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Ex-College Athletes Say Rep. Jim Jordan Knew Team Doctor Abused Students; Pence Says, 21 On Cruise Ship Test Positive For Coronavirus; States Asking Thousands Of Americans To Self-Quarantine; Coronavirus Task Force Update; Coronavirus Fears Growing. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired March 6, 2020 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:00]

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But it's very likely that the crew on the Grand Princess was exposed on two different -- two different outings.

And we know the coronavirus manifested among the previous passengers.

And so we will find that out. But we will be testing everybody on the ship. We will be quarantining as necessary.

But with regard to the 1,100-member crew, we anticipate that they will be quarantined on the ship, will not need to disembark.

But let me refer to Secretary Kadlec to respond. We're working literally hour by hour with the Department of Defense and with the state of California to identify the military bases where we will do the testing of the remaining passengers.

DR. ROBERT KADLEC, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Yes, sir.

And it is true -- truly evolving right now. Obviously, there have been bases that have been identified before, Travis, Lackland. And we're working with the Department of Defense to identify the appropriate settings, again, realizing that we're trying to ensure both the safety of the passengers and the safety of the communities that are them.

So, happy to answer any more questions. Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, AIPAC in just the last little while sent out a notification to people who attended the conference to say two people from New York who attended the conference have tested positive for coronavirus.

Are you concerned that the virus is now here in Washington, D.C.? And there's a lot of members of Congress attend AIPAC. Are you concerned that some members of Congress may have contracted the virus?

PENCE: Well, let me say, that's the first I have heard of it in the midst of a busy day.

And we will be engaged, I'm confident, in the same contact tracing that we are for any case.

But maybe Dr. Fauci could speak to a concern about the nation's capital that you raise.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Again, when you have lack of information, it's tough to make anything definitive.

But, obviously, if you have someone who was here, the risk of it being a major outbreak, obviously, which everybody thinks about, but what will happen is that those individuals that were infected will have contact tracing.

And that's the public health weapon, if you want to call it, that we have, namely, to get those people isolated and to do the contact tracing. We don't have enough information now, because this is the first that I have actually heard about it also with a busy day.

So, as soon as we get further information, we will be happy to share that with you.

(CROSSTALK)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Vice President, the president just a while ago said that anybody that needs a test can have a test. They're all set.

Can we drill down on that? When exactly will a person who feels like they may have coronavirus, can they go into their doctor's office and get a test?

In addition to that, Mr. Vice President, just a short while ago, the president described Governor Inslee of Washington state, who you just met with, as a snake. And he also described the coronavirus test, compared it to the phone call that he had with the leader of Ukraine.

Is the president addressing the situation with the seriousness it requires?

PENCE: Well, I promise you that President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety of the American people.

And he's assembled an extraordinary group of Americans and agencies.

I'm a little more than a week into leading the White House coronavirus effort, and I couldn't be more proud and more impressed with the team that the president assembled.

But I think your first question is a very important one, Jim. And I appreciate it.

The president's exactly right that, for the state laboratories, for the communities that have been impacted, that have concerns about the coronavirus, we have been able to respond to requests for tests.

And, literally, you can hear that the tests that's been made available since the first of this month has -- literally amounts in the hundreds of thousands and millions of test.

But for the American public to have access to the coronavirus tests, it's the reason President Trump brought in this week all of the CEOs of the top commercial laboratories in the country. They're the ones that we believed could spin up a new test very rapidly.

They have enormous logistics and manufacturing capabilities. And we said to them, we want you to work together, because while all state labs can now conduct their own tests, and while we've -- as I described and Dr. Hahn described, we have distributed hundreds of thousands, in fact, over a million tests around the country...

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: ... to get it to all across to the American people, to your local doctor, to your pharmacy, to what, when my kids were little, we used to call the MedCheck.

[18:05:00]

It's going to require these commercial labs. And the good news is, it didn't get too widely reported, but both LabCorp and Quest, two of the largest commercial labs in the country, just announced that, by Monday, they will have tests available for distribution and sale across the country.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: And if I could just follow up, Mr. Vice President, if somebody is feeling ill this weekend, and they go to the doctor on Monday, can the doctor request a coronavirus test, any American in the country?

Or we not at that point, I just want to make sure that it's crystal clear in terms of what the expectations are.

PENCE: Well, I think, for any American that is symptomatic, speaking to your doctor, if you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to the coronavirus, I have every confidence that your physician would contact state health officials and have access to the state lab.

