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Joe Biden Increases Delegate Lead over Bernie Sanders in Democratic Presidential Primary; Bernie Sanders Wins North Dakota Primary; Coronavirus Continues to Spread across U.S. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired March 11, 2020 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: This could change this hour. Joe Biden has 787, Bernie Sanders trails with 647.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The key there, though, is Joe Biden has extended his lead overnight, which is the most important thing in this race. Also, major new developments in the coronavirus pandemic. Overnight, the number of cases topped 1,000 in the United States. Thirty-one people have now died. This morning, "The Seattle Times" reports that the state's governor there will announce restrictions today, bans on gatherings of more than 250 people. The number of cases in Massachusetts doubled overnight, and 70 of them, 70 cases are linked to one single meeting in a Boston hotel. New York's National Guard is being deployed to set up a one-mile containment zone in New Rochelle, that's just north of New York City. There's a cluster of more than 100 cases there. We're going to talk to the governor of New York in just moments. And if the pandemic has not changed your life yet, it will. That is the message from the top doctor in the president's coronavirus team.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: As a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. That it doesn't matter if you're in the 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: We have this crisis covered from coast to coast. We want to begin with CNN's Brynn Gingras live in New Rochelle, just outside this containment zone. Brynn?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, the clock for the two-week period of this containment period has started. We've already have seen some schools closed. There are public places that are being shut down, like places of worship. The National Guard, as you said, is going to be coming in, helping disinfect some of the public places, also hand out some food.

There is a testing facility that is going to be inside this containment zone, all in an effort to sort of contain this virus in this area of New Rochelle, a community which the governor has said is likely the biggest cluster in the entire United States.

Now, we are about a mile and a half outside the center of that containment zone, a temple where we know a 50-year-old lawyer who tested positive who didn't know at the time, but did attend services at that temple, and then after that, it sort of snowballed. His family tested positive, his neighbors, and then more and more cases. Listen to how the governor characterized the situation here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: It just so happened that it started with one or two cases. They 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: Local and state health officials are really trying to emphasize that this right now is a containment. It is not a lockdown. People will be able to move in and out of this whole one-mile radius zone. However, it still has people here that I've been talking to, Alisyn, concerned. I've been actually texting with someone who lives inside that zone. He says he's going to go about business as usual, but someone else has told me that they think more needs to be done, more schools maybe need to be closed because, remember, thousands of people are still under quarantine here. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: We can see people going in and out of that containment zone right behind you. The traffic, still, though, it has certainly slowed down this rush hour. Brynn, thank you very much.

The number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts more than doubled yesterday. The total in that state is now 92. Seventy of those cases are connected to a recent biotech conference. CNN's Athena Jones is live in Boston with more. What do we know about the situation there, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, easing the process for accessing federal aid, and also implementing new guidelines to try to prevent and mitigate the spread of this virus. Among those guidelines, canceling all conferences or holding them virtually. These moves coming after the state announced those 51 additional cases, bringing the state total to 92. As you mentioned, 70 of those 92 cases are linked to a meeting held here in Boston at this hotel last month by Biogen, a biotech company based in Cambridge. "The Boston Herald" reporting that almost 200 managers from all around the world, including Italy, attended that conference. Now, last week Biogen announced that three people who were at that

conference tested positive for the coronavirus. And so employees, an employee who was there, is being directed to work from home for the next two weeks.

[08:05:05]

But now cases traced to that conference are being reported statewide and beyond. Here's what the public health commissioner had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MONICA BHAREL, COMMISSIONER OF THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We heard from outside of Massachusetts of individuals being positive and that led us through cooperation with the employer to begin this process of contact tracing, which is a pretty 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: Now, 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, guys, this is just another sign of the challenges communities face in trying to stop the spread of this virus. John?

BERMAN: Athena Jones in Boston, where I know there is great concern this morning.

Also breaking this morning, "The Seattle Times" reports that the governor of Washington state is going to ban gatherings of more than 250 people. Twenty-four people have now died in Washington. CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Seattle with the very latest. In combination with the containment zone outside New York City, Omar, this really would be the most restrictive move by a leader of this country.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It would be, and it would potentially be a sign of things to come in many places across the United States. "The Seattle Times" reporting that Washington Governor Jay Inslee would impose restrictions on gatherings of more than 250 people across at least three major counties, which, of course, includes Seattle as well. This was specifically focused on concerts, sporting events, cultural events as well that would just happen throughout the city. And when you talk about the measures that are going into place, it is just among the latest precautions a leader is now taking to slow down the spread of the coronavirus here in Washington state before it gets completely out of hand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JAY INSLEE, (D-WA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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: Now, the governor also issued a directive Tuesday specifically to nursing homes, limiting the number of visitors that could come in at any particular time, but also that employees would need to be screened after every shift. And part of that stems from the fact that we have at least 10 long-term care facilities that have either an employee or a patient that have tested positive for the coronavirus. John?

