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Twenty-One Dead, More Than 490 Infected As Coronavirus Spreads Across The U.S.; Grand Princess Cruise Ship To Dock Tomorrow In California; New York Confirms 16 New Cases Of Coronavirus; Washington State Now Has 115 Coronavirus Cases And 18 Deaths; Kasich, Kerry, Schwarzenegger Team Up For Climate Coalition; Soon: Asian Markets Begin Trading; Biden, Sanders Set For Key Battle In Michigan; Sanders Ahead Of Mini-Super Tuesday: "Our Focus Is On Michigan"; Soon: CA Gov. Gives Update On Cruise Ship With 21 Coronavirus Patients; CA Gov: Grand Princess Will Be Docked Tomorrow, Exact Time Unclear. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 8, 2020 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diana Frances, will thy have this man to thy wedded husband?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Charles persuaded himself that he could be in love with Diana. At least enough in love to get married.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right, different time and place. You know, speaking of body language, OK, opposite of warm?
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's such a sad story, looking back at it now. The whole of Britain, the whole world, a billion people watched that wedding of Charles and Diana. They thought it was this magical fairy tale, Charles had finally found the perfect bride to be queen. And yet now we know, it was tragedy and heartbreak behind the scenes.
Diana had actually wanted not to go through with the wedding. She wanted to stop it because she realized that he was still in love with Camilla, so it's painful to watch in a historical sense.
WHITFIELD: Wow. And I was one of the millions who were watching it in awe and only to hear all that you just unfolded there over time, yes, heartbreaking.
All right, Kate, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you. WHITFIELD: And be sure to tune in to an all-new episode of the CNN
original series, "THE WINDSORS: INSIDE THE ROYAL DYNASTY." It airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.
All right. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
All right. We're going to begin with the coronavirus and this growing spread. The U.S. is seeing a big spike in the number of confirmed cases across the country. More than 490 right now, and the death toll just grew higher. Two more deaths in Washington state, bringing the total to 21 killed in the U.S.
And this weekend, over a dozen states and Washington, D.C. reporting their first cases. In New York alone, 16 new cases popped up overnight. And that number is only expected to grow. Today, the surgeon general says the U.S. is shifting its response to the epidemic.
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DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Initially, we had a posture of containment so that we could give people time to prepare for where we are right now. Now we're shifting into a mitigation phase, which means that we're helping communities understand, you're going to see more cases. Unfortunately, you're going to see more deaths. But that doesn't mean that we should panic.
It means that we should take the things that we know work for individuals to protect themselves. Communities need to have that conversation and prepare for more cases, so that we can prevent more deaths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right. Meanwhile, some hope for the thousands of people stuck onboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, which has 21 cases of coronavirus. Officials are allowing the ship to dock in Oakland, California, tomorrow, but passengers will then be transferred to military bases for a two-week quarantine.
California's governor is expected to hold a press conference in just a few minutes and we'll, of course, take that live as it happens.
But first, let's turn to CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.
So, Elizabeth, the surgeon general says the U.S. is going from a containment response to mitigation. What does that mean for us?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Fancy words, and I think we're going to be hearing more and more of them. Let me break that down for us. So containment, it implies a certain hope that you can, well, contain it. And usually that is done through several tactics, including something called contact tracing.
When the early cases came in, the attitude was, we're going to -- you know, here's our first case. We're going to find their spouse, their best friend, the person they had lunch with right before they got sick or, you know, right after they started feeling ill, and we will quarantine those people.
And then if they get sick, we'll isolate them and so on and so on. And that this was how we were going to try and contain this outbreak. This was a major tool that we were going to use. And what we heard from the surgeon general and others today is, you know what, we may not be able to contain it that way. We're going to have to move on to mitigation. Mitigation is larger scale things like let's cancel concerts. South by Southwest being canceled would be a good example of a mitigation effort.
Let's tell people not to gather in these large crowds, let's tell people to telework instead of coming into work and being face-to-face.
WHITFIELD: Trying to get ahead of it.
COHEN: Well, realizing that you can't do this case by case. We are not going to take each person and trace all the people they had contacts with and quarantine them. That doing it case by case may not work anymore, because we have so many cases, and frankly, the public health staff in this country, there probably aren't enough public health workers to contact trace each and every case all the time. At a certain point, it gets to be too big.
