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States Scramble to Contain Virus as U.S. Cases Surpass 1,000; Fauci: "Bottom Line, It's Going to Get Worse"; N.Y. Establishes One- Mile Containment Zone in New Rochelle; Washington State Governor Bans Gatherings Over 250 Amid Virus Outbreak; Mass. Governor Declares State of Emergency Over Outbreak Cluster in Boston; Dr. Irwin Redlener Answers Viewers' Questions on Coronavirus & HHS Secretary's Recommendations; Weinstein Receives 23-Year Sentence; Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) Discusses State Actions to Contain Coronavirus Spread, New Way of Testing & Trump Administration's Response. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired March 11, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.
As the coronavirus spreads and is changing and disrupting life for Americans across the country, the country has now reached a grim milestone. There are now more than 1,000 cases of confirmed cases of the virus. And 31 people have died.
And from coast to coast, communities are now having to take some extreme measures to try and contain the virus and its spread.
In the New York suburb of New Rochelle, there's now going to be a one- mile containment zone. The National Guard has been called in to assist with things like cleaning and food delivery in that area.
In Washington State, where 24 people have died -- it's particularly deadly there -- the governor is banning large gatherings of more than 250 people in the Seattle area. That is according to "The Seattle Times."
And across the states, more disruptions to daily life. Just this morning, Georgetown University joined the growing list of colleges suspending in-person classes. Major concerts and cultural events continue to be canceled. The giant festival that is known as Coachella just postponed.
And in the sports world, the Ivy League canceled its upcoming basketball tournament while others are in the midst of considering holding games without spectators. That's just as of today.
Last hour, one of the nation's top infectious disease experts warned also this situation isn't coming to an end anytime soon. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.
How much worse it will get will depend on our ability to do two things. To contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. Bottom line, it's going to get worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Dr. Anthony Fauci right there.
So we have reporters covering all of these angles for you.
Let's start with CNN's Brynn Gingras in New Rochelle.
Brynn, bring folks up to speed on what is the very latest with this containment zone.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. I mean, they're hoping it doesn't get worse here in New Rochelle, but they're expecting it might. This containment zone actually is a mile radius around a center point. We're about a mile and a half away from the center point, which is a synagogue.
If you remember, the second case, confirmed case, the first community spread case was a New Rochelle lawyer in his 50s. He attended services at this synagogue and, essentially, from there, the cases just started spreading.
So this is the response to all of these cases, this huge cluster that has happened in New Rochelle.
So right now, we're already seeing some schools within that containment zone shut down. Places of worship are going to be closed. Basically, officials trying to not have large gatherings.
We're also going to see a testing center inside that zone. That's obviously going to help with helping this whole process by containing the virus.
The governor talked about having that testing space in that zone, but also on a national level. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We test around the clock now. So the number constantly adjusts. But it's constantly going up. But that shouldn't give people alarm. The virus has actually spread much, much more than we know because we have been so slow on testing in this country.
So now every time we test, we're chasing positive cases. And you're going to see the number keep going up. But it's not representative of where this disease is. The disease is much more advanced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: So this is just the next step for this particular community. Some people here, though, Kate, I can tell you, say they wish they could see more.
Of course, this is just a containment zone. It's not a lockdown. People are going to be allowed to leave the area. They're going about their business. People we talked to today, people here, some of them, want to see more -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Brynn, thank you so much.
Let's get over to CNN's Omar Jimenez, in Seattle, following the story there.
Omar, what are you hearing now from the governor about how this ban would work?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate. Later this morning, we're expecting Washington Governor Jay Inslee to announce basically restrictions on gatherings of more than 250 people or more per "The Seattle Times."
This would specifically focus on sporting events, concerts, things of that nature, things that would typically bring more than 250 people together.
But it's among the latest measures we have seen government officials, particularly here in Washington, take to try to slow down the spread of the coronavirus before it gets particularly out of hand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): When something doubles every day, it gets to a very large number very quickly. So if there are 1,000 people infected today, in seven or eight weeks, there could be 64,000 people infected in the state of Washington if we don't somehow slow down this epidemic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: And with the hundreds of cases we have now seen in just Washington and the over 1,000 nationwide, it's been particularly devastating and deadly for the elderly population and those with underlying health conditions.
We have now seen at least 10 long-term care facilities in just the Seattle area alone that either have an employee or a resident that's tested positive for the novel coronavirus. And 21 deaths between those 10 facilities and at least 19 stemming from one single facility.
