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Coronavirus Spread Now being Called Pandemic; U.S. Stock Futures Plummet ahead of Opening Bell; Tensions Reported between Trump Administration and National Health Officials over Coronavirus Spread. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired March 9, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just don't know who is going to die next.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
BERMAN: Good morning, and welcome to your New Day. It is Monday, March 9th, it's 8:00 in the east. And the breaking news, the coronavirus outbreak, it is now a pandemic. It is spreading across countries and continents from person to person, with a range and rate that clearly meets the definition, so CNN is now using that term. Moments ago on NEW DAY, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the White House coronavirus task force explained there are parts of the United States that have moved beyond just containment to now mitigation.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're getting, particularly areas like Seattle, we're getting to doing mitigation. Mitigation means we're here. We have infection. Let's try to make the best of it by separating people. I don't think you ever abandon containment completely, but sometimes you have to transition from containment to mitigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: We're here and now we have to deal with it.
We also have breaking economic news this morning. Huge sell-offs around the world overnight, some of the biggest we have seen yet. The oil markets just collapsed, Dow futures plummeted so far earlier this morning, as did the S&P, that a circuit breaker was triggered, freezing the market to prevent futures from falling any further. All of this points to a sharp drop, again, perhaps one of the biggest we've seen, when the market opens in just about 90 minutes.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Having to freeze the trading, that is quite a sign. We'll check in with Christine.
The death toll in the U.S. is now at 22 people from the coronavirus. Here are the latest numbers -- 565 cases across 34 states and Washington, D.C. Worldwide, coronavirus has killed more than 3,800 people and infected more than 108,000. The Grand Princess cruise ship is expected to dock today in Oakland, California, after being stuck off the coast of northern California for a little less than a week. Twenty-one people on board have tested positive for coronavirus, that's 19 crew members, and two passengers. All of the roughly 3,500 people on board will be quarantined back here in the U.S. for two weeks.
CNN has also learned the top doctor on Capitol Hill is warning members of Congress who may have been exposed to coronavirus at the CPAC conference last week. Two Republican lawmakers, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Paul Gosar say they will self-quarantine as a precaution. So let's begin with Christine Romans. She is live for us at the New York Stock Exchange where U.S. stock futures are halted, Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, at one point overnight stock futures were halted because they moved so far so fast, so these circuit breakers go into play. It will really matter if that tone heads into the opening bell, 9:30 eastern time is when markets officially open, and whether those circuit breakers are triggered. Those are big moves on your screen, and they come after two weeks of turbulence in global financial markets. European shares also opening down very strongly, six and seven percent declines there after a very ugly night for Asian markets. Some of those European markets are now nearing what we call a bear market, down 20 percent from the all-time highs, really deep trouble there.
Two other markets that are troubling here, oil prices have crashed, crashed, down 20 percent, 30 percent overnight, something we haven't seen since 1991. A big feud between Saudi Arabia and Russia over control of the oil market, price control in the oil market, that is something that will lead gasoline prices lower this summer. Good news for American drivers. It could be devastating for American frackers, the shale oil industry. Some of these companies could see bankruptcies and lots and lots of layoffs in places like Texas and Oklahoma. So that oil story a very big story.
The other important leg of this story to talk about is the bond market. What we are seeing there I have never seen before. The ten- year treasury yield, it is a short-term instrument that all kinds of consumer products and bank lending is pegged to, down to 0.5 percent. The flashing danger signal there is that something deeply troubling is happening in the global economy.
Overnight we heard from the New York Fed that they will be increasing repos. Not to get too wonky, but they're going to injecting extra liquidity into the system. You've got all these companies, who their supply chains to China have broken, they can't pay their bills, they're drawing down on their corporate lines of credit, and that's putting strain into the global banking system. All of this incredibly dangerous moment, the most dangerous moment I've seen since the great recession in 2009. BERMAN: And Romans, just to put a point on this -- we have a collapse
in oil prices. You have genuine concerns about credit, and also you are hearing from investors, from people there who are concerned about the words that the president uses. I know that the president's news conference, or his event at the CDC Friday is still having repercussions this morning.
