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CNN NEWSROOM

A Physician Cites Some Members of Congress Had Contact with a CPAC Attendee Who Had Contracted the Coronavirus; Tensions Grow Between White House and Health Officials Over Coronavirus; Dow Set to Tumble at Open on Coronavirus Fears; Global Markets Plunge Amid Coronavirus Fears, Oil Price Drop; Cruise Ship to Dock in Oakland with 21 Coronavirus cases; U.S. Death Toll Rises to 22, 565 Cases Across 34 States; 16 Million on Lockdown in Northern Italy Over Coronavirus. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 9, 2020 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:19]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow.

This morning a pandemic. CNN is now using that term to describe the coronavirus outbreak based on growing numbers here in the U.S. and of course around the world. Also today after waiting off the California coast for several days the Grand Princess cruise ship will now dock in Oakland, California. Nearly two dozen people on board have tested positive for coronavirus.

SCIUTTO: And their story really just beginning. All passengers will be sent to military bases for a 14-day quarantine. The State Department is now warning Americans against traveling by any cruise and we're watching the turmoil on Wall Street this morning. Coronavirus fears and an oil price crash set to send U.S. markets tumbling again. There is real data behind the fall, concerns how the spread will shrink economic growth around the world.

HARLOW: Absolutely. We're covering all angles of the pandemic. But let's begin this hour on Wall Street markets about to open. Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans kicks us off.

What are we in store for?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: We're in for a big sell-off here, the biggest test to the bull market since 2008. This is the 11th anniversary of the bull market and you've got futures around the world tumbling. In fact, at different points, they've been frozen because they've fallen so far, they've automatically stopped trading to make it not be a freefall.

You could see that Asian shares down sharply and then when Europe opened, Europe opened down very badly, 6 percent to 7 percent. You guys, some of those European markets are on the verge of what we call a bear market down 20 percent from their peak. It's going to be a really rough morning here, and you can see crude prices another part of the story, a big decline in crude oil prices up to 30 percent sometimes at night.

This is a crash we call it in the oil market, a big fight between Saudi Arabia and Russia over market share, frankly.

HARLOW: Yes. The last thing the country needs on top of all this, you think about oil-rich states like Texas.

ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: The impact you're going to have there.

ROMANS: We're going to see bankruptcies.

HARLOW: Yes.

ROMANS: It's going to be tough for the shale producers.

HARLOW: Yes. True.

SCIUTTO: And a lot of jobs dependent on that.

ROMANS: Yes. You could see lower gas prices in the summer. That's the upshot but we're talking about bankruptcies potentially and job losses in this sector.

HARLOW: Wow. Romans, thank you very, very much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: Let's go now to Oakland, California, a cruise ship held off the California coast will finally dock today. Our Dan Simon is there.

Good morning, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Poppy, Jim. The good news is these passengers finally get some clarity. They'll be getting off the ship. The bad news is they've got to spend 14 days in quarantine.

What we know is that at some point today, this Grand Princess cruise ship will make its way to the port of Oakland, where health crews will help the 2400 passengers get off this ship, and for these passengers, you can imagine how -- what a horrible ordeal this has been. They've been isolated in their state rooms the last several days, haven't really been able to get fresh air. But they will be getting off.

The way this is going to work, the most -- the passengers who are the most acutely ill, they will go to area hospitals and then from there the passengers from California will get off the ship first. We're talking about 40 percent of the ship that is from California, and the crew, and we've been saying that, 19 of them have tested positive for the coronavirus. They are going to quarantine at sea.

Poppy and Jim, we'll send it back to you. SCIUTTO: They're going to face a lot. Their families are going to face

a lot from this.

Dan Simon thanks very much.

Let's get the latest from that nursing home where 16 people have now died from coronavirus. CNN's Sara Sidner in Kirkland, Washington.

And this is something of a test case but particular circumstances here, of course, because the age and the health conditions of those people involved.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are exactly in that bracket of people who are the most vulnerable. They are ill, they are elderly and have underlying conditions and that created really a firestorm here. We're talking about now we're hearing of another death in this state, not at this facility, which brings a number of deaths in Washington state to 19.

Overall in the United States so far, there are 22 deaths, so you can see the huge numbers are here in this state and that has a lot to do with this facility here, where 16 people connected to this facility have died due to the novel coronavirus.

We can also tell you a little bit about what we're hearing from a first responder who contacted Jake Tapper and had a conversation about what happened when they came into the facility last week. They said they came in, there were about three staffers here trying to care for about 90 patients. That is far too few staffers, far too many patients. All of them in that vulnerable condition. And we are now hearing that about 70 of the people who worked here also have some symptoms of coronavirus. 55 patients now left here out of 120.