BERMAN: Omar Jimenez for us in Seattle. Omar, thank you very much for that.

Joining us now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, Omar's whole report was terrific. I think the most important words he said, a sign of things to come.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Some of this is jarring for people to wake up to this morning, hearing about containment zones and what is happening there. But certainly, we're getting an idea of how these local municipalities are going to respond to these clusters of cases. There is no federal absolute mandate to handle things one way or another. I think it is going to be a question of the concern some of these communities have, some higher concern than others. Some of it is based on real data. A lot of it, as we've been talking about for weeks, is not because we haven't been able to test in those places.

CAMEROTA: Would it help to have a federal mandate or a federal plan? It seems as though the federal response has not been consistent. Obviously, we have many examples of that. It hasn't been clear to people. Would it help to have a federal mandate? And what grade would you give the federal response to this? You lived through things like this before.

GUPTA: Well, I think with regard to the first question, it would help to have some sort of uniform guidelines on this, because I think everyone is going to have a different trigger in terms of when to pull school closings, when to do these things like these containment zone type policies. So it's going to be all over the map. Unless it's uniform in some way, it may not have the same impact. You have to do these things early if you're going to do them at all. I think that's going to be a mantra that we're going to hear more and more. If you wait too long, it might still have impact, but a lot less.

I think grade-wise, I hate to say this because I have so many friends who work in public health, and so many of them are really good at what they do and have been working, but what has come out of it, I think ultimately, is probably a C-minus, because we have been so late on some things. We have not been innovative in trying to figure out how widespread this is. That was one of the basic things that we have been talking on this program for six weeks now. And even to this day, I'm still getting calls from people saying, yes, you guys are reporting, the testing is available, that's not the reality. We're not being able to get it. These are physicians and nurses and others people who are calling me, not just patients. So that's still a concern this many weeks into this. We don't have eyes on this.

[08:10:03]

I remember talking to Dr. Redfield early on, and he said we need to get eyes on this. It's almost like a hunt. It was that sort of metaphor. And many weeks later we still don't have eyes on this thing.

BERMAN: It's shocking. They finally came up with a number of -- the number of people tested yesterday, and it was between 4,000 and 6,000, it changed over the course of the day. That's shockingly low, Sanjay, given that South Korea is testing 10,000 a day. We have not tested in two weeks the amount that South Korea is testing every day.

GUPTA: I know. And the reality is people may not realize the history here, but the World Health Organization there was a test, obviously. It was being used in China, it was being used in South Korea. There was a test. We decided, the CDC decided to basically say we're going to create our own test. And there's maybe many legitimate reasons for that, maybe they thought it was going to be a better test, whatever. But in the end, the test was just too delayed. And sometimes there is this hubris. If it is not stamped in America, it doesn't have as much value. And in this case, we could have really benefitted from a test that was widely being used around the world.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, viewer questions are pouring in. I want to thread some into our conversation. Here is one from Saran in Minneapolis. "My son is being sent back home after his study abroad program in Italy was canceled. Should he self-quarantine and can I continue to go to work during his quarantine period?" I think this one is fascinating because why isn't there a mandate about this one? And people are wondering if their family members they think might have been exposed somehow, what should they do?

GUPTA: Yes, totally. First of all, the CDC has given guidance with regard to his particular situation. So they can find this, and what they say for him, he should self-quarantine for 14 days after coming back. There was some question, are you from -- coming back from northern Italy or southern, now they're saying Italy. If you come back from Italy, 14 days self-quarantine and social distance as much within the home.

As far as mom goes, there's no reason that she can't go to work. If he develops symptoms or if he tests positive, it changes the equation. But for now, he has self-quarantined, social distancing within the house, pretty much relegated to his room, or if he's a teenager he may want to be there anyway, but mom can go to work.

BERMAN: These colleges that have closed around the country, maybe think about students studying abroad here, seeing college after college, university after university shutting down or doing remote teaching. You're paying 70 grand a year for remote teaching. They're not doing classes. That's what people are paying tuition for. At what point do you think it is too much? Or how can you tell it if it's too much? I know you need to get ahead of this. Dr. Anthony Fauci said you need to do it before you see the cases. But if the students aren't the ones getting sick? GUPTA: Students -- I think there is two big issues here. One is that

a lot of the benefit that they saw with school closings was based on flu models where kids had flu and they were transmitting it. And campuses can be these real hotbeds for viral transmission, meningitis, things like that we have seen in the past. That's different here. You can carry the virus if you're not sick. You can spread the virus if you're not sick. But that seems to be a low driver. The big driver is going to be sick people, they say.

