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Interview with Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield; Interview with Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan; Wuhan Residents Emerging From Lockdown. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 11, 2020 - 10:30   ET



CLAY BENTLEY, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: And I told them no, so they said, well, the flu's coming back negative, so it don't mean you don't have the flu, they're just not a hundred percent so we're just going to send you home.

So they sent me home on Monday. Well, I progressively got worse over the next few days. And I wound up coming -- well, I wound up calling the hospital on Friday morning. And I said, I feel like you all just sent me home to die. I said, I'm getting worse, I'm getting worse.



BENTLEY: So, you know, they told me, come immediately back to the hospital.

So once I got back to the hospital, then they started realizing that I probably have the coronavirus. I got viral pneumonia in both lungs, so they've been giving me fluids for that and giving me antibiotics, breathing treatments. And, you know, they're just trying all kinds of stuff to get me feeling better.

I feel like I got this virus, I was at a church, singing in a church choir with over a hundred people. And this is where I contracted this virus.

I have heard that there were other people that's in that church choir that's in the hospital now. I have heard that there were at least -- they are at least, now, seven or eight people out of this particular church, in the hospital.

I feel like I'm in prison because, you know, nobody can come see me, I can't even walk out of the room. And I worked law enforcement in my whole career, so I feel like I'm in a jail cell and just can't get away, you know? So hopefully I'll be out of here soon. It's very lonely, it's a lonely place to be, to be sick and you can't even talk to your own family.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCIUTTO: That's just one person's experience of this. Be sure to check out Dr. Sanjay Gupta's podcast, "CORONAVIRUS: FACT VS. FICTION." Listen wherever you get your favorite podcasts. It's really helpful, a lot of information in there.

Other big story we're following today, Joe Biden's big comeback. It did not stop with the first Super Tuesday.

HARLOW: Certainly did not. The former vice president, inching close and close to the Democratic nomination, winning four states including all the important battleground -- the all-important, I should say, battleground state of Michigan. And astonishingly, sweeping every county in the state.

Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director for Joe Biden is here. Kate, first of all, congratulations where they're due on a huge night for you guys once again.

We had Jim Messina on earlier, who ran, you know, Obama's 2012 campaign, knows the former vice president well. And I said, do you think Biden was surprised? And he said, I think Biden himself was surprised. Was the vice president surprised, were you surprised?

KATE BEDINGFIELD, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JOW BIDEN 2020: Surprised that people are turning out in record numbers to vote for him? No, honestly. Because I think people desperately want Donald Trump out of the White House. They want somebody with dignity, with empathy, they want somebody who understands their lives. And they see that in Joe Biden.

And we saw it across the country in the results last night. You had Biden winning the African-American vote, you had Biden winning in the suburbs, you had Biden winning college-educated voters in Missouri. So he's clearly building the coalition that we need to defeat Donald Trump, and people are excited about the message he's offering.

And, no, I'm actually not surprised by it at all because I think, you know, we've said from day one on this campaign, people are looking for somebody with, again, a sense of dignity and they want to have the sense that the president has their back --


BEDINGFIELD: -- and understands their lives. And they see that in Biden.

SCIUTTO: And you're right, a lot of polling shows that's a priority. But there are other issues that are driving people this cycle, health care, of course, being one of them. And let's be frank, Bernie Sanders, he's not out of this race yet, it's the second time he's run for president and has brought millions of people very strongly and confidently behind him.

I wonder what Joe Biden's message is as he tries to win those supporters over? You know, while Bernie Sanders, in the race, and if at some point Bernie Sanders leaves. How does he get them to say, this is someone I'm excited about?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, I think you saw him address this a little bit last night. You know, he congratulated Senator Sanders and his supporters on everything that they've achieved so far in this race, and he is somebody who is running for president with a belief that we can bring people together and that we can unify, that we can find common cause.

And so I think what we would say to Sanders voters, if they are looking for a home, you have one with Joe Biden. I think there is a lot more that unites us than divides us. I think we share a belief that the economy should work for working people and reward work over wealth. We share a belief that health care is a fundamental right ,that it should be accessible and affordable.

I think there is a tremendous amount that we agree on, and I would say to Bernie Sanders voters, if they're looking for a home, they've got one with Joe Biden.

HARLOW: So, Kate, when you look at the youngest voters, that group of 18 to 24, the exit polling shows this in Michigan, only 18 percent went for Biden. In Missouri, only 26 percent went for the former vice president.


You're young, what does Biden need to do to get folks -- maybe you're not 24, but you're pretty close.


BEDINGFIELD: I'm flattered, I'm flattered that you think I'd fall in that demographic.

HARLOW: I do, Kate. You're just, you know, very advanced for your years.

