Return to Transcripts main page


Cruise Ship Stuck in the Pacific to Contain Coronavirus; Elizabeth Warren to Decide Next Move After Super Tuesday; Long Road to Recovery for Tennessee After Tornado Hit; China Faces Its First Recession in Decades. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 04:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Thousands potentially exposed to coronavirus on both sides of the country. The new focal point, a cruise ship off California and communities around New York City.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Elizabeth Warren weighing her options. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coveting her endorsement if and when she drops out of the 2020 race.

JARRETT: And emotions run high at the Supreme Court. What's behind an intense war of words between the U.S. chief justice and the top Senate Democrat?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Thursday, March 5th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

And widening efforts to contain coronavirus in the U.S. with thousands now affected on both coasts. A cruise ship with as many as 3500 passengers and crew is being held off the California coast so authorities can test for coronavirus.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We appreciate your understanding that this is beyond our control. We do not yet know whether your disembarkation on Saturday will be delayed.


ROMANS: The first death in the U.S. outside Washington state had been a passenger on that ship and had underlying health conditions. There have now been 11 deaths total in the U.S. among nearly 160 coronavirus cases.

JARRETT: California authorities say the passenger who died had traveled on the Grand Princess. That cruise was back in mid-February, renewing concern that the virus may linger. That same ship is now in the Pacific after traveling to Hawaii, and some passengers and crew now have symptoms. California potentially faces its own version of Japan's quarantine

cruise ship, some describe as a floating Petri dish.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We are going to be flying testing kits to the cruise ship and we are going to be sending those quickly back to the state and primarily to Richmond lab where we'll be able to test very quickly.


ROMANS: In Washington state, 10 people are dead. Six of them were residents at Life Care nursing home in Kirkland. Life Care says it still has not been provided with coronavirus testing kits.

One nurse who visited her mother at the facility has self-quarantined after she came down with a fever that has spiked as high as 104. She has been told her mother does not have the virus but has doubts.


KAREN GOHEEN, MOTHER LIVES AT NURSING HOME WITH CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK: I don't know what my options are. I can't go there to verify. But, you know, I have to believe them because she's in their care.


JARRETT: The Seattle area Northshore School District, the latest to close all schools for up to 14 days. And Facebook is closing one of its Seattle offices for the rest of the week after a contractor who works there came down with the virus. Facebook urging all of its Seattle employees to work from home through the end of the month.

ROMANS: One the East Coast, 1,000 New Yorkers are being asked to self- quarantine after officials found 11 infected people across Metro New York. The newest cases all connected to an attorney. He is hospitalized but he is improving. This lawyer has connections in and around New York City. His law firm is in Manhattan. His family lives in suburban Westchester County. The man's wife, son, daughter and a neighbor who drove him to the hospital are all infected and now isolated at home.

JARRETT: The schools his kids attend and the temple where they worship all shut down for now. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says don't panic. More testing means more cases will be discovered but there's no reason for undue anxiety.

North of Manhattan, Mount Vernon city schools have all closed until March 9th. That's just four miles from New Rochelle where two families have tested positive for coronavirus.

ROMANS: The coronavirus forcing some big business changes. Overnight we learned Amazon is recommending all employees in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, work from home through the end of March as Washington battles this outbreak. Starbucks told shareholders don't come to the annual meeting in Seattle. It's going to hold a virtual meeting instead. Netflix and Apple are the latest companies to pull out of South by Southwest in Austin.

United is cutting flights. JetBlue is cutting capacity on U.S. flights as the virus weighs on demand. These are first cuts made to U.S. flight schedules. And "No Time to Die," that's the upcoming James Bond movie, is being pushed back to November as the outbreak takes a toll on the global theater marketplace.

In Asia, looking at markets right now, they have higher and closed higher. Chinese stocks closed up after the International Monetary Fund announced a $50 billion aid package to combat the effects of coronavirus.

U.S. stocks hit another historically big point gain yesterday. Wall Street sending a message it still wants Donald Trump but you know what, it could live with Joe Biden. Also more optimistic about the global respond to coronavirus.

The Dow bounced back after the former vice president's strong showing on Super Tuesday. Much of the gains in the S&P 500 were led by health care stocks.


That's where you see the political action there. Joe Biden's policies would be more favorable to the sector than Bernie Sanders.

It's been a rollercoaster on Wall Street the past 10 trading days. Look at that. Election year unpredictability seems like it is here to stay. Taking a look at futures right now. U.S. stock index futures are down taking back a little bit of that monster gain from yesterday.

JARRETT: Well, all members of the House of Representatives will be briefed on the coronavirus response this morning. Vice President Mike Pence is promising more test kits and Congress has agreed on a bipartisan $8 billion deal to provide emergency funding. $3 billion will go toward developing treatments. More than $2 billion will be used to prevent the virus from spreading, and over $1 billion will be sent overseas to protect Americans abroad.