WHITFIELD: Yes. So it's really trying to get ahead of the next wave.
COHEN: Right. Right.
WHITFIELD: Or in the midst of something.
COHEN: Right, we're sort of behind -- right, exactly. We're in the midst of it, yes. For sure.
WHITFIELD: We're in between that ebb and flow.
COHEN: Right. For sure. For sure.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Elizabeth Cohen, appreciate it.
All right, California Governor Gavin Newsom is set to hold a news conference about the Grand Princess cruise ship in just a few minutes.
This as officials prepare to transfer the 3500 passengers aboard that ship with 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus to four U.S. military bases.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov joining me now from Oakland where the ship is expected to dock at some point tomorrow.
So, Lucy, this is quite the undertaking so many layers of this phase. Explain. LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like officials are
still working out those plans. And of course, we'll have more clarity from the California governor in just a few minutes, we hope. But as of yesterday evening, the plan initially was to get that ship to dock today, on Sunday, at the last minute, a shift. Take a listen to the captain's announcement.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received an update from the U.S. government that additional planning and preparations are required before the ship will be able to arrive in Oakland. So instead of arriving today, we will arrive at some time on Monday. They have not given us a specific arrival time. We know this will be a disappointment to you and we share in that disappointment. However, we are required to follow the government instructions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAFANOV: There's a lot of details to iron out here. At this point, we know the ship is going to dock at some point tomorrow here in the port of Oakland. The critically ill passengers will be disembarking first. They'll get taken to local hospitals. The rest of the people, 2,500 or so, will be disembarking after that.
The California residents, and there's about a thousand of them, they'll be taken to quarantine and testing in federally operated quarantine facilities here in California. That's the Travis Air Base and the Miramar Air Base. Those have been home to the Wuhan evacuees. The Americans who were flown in from China just a few weeks ago. The rest of the U.S. citizens will get taken to Georgia and Texas. They will be under quarantine there.
I'm actually in touch with one passenger from Georgia. She says, I'm OK with it, quote, "We don't want people upset that we came back to our community too soon, especially if there's an outbreak."
So they are happy to be getting off soon. They understand that they're in for another two weeks of quarantine, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.
So in New York state, there have been 16 new coronavirus cases since yesterday, bringing the total there to 105. Earlier today, I spoke with Governor Andrew Cuomo who warned that one of the biggest dangers is panic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I'm afraid that the fear is actually outpacing the facts and we're fighting the virus, but we're also fighting this anxiety. And people out there take a step back, a deep breath and actually understand what we're looking at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Polo Sandoval is in New York for us. So what do we know about these latest cases?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, this most recent announcement certainly places New York in the higher end of the spectrum here, the higher in the scale in terms of amount of cases that have been confirmed now, 105. But context here is certainly key, especially when you keep in mind that 82 of those 105 have actually been confirmed in nearby Westchester County, a suburb of New York City.
That is where officials say there's one particular patient that was traced as possibly being the source of many of those cases, likely individuals that he lived with or worshiped with. So that's something that authorities are certainly keeping in mind. Their focus throughout New York state is certainly there in Westchester County. Some of the elder care facilities having seen what's happened in other parts of the country.
In the meantime, I think what we're seeing here is that reassuring voice coming from a lot of officials saying, that look, this is something that was expected. There was more testing that was going to happen. These numbers were certainly going to go up. So it certainly should come as no surprise that we have seen these numbers across New York state increase yesterday. We saw that today. And certainly do not be surprised if that happens again tomorrow.
But now prevention is certainly key there as we just heard from Governor Cuomo, trying to avoid those large groups, possibly teleworking, if possible. And simply just staying informed, as these numbers do continue to rise as the testing continues -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much, in New York.
All right, still ahead, more than 100 cases of coronavirus in Washington state and 16 deaths associated with a nursing home in Kirkland. We're live in what's being done to stop the spread.
Plus, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders getting ready for Super Tuesday part II. The latest from the campaign trail, next.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Washington state remains the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., and that state is reporting 12 new cases and two additional deaths, bringing the number of confirmed cases there to 115 and the death toll to 18.
Sixteen of those deaths are associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland. Today we learned the nursing home has received additional testing kits and will now finally be able to test all residents at the facility. Seventy employees at the center have also shown symptoms.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Kirkland, Washington, for us.