Let me ask you, what do you think he needs to do -- honestly though, I know they're a bit more unreliable of a voting bloc, but you want that young vote, you want the energy. How do you get it?

BEDINGFIELD: Sure. And I think there is energy among young people to defeat Trump. I think that young people have, in some ways, the most to lose with this president. I think they are outraged, I think they see him, his inaction and his refusal to act on climate change, I think they see his inaction and refusal to act on gun reform.

I mean, things that are really dramatically impacting their lives, and they know that four more years of Donald Trump is an existential threat. And an existential threat to their generation. So I think what they see in Biden is somebody who has been there, has been in the White House, you know, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama, got real meaningful change done and can do it again.

And I -- you know, our campaign is always going to be working harder to earn everybody's vote. And we believe that this is about addition, and building the biggest coalition possible. So you'll certainly see --


BEDINGFIELD: -- Joe Biden continue to reach out to young voters. They're an important -- incredibly important part of beating Donald Trump this fall.

SCIUTTO: South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn, who of course gave Biden a crucial endorsement ahead of the South Carolina primary, kind of started this kind of Biden surge, if you want to call it that. He suggested that Biden will soon be the prohibitive nominee, and suggested that the DNC might cancel Sunday's debate, any more debates in this. And I wonder, do you agree with that?

BEDINGFIELD: Well, look, we are still planning to debate on Sunday. I believe Senator Sanders has said he plans to debate, so we look forward to the exchange of ideas. I mean, look, we'll let -- we'll let others make decisions about -- you know, we'll let the DNC make decisions about how they're going to conduct their business.

But you know, we're focused on running our race. Obviously, you know, Senator Sanders, you know, we're not going to presume to tell Senator Sanders what he should or shouldn't do in this race, that's entirely his decision. We're going to stay focused on our campaign and making sure that we're out talking to voters and rallying people, bringing people to our movement to defeat Trump and -- and to restore some dignity in the White House.

HARLOW: Kate Bedingfield, important debate Sunday night, CNN, Univision hosting. Look forward to it. Thanks for your time.

BEDINGFIELD: Thank you, appreciate it.

HARLOW: Coronavirus cases surging across the U.S. and around the world. Now, reports that Washington State will ban events with 250 people or more. We'll have reaction from Seattle's mayor, next.



HARLOW: Welcome back. The state of Washington will reportedly soon enact a ban that would restrict any gatherings of 250 people or greater. That means no concerts, no sporting events, potentially some big weddings not happening, "The Seattle Times" reports. Governor Jay Inslee's expected to make that announcement today.

Let's talk about that and a lot more with the mayor of Seattle, Washington, Jenny Durkan. Thank you, Mayor, for being here. I understand you don't want to get ahead of the governor, I respect that. Can you talk to us about the thinking behind what is expected to be this announcement banning mass gatherings?

MAYOR JENNY DURKAN (D), SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Yes. And thank you, Poppy, for having me. You know, we have been really hampered at the early stages of this because we did not have enough testing to detect the spread of this in our community. So we relied on a lot of our -- we have some of the pre-eminent medical researchers here.

So working really closely, the governor, the county executive, public health officials, myself and other mayors in the area, we looked to say, do we have any evidence about how much this has spread in the community? And our best modeling from demographers, using the data and science, they've actually looked -- they've now typed the genome for this virus -- is that we think we have as many as 1,100 cases in our community. And it will double approximately every week if we don't do think unchecked.

So that would mean six weeks from now, there would be over 70,000 cases --

HARLOW: Right.

DURKAN: -- so the governor, you know, knows he needs to act, we know we need to act locally to really do what we can to prevent the spread of this virus.

HARLOW: It's notable, you say you think as mayor that you have 1,100 cases in your community, whereas the official toll now for the entire United States, official tested toll of confirmed cases is a thousand. So it just goes to show how -- you know, how we just don't -- we don't have a grasp on the numbers here.

And I know you met with the vice president last week in Washington State, and that he assured you that the federal government would help in scaling testing quickly, providing more personal protection, more first responders. Have you gotten that?

DURKAN: We're starting to get it, but we're going to need more and it's -- you know, we've been communicating with the vice president and others, the governor and myself. We need more testing capability even today. We've not been able to scale up to meet the demands that we have here in our community.

And my message is, to many of the mayors that I've been able to talk to across the country is, you need to be looking at that and doing surveillance so you know what the numbers are. And you need to protect your --


DURKAN: -- frontline health care workers.

HARLOW: OK, so New Rochelle, New York, which is a suburb essentially of New York City, is now a containment zone. It's not quarantined, but it's a containment zone. Do you have similar plans for Seattle, specifically outside of the expected barring of large gatherings? And do you think there is any possibility that you could actually quarantine the city of Seattle?


