Return to Transcripts main page
Health Officials Not Clear on Plan for Cruise Ship Passengers; U.S. Surgeon General Expect More Cases and Deaths, But Don't Panic; Italy Orders Lockdown in Northern Region to Try to Contain Virus; U.S. Officials Give Varying Numbers on Tests Availability; Bernie Sanders Looks to Michigan to Gain Back Momentum. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 8, 2020 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: -- deadly coronavirus has not yet peaked. He warns there will be more cases and more deaths but that does not people should panic.
Today is also the day the number of infected people in the U.S. has now topped 500. People are testing positive for the virus in 33 states, mostly in the Seattle, Washington, area and in New York, the northeastern suburbs of New York City. More than 20 people in the U.S. have died.
Now in the coming days about four million testing kits are expected to be available at centers across the country. That's the hope anyway of White House officials who blame what they call a glitch for the comparatively small number of test kits that have already shipped.
Now about those crowded cruise ship with infected people on board, one that's held off the coast of California, might be able to dock tomorrow. And now there is another one off the coast of Florida waiting to be told what to do.
All right, so as for how those people will be held and treated once they're back on dry land, that is a question. Federal health officials aren't crystal clear about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: The cruise ship personnel and as you know vice president met with the CEOs of the major cruise ship companies yesterday. And they are coming up with a plan within 72 hours of that meeting.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS' "THIS WEEK": The ship is docking tomorrow.
CARSON: The plan will be in place by that time. But I don't want to preview the plan right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Shouldn't you be able to do that?
CARSON: I think it needs to come from a solitary source. We shouldn't have 16 people saying what the plan is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, well --
CARSON: Particularly when it hasn't -- particularly when it hasn't been fully formulated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: OK, so the plan hasn't been fully formulated as you just heard there from Dr. Ben Carson.
CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in Oakland, California, where one of those ships is expected to dock tomorrow.
Yes, Lucy, this is complicated, no clear plan that we can gather from federal officials about what will happen when that ship docks. And what about people from other countries who are on board? I mean, is there any indication as to, you know, what they are being told what will happen once they disembarked?
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Amara, it was clear that this plan was shifting and growing and changing, and changing again as we speak. I mean last night the word that we got was that the ship was supposed to dock on Sunday today. Now it's been pushed back to Monday.
In terms of the international passengers, hundreds of international foreign passengers on board that cruise ship, that's kind of still being worked out according to California Governor Gavin Newsom. He said that the State Department is actually in negotiations with all of the relevant countries involved. The plan for them is to try to get chartered flights to get the foreigners out through Oakland airport.
But again, chartered flights in order not to mix the passengers on board that ship with the general population. But again that has to be done in a country-by-country basis. Also not clear what happens if any of those foreign passengers test positive for the coronavirus. Will they be quarantined here, how will they get back, all of that is still being worked out. But we do know what's happening with the Americans. Right? They're docking tomorrow.
The sickest of the passengers will get taken to the hospitals. The thousand or so California residents, they'll be split between two military bases, Travis up north and the March Air Base near San Diego. Both of those, remember, have been hosting American evacuees from Wuhan, China. They are experienced in this coronavirus cases, know how to handle that. The rest of the U.S. citizens will be flown either to Texas or to Georgia.
Everyone is going to spend their 14 days in quarantine on one of those bases. The foreigners that's still being worked out but they are going to disembark. Now the crew members, most of them are foreign as well. But if you are a crew member, you're not so lucky. About 1100 or so people, we're talking about, they will remain on board. They're not going to be allowed to disembark. They will have to spend their 14 days in quarantine on that ship. Probably a prospect that doesn't make a lot of people excited
considering what happened to the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan. You remember it was off that coast for 28 days and that virus spread all across the ship. So I'm sure that's a pretty scary prospect for some of them. But we've been in touch with some passengers. They're saying, look, this has been frustrating. They wanted more answers, more information, but at least they're going to be on dry land. They're pretty excited about that -- Amara.
WALKER: Yes. And at least they have not been off the coast for, you know, a couple of weeks as we've seen with the other cruise ships that were infected by the coronavirus.
Lucky Kafanov, appreciate you joining us. Thank you for that update.
Now looking nationwide now, federal officials expect to start shipping large numbers of coronavirus test kits as soon as tomorrow. The surgeon general says a new phase is getting underway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: All right. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here with me now.
