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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Thousands in Limbo on Cruise Ship Awaiting Coronavirus Results; Stocks Drop Again As Coronavirus Fears Grow. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired March 6, 2020 - 16:30   ET

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


DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF OF DISASTER & OPERATIONAL MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Visitation in nursing homes is certainly something that needs to be culled, and the idea of bringing people home from the nursing home is a little more difficult.

[16:30:08]

Sometimes people go to recover from a knee operation or something along those lines --

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Uh-huh.

PHILLIPS: -- that doesn't require full-time care from a -- from nursing staff and the nurse technicians that are there, that's a reasonable idea. Talk to the doctor. If they can go home, that may not be a bad idea.

But as far as the other folks that are vulnerable and need full-time care, I don't know what options there are other than to try to prevent virus from getting into the building.

TAPPER: We hear about, anecdotally, people coming from places where there is a large infection such as parts of Italy or China or South Korea, coming into airports, anecdotally, I saw one reporter talking the about this and just walking through. Nobody there ask them if they have a fever, no screening at all. Are you surprised that at this point in this infection that's still what's going on?

PHILLIPS: Not so much. When I first had an opportunity to come on I made a bold statement that this is a pandemic. There's community spread in countries all over the world. We have the virus in at least 60 countries from all over the world and we need to start switching from a containment mindset to a mindset of hardening our health care infrastructure, protecting patients and protecting health care workers. And that needs to be our primary focus.

You know, there's all this talk of blame and people taking victory laps for things that have been done, but in disaster medicine, our whole goal so to wait until the end. We're going to do something called an after-action report where we take a look at everything that's happened, and that's when we figure out what we can do better next time. What we call lessons learned.

TAPPER: And when people -- when you hear health experts -- top health experts saying, if you're over 60 -- which is, you know, I'm almost 51.

PHILLIPS: Yes, my parents.

TAPPER: No, I'm talking about me. So, if you're over 60, you should consider not engaging in certain activities such as being on planes or being in large crowds. Is that too extreme a caution?

PHILLIPS: I don't think so at this point. What we know is there's a virus affecting a lot of people and we don't have a vaccine or antivirals. The best things that we can do right now while we're waiting for those things to hopefully come about is to protect ourselves, and every citizen in America and every citizen in the world has a responsibility to themselves and to their fellow man right now.

It sounds preposterous, but we're all in this together. And social distancing has been proven to prevent the transmission of viruses. We do it any time there's a flu outbreak, or something along those lines. We always suggest it.

My parents are over 60. I talk to them every night. And they're anxious. They have the ability to stay home back in sort of rural Oklahoma where we're from, but not everybody has that opportunity.

We're canceling conferences all over the country. I was supposed to ravel to central Michigan university this week for a talk, but we canceled at the advise of our leadership because we need to protect our health care workers and keep them from the risk of getting this virus.

TAPPER: So, avoid crowds, avoid travel. What else should people over the age of 60 be doing?

PHILLIPS: So, this is -- this is an important point that I want to make that we're not hopeless. People at home and anxious about this, you're not hopeless, and there are things you can do. You can start maximizing your own existing health right now, start walking, exercising. Take your medicines, take your insulin, improve your baseline health to the best it can be in case you do get sick.

TAPPER: Uh-huh.

PHILLIPS: And that might prevent you from going over that razor's edge and as someone who gets really sick.

TAPPER: And also wash your hands a lot, all the time.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

TAPPER: Dr. James Phillips, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The markets capping a rollercoaster week with yet another drop. What will it take to ease investors' fears? That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:38:02] TAPPER: In our money lead today, a tumultuous week on Wall Street. The Dow closing down this hour at 256 points as the coronavirus continues to threaten the U.S. economy. And as spring approaches, all the industries that would theoretically make a ton of cash are really hurting -- tourism, airlines, this is going to have far reaching effects.