We have made those tests available to the state labs. I spoke to Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina today. I spoke to Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia last night. And we have been working hard to make sure that, where we have suspected cases, that we have been making tests available.

But you make a very fair point about the wider availability to doctors and physicians and clinics will happen, we believe, because of the collaboration that President Trump forged with our commercial labs.

And the great news is, as they announced yesterday, by Monday, two of the largest commercial labs in America announced they will have tests and begin to take them to market.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Two questions, if I could, one on workers and one on families.

The first one on workers. There are a lot of Americans who are worried about losing wages if they're forced to stay home because they're not on a regular salary. Is the White House preparing any sort of economic mitigation effort for workers who suffer wage losses here?

And the second one is on families, which is, you're telling people to stay home if they feel sick. What's your advice to parents of children who might have a lot of vulnerable people in their households? Should they be quarantining themselves with their children in the house, or do they need to be quarantining themselves somewhere else, away from their own families and children?

PENCE: Well, with regard to your first question, I will tell you that I have been very inspired at the response of businesses around this country and their sensitivity and decision-making about Americans who are potentially impacted by the coronavirus.

But I will tell you, in the days ahead -- when I was on Capitol Hill this week, meeting with Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, we talked about, should this become much more widespread in the country, there were recommendations from Congress, which I know we would carefully consider.

But let me -- your second question, I think, might be the most important one asked. And that is, for families, what are the best practices at home?

And I would like to ask Dr. Birx to address that.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: That's an excellent question.

I come from a multigenerational household. I have 9-month-old, 2-year- old grandchildren. My parents live in the same household. They're 91 and 96. And my daughter and husband are there.

And I think this is a very critical question. And it's why over the last week we have really been focused on who is the most vulnerable, who needs to be protected, and ensuring that every family understands that. And I think your question is critical, because it comes back to what Dr. Fauci said.

If they follow good handwashing techniques, if they ensure that everything is washed that is used with the grandparents, if they ensure that the children, if ill, are kept away from the grandparents, and somewhat separated in the household, with strong cleaning and other handwashing and hand-touching pieces, this is what -- social distancing can occur in the household.

And that is really the focus that we have, that every household has the capacity in order to ensure this health and welfare of their elderly and others with medical conditions.

And I don't want to -- I want to make sure we have also emphasized that, because anyone that has an immunodeficiency independent of age is someone that we have to be very careful with in ensuring that we're protecting them.

QUESTION: Should they be sending those family members who are not infected to stay somewhere else? So, if you have got a couple of kids, one who's infected and the other ones are not, should you send the ones who are still healthy somewhere else?

Or do you need to quarantine everybody in the same house at the same time? Because that sounds a little scary.

BIRX: I'm looking at Dr. Fauci. And I think that's a great question, and we're going to talk about that. And I don't want to give...

FAUCI: I don't think there really is a decisive answer about that. It depends on the feasibility of, do you have some place to put the child?

I think if you're in a situation where you really cannot do it, then you just sort of say, well, I'm going to keep them both together, realizing that, with children -- and this gets back to what I just said a little while ago -- the risk of there being a problem of infection with the children is really very low.

[18:10:17]

If you look at all of the reports from every place, from China, from Italy, from Korea, it's the same.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, following on an earlier question, if today any American who wants a test cannot currently get a test, when do you -- when is that target date? When do we expect any American who wants a test to, same day, be able to get it?

PENCE: Let me ask Dr. Hahn to respond to that.

But when we met with the major commercial labs, in addition to -- I want to emphasize that again.

Because of the changes that the FDA made, now all state labs can perform a coronavirus test. And I spoke to one governor about that today, and we clarified that with them.

We have distributed these kits with hundreds of thousands of -- over a million tests, more to come. But to get the test widely distributed across the country, I couldn't be more grateful that our commercial labs have already announced, two of the leading commercial labs in America, that they will create a product.

But let me let you -- let me let you talk to Dr. Hahn, because the FDA is in the process of working with those companies, and see if Dr. Hahn has a sense. But I remember that they told us, given their enormous production capability, that, in a matter of weeks, not months, that we could be seeing coronavirus broadly distributed around the country, and then growing, literally, by the day.

Dr. Hahn, is that about right?

STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: That's correct.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

QUESTION: And also, if I might add to that, do you have some idea of how many test kits we are going to need total?

HAHN: So, I'm going to use the word tests, not kits, so that we can be clear about sort of the lexicon that we're using.

So, as I mentioned, as of tomorrow, we expect 1.1 million tests to have been shipped to laboratories. And those would have gone to mostly non-public health laboratories.

