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Six People Dead of Coronavirus in Washington State; Netanyahu Declares Victory; Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Beto Endorse Biden. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 3, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:37:44]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Six people are dead in Washington State from Coronavirus. Nearly 50 schools there are closed this morning for cleaning as the number of cases in the U.S. tops 100. Joining us now is CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, you've been so helpful giving us the status report every day, and so given that there are now these six deaths, schools have had to close in Washington State. Where are we today with the Coronavirus?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well you know there are public health investigators who are trying to figure out still what is in common between all these patients and Washington State. And frankly you know they may not find those connections because we know, Alisyn, as we've talked about the virus is circulating in Washington State. I think where we are and I think the testing that's going out this week will probably reveal this is that I think there's evidence of community spread in many places probably around the country we're going to see that.

And while there's these six deaths in Washington State, you got to keep in mind in the middle of flu season, Alisyn, there's been over 15,000 people who have died of flu so far this season in the United States. Many of them you know the question I think going back well was that Coronavirus in some of these patients even in other states around the country. That may not mean that much in terms of the overall trajectory of this but it's quite likely that Coronavirus has been here longer than we think it's been circulating longer than we think. And it's probably had an impact you know for some time now.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, you're in Washington, and I want to ask you a question about President Trump because he still seems to be grappling with the notion that the flu is deadly. Last week, of course, you had an exchange with him and during the White House press conference about whether the Coronavirus versus the flu. And he expressed frankly astonishment back then that the flu was so deadly. Well we thought that he would've gotten the message back then from your exchange, but just yesterday the President said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Remember this over the last long period of time the flu the common flu. You know this right? From 27,000 to 70,000 people get infected and many people die. We lose 27,000 people a year. Nobody knew that. I didn't know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Yeah I mean he says nobody knew that of course.

[07:35:10]

Well everyone knew that. I mean all sorts of medical doctors knew that. But I guess the feeling is is he not getting good enough information about this? We just want to feel confident that all of, you know, the administration is on the same page.

GUPTA: Well what I can tell you because I've just seen a lot of these discussions, talked to many of the advisers who are advising the President that I think you know the information is going to the President. I mean certainly in terms of the impact of flu. But also you know I think there was a point that he raised yesterday that the flu shot itself why couldn't that be used for Coronavirus? And luckily his advisers around him explained to him that these are two different viruses. You can't vaccinate for one and get protection for a completely different virus.

So I think he's getting the information. But you know what I sense is there's real desire to sort of allay fears by tamping down concerns that you know aren't scientifically based always. So that's not probably helpful in terms of going forward because we you know we're in the preparation phase for this right now, Alisyn. I mean one of the things that really strikes me is that this is a mild pandemic in the United States. And you know if this ends up being moderate or severe it's a different story. But even a mild pandemic means that you know you're going to have you know 200,000 people who are going to need ICU care. There's going to be 65,000 people who are going to need ventilators. And that's all the ventilators that we have in this country many of which are currently being used obviously because you know people are in hospitals all the time.

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

GUPTA: So there's like real things that need to be done and that takes an acknowledgment that this is serious. Most people again are going to be exposed to this virus and be fine. But there's going to be a population of people that are going to need intensive care and that's what these last six weeks, eight weeks have really hopefully been about is planning for that.

CAMEROTA: Yeah.

GUPTA: And if we don't acknowledge it we can't plan.

CAMEROTA: But, Sanjay, I think that's frightening. I want you to just drill down on that a little bit more because I know that doctors and you have gamed out these different scenarios whether it's moderate, whether it's severe.

GUPTA: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: In fact we have a graphic about this. So the moderate scenario okay if it follows along the same course is as you're saying one million hospitalizations, 200,000...

GUPTA: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: ... people needing intensive care? I mean that is a really frightening scenario because you tell me can hospitals handle that influx?

GUPTA: Well I am not sure about that. You know and I think that is of concern. You know hospital systems in this country are not built with a lot of redundancy meaning a lot of open beds that just sit open, a lot of ICU beds just waiting to be filled. I mean most hospitals as people know are sort of always operating near full capacity. That's how hospitals operate nowadays. In fact if you look at the trajectory of ICU beds and ventilators some of this has actually gone down over the years as hospitals have tried to become more efficient. Good for hospitals under normal situations but if suddenly there's a big surge like this I think it's going to raise a lot of questions. And by the way those projections you just showed, Alisyn those are the federal government projections and modelings.

So you know this is coming from them directly. And what we found out yesterday is we started to dig into this is that specifically breathing machines which would be necessary for the most critically ill for this respiratory illness. There's only you know 60 -- there's a stockpile of about 10,000, there's 62,000 that are in use you know at any given time. With the mild to moderate pandemic we would need an additional 64,000. We don't have those. So I think that's something they're going to have to figure out.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, we really appreciate all of your expertise. We'll be back in the next hour to answer more questions.

GUPTA: Got it.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Very much. John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So Super Tuesday it's going to be one wild ride with a lot of states and a bunch of data to analyze. What should you be looking for? Your magic Super Tuesday decoder ring? And a reality check next.