ROMANS: Absolutely. And I think there are two big moments the president has undermined some confidence here. One is that news conference at the CDC on Friday where he said that his uncle was a super genius and he was a natural. The president by derivative, I guess, was a natural for infectious disease planning. That unnerved some people. And also he gave an interview on FOX recently where he really underplayed the whole corona crisis all together, almost having a mission accomplished moment that some say now looks like a hurricane Katrina moment. The president is not able to sort of insult the coronavirus into submission. There has to be strong, consistent messaging and planning from the White House, and investors are still unnerved until they see that.
CAMEROTA: Christine, thank you very much. Please keep us posted as to all the developments this morning.
Also developing overnight, we have new details about what appears to be a growing rift between the White House and the national health agencies that are overseeing this coronavirus pandemic. CNN's Kristen Holmes is live near President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where he spent the weekend. What's the tension here, Kristen?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. If you've been following the Trump response to coronavirus at all, this boiling point between the White House and the health community as a whole has really seemed inevitable. We've seen these public health officials going out there, trying to get the realities of this virus across to the American people, only to be contradicted by the administration, by Trump's allies, and by the president himself.
Look, we woke up this morning, we're calling this a pandemic. On Friday, we heard two administration officials saying that the virus was pretty shall contained. So clearly here, mixed messaging. But now there is another layer, which is that privately White House officials are questioning decisions that were made by these health agencies early on when coronavirus first started spreading here in the U.S., particularly surrounding the CDC and that development of adequate testing.
President Trump has continued to say that he's very happy with his team's response, but White House aides don't believe that is long- lived. They think that as soon as the cases continue to increase, which we know from health officials that they will, that the president might change his tone.
But I want to note one other part of all this, which is a chilling conversation that is now happening outside of the White House, some Republicans discussing whether or not this botched response, the initial botched response to coronavirus, might have been political. I want to read to you what one Republican official who has been involved in this response told CNN. They said "The message is with this administration, 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."
And this is a very disturbing development, particularly as we see these cases here in the U.S. continue to rise, and we are talking to dozens, if not hundreds of people who are still very confused as to what's going on, where they can get tested, if they can get tested, and what this is going to look like in the future.
BERMAN: All right, Kristen, Kristen Holmes, please keep us posted from Mar-a-Lago. Thank you so much for being with us.
I want to bring in CNN senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And Sanjay, let me just say, we lean on you so much for information and for the truth about what's going on here. I know America does as well. So people are waking up to the news that we are now calling this a pandemic. Why has CNN made that decision?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that there are three criteria that public health officials have been telling us sort of on the record and off the record over the past few weeks that would sort of qualify this as a pandemic. You can see them there on the screen -- a virus that can cause illness or death, obviously we've known about this since mid-December. It hasn't been that long but clearly this is a new virus doing that. Sustained person-to-person transmission -- what that means, we have evidence of person-to-person transmission, but when it becomes sustained, it means one generation, one person spreads it to two or three people, they then spread is it to two or three people each, and so forth. When that happens, four or five generations typically means sustained transmission.
And now, John, this evidence of spread around the world. Obviously, this started in China. Last week we reported that for the first time there were many more new cases outside of China as compared to in China. And we've seen what has happened now in Europe and what seems to be happening here in the United States. So it seems to meet the definition. And it's not just semantics. There's different levels of preparedness that come when something is called a pandemic versus not.
CAMEROTA: I asked Dr. Anthony Fauci about that, as you know, Sanjay, and he wasn't willing to go there. It would be complicated, obviously, for him as a member of the president's task force to have to answer questions about all of that and explain everything that you just explained all day, and I understand it.
But I did ask him to give us some context in that case. How does he characterize what we're living through? So here is his answer to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Whenever you have unknown, which is where we are right now, we're gathering information. We're learning a lot, but there's still a lot that's unknown about where this is going. You always almost have a fog of war about it. It's not that different than the very early years of the HIV epidemic, of the anthrax attacks, of the concern about the pre-pandemic bird flu.
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CAMEROTA: I appreciated his candor, Sanjay, but it definitely got people's tension, comparing it to the early years of HIV and how little we knew.
GUPTA: Yes. Look, no one's better to try to add some clarity and give some context for this than Dr. Anthony Fauci, although trying to add clarity in the fog of war in a murky situation is challenging for everyone. And there's a lot that we still don't know, but I think there are some things that we do know, Alisyn, and those are some of the things we should focus on.
