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Voters Head to the Polls Today; Schools Close and Move to Online-only Classes; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 10, 2020 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Help me out here. Help me figure out where to go and how to proceed.

And I want to play something that Joe Biden said last night about being a bridge. And I wonder if this is the type of thing that appeals to you.

So, listen.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, I view myself as a bridge, not as anything else. There's an entire generation of leaders you saw stand behind me. They are the future of this country. They're the people who (INAUDIBLE).


BERMAN: He was literally saying he was a bridge to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to Senator Cory Booker and Senator Kamala Harris.

And I think that has been implicit in some of the endorsements over the last week. But it was pretty interesting that he was explicit on that stage last night. Does that (INAUDIBLE)?

WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think -- yes, I think, you know, in addition just to being like a game manager or a bridge, I think Joe Biden has action and opportunity if indeed he is the Democratic nominee to be transformational because what he should do, as I've said before, is he should engage Bernie's base, which not -- it isn't just the progressive voters or the crazy millennials, but it's a lot of those white workers who feel like they've been displaced by the system, by the establishment, whatever you want to call it, right, who feel like the economy doesn't work for them anymore, who feel like the elites or the 1 percent, however you want to call it, has betrayed them.

And I feel like you can -- he can really engage, if he really listens, there can be a marriage brokered here between Bernie's base, the progressive base and what he represents, which is a return to decency and stability. The number one priority for most Democratic voters, 65 percent of

Democratic voters say their number one priority is, what, to remove Donald Trump. That's priority number one, two and three. So if he accomplishes that, already a win.

But in addition to that, in addition just to being the bridge, I do believe, if he does get it, and if he wins the election, let's hope he does, or any Democrat does, he can also be transformational in that he empowers this next generation of progressive voters. In order to do that, he really has to listen to the base and engage the base. And I do believe with Super Tuesday, I will be bold, learn nothing from last week and make bold predictions about what's going to happen.

But it seems that Joe-momentum is on his side. And if Bernie doesn't take Michigan or Washington, it's going to be tough. It's going to be tough for Bernie.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, except that this entire race has been nothing if not surprising. And I think that we've thus far painted a pretty disheartening picture for Bernie Sanders tonight and Bernie Sanders fans and supporters. But anything is possible. I mean that's what we've learned. This race has packed a surprise. The cycle, the election cycle, changes like every 48 hours in this one. Not -- and so I don't know that we can look necessarily back to Super Tuesday one to know exactly what is going to happen today.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. And Washington state, again, where Bernie got 72 percent last time, but it was a caucus, and he did better in caucuses. He doesn't do as well when you open it up into primaries. But he still should win. It's a very progressive, Democratic Party out there.

CAMEROTA: And they've been -- I think they've been -- have they been writing in for a while? Like --

BEGALA: They vote by mail.

CAMEROTA: They vote by mail and it's been going on for a while, I think.

BEGALA: Don't lick your envelopes.

Right, so --

CAMEROTA: So it's been going on for a while.


CAMEROTA: So they -- there may have been people even voting before the latest revolutions in this cycle.

BEGALA: Yes, but I think -- so I think vote by mail probably helps Bernie. The fact that it's Washington state. But I think Waj's advice is really good, he used the verb listen twice. This is the most important thing in politicians, the thing they do often least well. When Trump was coming on, people like me, but certainly Republican

establishments, they mocked Trump but they also mocked his voters. That's a critical error. If the Democratic establishment or the people who are supporting Joe Biden are laughing at the young people, particularly, and also the working class folks that Waj talked about, but I'm really interested in listening to those young people. Even with Joe dominating, he's losing those young people. They have something to say. They have real pain. And he's going to have to find ways to reach out to them. That's absolutely -- he can't become president without the support of young people.

BERMAN: MJ, we've got about 20 seconds left.

