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CNN RIGHT NOW
Coronavirus Cases Surpass 100,000 Worldwide; Coronavirus Continues To Spark Fears Around The World; Doctor Warns Healthcare Workers, First Responders At High Risk. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired March 6, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, we start with the latest on the global outbreak of the coronavirus. Worldwide, we have passed the 100,000 mark on confirmed cases. The United States has at least 250 cases, this is nearly triple the total we saw on Monday.
And this morning, President Trump signed the new $8.3 billion coronavirus emergency funding bill that was passed overwhelmingly by Congress. He said one upshot of the outbreak is that Americans are staying home and spending their money here in the U.S. instead of in other countries while on vacation.
But the stock market is taking another pounding today. Here, you can see the Dow is down over 500 points after dropping nearly a thousand points yesterday. And there are a slew of new coronavirus cases. Since this time yesterday, we have added Colorado, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Indiana to the list of U.S. states who have confirmed cases, and now there is a second case in a veteran affairs facility. This time it's in Nevada. And the University of Washington will now only have online classes for the rest of this quarter. There are 70 cases there in Washington State.
Right now, there are 14 American tourists who are being quarantined in a hotel in the West Bank in Bethlehem. In Egypt, 12 crew members from a Nile cruise ship tested positive for the virus. And in France, President Macron is asking people to avoid visiting the elderly in an effort to protect vulnerable seniors from getting sick. And with the fear has come panic buying, a run on hand sanitizer, cleaning products, even a spike in toilet paper sales.
Right now, there are 3,500 people on board, a cruise ship that is off to coast to San Francisco, with anxiously are waiting coronavirus test results. And you can see pictures here of what is a National Guard helicopter that was delivering these test kits. Those test results are expected to be out sometime today. There is one person in California who previously traveled on this very ship right here who died from the virus.
We have our Dan Simon in San Francisco for us. And out of the 3,500 people on board, tell us, Dan, how many people are being tested?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Approximately 100 people, Brianna. 45 people were tested yesterday, and we believe the rest of them will be tested sometime today. Now, in terms of those folks, that includes 60 or so folks who were on the previous voyage where we know that there were three cases of the coronavirus as well as people on the current cruise who were exhibiting symptoms.
Now, as far as the past years are concerned, this is a very difficult ordeal. All these people now are confined to their cabins. They can't even leave to go get a meal. In fact, all the meals are coming through room service. The problem is, Brianna, I heard from one passenger, they couldn't even reach room service, nobody was picking up the phone. That just goes to show you how overwhelmed the staff may be.
Now, where this cruise ultimately winds up, we do not know. This is the cruise ship terminal behind me. It was supposed to come on Saturday and now it just remains parked off the San Francisco Coast. The key thing going forward is what are these test results going to show. And hopefully we'll get some preliminary answers, at least within the next few hours. Brianna?
KEILAR: All right. We'll be looking for that along with you, Dan. Thank you so much.
We're now learning more about a Kirkland, Washington nursing home where seven residents have died as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
A year ago the facility was fine over infection control problems, after there were two flu outbreaks that sickened residents and staff.
Our Stephanie Elam is in Kirkland. And, Stephanie, I mean, understandably, family members, they are upset. We've spoken with some of them here on the show. Tell us what the facility is doing to help them, if they can.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well at this point, Brianna, the families do feel like the facility itself is overwhelmed with what they have on their plate right now. From what I can tell, the people that CNN talked to, they're saying, listen, the people that are there, they do care about these residents, our family members, but right now there is just too much going on. And so they want more answer from the health department, they want more testing done.
We check in with the health department here and they were saying, we don't have enough tests to actually get there and actually test the people. They're working on getting that done. We know the CDC is here, the county is here and the state health department are here.
But as far as the families are concerned. This is frustrating to not know what's going on. And they're worried about their loved because they are having separation anxiety. They don't know why, in some cases, their family members are no longer visiting.
