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U.S. Reaches Grim Milestone Of 1,000 Cases, 31 Dead; Former Vice President Joe Biden Closes In On Democratic Nomination. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired March 11, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: New Day continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is a special edition of New Day.

The breaking news, Joe Biden in command this morning. Big wins overnight in Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho. They are still counting votes in North Dakota. Bernie Sanders is ahead but there's a tiny delegate poll in that state.

This morning, they're counting in Washington as well. Washington is telling. It is neck and neck there right now. But Bernie Sanders, he won that state four years ago. He needed a big win there. There's a question whether he'll win at all now in Washington.

The Vermont senator is at home in Burlington this morning. An adviser does admit he has a decision to make about his path forward. But you just heard his campaign co-chair say that he believes Bernie Sanders will be at the CNN debate Sunday night in Arizona and will debate Joe Biden there. So we have yet to hear from Bernie Sanders directly.

This is the delegate count at this minute. Joe Biden expanded his lead. The former vice president really tried to turn a corner in his remarks last night.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion. We share a common goal. And together we'll defeat Donald Trump. We'll defeat him together.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Now, both candidates canceled rallies last night because of coronavirus concerns. And there are some major new developments with the virus overnight. The number of cases has topped 1,000 in the United States. In New York, there is a one-mile containment zone now that has been ordered by the governor in the City of New Rochelle. That's just north of New York City. The National Guard will begin a two-week enforcement tomorrow.

Later today, Washington State's governor is expected to announce a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people in some counties. And a state of emergency has been declared in Massachusetts after a cluster of 70 cases was linked it a recent biotech conference.

The federal government is now reportedly studying how to have more than 2 million federal employees work from home. The Wall Street Journal reports the Treasury Department is likely to push back the April 15th deadline to file your taxes.

We have the coronavirus crisis covered from coast to coast beginning with CNN's Brynn Gingras. She is live in just outside of that containment zone in New Rochelle, New York. What's happening there, Brynn?


Well, that two-week containment period that starts today, there are schools, some schools in New Rochelle that are closed this morning. There are places of worship that are shut down. We know the National Guard is coming in tomorrow to help disinfect some of these public areas and also help provide food to people who may be under quarantine, students who can't get to school and get food otherwise. This all in an effort to try to contain this virus in this community, where the governor says it's likely the biggest outbreak in the entire United States.

Now, we're about an hour -- I'm sorry, a mile-and-a-half rather from the center of that containment zone. It's a temple where, if you remember, a 50-year-old lawyer attended services a couple of weeks ago. He was one of the first cases here in the State of New York. Ever since his diagnosis of positive coronavirus, the cases have just ballooned here. His family contracted the virus, several people he knew contracted the virus, and the numbers doubled.

Listen to how the governor characterized that situation earlier this week.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It just so happened that it started with one or two cases. There were then a number of convenings in that community that brought several hundred people together for celebrations. And it took off like fire through dry grass.

This is a microcosm of what we're going to be looking at. The numbers are going to go up consistently because our testing is way behind the reality of what the situation is. I have no doubt that the reality is a multiple of everything we're seeing in the numbers.


GINGRAS: And we're seeing those effects in the community.

Now, this containment zone a mile from that center point, the temple, a mile radius around it, it's containment. Government officials are really wanting to make that clear. It is not a lockdown. So people are going to be able to move in and out in the zone over the next two weeks, which has people, we've been talking to, a little concerned, wondering if more schools need to shut down in order to contain this virus. We also know in this community, Alisyn, thousands of people are currently under quarantine.

BERMAN: Yes, no doubt. All right, Brynn, I'll take it there. I live not far from New Rochelle. People in the entire county are watching that very closely hoping it doesn't spread too far from that one-mile containment zone.

One of the other major developments overnight, the Seattle Times reports this morning that the governor of Washington State will ban gatherings of more than 250 people there.


If you want to know why, look to Boston. The count in Massachusetts doubled overnight. In 70 cases in Massachusetts, are now linked to one single conference.

CNN's Athena Jones live for us this morning in Boston with the very latest on this. Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. As you guys mentioned, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency here on Tuesday, easing access to federal aid and also issuing new guidance to prevent and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. That guidance includes canceling all conferences or holding them virtually. This coming after the state announced those 51 new cases bringing the total to 92. 70 of those are related to a meeting held here last month by Biogen, a biotech company based in Cambridge. The Boston Herald reporting almost 200 managers from all over the world, including Italy, attended that conference.

Now, last week, Biogen announced that three employees were at the conference were tested positive for coronavirus. So any employee who was there has been directed to work from home for the next two weeks.