CNN's Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, what's the impact this is going to have on these industries?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. Industries across the board, Jake, are already feeling the impact of the coronavirus. More people are staying home, fewer people taking vacations or flying on planes and fewer taking cruises. It all really comes down money and jobs. And the ripple effects from that -- so if the revenue isn't coming in, those industries could shed jobs, or hire less, which could then impact the broader economy.

You look at the travel and tourism industries, they're actually facing their worst crisis since the terror attacks of 2001. From hotels like Hyatt and Marriott, to cruise lines, to the airline industry. There's now talk of hiring freezes and the need for financial assistance.

Things are so grim with the airline industry, which has cut flights because fewer people are out there flying, they've actually asked for help from the Trump administration because they don't want to end up like the cruise industry, which is really getting hammered, not just with fewer bookings but those cruise stocks too.

We're looking at Carnival shares down 46 percent this year. Royal Caribbean down 51 percent this year -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks so much, Alison Kosik. Appreciate it.

Joining us now, Rana Foroohar, CNN's global economic analyst.

And, Rana, more and more companies are dropping out of conferences or events around the world. That, of course, then causes flights to get canceled. That impacts markets.

This seems rather cyclical.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: I would say it's not just cyclical, it's going to be structural. The fact that you need to know here is that the U.S. economy is two-thirds consumer spending. So, think about that. If people are staying home, businesses of all kinds, not just travel, not just retail, not just food services, but all businesses, are suffering.

This is a big deal. I mean, the professional investors, the economists that I talk to regularly are now pricing in nearly a 50/50 percent chance of a recession in 2020. So, this is -- this is something that's going to be with us for weeks and months. We don't know where we are. I don't think we're going to know where we are really until the summer. But it's going to be serious. TAPPER: If people are staying home from school and not traveling, not

going to sporting events, not going to concerts, not going to work, what are the economic consequences not just in the short-term, but long-term, even beyond 2020?

FOROOHAR: Yes. Well, you know, the tricky thing here, we've seen the markets fall across the board, right? And the markets are calling because of the risk of people not spending, staying home. But what happens even after the virus comes -- you know, comes under control, we know where we are, do markets come back up?

A lot of participants think they won't. You know, the Federal Reserve has been keeping rates low and pouring money on the markets for ten years now, so now that we're really in a crisis, a lot of people feel like, hey, we don't have to fire power to pull things back.

I think that we're not going to know, maybe even until after the November elections what the longer term trajectory of the market is going to be. I personally am bracing for an up and down, almost a "W" shape over the next few weeks and months.

Now, whether we see something more permanently down after that it's going to depend a lot on how many people get sick, how the government handles it and what the central banks and hopefully the government can do to bolster the economy at this moment.

TAPPER: Speaking to the government, I want you to take a listen to President Trump trying to take a look at the silver lining of all these canceled travel and trips. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have Americans stay home, instead of going and spending their money in other countries. Maybe that's one of the reasons the job numbers is so good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Does that make any economic sense what he just said?

FOROOHAR: It makes zero sense, Jake. I'm going to going to go back to the statistic. Two-thirds of the U.S. economy is consumer spending. That's consumer spending here at home. When people don't go out and they don't spend, companies do badly, the economy does badly.

By the way, those relatively robust job numbers that came out this morning, about half of those are in low wage work like restaurants. Anybody going to be going out to restaurants in the near-term future more than they tend in the past? I doubt it. You know, I think that we are in for a very, very serious period right now.

TAPPER: All right. Rana Foroohar, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

FOROOHAR: Thank you. TAPPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, getting personal in their attacks as they try to gain the edge before another round of critical primaries.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:46:37]

TAPPER: President Trump right now, wearing one of his reelection campaign hats, is at the Centers for Disease Control.

We will -- if there's any news made there, we will bring that to you. But, in the meantime, it looks pretty much just like a photo-op, again, wearing a campaign hat.

