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Trump Urges Calm, Answers Whether He'll Get Tested; Interview With Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) On An Economic Stimulus Package; Ohio Moves Polling Stations Amid Coronavirus Concerns; Most Of 27 Coronavirus Deaths Appear In Older Patients. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 10, 2020 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And please check out our latest podcast, this is from the good doctor, Dr, Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent. It's called "CORONAVIRUS, FACT VS. FICTION".

Coming up next, President Trump is urging everyone to just stay calm as the number of cases of coronavirus in the U.S. nears 800. What he said about whether he would personally get tested. And details on the deal he's trying to work out with Congress to stem the economic impact.

You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: Just into CNN, one of the Republican lawmakers under self- quarantine after interacting with an infected person at the CPAC Conference has announced that he has tested negative.

A moment ago Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz tweeted, quote, I have just been informed that my COVID-19 lab results was negative and in an abundance of caution I will remain under self-quarantine through at the advice of medical professionals through Thursday at 2:00 p.m. I continue to feel fine and show no symptoms.

And Congressman Gaetz apparently learned about his risk while traveling back to Washington on Air Force One after spending the weekend with the President at Mar-a-Lago.

This afternoon President Trump is saying that Americans should be calm and that this virus will, his words, go away. When asked about his own health after coming in contact with lawmakers we just mentioned, including his new chief of staff who are all self-quarantining. The President said this about himself getting tested.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think it is a big deal. I would do it. I don't feel that any reason. I feel extremely good. I feel very good. But I guess it's not a big deal to get tested and something I would do. But again, spoke to the White House doctor, terrific guy, talented guy. He said he sees no reason to do it. There are no symptoms, no anything. If there were, you people would be the first to know it. You would maybe even tell me about it.


BALDWIN: CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live at the White House. And I mean, the question came from our own correspondent, Manu Raju. It is a perfectly valid question. Whether or not he will get tested or not

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and so far, they've said obviously he's not and neither has the Vice President Mike Pence. Because essentially, they're operating on this guidance that they don't need to right now, Brooke.

The question is if that calculus changes, if one of these lawmakers who is self-quarantining -- obviously not the Congressman from Florida -- does end up testing positive, that could change things but right now they say it is not a concern.

But this comes as the President was on Capitol Hill for that lunch as they are saying that they are going to start moving forward, hopefully, with some economic options that they can help try to really blunt the impact so far that the coronavirus outbreak has had on the economy.

And just that in and of itself that the President was on Capitol Hill discussing this does show that there is something changing inside of the walls of the White House here. Because for weeks the President has been insisting, they did not need to do anything. They didn't need to inject any kind of stimulus into the economy because they said the U.S. economy could handle it because it was strong. But now clearly after seeing what has been happening in the stock markets, they feel like they need to

take some steps here.

The question is what are those steps going to be. Because the President floated a few yesterday, he said he was going to get back to us today on exactly what those steps are that his administration wants to see, But we're told it's actually far from certain and it doesn't appear that coming out of that lunch they really had any final agreements on anything. Because the President didn't offer any details there when he was leaving. He just said that there is unity in the Republican Party. He didn't you know lay out any specifics on what they had agreed to.

We know Republicans going into that were skeptical of some of the things he had floated like the payroll tax cut. So those are things that will still be determined as we are also still waiting to see when we're going see the President today.

Remember yesterday, he came into the briefing room, he made brief remarks, but he did not take our questions. He instead left the room and the Vice President took our questions. But the President said he would be holding a press conference today on this. That's when he's be laying from their point of view the economic standpoint that they need to take going forward.

So far, we have not learned exactly when that is going to be. Whether or not it is that 5:30 coronavirus briefing we've been getting from officials so far, and Brooke, we're still waiting to hear from the President on exactly what it is they want to do going forward here.

BALDWIN: Kaitlan, thank you. We'll be listening to see what they say. As we just mentioned, President Trump is looking at a few ways to potentially stimulate the economy from paid sick leave, a payroll tax cut, to deferring tax collection for the airline, cruise or hotel industries, and making small business loans more available. And when asked about one of the ideas, Democratic Congresswoman Donna Shalala who served as the Health and Human Services Secretary under President Clinton reacted this way.


REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): My own view is a payroll tax holiday is absolutely inadequate in terms of the things that we need to do. We need paid -- paid leave, sick leave. We need to upgrade insurance, particularly unemployment insurance. There are a number of things that we need to do. We need to fill in the gaps in the health care system. We shouldn't get away with a -- thinking that just a holiday on a payroll tax will make a difference for workers in this country.