[09:05:02]

This has been a very difficult, as you might imagine, and sad situation for the families, having to deal with all of this.

HARLOW: Of course it has.

Sara, thank you for that reporting.

Let's talk about all that has developed, especially over the weekend. Justin Lessler is with us, associate professor at Johns Hopkins. He studied the disease with the team in China.

We really appreciate you being here, Professor. Let's talk about your work there, because you studied a group of COVID-19 cases in Shenzhen, China. Your team found that most people who decided had been sick for longer than 30 days. What does that tell you? What should that inform all of us about where we stand this morning?

JUSTIN LESSLER, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, JOHNS HOPKINS: Well, I think it's an important caution about how the burden will be on the health care system as this progresses. You know, it was only three people in our particular study, but a lot of people elsewhere in China have died and they lingered on for similar amounts of time, and if we have those people in the hospital, not to mention all the people who hopefully recover in the hospital, it's a huge burden on the health care system.

SCIUTTO: Do you have the basic machines, et cetera, breathing machines here to take care of them? I want to ask about the 80 percent of cases that have been described as mild, because this is something folks at home, we keep hearing that, listen, for the vast majority of the people, it will be very mild expression of the disease, symptoms, et cetera, but looking at the Chinese data, some of those 80 percent or perhaps many of them did actually face more than what you would face, you know, with a common cold, et cetera, even cases of pneumonia.

What did that data teach us?

LESSLER: Yes, so I think it's important to remember that 80 percent who is mild isn't even the sum total of the people who don't have severe disease. Some people are going to be asymptomatic and never get sick at all, particularly young children, but yes, it is a severe disease. I don't think people should be thinking of this as just the common cold, and because it's a -- you know, because it's a severe disease, you're going to see people even in the, quote, "mild" category, with fever and with potentially developing pneumonia.

HARLOW: Right.

LESSLER: It's also important to remember those categorization often come from very early in people's clinical course and as they progress, they may worsen.

HARLOW: This is just a stunning statistic in our piece by Sanjay Gupta this morning on CNN.com, and I wonder what your take is on it. Because this is based on estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services. They estimate that even with a moderate outbreak, Professor, 200,000 people in the United States will need intensive care. The next sentence is, the United States has less than 100,000 ICU beds. Half as many as it's estimated is needed.

LESSLER: Yes, and I think that is really frightening statistic, and it gets to really where the danger from this outbreak lies. There might not be a huge amount of personal risk to any one of us particularly those of us who are younger, but there is a huge risk for the health care system, and a huge burden, and that's why mitigation is critical by doing little things like avoiding mass gatherings, not shaking hands, and stuff like that, we can help spread out this outbreak, so those 200,000 people aren't hitting those 100,000 ICU beds all at once.

HARLOW: That's a good point.

LESSLER: And having it spread out maybe a year or two.

SCIUTTO: That's a great point because it gets to why people, all right, it's recommended to stay away, you know, to slow down in effect the rate of infection. I want to get to the numbers just for a moment here because we have as

you could see on our screen, 565 cases so far confirmed in the U.S., but you speak to, for instance, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and others. They will say really, we haven't even begun to test large portions of the population, that the fact is very likely that that number is much higher.

Do you have any sense, can you characterize that for people watching now, how high that real number actually is today?

LESSLER: Yes. Unfortunately I don't know, and that's one of the big problems here, is we're essentially flying blind because the testing came online so late in the United States. So you know, we're not able to tell if this is actually seeing a growing outbreak or we're just seeing the effect of more and more testing coming online.

HARLOW: It's unfortunate that we didn't have more tests sooner, and this is where we are.

We appreciate it very much, Professor Lessler, thank you.

LESSLER: Thank you. Have a great day.

HARLOW: So right now, in northern Italy, millions of people under lockdown. We're talking about major Italian cities, as coronavirus deaths skyrocketed in Italy.

SCIUTTO: It gives you a sample of how some countries are responding to this. We saw this in China, and now we're seeing this in northern Italy.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Let's go to Italy now. CNN's Ben Wedeman, who joins us from Bologna there in the north as well. They're telling people in effect not to travel. Are people listening?

[09:10:03]

I mean, even specially not to travel. Are people listening?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's not all together clear because the restrictions. they're actually calling these new areas covered by this new decree, the orange zone. It's not the same as the red zone. People can actually go in and out. They just need to give the authorities at the checkpoints a decent explanation. So it's a little looser than that, but nonetheless, the numbers are disturbing.