In answer to your question, because I'm thinking like a doctor here, if I were with a patient who came in, I wanted a test, what I would recommend to that provider is to contact, as the vice president said, their local public health group, because they're going to be able to know about availability in that state.

But, as the vice president says, with these large commercial labs, having the ability to now scale up those tests -- this is a critical part of this -- in addition to the millions of test kits -- tests -- tests that we will be sending out this upcoming week, as well as what we have already done, we expect that to surge substantially.

QUESTION: And how many do we need? Are we talking we need a test available potentially for every American? What is our target?

HAHN: So we will talk a little bit more about this tomorrow. It's a complicated answer to the question, and I don't want to mislead the American public, but one test doesn't necessarily equal one patient.

And so that equation, I think, is worth discussing in more detail.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Can we just follow up?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last question.

(CROSSTALK)

PENCE: Let me maybe follow on that with two things.

Number one, the president has directed a whole-of-government approach. We're leaning into this effort. And we are going to work with our commercial partners. We're going to work with the CDC, and we're going to meet that need for the American public.

And I'm confident of that, particularly as I see the way -- frankly as see the way state governments, state health department, public laboratories and our commercial laboratories have stepped up.

Let me also say that, as I said yesterday, when we were in Washington state, one of the things the CDC has done is, in the midst of these numbers that can get a little blurry at the time -- we will make sure you have all of them in detail -- and Dr. Hahn will detail it tomorrow -- we have prioritized areas of the country where we have community transmission.

And the recommendation of our experts is, we have been focusing tests in California and in Washington state. And I have had those conversations with both of those governors. And we will continue to do that, even as we work to build a wider availability.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

PENCE: Sure.

QUESTION: You have encouraged caution and social distancing for elderly Americans and people who have preexisting conditions.

Just looking at the government statistics of people who are over 65, that's 50 million Americans. People who have preexisting conditions, that's another 50 million to 100 million Americans.

Are you essentially saying that a third of the country, maybe up to half of the country, should have caution before traveling?

And if that's the case, should major events, major conferences, political rallies just be canceled at this point, because they would include a large percentage of elderly Americans and people with preexisting conditions?

[18:15:12]

PENCE: Well, let me try it again.

A lot of facts and a lot of information, so let me be as clear as I can.

What I want to say today is -- in consultation with these experts, is that, as we look at the data, initial data in this country and data coming in from around the world, that elderly with serious underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Let me say that again, that elderly individuals with underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable to serious results from the coronavirus.

And so, today, we say with great respect that it is a good time for any American who is elderly, by however they define it, and has a serious underlying health condition, to think carefully about travel.

And I think Dr. Fauci was clear on that, and I would like him to have the last word. FAUCI: So the numbers and the statistics you said are correct, but

there's really a difference between an underlying condition and a serious underlying condition that would actually compromise you.

So, let me explain.

By the numbers that you said, someone has high blood pressure, is on a blood pressure medication, and has got it down pretty well, has an underlying condition. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that might require intermittent oxygen is a serious underlying condition.

There's a big difference between somebody with controlled hypertension and somebody with congestive heart failure and chronic pulmonary disease.

So, although your numbers are correct, it isn't really one-third of the American population.

(CROSSTALK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right, so there you have it.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

We have been listening to this briefing that's been going on for the past half-hour or so by the Coronavirus Task Force over at the White House.

The vice president, Mike Pence, announcing just moments ago that 21 people on board the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested now positive for coronavirus. All but two of them are crew members; 3,500 people are on board the ship sitting off San Francisco right now after it was denied entry.

Also breaking, a 14th coronavirus death has just been reported in Washington state, bringing the total to 15.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us.

Sanjay, the numbers were pretty alarming when we heard of it. The 3,500 people on board the ship the Grand Princess, but only 46 of them, the vice president, have been swabbed; 24 tested positive, 24 negative, one inclusive. Among the 21 testing positive, 19 crew members, two passengers.

But what about the 3,454 other people on board that ship?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're going to figure this out.

There have been some lessons learned from the Diamond, and one of the lessons learned was that this virus can be quite contagious, especially in a situation like that.

I think that the quarantine on the Diamond cruise ship, I think one of the lessons learned that it may not have been the best sort of option. So I think they didn't give a clear plan, as far as I could hear, exactly how they were going to handle this cruise ship, what they're going to do.

They did talk about these bases in California that they may make available to bring patients on. I'm sure they're planning on doing additional testing at that point.

So I think we're just going to still wait and see. You know, we did hear from the admiral a bit about that as well.