BALDWIN: Let's start here. Joining me now, Democratic Congressman John Garamendi of California. So, Congressman, thank you sir, for being on with me.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Good to be with you.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Shalala went on to say that she would'nt sign off on just one stimulus measure, that the U.S. needs a comprehensive package.


Do you agree and if so, is there any one particular measure that you're most likely to support?

GARAMENDI: Well, first let's consider that $8.3 billion was approved by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, ultimately by the Senate and the President signed that just last Friday. That money is out there to help first responders develop the vaccines, develop the testing. All of that is in play. Also, assistance to hospitals and others that are going to have to provide services. So that is a significant amount of money that should flow immediately into the economy. That is stimulus and that should be helpful.

Congresswoman and Secretary Shalala is quite correct, a payroll tax holiday doesn't solve the problem. A lot of the people are definitely not even working today or working at a minimum wage. What they do need is paid sick leave. That's extremely important. And also, we need to make sure that the small businesses that are not

able to really afford a layoff at all and for the down side of this because it is the service economy, where most of the small businesses are, that are actually going to get whacked and they already are, so the small business thing is extremely important. We're not here to bailout Wall Street. The big corporations got a huge bailout in the 2017 tax cut. Right now they should be able to weather this storm.

Beyond that, we need to make sure that our military around the world is ready for this. We had hearings early this morning about CENTCOM meaning the Middle East and Africa. We know that Europe, all of the military around the world is hunkering down dealing with this, trying to make sure that they are prepared to protect this nation should it ever come to that and not let the virus, the coronavirus interfere.

BALDWIN: How about back home for you in California. I know your district includes Travis Air Force Base where the CDC says more than 900 people from that recently docked cruise ship, the Grand Princess, could potentially be quarantined. So 21 people out of 3,500 on board have tested positive for coronavirus. So, Congressman Garamendi, how do you ensure that every single one of the folks gets tested?

GARAMENDI: Well I'm unfortunately not able to ensure if I could, I would, but I could scream and yell and jump up and down and work with the supervisors in the county that are trying to prepare for what is a public health emergency. Also worked with the Governor's office, yes, there are going to be hundreds. We don't know the exact number at Travis Air Force Base. They have been on a ship in which we know there was coronavirus illnesses and infection.

So, we want to be absolutely certain that the federal government really tightens down all of the procedures so that there is a very low or hopefully no chance of infection getting into the community.

We do and we should expect that some of those people will display symptoms or be testing positive. Where will they go? That number will simply overwhelm the health facilities. In talking earlier today with Supervisor Hannigan, Erin Hannigan, they are a county, public health system, the hospitals and others are very, very concerned about what will ultimately come of the evacuees from the ship should they test positive or should they display symptoms, overwhelming the system. They're going to have to be spread out around other parts of the nation and not just overwhelm what is already going to be a very stressed system to begin with.

BALDWIN: Yes. And again, just keeping in mind, 21 testing positive for coronavirus out of just 45 who were tested out of 3,500 people who were on that cruise.

One more just for you personally, just given that several members of Congress are in self-quarantine, are you personally worried about just your own personal travel from home to Washington and do you think Congress should stay home for a minute?

GARAMENDI: I believe -- I'm responsible. I have a job to do. I represent not only the people in my district, but I also have a responsibility to this nation and beyond. And that means I'm going to appear for work. I'm going to go to work. Yes, I flew from Sacramento to Baltimore, Washington on a plane and I'll eventually this week fly back to California.

I'll do my best to protect myself as well as encourage my passengers on that plane to protect themselves. With regard to my staff in Washington, I've instructed them that public events are not necessary. We can do phone calls and should it become necessary, if any of them become -- showing any of the symptoms, get tested and don't come to the office. I think that is the order of the day for not only my office but others.

But personally, I've got a responsibility. I'll carry out my responsibility here in Washington and back in the district.


And I'll do my best to protect myself, no handshakes, we have a sign on our door, you're welcome but don't expect to shake hands.

BALDWIN: No, it is a lot of this these days. Even for people who come on my show. I hear you loud and clear.

GARAMENDI: We can call it the fist bump.

BALDWIN: There you go. There you go. Congressman Garamendi, thank you very much. Stay well to you and of course to your staff there in Washington.

Coming up next, older Americans are advised to cut back on travel and social gatherings as this virus is spreading. CNN went to a retirement community in Florida just to see whether they are heeding the warnings.