So, Omar, what more are you learning about the situation there? OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, this Life Care Center
nursing facility has been a focal point in this story for all the wrong reasons. When you take the 17 deaths in just this county alone, 16 of them stemming from this single facility.
Now a press conference is just wrapping up right now with officials from Life Care, where we got some new numbers about the staffing and about the people that are inside this facility currently.
Now, to give you an idea, back on February 19th, this facility had about 120 residents. Between those that have died, sadly, and also been hospitalized, they are now down to just about 55 residents. And when you talk about those test kits that they received, now having enough to be able to test all of them, that is partly because of how depleted these numbers actually are.
Now they are going to continue these tests. As we understand, they have about 11 more to go at this point to make sure they can get through everyone that is inside. And another aspect of this is the employees. We go back to that February 19th date, it was the benchmark that they've been giving for this, they had about 180 employees here. Well, 70 of those employees are now showing symptoms themselves. So they are not able to work in this facility.
And as we found out from this press conference literally just a few moments ago, three of those employees have now been hospitalized, and one has now tested positive for the novel coronavirus. So of course, throughout the state, they are monitoring and trying to get a handle on this outbreak, but particularly, stemming from this facility, it has been again a focal point for all the wrong reasons -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Omar Jimenez, keep us posted. Thank you so much.
All right, straight ahead, John Kasich, John Kerry, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A curious alliance with a common goal. Combat climate change. Plus, their thoughts on the 2020 race and what Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders need to do to win the key state of Michigan and Ohio. Our candid conversation, next.
WHITFIELD: Happening today, in Ohio, a climate alliance. Former Governors John Kasich, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and former U.S. secretary of State, John Kerry, holding their first town hall for their nonprofit organization, World War 0. Their goal, move the country toward net zero carbon emissions. They joined me earlier to talk about their nonprofit, as well as their thoughts on the 2020 race.
JOHN KASICH (R), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: In regard to the election, the upcoming election, I think what you're going to see in Ohio is a Joe Biden who's able to appeal to many of those blue-collar disaffected people in our state. And if Bernie Sanders were the nominee, and I'm not here to, like, knock, you know, Sanders or to tell you I'm Biden's campaign manager, because I am not. But as an observer, I don't think that Bernie Sanders really stood a chance in Ohio.
If Joe Biden can be the Joe Biden that people know, being able to relate to blue-collar independents and calming those disaffected Republicans who don't like Trump, but they don't want revolution, they want some order in Washington and in the White House, I think at this point, you're going to see Joe Biden have momentum and I think come the fall, it's going to be one heck of a battle across this country.
What Joe Biden brings that the Democrats have lost is the ability to attract the working man and woman. And somehow the Democrats lost them. And he has an ability to bring them back. And why? Because that's how he grew up. That's who he is. It's going to be very interesting to see.
WHITFIELD: So, Governor, are you endorsing Joe Biden?
KASICH: No, I'm not endorsing Joe Biden. I'm just an observer here. You asked me my view.
KASICH: I'm an observer. As to what I will do after -- you know, when we get into the fall, we'll just have to decide that. Right now I'm an observer and I'm enjoying it.
WHITFIELD: OK. Well, Secretary Kerry, you have --
KASICH: But I'm glad that Joe Biden is doing better.
WHITFIELD: OK, very good. Well, Secretary Kerry, you have endorsed Biden and you did so early on. You know, he's been victorious, South Carolina, of course Super Tuesday. Now this Tuesday, you're talking about six states, you know, including Michigan, heading to the polls. Is Biden campaigning differently ahead of these races?
JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think he's -- I just came from Michigan and I think Joe Biden's message is being heard and people are responding to him in Michigan. My sense is that Joe brings with him to build off of what John just said about appealing to the folks here in Ohio.
Joe is the only candidate on the Democratic side who was running for president who was asked by 65 candidates in 24 states to go campaign for them. And we won 41 seats in 2018 that turned the House. Those 41, some of them are in very tough districts. None of them asked any other candidate to campaign for them except Joe Biden. Why? Because they feel Joe can help them in those districts and those districts are critical to governing in America.
