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The Coronavirus Is Spreading Faster Than It Can Be Contained; Turkey-Russia Ceasefire Goes Into Effect in Idlib; Senator Elizabeth Warren Ends Her 2020 Presidential Bid; The Coronavirus Outbreak is Disrupting Nearly Every Aspect of Public Life. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 6, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm John Vause. You are watching "CNN Newsroom" live from Studio 7 at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
Ahead this hour, as western countries scramble to contain the coronavirus, they may want to look to Asia, tips from countries like South Korea on how to control the outbreak.
Inside the humanitarian crisis, CNN travels to Idlib in Syria for a first time look at life in a war zone.
It began with the most diverse field in history. Now, the democratic race for the party's presidential nomination looks very white, very, very old, and very male.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. does not have enough coronavirus test kits, at least right now. A leading expert in infectious diseases says millions of testing kits will be needed.
On Thursday, those kits were dropped by helicopter to the Grand Princess. The cruise ship has been ordered to stay at sea off the U.S. coast after some passengers and crew displayed symptoms. The first test results are expected in the coming hours.
Almost 98,000 cases are confirmed worldwide, most are in China. Nearly 3,400 people have died. Iran reports more than 100 deaths, including a senior politician, who once served as an adviser to the foreign minister. The head of the World Health Organization is warning their time is running out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We are concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough or have decided that there is nothing they can do. We are concerned that in some countries, the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face. This is not a drill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The biggest outbreak in Europe is in Italy. Nearly 4,000 people have caught the virus. Almost 150 have died. The government will spend more than seven billion euros to help soften the financial blow to businesses impacted by the outbreak.
Meantime, a group of Italian tourists are suspected of spreading the contagion to India. Let's bring in CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi. So what more do we know about these Italian two groups which may be responsible for spreading the virus there?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: What is interesting, John, is the fact that there are more Italian nationals who have tested positive for coronavirus here in India than Indian nationals themselves. We have two of them being treated in the northwest in state of Rajasthan while 14 of them are being treated in the national capital region as well.
What we have got to know from the state government of Rajasthan is that these 16 Italian nationals had interacted with over 215 people while they were touring different places in the state of Rajasthan. The biggest challenge for the Indian government, as I speak, is to ensure that they manage to contain the spread of the virus after the interaction between these Italian nationals and Indians in the state of Rajasthan.
While I speak to you, we just got to know that there has been another case that has been reported, taking the number --
VAUSE: I think we are having some problems with our communication there between Atlanta and New Delhi. So, we will leave Vedika there for a moment. Hopefully, we can get back to her and catch up with the rest of her report.
But in the meantime, South Korea has the largest number of cases of coronavirus outside of China. More than 6,000 people are infected. More than 40 have died. We get more now from CNN's Ivan Watson, reporting in from Seoul.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Asian countries have been living with the coronavirus outbreak for months. And one of the first lessons people learned here is don't panic.
ROB SHEFFIELD, MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR GREATER CHINA, MORGAN MCKINLEY: We aren't panicking. We are probably a little bit frustrated because it is disruptive.
WATSON (on camera): As you can see here in Seoul, life still goes on. But if you are just beginning to face a coronavirus epidemic, get ready for some serious disruption. All across Asia, sports, concerts, church services, any event involving large gathering says either been cancelled or seriously altered. (Voice-over): In Japan, for example, they're playing professional baseball in empty stadiums.
(On camera): In Asia, coronavirus triggered the world's biggest work from home experiment.
SHEFFIELD: I think working from home for us has been a huge success. It has raised questions for us around do we need the size of office space that we got.
WATSON (on camera): Employees are literally phoning it in, working by video conference and avoiding travel. Meanwhile, many parents have to take care of kids at home because cities like Hong Kong have closed schools for months. Understandably, there is a lot of concern right now, so governments have a responsibility to be transparent.
(Voice-over): Early on in the crisis, the Chinese government attempted to silence experts who tried to sound the alarm that hurt the government's credibility and spread distrust. Even China's notorious sensors have been unable to control criticism online.