BALDWIN: One week from today, Ohio holds its primary election and we've learned polling stations there are being relocated from senior living facilities as a safety precaution because of coronavirus concerns. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tells CNN it is critical that elderly and vulnerable people avoid large gatherings.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I would encourage any individual who is elderly or is medically fragile to think long and hard about going into any large gathering that would involve close quarters and potential spread.


BALDWIN: CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now near this retirement village in central Florida, you are Martin in Sumter county there, the famous villages. Home to the highest percentage of folks this county, age 60. How are they handling all of this?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, they're handling it pretty well. It's the Florida state officials who are growing increasingly concerned. They realize that this state is vulnerable on two fronts. First, it gets a lot of visitors including tourists from overseas. And second, as you point out, it has a very large older population that is particularly susceptible to the coronavirus.


SAVIDGE (voice over): Primed for a pandemic, Florida state officials are worry about the coronavirus and the state's high number of elderly.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Avoid cruise ships, long plane flights, large crowds.

SAVIDGE: The CDC recommends people over the age of 60 practice social distancing, limiting close contact with others, avoiding crowds, and in some cases even staying home.

In central Florida there are few signs seniors are listening. At this softball game at the villages outside Orlando, most of the players are in their 60s, 70s, even 80s. The only thing they say they've been told to cut back on is their post-game high fives.

ROY SCHWARTZ, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Well, they're telling us not to bump fists or hit forearms, we should just walk by each other and say, great game, good game.

SAVIDGE (on camera): You're not concerned for yourself?

SCHWARTZ: Not at all. Not at all. Wash your hands. You know, cover your mouth when you cough.

SAVIDGE (voice over): 72-year-old Rick Sanford isn't keen on any suggestion he change his lifestyle.

RICK SANFORD, FLORIDA RESIDENT: Well, I'll be frank, and say I think that's bogus and I think it's something that each individual has to decide upon their own.

SAVIDGE: Others we talked to here are concerned, like Pat and Mick McEvilly. He just turned 80.

MICK MCEVILLY, FLORIDA RESIDENT: This just seems to be something that they can't wrap their arms around. So that worries me some. So you know, we're going to restrict our travel and just stay in our local cocoon here.

SAVIDGE: A number of those we spoke to have canceled or are considering canceling cruises and trips overseas. But many still attend large local public gatherings with other seniors that are an almost daily part of life in Florida's retirement communities. Exactly the sort of close contact situations experts say are where the virus could spread rapidly. Back at the ballpark, Donna Callahan is skeptical.

DONNA CALLAGHAN. FLORIDA RESIDENT: I think it's overdone, absolutely. I think the media is -- I know they have to cover it, but it doesn't seem like it's any worse than the flu or anything else if you're relatively healthy.

SAVIDGE: President Trump has voiced similar comments, leading experts to fault him for downplaying the risk.

TRUMP: Deaths, I don't want any deaths, right? But over the last long period of time, when people have the flu, you have an average of 36,000 people dying. I never heard those numbers. I would have been shocked.

SAVIDGE: Many of Florida's senior residents voted for Trump and even though they're in the age group most at risk for the coronavirus, many believe him.

CALLAGHAN: If he doesn't seem to be -- I don't think he's going one way or the other, it doesn't seem like he's, being too, overly fearful.


SAVIDGE: Here in the villages, Brooke, there are many obvious signs that people have changed their lives. The restaurants seem to be doing a very brisk trade and right behind us on the square, they're setting up for another market night which means there will be large crowds there shopping and listening to music.

There are no outbreaks. There's no coronavirus here yet. And people do admit that if that were to happen, things would change here and change in a hurry -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Appreciate hearing from all those folks, Martin Savidge, thank you, in Florida. More and more schools and colleges across America are shutting their doors, closing their classes amid the outbreak. Now Harvard is among the universities telling students you have five days to move out of your dorms.

Plus, New York's Governor is deploying the National Guard to create this one-mile containment zone in New Rochelle, it's a suburb of New York City. We have details on the growing cluster of cases there.



BALDWIN: Another wild swing in the stock market today. You can see for yourself, now the Dow up a thousand points here. Quite a dramatic change after we saw the biggest point drop in more than a decade yesterday. Global banks are also trying to come up with contingency plans for this coronavirus pandemic. In some cases testing backup sites for employees are dividing their teams between separate offices. And of course, we continue to cover this here at CNN.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. Let's go to Jake Tapper, special coverage of Super Tuesday starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.