And it's part of why Governor Inslee issued a directive on Tuesday going specifically towards those nursing facilities, limiting the number of visitors that can come in and making sure employees are screened every shift for the coronavirus -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: That is so troubling. Yesterday, I spoke with a head of an organization that oversees 13,000, more than 13,000 nursing homes, and he called this virus a perfect killing machine -- almost a perfect killing machine when it comes to the elderly. Especially those in these nursing homes. So particular attention should be paid.
Thanks so much, Omar. I really appreciate it.
Let's get to Boston. CNN's Athena Jones, she is there where a large cluster of cases has now been identified.
Athena, this cluster is connected to a single business conference as well. What are you learning?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. The governor of Massachusetts has declared a state of emergency, which will ease access to federal aid and implement new guidelines to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Among those guidelines, canceling all conferences or holding them virtually. Because, as you said, 70 of the 92 cases in the state of Massachusetts are related to a meeting last month held at a hotel that we're standing nearby. Biogen, which is a bio-tech company based in Cambridge.
"The Boston Herald" reporting that nearly 200 managers from all around the world, including Italy, were in attendance at that conference.
Biogen announced last week that three people who attended the conference tested positive for the coronavirus. So any employee who was there has been directed to work from home for two weeks.
But now, cases traced to the conference are being reported state-wide and beyond. In fact, a resident from Indiana tested positive last week for coronavirus. That person had traveled to Boston for business and was in contact with individuals attending the Biogen conference. That's according to Indiana health authorities.
A Biogen spokesperson tells "The Boston Globe," "At the time of the meeting, we were absolutely following national guidance on travel and in-person meetings."
But this highlights how the virus is spreading and the challenge to try to prevent the spread -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: And how guidelines and guidance one day look very different the next.
Thank you so much, Athena. Really appreciate it.
Joining me right now, a lot of questions, let's get some answers -- Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Earth Institute, is here.
Which also means, Doctor, thank you for being here. We have a million questions for you in terms of what we're looking at.
Just off of what Athena was talking about in Boston, if you're in one of these clusters, New Rochelle, Seattle, also in California, now we're looking at Boston, what should you be doing?
IRWIN REDLENER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS, EARTH INSTITUTE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, first of all, we should not be gathering in large groups. That needs to be a rule, a regulation around the country.
And the problem is, we're not getting enough central guidance from the federal government. So people are basically winging it. And I don't blame them. This is like response by improvisation. It's like these random acts of response and arbitrariness.
Why 250? A lot of people are using 250 people as the guideline for canceling events.
BOLDUAN: And someone is using 1,000.
REDLENER: It should be 15. It should be something much lower.
REDLENER: Absolutely. I would not go to a conference personally right now that had large numbers of people sitting next to each other. I think we have to get serious about this.
And you know, we heard statements just earlier today on your show from Dr. Fauci saying the way to stop this is to, you know, continue to stop people coming in with the virus as one of the methods. But it's way too late. We're way beyond that.
As soon as we get up to speed with testing, which we have been incredibly behind on, we're going to see immediately thousands and thousands more cases than we think.
I should temper this by saying the vast majority who have this virus, who get infected, will survive. They'll be fine. They'll have a cold. They'll have maybe little symptoms, moderate flu symptoMs.
BOLDUAN: But this gets to the point of --
REDLENER: It's a dangerous disease.
BOLDUAN: It is dangerous. It is serious. But do not panic but be individually vigilant, right?
REDLENER: Right. Exactly. BOLDUAN: It is the line between them.
But what you're hitting on here, and I think it's important and striking for folks to hear, that preparedness for disaster is everything that you do. It's all that you focus on.
That when you've got what maybe seems at this moment like arbitrary numbers thrown out, as don't go to gatherings of 250 or more, don't go to large gatherings of 1,000 or more, you're saying it should be no more than 15 --
REDLENER: I'm just making up a small number. The problem --
BOLDUAN: Yes, but this is important.
REDLENER: I know. And I'm supposed to be a visiting professor out in Ohio two weeks from now. We're not doing that. People have to be vigilant in a new kind of way that we're not used to.
BOLDUAN: So, Doctor, let me play then -- because what you're getting at I think is something I have been confused by, which is the position that we have heard from the administration to this point.
I want to play for you just how the Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, how he has talked about -- how he's talked about recommendations rather than directives coming from the federal government in terms of what folks should be doing in this moment. In just the last two days. Listen to this, please.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: I'm not going to second guess any employer or school or community on measures that they're taking, because they need to make those judgments on their own circumstances.
Each of us is individuals. We need to assess whether it makes sense for us to go to large gatherings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Is that the right approach at this moment?
REDLENER: It is not the right approach. What we need from the federal government is much more directive, evidence-based recommendations. I don't want to see every local government, every state government, you know, making their own way, trying to figure out how they're going to improvise a response.