[13:05:02] And then you have one woman whose mother passed away on Thursday, around 3:30 in the morning, mid-morning that same day, she got a call from the facility saying that her mom was in stable condition. She had to point out that she already knew that she had passed away. So the information is not flowing here. That is difficult.
I just checked in with another woman that I've been in touch with whose mother is here, her dad is now showing symptoms. He is in the hospital. And she's still not sure whether or not he's gotten the testing done. Everything seemed to be moving at a slow pace here, and that's what's so upsetting for these family members who are afraid that their loved ones will pass away and they won't have their family members with them at the time, Brianna.
KEILAR: Yes. This idea of not being with your family members during at time of such need, it's really heartbreaking when you talk to these family members. Thank you so much for bringing that up to us, Stephanie.
We learned that President Trump is going to talk to the CDC today after the White House initially said this trip was canceled because the president didn't want to interfere with the CDC's work. But today, the president himself directly contradicted his own officials when he told reporters that just -- and this was just hours later, that the real reason was the concern that someone at the CDC might have the virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We thought there was -- they thought there was a problem at CDC with somebody that had the virus. It turned out negative, so we're seeing if we can do it. But yesterday afternoon, we were informed that there may have been a person with the virus, and that they now find out that it was a negative test. They've tested the person very fully and it was --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right. John Harwood, you're at the White House. Explain this to us.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it was a confusing sequence of events, because yesterday, after Congress passed the bipartisan $8 billion coronavirus emergency spending bill, Vice President Pence said the president would sign the bill at the CDC today. Then this morning, the event was taken off of his schedule. The explanation that we got from the White House was the president didn't want to get in the way of the proactive work that CDC was doing.
Then he called reporters in to the diplomatic room at the White House to sign that emergency legislation, I asked him why wasn't he going, and he gave the response that you just played. The president right now is in Tennessee visiting tornado damage that involved significant loss of life in Tennessee this week. Then he's going to head to Atlanta to the CDC and then head down to Mar-a-Lago for the weekend.
KEILAR: All right. John, thank you so much for that. John Harwood for us from the north lawn there at the White House.
In the meantime, counselor to the president, Kellyanne Conway, claims the coronavirus has been contained, even though the number of cases in the U.S. continues to rise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: What I am pleased to report is that the 14 deaths that are completely tragic and very sad in this country show that this has been contained because the president took action. A lot of people criticized him for doing that. He was called a xenophobe and a racist for saying no more air travel to China, and going to or from. And that worked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Right. Gloria Borger is here with me now. And, Gloria, when asked how this virus could be contained if it's still spreading, Conway ignored those questions and instead she asked reporters that they were doctors, even though you certainly don't need to be a doctor to understand a simple concept like containment. Spreading is not containment.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And I think what reporters are doing and what members of the public are doing is listening to the doctors and listening to the public health professionals. And what they are saying with a great deal of unanimity is that we don't know how many cases there are in this country right now or how many cases there could be, because there aren't enough tests. And so everybody assumes that when people are tested, the numbers will go up.
And so this notion of mystifying to me because nobody knows the number of cases. Nobody can say with any amount of certainty. You certainly have not heard the public health professionals in any way, shape or form, Brianna, say that this is contained.
KEILAR: I mean, we're going to bed, waking up and there's three more states where cases have popped up and they're not always sure where they're coming from, so it's not contained.
BORGER: Of course.
KEILAR: The CDC with the president is back on. And like you heard the story there about the White House, what they initially said, they didn't want to get in the way of the work, and then the president let it slip actually they were worried about it really being a health issue, about there being coronavirus there.
BORGER: The president let the truth out and actually said that, yes, they were worried. They were worried that there was a particular case. The White House had already put out some spin that, well, we don't want the president to get in the way of the CDC's important work.
We'll see if the president ends up there this afternoon. He's supposed to end up there this afternoon. But I think what this shows you is sort of the chaotic messaging out of the White House about this. I mean, what is it? Just tell the truth about this.