But in South Korea, officials give daily briefings at national, provincial, and city levels. And even though South Korea has the second highest number of infections outside of mainland China, public opinion polls show approval for the president remains solid.
(On camera): The experts agree a key to stemming the outbreak is personal hygiene.
IVAN HUNG, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIVISION, HONG KONG UNIVERSITY: Infection control by people wearing masks and also by hand hygiene, hand rub with alcohol swab.
WATSON (on camera): Many coronavirus carriers have mild symptoms, so it's vital to identify those who have this contagious disease by testing for it.
HUNG: The important is for early diagnosis and early isolation and early treatment, the mainstay of isolation and prevention of this infection from spreading.
WATSON (on camera): The coronavirus outbreak is a global phenomenon, so chances are you will feel some impact. But no matter what the inconvenience, remember, the most important thing going forward is to stay healthy.
Ivan Watson, CNN, Seoul.
VAUSE: The United States is reporting nearly 230 cases across 19 states. At least 14 people have died, one in California, the rest in Washington State, with a cluster of fatalities at a nursing facility in the city of Kirkland. Federal health official say the center had several severe deficiencies which were noted in an inspection report last year.
The Palestinian territories are reporting seven cases of the novel coronavirus. Israel and Palestinian authority now shut down Bethlehem, surrounding towns and villages. The Palestinian authority is also closing schools, conferences, and cancelling tourist reservations. Tourist sites will be closed for at least the next 30 days.
Former senior adviser to Iran foreign minister has died from the virus. We will go live to Tehran to find out what the government is doing to stop the epidemic there. That is later this hour.
In the meantime, a short break. When we come back, the ceasefire between Turkey and Russia is now affecting the northwest. This is not a break. It is a story. It comes six hours after Turkish soldiers killed 21 Syrian troops, destroyed two artillery pieces, and two missile launches.
That was retaliation for the killing of two Turkish soldiers in Idlib earlier this week in attempt to curb the renewed violence and bloodshed in Syria's last rebel stronghold. The president of Russia and Turkey agreed to freeze in the advance of Russian-backed Syrian forces in the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): I express hope that these agreements will serve as good ground for a ceasefire in Idlib de-escalation zone and finally put an end to the suffering of the civilian population and the gross humanitarian crises and will create condition for peace process in Syrian-Arabic republic between all conflicting parties.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The fighting in Idlib has devastated the civilian population. Nearly a million people have fled their homes in just the last few months. Those who remained behind are risking their lives. These images say it all took -- take a look at the before and after pictures of a town in Idlib province. On the left, that is what it looked like in July 2018. On the right, after assault, the town appears to be a wasteland. That is May 2019.
Despite new hopes for peace in Idlib, thousands have been caught in the crossfire of a relentless offensive by the Syrian regime. Many have been forced to flee to an uncertain future. Others who stayed behind are in fear. CNN's Arwa Damon takes us inside Idlib's humanitarian crisis.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The children's smiles belie the depth of their trauma. The school is one of many sheltering the displaced. The blaring music temporarily drowning out the sounds of the explosions on the frontline, just a 15- minute drive away. Even at their tender age, they know death can come in an instant. Dara (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 can only see dust and blood."
That strike happened a week ago at the school just next door where Dara's (ph) family along with others were living. A rocket slammed into the school yard, killing seven children and wounding many more. Dara'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.
DAMON (voice-over): "I am used to the sounds of the planes hitting," Dara (ph) says. "But since we got hit, I am scared of it."
(On camera): They have been training the kids on what to do, if they hear explosions or the bombings come close. One is shelter in place. And then the other, they are to follow the arrows painted on the walls to go towards the bunker.
(Voice-over): It is 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 house the displaced was decimated, crushing many of those who sheltered there 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 remain close to the front is mostly made up of young men who were in high school when serious revolution turned into a war.
"The Turkish presence is preventing the regime from advancing on the ground," 26-year-old Abusad (ph) says. "Our fight is about defending the population, my life and my children." But how do we truly protect this population? It's not really in these fighters' control. It is in Turkey and Russia hands. They are the main two powers bartering for Idlib's fate.
No matter what is negotiated, there have been too many promises, too many broken ceasefires, and too many sham agreements. Pain haunts every street.