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[07:43:10]

BERMAN: All right happening now the in battled prime minister from Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is declaring victory in the third election in that country in a year. It appears though that he will fall short of winning the majority he needs. So the question really is and this is the same question that's existed in that country for months and months and months and months can he or anyone form a coalition government? CNN's Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem with the very latest. Oren and this is still developing this morning?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN ANCHOR: It still is. There's still a vote count going on today and it will go on through the rest of the week as they count the sort of extra votes from soldiers, diplomats and other smaller parties. But that's how close this is. Those votes will count. And yet it still remains very possible that the political deadlock that has gripped this country for more than a year now will not be broken. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who claiming victory last night. And he has some reason to do so with 90% of the votes counted channel 12 is projecting that his Likud party will have 36 seats and his rivals Blue and White party will have 32 seats.

That is a significant gap and what was a very close election to this point. But crucially Netanyahu does not have what appears to be a straight forward path to a governing coalition of 61. And that has eluded him in the past two elections in April and September. So although he talked about beating the odds and he was given a sort of political vindication even though he was charged on -- with indictment with bribery and breach of trust and a trial date in just two weeks he has come ahead the bigger party but without a clear path towards forming a coalition. The question now where does he end up? If he's at 60 seats that's very close and he may be able to work something out. But since then the projection has been updated and he's now at 59 seats and suddenly the finish line for Netanyahu looks a little bit farther away.

[07:45:09]

Meanwhile his rival Benny Gantz not conceding yet saying it was a disappointing

LIEBERMANN: night but they will stand true to their principles. It will be a long week of counting and we'll see if any of that changes the results here and gets Israel out of its political deadlock.

CAMEROTA: Oh it sounds like it will be a long week. Oren thank you very much. Back here in the U.S. Super Tuesday could change everything. So what are the most important things you should be watching for? John Avlon has our reality check. Hi John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hey guys I got your decoder ring right here. And welcome to Super Tuesday 2020. Fourteen states, one territory. More than one-third of the democratic delegates at stake. Four candidates on the debate stage fighting for their political lives. By the end of the night the data's going to be harder to digest than a carnival hot dog. So here are five things to look out for. Number one, drill down on turnout. Most annoying cliche in politics is the guy who says, "It's all going to come down to turnout." But what kind of voters turnout really matters? So look led by California and Texas the Super Tuesday states are more

diverse than America as a whole. Nevada, Bernie Sanders one 51% of the Hispanic vote. Biden won 61% of the black vote in South Carolina. We'll see if those trends continue. Likewise Bernie Sanders has been cleaning up with the youth vote while Biden's strongest support has come from older voters. That's a political truism that old people vote. Will the youth turnout for Bernie in big numbers? Here's a benchmark.

Barack Obama won 57% of voters under 30 on Super Tuesday 2008. But what about the new voters that Bernie says will flock to the polls to support him? So far they haven't materialized. In fact more moderate voters turned out this year in New Hampshire than 2016. But the center lane has been fractured now with former Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Senator Amy Klobuchar announcing their support for Biden. We'll see whether moderates rally around him. Two, early voting. Two million people have already cast their vote on Super Tuesday states as of a week ago and those voters will have totally missed out on Biden's momentum out of South Carolina. And if they voted for Mayor Pete or Amy Klobuchar or Tom Steyer there's going to be a tear in their beer. California has seen 1.3 million mail-in votes alone.

And poll says Bernie has an advantage there that's despite Mike Bloomberg spending more than 56 million dollars on ads in the golden state. But it is very possible that we won't know the California delegates but until well after the polls close. I mean well after. In 2016 it took over a month to count all the mail-in ballots. Number three, who wins the swing states of the 14 Super Tuesday states only Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina and Minnesota are considered swing states in the general election. And all of these have some sort of open primer meaning that independents can vote. A strong showing in swing states with independent voters could be a real indication of what candidate is most competitive in the fall. Number four, home state advantage? Elizabeth Warren is fighting to win her home state in Massachusetts against Bernie. Has been campaigning hard in the bay state. But if she can't beat Bernie at home her path forward is much murkier than it is already. Finally number five, it's all about the delegates people. Democracy is to some degree literally a popularity contest.

But unless a candidate clears 15% of the vote in a given state they're going home empty-handed. But to get the nomination a candidate's going to need to claim 1,991 delegates. Anything less means a contested convention. And here are the current totals. That's with just 4% of the delegates awarded despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to date. That count's going to look very different tomorrow morning when more than 1,300 delegates will be decided. So buckle up for a long wild night. And if you live in a Super Tuesday state go vote. And that's your reality check.

BERMAN: You know not just a wild night I want to remind people there will be counting tomorrow morning when we come on the air after 5:00 am you're going to be with us, this will not be over after you all wake up tomorrow. Particularly in California where it takes them a while to count.

CAMEROTA: And that's why I'll be bringing my abacus on tomorrow's show.

AVALON: I'm glad to break up the Advocate (ph).

CAMEROTA: I will I do that sometimes.

