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Coronavirus Continuing to Spread, Markets React; Turkey-Russia Ceasefire Goes Into Effect in Idlib; Children Bear the Brunt of Idlib's Humanitarian Crisis; Elizabeth Warren Ends Presidential Campaign; Fears of Spread Putting Strain on Medical Supplies. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired March 6, 2020 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio Seven at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta.


Ahead this hour, trading on emotion, fear. Wall Street plummets, with shares in banks and travel companies take a beating amid renewed concerns over the financial impact of a coronavirus outbreak which continues to spread.

The ceasefire. Russia and Turkey agree to put on hold the fighting in the last rebel-held province in Syria, but for how long?

And Elizabeth Warren bows out of the race for the White House. And once again, Americans will have a choice of an old straight white man in his seventies for president.

Around the world, the coronavirus continues to spread faster than containment measures can be put in place. In less than three months, the virus was reach more than 80 countries and regions. Financial markets are gripped by fear over the economic impact and uncertainty over when the outbreak will come to an end.

On Thursday, as test kits were airdropped to a cruise ship in the Pacific, the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, warned there's not enough of those kits to meet demand in the United States.

Almost 98,000 cases are confirmed worldwide. Most are in China. Nearly 3,400 people have died so far.

Italy is dealing with the worst outbreak in Europe, and it's committed more than 7 billion euros to cushion the impact to business.

In the U.S., Congress has approved more than a billion dollars to tackle the impact of the disease.

We begin our coverage with CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi, India. And also, Ivan Watson in Seoul, South Korea. And Ivan, we'll head to you first. They are still closing schools there in South Korea. The number of cases continues to go through the roof. We're looking at more than 6,000. Most are in the southeastern part of the country, from what we're told. And it seems there are concerns now about community spread.

What are the details there?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first and foremost, one of the newest challenges that the government has is just trying to make sure that there are masks for everybody to protect themselves.

The finance minister just announced that they would stop the export of masks from South Korea starting today. Previously, about 10 percent of those masks were being exported. And that, come Monday, there will be a new system implemented with computer tracking that would ration two masks per person around the country and that they're going to use a kind of app to try to track that. And they're going to try to use citizens' national I.D. numbers to stagger out the days when people can buy those masks to ensure that there's not a run on the stores that are selling them.

So that's an example of how the government is kind of struggling to keep up, though it has been very aggressive with testing for coronavirus. More than 150,000 tests thus far. You mentioned community spreading. The southern city of Daegu has seen more than 70 percent of the infections of the more than 6,200 confirmed coronavirus infections that we have seen thus far. And that has prompted the government also to announce that schools will be closed for an additional two weeks, meaning that the people -- the students who went away for their winter break, it's going to be close to a month before they may ever go back to school again.

VAUSE: Ivan, thank you. Ivan Watson there in Seoul with the very latest from South Korea, which has the largest number of cases outside of China.

Let's go to Vedika, who is in Delhi. What are the preventative measures being taken there by the Indian government? Because by the looks of things, it's seems a very low number of confirmed cases in India, at least at this point.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: And India is the second most populated country in the world, John, so fingers crossed that it really doesn't increase the count as far as positive cases of coronavirus are concerned.

As of now, 30 cases of -- have been reported of coronavirus, patients. What we also do know is 16 of these 30 cases are of Italian nationals. Fourteen of them are being treated in the national capital, New Delhi. Two of them are being treated in the northwestern state of Rajasthan.

What is extremely interesting at this point and equally worrying is the fact that we've got to know from the state government of Rajasthan that those 16 Italian nationals were in touch with 215 people. They interacted with 215 people while they were in different parts of Rajasthan.


As far as preventive measures are concerned, Prime Minister Modi was expected to travel for a meeting with the European Union in Brussels on the 13th of march. He is going to be re-scheduling that. What we also know from the health ministry is that all international passengers will be screened at the airports across India. They're also being asked to provide their travel history, along with a self- declaration form on their medical condition.

Schools in the national capital are closed till the end of the month. This, again, is a preventive measure that the Delhi government is taking, keeping in mind that 30 cases have been reported as of now -- John.

VAUSE: OK. We appreciate the update. Thank you, Vedika Sud there in New Delhi, and also Ivan a lot earlier there in Seoul, South Korea. Thanks to you both.