You don't just want to have somebody elected president who's got a favorite issue. You want to elect somebody president who can bring Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives to the table, to fix our democracy and our country. It's broken today. We need to have a Washington that becomes functional again. And I think Joe has a proven record of bringing people together, not being the prisoner of ideology, but wanting to make things work. And I think that's what Americans want right now.
WHITFIELD: Governor Schwarzenegger, you're a Republican, but it's no secret, you're not a huge fan of President Trump. You all have a rather frayed of relationship. There remains one Republican, Bill Weld, campaigning. So how are you approaching this race? Would you vote for a Democrat?
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Well, first of all, let me just say that I am so thrilled that we three are working together because here you have two Republicans, one Democrat. We don't fight over these things. We may have different ways of looking at how we get there, but one thing we know for sure, and that is we all want to go and reduce pollution and we all want to go and slow this madness down that is killing the world.
And so this is why it is very important that Democrats and Republicans work together on this issue and that we don't see this as a political issue. I don't ever fall for those traps when they say, Republicans are not right there yet and they're deniers, and all that kind of stuff. Look, as long as we stay out of that, as long as we make it a people's issue.
Because there is no Democratic air, there is no Republican air. We all breathe the same air. There is no Democratic water, there is no Republican water, we all drink the same water. So this is why we all have to work together rather than attacking each other and all this. And the reality of it is, any of those candidates that are out there, no matter if it's a Republican or Democratic candidates, none of them have really shown that they have passed any legislation that has reduced greenhouse gases or pollution in the United States or in any of those states.
So this is really the fact of it. And so therefore, we have to stop with the dialogue and we have to start getting into action. I mean, this is what this is about. And people should listen to the states, because states are the laboratory for the federal government. And this is what I said earlier, what we have done in California, we are the perfect example for the federal government to take this package of what we have done and copy it, and then America will go and change everything around.
You know, so that's the way I feel. So I don't go for this Democratic- Republican thing. I think both parties can work together and get this done.
KERRY: And Fredricka, if I can -- can I add to that?
WHITFIELD: Absolutely. Please do. KERRY: One of the things that we -- well, we're really focused on the
notion that you've got to have accountability in our political process. If people can today deny the science of, what, 6,000, 7,000 reports that have been peer reviewed, all explaining exactly what's happening, and there isn't one peer-reviewed study to the contrary. But if people today can be in Congress denying what is happening, then we have to create accountability.
The only way you get that accountability is through the conversations that we're going to have that encourages people to say, you know what? I'm going to vote climate. I'm going to go to the polls. And if we look back in 2016, the turnout of eligible Americans was just 55.6 percent. That's a 20-year low. And the turnout of young people was only 19 percent. So we're going to talk to America. We're bringing these different people. We have admirals and generals.
We have former Republican Defense secretaries. We have the archbishop of Canterbury. We have former prime ministers, former -- we have a whole group of people who are saying, we want to join the grassroots. We want the top roots and the grassroots to come together and create a movement that creates the political accountability we need to make things happen.
WHITFIELD: Well, fantastic.
KERRY: It's the only way to get out of this.
WHITFIELD: I think folks are really celebrating --
KASICH: One -- one final -- one final point.
WHITFIELD: -- the variation of your uniqueness coming together for this very common purpose of trying to change lives in a big way.
We've got to go soon, Governor, because you all have a town hall that you've got to attend to. But go ahead and make your last point.
KASICH: Yes, we've got to go. But listen.
KASICH: One last, last point. There aren't many Arnold Schwarzeneggers. Arnold was a governor who led from the top down. I'd like to think I did as well. But in America, it's the people who speak. It's a bottom up. And as the people of this country get more and more involved, the politicians will be afraid not to listen. That's where the solution will come from.
Thanks for having us on, Fredricka.
KERRY: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: Thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I know your town hall is going to be a great success.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: All right. Kasich, Kerry, Schwarzenegger, a dynamic trio.
All right, still ahead. How the markets are shaping up in the week ahead as the number of coronavirus cases rises.
WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Asian markets are getting set to start their trading week and the coronavirus outbreak still has investors on edge. Hong Kong's market alone dropped more than 2% on Friday, while the Dow had another week full of dramatic swings. So, can we expect a rough week ahead?
With me now, Dion Rabouin. He is the "Axios Markets" editor. Good to see you, Dion. So, what are the fears?