So the surgeon general just said health officials are moving from containment mode to mitigation. So what exactly does that mean?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Those are terms, Amara, that I think we're going to be hearing more often. So, you know, you don't usually hear them in your everyday life. So let's go over what that means.
Initially the way to attack this outbreak was containment. Let's be optimistic, let's try to contain it, and a lot of that involves what's called contact tracing. Someone gets sick, you have your first case, your second case, your third cases, or whatever number it was, and you get their spouse and you get their best friend they had lunch with, or their colleague who they sat next to, and you quarantine them because they were exposed to this infected person and you watch them for symptoms and you do that case after case after case.
And I think what Dr. Adams is alluding to and other officials have said today is that we may be moving beyond that. Not necessarily to stop it but in the knowing that that is probably not going to end this outbreak. And we need to move on to mitigation which is things like cancel South by Southwest, cancel other large gatherings, tell people to work from home. That just attacking this case by case and isolating and quarantining people might not be doing the trick.
WALKER: Yes. Social distancing, you know, might be very key in this.
Appreciate you joining us, Elizabeth Cohen. Thank you for that.
WALKER: Well, Italy is taking drastic measures to try to contain the coronavirus after a surge of infections and deaths. The prime minister announced that the entire region of Lombardy and 14 other provinces are now under lockdown. That means nearly 16 million people are now under tight restrictions. Schools and universities are closed and all public events are cancelled in those regions.
This so-called red zone includes the financial and fashion hub of Milan and the tourist destination of Venice.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has the latest now on what this means for the residents.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So early on Sunday the Italian government announced a new decree with draconian new measures to try to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The red zones which until Sunday included just 11 towns and about 50,000 people have been dramatically expanded to the region of Lombardy where Milan is and 14 provinces with a total population of 16 million.
Now the variety of measures that are being taken with that are extreme. Nobody can leave or enter the area, although we drove out of it and saw no sign of any controls on the population. Schools, universities, museums, any sort of public place where people gather, they're all closed. Bars and restaurants only allowed to be opened from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and those inside need to keep distance of a meter between one another.
The reason why this decree was passed is that the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase and inexorably. The latest number that were announced on Sunday evening put the total number of recorded cases of coronavirus in all of Italy at 7,375. That's an increase of 1,492 of the biggest increase yet. In addition, the number of new deaths is 133, bringing the total to 366.
These are numbers that this country is increasingly alarmed over which explains why they've taken these measures. The question is, are these measures going to work?
I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Bologna.
WALKER: That's going to be quite a drastic change of life there in much of Italy really.
Well, as communities around the world and here in the U.S. struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus, there is increased scrutiny on how governments are responding.
Listen now to the variety of answers that three U.S. government officials gave just this morning on how many test kits are going to be available.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAMS: We have 75,000 tests available right now for folks. By early next week, tomorrow, we should have two million tests available. By the end of the week, through partnerships with private industry, over four million tests available.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Right now I believe 1.1 million tests have already been sent out. By Monday there'll be an additional 400,000. And by the end of nest week probably around four million.
CARSON: Over a million tests were shipped out already this past week. Tomorrow another 640,000 will be available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I can't keep track of all these numbers.
WALKER: I want to bring in CNN's national security analyst Juliette Kayyem, who also served as a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
Hi there, Juliette. I mean, it is confusing. And yes, you know, there was a lot of muddled messaging in the beginning when you heard the president saying look, you know, anyone who needs a test is going to get one. And of course, you know, Vice President Pence was saying, well, actually I'm concerned about a shortage of testing kits, so now they're supposed to be coming in. But the numbers are not exactly clear and when.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. That's exactly right. I laughed but, you know, that's not to minimize the deadly seriousness of this.
KAYYEM: And what this means in terms of the strategies from the local and state level. Remember this is being dealt with on the local levels. It's mayors who are making these decisions about school closures and social distancing, and they have no data to determine whether there has been sort of a community outbreak. So as Elizabeth was explaining before, you know, you can try containment strategy for only so long but as a planner on the response side, once you start to see big numbers, you better get to all of the tools that you have in terms of social distancing, school closures, advise to people, you know, with preconditions to stay home.
And so I think we have to think about this week. And I -- look, you know, no one knows. Right? Anyone who tells you, we know how this is going to evolve, no one knows. We are going to do this week by week. You're going to have both the containment strategy, try to get the kits out but you're going to have a very aggressive mitigation strategy with the social distancing.