Well, the European Commission has warned of drug shortages after new cases were confirmed in the United Kingdom. And earlier, CNN hosted a global town hall. And Christiane Amanpour has details on what Europe is facing.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Here they were talking about containment, but now the chief medical officer says they're moving into the so-called second phase, which is control. And then there's research and mitigate, but that's what's happening right now.

The British National Health Service is one of the most known in the world. The officials here say that the National Health Service, you know, will be able to cope, but we know there's a massive shortage of nurses. We know, as David has said and as Gary has said, that the testing kits are in short supply, not just here but around the world.

And so this is what's happening. There's not been any massive closures of schools here like we've seen in Italy. There's been one death and several dozen confirmed cases of infection.

But there is a sense that they might have to go into, you know, methods such as controlling how people work, keep them at home more, and it's called, you know, social mitigation.

So also, as you were talking about, how do people deal with each other? Social distancing, for instance. There's a huge amount of talk about should people shake hands? Should they hug, kiss? What we're being told -- it may sound basic, but you've been talking about it, and it's absolutely the case.

The main advice that people here are being given is wash your hands and wash them over and over again. And if you use sanitizer, use something that's at least 60 percent alcohol contained. And that's another issue, because those are rushing off the shelves, and there's a lot of shortages in these -- in these things. But this is what we're seeing over here.


VAUSE: And you can watch the replay of CNN's global town hall on the coronavirus outbreak, 9 a.m. in London, 1 p.m. in Abu Dhabi, and 8 p.m. in Hong Kong.

Just hours before a ceasefire between Turkey and Russia took effect in northwest Syria. Turkish forces killed 24 Syrian troops, destroyed two artillery pieces, and two missile launchers.

Retaliation for the deaths of 2 Turkish soldiers in Idlib earlier this week, killed by Russian-backed forces. And an attempt to curb the renewed violence and bloodshed in Syria's last rebel-held stronghold, the presidents of Russia and Turkey agreed to freeze the advance of Russian-backed Syrian forces within the region.


RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): The cease-fire deal will be effective as of midnight. In terms of making it lasting, all necessary actions will be taken fast and efficiently. Our goal is to prevent the worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the region.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We do not always agree with our Turkish partners in our view on the events in Syria. At this time in a critical moment, relying on the high level of bilateral ties we have reached, we have always managed to find common grounds on the disputed questions and find agreeable solutions.


VAUSE: Despite new hopes for peace in Idlib, hundreds of thousands have been caught in the crossfire of a relentless offensive by the Syrian regime. Many civilians have been forced to flee to an uncertain future, while others who have stayed behind are left living in fear.

CNN's Arwa Damon takes us inside a humanitarian crisis.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The children's smiles belie the depth of their trauma. This school is one of many sheltering the displaced, the blaring music temporarily drowning out the sounds of the explosions on the front line, just a 15-minute drive away.

Even at their tender age, they know death can come in an instant. Thelat (ph) is trying to have fun, gingerly keeping her weight off her injured foot.

"I was eating an apple with my sister, and then the rocket hit us," she remembers. "I looked, and I could only see dust and blood."

That strike happened a week ago at the school just next door, where Thelat's (ph) family, along with others, were living. A rocket slammed into the school yard, killing seven children and wounding many more.

Thelat's (ph) father shows us her bandaged foot, grateful his daughter is still alive, agonizing over how he is supposed to even protect his children.


"I am used to the sounds of the planes heading," Thelat (ph) says, "but since we got hit, I'm scared of it."

(on camera): They've been training the kids on what to do if they hear explosions or the bombings come close. So one is shelter in place. And then the other is to follow the arrows painted on the walls to go towards the bunker.

(voice-over): It's not a real bunker, just a room underground that used to store the now dust-covered schoolbooks.

The skies outside the town are painted with the streaks of fighter jets.

In the early hours the next morning, a chicken farm being used to how the displaced was decimated, crushing many of those who sheltered their in their sleep, including children.

Hospitals are overwhelmed, dealing not only with illnesses and disease, but the constant flow of the wounded. There is no sanctity here, least of all for civilian life.

In the last month, Turkey has upped its military involvement, battering regime positions. This group of fighters we meet close to the front, is mostly made up of young men who were in high school when Syria's revolution turned into a war.