But I don't think there was a clear-cut plan. We did hear a lot about testing, though, overall. That was the majority of this news conference, and the FDA commissioner talked about the fact that just over a million tests are going to be going out around the country, but are going to be concentrated in areas where there's evidence of community spread.

And I'm sure that's Washington state and California in particular, so that might address some of those patients on that cruise ship as well. But that's still a little bit of an open question mark, Wolf.

BLITZER: It certainly is.

And I assume -- he says they're going to test everybody on board that ship. They're going to be moving the ship someplace, to some sort of military port, we're told, and maybe then start evacuating the 3,500 people on board.

Those who can be, some of them, will be quarantined. This is going to be a major operation.

GUPTA: I think so. It's a major operation.

And it was interesting as well. The vice president both at the beginning and at the end of the press conference really talking about something that we have been talking about here on CNN for a few days, is that what we do know is that the elderly are the most vulnerable population with this coronavirus.

[18:20:15]

We often talking about 80 percent of people are likely not to have symptoms or likely to have minimal symptoms. But there's 20 percent or so of people who are likely to have some symptoms and then a smaller percentage that can become seriously or critically ill.

They tend to be the elderly. Elderly people often have higher percentages on these cruise ships. So, there was a little bit of caution there specifically about going forward.

But with regard to the Grand Princess specifically, I think that the lessons from the Diamond, I think, are going to be applied in real time here. And, ultimately, there will be testing done and possibly quarantining, probably not on the ship, it sounds like, but a quarantine of at least a certain segment of that population. BLITZER: That's what it certainly sounded like.

Dr. Zeke Emanuel is with us also right now. He was the Obama White House health policy adviser.

Sanjay makes an important point, Zeke, that if you're elderly and if you have underlying conditions, heart, lung, diabetes, kidney, and even if you're not elderly and you have some of these conditions, potentially, you're in danger right now, God forbid, of death.

DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: You're at much higher risk if you got the coronavirus. Exactly how high a risk? We don't know. That's part of the problem.

But you are certainly at higher risk. And I think that's, you know, clearly one of our problems.

BLITZER: You agreed with the advice we got from Dr. Fauci and from the vice president that these folks should maybe avoid air travel, avoid going into big crowds, stay at home?

EMANUEL: You certainly shouldn't take additional risk. And how much additional risk air travel is, we still don't know.

But I -- you know, that's probably prudence. We're seeing that prudence, you know, people being very cautious already by not -- the airlines are cutting back because of demand just isn't there.

And I think , given the fact that Dr. Fauci has made that recommendation, you're going to see the airline stocks go down and the number of people traveling also go down.

BLITZER: Yes, I think that's fair.

Jennifer Nuzzo is an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.

What did you take away from this briefing we just had?

JENNIFER NUZZO, JOHNS HOPKINS: Well, it's interesting how the concept of testing and the talk of testing is not being resolved.

And I think there are a number of different ideas here. First of all, I want to stress that this test is not like you can take it once and then you're clear. This is something that potentially, if you take it too early, you could get, you know, an incorrect impression about whether or not you're infected.

And you could be subsequently repeated. So it's important to think about that in the context of how many tests we might need. And it's also important to think about that in the context of how they're going to be screening those passengers on the cruise ship, because it makes sense to start with the people who have symptoms, because you're more likely to get a correct test result.

BLITZER: It's an important point as well. Ron Klain is with us, the former White House Ebola response coordinator during the Obama administration.

What was your takeaway? Were you reassured by what you heard?

RON KLAIN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I thought that was really disappointing, to say the least.

In some ways, we're watching like the Katrina of public health unfold before our eyes. They're telling us there are going to be lots of tests, but they can't even test the 3,500 people on a single ship. If you're an American out there tonight who has some of these symptoms, if you live in a nursing home, if you're a person who visits people in nursing homes, there's no accessibility for tests, and no clear answers on when that is going to be changed.

Yes, there'll be a commercial test potentially available Monday, but who will get it? How will you get it? At the beginning of the week, they told us a million tests will be out by today. That doesn't seem to be a target that they have hit.

We don't really know -- a lot of vague statements about when that testing would be done and how that testing would be done. And still no word on what will be done to ramp up capacity in hospitals to deal with the sick people.

So I think this is just -- continues to be a very laggardly response, moving too slowly for the scope of what we're facing.

BLITZER: Lisa Monaco, what did you think?

LISA MONACO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So I didn't hear exactly what Ron just pointed out.