ROMANS: All right. So tonight a CNN global town hall event, coronavirus, the Fears, the facts. Join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. That's live tonight at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN.

JARRETT: New fallout from Super Tuesday. CNN reporting the biggest decision facing Elizabeth Warren is not whether to end her campaign but whether to endorse former vice president Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or no one. The Massachusetts senator is closer to Sanders on policy but those ties are strained. Some advisers believe her best path is to be considered for Biden's running mate.

ROMANS: Now "The Washington Post" reports her campaign is in talks with both the Sanders and Biden camps about a possible endorsement if she drops out. Those talks are said to be preliminary.

Fresh off his big wins Biden is making this argument going forward.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It proves to me that the positive, progressive vision we have been providing for the nation is resonating. Resonating all over the country.


JARRETT: Biden also taking issue with Sanders' constant attacks on the establishment saying, quote, "The establishment are all those hardworking middle-class people, those African-Americans. They are the establishment." Sanders' camp is pushing back.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There have been some polls recently that we are running ahead of Biden in the African- American communities. So, it's not that I'm not popular. You know, Biden is running now with his -- with his ties to Obama and that's working well.


ROMANS: Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg pulled out of the race after his lackluster performance on Super Tuesday and now he is backing Biden. Expect Bloomberg to pour a lot of money into the Biden campaign. The Biden camp says it raised more than $7 million online in just the last two days providing a much-needed jolt for what has been a cash-strapped campaign.

Chief Justice John Roberts issuing a rare public rebuke, chastising Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer for comments he made outside the Supreme Court. At a rally for abortion rights supporters, Schumer appeared to threaten two justices.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price.


ROMANS: The chief justice let Schumer know he had gone too far. In a statement, quote, "Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All members of the court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter."

JARRETT: Senator Schumer's office doubled down in a statement of its own, saying, "For Justice Roberts to follow the right-wing's deliberate misinterpretation of what Senator Schumer said, while remaining silent when President Trump attacked Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes."

As for the case behind all of this, the Supreme Court heard arguments over a Louisiana abortion access law. Critics say it will leave just one doctor in the state to perform abortions. Some of the justices indicated they may uphold the law even though it's similar to a Texas law the court struck down just four years ago.

ROMANS: All right. Cleanup has begun in Tennessee. This will be a long rebuild ahead for communities after those devastating tornadoes. We're going to go on the ground in Nashville.



JARRETT: In Tennessee this morning three people are still unaccounted for after the state's deadliest tornadoes in seven years. Two powerful tornadoes with up to 175-mile-per-hour winds cause widespread destruction and kill at least 24 people. Schools throughout mero Nashville area are closed for the rest of the week. And with the massive cleanup just getting under way it's bringing out the best in people as residents look to rebuild their lives.

CNN's Amara Walker is on the ground for us in Nashville.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Laura, good morning.

You know, the reality for so many people here is that they are going to have to start from scratch, and you can tell that just by looking at the sheer devastation here behind me. And it's really a surreal feeling when you look at these homes. I mean, big chunks of these homes are missing. The tops of these trees have been sheared off by the sheer force of the tornado winds.

It's also been a heartwarming experience for us here on the ground. All day, we've been seeing neighbors helping neighbors, strangers coming up and saying, hey, I'm here to help, I brought my equipment, can I help you clean up the debris inside your home?

In fact, I spoke with one woman in east Nashville. She basically lost her home during the tornado. She escaped with her life as she took cover in the basement with her daughter and husband. And as she spoke with me she got quite emotional talking about the outpouring of support from her community.


UNIDENTIFIED EAST NASHVILLE RESIDENT: There have been -- there's just been a lot of people helping out, a lot of strangers, people who I've never met before just -- just showing up to help us clean up.

Tonight, we went to get some food at Miguelito's (PH) and they wouldn't let us pay for anything and people just keep showing up with food or coffee or water and hands.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [04:15:01]

WALKER: Now, on Friday, President Trump is expected to visit the tornado ravaged areas here in Tennessee, and officials in Nashville and in Davidson County tell me that they welcome the president's visit and they do hope that the federal assistance that has been promised to them arrives quickly.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right, Amara, thank you so much for that.

Europe just experienced its warmest winter on record dating back to 1855. According to the E.U.'s Copernicus Climate Change Service it was six degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the average winter from 1981 through 2010, and it broke the record set in 2016 by 2.5 degrees. Cities in France and Finland also shattered records. And in Moscow new marks were set for the lack of snow.

JARRETT: The devastating fires that burned across Australia this winter were made far more likely by the climate crisis. That's according to a new study which found the risk of fires has grown by 30 percent or more because climate models are underestimating the actual increases in the extreme temperatures. For the first time since July New South Wales is free from bush fires. Months of devastating fires in Australia left at least 28 people dead, about 3,000 homes destroyed, and up to a billion animals killed.

