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Elizabeth Warren Drops Out; Interview With Taylor Hicks; Interview With Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL); Trump Administration Admits Falling Short of Enough Coronavirus Tests to Meet Demand. Aired 3- 3:30p ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 15:00   ET



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's just a matter of how these people had some sort of connection to this lawyer, and then his family, who's tested positive, and then this lawyer's neighbors, who tested positive.

So this is just sort of the spokes of all of this big wheel, just trying to locate all these people, whether they worshipped with him at his temple, whether they worked with him at this law firm here behind me, whether they went to school with their son at a university here in New York.

It's a matter of tracing these people, tracking them down, telling them that they could be at risk and getting them tested before even knowing if they have the virus.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Brynn Gingras, thank you very much for the update there.

We are at the top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN.

And if you are just joining us, here's the big headline of the afternoon. This is coming from the vice president of the United States, that he is saying that the U.S. currently does not have enough coronavirus tests to meet the demand.

Let's go to the senior -- our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, with me.

Don't have the tests to meet the demand. Like, what should we make of this?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, to read his full quote, he said: "We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward."

And this is -- you know, a lot of people have been saying this. The vice president might have said -- or I'm sorry -- he did say earlier, you know, any American who wants to get tested can get tested. But many experts are saying, wait a second, do we have enough -- I mean, maybe there's permission to test them, but are there enough tests to test them? So not surprising that we don't have enough going forward.

There could be millions of Americans who going forward will need coronavirus testing. I think it's clear that we don't have that many tests out there.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth, thank you.

Let me go straight to a doctor.

Rob Davidson is an emergency room doctor and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare.

So, Dr. Davidson, thank you so much for being here.

And just your reaction to hearing that we just don't have enough tests?


Yes, I mean, that's what I'm seeing on the ground, as a 20-year veteran emergency physician. We're trained to prepare for the worst, prepare for the unexpected. We drill on unexpected emergencies, so when they come in, we know about them.

And an outbreak like this could be anticipated to come at some point, and it seems like we're kind of left hanging without these tests available. We know what the CDC is recommending for who we're supposed to be concerned about, who we're supposed to test.

One of those is someone in contact with the person who has -- who has tested positive. Well, if we're not testing anybody, we can't even find those index cases to know, you know, who is potentially at risk.

BALDWIN: Let me jump to -- because I was reading your whole Twitter thread, right? So, you addressed the issue of how we need immunization for all Americans with the coronavirus, regardless of the ability to pay.

My question is, how would that work? Who would, you know, get to stand in line? What's the priority, the cost, who pays?


I mean, I think we need to make it a priority as a public health service. By protecting everybody, we're protecting all the people who are potentially at risk. So this isn't just about the individual getting immunized. That's -- you know, that's what we do with influenza.

So they already said people on Medicare and Medicaid would be covered. People with ACA plans would be covered. I think our government has the ability to mandate the coverage of these vaccines and for people without insurance to provide them for those individuals.

Now, at the Committee to Protect Medicare, we are advocating wholesale to increase the number of people who get insured either through Medicare for all or a public option. You know, we're concerned about President Trump's $1 trillion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, which would leave fewer people covered in the future, leaving these kinds of issues, you know, to be more concerning, because less people would have coverage.

BALDWIN: What about bigger picture on coronavirus in terms of what the government -- various governments around the world are telling their citizens to do, right?

So you can take the case in China. Chinese government, draconian crackdown, told hundreds of millions of, you know, Chinese to stay home vs., say, Iran, where Iran said to its people, you're fine. Go about your daily business.

And you look at the effects, you know, who's sick, how many people are sick in both of those countries. My question to you is, do you think China did it right?

DAVIDSON: Oh, I think that we need to come up with our solution here in America. You know, we need to take from every other place and see how they have done it and how they somewhat mitigated the number of cases.

I think what our government needs to do now is to reassure people that people are on the front lines that are -- kind of have plans that are doing their best. I understand now we just have heard that the tests that we thought were going to be available by the end of the week will not available.

BALDWIN: Correct.

DAVIDSON: And until that time, I think anyone who gets sick with potential symptoms needs to assume they could be contagious, and they need to use every measure possible to avoid infecting over people.

BALDWIN: Let's stay on that, because if someone does get sick, and let's say there aren't the tests to test them whether or not they have coronavirus, what do you do?



I mean, I think you exercise caution. I think you -- young know, handwashing and try to prevent the spread.