Now, there are cases traced to that conference being reported statewide and beyond. Listen to what the public health commissioner had to say about this.


MONICA BHAREL, COMMISSIONER, MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We heard from outside of Massachusetts of individuals being positive and that led us through cooperation with the employee -- with the employer, excuse me, to begin this process of contact tracing, which is a standard public health process, where we then go and see who else might be symptomatic and who their contacts are, and that's ongoing.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JONES: And now, 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. All of this, of course, another sign of the challenges communities are facing in trying to stop the spread of this virus. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Understood. Athena, thank you very much for the reporting.

The Seattle Times says the state's governor, Jay Inslee, will announce severe restrictions on public gatherings today in order to try to slow the spread of coronavirus. 24 people in that state have died.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Seattle with the latest. So what's the plan, Omar?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn. At this point, per The Seattle Times, we're expecting Washington Governor Jay Inslee to announce his restrictions on gatherings of more than 250 people and at least three major counties, which, of course, include Seattle. Now, these restrictions are expected to be aimed specific live at sporting events, concerts, other cultural events happening in the area as well.

But this would be the latest precaution that Governor Inslee has taken to try to slow down the spread of coronavirus that we have seen throughout this state before it gets completely out of reach.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): When something doubles every day, it gets to a large number very quickly. So if there are a thousand 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.


JIMENEZ: Now, another major concern, and this comes from most vulnerable populations we have seen in this, the elderly population, those with underlying health conditions. And we've now learned that at least ten long-term care facilities in just the Seattle area alone now have at least either a resident or an employee that has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. And between those ten, we have seen 21 deaths, including at least 19 at one single facility.

It's part of why Governor Inslee put forward a directive on Tuesday restricting the visitation process for, again, family and others going to these nursing facilities, even the way these visits would be carried out, specifically staying in patients' rooms, for example. And out of the thousand cases we have seen across this country, more than a fifth have come from the state. Between the restrictions, school closures and more, this may just be a preview of what's to come in other jurisdictions across the U.S.

CAMEROTA: Omar, thank you very much, reporting for us from Seattle.

Joining us now it is CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, thank you so much for being here. We always have so many questions, as do our viewers.

First, the developments, the big developments. Let's just start here locally in New York. The containment zone in New Rochelle, what's the thinking behind keeping everybody in this however many square mile area?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, the governor has been talking about the fact that there were so many more cases there compared to New York City, which is obviously a much more populated area, so it really sparked concern for him. And the idea that you could really sort of kind of restrict mass gatherings, I think, was one of the biggest things.

I think if your question is, did you need to create a containment zone to achieve these objectives, I think, that's a very legitimate question.

CAMEROTA: But also, is it going to work?

GUPTA: Is it going to work?


Is it going to achieve that for bringing in the National Guard and everything? What does this going to mean every time there's other clusters around the country now? Is this the bar by which we're going to operate? I think it's going to be difficult to maintain that sort of momentum with different cities all over the country.

So I don't know. It's aggressive, for sure. And there's been aggressive measures in other countries around the world, clearly. But will it work and will that be able to continue in other places? I don't know.

BERMAN: And I think it's a poorly named thing, because it's actually not keeping people in. It's keeping people out. And it's stopping gatherings from taking place there. It may be that the only way he could force the schools to close and to do this is to declare the containment zone and put the National Guard there.

Let's play the Anthony Fauci sound before I get into rest of this conversation, because Anthony Fauci said something during the daily coronavirus briefing that I think was new. I think he was telling us that things have changed as of right now. So let's listen.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: As a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn't matter if you're in a state that has no cases or one case. You have to start taking seriously what you can do now that if and when the infections will come, and they will come, sorry to say, sad to say, they will.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: All right. The infections will come. He's sad to say it, but they will come, which is different than what the president said a few weeks ago, but we'll leave that aside. He said, you have to take actions. Now, Washington State, the governor is going to ban gatherings of 250 people. It's already there. But the schools that are closing around the country, including in places where they don't have serious coronavirus outbreaks.

GUPTA: Yes. So with regard to the other sort of interventions, the mass gatherings, possibly trying to create more social distance in all these sorts of ways, that clearly has shown benefit in other countries around the world. It's interesting as well. If it's going to be done, it does have to be done early. There's evidence that once you get beyond one percent of the population being infected, those measures may not have much more impact. So the idea of waiting and seeing how things play out may not really be an option here.

School closings, I think, are really interesting and there's going to be a lot of discussion on this. Because, obviously, everything in life has a risk-reward relationship. There's a significant toll to closing the schools, the impact, the social disruption, everything. Most of the modeling, most of the benefit has been based on flu studies. Kids get the flu. Kids can spread the flu that way. We know that they can carry coronavirus but we know that they're not really getting sick from it. And while they can spread it asymptomatically, that appears to be a rather small driver of spread.