(On camera): His son died right here. That is still his blood on the wall.
(Voice-over) Mohammad (ph) was just 12. His older brother tells us they ran when they saw the plane, but Mohammad (ph) didn't make it. "I tried to pick him up, but I couldn't," Hasim (ph) remembers. Mohammad (ph) died in his arms.
Even celebrations are bittersweet. These women are shopping for dresses for their relatives' wedding, but it won't be a lavish affair. "It is not the sort of happiness where you invite everyone," the grim sister tells us. "It will be small with immediate family." There is 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. Medi'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 is known as the graveyard camp where 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: Many of those who fled the fighting in Syria were given refuge in Turkey. But now, with almost four million Syrian refugees living there, the government has warned that it cannot and will not be able to deal with another mass influx of families fleeing war.
The Turkish government has demanded more support from Europe. Until that help arrives, they will no longer stop refugees from crossing over into Greece and then on into the European Union. But Greece is pushing back hard, using force to keep migrants out. There is also an allegation that refugees were shot -- were shot, rather, with live ammunition, something the Greek state minister denies to CNN's Christiane Amanpour during an exclusive interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGIOS GERAPETRITIS, GREEK STATE MINISTER: There has been no excessive violence whatsoever. There have been no bullets on the spot. The Greek army and the Greece police forces have used any sort of proportionate measures in order to try and keep all of those people away from the Greek border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The minister went on to accuse Turkish officials of extreme propaganda, insisting the influx of migrants has nothing to do with the crisis in Syria.
Well, it is a crowded field no longer as Elizabeth Warren ends her U.S. presidential bid. Her departure sets up a two-person battle, two old white guy male, for democratic nomination.
VAUSE: The more things change, the more they stay the same. On Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren was the later Democrat candidate to end the run for the White House. That means the race is now between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden for the party's nomination. CNN's Kyung Lah has more on a rapidly changing state of the race.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I will not be running for president in 2020, but I guarantee, I will stay in the fight.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator Elizabeth Warren ending her campaign, but making no endorsement yet.
WARREN: Let's take a deep breath.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, how are you?
LAH (voice-over): Bernie Sanders, fellow progressive, hoping to win over Warren and her supporters, potentially uniting the left.
SANDERS: I would love to have her endorsement. But today, what I am doing is reaching out to the millions of strong supporters that she had and to tell them that her agenda, what she fought for in the campaign, was far closer to what I am fighting for than what Joe Biden believes in.
LAH (voice-over): But so far, the recent wave of endorsements has largely gone to Joe Biden. In upcoming primaries, Michigan's governor and senators from Illinois and Arizona, all back the former vice president. Sanders indicating he will continue to sharpen his attacks on Biden.
SANDERS: Political establishment was very, very nervous. They are consolidated around Joe Biden. Wall Street is emptying its check books to fund Joe's campaign.
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous, Bernie. You've got beaten by overwhelming support I have from the African American community, Bernie. You've got beaten because of suburban women, Bernie. You've gotten beaten because of middle class hardworking folks out there, Bernie. You have raised a lot more money than I have, Bernie.
LAH (voice-over): The Biden campaign will also have to brace for President Trump. He says of Hunter Biden's work in Ukraine --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): 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 will be able to answer those questions.
LAH (voice-over): Biden is dismissing those attacks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that as your political fortunes rise --
BIDEN: Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- they're coming after you more?
BIDEN: Of course. There is nothing there. Look, Donald Trump has corrupted the soul of this country. Donald Trump has pummelled the middle class.
LAH (On camera): A reminder and a little context about what this back and forth is about, the president's attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden and Joe Biden, his political rival, were central to his impeachment trial. So, Trump and his allies have repeatedly pushed forward false and unfounded claims that the Bidens acted corruptly in the Ukraine.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.
VAUSE: On Wednesday, the U.S. vice president said any American who needed to be tested for the coronavirus could be. There is just one problem. There are not enough kits available. A mixed message from the White House, that's next.
Also, markets are plunging, the oil industry is suffering, and a new warning from the travel industry. We will tell you about that. That's all ahead on "CNN Newsroom."