"The Turkish presence is preventing the regime from advancing on the ground," 26-year-old Abu Saad (ph) says. "Our fight is about defending the population. My wife, my children."

But how to truly protect this population. It's not really in these fighters' control. It's in Turkey and Russia's hands. They, the main two powers bartering for Idlib's fate.

No matter what is negotiated, there have been too many promises, too many broken ceasefires, too many sham agreements. Pain haunts every street.

(on camera): His son died right here.


DAMON: That's still his blood on the wall.

(voice-over): Mohammed was just 12. His older brother tells us they ran when they saw the plane, but Mohammed didn't make it.

"I tried to pick him up, but I couldn't," Hussein (ph) remembers. Mohammed died in his arms.

Even celebrations are bittersweet. These women are shopping for dresses for their relative's wedding, but it won't be a lavish affair.

"It's not the sort of happiness where you invite everyone," the groom's sister tells us. "It will be small, with immediate family."

There's just too much misery and fear that a big crowd will get bombed.

Since December, around a million have been displaced, cramming into any empty space they can find, even this prison. The families here sleep with their clothes on, not knowing when they might need to run out.

Mireen's (ph) father was killed fighting years ago.

"He used to play a lot with us when he was alive," she remembers.

As we leave, we come across what's known as the graveyard camp, for even the dead are displaced, buried as close as possible to the border with Turkey in the hopes that at least they can rest in peace.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Idlib, Syria.


VAUSE: Michael Moran is a political analyst and lecturer in political risk. He's also the CEO and chief research officer for the business consulting group Transformative. He is with us this hour from Denver in Colorado.

So Michael, one thing about this cease-fire which doesn't seem entirely clear is it's about a short term reduction in violence, just to cool things off? Is this meant to be the basis for a more permanent peace deal?

I want you to listen to the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Here he is.


PUTIN (through translator): I expressed hope that these agreements will serve as good ground for a cease-fire in Idlib de-escalation zone. We'll finally put an end to the suffering of the civilian population and the growth of humanitarian crises.


VAUSE: If you listen closely, assuming the translational is correct, it seems this is more of a a pre-step before, you know, they get into some kind of real peace deal for Idlib. Is this how you see it?

MICHAEL MORAN, CEO/RESEARCH OFFICER, TRANSFORMATIVE: Yes. I think, you know, the British defense minister today said when you do a deal with Vladimir Putin and shake his hand, make sure you count your fingers on the way out. And I think that's a lesson the Turks are learning the hard way right now.

They have tried very -- very hard to play a kind of middle game with the Russians on one side, the United States and NATO on the other. And it's not working out for them. They've been put in a very difficult situation in terms of not wanting Assad to -- the Assad government and Syria to take over this piece of land.


But on the other hand, you know, Assad is aligned to Russia, and that has basically tied Erdogan's hands. And he's been in a very difficult situation ever since. He's burned some bridges with the west. So he's in a -- he's in quite a bind, and I don't think that I see a real kind of permanent cease-fire coming out of this.

VAUSE: Right. If -- It's all working out for the Turks. It's certainly not working out for, what, a million or so Syrian refugees who have moved to the Turkish-Syrian border.

And so if this is just a short-term sort of solution, you also have, what, three and a half million refugees in Turkey who are now looking at a pathway through Europe from an open border in Turkey into Greece. This is not a good recipe for any kind of long-term solution.

MORAN: No, and it's very cynical. I mean, you've got two very cynical governments involved in this -- in this cease-fire negotiation. The Turks are clearly using the refugees who, for -- to their defense, they've been sheltering three and a half million refugees for some time now.

But they've opened that border specifically to put pressure on NATO and the United States to kind of come to their aid in some form. That's happening in terms of financials and supplies.

But NATO is not about to come back. The United States under Trump has already made the decision to pull out. He's not going to reverse himself now in the middle of an election campaign, and so they -- they've put themselves in a terrible position. And of course, it's the human beings who pay the price. The people who are trying to escape the chaos that's sown by all of these egos and territorial interests, obviously, religious extremism, as well. And now, they are stuck in the middle.

VAUSE: We're increasingly seeing Turkey's president deploy his military across the region. It's the second biggest standing military force in NATO. It has a standing budget of about $18 billion, almost 700,000 military, civilian and paramilitary personnel. As well, we have two and a half thousand tanks. There's 1,300 aircraft. That includes F-16s. About 145 ships.