BERMAN: They could use one of those in Iowa. All right so several health officials are warning that the Coronavirus outbreak is getting closer to pandemic level. What would that look like if it does? What does it actually mean? An expert with some important context joins us with the things you need to keep in mind next.

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[07:53:23]

BERMAN: Overnight the World Health Organization said we are in uncharted territory as the global death toll from the Coronavirus tops 3,000. Is the world prepared? The question this morning is the world prepared if this outbreak becomes a pandemic? Joining me now is Richard Preston author of numerous best-selling books on infectious diseases and outbreaks. His latest is called Crisis in the Red Zone. He wrote Hot Zone which is a book a lot of people know. So great to have you here this morning. You look at this I think differently than a lot of us do or at least from a 30,000 foot view and I think one of the things you just want to know is that this is an example in a way of nature versus man.

RICHARD PRESTON, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORKER: That's exactly what it is. I think it would be good to take a step back and look at the big picture here. Now what's going on is sort of a viral storm as it were. It's a force of nature and what we're seeing now is the emergence of these new kinds of viruses that are leaking out of natural ecosystems and getting into us. And if you think about every living thing on the planet gets infected with its own kinds of viruses. And viruses have a tendency so sometimes jump across the species barrier go from one to another. So as far as we know scientists believe that the Coronavirus that we now have started as basically a runny nose in bats. It's a bat virus. And it went somehow or rather from one bat with a sniffle to some animal that probably ended up in the meat market in Central China.

[07:55:06]

And then from there scientists have been studying the genetic code of the virus and the evidence is that it got from this animal to one person. One person an unknown person somewhere on earth got a bat sniffle and now it's ballooned to the point where the world is at the threshold of a pandemic.

BERMAN: And that's what concerns people. To be able to go from one bat to one person to 90,000 people so quickly is of concern. And they think about well what would happen if it goes from 90,000 to what? You have some questions here some unknowns. And one of the unknowns is the death rate from this is how deadly is it?

PRESTON: Well this is a very interesting and important question that doctors and scientists are now debating it. The death rate could be as high as 2.5%.

BERMAN: Which puts you in Spanish flu territory like 1918 flu which killed a lot of people.

PRESTON: Right. Regardless this is a nasty virus. You do not want to get it whether you're young or old. It can be mild in some people it may be just a sort of an ordinary kind of a thing for many but for some it's absolutely lethal. Now the death rate may be lower it may be around 1% we just don't know. But you could think about it this way. Let's say you are in a large high school graduating class or college graduating class and of a 1,000 people and if everybody gets the virus and that means that if it's at 1% death rate 10 of your classmates are going to die. If it's at 2.5 death rate than 25 of your classmates are going to die. That's you know that's a strong virus.

BERMAN: It's not everybody it's not the vast majority but it means you will know some of them. I think that's why that's a powerful analogy there. You studied pandemics from Ebola, to ones before that, what have you learned in terms of what is the most effective or important things in fighting pandemics?

PRESTON: Well the most important thing and it's also one of the two great unanswered questions is how does human behavior change in an epidemic? You know when our lives are at stake we are very good at shifting gears rapidly. We're pretty good at protecting ourselves. And the lesson from Ebola and the great outbreak of a few years ago was that people change their behavior once they understand the nature of the threat. And it can be very simple things. It can drive down the infection rate of the virus. And it's things like you know not shaking hands, not getting huggy-touchy feely with people, keeping your distance, being very aware of individuals who appear to be sick. And in Africa if somebody looked like they were sick nobody would go near them. And it's also staying away from public places and crowds to the extent possible in your life. And these kinds of simple things which the public health doctors are recommending can make a big difference. Also hand-washing is super important and being careful not to keep your -- keep your fingertips away from your eyes. Turns out people touch their eyes a lot.

BERMAN: Don't touch your face it's so hard to stop. But look, Richard Preston another thing you point out is that we need to be able to hear the truth frequently from public officials and listen to the public health doctors, public doctors, public health doctors are different than your physicians all of this is so important. It's great to have you here this morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

PRESTON: It's great to be with you, thank you.

BERMAN: All right a lot of news this morning. It is Super Tuesday the biggest day yet in the Democratic race. Some unprecedented political maneuvering in the hours just before the polls opened. New Day continues right now.

Good morning and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day it's March 3rd it is now 8:00 in the east and most importantly it is Tuesday Super Tuesday the polls are now opening. Ten, ten of the 14 states in one territory voting today. This represents a full one-third of the Democratic delegates at stake in this entire election season. As it stands right now Bernie Sanders is ahead of Joe Biden in the delegate count but I've been saying all morning these numbers are quite (ph) these numbers are puny compared to what they will be 24 hours from now because of the vast number of delegates up for grabs. Major developments in the last 24 hours. Overnight three former Democratic candidates including two who were just in the race until sort of minutes ago they all endorsed Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm encouraging everybody who was part of my campaign to join me because we have found that leader in Vice President soon-to-be President, Joe Biden.

BETO O'ROURKE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need somebody who can beat Donald Trump and in Joe Biden we have that man.

AMY KLOBUCHAR, SENATOR: I am ending my campaign and endorsing Joe Biden for President.