I think in place after place, study after study, we've been able to identify who is most vulnerable to this coronavirus, the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions. People have heard this so many times now, maybe it glosses over them. But because we know who the vulnerable people are and we know how many people are likely to be affected by this in the United States, calling this a pandemic, recognizing that it is spreading means that we should prepare in terms of hospital beds, in terms of ICU beds, in terms of breathing machines. I know I'm going to start sounding like a broken record as well, but these are real things, really tangible things that we can do.
Can you imagine the situation if the hospitals and nurses and doctors have to make decisions about not enough resources, not enough breathing machines when two people need it and there's only one? We can address those things now.
BERMAN: And we heard Dr. Fauci talk about mitigation, which means it's here, we have to deal with it. And talk to me what that means in terms of these vulnerable populations that you were just talking about, because Dr. Fauci very specifically said it's time for social distancing in some places.
GUPTA: No doubt. So containment really is this idea that it's just what it sounds like, you're going to try and contain this in a specific area. Think of that more like quarantining and isolation, things like that. Social distancing is like, OK, it's out in the community, so now in order to break the path of transmission, the cycle of transmission, we've got to separate people and allow the virus to not continue to be able to spread and therefore sort of fade away. That's the sort of goal of social distancing.
But again, it comes with this presumption and this acknowledgment that the virus is here and spreading and there will be people who get sick. So that's the change in dialogue that we're talking about this morning.
CAMEROTA: OK, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much for explaining all these developments for us.
GUPTA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Another major concern, how to stop the spread of coronavirus on airplanes. We also have new CNN reporting on this clash between the Trump administration and the airlines. What are they each saying?
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, sources tell CNN that the U.S. airline industry and the Trump administration are clashing over how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
One point of contention, a White House demand that airlines collect new kinds of data from passengers to help officials track potential coronavirus carriers.
CNN's Kylie Atwood, live in Washington with much more on this. Kylie, what are you learning?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, so an epic battle is how one source described what has evolved between the Trump administration and the airline agencies at this moment in time.
So how did we get here? Well, as the coronavirus has spread, there have been a number of phone calls between these airlines and the agencies of the U.S. government that are running point on how the Trump administration is responding to this outbreak.
And one of the demands that the administration has made is that these airlines collect more information about the passengers coming into the U.S. so that they would be able to track folks who potentially have this virus.
Now the airlines are saying, however, that there is a fundamental misunderstanding on behalf of the administration about what is doable here and what is digitally doable for them in the amount of time that the Trump administration is giving them to collect all of this new information.
But the Trump administration believes that airlines are being unreasonable, and in one phone call, the airlines were even accused of lying by an official from the C.D.C., saying that they can actually collect this information and that they do not believe that they are incapable of doing it.
Now the C.D.C. has given us a statement on our reporting, and I want to read that to you this morning saying, "There were several calls between the airlines and the U.S. government about this new data collection process, which was initiated in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. We understand that any new process can be challenging to implement quickly, which is why the rule is currently open for public comment."
"Airlines have been encouraged to provide feedback through that public comment process."
So There is a rule being proposed and discussed right now. And as part of that rule, there are fees that these airlines are going to have to pay of up to $500,000.00 if they don't comply with these new guidelines, and there have been threats of those fees as part of these phone call discussions. Back to you.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Kylie, thank you very much for breaking this news and sharing your reporting with us here on NEW DAY.
Joining us now is Sara Nelson. She's the International President of the Association of Flight Attendants. Sara, it's great to have you here. Let's just start with Kylie Atwood's reporting there about the tension that sounds bad and sounds as though the flying public is not getting perhaps the best information because of whatever conflict the airlines are having with the White House. Are you sensing that tension as well?
SARA NELSON, INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: Well, I think what's fundamentally the problem here is that this government is addressing this communicable disease in a way that we've never seen before.
So they are not approaching this by marshalling all the resources of Americans to try to address this, bringing together all the stakeholders, industry unions, workers on the frontline -- none of that is happening.
NELSON: And the resources to the C.D.C. and the communicable disease response process with this government has been dismantled, so the resources have not been there.
But if we were actually having a normal dialogue between industry and other stakeholders and the government and the government, we're convening that and bringing the healthcare community together with the experts who are on the front lines about what is operationally possible, we could be looking for solutions.
We could actually be addressing these issues and looking for solutions that work rather than having warfare in the media and increasing the public concern over -- is anyone in charge here? Is anyone taking any deliberate steps to contain this virus?
This is where we are, and so there may be an issue here and there may be an ability for the airlines to help. But going at it in this way is just really wrong and it's what we're seeing across the board.