But in the past few months, thousands of Turkish troops have been sent inside Idlib province in Syria. They've been sent to the border with Syria. There's Turkish forces in Libya.

Now Erdogan says Turkish soldiers will be, you know, sent to the border with Greece, but those gates have been opened to Europe.

So you know, a few thousand troops here and there, and a few thousand troops there. It starts to add up. It starts to take a toll. And the longer these commitments go, personnel need to be rotated in. They need to be rotated out.

So is there a point when, you know, Turkey, I guess, becomes over committed? And is that a point of leverage that Assad and Putin are well aware of?

MORAN: Yes. And we shouldn't be -- we shouldn't be deceived by these numbers. I mean, you could've said the same thing 15 years ago about the Iraqi army, and it was quite a paper tiger.

The Turkish army would probably perform really well integrated into the NATO command structure. Alone, though, and that is very much what they are right now, they are certainly no match for the Russians. And they are having a tough time keeping the draftee army, which is what it is, you know, at the front, supplied and also, you know, motivated.

Ultimately, the real problem with Turkey's commitment in Syria right now, is that they have to avoid precipitating a real conflict with Russia, a conflict they can't win. And they've obviously put themselves in a position where their long-term allies, treaty allies in NATO, are not keen to come to the rescue at the moment.

VAUSE: Yes. And you touched on this sort of already, but the Europeans have expressed some sympathy and some financial help for Erdogan and Turkey and the prospect of dealing, you know, with hundreds of thousands of more refugees from Syria. But this comes with a black, with some of this.


MARGARITIS SCHINAS, EUROPEAN COMMISSION VICE PRESIDENT: Turkey is not an enemy, people are not weapons either. We now have a chance for a new deal on asylum, immigration, and this, I dare to say, this will be our last chance. Europe cannot fail twice.


VAUSE: That's the vice president of the European Commission.

At the same time, publicly, though, as you said, there's been really nothing from the United States or either from NATO. And the Turks must be wondering, you know, what's the value of being a NATO member at this point?

MORAN: Yes. You know, there is a real short-termism that's -- that's prevalent in the west right now.

Obviously, politically, it would take a very brave and talented politician to do what Merkel did years ago and say, OK, bring them on. Bring the refugees in. That's clearly had a very strong, dramatic effect on European politics. It's the kind of effect that immigration has had on the United States,

in terms of its politics. So that's probably not on the cards. So there's some cynicism on both sides.


But it's also worth noting that, you know, 10, 15 years ago, an American president of any party would probably have seen this as a -- just a wonderful opportunity to go in there and stop the slide of a very important NATO ally toward the Russian camp.

And ultimately, it doesn't seem to be within the capacity of any of the leaders of the west right now to think that way at all. Partly because their hands are tied by domestic politics, but partly because they're just not really that clever when it comes to diplomacy and geopolitics.

VAUSE: It should have been an easy game to play, and game is not the right word. But it's always been difficult. And even more so now, it seems.

Michael, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate it. Thank you.

MORAN: Thank you.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break, the ups and downs of Wall Street driven by fear of the coronavirus. We'll see how the Asian markets are doing when we come back in a moment. We'll have a live report.

Also ahead, demand is up. Production is down, forcing medical supply companies to make some tough calls about who gets what.


VAUSE: Well, the coronavirus outbreak continues to weigh on global stock markets. Asian markets are sharply down.

Let's take a look at the very latest here. We have the Nikkei down by almost 3 points, 3 percent, just 30 minutes before it closes. Hong Kong is closed down just over 2 percent. Shanghai down almost 1 percent. Still about an hour and a half of trading to go there. The Seoul KOSPI is down, as well. Another about an hour of trading in Seoul to go but down almost 2 and a half percent.

U.S. stocks finish sharply lower on Thursday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled almost 1,000 points, wiping out all of Wednesday's gains. Almost all of Wednesday's gains.

Kaori Enjoji is watching all of this for us from Tokyo. I say we're at a 4-day run. Everything was in the green, and then something today, it's all turned around. Why?

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: It's the same things -- they are the same things, John, that we've seen in the past, with being accentuated as there's no sign in store that these numbers of the coronavirus are easing up.

And we've had these new travel restrictions that Japan has imposed on travelers from China and South Korea. And that seems to be weighing quite heavily on sentiment. And it's also turning into a diplomatic tit-for-tat, as well, with South Korea saying that it might respond and -- in kind to something like this.


