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Thousands In Limbo On Cruise Ship Await Coronavirus Test Results; White House Cancels President Trump's Visit To The CDC. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired March 6, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

And at this hour, thousands of people on a cruise ship off the San Francisco Coast. They're anxiously awaiting test results on coronavirus. 45 people on the Grand Princess ship, they have been tested. Until those results come in, the vessel will not be permitted to dock.

Four California Air National Guard troopers delivered the test kits to the ship in this dramatic helicopter mission that took place yesterday. Look how empty the ship's decks are. There are more than 3,500 people on this vessel now. Every passenger has been told to stay in his or her cabin.

We're also learning that a 72-year-old man who was on the most recent trip on that ship just passed away. Two other passengers from that voyage have tested positive for coronavirus in Sonoma County.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Here are the numbers. The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has jumped to 228. That's across 19 states. Overnight, the death toll in the U.S. went up to 14 people, most of them in Washington State.

And the impact of all of this is growing in lots of ways. More than 2,500 people in New York are under self-quarantine as the number of confirmed cases here in New York doubles. Hundreds of thousands of employees at Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Google are being told to work from home today.

The outbreak is impacting the travel industry in a big way. Global airlines are now facing a potential $113 billion hit. How prepared is the Trump administration to handle all of this?

Well, Vice President Mike Pence now admits the U.S. does not have enough test kits to meet the anticipated demand.

Let's begin with Dan Simon. He is live for us in San Francisco cruise ship. What's the latest, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Alisyn. That ship just remains parked off the San Francisco Coast while officials still try to figure out what they're dealing with. Those coronavirus test results should come back later today. Passengers I've been talking with say they were trying to still take advantage of some of the activities on board yesterday afternoon. But that came to an abrupt halt when the captain announced over the loud speaker that everybody must be confined to their rooms.


SIMON: Watch as the California National Guard flies over the Grand Princess cruise ship using a helicopter to deliver coronavirus testing kits and medical personnel to those on board. 45 people including passengers and crew members were tested before the airmen transported the samples to the California Department of Public Health for processing. The results expected as soon as today.

MARY ELLEN CARROLL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SAN FRANCISCO DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Many of those people have recovered and are no longer showing flu-like symptoms.

CAPTAIN: The CDC has also recommended guests should remain in their staterooms for the remainder of the cruise.

SIMON: On the Grand Princess, passengers trapped at sea growing restless after the cruise was ordered to return to San Francisco while traveling on the same ship where at least three former passengers tested positive for the virus.

SHARON LANE, GRAND PRINCESS PASSENGER: Spirits on board are starting to get quite low. People are worried of what's happening. So at the end of the day, just got to deal with it and get on with it.

SIMON: There are more than 220 coronavirus cases 19 states, according to the CDC, state and local governments. Washington State experiencing the highest number of reported cases and deaths in the country.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): This is a period of substantial anxiety in our state. It's real. It's significant. And we need to recognize it.

SIMON: At least seven coronavirus related deaths in the U.S. are linked to this nursing home in Kirkland, which says it's caring for residents and monitoring the situation. But families of residents still inside want answers.

BONNIE HOLSTAD, HUSBAND LIVES AT LIFE CARE CENTER: This environment has not been healthy for many. Help us get solutions for what to do with the people right now here in this. And I'm calling it a petri dish.

SIMON: Pat Herrick says her mother passed away at Life Care Center, Thursday morning.

PAT HERRICK, MOTHER LIVED AT LIFE CARE CENTER: I want her body tested. And I've been told, well, we don't do that. We just have to assume that it's natural causes. And so I'm saying it's not okay. I need to have her tested for the larger picture. SIMON: In New York, the number of confirmed cases doubling.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The number will continue to go up. It must because we are continuing to test more and more.


The more you test, the higher number you will have.

Why do we test and find these cases? Because to the best we can limit the spread, contain the spread, the better.

SIMON: Vice President Mike Pence admitting officials are still underprepared.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.