In our 2020 lead: Senator Bernie Sanders this afternoon previewing his strategy to try to stop Joe Biden's momentum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All I can tell you, whether it was Iraq, whether it's DOMA, whether it's don't ask, don't tell, those were difficult votes. I was there on the right side of history. And my friend Joe Biden was not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: It's a strategy that, in addition to contrasting their records, includes Sanders changing up his campaign schedule. He canceled a trip to Mississippi and instead is heading to Michigan, after Biden scored a series of high-profile endorsements in the state.

As CNN's Jessica Dean reports for us now, Sanders is hoping he can recapture some of the populist energy that helped him win that crucial battleground in the 2016 Democratic primaries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 2020 Democrats, it's now effectively a two-man race, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders looking ahead to the next round of Super Tuesday voting and its biggest prize, Michigan.

Sanders canceled his planned event in Mississippi to turn his focus to Michigan, where he's added additional events and will hold a rally tonight in Detroit.

SANDERS: I can't be in six states at the same, so Michigan is where we will spend a bit of our time. I think we're going to be certainly in Arizona. We will be elsewhere as well. But it's just a question of having to make decisions.

DEAN: Biden continues to rack up key endorsements that now include Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and her lieutenant governor. LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D-MI): He's shown up over the years for the auto industry. He has been a friend of this community.

DEAN: The endorsement both Sanders and Biden want? Senator Elizabeth Warren's. She said Thursday night she wants some time to make a decision.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will get up tomorrow morning and start thinking about that question.

DEAN: But Sanders isn't waiting, encouraging Warren's voters to back his campaign.

SANDERS: I think they will find many of the issues that Senator Warren campaigned on are exactly the issues that we are fighting for.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

DEAN: With the Democratic field narrowed, Sanders and Biden now drawing sharper contrasts, the two candidates sparring over Social Security on Twitter and on the airwaves.

SANDERS: Well, we have got some bad news for them. We are not going to cut Social Security.

NARRATOR: Joe Biden has always been a strong supporter of Social Security. Negative ads will only help Donald Trump. It's time we bring our party together.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DEAN: Sanders narrowly won Michigan back in 2016. And he's got a lot of focus there this weekend with a number of events, as we mentioned there.

Joe Biden will head to Missouri and Mississippi, Jake, before heading to Michigan next week.

TAPPER: All right, Jessica Dean, thanks so much.

Let's chew over all this.

And let me ask you.

Alexandra, you are a supporter of Senator Biden -- I'm sorry -- Senator Sanders. How personal do you expect it to get between Sanders and Biden, given the fact that it's going to be one of them? It's very tight. It could be either one. But there has to be unity at the end for the Democrats to have any chance of defeating Trump.

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: I think that we all have said from the very beginning, including Senator Sanders, that no matter what, we are dedicated to defeating Donald Trump.

So I think that question should be asked across the board.

TAPPER: Of course.

ROJAS: But this is a Democratic primary, right?

And I think that Bernie Sanders, of what we have been saying, has to pivot a little bit. And so this is aiming at older voters. They're both going after that demographic. And I think that it is an extremely big vulnerability of the vice president to have, in his past, repeated times trying to cut Social Security or willing to say, work with Republicans to do that.

[16:50:20]

And I think that that politics of the past right now is very reminiscent of 2016, especially heading into states like Michigan, where not just Social Security is going to be an issue, but also trade, right? There's a lot of union households there.

So I think that he's going to have to make the case, just like everybody else, what is the best, strongest contrast to Donald Trump here? And right now, I don't think that's Joe Biden.

TAPPER: And the Sanders campaign is making this case. They're saying, hey, President Trump yesterday talked about making cuts to reduce the deficit, Joe Biden is on that same page, too.

And they had been pushing this 2007 clip of Biden's own words saying this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things that my -- the political adviser say to me, whoa, don't touch that third -- look, the American people aren't stupid. It's a real simple proposition.

Social Security is not the hard one to solve. Medicare, that is the gorilla in the room. And you have got to put all of it on the table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: His words.

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: I think, in a normal year, finding damning -- damning -- from the point of view of the primary voters, clip or a vote from 10 years before or 30 years before -- and there are many for both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, I would say, depending on your point of view -- can be an effective campaign tactic.