So I think we're going to see those in combination on every level whether it's in Seattle or Portland or in Stanford University or in New York City.
WALKER: Well, and also, from a healthcare standpoint, right? I mean, are --
WALKER -- our hospitals prepared? I mean I spoke with an investigative reporter from Pro Publica just the other day and he was saying that our hospitals are woefully ill prepared, that there not enough --
WALKER -- equipment and on top of that a lot of the hospitals, the reports that he read into, showed that they are not good at infection prevention. You wrote an op-ed in the Atlantic.
WALKER: Entitled, the "U.S. isn't Ready for What's About to Happen." What did you mean by that?
KAYYEM: Yes. I mean, I think, just, you know, we've never had a crisis like this that's probably about to be nationwide social disruptions and that the pressure is on systems that exists and are imperfect like our healthcare system, our employee rights system, even racism, when you think of what's happening to restaurants in Chinatown. All of them are going to be exacerbated by this and it's going to impact people in a variety of different ways.
But I just want to explain why -- you know, why we're doing what we're doing from a planning perspective. Once we know that we can't succeed on containment, as someone on the response side like me, what you try to do is you try to slow the spread because you don't want to put the pressure on the very healthcare system you're putting -- you're talking about all at the same time.
So people are saying well, why are -- you know, why are they saying we can't go to school but we could go on subways. It's just because we're not -- we're not at the quarantine stage yet. We're simply try to provide advice and tools so that employers and mayors are making the right choices so that you simply slow the spread, so that your healthcare system does not crumble under the stress of everyone getting it simultaneously.
WALKER: Well --
KAYYEM: I mean, so that's -- as I said, you were just trying to extend the runway. That's what we're trying to do at this stage, so that you're just -- simply you just don't get the kind of -- Italy got it, right?
KAYYEM: Italy did not put those social distancing tools in place.
WALKER: And there are so many questions about look, if you're concerned about having the coronavirus, which doctor do you call, if you do call the doctor.
WALKER: Will you actually get the testing if you think you really need it? And also, will people be able to afford the test? I know some states like New York and California, they'll be taking care of the copays or the deductibles.
WALKER: But there are, what, 28 million uninsured Americans? So this could be a huge burden on the American healthcare system.
KAYYEM: Absolutely. Every governor or mayor should weigh this at the state, not just to be nice, although that's a moral thing to do but because unless you can begin to see what the community outbreak is, you're not going to be able to figure out what measures you should put in place. And the tendency would be to put in harsher measures rather than less harsh measures. Having economic and social consequences that I think we can't measure at this stage.
I would say, so this is a national story. We focus on Trump and the White House and numbers. But actually, I just am urging people, just go to your local Web sites in terms of your state public health or local public health entities. They're going to know where testing is available. Primary care physicians if you have them are also likely to know because there's a lot of communication going on in the local level.
So while people can and rightfully be stressed out about the lack of communication and the dysfunction in the federal government, I think you're starting to see localities at least take seriously the numbers, even if they can't get the test kits quick enough.
WALKER: Yes, that's been my experience as well, going to the local health departments, and seeing on their Web sites.
WALKER: And they are some. Some of them are giving specific information as needed.
WALKER: Juliette Kayyem, appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much for that.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
WALKER: Well, just two days ahead of another Super Tuesday vote. Joe Biden has picked up yet another key endorsement. This time from Senator Kamala Harris. We are live on the campaign trail when we come back.
WALKER: Six more states are ready to hand over their delegates on Tuesday. The big prize is Michigan and Senator Sanders knows it.
He spent most of his weekend there, even cancelling a rally in Mississippi on Friday just to get there faster.
One more reason why Michigan is so important aside from its large number of delegates, Sanders won it in 2016 but just barely. So whether or not he can hold on to it this time around will say a lot about his viability.
CNN's Abby Phillip is on the trail with Senator Sanders and, Abby, so what is Sanders' final push, so to speak, to voters there?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In the last few days, we've been hearing a lot in his message about trade, about workers' rights, even about the -- you know, the auto bailout. Senator Sanders is trying to up the contrast between him and Joe Biden as we go into these final days. Particularly here in Michigan, it is really clear that his campaign believes this state is critically important for them to regain their momentum in this race.