SIMON: Well, as for all those isolated passengers in their staterooms, even all the meals now have to come through room service. But one passenger texting me last night that she couldn't even reach room service. They weren't even picking up the phone. It just goes to show you how overwhelmed the staff is. She sent me a text saying, looks like no food tonight.

But I can tell you some people obviously approaching this with a sense of humor, a range of emotions completely mixed here. It appears that the path forward, Alisyn, is really going to be dictated though by what those test results show. I send it back to you.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Dan. I mean, if you're trapped in your cabin, it can be crazy-making. You'd have to, I would imagine, have a little bit of humor or levity somehow about this. Thank you for the reporting. We'll check back.

Joining us now is Dr. Seema Yasmin. She is the Director of the Stanford Health Communication Initiative and a former disease detective for the CDC. Dr. Yasmin, great to have you.

As a disease detective, what do your sleuthing skills tell you about what we're seeing today?

SEEMA YASMIN, DIRECTOR, STANFORD HEALTH COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE: This is to be expected. We know the epidemics are happening more frequently. They're bigger. They spread faster. But I have to say, Alisyn, I'm so saddened to see those reports of about the deaths of the elderly in that home in Washington State. We know that those kinds of centers and those kinds of senior residences can be real petri dishes, as one of the loved ones mentioned there.

We saw that during SARS as well, that healthcare centers and places like this, the virus can spread like wildfire. So why don't we have those protections in place? And testing is a real part of that. We need enough tests to be able to differentiate between who is infected and who isn't.

CAMEROTA: Can we manufacture enough tests?

YASMIN: It doesn't look like we can do it quickly enough. Here's the frustration. By January 13th, the Chinese scientists had already manufactured the coronavirus test. It took the CDC until February 5 to do that and then the test kits were faulty. So there has been delays over and over.

My questions though are, why was that faulty test allowed to create a bottleneck here in the United States? There have been tests used around the world. By March 1st, South Korea had tested 100,000 people. Here in the States, we had one less than 500.

CAMEROTA: About that heartbreaking case where we just heard from this woman whose mom died, this woman, Pat Herrick, says that her mother in the nursing home was well, was in fine health this week and she suddenly died on Thursday. She wants her tested now. Can somebody be tested after they pass away?

YASMIN: Potentially, yes, they could be tested. It's about getting the test kits there. And, clinically, I will say that doing a test doesn't necessarily change how you manage the patient. We don't have a specific treatment or a vaccine for this virus, right? But from a public health perspective, it lets you know how many cases there are. Right now, you're saying the cases jumped. There are probably many, many more Americans who are infected, and we don't know because we can't test enough.

CAMEROTA: This news bulletin has just been handed to me. 12 new cases of coronavirus have been registered on a Nile cruise ship. So in Egypt, this is according to the World Health Organization, there are 12 new cases. Obviously, cruise ships are like ground zero for this. So now, there's one off of the coast of San Francisco that we're monitoring. They're going to be tested, 45 of them today. And now this has just come in. I mean, what are we supposed to do with this information?

YASMIN: And, you know, from my perspective as a former disease detective, I often think about cruise ships as floating hot zones because of such close proximity and diseases can spread quickly. Again, though, to be expected, we have known about this infection for two months now. These prevention measures need to be in place already to ensure that we're not fighting a larger and larger spread.

CAMEROTA: This is also new information that we're just getting and I'm going to read it to you. A scheduled trip to the Center for Disease Control by the president is no longer on President Trump's schedule today. A White House official tells CNN that President Trump is no longer traveling to Atlanta today. The CDC has been proactively prepared since the very beginning --

BERMAN: This is their statement. This is the statement from the White House. When you say the CDC has been proactive and prepared from the beginning, those are White House words. I just want you to know that. CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. The White House says the president does not want to interfere with the CDC's mission to protect the health and welfare of their people and the agency. So if he was going to go to the CDC and I think sign the big spending bill that Congress has passed to try to combat this, why cancel that?

YASMIN: Potentially maybe there's some social distancing going on. We're speculating here because we don't know why those travel plans changed.


