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Cruise Ship Linked to Coronavirus Death Held Off California Coast; 1,000 New Yorkers Asked to Self-Quarantine; Work from Home Recommended in Seattle Area; Coronavirus to Cost Airline Group Billions; Trump Coronavirus Claims at Odd with Top Health Officials; Dow Set to Drop Amid Global Coronavirus Fears; Warren Assesses Her Campaign After Super Tuesday Losses; Chief Justice Roberts Slams Schumer for Comments About Justices. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:20]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

It is now a health crisis hitting land, sea and air. We're following all the developing headlines as the number of coronavirus cases grows here in the U.S. and around the world. Right now, that's a picture of it, 2,000 passengers held on a cruise ship off the coast of California. That's because 21 people on board are showing coronavirus symptoms. Three have now tested positive. This ship is linked to the death of one man who returned from a cruise less than two weeks ago.

HARLOW: Also this morning, airlines are cutting flights and demand is dropping precipitously. The industry bracing for huge losses. Dozens of schools also shutting down across the country. Major companies like Facebook and Amazon telling tens of thousands of employees not to come to work, to stay home and do their work from there.

The president's claims about the virus clashing with the science. Contradicting both the World Health Organization and the CDC about the death rate of coronavirus.

We are covering this story from coast to coast. Let's begin with our correspondent Dan Simon. He joins us in San Francisco this morning.

Dan, what can you tell us?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, Jim, I've been talking to some of the passengers on board that Grand Princess cruise ship. Most seem to be taking things in stride. But as you can imagine, some are feeling a bit anxious not knowing what the immediate future is going to look like. This was a 15-day voyage. Left San Francisco, sailed to the Hawaiian Islands. It was supposed to return to San Francisco on Saturday. Instead it came back early and it's not going to dock at all. It's

going to remain off the coast of California until medical officials can determine if anyone on board has the coronavirus. The Coast Guard is going to airlift some testing kits, and then hopefully within a few hours, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the test results are going to come back.

We do know that at least three people who were on the previous voyage did test positive for the coronavirus. And about 60 of those folks who were on the last cruise are now on this cruise. Those people have been confined to their rooms. They cannot leave. I did text with somebody last night saying that basically, their spirits were as high as can be, given the circumstances, but they just don't know what things are going to look like.

If somebody does test positive for the coronavirus, it's not clear what happens after that. Could we have some type of mass quarantine like what we saw in Japan? Officials have not addressed that as of now -- Poppy and Jim.

SCIUTTO: Tough conditions for people. Imagine being there with your kids as well and possibly for two weeks.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

SCIUTTO: Dan Simon, thanks very much.

For the latest on the situation here in New York, let's go to CNN national correspondent Bryn Gingras, because, Brynn, the number of people both testing positive but also being asked to quarantine growing fairly rapidly here.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we just learned a short time ago from New York City's mayor that there are two new cases within New York City. And we know about now a 40 -- a man in his 40s and a woman in her 80s. Both are now in ICU units in the hospital. So now the city of New York health officials are trying to track down and test and isolate anyone who had any contact with those two individuals.

Now these two new cases, Jim and Poppy, bring the number of 13 cases in the state of New York. And a majority of those cases connect back to a man who tested positive earlier this week. That 50-year-old man who is an attorney in Westchester County, New York. His family members, as well as some neighbors all tested positive, and they are isolated in their homes in Westchester County.

As a result of that, we've seen schools being shut down as well as universities and as you mentioned 1,000 -- about 1,000 people told to self-quarantine by city and state health officials.

HARLOW: Wow. Brynn, thank you for being outside there. Thanks for the reporting.

Now let's go to Seattle where Amazon, biggest employer in that city, says anyone who can, should stay home and work from home for the rest of the month.