If you're a health care worker, I think you need to basically avoid patients, and I think that's a challenge for our health care settings, again, because we don't have the testing.

This gets to the crux of this administration's response. Those of us on the front lines, like I said, as we prepare for uncommon emergencies and do drills, we are ready for whatever comes in the door in my emergency department. We weren't ready for this, because, you know, initially shunned the WHO tests that were available.

The tests we sent out a month ago, then found out they didn't work, and now we have a shortage of these tests. So, again, it's a challenge. We -- at our local hospital, we have meetings and try to figure out how we're going to manage probably in the next three weeks the influx of patients once we start doing more testing and recognize more people that have this virus.


BALDWIN: Are you prepared for that? As a veteran E.R. doc, I hear you saying you're always prepared, but are you prepared?

DAVIDSON: Yes, we're doing our best to be prepared. You know, we can take care of sick people, of course. The problem is, in our small community hospital, we have three negative pressure isolation rooms in the in-patient setting altogether.

If we get more than three patients who are positive who are the folks that need to be hospitalized, that becomes a challenge. We already have a stretched thin EMS system for transfers to more, you know, concentrated referral hospitals.

These are all products in our state, at least, of Republican administrations having cut those services over the past several decades, and we find out what happens when we have a lack of investment in basic health care, basic public health.

This is the biggest concern of my Committee to Protect Medicare, you know, in the Trump administration's attempts to cut health care going forward. We know what happens when we don't -- when we don't provide health care for as many people as possible.


And then, Dr. Davidson, we're also covering the story of this cruise ship that's docked off the coast of California, right?


BALDWIN: The fear is how many people could potentially be sick?

And I'm wondering, just from a health perspective, a lot of people heading off on their spring break or their vacations, a cruise is a great more economic way to go. Just from your perspective, do you think, A, folks should jump on a cruise ship? And, B, do you think the cruise industry should shut down for a hot minute?

DAVIDSON: You know, I don't know that I have a position here to be telling them what to do with their business, and I think certainly we have public health officials in this country that can kind of--


BALDWIN: But you know about the health issues related around--


BALDWIN: -- cruise.

DAVIDSON: I do. And I get -- I honestly get D.M.s on Twitter asking me.

I had someone recently say, listen, I'm thinking of relocating to Seattle. Do you think I should do that? With a caveat, I can't tell you what to do, my thing is to do everything you can to minimize your risk.


DAVIDSON: My family is preparing at the beginning of April to go on spring break, and we're going to have to decide, do we want to be on an airplane with people?

It really depends on where we are in this outbreak at that point. I think that people who have underlying risk factors should do everything possible to avoid being in environments that would put them at risk of contracting this virus.

BALDWIN: Excellent, excellent advice.

I'm just going back to your minimize your risk point.


BALDWIN: Rob Davidson, thank you so much.

DAVIDSON: Thank you so much for having me.

BALDWIN: You got it.

Let's just get a reset on some of the other big headlines on the coronavirus this afternoon, 205 cases so far in the U.S. In just the last hour, more states are reporting additional people infected, as the U.S. Senate passes a multibillion-dollar spending bill aimed at mitigating the outbreak.

At least 57 schools across the country are mandating that parents keep their kids home from school. And around the world, the rapidly spreading illness is keeping nearly 300 million kids away from school.

Amazon, huge company, Amazon, telling its employees in the Seattle area to work from home until the end of the month, while some major airlines are now cutting back their domestic flights.

And we were just talking about cruises, and here's why. More on this cruise ship that is being held off the coast of California. About 100 Grand Princess passengers are expected to be tested once a Coast Guard helicopter delivers the test kits to the ship.

Let's go straight to San Francisco to Dan Simon, who's been covering this.

This is where the ship was supposed to dock, Dan. And you have been in touch with folks on board. What are they sharing with you?


First of all, this is the cruise ship terminal in San Francisco. It's usually pretty simple stuff. The ship pulls up to the dock. The passengers disembark, and they're on their way.

Right now, this cruise ship is off the coast of San Francisco, and it's going to be there. For how long? We just do not know. And that is what is making passengers very anxious. They don't know if they're going to be dealing with some type of extended quarantine situation, like what we saw with the other Princess Cruise ship in Japan.

I want you to listen now to one of the passengers who I spoke with just a little while ago.



SHARON LANE, PASSENGER: Obviously, in the dining room, we're not allowed to touch salt and pepper pots, sugar pots. They have to do all that for you.