The second thing is are they really -- so what is different specifically? Are they going to go back into their homes? Are they really going to quarantine themselves there? Are they not going to be getting together in groups of young people? I doubt it, especially after a few days. Maybe it worked for a few days. So what is the reality of something like this? And obviously that's weighed against the sort of social disruption. Even Harvard has this happening, where they're pulling kids out of the dorms and sending them home. I'm not sure of the impact.

CAMEROTA: As Harvard goes, so goes --

GUPTA: We've got to save Harvard.

CAMEROTA: -- the country, as you know.

BERMAN: I was the one who objected to singling out Harvard earlier in the show. This is unfair.

GUPTA: Where did you go to school, by the way?

BERMAN: This is unfair mocking of me. I objected when we singled out including Harvard when we listed the fact that --

CAMEROTA: Somehow it snuck in there. I don't know how. Sanjay, thank you very much. In half an hour you'll be back to answer more viewer questions. Sanjay will also join Anderson Cooper tonight for a second CNN global town hall coronavirus facts and fears -- sorry, that's tomorrow night, Sanjay. Don't go to the studio right now. It is tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m. And for more answers, you should download Sanjay's new CNN podcast, "Coronavirus, Fact Versus Fiction."

BERMAN: We do have breaking news in the 2020 race. A projection on NEW DAY. CNN now projects that CNN Bernie Sanders will win North Dakota's Democratic primary. Once again, Bernie Sanders, CNN projects, has won North Dakota. You can see there --

CAMEROTA: Heavily.

BERMAN: Yes, 53 to 39 percent. It's a spread of less than 2,000 votes. Not a lot of people voting there in a party run primary. It's not a caucus. It's not the same thing as a fully open primary, it's a party-run primary. But you can see Bernie Sanders winning there, his only win so far of the night. The delegate spread there won't be that big and there aren't that many delegates up for stake. We should not that in Washingtostate, they're still counting votes at this moment. Sanders is ahead, but it is very, very close, and there is still a lot of mail-in ballots to be counted.

CAMEROTA: OK, so what will Bernie Sanders do next? We discuss that.

[08:15:02]

BERMAN: And there's still a lot of mail-in ballots to be counted.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So, what will Bernie Sanders do next? We discuss that.

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CAMEROTA: Well, Joe Biden is closing in this morning on the Democratic nomination. He is expanding his delegate lead after wins in Idaho, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi. The former vice president has 787 -- I think that's still the delegate count.

BERMAN: The most current delegate count that we have, but refreshes every minute here at CNN.

CAMEROTA: OK. Bernie Sanders has 647.

Just moments ago, CNN projected that Bernie Sanders is the winner in North Dakota. The votes are still being counted in Washington state, where Sanders and Biden remain locked in a virtual tie there.

Joining us now, we have MJ Lee, CNN political correspondent, Paul Begala, Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, and Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, CNN political commentator. He has endorsed Bernie Sanders.

OK, Paul, let's just start with the big news from last night. I mean, all of it is big news. Joe Biden has won decisively, even in Michigan. That was still a question yesterday at this hour.

So what changed since 2016? What happened last night?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And tied in Washington.

I mean, not just 2016, since 37 days ago, he was a weak Joe, a weak fourth in Iowa, he was a pathetic fifth in New Hampshire. Bernie beat him so badly in Nevada, it was more than 2-1.

[08:20:00]

He would have doubled Joe's vote in Nevada.

And now look at him. He's not running the table put he's coming awfully, awfully close. He had no money, he didn't have the organization that many of his opponents had, didn't have Sanders' money or organization.

So, I think that momentum is driven by a message. And it always is. You have all the organization, all the money, don't have the message, his message is: I'm the guy that can deliver you from trouble and that's what Democrats are looking for.

BERMAN: If you want a sense of the scope of the victories last night, Michigan, Missouri, and Mississippi, Joe Biden won every county, every single county in those three states.

Now, Bernie Sanders did just win North Dakota, we did just call that. But it was 212,000 people voting and the delegate map will be split.

And, MJ, also, among African-Americans in Mississippi, I think Joe Biden was up over 70 percent there. What decision does Bernie Sanders need to make or what do you think will factor in to the Sanders decision today and over the next few days?

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I thought it was obviously very telling he chose not to speak last night, that is very, very unusual, especially on an election night.

You know, in the past, Bernie Sanders has been sort of keenly aware of his opportunities to seize moments, to speak to his supporters, even if he's not having the best night that he wanted to have. He did communicate, you know, through our reporting that we had last night, but his intention is to participate in the CNN debate on Sunday night, we'll see if he goes ahead and does that.