I would like to hear from Alex Azar and the other people on the federal level, you should not be holding gatherings of whatever the number is, and here's the evidence on why you should not be doing that.
We need to be told that there's going to be thousands upon thousands of cases identified, if and when they produce this mass-testing capacity --
REDLENER: -- that I'm still skeptical about.
But I think it's time for the federal government to step up more. They can't, you know, order a state to do something. But they could be -- we have to stop this language about, well, you can do whatever you want. Trust your local officials, make your own judgments.
It's not the time for that anymore. We're facing a major outbreak in America. And, yes, we should not be panicked, but we need to be a lot more explicit about the federal guidance we're getting and be serious about it.
BOLDUAN: Doctor, thank you so much for coming.
BOLDUAN: We'll have you back in because your level of expertise is everything that is needed right now. I really appreciate it.
Right now, I have got to jump to breaking news just came in, they're telling me in my ear.
This just into CNN, 23 years, 23 years in prison. That is the sentence that has been handed down for Harvey Weinstein. He was just sentenced in court, just moments ago, for last month's conviction, of course, of criminal sex act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. The big question was, how long would he be spending behind bars. Now we know.
Jean Casarez is outside the courthouse. She's joining me now.
Jean, give us the latest.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this all is happening right now. And you're right. Let me break this down for a minute. There are two convictions, sexual assault convictions against Harvey Weinstein.
Criminal sexual act in the first degree. He received 20 years in prison by the judge, maximum 25. So that is very close to the maximum. Rape in the third degree, Weinstein was just sentenced to three years in prison.
I'm understanding from my producer the judge has said these sentences will run concurrently, together. And at this point, consecutively.
Now, at the beginning of today, there was so much argument on both sides, but it was when Harvey Weinstein began to speak to the judge that I think that courtroom began to stand still for a moment. He expressed his remorse. He said his life has been changed forever, that he hopes his days in prison that he can become a good man.
He talked about the relationships that he thought they were consensual. He said especially Jessica Mann, I spent five years with her. He talked about his extramarital affairs and the extent he went so no one knew the truth.
But it was Miriam Haleyi, one of the accusers, that stood before the court today and talked about what she had gone through, that that moment when he violently attacked her here in New York City, when she fought and tried to get him to stop and he wouldn't do it, that she was terrified.
And for the last two years her life has been nothing but paranoia, believing there would be retaliation against her. She said she is so grateful for the conviction because now he will not offend against anyone else, other woman in this country.
BOLDUAN: Jean, thank you so much for your reporting. You can just -- everyone must think never will the victims of this ever be whole after what they went through, but now convicted and sentenced to 23 years. That is up there near the max, as we were just discussing, as you just mentioned, when it comes to the time that Harvey Weinstein will now be facing behind bars.
Thank you so much, Jean.
Coming up for us, as officials scramble to get a sense of how many Americans are actually infected with the coronavirus. The governor of one state is launching a new way to help the public get tested and faster. The governor joins us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Unfortunately, rather than using best practices, this outbreak in Wuhan was covered up. There's lots of open source reporting from China, from Chinese nationals that the doctors involved were either silenced or put in isolation or that sort of thing so the word of this virus could not get out.
It probably cost the world community two months to respond, and those two months, if we had those and had been able to sequence the virus and had the cooperation necessary from the Chinese, had a WHO team been on the ground, had a CDC team, which we offered, had been on the ground, I think we could have dramatically curtailed what happened both in China and what's now happening across the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That just in from the president's national security adviser, making no mistake and really mincing no words in putting at least some and a lot of the blame at the feet of China for the scope and scale of the coronavirus outbreak.
This, as the federal government here in the United States is saying that it's doing everything it can to slow the spread of the virus.
In that, governors of 19 states have now declared states of emergency or public health emergencies to help their own efforts to slow the spread. And Colorado is one of the latest states to do so.
And joining me right now is the Democratic governor of the state, Jared Polis.
Governor, thanks for coming in.
GOV. JARED POLIS, (D-CO): Good morning, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Good morning.
The latest numbers I have seen out of Colorado is that there were 17 cases, confirmed cases of the virus. Do you have any updates? Have those numbers changed?
POLIS: Yes, out of about 305 tests, there's been about 17 -- there's been 17 people who have been confirmed that they tested positive. What we have, though, is we need to scale the testing. We have a real lack of testing, not just in Colorado but across the country.
We just stood up our drive-through testing facility in Denver. We're hoping to get to about seven to nine across the state so we can have earlier diagnosis so we can act quickly to isolate and quarantine people to prevent it from spreading.
