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Major League Baseball Delays Opening Day Over Coronavirus Fears; Bernie Sanders Speaks Out on Coronavirus. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired March 12, 2020 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Moments ago, the governor of California said the test kits his state received were incomplete.

One of the nation's top health experts is calling the situation in the United States as a whole -- quote -- "failing."

But when President Trump spoke about the crisis today, he was telling a different story.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's an amazing thing how fast this one spreads. This is -- this is a very fast spreader. And the question is, how many people will die? And I don't want people dying.

That's what I'm all about. I made a very tough decision last night and a very tough decision a long time ago with respect to China. I don't want people dying. And that's why I made these decisions.

And whether it affects the stock market or not, very important, but it's not important compared to life and death. It's going to be a pretty strong enforcement of quarantine.

Look, the key is, you have to have separation. We have to have separation, or this thing takes longer to go away.

Frankly, the testing has been going very smooth. If you go to the right agency, if you go to the right area, you get the test.


BALDWIN: Congress has canceled their recess next week. Now various industries are doing what they can to fill in the gaps.

In the world of sports, the NHL, NBA Major League Soccer have all canceled their seasons. NASCAR, PGA holding events without fans, and we're still waiting for decisions from Major League Baseball and the annual NCAA Tournament known as March Madness.

Princess Cruise is announcing it will suspend global operations of its entire fleet for the next 60 days. An estimated 400,000 students all the way from K to 12 will not be in attendance at U.S. public schools because of long-term closures.

That is in addition to numerous colleges and universities that have moved classes online. And now the state of New York is joining Washington state in banning large groups. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing that, starting tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., gatherings of more than 500 people are prohibited.

Let's go now to Senator Bernie Sanders.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- the crisis of the coronavirus continue to grow exponentially here in the United States and around the world.

And we have witnessed a global economic meltdown, which will impact millions of workers in our own country.

In terms of potential deaths and in terms of the economic impact on our economy, the crisis we face from the coronavirus is on a scale of a major war. And we must act accordingly.

Nobody knows what the number of fatalities may end up being or the number of people who may get ill. And we all hope that number will be as low as possible.

But we also have to face the truth. And that is that the number of casualties may actually be even higher than what the armed forces experienced in World War II.

In other words, we have a major, major crisis, and we must act accordingly.

Therefore, it is an absolute moral imperative that our response, as a government, as a society, as a business community, and as individual citizens meet the enormity of this crisis.

As people stay or work from home and are directed to quarantine, it will be easy for us to feel like we are all alone, I'm working at home, not in my office, or that we must only worry about ourselves and think that everybody else should fend for themselves.

But, in my view, that would be a tragic and dangerous mistake. If there ever was a time in the modern history of our country when we are all in this together, this is that moment.

Now is the time for solidarity. Now is the time to come together with love and compassion for all, including the most vulnerable people in our society who will face this pandemic, from a health perspective or face of face it from an economic perspective.

If our neighbor or co-worker gets sick, we have the potential to become sick. If our neighbor loses his or her job, then our local community suffers, and we may lose our jobs.


We are in this together.

If doctors and nurses and medical personnel do not have the equipment and the training and the capacity they need right now, people we know may unnecessarily face additional illness and even death.

We are all in this together.

Unfortunately, in this time of international crisis, it is clear to me at least that we have an administration that is largely incompetent and whose incompetence and recklessness have threatened the lives of many, many people in our country.

So, today, I would like to give a brief overview of what, in my view, we must do to respond to this crisis.

First and foremost, we are dealing with a national emergency. And the president of the United States must understand that and declare that emergency.

Next, because President Trump is unwilling and unable to lead selflessly, we must immediately convene an emergency bipartisan authority of experts to support and direct a response that is comprehensive, compassionate and based first and foremost on science and fact.

In other words, Congress, in a bipartisan manner, must take responsibility for addressing this unparalleled crisis.

Further, we must aggressively make certain that the public sector and the private sector are strongly cooperating with each other. And we need national and state hot lines staffed with well-trained people who have the best information available.