DION RABOUIN, AXIOS MARKETS EDITOR: Well, the fears right now from the U.S. are that you're going to start to see lockdowns on businesses, schools, things like that that could severely restrict the way people are going out.
Obviously, you think about if schools are locked down, parents then have to stay home. You're probably getting childcare facilities locked down, and people aren't going to work now. Not only are they not going to work, they're not going out spending money, not going to restaurants, bars, things like that. So, that really starts to eat away at what we call the demand side of the economy, folks wanting to go out and spend money and buy new things.
Obviously, we've already seen what's happened with air travel. The airlines are just getting absolutely killed on the market over the past couple of weeks. You're starting to see the same with hotels, all kinds of things associated with leisure activities. If that starts to swing back and starts to include more businesses that are getting hit because people just don't want to go out, that's a real fear and you could see the economy go into recession as soon as the next couple of quarters.
WHITFIELD: Wow. So, if it's, you know, fear or people feeling rather unsettled, which is, you know, doing -- causing this to the markets, what's it going to take to stabilize things?
RABOUIN: What it's really going to take is a coordinated response from the health community and getting this thing contained. We've seen in Italy and across the Atlantic in Europe, the U.K., Switzerland, all kinds of gatherings of large people are getting shut down. Any kind of group gatherings are being put on hold. All of Northern Italy pretty much at this point is shut down. You can't get out there if you want to.
And that's the real fear is that you start to get something like a New York, a Los Angeles, maybe a Seattle that gets outright cut -- shut down and contained. And they say, hey, can't get in, can't get out. We're shutting the city down. That's what economists are most afraid of happening here in the U.S.
And like I said, we're already seeing it in Europe where we're probably going to see a couple of those economies, likely Italy, likely Germany, potentially the U.K. all fall into recession this year.
WHIFIELD: OK. People hear about dips in the market. They're worried about their 401(k)s. The traditional advice is not to panic about your 401(k), leave things alone. Is that the advice that still holds?
RABOUIN: That's the advice that I'm hearing from most folks who handle that side of things, you know. There's not a lot of places you can hide. Right now, the U.S. treasury market, which is bonds, government debt, has been spiking, doing really, really well, but lots of people are telling their clients, hey, don't sell out here. This thing could have further to go. It could go further down. But we could bounce back up.
The market is expecting stimulus not only from the Federal Reserve, a couple more rate cuts this month at its meeting, but also from the ECB, from the Bank of Japan. We're expecting to see a lot of money just kind of pile into the markets here as central banks try to get economic confidence back going and that could spike the stock market.
So, even if the economy does get hit by this coronavirus, you could see stocks really start to bounce back, as they have in China, over the past couple of weeks.
WHITFIELD: All right, Dion Rabouin, thank you so much for a very positive outlook.
RABOUIN: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: All right, still to come, a key test for Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders as voters in several states head to the polls this week.
WHITFIELD: All right. Live pictures now at any moment, California Governor Gavin Newsom will join those doctors for an update on the coronavirus outbreak there affecting the state of California. When that happens, we'll take you there.
Meantime, this week, the 2020 race heads to several states in the Midwest. But for Senator Bernie Sanders, it's all about Michigan. That's where he's hoping to score a much-needed win over former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently the front-runner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Michigan is an enormously important state. I'm very proud that today, Jesse Jackson, who, as you know, is -- has been one of the great civil rights leaders in our country, who when he ran for president in '88 actually won here in Michigan. He's going to be with me today and strongly supporting our campaign. And what Reverend Jackson understands is that we have to move aggressively to wipe out all forms of racism in this country, and we need an economic agenda that speaks to the needs of working people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Abby Phillip is in Michigan with the Sanders' campaign. And Jessica Dean is with the Biden campaign in Mississippi. So, Abby, you first. I understand that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is also out campaigning with Sanders today. What's their pitch to voters?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fredricka. She'll be here, actually, at this Ann Arbor rally in just a few hours campaigning with Bernie Sanders at a pivotal time for his campaign.
You know, after Super Tuesday, the Sanders campaign really back on their heels and trying to regain some of that momentum that is badly needed if they're going to compete with Joe Biden in terms of delegates in the coming states. And Michigan is where it really all comes together for him.