It could have been any number. But we're seeing around the world that people are changing the way that they interact with each other. We're seeing fewer handshakes, which is a good idea during cold and flu season anyway.

CAMEROTA: And so it's possible that President Trump is socially distancing himself from people who he thinks might be on the frontlines.

YASMIN: We don't know, but potentially, because we're just seeing that more at large, right, that people are being careful about how close they get to others, trying to do the social distancing thing to mitigate the spread of the infection. So that could be a reason. We don't know.

CAMEROTA: I want to read you a statement from the WHO because I just think that it demands a little bit more explanation. This is from the chief of the WFO from yesterday. Quote, this is not a drill. This is not the time to give up. This is not a time for excuses. This is a time for pulling out all the stops. Countries have been planning for scenarios like this for decades. Now is the time to act on those plans. This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated, and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government.

They've been planning for this scenario for decades. Now, it's time to act on those plans. What are those plans?

YASMIN: So those plans have been instituted about how we would respond to maybe a flu but also to what we call disease X, something brand new that we don't know how it spreads. The frustration then, Alisyn, is if we've had these plans, why are we seeing critical errors being made in some of the most basic levels? That's really frustrating.

And I think it leaves the public perplexed as to how worried should I be? You're saying you're prepared but then we don't have enough test kits. The most things are not being instituted.

CAMEROTA: Right. So when they say we have had these plans for decades, what are we supposed to be doing right now? Do you know?

YASMIN: So more early on, we should have had collaboration. And I think we have seen some things happen better. So go back 18 years to when SARS came. And back then, we had this fatal period where China was not transparent about what was happening. So we have seen communication improve and communication is a key aspect.

But we haven't seen people really rush to respond as much as I would have liked to. We've been a bit slow. And with epidemics, in general, we seem to be putting out fires all the time instead really building the fire stations, really building fire trucks and just being ready, that this is to be expected.

CAMEROTA: Right, being proactive.


CAMEROTA: All right. Dr. Seema Yasmin, thank you very much for dealing with all of our breaking news on this with us. Thank you.

BERMAN: I should say our White House team is trying to get more information about what's behind this canceled visit from the president to the Centers for Disease Control. I suppose one possibility is that they may not want him front and center in the messaging right now over coronavirus. Mike Pence has done more of that. When the president has spoken, it has been problematic. Perhaps they're just trying to keep that from happening today as we head into the weekend.

CAMEROTA: Anything is possible. We'll get more information as we get it into our newsroom.

BERMAN: All right. We have big political news this morning. Elizabeth Warren out of the 2020 race. A new slate of states will vote on Tuesday. Which candidate has the advantage moving forward? A surprising look inside the numbers, next.



BERMAN: No time to catch your breath in the Democratic race for president. Elizabeth Warren, she is out. A new slate of states votes just a few days from now on Tuesday. So where do things stand for these candidates? Who might have the clearest path going forward?

Let's get the forecast with CNN Senior Politics Writer and Analyst Harry Enten.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: It's turned into a sprint, hasn't it? It was a marathon forever and now it is a sprint. So I just want to lay the ground work for you and give you an understanding of how well Joe Biden did on Super Tuesday. Look at the areas of strength. Obviously, he swept in the south over here.

But look at this. He also won in the north in Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota. He didn't win Vermont, Bernie Sanders' home state. But even there, he got above 15 percent to win delegates versus Sanders, who was really just locked into the west over here, right? He's leading in California. He won in Utah, won in Colorado, not a lot of delegate. And the question is does this hold forward? CAMEROTA: So hold on a second. Can this change everything?

ENTEN: I've been looking at the math. I am not convinced that it can.

CAMEROTA: When California is done counting, you don't think it will change?

ENTEN: I think Joe Biden will lead in the delegate count afterwards just based upon what I've seen so far.

Now, we obviously have to wait and see, but I expect that Sanders will close the gap in terms delegates but Biden will still lead in the overall delegate count once California is done counting.