One of the aspects of the current crisis is, there are people who are asking themselves, what are the symptoms of coronavirus? Do I have a cold? Do I have the flu? Do I have the coronavirus? Who is going to help me? Where do I go to seek medical treatment? How do I get a test? When is that test going to be processed?

People have a lot of questions. And at the statewide and federal level, we need experts to provide the necessary information to our people.

The American people deserve transparency, something that the current administration has fought day after day to stifle.

In other words, we need to know what is happening right now in our country, in our states, and, in fact, all over the world. If there was ever a time for transparency and honesty and being straightforward, this is that moment.

And we need that information coming from credible, respected, scientific voices, of which we have many in our own country and all over this world, not from politicians.

And during a crisis, we must make sure that we care for the communities most vulnerable to the health and economic pain that is coming, those in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, those confined to immigration detention centers, those who are currently incarcerated and in jails, and all people, regardless of their immigration status.

Unfortunately, as I think the American people increasingly understand, our country is at a severe disadvantage compared to every other major country on Earth because we do not guarantee health care to all people as a right.

And, as we speak, some 87 million Americans are either uninsured or underinsured. And when you are uninsured or underinsured, you hesitate about getting the medical care you need because you cannot afford to get that medical care.

The result is that millions of our people cannot afford to go to a doctor, let alone pay for a coronavirus test.

So, while we work to pass a Medicare for all single-payer system, the United States government today must make it clear that, in the midst of this emergency, every one in our country, regardless of income or where they live, must be able to get all of the health care they need without cost.


Obviously, when a vaccine or other effective treatment is developed, it must be free of charge. We cannot live in a nation where, if you have the money, you get the treatment you need to survive, but if you're working-class or poor, you get to the end of the line.

That would be morally unacceptable.

Further, we need emergency funding right now for paid family and medical leave. Anyone who is sick should be able to stay home during this emergency and receive their paycheck.

What we do not want to see is, at a time when half of our people are living paycheck to paycheck, when they need to go to work in order to take care of their family, we do not want to see people going to work who are sick and who can spread the coronavirus.

We also need an immediate expansion of community health centers in this country, so that every American will have access to a nearby health care facility. Where do I go? How do I get a test? How do I get the results of that test? Need greatly to expand our primary health care capabilities in this country. And that includes expanding community health centers.

We need to determine the status of our testing and processing for the coronavirus. The government must respond aggressively to make certain that we, in fact, have the latest and most effective tests available, and the quickest means of processing those tests. There are other countries around the world who are doing better than

we are in that regard. We should be learning from them. No one, none of the medical experts that I have talked to, dispute that there is a major shortage of ICU units and ventilators that are needed to respond to this crisis.

The federal government must work aggressively with the private sector to make sure that this equipment is available to hospitals and the rest of the medical community. Our current health care system does not have the doctors and nurses we currently need. We're understaffed.

During this crisis, we need to mobilize medical residents, retired medical professionals, and other medical personnel to help us deal with this crisis.

We need to make sure that doctors, nurses and medical professionals have the instructions and personal protective equipment that they need. This is not only because we care about the well-being of medical professionals, but, if they go down, then our capability to respond to this crisis is significantly diminished.

The pharmaceutical industry must be told in no uncertain terms that the medicines that they manufacture for this crisis will be sold at cost. This is not the time for price-gouging or profiteering.

The coronavirus is already causing a global economic meltdown, which is impacting people throughout the world and in our own country. And it is especially dangerous for low-income and working-class families, people who today, before the crisis, are struggling economically.

Instead of providing more tax breaks to the top 1 percent and large corporations, we need to provide economic assistance to the elderly. And I worry very much about elderly people in this country today, many of whom are isolated, many of whom do not have a lot of money.

We need to worry about those who are already sick. We need to worry about working families with children, people with disabilities, the homeless, and all those who are vulnerable.

We need to provide, in that context, emergency unemployment assistance to anyone in this country who loses their job through no fault of their own.