So now, how do you sort of balance the benefits and the cons of school closings? I think there's going to be a big discussion, even when you go back and look at the flu, H1N1 in 2009, 700 schools were closed in the country, 50 in New York City alone. And in retrospect, it would be hard to sort of say, hey, look, that definitively made this amount improvement as a result. It's going to be a balance, I think.

CAMEROTA: Did something change yesterday, because it felt different yesterday? Things started to feel more real, more urgent, in some places, more dire. Is this what you've been predicting in terms of get ready for this, or did something, some new data come in or something?

GUPTA: No. I think that the public health officials have been predicting this for some time. Six weeks ago, even Dr. Redfield was saying, this is going to get a foothold in this country. It's going to happen.

I'll tell you what I think changed though, Alisyn. Because I think the officials on that stage when they were giving that press briefing seemed like they were freer to speak, a little bit freer to describe things the way they want to describe. I mean, before that, it was still like, look, it was really -- if you had to have a balance, it was really towards calming fears, which is obviously important.

When Dr. Fauci says, these will come, our way of life will change, the way that we interact with each other in this country has to change. Those are significant statements. Some of it is very personal, how I interact with you, how you interact with John, all of this sort of stuff on a daily basis. But a lot of it is societal, how hospitals are going to get ready for this as well.

BERMAN: Can I ask about Italy, because this is something that has jumped out to me. 10,000 cases, 630 deaths, so that's a 6 percent mortality rate, which is so much higher. It is so much higher than we've seen in other places around the world. Do we have any idea why? And I ask because you want to make sure the United States doesn't turn into this.

GUPTA: Look, again, we've been following this part of it. And I think in some ways this could have been predicted as well, here is why. First of all, you are dealing with an older population. So it's just a more vulnerable population. If you look at critical illness and mortality rates in people in their 70s and 80s, they're starting to get six to eight times higher than the general population, so more in line with Italy.

But I think here is the bigger, John, is that even if you go back and look at Hubei, why was Hubei so much higher than the rest of China? It was because of the sudden impact on the medical system. You had lives that probably could have been saved had there been enough hospital beds, had there been enough ICU beds, had there been enough ventilators. It's instructive, because we've been talking about that in this country for some time. We have an amazing public health system in so many ways, it is not built on redundancy.

We may need tens of thousands more ventilators that we have. We may need 100,000 more ICU beds. We've got to plan for that. Otherwise, there could be preventable deaths that might occur.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, so many viewers have questions and we are out of time in this particular segment. But next hour, you're coming back to answer all the viewer questions that have been pouring in.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: So thank you very much.

BERMAN: I can swear I saw you in Atlanta yesterday morning, in D.C. last night and then you walked out to the set here this morning.

GUPTA: I was like a ghost, yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you're cloning yourself, obviously, Doctor. Thank you very much.

You can join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for another CNN global town hall. That's tomorrow at 10:00.

Also, be sure to catch Sanjay's new podcast. This is so popular. This is just getting huge amounts of listeners. It's called, Coronavirus, Fact versus Fiction.

BERMAN: Answers so many of the questions you have and you need answers to.

So Joe Biden in command this morning, decisive wins in so many key states. We are waiting to hear from Senator Bernie Sanders.

Our coverage continues right after this.




BIDEN: Many of the pundits declared that this candidacy was dead. Now, we're very much alive.

The character of the candidates, the character of the nation is on the ballot. It's more than a comeback, in my view, our campaign. It's a comeback for the soul of this nation.


BERMAN: That was former Vice President Joe Biden after resounding victories in four states last night, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Idaho. They're still counting in North Dakota and Washington. But as it stands right now, no matter what happens, it was a big night for Joe Biden.

So joining us now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio. He's a former presidential candidate himself and is now a surrogate for the Biden campaign. He has endorsed Joe Biden. Congressman, great to see you this morning. Where do you see the race this morning?

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): Well, clearly, Joe Biden is starting to pull away, I mean, huge victories last night in the key State of Michigan, which I think everybody was watching, Missouri. But it's not just the states he won, it's how he won. Increase in turnout in the suburbs going for Joe Biden, huge wins in the African-American community, union Households. I mean, this is a huge coalition.

And I think, really, what it says, John, is that there are good, decent people in the United States. They don't necessarily like conflict. But they are appalled with the president of the United States and they want to beat him. And this silent majority is going to help us have very big wins as we continue in the primary but also take back the Senate and get this country back where it needs to be.

BERMAN: So you said they don't want to see conflict. What is it you want to see Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders do now?

