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Widening Efforts to Contain Coronavirus in the U.S.; Elizabeth Warren Weighs in Big Move After Super Tuesday; Coronavirus May Affect 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 04:30   ET



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

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

ROMANS: 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 back to EARLY START, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.

There are 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 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.


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

ROMANS: 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 have symptoms. California potentially faces its own version of Japan's quarantined 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.


JARRETT: 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.


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

JARRETT: Meanwhile, on 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's 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. 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 the outbreak. Starbucks told shareholders not to come to its annual meeting in Seattle. It will 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 the first cuts made to U.S. flight schedules. And check to make sure that they're waiving your rebooking fees.

And this, "No Time to Die," the upcoming James Bond movie, is being pushed back to November as the outbreak takes a toll on global theater marketplace.

Taking a look at markets right now. In Asia, a bounce back following the U.S. strong recovery yesterday, but European shares have opened lower. Chinese stocks closed higher after the IMF announced a $50 billion aid package.

U.S. stocks had another historically big point gain yesterday, Wall Street is sending a message it still, you know, it still prefers Donald Trump but it could live with a Joe Biden president. The Dow bounced back after the former vice president's strong showing on Super Tuesday and signs around the world that the efforts to contain the virus might be coordinated a little bit better.

Much of the gains in the S&P 500 were led by health care stocks. Joe Biden's policies will be way more favorable to that sector than Bernie Sanders.'

So, you know, it's an old cliche to say it's a rollercoaster on Wall Street but the cliche works over the past 10 trading days here. Election year unpredictability seems like it is here to stay. Taking a look at futures right now. Looks like they're going to get back some of that bounce from yesterday.

It's so interesting, Laura, a lot of the companies are now testing their contingency plans for working at home, so JPMorgan Chase is doing it, other companies are sending chunks of their workforce home just to make sure, testing their systems to make sure if people have to stay home --

JARRETT: If they can handle --

ROMANS: We can still -- yes, for business.

JARRETT: Well, and meanwhile the president appearing to contradict medical experts on the mortality rate of the virus, and he even suggested people with symptoms can go to work.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that 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. 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.


JARRETT: What's it basis for that? A lot of conversations. The president has repeatedly undermined health officials as the virus spreads. For its part the World Health Organization says the death rate is likely to change further as more cases are confirmed.

ROMANS: The thing is, if a healthy person goes to work, they are spreading the virus -- a healthy person with the virus.


ROMANS: They're spreading the virus and someone could get it with a chronic -- a lot of people in this country has a chronic --

JARRETT: Who has an underlying illness.

ROMANS: -- issue. All right, tonight a CNN global town hall event, coronavirus, the fears, the facts. Join Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Richard Quest and I will both be there also playing along, talking about what this means for the economy and business. It's live tonight at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN.

JARRETT: All right. And now to the 2020 race. The new fallout from Super Tuesday. Here we go. CNN reporting the biggest decision facing Elizabeth Warren is not whether to end her campaign but whether to endorse 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 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. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg pulled out of the race after his lackluster performance on Super Tuesday and 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.

JARRETT: The Secret Service has started reworking its plans to protect the candidates for president after protesters stormed the stage at Joe Biden's Super Tuesday victory rally in Los Angeles. With no Secret Service agents present, Biden was protected by his wife, Jill, one private guard and several top campaign staffers.

Before Tuesday the Secret Service had not been planning on rolling out protection until mid-March when the agency expected the field to narrow to two. A spokesman for the Secret Service denies the agency changed any plans in light of what happened in L.A. on Tuesday night.

ROMANS: That's Symone Sanders in that clip. There's another clip where Jill Biden has to get between her husband and a protester.


ROMANS: And --

JARRETT: It's not the first time that Jill has to do that. Joe Biden has to do that.


ROMANS: It's just -- Symone Sanders is like a linebacker there. Like she was just on it.


ROMANS: Her reflexes. Well done.

All right, 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: Pay the price. The chief justice let Schumer know he had gone too far. In a statement, "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 dust-up, 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 on the court 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. A last-minute push to save an Alabama inmate who could be put to death today for the killing of three police offices. One problem, he did not pull the trigger.



ROMANS: 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: Much of the south has already seen rainfall more than a foot above average since the beginning of the year but there's some blue sky ahead.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has the forecast for us.


The flooding concern remaining very high yet again across the southeast, and also some severe weather to tell you about across the region. We do have a slight risk in place that includes Panama City and work your way a little farther towards the east, towards Tallahassee on into Jacksonville. These areas, some large hails, some strong winds, a few isolated tornadoes possible.

But it really has to come down with the amount of rainfall that is forecast to fall across this region on top of what is fully-saturated soil. So we know the flood watches and flood warnings are widespread. You look back over the past couple of days, we know the rainfall has been tremendous. In fact, in the last four days alone, parts of this region have received upwards of six inches of rainfall and we expect an additional couple of inches throughout this afternoon and this evening.

Look at this. Since January 1st, upwards of 12 or more inches has come down across parts of the southern United States and back towards the West Coast. It is the exact opposite across California where a major drought is beginning to develop across that region as well.

Now here's the perspective. Storm system exits stage-right. As it does, drier weather, milder temperatures prevail. And look at Miami, how about summerlike heat beginning to build? Up to 90 degrees there. New York City, not too bad. Around 52 this afternoon -- guys.

ROMANS: Pedram, thank you so much.

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, "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."