We're also seeing responses, instead of admitting that there is not enough resources for the healthcare community to respond with personal protective equipment, what the Trump administration has done instead is change the guidelines for people on the front lines for healthcare providers.
And nurses across the country just two days ago said this is wrong. You're not giving us the proper equipment to be able to address this.
We really have to protect the people on the front lines, and understand that we all have to be in this together. You can't save yourself with this virus. We've got to be working together and save everyone.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, in terms of not getting the proper protective gear, I know that you're worried about your colleagues, flight attendants and everybody on board.
Here is this news just crossing right now, Reuters is reporting that a Japan Airlines flight attendant has tested positive for coronavirus. This is according to the airline. So what are you calling on the White House to do to help protect you in the flying public?
NELSON: As the flight attendants are on the frontlines of the coronavirus or any communicable disease, and we have a whole list of operational items that need to be done, one of those things on the top of the list is to get exemptions so the airlines can actually install bulk distribution of hand sanitizer, 60 percent alcohol or greater near the lavatories or galley areas and throughout the airports because that will help -- that will do a tremendous amount to stop the spread.
We've also asked the airlines to make sure that we can wear personal protective equipment, whether that's gloves or masks or other items, have the ability to wipe down hard surfaces during the flight.
The list is extensive and it's on our website, but we also need to understand that across the board, we need to be making sure that people can stay home if they're sick, with paid sick leave and pay protection so that they're not making financial decisions that may hurt the larger community because they're coming to work sick.
So these are a lot of the things that we are proposing.
CAMEROTA: And obviously, cancellation fees being waived by airlines which are helpful so that people don't have to feel that kind of pressure if they're sick or whatever.
Sara, I'm sorry. We're out of time. Thank you very much for all the latest information from the airline perspective.
NELSON: Thank you and check "Flying with Sara," we've got some tips for travelers there. Appreciate this time.
CAMEROTA: "Flying with Sara" got it. Thank you very much.
BERMAN: I think a lot of travelers are already taking those tips. I was in a flight just Friday and Saturday morning. Everyone is wiping down their seat. People walk on board now with wipes and everyone I saw wiping down
their seats and their arm rest before they sat down.
CAMEROTA: That's what is needed right now.
BERMAN: The guy next to me was wearing a face mask. That was a little disconcerting. All right --
CAMEROTA: When he saw you.
CAMEROTA: He put that right on.
BERMAN: All right, more than 350 crucial delegates up for grabs as six states vote tomorrow, a brand new poll and the state of the race, next.
CAMEROTA: Democratic primary voters head to the polls tomorrow. There are 352 delegates at stake in six states. The biggest prize is Michigan. CNN's Arlette Saenz is live in Grand Rapids, Michigan with more. What's the situation there at this hour -- Arlette.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, that big contest here in Michigan will take place tomorrow, and there has been a lot of discussion during this Democratic Primary about the different lanes that candidates occupy, whether it be moderate or progressive.
Bernie Sanders arguing that he is the true real progressive in this race, but Joe Biden has tried to make the case that he is progressive, too.
SAENZ (voice over): Joe Biden making his pitch to voters about the kind of Democrat he would be as President.
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JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you want a nominee who's a Democrat, a lifelong Democrat, a proud Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat, join us.
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SAENZ (voice over): But Biden's agenda in many ways tracks further left than past Democratic nominees and party platforms, even if it doesn't go as far as progressive standard bearer, Bernie Sanders.
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BIDEN: My entire career, I was viewed as a liberal-liberal. We have moved in a direction that in fact the progressive, now progressive means Bernie.
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SAENZ (voice over): On healthcare, Biden goes beyond Obamacare calling for a public option. His climate plan embraces elements of the Green New Deal.
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BIDEN: There's nothing moderate about making sure everyone has healthcare. They can afford it. There's nothing moderate about getting to net zero emissions.
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SAENZ (voice over): When it comes to immigration, Biden has said if elected, he'll put in place a hundred-day moratorium on deportations.
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BIDEN: Nobody is going to be deported in my first hundred days until we get through the point that we find out the only rationale for deportation will be whether or not -- whether or not -- you've committed a felony while in the country.
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SAENZ (voice over): As Vice President, Biden was heralded by the LGBTQ community for his support for same sex marriage before President Obama.
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BIDEN: I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that --