What are you hearing from Bernie Sanders exactly?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's been notable that he has been talking nonstop about the issue of trade, right? This idea that he is supposed to represent the working class man has been so pivotal, but I think particularly in the last few days, especially as he has packed in these rallies in Michigan, that has been his theme and I think that's why. I think you're right, you know, we could see something unexpected. But if we do see what is more expected, that he has a bad night and not a good night, then that is why that loss would be even more devastating because he really is staking his campaign on this theme of representing the working class people.

CAMEROTA: Wajahat, MJ, Paul, thank you very much.

All right, CNN's live coverage of Super Tuesday two begins at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

BERMAN: It's like "Superman II," which was good because of General Zod, but he's not on the ballot tonight.

The coronavirus pandemic has schools and colleges canceling classes and cleaning classrooms. We'll give you the very latest, next.



BERMAN: All right, breaking news, we just learned that Harvard University has canceled its classes and now is moving them online. It is justify the latest college or university to make that decision, joining Columbia and Ohio State.

CNN's Athena Jones is live at Columbia University here in New York, where person to person classes have been suspended.


That's right. We've been talking for weeks about American universities canceling their study abroad programs. Well, a growing number are now canceling study on their U.S. campuses. You just mentioned Harvard University, which we learned since last night, also the Ohio State, San Francisco State, the University of California San Diego and Amherst College we learned are all now moving their classes online, just adding to the list of schools making this move.


JONES (voice over): Social distancing is the priority at schools across the country as they try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In Washington state, one of the epicenters of the outbreak in the U.S., the University of Washington has suspended classes for the rest of the quarter, asking instructors to conduct classes and exams remotely, with plans to resume normal class operations on March 30th, pending public health guidance. Several universities are taking similar steps, canceling in person classes, at least temporarily, including Stanford University and Northeastern University Seattle and San Francisco Bay area campuses.

On the East Coast, Princeton, Hofstra, Fordham, Barnard College and Columbia Universities are all temporarily suspending in person classes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It became more real.

JONES: Columbia University's president explaining the move came after a member of our community was exposed to covid-19 and is now under quarantine. The quarantined person is not a confirmed case of covid- 19, the school said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whenever it was away, like at a different country, or before it came to America, it was like, oh, this is out of our -- this is like beyond us. But now it's here and I feel like everyone is going to be more aware and spreading like just awareness and being -- taking more caution.

JONES: Students taking the news in stride.

JOSEPHINE EWING, BARNARD COLLEGE STUDENT: I'm not super worried or anything. If only because like the death rate for people that are under 60 is quite low. So I'm not -- I just don't want to be responsible for like getting anybody else sick, I guess.

JONES: College campuses where students and staff live, work and study in close quarters can be conducive to contagion. One reason Columbia graduate student Conner Allerton supports the precautionary steps being taken.

CONOR ALLERTON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT: As a large community, with maybe certain people who are more at risk than others, I think it's important to just take precautions. I think they have the capacity to do online classes and alternatives like that. But I think, you know, if I were in their shoes, I would probably do the same, just be safe, you know.

JONES: Another concern, public schools. Fulton County, Georgia, is closing all schools temporarily after an employee tested positive for the virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They sent out e-mails to all the six grade teachers saying that somebody in the district got the coronavirus.

JONES: Elk Grove Unified School District in Sacramento County, California, also canceled classes and activities for the week due to virus concerns.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D) NEW YORK CITY: This is a time to listen to your body.

JONES: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio saying there would be a high bar for closing the city's public schools, but there could be specific targeted closures.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo putting it this way.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): For all schools, we're going to set a policy that if a student tests positive, in a school, that school is closed for an initial 24 hour period.

JONES: Meanwhile, public schools in Scarsdale, and hard hit Westchester County, north of New York City, will be closed until March 18th after a faculty member at the middle school tested positive for the virus.