An Alabama man convicted in the murder of three police officers back in 2004 is scheduled to be executed today despite questions about his guilt. 42-year-old Nathaniel Woods was accused of luring the officers into a home where the shooter was waiting for them, but that shooter Harry Spencer recently wrote a letter from prison stating, quote, "Nathaniel Woods is 100 percent innocent. I know this to be a fact because I'm the person that shot and killed all three of the officers."

ROMANS: Martin Luther King III is among Woods' supporters who are calling for his execution to be delayed. Pamela Woods wants her brother spared and freed.


PAMELA WOODS, NATHANIEL WOODS' SISTER: He thought it was the craziest thing in the world. He's like how, how because, you know, he didn't do anything wrong.


ROMANS: Woods' attorneys have asked Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to commute his sentence. Family members of the police officers who were murdered are not commenting. Alabama's attorney general called Woods' punishment just.

JARRETT: The Arizona House has passed a controversial bill that bans transgender female athletes from participating in girl sports at the school. If the measure becomes law female athletes will be required to prove their biological sex with a signed doctor's note following genetic testing if another student athlete files a dispute. The bill will now head to the Arizona Senate. Similar laws are being considered throughout the nation in Idaho, New Hampshire, Washington, Tennessee, Georgia and Missouri.

ROMANS: All right, beating the odds. Who is Alex Trebek? A health update from the host of "Jeopardy" and it's hopeful. Trebek has survived one year since he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Only 18 percent of patients make it that far.


ALEX TREBEK, "JEOPARDY" HOST: Now, I'd be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. There were some good days, but a lot of not so good days. I joke with friends that the cancer won't kill me, the chemo treatments will.


ROMANS: Trebek says the pain and depression made him wonder if it really was worth fighting on, but he viewed that is a betrayal to his wife and other cancer patients who looked to him for hope.

JARRETT: A therapy dog named Murphy is the new mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont. Murphy is a 3-year-old cavalier King Charles spaniel and he beat 17 other animals on the ballot including the incumbent, a 3-year- old Nubian goat named Lincoln. Having a ceremonial four-leg mayor is now a two-year tradition in fair haven. Anyone with an animal can enter in it with in the race for a $5 registration fee. The money was used last year to replace the elementary school's playground. I like that. I like the goat.


JARRETT: Well, the red planet as you've never seen before.



JARRETT: China's official death toll from novel coronavirus now tops 3,000, but the epidemic there is slowing while other countries' outbreaks are now intensifying. China is trying to manage economic fears and fall out.

CNN's David Culver is live for us in Shanghai.

David, what's the latest?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the big concern here, Laura. And that's been expressed for several weeks now as the economic repercussions of all of this, and we even heard just yesterday President Xi Jinping meeting once again with top party leaders expressing to them the need to establish this economic and social stability because economic stability here keeps the social stability in place.

But one of the big issues that we've noticed even in cities like Shanghai, a city of 24 million plus people, is that despite some of the companies coming back online they're not able to go fully into production. That's because a lot of their work force is still within the lockdown zones. So you've got to remember, there's hundreds of millions of people under some form of various lockdown here.

And so they simply cannot travel back to cities like Shanghai, back to Beijing, where they work. And so companies are even considering chartering flights to bring some of those employees back so they can get their workforce in place so as to come back online. And we know the government here and they're pushing this all the way down to the localities trying to pressure some of these companies and businesses to come back online so as to establish that social and economic stability.

But the problem is we're hearing from local media worries of some of these companies faking coming back online. Now how does that happen?


Well, apparently it's monitored through energy consumption. So if a factory, for example, is turned on light wise, they turn on all the lights, they turn computers on, they turn some of the machines on, then it shows in the readings that that factory is back online and that business is in production. But that's because it's under pressure they're facing that they may be going to those extents.

You know, it's a little bit extreme but it's what local media is expressing are some of their biggest concerns here. All and all they still have to keep the containment effort under way and yet try to figure out a way how to get back to normal -- Laura.

JARRETT: It just shows you the pressure that folks are under and all of the economic ripple effects from this virus.

CULVER: Right.

JARRETT: David, thanks so much for all your reporting as usual.

ROMANS: All right, 25 minutes past the hour. NASA's Curiosity rover is delivering the clearest, most stunning photos of Mars ever seen. The latest image is a detailed panorama that stitches together more than 1,000 pictures into one. The images were snapped by Curiosity over Thanksgiving 2019 using the telephoto lens on the rover's masked camera. Curiosity has been taking and transmitting photos of mars back to earth since it landed on the red planet in 2012.

JARRETT: It's so cool.

ROMANS: It is really cool.

All right. Breaking overnight thousands stuck on a cruise ship in the Pacific, possibly exposed to coronavirus.

JARRETT: And new details overnight on who's coveting Elizabeth Warren's support if she leaves the 2020 field.