And this is particularly hard for Japan at this time, because when you take a look at the tourism numbers last year, when you combine the tourists from China and South Korea, that's 40 percent plus of the total.

So we're heading up into a couple of weeks where the tourism numbers are actually at their highest in the year because of the cherry blossom season. This is going to weigh yet again heavily again on industries that are related to tourism. So airlines, hotels and things like that. Retail. And I think that's casting a huge weight on the equity market here.

In response to this, the Japanese government, Abe, is going to announce a second stimulus package. Sometime next week is what we're hearing. In advance of that, we're already hearing criticism that he's doing just too little, too late, because he's already announced one stimulus package. This is an additional one.

And the size of that, in terms of dollar value, is a lot smaller than what we see in other countries like South Korea and the United States. So I think that is also weighing on sentiment.

And you have to remember the yen. The yen is surging. It is turning into a safe haven of choice in a time of turmoil in the capital markets. And that is bad news for Japanese corporates.

And of course, the yield on the treasury, that continues to be below 1 percent. This means that the -- that investors are counting on more interest rate cuts from the U.S. Federal Reserve. So that is one to watch, as well.

You're also hearing, on the bright side, there are a few signs that businesses are starting to resume in China. For example, Toyota announcing just today that they're going to resume production at some of its plants there.

But then, John, you're hearing more of an economic stagnation in the country domestically, which is offsetting that bit of news. Back to you.

VAUSE: Kaori -- thank you, Kaori Enjoji there with the very latest and some analysis of what's happening in the markets. We appreciate that.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, a big shake-up in the race for the White House, as Senator Elizabeth Warren ends her bid for the Democratic nomination. How her departure is reshaping the race.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

And in the past few hours, the U.S. state of Alabama carried out the controversial execution of a man convicted of killing three police officers in 2004. The state governor and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to step in and spare Nathaniel Woods, even though his codefendant, Kerry Spencer, admitted pulling the trigger and repeatedly said Woods was not involved.

Before the execution, the son of the famed civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, called all of this, quote, "a mockery of justice."


MARTIN LUTHER KING III, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Many in the community feel like this is once again another lynching. The man is innocent, it appears, based on all kinds of evidence, including evidence that was not presented at the first trial. So it would seem that there is never too late of a time to save a human life, specifically if it's an innocent life.


VAUSE: Ten of the 12 jurors in Woods's trial voted for the death penalty. In most U.S. states, the verdict must be unanimous. The family of one of the slain officers, though, says justice has now been served.

Another day, another U.S. presidential candidate bowing out of the race. Senator Elizabeth Warren suspending her campaign after a poor showing on Super Tuesday. Her exit leaves the once crowded Democratic field effectively a two-old-white-man race, down to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, both courting Sanders's endorsement. With Warren out, hopes are once again dashed for a woman to be elected president.

She received -- she got emotional, rather, I should say, when asked about that reality.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I wonder what the message would be to women and girls who feel like we're left with two white men to decide between?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know. One of the hardest parts of this is all those promises, and all those little girls who are going to have to wait four more years. That's going to be hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Joining us now from Washington, Nathan Gonzales, CNN political analyst, as well as the editor and publisher of "Inside Elections." Getting very close to one of those elections. Good to see you, Nathan.


VAUSE: OK. So Democrats have a choice now for president. It comes down to Bernie Sanders, a 78-year-old white straight man, and Joe Biden, a 77-year-old straight white man. And here is a sample of the reaction to Elizabeth Warren's decision to suspend her campaign.

The headline in "The Atlantic" was blunt: "America Punished Elizabeth Warren for her Competence." Over at "The Hill," "Women Ask, 'If Not Now, When?" And according to "The Nation," "Sexism Sank Elizabeth Warren." Warren was a brilliant candidate, they write, who could have made a great president. The problem: she's a woman, and she isn't perfect. While at "Slate," they take a closer look at the anguish of the Clinton-Warren supporters.

We should note that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016 but lost Electoral College. And that seems to add weight to this question. Precisely how qualified, how smart, how much does a woman need to do to be elected president in this country?

GONZALES: Yes, well, that's a great question. And I think that one of the lessons from 2016, I think, the lesson should not have been that our country is not ready to elect a woman president. I think the 2016 showed the country was not ready to elect Hillary Clinton, if I'm allowed to make that distinction.