We're not allowed to take bread rolls out of the baskets. They have to give us those. To be honest it's a bit, like, degrading. I know they have to do this. It's to keep us all safe.

But, you know, it's not very good. Spirits on board are starting to get quite low. People are worried of what's happening. So, just, at the end of the day, they all have just got to deal with it and get on with it.


SIMON: Well, let's recap how we got here.

This was a seven-day cruise to the Hawaiian Islands. It was supposed to return to San Francisco on Saturday. It came back a little early. Instead of going to the dock, as we said, it's just being parked off the coast until authorities know what they're dealing with.

Now, on the previous voyage that left on February 14, you had a couple of people who subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus. One of those people died. And then you have 60 or so people who were on that previous voyage. They are now on the current ship.

So those people are now confined to their guest rooms. They are going to be part of this overall group that's going to be tested for the coronavirus. And you have 60 people who are on the last cruise, and then another 20 or so current passengers who just boarded this ship who are showing symptoms -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Dan, thank you.

And for all of you who have questions, you're not alone. Please tune in tonight to this CNN global town hall. We're going to sort fact from fiction. It's Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, hosting this live global town hall, 10:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.

We are also following breaking news in the 2020 race today, Senator Elizabeth Warren bowing out. We will ask a congresswoman who's backing Joe Biden what that means for the former vice president's campaign.

And the Dow making another loud swing right now over coronavirus fears, this as the airline industry warns the outbreak could cost more than $100 billion.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Brooke. We will be right back.



BALDWIN: The Democratic race for president is now officially a one- on-one battle between former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The news today is that Senator Elizabeth Warren has dropped out, and she has done it without endorsing anyone. In announcing her decision, the senator had said she thought there was a place for her candidacy.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I was told at the beginning of this whole undertaking that there are two lanes, a progressive lane that Bernie Sanders is the incumbent for, and a moderate lane that Joe Biden is the incumbent for, and there's no room for anyone else in this.

I thought that wasn't right.


BALDWIN: Let me show this photo.

This is from Meena Harris, Senator Kamala Harris' niece. She tweeted this out of her aunt and some of those women who made history as part of the largest field of women ever running for president.

And this is what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had to say about that:


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I so wish -- every time I get introduced as the most powerful woman in America, I almost cry, because I think, I wish that were not true. I so wish that we had a woman president of the United States. And we came very close to doing that.


BALDWIN: Joining me now, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, a Democrat from Alabama who's endorsing the former vice president.

So, Congresswoman Sewell, a pleasure. Welcome.

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): Thank you so much, Brooke.

BALDWIN: First, just on the women point, why do you think Senator Warren or any of those women fared better?

SEWELL: You know, I have to say, I'm just so proud of all of the women candidates for president on the Democratic side.

You know, it was historic, the sheer number of them. And what a class act they all have turned out to be. And they really did bring to the forefront really important issues, such as Paid Medical Leave Act for families, and there's so many other issues that were brought to the forefront.

And, you know, Senator Warren was such a class act today. And you know, she brought some bold ideas into the debate. And so I think that we should all be proud of the women candidates that were for the presidential race, yes.

BALDWIN: As far as the huge question about who she endorses, you know, there is no rule. Just because of what with Buttigieg and Klobuchar--


BALDWIN: -- there's no rule she has to come out immediately and endorse anyone. A lot of people wondering, will it be Bernie Sanders, will it be Joe Biden?

Some people around her think she has a shot as Joe Biden's V.P., if she were to perhaps endorse him. Would you be on board if that were to happen?

SEWELL: You know, I can't speak for who Senator Warren's going to actually support.

But I can tell you, whoever she lends her support to will have a real fighter on their side. And, look, I think that Vice President Biden has really turned out to be the consensus candidate. We were so proud of his big win in Alabama, especially in my district, where no other candidate got above 15 percent.

I think that Senator Warren is a real fighter, and she was really great in those debates. And I think--


BALDWIN: But if she were to -- let me just jump in.

If she were to be on Joe Biden's ticket, would you be on board? SEWELL: I actually -- I support Joe Biden, and I support his decision

as to whoever his vice presidential candidate will be.


SEWELL: And I'm really proud of Senator Warren and Harris and Gillibrand and Klobuchar. They all were amazing candidates, and bring a lot to bear.

And we'd love to have their support for Joe Biden. I think that Biden has turned out to be the consensus candidate, and we look forward to winning more states. And I'm really excited about the win that we had Super Tuesday and the fact that we really are going to be able to support down-ballot candidates.