The Sanders campaign has been talking a lot about trade, talking a lot about Joe Biden's record on those issues and on health care. But with this rolling out of Jesse Jackson's endorsement, it really signals that the Sanders' campaign acknowledges they have got to start doing better with black voters. And Jesse Jackson, someone who is almost universally known among black voters in this country, someone who ran as a presidential candidate, won the state of Michigan in 1998, endorsed him this morning at a rally. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, I thought this is about democratic socialism. What does all of that mean? The operative word is democracy, all for and by the people. Bernie can win. We'll win. We must win. When Bernie wins, health care wins.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: And for so long, Sanders' argument has been, he is the most electable because he can appeal to the workers in the state of Michigan and this part of the country. When Michigan goes to vote on Tuesday, it will be the first of a series of states just like it in the industrial Midwest, which is one of the reasons the state has become so important. They're spending a lot of time here over the next couple of days, even at the expense of other rallies, as the Sanders campaign canceled an event in Mississippi in favor of doing more events on the ground here in Michigan. And we'll see if all of that work (INAUDIBLE).
WHITFIELD: I'm so sorry, Abby. I got to interrupt you there. We need to go straight to California. And the Oakland mayor there is talking about now how the passengers will get off that ship, those who have been exposed to coronavirus and what the next steps are.
MAYOR LIBBY SCHAFF, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Second, I want to ensure that our public and our community keeps constantly informed with detailed information about this operation as well as about the COVID-19 virus in general. We recognize that this is a time that we must be guided by facts and not fears and our public deserves to know exactly what is going on.
And third and finally, it is our duty to help these people. The friends and families aboard this ship, the passengers who are sitting in fear and uncertainty, we, as local government, are pleased to step forward to assist our state and federal partners in this humanitarian effort.
I also have been clear with our state and federal contacts - I've been clear with our state and federal partners about the context of the Oakland community. This is a community that has suffered decades of environmental racism and injustice. And that is why it is so important that we assure this community with the full facts about how their safety and health will be protected.
I have received some very strong assurances that this operation will employ the best isolation practices known, that the operation will be conducted in a manner that minimizes the time for the "Grand Princess" to be at the Port of Oakland. And that once the disembarkation operation is complete, that the ship will depart Oakland, that no one will be quarantined in Oakland or released to our community.
We want to appreciate the partnership and the good values of our state and federal partners in this moment. And I really want to extend my gratitude to Danny Wan, the Director of the Port of Oakland, who is here with us, all the port workers, the city of Oakland workers that have just come together over this weekend to help and assist in this humanitarian operation.
It is the right thing to do. We have to not let our fears dictate or impede our humanity. So, with that, it is my pleasure to welcome the great governor of the state of California, Gavin Newsom.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM, CALIFORNIA: Thank you. Thank you, Madame Mayor and thank you for your leadership. And I want to underscore that and I will in the course of my remarks.
Let me contextualize this moment and we will have ample opportunity to answer all your questions related to the "Grand Princess" and the logistical operation that is currently underway.
But I want to just update you on the latest numbers, positive tests in the state of California, a number of people we're monitoring, and how we're doing with our testing regime.
Currently, 114 people have tested positive in the state of California. We have identified one individual, as you know, in Placer County, that is deceased related to the virus. As you know, he was on this same cruise ship and the previous cruise that went from San Francisco down to Mexico on February 11th to the 21st.
We are monitoring some 1,540 individual Californians that were on that original cruise. Currently, we have identified 12 individuals on that cruise that now have identified as positive for COVID-19. Again, that number is fluid. That's the number we have from this morning. Of course, we'll be updating you on a daily basis.
Broadly, the state of California has over 10,000, in fact, 10,257 individuals that we are monitoring in 49 health jurisdictions throughout the state that have come in independently of our repatriation flights and independently of the cruises through commercial airlines.
So, I want to give you the magnitude of the people we're monitoring and the incredible effort that is underway at all levels of government in a state, for those not familiar, that has 58 counties and some 480 plus or minus cities. And so, this has taken all of us to work together in a deeply collaborative way, and I'm very grateful for all of our partners, particularly in the health care sector for their stewardship.
And now, let's go back to the issue at hand. The "Grand Princess" currently, is some 10 to 12 miles offshore. And I say 10 to 12 because we're moving it back within that footprint roughly 2 1/2 hours away when they have the green light to come in to the Oakland Port.