And, ironically, it was the president who told the truth here and said, look, we thought there was a problem and now we think there's not a problem and we're going to go. I mean, the American public just needs to be able to trust the messengers here, whether it's the White House, whether it's the president of the United States, whether it's people who work for him, and that's why I think they really want to hear more and more from the public health professionals, because they do trust the public health professionals.
KEILAR: That's right. There is a big credibility issue at the White House. We're seeing that play out, Gloria. Thanks so much.
Later this afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence and the coronavirus task force will brief the media on the administration's response to the virus. He will, no doubt, face questions about his contradicting statements about when and how many coronavirus testing kits will be available.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Any American that wants to be tested for the coronavirus on their doctor's indications can be tested.
We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward. For those who we believe have been exposed, for those who are showing symptoms, we've been able to provide the testing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: With me now, Matthew Frieman. He is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He's one of those select of group of researchers to study a sample of the coronavirus that was derived from the U.S. case.
I mean, it's interesting to hear the vice president talk to you, Doctor, because you get the sense he's definitely correcting himself. He knows that what he promised initially was not true. How important is it to have these testing kits up and ready to go?
DR. MATTHEW FRIEMAN, RESEARCHER STUDYING CORONAVIRUS SAMPLE FROM FIRST U.S. CASE: So it's critical to know how many patients in the United States have this virus. And so we don't know how many there are in total, we don't know how many are symptomatic or not symptomatic in all the states around the country. So it's important to know really how wide and how spread the virus is right now in the United States.
KEILAR: You've extensively studied both the SARS and the MERS coronaviruses, and I wonder what similarities you're seeing with this new virus that you've had a chance to look at.
FRIEMAN: So we're studying a lot. What we're finding is that it infects similar cells to SARS and MERS previously. And what's known is that SARS and MERS are both respiratory virus, just like COVID-19. They spread incredibly well just like this new virus.
But the difference right now is that SARS and MERS are much more lethal than COVID-19. We don't know the mortality rate with this new virus, but that's one of the things we're finding and studying, really, how this virus replicates and causes disease in the lab.
KEILAR: I wonder from your perspective, as a research physician, what do you think is important when it comes to the government having a clear message? Why is that important? How is that essential to keeping people informed even when we're talking about a virus that, granted, there are a lot of unknowns?
FRIEMAN: There are a lot of unknowns. And I think what the messaging has shown is that there is a lot of questions about this. And I get questions from my friends and family all day long about what to do. And I think there needs to be clear messaging but also, from the scientific community, we should be speaking out and we should be talking about the things that we do know about the virus and what people can do to plan for this in the future as it's spreading across the country.
KEILAR: Yes. Look, we certainly appreciate you giving us information that we can take to the bank here. I want you to listen to what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had to say about the transmission of this virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If you look at the United States as a whole and look at the difference between what the risk of getting infected is and if a person gets infected like what we're seeing in Washington State around Seattle, the two different issues, the risk of getting infected as taking the nation as a whole is low. But that could change as we're seeing in Seattle. We have some community spread which elevates the risk for the community, which is the reason why in Seattle, the authorities have appropriately done the beginning of social distancing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Can you speak a little bit about social distancing and also what there is to learn about social distancing in Washington for folks in other places around the country who either the coronavirus is in their community too or they expect it's coming.
FRIEMAN: What we mean by social distancing is that we should stay away from people that are sick. If there is local transmission in our area, we should be staying home from schools and businesses, and we should be limiting our contact with the community around us, especially in these hot spots where there are cases.
[13:15:09] It includes washing your hands more, really staying away from other people who are sick or in the community. So that's what they're doing in Seattle now, is they're trying to limit the amount of people both from schools and the businesses that really come in contact with other people.
And we will be seeing these hot spots around country. As the tests get rolled out into other cities, we will see more and more cases and clusters of cases as they come. And I think that that is one of the big concerns that we have as scientists who are really following this outbreak, but also public health officials to understand when these types of restrictions need to be applied and when they don't need to be anymore. And so that's one of the things that we have to follow as this outbreak expands.
KEILAR: Matthew Frieman, thank you so much.
