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Bloomberg, how do you expect to do tonight?

MIKE BLOOMBERG, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think we're going to do very well. Looking forward to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are your expectations? Would a third-place finish be good?

[15:40:00]

BLOOMBERG: You know, there's only three candidates, you can't do worse than that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, there is Elizabeth Warren also.

BLOOMBERG: I didn't realize she's still in. Is she?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: You wa him nt to respond to that?

PORTER: I think it's really rude of former Mayor Bloomberg to show that kind of disrespect to Senator Elizabeth Warren. She's been in this race for many, many, many months, over a year now working hard, building support. She had a third place finish in Iowa.

Pete Buttigieg has now dropped out, so Elizabeth really is in the second position in Iowa. For him to dismiss her candidacy is disrespectful in a race in which I think a lot of Democrats, independents, and Republicans that were going to have to win in order to defeat President Trump in November want to see civility, and they want to see people debating on the issues.

For him to dismiss and erase her existence like that is incredibly disappointing. It's disappointing to me in particular as part of a huge group of women who came out and ran for office in 2018 and were part of the reason that we're able to flip the House and hold the House today. To hear former Mayor Bloomberg dismiss a sitting Senator, a leading

candidate like that I think is really disappointing.

BALDWIN: You mentioned Buttigieg. He's out, Klobuchar is out, do you think that Senator Warren's chances improve now with a narrower field?

PORTER: The race is absolutely very fluid, particularly with different candidates exiting just in the last 24 to 48 hours. And so I do think here in California Elizabeth Warren has a lot of support. She's done a lot of work here over the years, not just in the last couple of the days, but in the long-term. This is a state that has progressive values, and so I expect to see Elizabeth make a strong showing here.

You know, if I were going to worry about sort of where former Mayor Bloomberg was going to end up, I certainly would get comfortable with the idea that there are four candidates in the race, since I fully expect him to be getting fourth here in California.

BALDWIN: Why do you think Senator Warren hasn't done better in the first four contests?

PORTER: There were just huge numbers of candidates in the race, and she got third in Iowa, which was a strong showing. You know, there were lots of interesting dynamics, Senator Klobuchar who got fifth in Iowa which was quite a distant fifth, then picked up momentum in New Hampshire. We then saw a different dynamic in Nevada and a different dynamic yet in South Carolina.

So I think each of the four states we've had so far have their own flavor. I think Super Tuesday today is incredibly important because we're going to see so many more states with so many different kinds of electorates, and so many different kinds of voting that's going to go on.

Here in California, I would just tell people what you see at 8:00 or 9:00 when they start to release results will not be what we'll see here in a couple of days when all of the votes are counted.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Katie Porter, thank you very much.

Back to our breaking news. The death toll from the coronavirus rising to nine here in the United States and the number of confirmed cases also rising dramatically all around the world.

My next guest says President Trump is missing lessons we have already learned from past pandemics.

[15:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The number of new cases of the coronavirus, again, rising in the U.S. the CDC is now reporting 117 cases and 9 deaths. The 9 deaths all in Washington State. Worldwide there are now more than 91,000 people sick with the virus, more than 3,100 deaths reported. And if history is a lesson, we have a great deal to learn from the flu pandemic of 1918. Enough mistakes were made to fill several books.

So let me bring in John Barry, he's the author of "The Great Influenza -- The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History." It is the account of the 1918 flu epidemic that killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. So John, welcome.

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT INFLUENZA -- THE STORY OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN HISTORY": Thanks for having me on.

BALDWIN: One of the conclusions of your book is that the government should not hide the truth or try to put a positive spin on things, which is what happened in 1918. How do you feel this current administration, the Trump administration is handling all of this today?

BARRY: Well, obviously, at the beginning it wasn't so good when the President referred to a hoax. People from CDC and the National Institutes of Health were being forthright and truthful, but the whole political spin, Rush Limbaugh talking about the common cold and so forth, that was not helpful.

BALDWIN: Let me play this clip. This is what the President said just a few moments ago on the White House lawn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're doing a fantastic job. The professionals are doing a great job. We're really happy with the job they're doing. They have been just ahead of it, and we're ahead of it by having stopped so much earlier than -- nobody wanted us to cut off access to our country, and I did it early. By doing that, that was a big step. Otherwise many more people would be infected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: What's your reaction to that, John?