Right now, 23 percent of those who are eligible to receive unemployment compensation do not receive it. Under our proposal, everyone who loses a job must qualify for unemployment compensation, at least 100 percent of their prior salary, with a cap of $1,150 a week or $60,000 a year.

In addition, those who depend on tips -- and the restaurant industry is suffering very much from the meltdown -- those who depend on tips, gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors, must also qualify for unemployment insurance to make up for the income that they lose during this crisis. We need to make sure that the elderly, people with disabilities, and

families with children have access to nutritious food. That means expanding the Meals on Wheels program. It means expanding the school lunch program and SNAP, so that no one goes hungry during this crisis and everyone who cannot leave their home can receive nutritious meals delivered directly to where they live.

We need also in this economic crisis to place an immediate moratorium on evictions, on foreclosures, and on utility shutoffs, so that no one loses their home during this crisis and that everyone has access to clean water, electricity, heat, and air conditioning.

We need to construct emergency homeless shelters to make sure that the homeless, survivors of domestic violence, and college students quarantined off campus are able to receive the shelter, the health care, and the nutrition they need.

We need to provide emergency lending to small and medium-size businesses to cover payroll, new construction of manufacturing facilities, and production of emergency supplies such as masks and ventilators, a very serious problem right now in the midst of this crisis.

Here is the bottom line. And that bottom line is that, in the midst of this unprecedented moment, we need to listen to the scientists, to the researchers, to the medical folks, not to politicians.

We need an emergency response to the current emergency. And we need it immediately. We need more doctors and nurses in underserved areas. We need to make sure that workers who lose their jobs in this crisis receive the unemployment assistance they need.

And in this moment, in this moment, we need to make sure that, in the future, after this crisis is behind us, we build a health care system that makes sure that every person in this country is guaranteed the health care that they need.

Thank you all very much.

BALDWIN: Senator Bernie Sanders' assessment on all things coronavirus.

And really now, in the last 24 hours, you have heard from all three men, all of whom would like to be your president in the next four years. We heard from President Trump, his prime-time address from the Oval last night. And then we heard from former Vice President Joe Biden a little earlier this afternoon, and now Senator Bernie Sanders.

And, obviously, we're looking at this.

Abby Phillip let me bring you in.

We're looking at this from a lens of substance and also style and thinking, could this be our next president? What did you think of what he said?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's what you would have expected from Bernie Sanders.

I mean, I think his campaign looks at this squarely through the eyes of their signature issue, which is Medicare for all. I think, over the last several days, you have been hearing ad nauseum from them that they believe that the coronavirus crisis is actually the clearest rationale for a system in which people are able to go into the doctor, get the treatment that they need, get the testing that they need, and not worry about the cost or going bankrupt because they have gotten sick.

But, at the same time, the reason Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden both came out this afternoon and gave these speeches is because President Trump opened that door for them last night, with his speech last night, riddled with all kinds of falsehoods about his own plans, about the status of the situation, and about -- and lacking really in a lot of substance that people were looking for about how his administration planned to ramp up things like hospital capacity and ventilator capacity and planned to deal with the fact that the virus is already within the United States' borders.


He created an opportunity for his rivals essentially to say, here is my alternative to that speech that the president gave last night.

And I think that we're going to see a lot more of this. This is a major leadership test for these candidates.

BALDWIN: It is. It is. We have seen it in clear view in the last 24 hours.

Abby, thank you for your assessment.

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers were briefed today and told that the U.S. has only tested 11,000 people total out of a nation of more than 300 million. And members of both parties were visibly frustrated.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Were you satisfied with what you heard in there in terms of the level of testing?

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R-IA): There's questions that haven't been answered. And until I get answers, I wouldn't want to make a judgment whether or not I'm satisfied.

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): The bottom line, you walk out of the meeting saying, we are not where we need to be. We're not sure when we're going to get there. We're flying blind.

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): People should not say, if you want a test, you go get a test right now. That's coming. That's not here at this point. We're still a couple of weeks away from that.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-WA): I do believe testing will be ramping up between the private sector and the public sector. But it is not systematic. It is confusing. And I understand why people are rightfully frustrated.