The numbers of recorded coronavirus cases has tripled in Italy since last Wednesday to more than 7,300, and there's another disturbing development today, in 27 prisons around the country, there have been riots after the authorities decided to limit the number of family visits.

During these riots, six prisoners were killed, two of them from drug overdoses after they broke into one of the pharmacies in a prison in Puglia in the south, 20 of the prisoners have escaped, and this of course at a time when the authorities are trying to focus the security forces, the police, the army, on trying to contain the movement or rather restrict the movement of people, so this situation is getting ever more complicated by the day -- Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: Ben Wedeman, we appreciate your reporting from Bologna. Thank you.

We have a lot ahead obviously. Still to come we're learning this morning several members of Congress, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, have self-quarantined after coming in contact with an individual infected with coronavirus.

Also new details on a growing rift it seems between the White House and the nation's top health agencies overseeing this pandemic.

SCIUTTO: Also a new CNN poll out this morning shows Joe Biden now with a double-digit lead over Bernie Sanders, just one day before primaries in several key states.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:15:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CO-ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This morning, several members of Congress now are self-quarantining, this after coming into contact with a person who contracted the coronavirus at a conservative conference.

POPPY HARLOW, CO-ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Lauren Fox has the details. Lauren, who are we talking about?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Ted Cruz and Paul Gosar announced last night, Poppy, that they have elected to self-quarantine after they were told that they came into contact with an individual at CPAC who has since contracted coronavirus. Now, Ted Cruz says that this is ten days later, he still has not experienced any symptoms.

But he said in a statement, quote, "given that the interaction was ten days ago, that the average incubation period is five to six days, that the interaction was for less than a minute, and I have no current symptoms. The medical authorities have advised me that the odds of transmission from the other individual to me were extremely low."

Now, Gosar and his staff also saying they feel fine, but this was just an extra precaution. Now, the office of the attending physician up on Capitol Hill sent a note to lawmakers, saying that there were multiple members who came into contact with this individual at CPAC who had coronavirus. They said that multiple members have self-quarantined. They did not say how many members have self-quarantined, they did not say how many members came into contact with this individual.

But this really just overshadows Capitol Hill and the crisis that the rest of the country is really dealing with right now, how it could affect the U.S. government. Poppy and Jim? SCIUTTO: Are they setting any example as well for how Americans who

might --

HARLOW: Yes --

SCIUTTO: Be concerned as well, what they should do in response to this? Lauren Fox, thanks so much. Now to growing distrust, a rift it appears between health officials and the White House.

HARLOW: Kristen Holmes is near Mar-a-Lago where the president is this morning. What do we know?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy and Jim. Well, look, if you've been following the Trump administration's reaction to coronavirus at all, a boiling point between the White House and top health officials seemed inevitable. We've seen these health officials out there trying to paint a realistic view for Americans of what this virus was really going to look like, only to be contradicted by the administration, by Trump supporters and allies, as well as the president himself.

I mean, look, just on Friday, we heard two administration officials say that this virus was contained. We're waking up this morning and we're calling it a pandemic. There have been more than 200 cases since Friday. So there's one angle of all of this tension. Now there's another layer, and this is the White House officials are starting to have these private conversations about whether or not, these health agencies, HHS, the CDC made the right decisions at the beginning of all of this, particularly when it comes to the CDC and that adequate development of testing.

Outside of the White House, there's a more chilling conversation, though. Was this political? That's what some Republicans are wondering. And I want to read you a statement from one Republican official who has been involved in the coronavirus response, they say, "the message is if you are on the wrong side of this administration, you are gone. People are afraid, either there was a terrible incompetence or there was a heavy hand on the scale."

So pretty disturbing there, if there is any kind of element of politics or showing loyalty to President Trump that played into this response.

HARLOW: Oh --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

HARLOW: Let's hope not. Kristen Holmes, thank you for the reporting --

SCIUTTO: And remind -- that's coming from the GOP --

HARLOW: No, you're right, that's a good thing to point out. Coming up for us, a cruise ship with 21 cases of coronavirus is set to dock today at some point at the port in Oakland, California. Everyone on board will be quarantined at military bases across the country. What will that be like for them? We will ask someone who has firsthand knowledge.

SCIUTTO: No question for them and their families. Plus, we're just moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, and look at that, futures indicating a more than 1,000-point drop in the Dow. This as oil prices are crashing, Dow is set to tumble at the open, we're going to be live from the New York Stock Exchange.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:20:00]

HARLOW: Across the country, people are stocking up on supplies, and disinfectant wipes, just try to find hand sanitizer at the store, you'll see what I mean.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Fear of the coronavirus is leading to panic buying, empty shelves as a result. CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now. And Polo, not all of this is necessary, right? But we're seeing this happen in a lot of different communities.