They had a disappointing Super Tuesday and Michigan was the place where in 2016 Sanders was able to pull off a victory over Hillary Clinton. He's basically asking the state to do the same for him this time around. And so you're hearing these very sharp contrasts with Biden over his record. Particularly on the issue of trade, on health care, on Social Security.
And you're also hearing Sanders trying to also appeal to African- American voters. He rolled out the endorsement of Jesse Jackson Jr. this morning, and Jackson tied Sanders' message to, you know, the past messages of civil rights, the past fights for civil rights, I should say, and made a connection between Sanders' message and those fights of the past.
So that endorsement is one that the Sanders campaign believes is critically important as they try to make more inroads with black voters here in Michigan and in a lot of the states that come -- that come nest. The industrial Midwest and in the South. That's going to be a key constituency for the Sanders campaign.
WALKER: And Abby, I can't help but notice the many people there behind you. You are thinking about coronavirus and we know that Sanders and Biden, they are 78 and 77 years old respectively. So they're in that vulnerable group which the CDC is advising to stay home, not to really travel and to avoid large crowds like the one you're seeing behind you. Have you seen Bernie Sanders take any special precautions today?
PHILLIP: You know, we haven't really seen a whole lot of change in the campaign's posture. I mean, in fact, this is a massive rally, a couple thousand people here outside in Ann Arbor, on a college town. Just yesterday we were in Chicago, the campaign said 15,000 people were in that group. So he's still holding these massive rallies where thousands of people are coming out.
Sanders himself hasn't been doing as much handshaking on what we call the rope line at the end of these events. You know, that might be a minor way in which they've really cut back on the physical contact, but the travel hasn't stopped. The difference, though, of course, is that Senator Sanders is flying not on a commercial plane so there is a lot less contact there.
But it's a question we post to the campaign, and at the moment they don't have many plans to change their strategy. They will however have a roundtable on the issue of the coronavirus tomorrow, so they're very eager to really turn the tables on this issue when it comes to President Trump in particular.
WALKER: All right. Abby Phillip, on the trail with Bernie Sanders. Appreciate you joining us. Abby. Thank you.
Let's bring in Democratic strategist Maria Cardona and "New York Times" reporter Matt Flegenheimer.
Maria, let's start with you. And let's start with Michigan and how important it is for Sanders to win Michigan.
MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is. It's incredibly important because he has staked his campaign on the messaging of reaching out to working class voters. Those who have been left behind, the issue of free trade, and you're seeing that that's what he's focusing his remarks on. And what's interesting to see is that the demographic of Michigan even though on the surface they would seem that they would be very favorable to somebody like Bernie Sanders, and he won Michigan against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, but they look like it would be right now a much stronger demographic for Joe Biden given Joe Biden's performance in Super Tuesday states and throughout the South.
Now I do want to caution everyone who's looking at this because let's remember before South Carolina, people were looking at Joe Biden as a dying campaign, and so I just want to make sure that everyone understands that the only constant in this primary season and this political season is that conventional wisdom is out the window and really anything can happen. So we'll see. It is an incredibly important state for Bernie Sanders if he does want to continue on and be competitive for the nomination. WALKER: Well, let's stay with Michigan for a second.
And Matt, to you, how key will the white non-college educated voters be on Tuesday in Michigan?
MATT FLEGENHEIMER, REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: I think that's a big question. Obviously the coalition in 2016 for Senator Sanders involved a lot of those voters and certainly we've seen him, as Abby pointed out in her report, ramped up the rhetoric around trade, some of the issues where he sees a vulnerability for Vice President Biden. And I think we've seen a very radically different race these last eight days. I mean, eight days and about half an hour ago or so if you want to include South Carolina, Joe Biden didn't -- never won a primary across three presidential campaigns, across 32 years. In the span of a little over week, he is now the prohibitive frontrunner again.
WALKER: Well, talk about a remarkable comeback and just how -- it's impressive how rapidly the dynamics of the race has changed.
Now one of Sanders' messages today on the morning shows is that the establishment is out to defeat him. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the things that I was kind of not surprised by just the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg who, you know, really worked extremely hard as well, out the race. What was very clear from the media narrative, from what the establishment wanted was to make sure that people coalesce around Biden and try to defeat me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Maria, does this sound like someone who, if not nominee, is going to campaign on behalf of Joe Biden and urge his supporters to unite behind him and vote for the establishment in November?
