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EARLY START

Thousands Potentially Exposed to Virus in California and New York; What Will Warren Do?; Roberts Versus Schumer; Threat of Coronavirus Impacts Sporting Events; Tornadoes Cut Wide Path of Destruction in Tennessee. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 05:00   ET

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


CHRISTINE ROMANS, 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.

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 for the Supreme Court. What's behind the intense war of words for the U.S. chief justice and the top Senate Democrat?

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

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, March 5th.

[05:00:00]

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. A cruise ship with as many as 3,500 passenger and crew being held off the California coast so authorities can test for coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: 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.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Meanwhile in Washington state, 10 people are dead, 6 of them were residents at Life Care nursing home in Kirkland. Life Care says it still hasn't 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's been told her mom does not have the virus but she has her doubts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

JARRETT: 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 improving. His lawyers firm in Manhattan, his family lives in suburban Westchester County. The man's wife, son, daughter and neighbor who drove him to the hospital are now all infected with the virus and are isolated at home.

The schools where the kids attend and where they worship are closed for now.

Governor 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 ninth. That's just four miles from New Rochelle where two families have tested positive for coronavirus.

ROMANS: The coronavirus forcing some big changes for business.

Overnight, we learned Amazon recommending all employees in Seattle and Bellevue, Washington work from home through the end of March as Washington battles the 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 the latest companies to pull out of South by Southwest in Austin.

United is cutting flights, JetBlue cutting capacity on U.S. flights as the virus weighs on demand. These are the first cuts made to U.S. flight schedules.

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

U.S. stocks had another historic big point gain yesterday. Wall Street sending a message it still wants Donald Trump as president but it could live with Biden. The Dow bounced back after the former vice president's strong showing on Super Tuesday.

And look, much of the gains in the S&P were led by health care stocks. Why? Well, Joe Biden's policies would be more favorable to the sector than Bernie Sanders.

It has been a roller coaster on Wall Street in the past 10 trading days. Just look at that. Election year unpredictability seems like it's here to stay.

Taking a look at futures right now they are moving a bit lower here. We will see if that holds into the opening bell.

JARRETT: 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 towards 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: President Trump leaning on a familiar tactic in a crisis, blame the Obama administration. He is falsely claiming his predecessor is the reason new testing for coronavirus has been slow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turn out to be very detrimental to what we're doing and we undid that decision a few days ago so the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[05:05:09]

ROMANS: That claim refuted not just by critics of this White House but also an aid to a Republican, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander. He says the FDA under Obama did propose regulating new lab tests but the rules never went through. No further comment on that false claim from the president from the White House.

Tonight, a CNN global town hall event, "Coronavirus: The Fears, The Facts". Join Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a whole host of CNN folks including me tonight live 10:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

JARRETT: I'll certainly look forward to seeing you on that.

Well, cleanup has begun in Tennessee. A long rebuild ahead for communities after devastating tornados. CNN is on the ground in Nashville.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: New fallout from Super Tuesday. 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.

[05:10:07]

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.

JARRETT: 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: 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 pushing back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-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)

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

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: 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 Ginsburg last week, shows Justice Roberts does not just call balls and strikes.

As for the case behind all 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: The one to watch there.

All right. The lure of a bigger job not enough for one beloved high school coach. His players seemed fine with that.

Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report", next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:17:30]

JARRETT: Well, he did not pull the trigger but Alabama is about to execute a man for the murders of three police officers. Forty-two- year-old Nathaniel Woods was convicted of luring officers into a home where that shooter was waiting for that.

But that shooter Kerry 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.

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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ROMANS: All right. Coronavirus fears forcing cancellations of sporting events around the world, including college basketball games here in the U.S.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine.

The NCAA established an advisory panel of experts to monitor the coronavirus outbreak. And for now, March Madness is going on as planned but two schools have canceled games. Chicago State announced their men's team would not be traveling to Seattle University to play today or Utah Valley to play on Saturday. The women's teams home games canceled as well. The University of Missouri-Kansas City's men's team also making the decision to not travel to Seattle for its game Saturday against the Red Hawks.

Now, in the meantime, Italy has canceled all sporting events in the region affected by the coronavirus. Their main sports league will play its games in empty stadiums for at least the next month.

All right. Two of NBA's brightest young stars facing off for the first time last night, Luka Doncic and the Mavs hosted Zion Williamson and the Pelicans. A third quarter, watch Zion with a spin move and just throws down the two-handed slam. He had 21 in the game.

This one would go to overtime, but that's when Luka would take over. Here he's going to hit the step back three. Luka, 30 points triple- double on this one, Mavs get to win 127-123.

Earlier this week, Cody Moore on the right here in this picture. He was introduced as Plano High School's new head football coach.

[05:20:01]

So, yesterday, he gathered his players in Braswell High in Texas, and they all thought he was saying good-bye when this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CODY MOORE, TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH: There ain't nobody else I want to coach, I'm here.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHOLES: Such a really cool moment there, Christine, for more and his players there at Braswell High School, good for them. That moment kind of reminded me of Leonardo DiCaprio on "Wolf of Wall Street." No, I'm not leaving and everyone starts cheering.

ROMANS: It reminded of "Friday Night Lights" actually, you know? And the same kind of storyline there. But what a great moment for them.

All right. Thanks so much, Andy Scholes.

Laura, what's coming up?

JARRETT: It's great to see how much they love their coach.

All right. Breaking overnight, thousands stuck on a cruise ship in the Pacific possibly exposed to coronavirus. New details overnight on who's coveting Elizabeth Warren's support if she leaves the 2020 field.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:25:32]

ROMANS: All right. In Tennessee this morning, one person still unaccounted for after the state's deadliest tornados in seven years.

Two powerful tornados with up to 175 mile per hour winds caused widespread destruction and killed at least 24 people. Schools throughout the metro Nashville area closed throughout the week and with this huge 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 in Nashville.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR AND 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 cleanup 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.

ALEX VAUGHAN, EAST NASHVILLE RESIDENT: There have been -- there's 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 cleanup. Tonight, we went to get some food at they wouldn't let us pay for anything and people just keep showing up with food or coffee or water and hands.

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

Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JARRETT: Amara, thanks so much for that report.

Well, 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-4 pancreatic cancer. Only 18 percent of patients make it that far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ROMANS: All right, the big Super Tuesday winner, a therapy dog named Murphy. This is the new mayor of Fairhaven, Vermont. Murphy is a 3- year-old cavalier king Charles spaniel. He beat 17 other animals on the ballot, including an incumbent goat named Lincoln.

Anyone with an animal can enter for a $5 fee. The money was used last year to replace the elementary school's playground equipment. \

A goat, a dog it's good, all good.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

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

ROMANS: Elizabeth Warren weighing her options. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders coveting her endorsement if and when Warren 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 chief justice and the top Senate Democrat?

Good morning, everyone. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this morning.

Widening efforts to contain coronavirus in the U.S. with thousands now affected on both coasts. A cruise ship with as many as 3,500 passengers and crew being held off the California coast so authorities can test for coronavirus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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 1 is 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.

END