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Almost 100,000 people have now been infected by the coronavirus in at least 85 countries and territories. CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports the outbreak is disrupting nearly every aspect of public life.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): This is the bridge that leads to the epicenter of China's coronavirus outbreak. It is nearly empty. Traffic in and out of Hubei province remains restricted. On the other side of the Yangtze River, some residents remain wary of those coming across.
ZHENG WEIQI, STORE OWNER (through translator): I am afraid that the people from Hubei province will come over, like people I don't know. If they're people I have known, it doesn't matter. People I don't know are not allowed to come into my store.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Across China where more than 3,000 people have died from the virus, the rate of new infection is continuing to slow. But in other Asian countries like Japan, it is getting worse, prompting China's president, Xi Jinping, to postpone his much anticipated visit to Tokyo.
YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): The task at hand for both countries is to contain the spread of new coronavirus. There is a need to prioritize this.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): South Korea remains one of the worst affected countries in Asia. Amid a shortage of face masks, the government is banning their export now and restricting how many each customer can buy at home.
KIM YONG-BEOM, SOUTH KOREA'S VICE FINANCE MINISTER (through translator): We will limit the number of purchases to two masks per week. We know it is not enough and even this is not guaranteed.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Korea's main airline is now spraying disinfectant through its planes while other countries like Australia closed their borders to South Korean travellers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe that affords the best protection and will enable us to -- it has always been our objective, to slow down the rate of transmission.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): In the Middle East, Iran remains the worst affected country with more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): For a second week in a row, Friday prayers have been cancelled in major cities, schools have been shut down, and authorities here are also spraying public places with disinfectant. The government, though, is urging calm.
AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): Of course, I don't want to minimize the issue, but let us not make it too big. It will not be in the country for long, and then it will fall apart.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): In Europe, there has been a mild exhilaration in the spread of the virus in many countries notably in Switzerland and Germany. Most cases can be traced back to the outbreak in Italy, where schools and universities remain closed as authorities try to curb the spread even further.
As governments across the world scramble to put into place countermeasures for the virus, many businesses are already counting the cost. Airlines say falling passenger numbers could result in the industry taking $100 billion dollar plus hit.
BRIAN FEARCE, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: This would be a revenue shock, equivalent to what was seen in the global financial crisis.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Even Hollywood is affected. The latest James Bond film, due to be released in April, has been postponed until the end of the year amid concerns that the outbreak could affect ticket sales.
Christiane Amanpour, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Delay in testing for the virus is one factor fueling fears and anxiety. Earlier, CNN hosted a global town hall. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, explained why there is a shortage of testing kits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE MEMBER: It is unfortunate that it got off to a slow start. There were some missteps with regard to the CDC's test. They had a problem. They fixed the problem. Now, by the end of the week, they should be able to get out about 75,000 tests. They have now partnered with the private sector so that everything doesn't have to come from the CDC, which generally makes test for the public health segment.
When you get the commercial segment that can then make millions and millions of tests, what you are going to see in the reasonable future is a dramatic escalation in the number of tests that will be available. But you are absolutely right. Up to this point, there has been a lag in the ability to get tested.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Can we just follow up on that? In terms of the -- you said by the end of the week. Do you mean like tomorrow or do you mean Sunday? How many tests, you say, will be out there available by then?
FAUCI: Well, what they are telling us, what the CDC and the FDA say, that by the end of the week, the beginning of next week, they should be able to get 75,000 tests out there. And by the following week, they can get up to a million tests out there. That's the plan. That's what we are hearing.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't want to believe this (ph). I know you answered this a lot. But how many tests are we going to need, Dr. Fauci? You heard from South Korea, you know, over 100,000 tests have been performed. How do we really get an idea of what's happening here in the states? How widespread this is?
FAUCI: Sanjay, you and I have discussed that in the past. You know I've been an advocate of much more proactive testing, not only testing when physicians ask for a test, but testing to determine where we are and what level is under the radar. For that reason, we are going to need millions and millions and millions of tests. This is what I feel and that is what many of my colleagues feel.
MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Our biggest advice right now is to be ready. We want everyone to know what they can do to protect themselves, to protect their families at an individual level. We are working with governments all over the world to make sure that they are ready so that they can expect cases and they know what to do when those cases arrive.
We want everyone to feel that there is a collective responsibility and that they have some power in this. That if everybody is working together, that they can fight this together.
COOPER: I think that is a really important point. I just want to emphasize this for our viewers. You know, we can look to doctors, we can look to government officials, but it is each of us individuals all around the world who are literally the frontline of this. And so washing your hands is not just for yourself. It's for your fellow family members. It's for your fellow citizens. We are the people, each of us, who have a responsibility in this.
VAN KERKHOVE: That's right. Every single person on the planet has a responsibility here. What we want people to know is, as you say, wash your hands. I mean, it sounds very simple, but it is incredibly important that you do this multiple times per day and you do this right. If you don't have access to that, you can use an alcohol gel.
We need to make sure that people practice respiratory etiquette. Again, it is very simple. When you're sneezing, you sneeze into your elbow, you sneeze into a tissue, and then you put it into a closed bin. You make sure that you educate yourself. I know that you are speaking a lot about facts and not fear.
VAN KERKHOVE: And it's really important that people know where they can get reliable information. They can come to the WHO Web site, you have the U.S. CDC Web site, but there are many good sources of information. This situation is evolving very, very quickly as you've been reporting. And so we need people to come back and look and see what is the latest information that they know.
We are an evidence-based organization. And so, what we are trying to do is pull together all of the evidence about what we know about this virus. And more importantly, for the things that we don't know about this virus, we're taking steps and working with partners all over the world to help us address those unknowns.
So come back, educate yourself, know what you can do, how you can protect yourself, how you can protect your family and be ready.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Now, the response to the coronavirus outbreak by the U.S. administration has been one of the issues on the campaign trail over the last few days. And one of the persons who was leading that charge was in fact, Michael Bloomberg. He is out of the race, so to Elizabeth Warren. She is out of the race as of Thursday announcing her campaign has been suspended.
So for more on that, Thomas Gift is a political science lecturer at the University College London. He joins us now via Skype from Palo Alto in California. So Thomas, good to see you. Good to hear from you rather, I should say. Democrats now have a choice for president did stand to Bernie Sanders who's 78 years old. He's white. He's old. Joe Biden, 77 years old. He's white, and he's old.
And it seems that you what the reaction to Warren getting out of the campaign has been quite pronounced. There was a headline in the Atlantic, for example, which say that America punished Elizabeth Warren for simply being competent. And over the Hill, they're asking -- we'll be asking if not now, when. The Nation, for example, saying that sexism sank Elizabeth Warren.
So I guess the question now is how qualified, how hard-working, exactly what does a woman have to do to get the party's nomination and then to go on and win the presidency, because Hillary Clinton did all these four years ago, she won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College?
THOMAS GIFT, POLITICAL SCIENCE LECTURER, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, absolutely, John, that's the question that pretty much everyone is asking. And to some extent, that conversation is inevitable. It's already happening. And it's only amplified by the fact that this election has going to become so much about electability.
Now, I think it's absolutely important to examine that question, while at the same time, keep in mind that candidate appeal is a function of numerous different factors and voter preferences are quite complicated. Of course, it's the unprecedented diversity in the midterm elections in 2018, including record numbers of women serving in the current 116th Congress. So that's, of course, is encouraging news.
But it's certainly understandable why so many voters would like to have seen a woman run the presidential nomination here in 2020. And it's probably the same reason why so many individuals would like to now see a woman at least at the V.P. candidate on the Democratic side.
VAUSE: I guess for so many voters in these Democrat primaries, their main concern is beating Donald Trump. So with that in mind, were they just not willing to take a risk, even though a well-qualified candidate like Elizabeth Warren who obviously has plans in place, had a great campaign, did very well at those debates, but just couldn't translate that into votes because she was just seen at this point at this election simply too risky.