Let's go to our correspondent Stephanie Elam who joins us in Kirkland, Washington, with an update from there -- Steph.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and Jim. That's right. Amazon is asking its workers to do that, and so is Facebook. Particularly for one building where they said one of their contract workers there has contracted the coronavirus. And so they are saying that we're going to keep the office closed for the rest of the week. But if you can work from home, we want you to do that. Same thing for Amazon as well.

But as the county in large is concerned, they are in the process of buying an EconoLodge hotel -- motel for $4 million. And they are saying that this is going to be where they isolate people who are recovering from coronavirus. And the reason why they picked this building, which is actually still active and still in the process of being a motel, is because it has no centralized air.

[09:05:07]

Each room has its own air control so that way it won't be spreading the virus and they're also saying that there's no centralized hallway either because all the doors open outside. So that's also something that they liked about that.

Overall, though, when you look at the situation here in Washington state, nine of the 10 deaths that we've seen in the country so far are here in Washington. And six of them related to the Life Care Center of Kirkland. They say that they have had more help from the CDC and the county coming in, but they said that they do not have the tests so they're relying on the hospital and also the county.

When we checked in with them yesterday, Jim and Poppy, they said that they don't have enough tests to test the people who want to be tested at this point.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. I mean, it's what you're seeing in communities. It's the disease but it's also how they respond to it, the restrictions the governments impose as a result.

HARLOW: Of course.

SCIUTTO: Stephanie Elam, thanks very much.

To that point, CNN's Cristina Alesci is in Newark, New Jersey.

And Cristina, airlines, they're paying a big price for this. United Airlines, JetBlue cutting back on flights. Tell us how extensively, and should we expect more of this?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We're getting word. This is the first reduction to domestic flights we have seen in this crisis. And it's all tied to the fact that consumer demand is dropping over concerns over the spread of coronavirus. United Airlines is slashing domestic and flights in the U.S. and Canada by 10 percent. JetBlue is reducing capacity by 5 percent. These airlines also making staffing changes. They are either instituting hiring freezes or reducing hiring going forward.

Look, we don't have a complete financial picture of what this looks like but what we do know and we just got word of is that the airline CEOs met with the administration yesterday and asked the administration not to discourage U.S. travel. That is clearly a sign that the airlines are worried about the impact on their bottom lines.

And if you want a bigger picture and a broader picture of how this could shake out for the global airline industry, an industry trade group put out an estimate yesterday that airlines globally could lose $113 billion in sales if the coronavirus continues to spread.

That estimate up from $30 billion just two weeks ago, Poppy and Jim. So you see how quickly this is moving. Again, all tied to this phenomenon that's called nesting. Consumers staying home. Not wanting to expose themselves to a higher risk. And this isn't the only sector of the service economy that's going to get hit.

You're talking about restaurants, hotels, conferences. Those are the things that I am monitoring to see what the broader financial and economic impact might be. Back to you.

HARLOW: Yes. Absolutely. Cristina, thank you for that reporting.

And this morning, more claims by the president about coronavirus and how fatal it is at odds with the science.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Contradicting, it seems. Let's go to CNN's John Harwood. He's at the White House.

What did the president say, and what's true, John?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jim, what the president is trying to do is tamp down the idea that this is a tremendous problem for the United States. He's running for re-election. He doesn't like to acknowledge bad news on his watch. So he's trying to downplay the situation as he has throughout. And this played out dramatically last night on Hannity when the president was confronting -- confronted with assessments by the World Health Organization of the lethality of this virus.

Let's take a listen and sequence to some of the statements that came out yesterday, including the president's.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Globally, about 3.4 percent of reported COVID-19 cases have died.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: If you look at the cases that have come to the attention of the medical authorities in China, and you just do the math, the math is about 2 percent. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think the 3.4 percent

is really a false number. Now, and this is just my hunch, but based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people that do this, because a lot of people will have this, and it's very mild. Personally, I would say the number is way under 1 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARWOOD: Just my hunch, based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people. That's not what you want for the American people in terms of clear guidance. And the president is questioning the World Health Organization. He's earlier questioned estimates from Fauci and others. Questioned assessments of the spread of this disease. He also went on in that Hannity interview to suggest that it was OK for people to go to work when they had coronavirus.