JONES: Now, when it comes to public schools here in New York that could see disruption or staffing issues due to coronavirus fears, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city has resources for schools in case of additional needs. They have a reliable reserve of substitute teachers and other staff who can take on other roles as necessary and are looking at how they can ramp that up if they need to.

John. Alisyn.

BERMAN: I've got to say, I'm just reading one of the notes from Harvard here. They say, we'll begin transitioning to online instruction for all graduate and undergraduate classes. The goal is to complete this transition by March 23rd. Students are asked not to return to campus after spring recess.

CAMEROTA: For how long? Forever?

BERMAN: Good question.

CAMEROTA: I mean this -- what if it's your senior year? What if it's spring semester your senior year?

We know you have a lot of questions about coronavirus. So, up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to answer them.

BERMAN: But first, a peaceful retreat for veterans returning from the trauma of war. Here is this week's "Impact Your World."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These veterans, former bomb techs, medics and infantry men are here in big sky country on a mission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're out here to catch a fish. It gives you a release to be thinking about something other than maybe your past experiences in a deployment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Warriors and quiet waters, a combat veteran's program in Bozeman, Montana, combines fly fishing with the state's serenity to provide camaraderie for those healing from physical and emotional battle wounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy smokes. I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Participants have come here from 49 states, spending their days in natural beauty with a brotherhood of staff, volunteers, and new friends.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People don't even know that this is therapy until they do it and then, you know, they go home, they think about it, they're like, wow, that was awesome. And I was thinking about fishing. I was thinking about the surroundings around me. Wasn't thinking about any of the other stuff that gets you in a bad spot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was another warrior who participated that told us the day he got home from his Warriors in Quite Waters fishing experience, he sold the gun that he'd been looking at every day and contemplating using it to take his own life.

It's really nice for them just to be able to have a place to go to get it all out and be surrounded by a group of people that understands.




BERMAN: This morning as health officials in the United States look to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, we asked you to send us your questions and how you can protect you and your family.

Joining us now to answer some of these, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And, Sanjay, I know you deal with this every time you walk around the office people have questions. Every time you go to anything, people are asking you questions like these because they want to know.


BERMAN: It's affecting so many people's lives.

So let me just start at the beginning.

Sherri asks, how long does it take to develop symptoms?

GUPTA: Typically if people between the time they're exposed to develop symptoms is around five days. But as we've talked about, it can be as long as 14 days, which is why that incubation period, these quarantine periods are around 14 days. They want to wait that long to make sure someone hasn't developed symptoms. But around five days is the average.

CAMEROTA: OK, next question comes Kristin in Fayetteville, Arkansas. People keep comparing the coronavirus to the flu. What's the main difference?

GUPTA: There's a lot of similarities. They're both respiratory viruses.


They're both primarily spread through respiratory droplets. People cough or sneeze and those droplets then can, you know, be transmitted to someone else or they can get on a surface, you know. So unlike measles, for example, where the little viral particles can attach to dust and stay airborne for a while, neither flu nor this coronavirus seem to behave that way.

They both have incubation periods, like I mentioned, five days average for the coronavirus, flu a little shorter, typically three days, which is why it tends to spread a little bit more quickly.

Big difference, one that we've talked about for some time, the fatality ratio with flu is around 0.1 percent. So many people get the flu, which is why in this country you've already had some 16 to 18,000 deaths. Coronavirus fatality ratio so far predicted closer to 2 percent. So that's, you know, that's a lot higher than -- it's still low, but it's 20 times higher than flu.

BERMAN: I want to ask a follow-up to Sherri's question. I'm going to use journalistic prerogative here. She asked how long did it take to get symptoms, Sanjay, but I want to ask how long do you stay sick because I understand there is a new answer to that question.

GUPTA: Yes, that's right. So for people with mild illness, recovery period typically is two to three weeks. But for people with more severe or critical illness if they recover, it's closer to six weeks. So that's important for a couple of reasons. Obviously that's -- that can be miserable for the patient for a long period of time. They can still be contagious during that time. And as we've talked so much, John, about the impact on the healthcare system, you know, it's not just a few days in the hospital, a few days necessarily of intensive care unit care, it can be a lot longer than that. And that's something that hospital officials have to think about in terms of their planning for new illnesses.