On the plus side, look, we're hearing from experts. That's a good thing. You saw Vice President Pence clearly deferring to the experts, like Tony Fauci. That's a good thing. We should all sit up straighter and listen when Tony Fauci speaks.

We saw a focus on testing and trying to get that under control, but as Ron and others have pointed out, still woefully behind the curve. The fact that we're just now talking about working with the private sector and relying on commercial labs, it's surprisingly late, in my view.

And most importantly, we didn't hear anything about the planning and the preparations to help those who are going to be on the front lines and who are on the front lines of this, which is state and local public health first responders. What are we doing to arm them with equipment, with additional capacity? That wasn't addressed at all.

[18:25:05]

All right, everybody, stand by.

There's a lot more we need to cover. Much more on the coronavirus outbreak on board that cruise ship. There, you're seeing some pictures of the cruise ship the Grand Princess.

It's off the coast of San Francisco right now. They're trying to figure out what to do with the 3,500 people on board.

I will also speak to a Washington state congresswoman, as the death toll in her state just rose to 14.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're back with the breaking news on the coronavirus.

The vice president, Mike Pence, just announcing 21 people on board a cruise ship have now tested positive for the virus. Thousands of people are on board that ship sitting off the coast of California right now.

[18:30:01]

CNN's Nick Watt is joining us from California.

Nick, what more can you tell you us about this cruise ship outbreak?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are getting reaction from on board. My colleague, Dan Simon, has been getting text messages from passengers who apparently learned about those positive tests at the same time as we did, watching that press conference on T.V. Some of them are saying, we're not surprised, we kind of knew something like this was happening. Others saying -- one person said, disappointed, another, lost for words. Another passenger told Dan Simon, my optimism is crushed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: The first test results from the Grand Princess just announced. Of 46 swabbed, 21 tested positive, 19 crew and two passengers.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: and we have developed a plan, which will be implemented this weekend to bring the ship into a non-commercial port. All passengers and crew will be tested for the coronavirus. Those that need to be quarantined will be quarantined.

WATT: There are more than 3,500 people onboard. At least six from the ship's last leg of its voyage caught the virus. One died.

CYNTHIA TRAVERS, PASSENGER ON GRAND PRINCESS IN FEBRUARY: He was around a lot of us on the cruise, up on the 14th deck, where we all kind of lounged and hung out.

WATT: It's an older crowd, and that demo is hardest hit.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Those over the age of 70, we're looking at 10, 15 percent case of fatality rates.

WATT: In Washington State, where at least seven deaths are now tied to this nursing home, there is grief, fear, and now, confusion. Pat Herrick's mom among the dead.

PAT HERRICK, MOTHER DIED THURSDAY: I want her body tested. And I've been told, we don't do that. We have to assume it's natural causes. So I'm saying, it's not okay. I need to have her tested for the larger picture.

WATT: The University of Washington just announced no more classes on campus. The North Shore School District already shut down at least 80,000 students in the Seattle area are now being kept home.

JESSICA READ, KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL UP TO TWO WEEKS: They said up to 14 days, they might be closed.

WATT: Are you concerned that the virus is going to get inside your home and you and/or your kids might be infected?

READ: Yes. My middle son has asthma so -- it's a mild asthma, but that's a big concern too, because I hear what it's really going for is the lungs.

WATT: The number of confirmed cases across the country climbing at nearly three per hour in just over the past day.

In Connecticut, Emma, just back from Italy, where nearly 200 have died, is in self-quarantine, just in case.

EMMA, COLLEGE SOPHOMORE IN SELF-QUARANTINE AFTER STUDYING ABROAD: I've been allowed to pet my dog every once in a while, but it's pretty lonely.

WATT: In New York State right now, more than 4,000 in a similar situation.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is like a flu on steroids.

WATT: 22 new cases in the state announced today all suspected to be from contact with one man, who is right now being treated in a Manhattan hospital.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: So what happens now to the 3,500 people aboard that cruise ship? Well, we heard the vice president and his task force that the ship will be brought into a non-commercial port. Clearly, they have learned some lessons from the Diamond Princess. He says that perhaps 1,100 crew will be kept in quarantine on the ship and the rest might be taken to military bases for testing and quarantine, Wolf. Clearly, the details still being hammered out.

BLITZER: Yes, this is a really, really critical issue right now. Nick Watt, thanks so much for joining us.

Also joining us right now, Representative Suzan DelBene, a Democrat of Washington State. A nursing home is right at the center of the outbreak. It's in her district. Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. Let me talk about your district, your State of Washington right now. The death toll in Washington State has now just risen to 14 people. What can you tell us about these fatalities and other cases in your community? I know you're watching them, Congresswoman, very closely.