In contrast to what Stephanie reported from Amazon, them telling their workers to stay home. Americans need clear information in a crisis, and right now, they're not getting it from President Trump.

SCIUTTO: John Harwood at the White House.

So let's get some clear information. We've got Dr. Sanjay Gupta, of course CNN chief medical correspondent.

So the fatality rate from this. WHO, 3.4 percent. Fauci estimating 2 percent. The president on a hunch. Now we know that as more cases are diagnosed, that that rate drops because you'll know that more people have it.

[09:10:04]

But based on the best that we know, factually today, what do we believe the actual death rate is?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, we've got to go with the numbers that we know. And, you know, even Fauci has talked about the fact that there may be more people out there who are carrying the infection, who've not been diagnosed, but we have to go with the numbers. And so we know, in Hubei area that it was around 2 percent.

We know as you start to look globally, it's closer to 3.4 percent as Dr. Tedros just mentioned from the WHO. That sort of dictates the preparation in terms of how many people might get sick, how many hospital beds might be necessary, how many breathing machines might be necessary. You've got to sort of base it on real data.

HARLOW: Sanjay, the president also talked about his thoughts on whether people should go to work or not. On Hannity last night. Can you just listen to that for a moment and get your reaction?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work. But they get better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GUPTA: Look, you know, even outside of a coronavirus outbreak, I mean, the idea that someone is carrying a virus in their bodies goes to work, that is just the basic bedrock of public health. You've got to separate people. People should stay home. People often don't. And it's frustrating to the medical community because, you know, this is a way that we can actually mitigate the spread of disease. So that's obviously not a good message. Even outside of a coronavirus outbreak. So --

HARLOW: For any virus.

GUPTA: Yes. For any virus, any illness.

SCIUTTO: How dangerous is it in the midst of a health crisis like this for the American people to be getting conflicting information, but also from the president at times, and this is not the first time, right? Because of course he exaggerated the speed with which you could develop a vaccine, from the president himself.

GUPTA: I think in either direction, whether it's too much panic or too much allaying of panic, you know, being a little Pollyannaish about it, both have their dangers. You know, I mean, what I know, because I spent a fair amount of time at the White House, I was there yesterday.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

GUPTA: Spent time with the vice president, I know there is good knowledge that is being transmitted to the president, to the vice president, from public health officials. People are really looking at this data. So I do take solace in that, in that there are people who are actually very good working on this and understanding this data.

It is true that, you know, ultimately, the number of people who are infected could be much higher.

SCIUTTO: Right.

GUPTA: And, therefore, the fatality rate would drop. That is true. But we don't know that for sure. There have been viruses that have spread around the world that have had, you know, fatality rates that are similar to this. And that's what the preparation is.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

GUPTA: What I get concerned about is the fact that the projections from the federal government themselves say, hey, look, if this is a moderate pandemic, we will need around 64,000 breathing machines for people. Right now in the country, we have about 64,000 breathing machines but many of them are being used because it's flu season. People are in the ICU.

So what's going to happen suddenly if a lot of people need breathing machines and we don't have them. Who is going to make these decisions? How are doctors, nurses, whoever going to actually figure out who actually, you know, needs to get it and who is going to get taken off? Those are real decisions that are going to get dictated by these numbers.

SCIUTTO: Shortage.

HARLOW: Finally, Sanjay, what do we know this morning about if everyone can actually get tested at their own doctor?

GUPTA: Well, I spent, you know, a fair amount, that was a big discussion yesterday. I think there's three things that are sort of happening simultaneously. One is that these kits that you hear about, which have many, many tests in them, total about a million tests, are starting to be distributed around the country. 43 states should be able to have access to these kits.

HARLOW: But that means seven states don't have them.