FRIEMAN: Thank you very much.
KEILAR: The Vatican confirming its first case as the pope recovers from a cold. We will take you there.
Plus, American stores now dealing with panic buying. Hear what companies are not allowing you, the consumer, to do.
And Coachella concerts, big tours, they're now at risk as the spring season begins.
This is CNN special live coverage of the global outbreak.
KEILAR: Health officials around the world are struggling to contain the coronavirus. Some see more worried than others, but there is no denying that people are taking it seriously until more answers become available.
And here is what they're seeing. Grocery stores -- maybe you've seen this -- they have been emptied. There are passengers stuck on cruise ships, holy sites are taking extra precautions, large events are at risk of being Canceled, and our CNN correspondents have more.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Delia Gallagher in Rome.
The Vatican announced today that they have their first case of coronavirus. A patient in their health clinic tested positive for the virus on Thursday, they say. No information about the patient was given. The Vatican says it has temporarily closed its health clinic in order to sterilize the area. The Vatican's clinic served Vatican citizens, priests, nuns and cardinals who live within the Vatican, as well as several Vatican employees and their families. MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris with the very latest on those new cases identified in Egypt by the World Health Organization. 12 crew members of a boat that have been operating on the Nile, one of its guests, a Taiwanese-American, had been found to have the coronavirus upon his return home. The 12 crew members who have been operating on that boat was then quarantined. And at the end of that 14-day period testing, they have been found to have the coronavirus.
Their families now being quarantined as well to see if they haven't passed it on. They themselves now in an isolated hospital in order to get the treatment that they need. This latest news brings the number of cases in Egypt to 15.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange.
Around the world, there is panic buying because of fears over the coronavirus. Unlike a natural disaster, this is nationwide, it's not regional. It's causing some stores to limit purchases of certain items, like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks. Kroger is capping how much you can buy of sanitation, cold and flu-related products. Home Depot is limiting purchases of face masks. And at CVS and Walgreens, shelves are running low on sanitizers, just as the companies warned.
At Costco, shoppers, the have lines snake around the building, but that's good for business and sales for these retailers.
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: I'm Chloe Melas in New York.
For the first time in 21 years, the Ultra Music Festival, a massive Miami electronic music event scheduled for later this month has been canceled over fears of the coronavirus, according to city officials.
Now, this festival draws over 165,000 people, and it's the first major U.S. music festival to be canceled over fears of this virus.
Now, other massive events such as South by Southwest and Indio's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival have yet to announce any change in plans. But Ultra's cancellation suggests that promoters are very worried about the impact of this virus' potential impact.
Back to you.
KEILAR: Thank you all for that reporting.
And medical professionals are on the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus. I'll be speaking one first responder about the steps they're taking to protect themselves amid a growing number of cases.
Plus, President Trump attempting to convince his millions of Twitter followers that he didn't say he cut entitlements, even though he's on tape saying he would cut entitlements.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:25:00]
KEILAR: So many unanswered questions about this coronavirus. With 100,000 confirmed cases around the world, many people are wondering, what do I do, how serious is this, what are my chances of getting sick.
Yesterday, I spoke with Dr. Peter Hotez, who laid out exactly who has the highest risk of getting this virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: So these are my two big concerns right now, older populations, nursing home, healthcare providers, and I'll ad one more, and that's our first responders. Our first responders are also at risk because they're making the initial contact and exposure.
So, for me, in this early phase, where we're going to start to see small outbreaks here and there, that's where we have to focus our attention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Our first responders, like Captain Timothy Burns, he is a paramedic and a quality improvement officer. And you heard the doctor there say that. He is worried about first responders specifically. There are now several confirmed cases, right, in Montgomery County, Maryland, which is where you work. I wonder how worried are you, how are you preparing.
CAPT. TIMOTHY BURNS, PARAMEDIC/QUALITY IMPROVEMENT OFFICER: Well, we're trying to take a measured but appropriate response.
So we want to take the correct actions that are necessary to keep our folks safe and take good care of the public at the same time.