[09:25:00]

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it's a really important point here, and we need to be clear. Of course, for the last several weeks we've heard experts, we've heard administration officials say that there are reasonable steps that families could and should take to prepare, especially social distancing is necessary. You have two weeks of food, should you have to stay home?

Do you have the medications that are necessary? But then toilet paper, stockpiling it, of course that's certainly something that we're seeing from coast-to-coast. When you hear from the experts say it's the unknown that's fueling these fears of possible supply shortages, possible disruptions to everyday life. But when you hear from authorities from health officials and of course administration officials, they'll tell you that the risk of contracting this still remains low, but certainly with that high demand comes that -- those higher prices that we are also seeing.

We've heard from attorneys general from states across the country that are warning some of these third party retailers that price gouging does come with some serious consequences, so there's that. But ultimately, if you went to a store over the weekend and you do get a sense that perhaps fears over the coronavirus could be spreading faster than the virus itself, because it all comes down to hand- washing when you hear from health officials --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

SANDOVAL: Jim and Poppy, doing that could potentially help you much more.

HARLOW: Of course, Polo, thank you, appreciate the reporting. Carl Goldman, first tested positive for coronavirus last month when he was on board the Diamond Princess, of course, the first cruise ship that was held off the coast of Japan. Since being evacuated, he has been kept in isolation at a biocontainment unit at the University of Nebraska Hospital, just waiting and hoping for a negative test results.

SCIUTTO: He joins us now from his hospital room, and first call, listen, our thoughts go out to you -- I mean, first of all, we hope you have a quick recovery, but also what you're going through, what your family is going through. You've been in quarantine now since February 4th. Tell us, I think folks at home would want to know what it's like to experience this virus and what the treatment they're giving you for it?

CARL GOLDMAN, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: Sure, Jim, thanks for having me on this morning. Yes, I'm in Omaha and you're correct, February 4th was the day that we started our quarantine aboard the Diamond Princess. I then flew back to the States on February 17th, so I've been quarantined now here in Omaha since February 17th. I tested positive for the virus on February 15th, but those results like behind my journey back here to the States, didn't get those until well after I was already in Omaha in a biocontainment unit where they confirmed my tests were positive.

So, I've been here for a while. The virus has been mild for me. I had a very high spike of fever, I went on the plane back to -- we were heading to Travis Air Force base from Tokyo, fell asleep, woke up two hours later -- when I fell asleep, I was fine. Woke up two hours later with 103-plus fever, so they put me in a quarantine unit on the plane.

Other than the high fever, which lasted about eight, nine hours, and then a cough, a dry cough that lingered for many weeks -- today is one of the first days I feel like that cough has finally left me. Other than that, there have been no symptoms. If I wasn't contagious, I would have been back at work the next day.

HARLOW: Right --

SCIUTTO: Wow.

HARLOW: So, your wife, Carl, was on the cruise with you, but as I understand it, did not contract the coronavirus, and has been allowed to go home. Is that right?

GOLDMAN: Yes, Poppy. In fact, we spent Valentine's Day quarantined together in our cabin on the Diamond Princess. When we came here to Omaha, we were separated, so we did separate quarantines. She had to do a 14 quarantine day -- 14-day quarantine here. She always was negative, so returned all with negative results.

SCIUTTO: So you now, you've in effect served two quarantines, one on the ship and you're in one now in Nebraska. What do doctors say to you about when you can go home?

HARLOW: Yes --

SCIUTTO: You're waiting for your first negative test, is that the idea?

GOLDMAN: That's it. I'm waiting for three negative tests in a row. And so far --

SCIUTTO: Wow --

GOLDMAN: Everything has been positive. Last night, I was positive again. Originally, Jim, there were 15 of us from the Diamond Princess who came here to Omaha. Of those, eight have left now, two never got the virus, including my wife, which is one of the mysteries, why would she not get it while the rest of us have it?

Thirteen of us have the virus and now we're down to seven of us still here in the quarantine unit, and I know that they don't quarantine here in Omaha. So, I don't know, I think all of us --

SCIUTTO: Yes --

GOLDMAN: Need to just be taking a little longer. I have a syndrome called guillain-barre, and the guillain-barre syndrome which is why they put me in the biocontainment unit to begin with. I'm 67 years old and they thought I might be compromised with the GBS, as they call it. That may be what's slowing me down. But there are six others here who came at the same time and they also are still testing positive.

END