BARRY: Well, have you ever heard our President say he did a bad job or anybody had ever made a mistake? You know what, starting out with the hoax comment, again, that wasn't helpful. I think CDC -- I love the people at CDC. I hold them in extremely high regard, but their testing policy seems to have been, you know, a little bit less than it might have otherwise have been. It's a very, very difficult situation. It's easy to sit on the outside and criticize.

[15:50:00]

BALDWIN: Well, you worked with the CDC, right, back in 2005, 2006 on the influenza pandemic plan, and again, you drilled, tell the truth? Go ahead, sir.

BARRY: You're correct, I did work with people from CDC and other agencies after bird flu surfaced and the government started getting very serious about a pandemic preparedness plan. The concern was influenza, but it turns out the plan is exactly applicable to this virus, because it's also a respiratory virus. BALDWIN: So talk about the lessons learned and what can be applied to

today.

BARRY: Well, again, the number one was telling the truth. I think that people can deal with facts when they have the facts. I think you know trying to sugar coat things, all that does is to cost you your credibility when you need it in the future.

The other issues involve social distancing, washing hands which people have heard 10,000 times already, but that's actually important. Roughly 30 percent of the respiratory disease is transmitted by hand to some mucosal membrane, your eye, your mouth, your nose. We have not gotten into the social distancing part of the equation yet, but as a virus spreads, we will get there.

BALDWIN: That'll be a conversation we'll explore down the line, and for now, John Barry, thank you.

BARRY: You're very welcome. Thank you.

BALDWIN: I can tell you that Alabama is set to execute this man even though there are new questions about his guilt. Will a plea from the Son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Make a difference?

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: The family of an Alabama man on death row wants his sentence reversed because the real gunman has allegedly confessed. Nathaniel Woods was convicted in the death of three Birmingham police officers, he is said to be executed Thursday. But Woods' attorneys say he is innocent and that his co-defendant has come forward.

CNN's Martin Savidge is in Birmingham with more on this case. So, Martin, where does all of this stand?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, tens of thousands of people are appealing to the Governor of Alabama and that is includes Martin Luther King, III, the son of the civil rights leader pleading for mercy in case of Nathaniel Woods.

This goes back to 2004 one of the darkest days in Birmingham police history. Police officers were inside a home attempting to arrest Woods on misdemeanor warrant. He surrendered to police when suddenly another man in the house, that's Kerry Spencer, jumped out with a semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on officers.

Killing three of them and wounding a fourth officer.

Both men were taken into custody, Spencer admitted to pulling the trigger, he said he acted alone. He was convicted of capital murder, he's now on death row awaiting execution. Woods though didn't kill anybody yet he was charged with complicity to commit murder which in the State of Alabama actually can be a capital offense. He was tried. He was found guilty and he, too, was sentenced to death even though he did not kill a single person. That his defense team, they now say is the first of many wrongs that

were committed against him. The authorities maintain that he was conspiring in some way to draw the police in. He said the only thing he did that day was surrender to the police.

He was offered a plea deal, but the attorneys that represented him back in the day told him not to accept it, it would have saved his life. In a number of appeals by a number of other attorneys have all been botched as well according to his current legal team.

So 48 hours from now, he is slated to be put to death. And there's one undisputed fact that everyone agrees with, and that is that 44-year- old Nathaniel Woods will be executed by the State of Alabama for the murder of three police officers he did not kill.

And there's one final twist, the man who actually did kill those officers who admitted to it is still alive on death row facing a number of appeals which means that Woods is likely to die before the man who actually did pull the trigger even though Woods didn't kill anybody. That is unless the Governor intervenes -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: None of this makes sense. What about the families of those murdered officers. Do they have an opinion on this?

SAVIDGE: And of course they do. And they are the other great tragic side of this, and this is something the defense acknowledges, there is huge heartbreak and tragedy here. We reached out to the families of two of the slain officers, and they say at this time they either couldn't or wouldn't talk. One family said it at the advice of the State Attorney's Office here.

We also reached out to the Birmingham Police Department to talk to the surviving officer or to get a statement. We could neither get an interview or a statement. And the Governor's office still has not given us any indication as to whether there will be clemency. Thursday is of course the execution day -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Wow. We'll wait to see if the Governor intervenes. Martin Savidge, thank you so much, in Birmingham.