And I don't -- it's not unreasonable for Sanders to try this. I just think this is a very different year. I have looked at some of the focus groups. There was a couple of focus groups and read a lot of verbatims from people who got text messages urging them to vote.

And the attitude isn't sort of, we want to punish someone for being wrong 12 years ago. It's, we want to defeat Trump, who can best defeat Trump, who can get the most voters, and who can restore normalcy, and I think that's probably a majority of the party; 30, 40 percent of the party wants some kind of fundamental change in our economic system.

But I don't that kind of attack really speaks -- voters can say, you're right. I wish Joe hadn't said that 12 years ago, but you know what? He can beat Trump, so that's OK.

TAPPER: So there are six states that are voting this Tuesday, Alexi, including Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi, and the biggest prize of the night, Michigan.

The Biden campaign is confident they're going to do well. They scored endorsements from both the current governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and former Governor Jennifer Granholm. Sanders is campaigning there tonight. It's a state he won in 2016.

And, as Alexandra noted, trade is a big issue there, and Biden arguably on the -- quote, unquote -- "wrong side of that issue."

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, AXIOS: Yes, I mean, that's certainly something Senator Sanders has been pushing for at least a week now, Biden's record on trade and saying that Americans won't decide he's -- or will decide he's not the best positioned to beat Trump because of his record on trade.

But I think right now, to Bill's point, it's just really not an election where I feel like past -- in my conversations with voters -- where I feel like these past positions are going to really affect the way people feel.

There is a firm camp behind Senator Sanders who really believes in the value in having a consistent record. And that is part of why they love Bernie Sanders. The people who love Joe Biden, the voters that I talk to, you don't hear a lot about inconsistencies in his record as being an issue.

When you ask them what they're concerned about with Joe Biden, it's well, sometimes, he makes these gaffes or he doesn't always know what he's saying, or he gets his facts and figures wrong. They don't go to his record.

TAPPER: Little things like that.

MCCAMMOND: Right, to them, yes.

But they don't go to his record. They go to that, or they go to his relationship with Obama. And it's not to say that people won't care or feel like they can't trust Joe Biden because of the way he's evolved. But they're just these two camps. And the way that these voters think is totally different.

TAPPER: And then, of course, there's Elizabeth Warren, and she told "The Boston Globe": "Why would I owe anybody an endorsement? Is that a question they asked everybody else who dropped out of this race?"

Do you think there's a chance that Warren just doesn't endorse? LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's a very real chance.

I think that Warren is weighing multiple options. She's weighing not endorsing. She's weighing endorsing Sanders. And she's also weighing endorsing Biden.

And...

TAPPER: Really?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, that's something that Politico has reported that we have heard from sources close to her.

And so there's a question about whether Warren decides that she wants to jump in and get behind Sanders, when, right now, yes, Sanders could pull off a win in Michigan, but Biden is favored. He's also favored going into states like Arizona and Florida, despite their Latino populations.

So that's a big question for her about whether or not she just wants to rush into this or hold her fire and use her leverage.

TAPPER: Obviously, she agrees with Sanders on more issues than she does with Biden.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes.

TAPPER: Thanks so much, everyone.

Right now, President Trump is touring the CDC, hearing about the coronavirus tests.

Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:59:15]

TAPPER: President Trump right now is touring the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, visiting the lab that makes them materials for the coronavirus tests.

One official telling the present they have enough test kits for 75,000 people, and they're preparing to ship a million. President Trump says the testing has been amazing, though administration officials concede they do not have enough test kits.

Plus, we have also just learned the South by Southwest Festival was just canceled over coronavirus concerns. It was supposed to begin next week on March 13.

Tune in this Sunday morning for "STATE OF THE UNION."

My guests include the United States surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, plus 2020 presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. That's at 9:00 a.m., at noon on Sunday, only on CNN.

You can follow me on Facebook, on Instagram and Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now.

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