REP. SUZAN DELBENE (D-WA): Well, first, I just want to send my condolences to all the families who have lost loved ones, to all the families and individuals who are currently battling this virus. Our public health officials, our first responders are really at the tip of the spear and have been doing yeoman's work to help protect our communities and help people who have been impacted by the virus. This is work that our communities at the local levels, at the state level and with federal help need to come together to put together the best solutions that we have to help address not only the spread of the virus, but also provide the best therapeutics to treat patients.

It has impacted -- it continues to grow in our community.

[18:35:00]

So we have 79 cases in our state today. And as you mentioned, we had a long-term care facility that has been impacted and with devastating consequences in terms of patients who have lost their lives.

The CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will have folks there tomorrow. We have the U.S. Public Health Service with medical professionals coming to help at that long-term care facility. And we need to focus, because this could impact other facilities. We need to take extra precautions.

BLITZER: Well, we're talking about the Life Care nursing facility. And as I mentioned, it is in your congressional district. So as far as you know, what is the situation at that facility like right now?

DELBENE: Patients were -- patients who needed to be hospitalized were transferred yesterday evening into local area hospitals. As I mentioned, the U.S. Public Health Service Corps is sending medical professionals to help assist there, and so a lot of action has been taken recently to make sure that everyone there is getting the best care possible.

It's also been very challenging for families, because they cannot visit their loved ones, and so making sure that we have strong communication, that they are getting information. Able to talk to their family members has also been very, very important. They want to be able to make sure they're getting answers to every question that they have and we need to make sure that they get those answers.

BLITZER: I hope they do. You had a chance to meet with the vice president, Mike Pence, yesterday when he visited your district. He just gave all of us an update on the coronavirus testing kits being sent out around the country. Do you believe what the Trump administration is now doing is sufficient?

DELBENE: Well, we need more testing. We're doing hundreds of tests a day in Washington State and I think we have been very advanced and a lot of work has happened there, but we need to be doing thousands. The vice president talked about increasing testing capacity, but it needs to happen faster. We know that we didn't get testing more broadly implemented in time, which is why we have seen a greater spread. And the guidelines were much more restrictive when testing first came out, where it could only be for folks who had traveled to an impacted country.

Those guidelines have been broadened now and I appreciate that, but I wish we had had the capability of doing more testing and more broad testing earlier to help us contain the outbreak.

BLITZER: Well, good luck, Congresswoman. Good luck to you. Good luck to everyone in your district in Washington State. Good luck to everybody around the country as well. Thanks so much for joining us.

DELBENE: Thank you.

BLITZER: All right. Just ahead, we'll have more coronavirus coverage as some companies are now urging employees to work at home.

And Hillary Clinton speaking out about her husband.

Much more right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:00]

BLITZER: Tonight, thousands of Americans are being asked to isolate themselves to help contain the coronavirus. For many, that means working at home. Brian Todd is looking into this part of the story for us.

Brian, some big companies were asking their employees to telecommute.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're asking for telecommuting, Wolf, and they're asking people to refrain from traveling, if they can. There are indications tonight that we could soon see a virtual explosion of people who work from home. The question is, is America ready for that?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Around the country tonight, some workplaces are telling their employees to stay home because of the coronavirus outbreak. Tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are asking employees in Seattle to work from home when possible with the encouragement of local officials.

DOW CONSTANTINE, KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE: We're encouraging employers to maximize telecommuting.

TODD: Other employers are preparing to make that move. NASA and J.P. Morgan Chase are preparing by conducting one-day telework practice runs. In New York State, a few thousand people have been asked to self-quarantine. Teleworking, teleconferencing, refraining from travel, getting much of our work done at home could soon be much more commonplace. The University of Washington in Seattle said classrooms will be shuttered for the next two weeks.

ANA MARI CAUCE, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: In many of our classrooms, there is incredibly close proximity.

TODD: Meanwhile, some schools, like St. John Vianney in Holmdel, New Jersey, can offer students their lessons, textbooks and assignments online and are prepared to go into virtual days if the school needs to close.

Is America ready to telework?

NICK SELBY, PAXOS: I think that we're already seeing over the past 15 years, a lot of companies, even very large companies, companies that might surprise you, like IBM, which has a huge portion of its workforce working at home already.

TODD: But for many, that means a shift in workplace culture. Employees will need to be outfitted at home with the computers and other equipment they'll need and they have to be trained on how to use them.