GIFT: You know, John, there's no doubt that Elizabeth Warren is a very accomplished and impressive candidate and it's clear why a lot of voters would like to have seen a woman, especially Warren, win the nomination. You know, she was a Harvard Law School professor, senator, she had a reputation as having a plan for everything. But for whatever reason, and there could be multiple factors that gets subsumed into that electability variable, which you just mentioned, she just wasn't able to expand her appeal much beyond that core group of largely white, highly educated, urban and suburban voters.
So that's building that progressive coalition approval is difficult for her. And was only further complicated by the significant ideological and policy overlap with Sanders, including with her signature Medicare for all plan. But Warren, of course, will remain certainly a key Democratic voice in the Senate. VAUSE: Yes, I guess question two is which will she endorse. Will it be Biden or will it be Bernie, and we will find out I guess in the days and weeks ahead. But Thomas Gift, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
GIFT: Thanks so much, John.
VAUSE: OK. Now, in the past few hours, the U.S. state of Alabama carried out the controversial execution of an inmate 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 despite the number of high-profile activists and celebrities including the son of the famous civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. trying to stop the execution. CNN's Martin Savidge has details.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 43-year-old Nathaniel Woods was declared dead at 9:01. Authorities say that he had no last words. He had been slated to be executed at 6:00 local time. But about a half- hour before then, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay. It was a temporary stay. In the end, it lasted about two and a half hours.
During that time period, Wood's defense team made another appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That was eventually denied and the stay was lifted and the execution was carried out. Was this case is tied back to one of the darkest days in the Birmingham police department when in 2004, three police officers were gunned down as they attempted to serve the misdemeanor warrant on Woods.
Woods though was not the shooter. It was another man Kerry Spencer who killed the officers and maintain that he had always acted alone, spontaneously, and that Woods was 100 percent innocent. But authorities didn't see it that way. They charged Woods with capital murder, saying that he had conspired with Spencer, and as a result was equally guilty under the eyes of the Alabama law.
Even tonight, the family members of those deceased officers spoke out, and 16 years later, the pain still evident over their loss.
STARR SIDELINKER, SISTER, HARLEY CHISHOLM: No petitions could stop this day from him taking his last press. Our loved ones took their last breath while upholding the law to make this city a safer place.
SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Birmingham, Alabama.
VAUSE: Well, as the coronavirus spreads, so to misinformation about it online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In our social media monitoring, for instance, we've come across proposed cures to and prevention options for coronavirus for everything from you just need to pray to more harmful proposed treatments like drinking bleach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Looking back, what is being done to stop this info-demic? Stay with us.
VAUSE: The U.S. government has allocated almost $8.5 billion for families and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports the country's healthcare industry is now being pushed to the ultimate test.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you visit the city of Bergamo, you'd be forgiven if you concluded that despite the growing number of coronavirus cases in Italy, all is well. On a sunny winter afternoon, cafes and restaurants are full. It looks and sounds like something straight out of a movie.
Bergamo in the so-called yellow zone, areas adjacent to the red zones where the outbreak is most intense and entry and exit are tightly controlled.
Italy is a surreal combination of life as normal and ever more draconian measures to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The government has ordered schools and universities across the country shut until March 15th. The number of new coronavirus cases and deaths continues to soar. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is sounding the alarm.
We have hospitals and health system that although excellent and efficient, are at risk of being overwhelmed, he warns.
The Ospedale Maggiore in the yellow zone town of Lodi has treated more than 500 coronavirus patients in the past two and a half weeks. At least 15 have died.
ENRICO STORTI, HEAD OF INTENSIVE CARE, MAGGIORE HOSPITAL: In my team, we are 21 and six physicians have been found positive.
WEDEMAN: Dr. Enrico Storti runs the intensive care unit.
STORTI: When you receive 100 people at the same time sick, then all the people needs your job otherwise they die. This is exactly what we have seen because when they arrived in the hospital with a such a consistent distress that you have to treat these people in seconds.
WEDEMAN: Surgeon Pietro Bisagni says their lives have been turned upside down. PIETRO BISAGNI, DIRECTOR OF GENERAL SURGERY, MAGGIORE HOSPITAL: Me and Dr. Storti stayed here for four to five days continuously, and then we went back some hours to rest, and then coming back here. At home we are actually on quarantine. So we just say bye, bye to our family.