RYAN: Well, I don't think the Sanders campaign is going to necessarily take any advice from me. But, look, all I can say is that, as Joe Biden starts to do better, is that we welcome the Bernie Sanders supporters as we have welcomed the Kamala Harris supporters and the Elizabeth Warren supporters.

BERMAN: But what do you think? I mean, because we just had Ro Khanna on, your colleague in Congress, who's the co-chair of the Sanders campaign. And Congressman Khanna says, Bernie Sanders is going to debate Sunday night against Joe. Do you think that's a good thing given that you think Joe Biden is pulling ahead now that you don't see a path for Bernie Sanders? Do you think that's good for unity in the Democratic Party for Bernie Sanders to get on that stage Sunday night?

RYAN: No. There's nothing wrong with a debate of ideas. I mean, I think Joe Biden has a terrific plan, a big vision for the country. And a debate is always welcome. But Senator Sanders and his team have to figure that out. And not only if there is going to be a debate, but what kind of debate. I think at this point, having -- trashing each other is not in the best interest of not just the Democratic Party but bringing some unity to this country. We see that from Donald Trump.

I think the country is ready to unite. They're ready to heal. And they see Joe Biden as a good and decent person, a steady hand in turbulent times. And more has to do with how the debate would be conducted and how Senator Sanders would approach it.

BERMAN: So Joe Biden had a broad base victory in most of those states last night, white voters, black voters, suburban, urban. But there is one demographic where he is lagging seriously, and he has had a lot of trouble making inroads, and that is with younger voters.

Now, let me put up some of those figures from Missouri and in Michigan. You see Bernie Sanders ahead of Joe Biden, 62 to 31. We see in Michigan, Sanders leads 64 to 32. So big, big wins for Bernie Sanders among younger voters. How can Joe Biden, how would you tell him, and you're a young guy, what would you tell to Joe Biden that he needs to do that he's not doing to reach these younger voters?

RYAN: Well, clearly, Bernie Sanders has done a terrific job over the past five years, really, of really connecting to those voters. And we will have a very aggressive effort to go and talk to those voters, those young voters about the future of the country.

And, I mean, look, Joe Biden helped pass universal healthcare for everybody in the United States. It took us 100 years to do that. That's not an insignificant act. He was the person who led the charge on banning assault weapons, a huge priority for the young people of this country, immigration reform, all of these issues. I mean, Joe Biden has been the leader around gay marriage.

So the issues that are important to these young folks, the future of our country, Joe Biden has consistently, over the course of his career, been aligned with their values. And we look forward to going out and talking to these college students, talking to these young people who we share their vision, we share their values.


And we just want to communicate that they're going to be welcome in our campaign. And we need to dislodge Donald Trump. So we need to do that by building this broader coalition, not to mention that Joe Biden has a big vision for the future economy, where these young people in the gig economy, new technologies around artificial intelligence and additive manufacturing, STEM, we have a plan for them to really thrive in the United States. BERMAN: I want to ask you about something you said in September, which is something we're now hearing from the Trump campaign and frankly from some supporters of the Sanders campaign, particularly in the progressive media. You said in September, September 5th, to Bloomberg, quote, I just think Biden is declining. I don't think he has the energy. You see it almost daily. And I love the guy.

So, Congressman, what did you see in September and is it different than what you're seeing now?

RYAN: Well, I saw someone early on in their campaign. And I think everybody starts a campaign not necessarily at their best. But I tell you what, if you have seen Joe Biden in last month, it is a candidate who is hitting his stride, he is clear, he is articulate, he has a big vision for the country. I thought his speech last night was one of the best political speeches I've seen in a long, long time, the way he captured people's hearts and emotions. You see him on the campaign trail. He's feisty, he's funny. He's Joe Biden.

And I think him, like me and every other candidate, it takes a while to get your sea legs after from being vice president and then out of office to a presidential campaign. All of us kind of stumble out of the gate a little bit. But I tell you what, what I saw last night with Joe Biden, I was ready to run through a brick wall for the guy.

And so a lot of us now with Ohio coming up next week, we're ready to rock and roll. We're excited to unite the country. We're excited to dislodge Donald Trump. And when you look at the numbers, John, the suburban voters, the silent majority, we're going to win the Senate. It's going to be Joe Biden, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate come November of this year.

BERMAN: It's a long way to go. So you'll have the opportunity to face a lot of those brick walls over the coming months. Congressman Tim Ryan, it's a pleasure to get to see you again. Come back to New Day really soon.

RYAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Right. The National Guard has been called into a New York City suburb to enforce a containment zone for the coronavirus. All the schools in the area will be closed for two weeks. Will this work?