JARRETT: Martin Luther King III is among Woods' supporters who are calling for his execution to be delayed. His sister, 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.


JARRETT: 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.

ROMANS: Electric shock devices used on aggressive self-harming patients with mental disabilities have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration. Advocacy groups and mental health experts have been calling for a ban on this for years. They claim the treatment is outdated, it is unethical and it doesn't work. The FDA says the devices present unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.

JARRETT: An overwhelming majority of schools in the U.S. lack counselors and nurses to help students in need. According to an ACLU report using Education Department data student-to-counsel ratios were 251 to 1. And student-to-nurse ratios were 751 to 1 in 2016. Those shortages come at a time when students are reporting just as much stress as adults with 1 in 3 saying they're depressed.

ROMANS: Business students in South Carolina putting their education to good use by trying to raise $75,000 for a Wendy's employee who lost his home in a fire. Malcolm Coleman works across the street from the school and has served the students with a smile for 15 years. He lost the home he shared with his mother last year, and according to his Facebook page he lost his father shortly after that. A gofundme page Mission Malcolm has already raised more than $15,000.

JARRETT: It's nice to see.

ROMANS: That is a nice story.

All right. General Motors is making a historic shift to electric and going head-to-head with Tesla. CNN Business has the details next.



JARRETT: The coronavirus has killed more than 3,000 people in China. The spread of the epidemic there is slowing, while other countries are seeing the number of cases and fatalities multiply. Italy has closed all schools and canceled all sporting events in 11 so-called red zones, the most affected areas. Japan just reported its biggest one- day increase in cases so far.

Let's go live to Tokyo and get the latest details from CNN's Blake Essig -- Blake.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura, 33 cases just reported yesterday bringing the total to more than 300 across the country not associated with the Diamond Princess.


And when you talk about the coronavirus it continues to loom large over Tokyo 2020. The Summer Olympics scheduled to start in less than five months. And I actually had the chance to talk to the local organizers last night during a press conference. I asked them, is there a threshold, a point of no return where if that number is surpassed, if that point is passed, would it derail the games? Would you have to cancel or postpone the games?

And what I was told was, no, absolutely not. That they've spoken with the IOC who actually just met in Switzerland earlier this week and have received their full commitment to operating and proceeding with these games as scheduled to take place later this year at the end of July.

Now, when pressed about the potential idea of postponing or canceling the games the chairman of the local organizing committee said that it's a fluid situation, that he can't predict the future and that, no, in fact he's not god.

I actually talked to somebody, a researcher, an epidemiologist researcher here in Tokyo earlier today who's actually tasked with trying to predict the future. And what he told me about the idea of the coronavirus and what's going to happen is that we will likely see this here in Japan and around the world for the next year.

In fact, when you talk about the number of cases, the ratio of actual cases to confirmed cases, we have 300 confirmed cases here in Japan. He believes the actual number is in the thousands, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Blake, thanks so much for that. ROMANS: Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning, taking a look

at global markets. Chinese stocks closed higher after the International Monetary Fund announced a $50 billion aid package to combat the impact of the coronavirus. European shares, though, have moved lower in early trading. On Wall Street U.S. futures also moving down here.

Look, it was another one for the record books as stocks rallied back to life on Wednesday. The Dow closed up 1,173 points. It began after Joe Biden's strong showing on Super Tuesday. The Nasdaq closed higher as well. Stocks are now on pace for their first weekly gain since Valentine's Day. But, again, this morning looks like we're going to take back some of that.

Wells Fargo was giving employees a boost. 20,000 of its retail bank employees are going to get a raise. The new minimum wage will rise from $15 to $20 an hour by the end of the year following similar increases from some of its competitors like the Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase.

General Motors unveiled a broad line-up of electric vehicles powered by a new battery. It marks this historic shift for GM. GM investing more than $3 billion a year in electric vehicle research between now and 2025. GM also boasted its ability to adapt its existing facilities to manufacture electric cars.

The new battery will hold enough power to potentially power a car for 400 miles or more on a single charge, slightly more than any car Tesla offers. The battery sales will be used in several of its new fully electric models including the self-driving electric Cruise Origin and a new version of the Bolt EV that will launch later this year.

JARRETT: While you were sleeping comedian Stephen Colbert marveled at Joe Biden's Super Tuesday comeback, while Conan O'Brien focused on Dr. Jill Biden's willingness to sacrifice herself. Here are your late- night laughs.


STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Joe's big night really was remarkable because he won in states where he didn't campaign. He won in states where he didn't even have offices. In fact, in Minnesota, Biden's entire ground operation was just this flier, "Joe Biden available to dog sit or be president."

JAMES CORDEN, LATE-NIGHT HOST: But Bernie Sanders isn't completely out of the race. He won a number of states himself including Vermont, Colorado and Utah. So at the very least we know that he's a hit with snowboarders, snowboarders and Mormon snowboarders.

CONAN O'BRIEN, LATE-NIGHT HOST: Last night protesters rushed towards Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, jumped in the way to keep her husband safe. Did you see that? Yes. Yes. Today Melania Trump said, why would she do that?

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Thanks to our international viewers for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. For our U.S. viewers EARLY START continues right now.

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.

JARRETT: Elizabeth Warren weighing her options. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coveting her endorsement if and when she drops out of the 2020 race.

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

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, March 5th, it's 5:00 a.m. in the East. We begin this morning with widening efforts to contain coronavirus in the U.S. with thousands now affected on both coasts.