DURKAN: So right now, we're really listening to the public health people who are telling us the steps we need to take. Because we know who's most vulnerable to this disease. The more we can stop the spread of the virus, the more we can protect those people who are most vulnerable.

So we're -- the first line of defense is every individual doing what's smart and doing what's common-sense. Not coming to work or showing up in places if you're sick, making sure you wash your hands regularly, really being attentive to those things because that can really make a different.

And then we're, you know, limiting gathering space, trying to really reduce. The first thing we did is talk to our large employers, and they have been super-responsive in our region, having people telecommute. We're a large employer in the city of Seattle, we're getting more and more people to telecommute. So really reducing the spread requires every person to change their lifestyle.

HARLOW: Except that doesn't have an impact on the estimated 12,000 homeless people in the city of Seattle. This has been a struggle for you guys, especially in recent years. I know you've done what you can in terms of, you know, this emergency declaration last week to have mobile bathrooms and modular units for people.

But if you have homeless people on the street with the virus, or in a shelter with a number of other people, what is your plan to address that?

DURKAN: So we -- that was the first part of our planning. We've been working with the people providing the shelters to see if we can get the proper social distancing, so standing up a number of new shelters to spread people out.

Number one thing we raised with the vice president after we talked about needing more testing and medical supplies for first responders is, we need help from the federal government and the state government, that if we need to relocate a number of people who are experiences (ph), we're going to have to have a plan to shelter thousands of people, provide them medical care, food and the like.

And so working with the state government, the federal government, we're working to anticipate that. But just like we saw in the nursing homes, the vulnerable communities will feel this the most. And that is the part that we're really trying to plan for, but no community is going to be 100 percent on this.

HARLOW: Right. And doctors have said that the homeless community specifically, more susceptible to this and more likely to succumb to the virus.

We're thinking about you and everyone in your city. Good luck, Mayor, thank you.

DURKAN: Thank you, Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Just one of many cities, communities on the front lines.

Well, there is growing frustration in Wuhan, China, of course, where the virus first diagnosed. This after 11 million people have been put under forced lockdown for weeks now. We spoke with some of the residents about how they're experiencing that.



HARLOW: As coronavirus continues to spread, some countries are looking to China, thinking about possibly similar containment measures in their own nations.

SCIUTTO: And remember, they were remarkable containment measures there. But for the 11 million people who have been forced to live under lockdown in Wuhan for nearly 50 days now -- these are the conditions -- they're growing frustrated and angry.

CNN's David Culver, he spoke to Wuhan residents while President Xi Jinping was visiting the area.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the novel coronavirus outbreak spreads and the number of cases rise, countries around the world are looking to China and considering whether to enforce similar city lockdown measures.

The World Health Organization has praised China's containment efforts. Tens of millions are still living within the extreme lockdown zones. Some residents, telling CNN that they feel like prisoners in their own homes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There are lots of complaints among people.

CULVER: As she showed us her dwindling food supplies, this resident asked we not reveal her identity for fear of repercussions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Many have stopped working, and they have no income. But the food prices are so high. Everyone I know is not happy. But what can we do about it?

CULVER: It's led to moments like this, Wuhan locals yelling from their apartments, shouting "Fake, it's all fake," as one of China's vice premiers inspected a locked down neighborhood last week.

The residents, claiming that local government leaders were misleading the central government officials by pretending to provide residents with free and reduced-price food, while in fact affordable daily necessities are in great shortage, as later revealed by both state and social media. China's vice premier ordered an immediate investigation.

To make things worse, Wuhan's newly appointed top official, the city's party secretary, has suggested that resident should instead be grateful to the government. That did not go over well.

Everybody is outrages, Wuhan resident Zhang Yi told CNN, asking, how is it they send such an ignorant official to Wuhan? With his mother now in the hospital treating her swelling legs and heart problems, Zhang says he is determined to point out local government missteps, even as he says police have warned him to keep quiet.

Somebody has to speak, he says. I don't want to be one of those who's lost every member of his family to the virus and yet never spoke up.

After the vice premier was met last week by anger, Tuesday's presidential visit to a different Wuhan community appeared to show President Xi getting a much warmer welcome, though social media posts and photos from the neighborhood WeChat group suggest local police helped assure that by apparently sitting on residents' balconies to discourage any potential disruptions.


There are real indications that life here might be returning to normal. Officials are discussing the easing of restrictions. And for some, that will mean freedom, stepping out of their homes for the first time in nearly 50 days. David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


HARLOW: Well, one of the nation's top doctors fighting coronavirus says under oath today in front of Congress, things will get worse before they get better in this country. Right now, there are more than a thousand cases of coronavirus in the United States. Of course, we're on top of all of it for you with all the facts.

We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts right after a short break.