CAMEROTA: Chelsea in Kansas wants to know, are pregnant women at higher risk?

GUPTA: There's not been a lot of data so far on pregnant women. You know, again, the largest studies on this novel -- this new coronavirus coming out of China. We do look to SARS and MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, to try and get some includes because, Alisyn, you remember, those were both coronaviruses as well. And we know women at the time that they are pregnant can be -- their immune systems can be somewhat diminished, so they can be more at risk. So, overall, they may be more at risk, but there's no evidence that they're passing the virus on to the fetus during pregnancy.

BERMAN: All right, so Monique from California writes, we keep hearing that the majority of people are surviving coronavirus. How many people have contracted it, and have recovered to normal health.

CAMEROTA: This is going to be hard for you to answer, Sanjay, given all the testing questions.

BERMAN: Right.

GUPTA: Yes. Right. It's hard to answer because we don't have full vision on exactly how widespread this is.

What most people are pointing to, guys, is the -- is, again, the largest study of some 70,000 patients out of China. And this is where a lot of the numbers that we've been talking about are coming from. About 80 percent of people will have mild illness. So out of that study, you know, there was 80 percent of them did recover within a couple of weeks. Fourteen percent had severe illness. And it took longer for them to recover. And it was about 5 percent that had more critical illness.

Now, there were no deaths reported in the mild or severe illness groups, which is about 95 percent of people. All the deaths did occur in people who had the critical illness, which kind of makes sense. But all of that is to say that most people do recover. It can be longer to recover depending on the severity of your illness, but the vast majority of people who have contracted this virus anywhere around the world have eventually recovered from it.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, I have one more question to build on Kristin's from Fayetteville. In terms of the symptoms, is this like flu whereby you see vomiting, achiness, or is this more chest, coughing, respiratory distress?

GUPTA: Seems to be more of the latter, Alisyn. Their -- again, we've looked at the study very carefully. There was a small percentage of people that had more of the gastrointestinal type symptoms. So that is possible, but a lot less likely. And I'll take it a step further, when you really dig into this data, it did tend to be more lower respiratory symptoms, particularly in the patients who had severe or critical illness.

What that means is, more likely to feel just winded or short of breath going up a flight of stairs or a block if you had runny nose, or a sore throat, that was less likely to be coronavirus. It's not that they couldn't overlap, but less likely to be coronavirus if it's upper respiratory.

CAMEROTA: Really helpful.

BERMAN: Yes, the last five minutes have been a window into Sanjay's life these days into the 24 hours.

CAMEROTA: I know. When he's not fielding questions from my mother, who feels free to ask Sanjay medical questions, it's everybody else I guess.

GUPTA: I love helping your mother, absolutely.

BERMAN: Sanjay, thank you very much. This is super helpful.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you so much.

All right, it's time for "The Good Stuff."

A young man's hoop dreams come true.


Josh Spital (ph) was a top basketball recruit for the University of Vermont.

BERMAN: Oh, I saw this story. This is wonderful.

CAMEROTA: Before graduating high school five years ago, a car crash left him with a traumatic brain injury. Well, last week, after years of recovery and lots of physical therapy, Josh made it back. In a prearranged moment with the other team, Josh scored.


JOSH SPITAL: Thinking back to five years, and I mean that didn't seem possible. I think me and my parents really believed, but I mean that -- that -- that was a far off dream. That was a dream.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, what a survivor's story. The crowd loved it. Josh will graduate in May.

BERMAN: This is a wonderful story. And both teams were a big part of making that happen.

All right, so we're learning about new schools and universities closing, moving to online only education to try to stop the spread of coronavirus. Is this necessary? CNN's coverage continues right after this.