WEDEMAN: The government has established a network of coronavirus hotlines. This one in Rome staffed by doctors receives about 2,000 calls a day from the area around the city. They're basically afraid because they think it's a deadly disease says hotline director Anna Maria (INAUDIBLE). They don't know what to do. Which might explain why it's best to enjoy what matters now. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Bergamo, Northern Italy.
VAUSE: The number of coronavirus cases continues to surge in Iran. More than 3,000 people infected at least 100 have died. With the virus now confirmed in every province across the country, the highest numbers in Tehran. Journalist Ramin Mostaghim is in Tehran for again live in this hour. So Ramin, it would seem this ever-growing number is an indication the government is just not able to contain the outbreak.
RAMIN MOSTAGHIM, CNN JOURNALIST: Yes, that's indeed, John. Since I talked to you one hour ago, one newly elected parliamentarian (INAUDIBLE), a female politician close to the conservative camp, the majority of the next parliament camp, she also succumb to the death. And she was confirmed by all the official news (INAUDIBLE) that she died due to the coronavirus or what they call it technically COVID-19.
Now, the officials one by one are succumbing to the coronavirus contractions and they get the disease infected, hospitalized. When the news come, you can imagine the public in the cities are anticipating soaring numbers of the death or soaring number of the positive. On every day, on daily basis, we can anticipate 500, around 500 more positive case detected and about 15 or 20 number of dead increasing, John.
This is -- this is a society that anticipating bad days to come and as we see the horizon doesn't show anything, doesn't promise any containing of the virus, coronavirus, I mean, contraction in the country. Hospitals in Gilan province, in Isfahan, in Teheran, especially, are overwhelmed by the hospitalizations and they cannot do it just properly because the huge number of the hospitalized people are outnumbering the medical staff.
The medical staff around the clock are working. They are exposed to the disease. Two or three nurses have been also among the dead cases so far. Doctors are exposed to the disease. So the country should think about finding a meaningful life indoors because families should take care of their own by just finding some things indoor entertainment, to just entertain the children because there's no work to do, John.
VAUSE: Of course, there's no indication of how long this will last, how long people have to stay indoors, but I guess to so many people, that is their only choice. Ramin Mostaghim, thank you so much, Rahim, for being with us. We appreciate the update.
MOSTAGHIM: Thank you.
VAUSE: Fear of the coronavirus is wreaking havoc with U.S. financial markets. Asian stock markets have closed sharply down. And that follows Wall Street's plunge on Thursday. The travel sector has been hit especially hard. Airline companies are predicting they could see more than $100 billion in losses. CNN's Richard Quest has more.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: The market was off the lows of the day, but that's not saying much. The Dow Jones Industrials down over three and a half percent and another thousand white of the market. This time it was the worries about coronavirus on corporate results. And of course, particularly the travel and tourism industry.
Airlines were hit very hard. Just look at to U.S. carriers. United Airlines, which has already said it will cut 20 percent of its international flying down 13 percent. Jet Blue which will cut five percent of its flying was down more than 10 percent.
The airlines association IATA has said that globally, airlines could lose more than $113 billion this year. And the Director-General said they may need help from government in some cases.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDRE DE JUNIAC, DIRECTOR GENERA, IATA: If the outbreak last, we will probably need some government assistance in some parts of the world, especially where the airlines are weaker financially than in other areas of the world. And we will ask for help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: So far, it doesn't appear that there's any end anytime soon. And if there's one thing we can take from what we've seen over the last week and a half, the volatility is disturbing, it's damaging, but it's here for the foreseeable future. Richard Quest, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: You're watching CNN, and we will be right back after this.
VAUSE: Well, as the virus spreads around the world, so too does miss information. It seems containing the conspiracy theories, the false stories, and all that misinformation is just as difficult as containing the virus itself. CNN's Hadas Gold has more.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA AND TECH REPORTER: It's not just COVID-19, better known as the Novel Coronavirus that's spreading fast. There's a flow of misinformation online about the virus and health officials are mounting a concerted effort to combat it. They're calling it info- demic. The ease with which conspiracies are shared and reshared makes stopping something going viral online almost as difficult as stopping a biological viral outbreak in the real world.