CARDONA: Well, I hope that whoever is the nominee, the person who was the runner-up understands that the true north, not just for Democrats, but for every voter who has seen and suffered through four years of Donald Trump and understands how existential it is. If that person, if the runner-up is Bernie Sanders, if he does not get to the nomination, I will hold him to his word that he said that he will support Biden, in this case who is the only viable candidate right now.
He said he will support the nominee and he will do everything in his power to make sure that Donald Trump does not get re-elected. He needs to do that. He needs to do it quickly. He needs to do it passionately. He needs to make sure his supporters understand where he stands and the importance of all of them coming out because the most important thing for Democrats is to run up our voter tally in terms of voter participation. We have seen voter participation rates incredibly high in these past
primaries and that is terrific for the party. But we have to make sure that everyone continues to be energized and mobilized. And if Bernie Sanders is not the nominee, then he's going to have that responsibility to make sure to communicate that message to his voters and for him to do everything he can to make sure that Donald Trump is not re-elected in November.
WALKER: Although I do have to point out, I mean, as anti-establishment as Bernie Sanders is, I mean, this is why so many people were baffled when he released that ad of him and President Obama.
WALKER: I mean, if you did not know any better, you would think that Obama was endorsing Sanders and this is the ultimate establishment figurehead for the Democratic Party.
CARDONA: Right. Exactly.
WALKER: So, Matt, Joe Biden, I mean, let's talk about him and what he is going to have to do to keep his momentum going, and his campaign is trying to prevent him from making any unforced errors, right? I mean, Biden has been delivering that same short stump speech at every event this weekend. He's pretty much sticking to the teleprompter. And you wrote a piece last year on his run for president in the '80, I believe it was. And what was evident is these gaffes or rambling stories, they're not new.
FLEGENHEIMER: Sure. We've seen this throughout his campaign and certainly in this one, my colleagues reported another incident involving a story about Nelson Mandela that he's been telling that has not really been borne out in reality during this cycle.
Look, it's the same Joe Biden. The fact that he's been successful in these primaries doesn't change the sort of bare facts about who he is as a candidate. Obviously the circumstances have changed radically. There's been a coalescing around him. But I think, you know, the Sanders campaign is obviously eager to highlight what they would call the sort of instability around him as a safe option, which is I think the way a lot of Democrats both elected and voters view him, I think they're going to make the case particularly in the debate next week, a week from today that there is a safer option despite the sort of counterintuitive nature of that and it's Bernie Sanders.
WALKER: We're going to have to leave it there.
Matt Flegenheimer and Maria Cardona, thank you to you both for joining me here.
CARDONA: Thank you so much.
WALKER: Appreciate it. All right, turning now to some breaking news into CNN. North Korea has
launched three projectiles. We will have a live report from Seoul when we come back. Stay with us.
AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: All right, this just into CNN, the South Korean military confirming reports that North Korea conducted a launch of some sort just a little while ago.
Initial reports were that one projectile was fired from North Korean territory. That number though, has now grown. CNN's David Culver is in Beijing right now following this story.
David, that's the word the South Korean military is using, right, projectiles, so that doesn't necessarily mean missiles, what are you hearing?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, and that tends to, Amara, how they characterized this early on, but you know, projectiles will likely turn into either missiles or they'll say rockets going forward.
Here's what we know. I mean, this is the second launch this year. The most recent prior to this, which was just a week ago. It was on March 2nd that they launched and this most recent one, as you mentioned, has gone up in numbers. It's now three projectiles that we're hearing and they've gone into the sea between Korea and Japan.
CULVER: And as of now, this seemed to be likely a short range missile or rocket that was launched, and that's something that's been consistent with what we have seen over the past several months really going back into May 4th of last year, when North Korea has started to resume their short range missile launches and they were doing multiple ones at that.
And the Trump administration had been asked about this over the course of the past several months, and they had simply brushed this off and saying, these are short range missiles. These aren't the long range ones, these aren't the ICBMs, and they aren't nuclear.
And so, they seem to allow them to continue for the time being. And it seems to be that North Korea is doing just that.
Now, part of the concern from at least one top military commander who I have been speaking with about this over the past several weeks, is that the North Koreans are growing increasingly uneasy with the fact that the Trump administration is coming to an election and that the Moon administration in South Korea is likewise coming to an end of its term.
And so North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-un, trying to decide how exactly they'll be able to proceed with future administrations -- Amara.