STEPHEN WARD, RISKLENS: Luckily, this stuff is very, very intuitive. Obviously there are a number of different software solutions out there to enable telework or virtual conferencing. Very simple to set up.

TODD: Workplace analysts acknowledge there are many businesses, like carmakers, factories, food services, banks with retail branches where employees working remotely is out of the question. But in other sectors, they say, the psychological advantages of working from home could lead to better productivity.

[18:45:03]

Employees feel less stressed. The freedom of being able to walk around at home and grab a snack can build creativity. The downsides, sometimes employees feel isolated or lose focus on the mission.

NICK SELBY, PAXOS: People who are not used to working in a remote location, at home, falling victim to the fact that they're at home and they get to work in bunny slippers, which they might mistake for the opportunity to sort of goof off and maybe miss some deadlines.

TODD: Stephen Ward, whose cybersecurity firm, has about half of its people working from home, has a formula for keeping those employees focused and motivated.

STEPHEN WARD, RISKLENS: Use your calendar. You know, set tasks for yourself. Get up and take a shower. Simply just going through that process of like not working in your pajamas is a good idea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: Workplace experts say when making the decision to ask people to work from home, corporate leaders have one other thing to take into account here. That for almost every office building where employers are encouraged to work from home, there's an ecosystem of people who support that building, who could be out of work or get their shifts reduced -- restaurants, shops, and bars, people who work in those places that depend on that traffic of employees.

We, of course, have one in this building, Wolf, a deli at the bottom of our building. Those people could be affected.

BLITZER: Of course, and the Pentagon is even considering some various options.

TODD: That's right. The defense secretary, Mark Esper, said that the Pentagon's national military command center, their Situation Room, if you will, has the capability to go for weeks at a time if they have to be locked down inside the building. Now, the rest of the Pentagon may not have that capability.

But if there's a crisis that's going on and a coronavirus outbreak in the Pentagon, they have a group of people that can be locked down in one room for weeks.

BLITZER: Yes, let's hope that doesn't happen either.

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: All right. Brian Todd reporting for us, thank you.

Just ahead, is Hillary Clinton willing to support her former presidential rival Bernie Sanders? She's talking about the presidential race to CNN. We'll have details when we come back.

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[18:51:28]

BLITZER: Tonight, as Bernie Sanders is campaigning in the crucial battleground state of Michigan, his former primary rival Hillary Clinton is speaking out about Sanders' current head to head fight with Joe Biden.

Listen to Hillary Clinton and her conversation with CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": If Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee, will you campaign for him?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I will support the nominee of the Democratic Party.

ZAKARIA: But will you campaign for him?

CLINTON: I don't know if he would ask me to campaign for him, Fareed, because I have no idea what he is thinking about for a general election campaign. As I've said many times, I do not think he's our strongest nominee against Donald Trump. ZAKARIA: Is that an endorsement of Joe Biden?

CLINTON: I'm not endorsing --

ZAKARIA: There's nobody left.

CLINTON: Well, I guess that's true. There isn't anybody left. But I think what Joe's victories on Super Tuesday showed is that he is building the kind of coalition that I have basically. It's a broad- based coalition. I finished, you know, most of the work I needed to do for the nomination on Super Tuesday and then it kind of lingered on.

And I think Joe is on track to doing exactly the same thing, putting together a coalition of voters who are energized.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: You can see all of Hillary Clinton's interview on "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS". That's this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are also going public with new and very revealing remarks about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. It's for a new documentary. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I told her exactly what happened, when it happened. I said I feel terrible about it. I said, you know, we've been through quite a bit in the last few years. I said, I have no defense. It is inexcusable what I did.

H. CLINTON: I was just devastated. I could not believe it. I was so, you know, personally just hurt and, you know, I can't believe this. I can't believe you lied. You know, it just -- anyway, it was horrible. And I said if this is going to be public, you have got to go tell Chelsea.

B. CLINTON: She said, well you have to go tell your daughter. She said that's worse than me. And so I did that which was awful, justifiably. What I did was wrong. I just hated to hurt her.

But, you know, we all bring our baggage to life and sometimes we do things we shouldn't do. And it was awful what I did.

I feel terrible about the fact that Monica Lewinsky's life was defined by it, unfairly, I think. You know, over the years I've watched her try to get a normal life back again, but you've got to decide how to define normal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: That's revealing comments from the former president on Monica Lewinsky I have heard.