I put the deluge of misinformation around the measles outbreak that started in 2018. The World Health Organization is taking new approaches to tackle the problem.
Hey, Andy, how are you?
ANDY PATTISON, MANAGER, DIGITAL SOLUTIONS, WHO: Good, thanks. How you doing?
GOLD: I'm good. Would you call this the first social media epidemic?
PATTISON: I think there's probably been micro-epidemics. We call them info-demics. I think this one could well be the first global one, yes.
So one of the big streams of the info-demic is misinformation about the virus' origins and how its spread. Numerous sites and groups online have been falsely claiming that this virus is a result of some sort of biological warfare, some sort of bioweapon, or even created by the pharmaceutical industry to try to sell more vaccines.
Another area of misinformation is fake cures and remedies. Some are harmless like drinking garlic water or basic herbal tonics, but others are dangerous.
HEIDI LARSON, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE: In our social media monitoring for instance, we've come across proposed cures to end prevention options for coronavirus for everything from you just need to pray to more harmful proposed treatments like drinking bleach.
GOLD: Health officials are taking this info-demic seriously. The WHO is working directly with tech companies on a daily basis to flag and take down bad information and to ensure that facts from reliable sources get to users first.
We're seeing different approaches from different companies. Some of them are taking a more aggressive approach to taking down this content. Are there some that you're more pleased with than others?
PATTISON: Yes, definitely. I think it depends on the company's maturity with regards to their social impact and their social care for their users. So if they've suffered reputational knocks in the past, they're much more likely to respond now to help us.
GOLD: We've contacted all the major platforms, and they've told us they're taking measures to combat this full of misinformation. But these measures don't catch everything.
LARSON: It's very difficult to just delete unless it's very clearly misinformation. They are in fact provoking questioning and doubt. And you can't delete doubt.
GOLD: In today's online world, there will always be misinformation. The challenge now for governments and platforms is how to fight a virus online.
VAUSE: So with hand sanitizer hard to find in many places, some have decided to make their own. (INAUDIBLE) perhaps failed because it could, in fact, be unsafe. The people who make Tito's vodka had a warning they issued a tweet quoting the CDC, saying that hand sanitizer must contain 60 percent alcohol, Tito's not so potent vodka has only 40 percent. So save the vodka for drinking, I'll be having some later, while you look for a different recipe for hand sanitizer.
That kind of misinformation is kind of funny, but it can also be kind of dangerous. It was one of the topics covered in our CNN Town Hall on the coronavirus. If you missed the first airing, you can catch the encore few hours from now. It's coming up at 9:00 a.m. in London and 5:00 p.m. in Hong Kong.
March 11th, CNN partners with young people worldwide for a day of action against modern-day slavery. And for this year's My Freedom Day, we're asking what does freedom mean to you? Here's one answer from Australian motorcycle racer, Jack Miller.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACK MILLER, AUSTRALIAN MOTORCYCLE RACER: What does freedom mean for me? I mean, freedom for me is something that you don't see necessarily but it's being able to be free. You know, to be able to move around and go to places that you want to go, to be able to speak what whatever you know comes to mind, have the freedom of speech.
To be able to -- let's say, the freedom of dreaming to try and dream the unachievable and make it achievable. I think that for me is what dreaming -- what freedom means is to be able to dream, you know the impossible and try and make it possible. So, I think that's what freedom means to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Tell the world what freedom means to you. Share your story using the #MyFreedomDay. Before we go, astronauts on the International Space Station could have a few visitors next year. Elon Musk's SpaceX struck a deal with aerospace startup Axiom Space to take tourists, researchers, to just ordinary folks to the orbiting platform, four middleweight spacecraft would transport three passengers each trip along with a trained flight commander.
The first mission could launch as soon as the second half of next year. Visitors would spend at least eight days on the station before returning to earth. What would you do for eight station -- eight days? You'd be bored after one. Thank you for joining us. I'm John Vause. I will be back with more news in just a moment. You're watching CNN.