WALKER: All right, David Culver, appreciate your reporting live for us there in Beijing. Many thanks.
Another story into CNN this hour, Senator Ted Cruz now in self- isolation after coming into contact with an individual who tested positive for coronavirus. We will have the details for you when we come back.
WALKER: President Trump says his administration has a fine tuned plan to fight coronavirus. This, as the outbreak continues to spread, disrupting businesses, rocking economies and worrying people about what's to come next.
But there are other national security concerns the President should also be keeping a close eye on, so that brings us to your Weekend Presidential Brief with CNN national security analyst, Sam Vinograd.
We just learned -- hi there, Sam -- that North Korea launched three unidentified projectiles. So where does North Korea -- the threat from North Korea stand? Also how does the upcoming presidential race, I guess, calculate into Kim Jong-un's thoughts?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, these launches shouldn't come as a surprise to no one. Remember, Kim Jong-un told us that he was stepping back from diplomacy at the end of last year and North Korea has no reason not to conduct these launches.
President Trump himself has said that the short range launches don't bother him despite the fact that we have over 20,000 troops in South Korea, in addition to about 130,000 American citizens.
The United States and South Korea have scaled back our joint military exercises, yet Kim is continuing to test his missiles which improves his capabilities.
And ahead of April elections in South Korea and during the presidential campaign, Kim is sending a very clear message here. He is signaling that President Trump's outreach to North Korea has been a failure and that whomever occupies the White House after November 2020 is going to be dealing with a more heavily nuclearized North Korea.
WALKER: And speaking of nuclear weapons, Sam, so what's the latest on the nuclear front in Iran? According to the IAEA, it looks like Iran is now closer than ever, during the Trump administration to be able to build a nuclear weapon.
VINOGRAD: That's right, Iran is much closer to a nuclear weapon when President Trump came into office. After Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran started abrogating its own commitments under the deal, including limits on its nuclear fuel, its enriched uranium. Since November alone, Iran has reportedly tripled its stockpile of
enriched uranium, and it is refusing to allow inspectors access to potential nuclear related sites.
Analysis now indicates that Iran may have enough nuclear fuel for a single weapon, and that their breakout time to a weapon may just be a few months, it used to be about a year.
Unless a diplomatic solution is engineered soon, our new normal may be a nuclear Iran. This is a ticking time bomb -- Amara.
WALKER: Yes. And you know, while Iran is, you know, focused on its nuclear program, it is also focused and continues to be involved in the war in Syria. How do you see the ceasefire between Russia and Syria?
VINOGRAD: Well, despots are determining the fate of millions of innocent Syrians right now. Russia and Turkey did sign a ceasefire, it will likely be short lived, but at least in the short term, there's a hope that it will allow humanitarian assistance into Syria, and that assistance is so sorely needed.
WALKER: Yes, and I mean, we pulled most of our troops out of Syria. And after signing a deal with the Taliban, we are on the hook to withdraw with thousands of troops from Afghanistan over the next 18 months. What do we know about this deal? Is it on shaky ground?
VINOGRAD: Well, what we know publicly is that the deal is already on shaky ground, and we're really relying on the administration to monitor compliance. The problem with that, of course, is the administration doesn't have a great track record in terms of being honest about how deals are doing. Just look at North Korea, for example.
At the same time, a lot of the details about this deal are contained in classified annexes, which the American public can't see. So we're being told to take Trump's word for it when it comes to the Taliban.
Even if we just look at what we know publicly; however, there are already problems. The Afghan government was supposed to meet with the Taliban on March 10th, this week. Ahead of that meeting, there was supposed to be a prisoner exchange, but the Afghan President is saying that exchange is no longer on the table. So it looks like that critical first step may not be taken.
And while there is an overall reduction in violence over the last week, we don't really have a great confidence in the fact that the administration will tell us if the Taliban is complying and President Trump may choose to withdraw troops anyway because he's really made that a critical part of his campaign in 2020.
WALKER: Sam Vinograd, always appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much. Good to see you.
WALKER: All right, this just in to CNN, Texas Senator Ted Cruz will now self-quarantine after coming into contact with the individual who tested positive for coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC.
Let's go now straight to CNN's Kristen Holmes with more. So what more do we know about this case? And this is the conference where President Trump and the Vice President attended as well, right?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Amara. So let's start with what we know and then go to why this is so important. Remember, this is the first lawmaker that we know has come into contact with the virus and of course, the first lawmaker we knew who came into contact with that attendee who was found positive after attending the CPAC Conference.