The bad news for him, of course, is that if he does remain in the race, through next week, some of these big states that are coming up, Florida is top of mind for me, that is a very delegate rich state that Biden is expected to do very well in, so if he does stay in, the math could very well just become harder for him.

I think that the deliberations that Bernie Sanders is going to have to make in the coming days is if there is going to be an exit for him, how he makes that exit while making sure that he's sort of speaking to the supporters who have been supporting him, his whole time.

I think Democrats are going to be very aware that the idea of nominating Joe Biden in some ways is going to be a very tough pill to swallow, right? We're at a point where we have two white men in their late 70s, in a race that started with, you know, multiple women in the race. Multiple people of color, people of a younger generation.

These are the two that we are left with and I think as much as many voters have now decided and spoken up and said, Joe Biden is the guy who can take on Trump, still that is going to be a difficult choice I think for voters who felt like this was supposed to be a race that presented them with a different kind of a choice.

CAMEROTA: Abdul, we had Congressman Ro Khanna on last hour, the co- chair of Bernie Sanders' campaign. He said as far as he knew from the conversations he had in the past 24 hours with the campaign, that Bernie Sanders is banking on the debate, the CNN debate this weekend because he has seen the debates can shift momentum, the debates can pay off in the numbers. He watched it with Amy Klobuchar. He watched it with Pete Buttigieg.

And so, what are your thoughts watching these returns roll in this morning?

ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think that's absolutely right. This is what the opportunity is to go into that debate and potentially shift momentum. Because, you know, I think in this moment, if you want to understand what happened last Tuesday and yesterday, a lot of this is about fear. People are afraid you got this coronavirus epidemic, you got Donald Trump and both things together say, you know, I want my security blanket. Eight years in partnership with Barack Obama makes Joe Biden a nice security blanket.

The question is, what's the future? What is the after Trump? I think to be able to win, we have to be able to articulate that. And I think Bernie Sanders is banking on his ability to articulate a better after Trump that can bring people together.

The same time, we can't deny the fact this was a big momentum day for Joe Biden and there are questions about how our party comes together to beat Donald Trump in the end, I do think that, you know, Bernie earned himself the right to make his case on Sunday. And that -- we as Democrats have to make a decision about what our best chances are to beat Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Two points, one, coronavirus isn't going to make it easier for anybody to change the shape of the race. I think it will be difficult for either Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders to do a lot of the types of campaigning that they normally do if any of the types of campaigning.

CAMEROTA: Already canceled last night.

BERMAN: Canceled rallies. They're not doing rallies in Florida or Arizona. I don't know if they're going to be doing public speaking events there. We'll have to watch that very carefully.

So, Paul, the other thing here, and this is Abdul, just said this, you have to bring the party together. You've run primaries, you've won some, you've lost some. Winning is better than losing.

BEGALA: Losing sucks. Breaking news, it really sucks. It hurts.

BERMAN: But winning is hard, there are moments when winning is hard, and how you act when you win is hard. So how does the Biden campaign need to act now?

[08:25:-0]

How do they need to reach out to Bernie Sanders, the person, and the Sanders supporters?

BEGALA: I think Joe Biden has actually the most important quality in a politician and a president -- empathy, empathy.

He needs to listen to Dr. Sayed. Abdul, you give him great advice. He needs to listen to those voters who supported Senator Sanders.

He needs to understand, yes, just like investors, when things go bad, there is a flight to quality. I think Abdul is right. There say guy we don't like in the White House, this disease, we're going to go to the person who makes us feel safe.

But listen to what Abdul said, Joe, you got to get into the future. He's got to rip the rearview mirror out of his car. If you ask him a question, you say, well, what about women's issues, I wrote the Violence Against Women's Act, a quarter century ago. Ask him about healthcare, I helped my friend Barack pass Obamacare, ten years ago.

He's got to listen to Abdul and actually throw it into the future and tell everybody, how not only am I going to come for you today, I'm going to make your life better tomorrow.

Abdul, great advice. You -- I don't know why you waste a lot of money in med school, you should -- you should have been a political hack like me.

BERMAN: He's an epidemiologist, if we ever needed him, if we ever needed him, it's right now.

EL-SAYED: We are facing a coronavirus epidemic, I'm just saying.

CAMEROTA: Yes, please stick around. We're going to need you.

Thank you very much. Great to talk to all of you this morning with all of the great political news.

All right. In terms of the coronavirus, there is this containment zone. It is just outside of New York City. What does it mean? Is it working?

New York's governor joins us live with an update on the numbers and everything next.

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