GUPTA: That means seven states won't have them. But what they're hoping is that state hospitals and university hospitals have been given FDA authorization to actually develop their own tests as well. And commercial labs like Quest. They're not there yet, as the vice president said yesterday, but they're going to be given authorization, FDA authorization, to develop tests as well.

So the feds, the states and then the commercial testing should, you know, within the next few weeks. And let me just add, when that testing does become more widely available, we are going to see a sudden jump in numbers.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

GUPTA: That may not necessarily reflect a huge spike in cases.

HARLOW: Yes.

GUPTA: As it now -- as the lag of testing finally starting to catch up.

SCIUTTO: Just very quickly. Everybody is saying wash your hands. Simple step. Shaking hands. You are recommending the elbow bump. And is that something that folks at home reasonably should do?

GUPTA: Yes. I think, you know --

SCIUTTO: Avoid shaking hands.

GUPTA: I think avoid shaking hands. I mean, this virus can stay on your hands. You touch your eyes, you touch your nose, you get it from somebody else. So, you know, I'm not trying to be glib about this.

SCIUTTO: No.

GUPTA: But I think that the idea of doing whatever we can to stop transmission for hundreds of years, those sorts of policies, those sorts of recommendations have worked. And they could work here as well. We could mitigate the spread of this in very simple ways.

SCIUTTO: Elbow bump. Thank you, Doctor. We'll have you back in the next hour.

HARLOW: Sanjay, thank you.

Also, for all of you watching tonight, make sure to stay up and watch our special global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS, FACTS AND FEARS." It's hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta along with Anderson Cooper and that's 10:00 Eastern right here.

[09:15:00]

The roller-coaster ride on Wall Street not going to end today. Look at futures down pretty sharply this morning. Looks like investors bracing for another volatile day -- we're on top of that.

And pressure building on an answer, I guess, from Senator Elizabeth Warren. What is she going to do next, and will she endorse?

SCIUTTO: And Chief Justice John Roberts issues a scathing rebuke of the Senate's top Democrat. What Senator Schumer actually said about two justices that started it all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: Question now, the future of Elizabeth Warren's campaign, answer, not clear this morning as the race enters a new phase with two clear front-runners. Warren's team says the senator is taking time to think about the best path forward for her.

[09:20:00]

HARLOW: We're also awaiting the final results from delegate-rich California. Sanders still holding the lead there, but Biden has the edge in total delegates, so far through Super Tuesday. Rob Brownstein is here, senior editor for "The Atlantic", Sabrina Saddiqui joins us as well, national politics reporter for "The Wall Street Journal", good morning.

To you both, Ron, if we could just talk about what a Warren endorsement you believe would mean if she gives one. Because --

RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Yes --

HARLOW: I think conventional wisdom may be, oh, well, if she gave it, she'd give it to Sanders, and she's more in line with him than Biden. That's not necessarily true --

BROWNSTEIN: Right --

HARLOW: That all of her supporters will go to Sanders, is it?

BROWNSTEIN: I don't -- I don't think it is. I mean, first of all, I mean, we don't know what she would want to do.

HARLOW: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: But I can tell you from going to her events in Iowa and New Hampshire in particular, I met many more voters who were considering Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar as their backup than Bernie Sanders. I mean, what --

HARLOW: Interesting.

BROWNSTEIN: What drew them to Warren, her audience is very heavily tilted to what we call, you know, the line-track college-educated white voters who liked her fluency, her -- the details of her plans, her intelligence. And that's why -- that's why Buttigieg and Klobuchar was kind of the shared universe. I mean, if you look at college- educated white voters which is where her audience is, neither Bernie Sanders nor Joe Biden was a great fit for them at the beginning.

But on Super Tuesday, Biden won them in almost every state, and there were --

HARLOW: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: Only I think three states where Bernie -- where Sanders, maybe two states where he cracked 30 percent among them. So, I think it is a mistake to assume that if she got out, that would just proportionally flow towards Senator Sanders.