So what we learned today, Senator Cruz putting out a statement that said that he had shaken hands, had a quick interaction with this attendee. He was told by people at CPAC and that he has consulted numerous health officials who told him that given the length of the interaction, that was a short interaction, that it has been 10 days since that likely he is in the clear.
However, he issued a statement part of it reading this, it says, "Out of an abundance of caution and because of how frequently I interact with my constituents as a part of my job, and to give everyone peace of mind, I have decided to remain at my home in Texas this week, until a full 14-days have passed since the CPAC interaction."
This is a big deal. Here is why. We've been talking about this all day long. We were wondering who else this person had had interactions with. These are people who have interactions with the President.
We don't know who Senator Cruz has interacted with since that conference. He's been up on the Hill. He's worked with other senators.
And we know that just last week, there was a briefing for the big four the leaders, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate on what security would look like. It was a classified briefing but this is exactly what we've been looking at trying to figure out what this looks like if it does come to Washington and hits these lawmakers and potentially even the White House at some point.
WALKER: That's got to be concerning. Kristen Holmes, appreciate you joining us. Thank you for that update. We will take a quick break. Back after this.
WALKER: Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan are back in the U.K. and making official appearances. They're together for the first time since they announced they will step back from their senior Royal duties later this month, less than two years since their wedding that captivated millions of people.
A new CNN original series takes you behind the Palace walls for an in depth look at the world's most famous monarchy. This week's episode of "The Windsors: Inside The Royal Dynasty" looks back at the pressure on Harry's father, Prince Charles to marry Diana and Charles's difficult choice between following his heart or following the crown.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, BIOGRAPHER: As Diana walks down the aisle with her father, she sees Camilla.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made. The Prince and Princess on their wedding day.
SMITH: There she is on this magical day. And the one thing that she is focusing on is the image of Camilla.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charles Philip Arthur George wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife?
PRINCE CHARLES: I will.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diana Frances, wilt though have this man to be thy wedded husband?
PRINCESS DIANA: 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)
WALKER: CNN Royal commentator, Victoria Arbiter is with us now. Welcome to you, Victoria. We know that the press and the public became obsessed with Diana from the moment she met Prince Charles and, sadly, so much of her life and her death came to be shaped by her relationship with the media and the public.
So what was Diana's relationship with the media like in the early years?
VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: I think Diana really had a very conflicted relationship with the media. Early on, she was just catapulted before the British public on the front pages of every single newspaper.
This was a lady that had grown up in the countryside that had lived with flat-mates and had had never had any sense of fame or interest in her life. And suddenly she was the number one person across the U.K. and across the world. Now of course, she carried on throughout her life within the Royal
Family. She came to understand the media and how it operated. In some circumstances, she used them very much her advantage, but she learned quite quickly that once you've let the media in, it's very difficult to shut them out.
So it was at times where she used the media to her advantage, certainly, when she wore her -- what was later billed as the revenge dress -- when she stepped out after Charles had admitted to his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
But she also struggled very much with the consistent intrusion into her life.
WALKER: I bet she did. And you know, as we follow Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's departure from the Royal Family, are you seeing any parallels to be drawn between Princess Diana and Meghan's experiences when it comes to marrying into the Windsor family?
ARBITER: There's no question there has been an insatiable appetite for all news relating to Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, but it was handled in a very different fashion.
So when we look back to Diana's day, she was absolutely hounded by the media. She couldn't go to the gym, for lunch with a friend.
ARBITER: She couldn't go on holiday without hordes of media following her. At the gates of Kensington Palace, there were always a pack of photographers waiting to follow her everywhere she went.
Now, laws that were put in place following Diana's death meant that Royals cannot any longer be hounded in quite the same way. But what Meghan has had to deal with is that insatiable appetite met on online media.
She has had to deal with social media, which can be incredibly vicious. Clickbait is a thing that Diana never had to deal with.
So certainly, there are parallels in terms of the interest that was shown to both ladies and indeed how both of them have handled it. I think Meghan, coming from a professional background has been able to cope a little better, and even she has struggled in the spotlight.
WALKER: Yes. Understandably, Victoria Arbiter. We appreciate you joining us. Thank you.
ARBITER: Thank you.
WALKER: A brand new episode of -- it airs tonight at 10:0 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back.