Now, here is the question. Will what we see on Super Tuesday hold going forward? And I would argue that it may very well, that it was not just some sort of weird coincidence, something weird just happened.

So this is top choices for the nomination. This is the Reuters/Ipsos poll. And look at where it was before Super Tuesday. Bernie Sanders was out ahead by 11 percentage points. They took a poll after Super Tuesday. Look at how much the race has shifted. Now Joe Biden up by 13 points. So whatever was happening on Super Tuesday isn't just an isolation. It seems to be occurring nationally.

BERMAN: So let's start look at this in two different ways. Let's talk about the map first and then the people who are no longer on the sheet, but the map first. Projecting forward to the states that vote, what do the states that have voted tell us?

ENTEN: Right. So, essentially, what I did was I looked at the March primaries that we still have left and basically projected forward to give you sort of a best estimate of what might occur in the states voting in the rest of March. And what we see here is that if what happens on Super Tuesday holds, look that is dark blue for Joe Biden. Basically, he wins everything -- look at this, look at this, all of this. And there's a lot of rich delegate prizes in here like Florida, like Georgia, like Michigan. That is a key, key primary coming up next week. That is a -- yes, go on.

CAMEROTA: What do you mean if conditions hold? What tells you he would win Michigan? Because that's obviously --

ENTEN: So that's a great question. So he won in Minnesota, right? He won in Maine. He won here in Massachusetts. And essentially what we know is that based upon the demographics, the demographics of Michigan are very similar to the demographics in Minnesota. It does have some African-American voters, but, of course, that's actually helpful to Joe Biden.

But remember, of course, four years ago, Bernie Sanders won in Michigan, that very surprise victory. So there's a lot of focus. Bernie Sanders, in fact, has left Mississippi focusing on Michigan hoping for a win. We don't have a lot of polling data, the little polls, but we do have actually suggests Joe Biden is probably ahead there.


BERMAN: So, going forward, what states do look strong for Bernie Sanders?

ENTEN: Yes, I think this is rather important, right? So look here. These are the states left to vote in the primaries. Only the western states are highlighted here. This is where Bernie Sanders has been doing well, right? There are 343 available delegates left in the west. That's not too bad. But look at the available delegates in left in the south where Joe Biden has been absolutely crushing it, 551.

Now, obviously we allocate delegates proportionally, so that's important to point out. But Biden has been running up such large numbers here that he's going to get a large chunk of those proportional delegates versus in the west. It just doesn't look good for Bernie Sanders.

CAMEROTA: How about with the liberal demographic?

ENTEN: Right. So, look, obviously, Elizabeth Warren has left the race. And I think there's this question. Where will her support go? If you are basing it just on ideology, look, very liberals, Warren on Super Tuesday, came in second place with 19 percent, Bernie Sanders dominating that lane with 49. So you might say, okay, the very liberals are going to go to Bernie Sanders.

But her support is also about demographics. And she did best with white women with college degrees. And if you look hear, this is actually one of Sanders' worst groups, one of his worst here with 20 percent. So I'm actually expecting a split where some of Warren supporter will go over to Biden, actually. In fact, I'm guessing it might be a 50/50 split.

BERMAN: There's someone else who dropped out.

ENTEN: There is someone else who dropped out and I think this is also key. If you had that demographic versus ideology split for Elizabeth Warren, you don't have it with Michael Bloomberg, right? Look, he did best in the moderate or conservative lane, got 19 percent there. He also did best among those aged 65 or older. He got 18 percent there. Those are both Joe Biden core demographic groups. So I would expect the en masse that the Bloomberg supporters will shift over to Joe Biden.

CAMEROTA: You're going to one less hour to do all of your number crunching this weekend.

ENTEN: Yes, I don't like this. Daylight saving time, notice, I did not put the S in.

CAMEROTA: Well done.

ENTEN: Very good. Do Americans like it? No. They either want standard time all year long or daylight saving time all year long, just 28 percent say we should switch back and forth. Can we end this ridiculousness, please? Either keep the daylight saving time or keep it standard time. Either I'm okay. I just can't see what this changes.