I'm vice chair of Ways and Means. And I don't get the gavel unless the chairman has to use the bathroom.


SEWELL: But I can tell you that, being in the majority, the House Democratic majority, has been great, and we want to keep those gavels.

And I do believe that the fact that he was able to win so many swing districts, that Joe Biden was able to win in so many swing districts, as well as solidifying his black vote, is critically important.

BALDWIN: I appreciate, of course, your enthusiasm.

But now there's been this whole conversation over the establishment, right?


BALDWIN: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders seem to disagree over what the word establishment means. Take a listen.


BALDWIN: Take a listen to this.



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe is running a campaign which is obviously heavily supported by the corporate establishment.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The establishment are all those hardworking middle-class people, those African-Americans, those single women in suburbia.


BALDWIN: What do you make of this establishment battle?

SEWELL: Listen, I don't know.

I think that you all in the media are making a little too much of this. I think that it's really important that what's happening is we're consolidating around Joe Biden. And I think that that, in and of itself, is a real big win.

But I think that the real story of Super Tuesday is that--

BALDWIN: But you don't -- forgive me, Congresswoman.

SEWELL: Yes, sure.

BALDWIN: If you do listen to all of this back and forth--


BALDWIN: -- it is Joe Biden, it is Bernie Sanders on this whole us vs. them and establishment. We're just covering it. I just want to be clear.

SEWELL: I hear what you're saying.

But I guess what I'm saying is that I don't know when the last time African-Americans were considered to be establishment voters, I mean, in the sense that we have often -- it's a very important bloc within the Democratic Party, and it's a bloc that Joe Biden has earned the right to win.

And, you know, I think that the story, as I was trying to say, for Super Tuesday was just that democracy triumphed. I thought that momentum won over money, and I think that that's a win for all Americans.

I know that I look forward to rolling up my sleeve as a surrogate and continuing Joe Biden's win through other states. But I also think that it's important that we coalesce and unite the Democratic Party.

And so I'm really looking for a candidate that will also unite the party. I think it's important that we have -- that we -- that Warren supporters know that we have a space for them in the Biden coalition, as well as a space for Sanders supporters.

I think that, as a Democratic -- a New Democratic Coalition vice chair, I think it's important that we also remember that it's about not just the presidency, but who can also win down-ballot.


SEWELL: And I think that, for my voters, they were looking at who could best beat Donald Trump come November. And I think that there's room in the Biden coalition for both Warren and Sanders supporters. BALDWIN: Congresswoman Terri Sewell, thank you very much.

SEWELL: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Thousands in Nashville still without power, after a deadly tornado destroyed entire neighborhoods.

Coming up next, I will talk with former "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks, who rode out the storm in his basement.



BALDWIN: Some good news to come out of the Nashville area after that deadly tornado that cut across four counties.

Two people who had been missing were found just hours ago. They are safe. But when you look at these pictures still coming out of Nashville, it's just devastating. At least 24 people have died. Thousands remain without power, entire neighborhoods gone.

Taylor Hicks is one of those who rode out the tornado in a basement closet. Of course, you know Taylor from "American Idol." He was the winner in season five.

Taylor, thank you so much for being with us.

And, my goodness, I'm glad you're OK. Tell me the story of hunkering down in your closet.

TAYLOR HICKS, MUSICIAN: Well, growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, you always -- tornadoes keep coming, just a fact of life.

You know somebody that goes through it. You might have had a family member that tells you a story about it.

But when you go through it yourself and realize the devastation. I realized it was a large tornado when I was out -- through the glass right before I got into the crawlspace that there was -- I saw a washer, an actual full-sized washer in the air.


HICKS: And I knew that this was going to be a really devastating tornado.

And, you know, my thoughts and prayers are with the families that have lost loved ones.

BALDWIN: How are you? How's your house? How are your friends? How's the neighborhood?

HICKS: Well, the neighborhood's really -- the neighborhood's really damaged.

I live in the Germantown/Buena Vista neighborhood, and it's damaged, but the people are resilient in Nashville. Nashvillians are -- it's just a really amazing thing to watch the amount of support that I have received and my neighborhood has received in the last 48 hours, when this happened.

BALDWIN: You're -- despite everything that happened to you and your neighborhood, you're volunteering.

You're volunteering with the Red Cross and Hands On Nashville.