[18:55:02] Now an exclusive CNN report, one of President Trump's biggest defenders in Congress is being accused of outright lying about sexual abuse of students at Ohio State University. Fourteen former Ohio State wrestlers are telling CNN there was no way their former coach, Congressman Jim Jordan, wasn't aware that a doctor was sexually abusing male athletes.

And as our CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin reports, those former students say Jordan needs to come clean.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He calls them all liars but more and more former Ohio State University wrestlers are coming forward to say their former assistant coach, Congressman Jim Jordan, knew student athletes were being sexually abused and are dumbfounded to understand how Jordan can deny it.

TITO VAZQUEZ, FORMER OSU WRESTLER: That's a lie. He's lying.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Period.

VAZQUEZ: Period. He's a liar.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Tito Vazquez is the latest, a walk-on wrestler in 1989 who took an elbow to the nose, sent to team Dr. Richard Strauss, to stop a nose bleed, the doctor fondled his gentles.

VAZQUEZ: There were some wrestlers with Jordan over to my left hand side, and I said something to the effect that doc's hands are freezing and that he, you know, he examined me thoroughly, extremely thoroughly, you know, my private parts. And everybody was just kind of snickering. Jordan said I had nothing to do with this.

GRIFFIN (on camera): But Jordan heard what you said.

VAZQUEZ: Oh, he heard what I said.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Vazquez, a public school teacher for the past 27 years, is the sixth former Ohio state wrestler to tell CNN they directly told Jim Jordan of the abuse or Jim Jordan was present when someone was recalling abuse by the team's doctor. Eight more former wrestlers tell CNN the abuse by Dr. Richard Strauss was such a routine topic of conversation, that it's inconceivable Jordan did not know.

Yet, Jordan now a powerful Republican congressman refuses to budge.

(on camera): Six former Ohio state wrestlers who absolutely say you knew about Dr. Strauss because they told you at the time or you were there and heard it --

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): You guys are still asking about this after --

GRIFFIN: Yes.

JORDAN: -- Perkins Coie, Clinton's law firm, investigated this and didn't mention my name once.

GRIFFIN: Well, they didn't mention your name but they mentioned that --

(CROSSTALK)

JORDAN: Every single coach has said the same thing I have. All kinds of athletes have said the same thing I have. And the reason they've all said that is because it's the truth.

Look, if I had known there was some kind of problem, some kind of abuse, I would have helped out our athletes. What they're saying is just not true.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Richard Strauss killed himself in 2005. Last year, an independent investigation concluded while Dr. Strauss worked at OSU over two decades, he sexually abused at least 177 male student patients.

Jim Jordan called the report a vindication because it did not name him. The report did not name any wrestling coach at Ohio State, did not find documentary evidence coaches were aware of complaints against Strauss. But 22 coaches confirmed they were aware of rumors and/or complaints about Strauss.

Former OSU wrestler Dunyasha Yetts says Jordan is one of the coaches who knew because he told him. In January of 1993, Yetts went to see Strauss for a thumb sprain and the doctor tried to pull down his pants. Yetts says he kicked open the doctor's door to escape. Jordan was right outside next to an ice machine.

DUNYASHA YETTS, FORMER OSU WRESTLER: He jumped up like what's going on? I said coach he tried to give me a physical exam for my thumb injury. Look, it looks like a baseball, it's swelled up. And he was like, man, if he tried that out, I would kill him.

GRIFFIN: Jordan's supporters say Yetts can't be trusted because of a past conviction for fraud, but two other wrestlers told CNN they witnessed the encounter.

DAN RITCHIE. FORMER OSU WRESTLER: What Dr. Strauss took from me that day was my dignity.

GRIFFIN: Last year, former wrestlers Dan Ritchie and Mike Flusche told the Ohio legislature that among athletes and coaches, Strauss's sexual abuse was an open discussion.

RITCHIE: I do recall somebody bringing up something to one of the assistant coaches, and his response was simply, well, if he ever tried that with me, I'd snap his neck like a stick of dry wood.

MIKE FLUSCHE, FORMER OSU WRESTLER: And I remember the phrase about, you know, if that happen to me, I'd break his neck.

GRIFFIN: The coach who talked about breaking Strauss's neck was Jim Jordan, according to both Ritchie and Flusche who didn't name in front of the legislature but have since confirmed it to CNN.

JORDAN: What they're saying now is just not accurate.

GRIFFIN: Mike Flusche, Dan Ritchie, you don't remember telling them you'd break the guy's neck if he did that to you.

(voice-over): Despite the specific allegations, Jjordan's office says his statement stands. He knew nothing of the abuse.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Thanks, Drew, for that report.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.