We are not prepared to tell you exactly when. And for those passengers that may be watching this, we are not able to tell you exactly when the cruise ship will come into the port as we are still working out the enormity of complexity of making sure we prepare the site, and moreover, prepare for a quick turnaround and quick boarding of individuals to respective locations, which I will talk about in a moment. We want to make sure that all of that is locked in before the ship comes to port, which I think would just create more anxiety for the passengers; and moreover, for the general public.
The site was picked. Oakland was picked for a number of reasons. We assessed many different sites throughout the state of California. Active military bases, unfortunately, are not positioned, particularly with foreign flag cruise ship, as the appropriate site. We looked for mothball, old sites, including Alameda. We had originally looked at Alameda as a preferable site, the old naval station there. Unfortunately, some of the silting issues, some of the drafting issues created some concerns and that site was knocked off the list.
Some have suggested, because it's based in San Francisco, this cruise ship, that San Francisco and the port should assume this repatriation effort. That was assessed. The logistics of that site along the embarcadero, the proximity to residences, the disruption that would have ensued was such that we determined that was not the appropriate site. Other sites across the state of California were considered, in southern part of the state, and again, by multitudes of assessments, we felt better and more appropriate to have it here in Northern California for reasons I will lay out in just a brief moment.
This site allows us a number of advantages. Number one, the ability to secure the site. This site is currently being secured. It's being fenced. And it's being secured by federal personnel, ten -- roughly ten acres of this site. The site is currently being cleared. We have a number of vehicles on that site, leased vehicles.
The ability to contact the individuals that own those vehicles, to look at the existing contracts, to wave the provision of the contracts, to provide ample opportunity to move those vehicles, presented a logistics opportunity. And we are currently executing that opportunity. The site, being cleared, is happening as well in real time as it's being secured.
But the site offers a number of benefits. Number one, proximity to the Oakland airport, which will provide us the ability to allow foreign passengers on this crew to be repatriated in their home countries, at least in specific terms to Canada and other chartered flights that are currently logistically being prepared.
There will be no contact with general population in terminals at the Oakland airport. This will all be separate. And all of these individuals are being processed in partnership with the state department and others for those chartered flights. That was one benefit of this Oakland site.
Number two, proximity to Travis Air Force Base. As many of you recall, the state of California, since, well, late December, but more formally, late January, was the state that has provided the most support for the United States and U.S. citizens that were overseas to repatriate them with direct flights. A number of those direct flights went into Travis, into Miramar in Southern California, in Marsh and near, well also in Southern California, but more broadly defined as parts of Riverside.
Those operations were successful. The logistics and the preparation of those sites are such that they are advantageous in terms of our repatriation now of this cruise ship. So, the opportunity for us in this region near Travis, near Solano County, Oakland is uniquely positioned to quickly move those passengers to be quarantined disproportionately at Travis, but a number of them possibly down at Miramar.
So, let me break this out and try to create some sequencing so that people have some clarity. The ship will come in some time tomorrow. The expectation is to determine what the best cross current conditions are as well as tidal conditions to create the opportunity to have a window for a ship this size to come into a port where it's typically not being docked.
I can bore you with the technical details, but anyone that understands this space, no one better than our bar pilots that need to go on to the ship with the appropriate protective gear that needs to be fitted, and making sure that they have the opportunity to have those windows where they have confidence. Those are windows that are typically just a few hours.
So, in the morning, they'll make up a time, 3:00 to 6:00 and then 2:00 to 4:00, whatever they may be. There'll be windows and you'll hear more about those. I'm making those up, but you'll get a sense of the windows they'll avail themselves tomorrow as it relates to cross currents and tides. So that's why we can't give you a specific time. But we anticipate the ship coming in tomorrow.
We are also taking care in the immediate term, not only determining when the ship comes in, but providing the opportunity for triage that we --
WHITFIELD: You're listening to California Governor Gavin Newsom there talking about the ship that has 21 coronavirus patients onboard. That ship will be coming into Oakland, California some time tomorrow, he says, depending on, you know, the seas in terms of what time that ship will go into port. Teams with appropriate gear, he says, will be boarding on to that ship.
And then, he went through a number of measures that will take place. Some of the passengers will be going to Travis Air Force Base for quarantine and other measures are also going to be taken.
We're going to continue to monitor this press conference, this announcement update coming from the governor there. And we'll be right back after this.