BOLDUAN: That's what I wanted to talk to you about. You announced yesterday that, starting today, you're going to have this drive-up testing lab for the general public.
This is believed to be the first of its kind in the country for the general public, and I believe it's set to open in the next 30 minutes in Denver. I mean, what are you expecting when it does?
POLIS: Well, so right now, again, you don't just go there. You need a written doctor's order to go there. So if -- again, a respiratory illness. If you let your caregiver know, if you're a candidate for testing, you will go there.
Some cases are ruled out because the early symptoms usually don't present as a head cold or congestion or stomach virus. It's coughing, trouble breathing. Then people with the right safety precautions at the facility that are able to do the testing with our state lab.
Again, as we increase the scale of this, both with our private lab testing partners, our local hospitals, and the tests that are provided by CDC, we hope to be able to further expand those testing criteria and make this more widely available across the state.
We have seen in the countries that have handled this well, Hong Kong, Taiwan, this needs bold early action. The earlier the actions taken in the first few days and weeks are absolutely critical in preventing this from having the trajectory it's had in countries like Italy, and even here in our own country, in areas like Seattle.
BOLDUAN: This is something, kind of the drive-up testing -- yes, the drive-up testing is something South Korea did --
BOLDUAN: -- to try to get in front and catch up with the demand they were seeing. And it has had a lot of folks wondering in the United States why the United States hasn't done this already.
BOLDUAN: Why isn't this happening in other states, I'm wondering?
POLIS: It should be. And another advantage of it, Kate, is it makes sure people who are possible candidates for having coronavirus are not going into emergency rooms or hospitals --
POLIS: -- or to doctors where they're possibly infecting others. This is a safe environment for testing.
Again, looking at what South Korea has done very successfully in terms of altering the trajectory of the spread in South Korea. We're modeling a lot of what we're doing in Colorado after some of the best practices globally, as we look to scale the testing and expand the number of safe testing sites.
BOLDUAN: I don't know how to ask this. Was this tough to set up for you and public health officials there? Because I do wonder, at this point, when we know it's going to get worse -- Anthony Fauci just said that -- we know people are having a hard time getting access to testing, if they have a -- including those who have a doctor's note, why not more now?
POLIS: Yes, so we have a great team in Colorado who helped put this together.
The logistics of setting up a remote testing site are not that difficult. You need -- most states, hopefully, every state, has the suits, the masks that are needed to do that.
The difficult part is that we have a lack of ability to scale the testing.
POLIS: Again, our state lab can only run about 200 tests a day in Colorado. We need, in a state our size, just under six million people, we need to be able to do tens of thousands of tests a day so that we can expand the criteria to anybody with flu-like symptoMs. BOLDUAN: So, Governor, can you -- can you allow --
POLIS: Again, Lab Corp and Quest are scaling up, as are others.
BOLDUAN: Can you help folks understand that? Because you hear the message from the administration, we have a surplus of tests that are going out. We have more than enough that are going out and more tests are going to be heading out.
What's the disconnect here in terms of what you need? You need the testing criteria to change? You need the guidelines to change? What is holding everyone back, well-intentioned states, from getting more tests put through?
POLIS: We have about 900 tests here in Colorado. You know, at a rate of 200 a day, that's just a few-days' supply. We have about 1500 we expect CDC will sending us in the next few days.
Again, those numbers need to exponentially change. So we need to go from 200 a day to, you know, 15,000 or 20,000 a day to make sure any outbreak can be identified in its early stages.
We're testing the highest-likelihood cases now. And again, to be clear, out of 307 tests, 17 positives. Even in the high-likelihood cases, the vast majority don't have it.
As we expand it to the next 1,000 or 10,000, you'll have a much lower percentage of positives. But we need to find the positives early to prevent them from spreading. That's what is being missed not just in Colorado but in other states across the country as we wait for testing to scale up.
BOLDUAN: Where does the blame land on that?
POLIS: Again, I think that we understood to work with whoever can provide those tests. That means the hospitals, as they scale up the ability to do that. Lab Corp and Quest just came online. I talked to the CEO of Lab Corp just the other day. That means the samples can be provided at almost any practice across our state.
That's a three or four-day turnaround, so people need to remain in isolation while they're waiting. Our state labs are 24-day turnaround.
But we need all of the above as we go to scale testing to really be able to test anybody with flu-like symptoms promptly.
BOLDUAN: Governor, thank you for coming in. Really looking forward to hearing how things are going with this drive-up testing effort. Thank you for coming in.
POLIS: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up next, your questions answered. We're going to continue our effort here to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the coronavirus. We'll answer your questions when we come back.