SCIUTTO: Sabrina, let's look at California again because notable here as we look at those figures, the latest that we have is that at this point, in California, Bloomberg still -- well, that's Hispanic voters, but actually the number on total vote at this point because he's still below the 15 percent threshold there, and Sanders put a lot of weight on -- not just winning California -- there you have Bloomberg at 14.1 percent could change as we count more votes.

But he put a lot of weight on winning big in California, getting a big delegate haul from here. But if it stays like this, Sabrina, he doesn't get that, Bernie Sanders. How significant?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I think it would certainly be disappointing if he doesn't walk away with the kind of delegate haul he was expecting. And that's a trend that you saw across Super Tuesday for Bernie Sanders. More broadly, I think what's concerning for him is while he did -- or appears to be in a strong position in California in part because of strong support from Latino voters, young voters.

That coalition that he was trying to put together where he said that the only way he wins is if he's able to boost turnout among groups that don't often participate in the primary process. Those numbers have not really panned out in the way that he needed them to across those 14 states that went to the polls on Tuesday.

And so, as he looks ahead, in what is emerging as a two-way contest between him and Joe Biden, he's really going to have to look at how he expands his coalition because one point that the Biden campaign has been emphasizing in the wake of Super Tuesday is, it's not just that the former Vice President's propelled by support from an overwhelming number of black voters.

He also -- to Ron's point, carried those suburban voters, those college-educated voters who were critical to flipping the house back into Democrats' control in 2018, as well as non-college-educated --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes --

SIDDIQUI: White voters in more states than Sanders was able to pull off. And so, that also speaks to a lot of the overlap, though, between some of these supporters and voters in the ways in which they're not actually split along ideological lines. So, this is still a very much a close contest that overall delegate race is -- I think Bernie and Biden --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

SIDDIQUI: Are still separated by less than 70 votes. It's really anyone's game. A lot of it will come down to turnout.

HARLOW: Ron, listen to this. Bernie Sanders lamenting the lack of enthusiasm or turnout among youth voters. Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have we been as successful as I would hope in bringing young people in? And the answer is, no. We have not done as well in bringing young people in the process. It is not easy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Has Ron, the Sanders camp been overly dependent on that typically unreliable demographic and, you know, could that hurt them late in the game here?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. You know, I wrote a piece just last week, I mean, voting is a process -- you know, it's an act that is really rooted in deep kind of demographic stage of life. There are patterns to the way generations vote and how they increase their turnout. It's very hard for campaigns to fundamentally change that. And it's an issue for him, not only in terms of the primary, but it's this fundamental argument about how he would win a general election against President Trump if he's the nominee.

It's by massively expanding the electorate. All the evidence, Poppy, is that non-voters do not decisively break toward one party. It's kind of a misconception --

HARLOW: Yes --

BROWNSTEIN: That higher turnout automatically benefits the Democrats especially as Republicans become more dependent on those college- educated white voters. If he does -- if he can't change the electorate first in the primary, he's got to compete in the electorate that exists. And one thing that really struck me is that, you know, when he emerged as the front-runner, post-New Hampshire and Nevada, his tone was, I am running as much against the Democratic establishment as I am against the Republican establishment.

[09:25:00]

Only picking a vice president who supports Medical for all. And the payoff of that was that, on Super Tuesday, among people who identified as partisan Democrats, which is after all the party he's trying to lead, he lost by 20 to 30, in some cases 50 points in most states. It's hard to win a party's nomination if the core partisans of that party are saying no.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Well, we'll stay on top of it. Ron Brownstein, Sabrina Siddiqui, thanks to both of you.

SIDDIQUI: Thank you --

HARLOW: We're moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Volatility, the name of the game again today. Coronavirus and the global economic effects dragging down futures this morning. Dow future are off more than 600 points right now, top of mind for investors, will the world's largest economies -- the U.S. and China face a recession because of all of this? We'll follow the developments.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)