But, you know, we have to look at this race and say there were multiple qualified women on the Democratic side who are not going to be the nominee.

And I think what it comes down to -- The Democratic Party is embracing diversity across the board on multiple different -- on multiple different issues. But I think for the Democratic Party now, you have a segment who love Bernie Sanders's message, and they want the revolution, and they want -- they want that change.

And you have other segment of the Democratic Party who I think want diversity but they also want to defeat President Trump even more. That that is the priority. And in this case, it's clear that, you know, whether it's senators Klobuchar, Warren, Kamala Harris, you know, they've gotten squeezed out.

VAUSE: Yes. And there is this question about sexism. And Elizabeth Warren was asked about that and the impact it had on her campaign. She kind of dodged and for good reason. Here she is.


WARREN: You know, that is the trap question for every woman. If you say yes, there was sexism in this race, everyone says, Whiner. And if you say, No, there was no sexism, about a bazillion women think, What planet do you live on? (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: You know, Hillary Clinton talked about smashing the glass ceiling. Democrat speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, says it's more like a marble ceiling. In other words, you know, the perception is it's getting harder and harder to crack that ceiling, not easier.

GONZALES: Yes, and I'm not going to be sitting here as a man and try to explain -- explain what it's like --

VAUSE: Two guys who are shooting it out over (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and sexism, yes.

GONZALES: -- for a woman to run for office. But what I would have -- I think it would have been interesting in this campaign if Senator Warren would have taken on Bernie Sanders earlier in the race.

You know, that the rhetoric that she used to contrast herself with Bernie Sanders over the last few weeks, if she had done that six months ago, would that have made a difference? And I'm not saying that she would have been the nominee, but I think she could appeal the way some voters who like Bernie Sanders's message but they also want a little bit of pragmatism.

And -- but we can't go back and redo it, but that's one of the what-if moments in my mind.


VAUSE: Yes, I guess -- and this is a question. Whether or not they're ready to elect a woman. It just seems like way too much of a broad- brush statement.

You know, Nancy Pelosi came out on Thursday, and she is the highest elected female official in the United States. And she talked about an element of misogyny in the demise of Elizabeth Warren. This is what else she said. Listen to this.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I so wish, every time I get introduced as most powerful woman of 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.


VAUSE: And you touched on this. The start of this Democrat primary, there were at least five women running for the nomination who, you know, were running with the chance, maybe not Tulsi Gabbard, but you know what I mean. So the question is, how did we end up with too old white guys? And was this just not the right time for any of those women who were running? If another woman had run that was -- had a greater appeal, would we be in a different position now?

GONZALES: Yes. You know, and I think that -- I believe we're going to have a woman president in our lifetime. The question is, you know, when -- what's the opportunity that arises?

And look, we went from one woman in Hillary Clinton running to now five plus women, including multiple United States senators. You know, if that field had been more narrow, would they -- would one of them have been able to consolidate voters who, for them, that is a priority? But again, we can't -- we can't go back and redo that.

And I think that the thing is, you know, this is just going to -- the more women we have an elected office, you know, that it broadens the bench of potential presidential candidates. And I think it continuously. We're just going to see more and more women running for president, just like we're going to see more and more women running for offices up and down the ballot.

VAUSE: Yes. And let's just make the assumption now -- it's certainly not a given -- but Joe Biden the likely nominee, not a guarantee. But you know, if he is, President Trump apparently plans to raise the former vice president's son Hunter in the campaign, try and create sort of a corruption link between Biden, his son Hunter, and Hunter Biden's work in the Ukraine. Listen to Donald Trump. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That will be a major issue in the campaign. I will bring that up all the time, because I don't see any way out. I don't believe they'll be able to answer those questions. That was purely corrupt.


VAUSE: Let's just be clear. There's been no proof of corruption between Hunter Biden and Joe Biden in Ukraine or Burisma or anything. And that strategy for Donald Trump ended in impeachment. And besides that, it also kind of seems like old news now, almost like Biden is inoculated from all of this. Is that fair?

GONZALES: Well, we're going to see. You know, the president, there are many things you can critique the president on, John, but we know what's going on inside his head because he tweets it or he says it all the time. He just laid out the entire -- or at least a big part of the general election strategy if Joe Biden is the nominee.