CAMEROTA: And one candidate should make this their platform.

ENTEN: Absolutely, I concur.

CAMEROTA: Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: A lot of information.

BERMAN: All right. So we do have breaking news this morning. We just learned that the White House canceled President Trump's scheduled visit to the CDC today. Why? Why isn't he going to the CDC today? We're digging into that story. That's next.



BERMAN: We have some breaking news for you this morning. We just learned the White House has canceled President Trump's scheduled visit to the Centers for Disease Control. He was supposed to go there this afternoon. We're not exactly sure why.

The statement from the White House suggests that the president thinks the CDC is doing a good job and wants to let them get along with their work, but something doesn't seem quite right about that, so we're digging a little bit, because we should note that the president is going to Nashville later in the day to survey the damage from the deadly tornado where they are clearly still going about their work (ph) cleanup for that, so much more information still to be determined there.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton. He has endorsed Joe Biden for president. We're going to get to the presidential race in just a second, Congressman.

But, first, just your reaction, I guess, to the news that the president isn't going to the Centers for Disease Control.

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Well, it sounds like he might actually be taking this seriously for once, because he's either respecting the fact that the CDC needs to do their work or, frankly, we know he's a germophobe and maybe he's just afraid of going and actually he's reacting, as people should, which is not taking unnecessary travel right now.

This is a serious outbreak. And I think there is a lot of misinformation coming out from the administration. Remember this is the president who said that it will be cured in a matter of month. All of a sudden we'll wake up, it will be a miracle, it will be gone.

Now, the reality is that we need to be prepared for this and I don't think we're adequately prepared yet.

BERMAN: There seems to be two tracks of messaging from the administration. You have Mike Pence now and some of the doctors, like Anthony Fauci, who was on our air last night, laying out the information as they see it, from a scientific perspective. And then you have the president who will just say stuff.

MOULTON: That's right. And I think that the vice president originally was just in the president's camp in trying to downplay everything, in fact, trying to politicize it, trying to say that Democrats are making this a political issue by raising concern.

But the vice president, I think, has spent enough time with the doctors and the scientists to realize that this is series. And I was pleased to see the vice president admit that we have a problem that not enough people have been tested.

The reality in America today, and I'm not speaking as a doctor, although I am one of the rare members of Congress with a background in science. The problem today is that we just don't know how many cases are in the United States. And you said earlier that there are 300 some odd confirmed cases in America. More realistically, it's probably like 10,000 cases out there. We just haven't identified them yet, which means that it's absolutely spreading and it's going to get worst.

BERMAN: We don't know until you're testing. We're not testing yet. I'm going to leave this subject in a second. But it's interesting to me that you're praising the vice president of the United States, which is unusual for Democrats these days.

MOULTON: We ought to be in the same team to fight this fire. So I'm not afraid to criticize the president when he does something wrong. I'll note that Vice President Pence is someone who has had difficulty with science in the past. This is someone who has opposed to needle sharing when it was used to prevent the spread of HIV. He let his religious dogma get in the way of science when it came --

BERMAN: But yesterday and today.

MOULTON: But yesterday and today, it's the right thing to do to admit that we need to have more testing. Americans want the facts. And between either being too alarmist or being naive about this, what we need to do is be prepared. And they need to have facts from the administration so that we can listen to the science and do what we need to be prepared for.

BERMAN: So eight months ago, there were two politicians from Massachusetts running for president. You were one of them. Now, there are none. Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race.

And one other thing she said is when she got into the race, she was told that there were two lanes. One, for the progressives, and that was Bernie Sanders and one for the moderates, and that was Joe Biden. She didn't believe that it was true. Now, she realizes she was wrong.

MOULTON: Well, listen, first of all, to be fair, don't forget Deval Patrick.

BERMAN: That's a great point. But you never ran in the same time.


MOULTON: That's true. So there are always two, but it wasn't always Moulton and Warren.

So, look, I'm not a pundit, so I can't tell you sort of the analysis of this race is.