So are we.


BALDWIN: CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is in Atlanta.

And I want to talk to you about testing in just a second.

But as we were listening to all the sound bites, my producer just got in my ear and told me that now Major League Baseball has been -- has now delayed its opening day. It was set for later this month. Add it to the list, Elizabeth.


And I will tell you, Brooke, this is so unfortunate, and who would have ever thought we would have gotten to this point? But the infectious disease experts that I have been talking to and the epidemiologists, they say that we have no choice. This is the way to go.

We tried to snuff this out case by case, take a sick person, isolate them, quarantine their family and close friends. But that didn't work. It didn't contain the virus.

And now we have to go to these large-scale efforts. We have to be canceling games. We have to be canceling concert. South by Southwest is canceled. There really isn't a choice.

BALDWIN: Let's get to the tests, because there's so much conflicting information out there. I mean, bottom line, we need more tests.

But what can you tell me about where things stand?

COHEN: Well, where things stand right now is that -- so, in the beginning, all the tests were done by the CDC in Atlanta. That was true for many, many weeks, and, really, for far too long.

Now tests are being done in almost every state lab. So these are labs owned by state governments, as well as county labs. New York City lab is doing testing.

But, still, it is not enough. I hear that over and over again from doctors who I talk to. It is not enough. And so they basically have to really ration these tests. So, if you or I, as young people under the age of 60, no underlying medical conditions, walked in and said, my nose is stuffy, my throat hurts, I'm a little bit tired, I'm achy, they're going to say, Brooke, Elizabeth, go home.

They are probably not going to test us, at least not the hospitals that I have been talking to. They are testing people who, if you have symptoms and you have had contact with someone with coronavirus or you just hopped off a plane from China or Italy or another coronavirus hot spot, then they would consider testing you.

But they are having to say no to a lot of people.


Elizabeth, thank you for that.

More on the breaking news this afternoon or coronavirus. Now we have learned, in the state of New York, they're banning large gatherings of 500 people or more. Now Broadway has officially canceled its shows in the city.

Also, nearly half-a-million students are out of school as the country adjusts to this new normal. We will talk to a mom with three college students impacted by the closures.

And the sports delays and cancellations continue to pour in. We just told you about Major League Baseball delaying its opening day. It was set to be March 26. That's now delayed. We will get you everything we know coming up.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: Coronavirus in the United States, here are the latest numbers we have, 1,400 confirmed cases, 39 deaths.

And, in Australia, Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive for coronavirus, Hanks confirming their diagnosis on his Instagram account, writing that they had mild body aches, fever and the chills.

The hits to the entertainment industry continue to come. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld canceled his weekend stand-up shows in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art closed. More talk shows taping without audiences, and Broadway -- Broadway theaters have suspended performances. This is following an usher who tested positive for coronavirus and the governor's mandate to bar gatherings of 500 or more.

In the world of sports, there is more breaking news. As we mentioned, Major League Baseball has just announced they will delay opening day by two weeks. In addition to that, the NBA suspended their entire season in dramatic fashion last night during the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game.

Two of the Jazz players tested positive for coronavirus. One of those two players is All Star center Rudy Gobert. The second player is Donovan Mitchell, who confirmed his diagnosis on Instagram.

And Carolyn Manno is our CNN sports reporter. She's with us now with more.

And let's just start with Major League Baseball, Carolyn, since that just came down.

Tell me what you know about the delay.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the delay I think is just a protocol that's set in place right now, while the league tries to figure out what's going on.

I think, over the last couple of days, Brooke, we have seen a distinction between sporting events that are held indoors vs. those that are held outdoors. Maybe there is a little bit of leeway there moving forward for the league.

But they are one of the few shoes to drop here that has brought the entire sports world to a complete halt. And the NCAA Tournament is the other shoe to drop. That's the big shoe.

So, everything started with the NBA, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, two players who now have this virus. And today is very much about information, Brooke.