And I think Republicans -- or Democrats should be prepared, and the Biden campaign should be prepared for and not just assume that the issue has been put to rest, because the president is going to talk about it at almost every rally, every opportunity, and keep driving it home.

And, you know, the president has this ability of he'll find a little weakness in an opponent, and he will just drive a wedge into it. And Democrats -- Democrats need to be ready.

VAUSE: Yes, we're out of time now right now, but this is a good point here, is that Joe Biden still has not really fully had a good explanation for everything that he's son was doing in Ukraine. And that's something which they obviously need to work on as this moves forward.

But Nathan, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

GONZALES: No problem.

VAUSE: Well, medical supplies are dwindling as the coronavirus spreads. When we return, the latest on how supply companies are trying to meet that surge in demand.



VAUSE: Well, fears over the spread of the coronavirus has sparked panic buying of some much-needed medical supplies. manufacturers. They are being forced to make tough calls on who gets what.

CNN's Clare Sebastian explains.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are all our face masks. We store them in a secure room.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For medical supply company Diomed (ph), this is part of a new reality at their New Jersey distribution center. They have also added armed security outside.

EINHORN: There's people that keep coming in from the street knocking on the door, trying to take product.

SEBASTIAN: Masks are the biggest concern here as demand spikes because of fears over the spread of the novel coronavirus and supplies run short. Diomed (ph), like many others in this industry, sources its mask from China.

EINHORN: The only production that we're told is happening right now is the production in China, which is staying domestic for the Chinese government.

SEBASTIAN (on camera): So you're going to run out?

EINHORN: We are absolutely going to run out, but we have contingency plans in place. We're trying to do the best we can for our customers.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Diomed (ph) can no longer sell based on demand alone. Every day, they hold a meeting to make potentially life- changing decisions about who should get their limited stock.

EINHORN: So it's going to the actual hospital, what do you want to do, Chuck?


EINHORN: Let's do 10 today. We'll talk tomorrow again. We'll put them on the list for tomorrow.

SEBASTIAN: Ten boxes is just 200 masks. Diomed (ph) tells us the hospital had requested six times that.

Supply issues are mounting. China, the world's biggest manufacturer of medical face masks, says it's not imposing any export restrictions, but several western companies tell us they have not been receiving orders.

Countries from Germany to Thailand have banned exports, and the French authorities announced this week they are taking control of all medical masks to distribute to health professionals.

SEBASTIAN: Medicom, a Canadian manufacturer of masks and other medical supplies, says as of late January, their three Chinese factories are prioritizing local demand. They're not yet sure what will happen to their factory in France.

And here in Augusta, Georgia, they are ramping up as fast as possible.

GUILLAUME LAVERDURE, GROUP COO AND PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICA, MEDICOM: We were basically doubling the capacity of the factory over a period of four to six months. We now have additional shifts, additional equipment. But additional equipment takes a lot of time. These are custom-made machines.

SEBASTIAN: They're also not taking on new customers.

LAVERDURE: We decided from day one to go on allocation to only distribute to existing customers, the historical demand, to avoid any speculation, stockpiling, additional safety stuff, which is a big a disruption.

EINHORN: You have wipes. Gloves, as an example. These are other products that are increasing in terms of demand.

SEBASTIAN: At Diomed (ph), the staff are also working extra hours. Three new team members have been hired. They are starting to feel the pressure.

EINHORN: It's a terrible situation, what's going on right now. I mean, it's terrifying. I mean, we have health care workers that fare going to run out of face masks. That's a terrifying situation to be in. But we feel that it's our obligation and our responsibility to the industry to work with our customers and be the calming voice during these crazy, crazy times.

SEBASTIAN: A calming voice in the face of unprecedented demand and dwindling supplies.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, Lakewood, New Jersey.


VAUSE: One last note before we go. CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery on March 11. We want to know what does freedom mean to you. Here's what British popstar Ellie Goulding had to say.


ELLIE GOULDING, SINGER: As a singer, freedom means being able to pursue exactly what I want to pursue with no barriers, with nothing holding me back. Being able to live my life exactly as I want to live it within the realms of my job.


VAUSE: Tell the world what freedom means to you and share your story using the hashtag #MyFreedomDay. March 11 is just around the corner.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. WORLD SPORT starts after the break.