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NBA Season Canceled; COVID-19 Cases Soar in Italy; Outbreak in New York Traced to Attorney; Trump Restricts Travel from Europe to U.S. for 30 Days; Asian Stocks Plunge Amid Coronavirus Pandemic; How to Offset Financial Fallout of Coronavirus Pandemic; Russia's Parliament Paves Way for Another Putin Term. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired March 12, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, I'm John Vause from the CNN Center with breaking news from the White House.
After weeks of criticism over his handling of the coronavirus health emergency, Donald Trump delivered a televised address from the Oval Office Wednesday night, announcing a raft of tough new measures to try to soften the financial impact of the coronavirus and contain the outbreak.
The big headline from the last few hours is his decision to implement a 30day restriction on most European travel to the U.S. The U.K. and Ireland are not affected by the ban which begins Friday night at midnight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.
To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The prime time presidential address was also an attempt to calm and reassure a nervous and rattled nation. We get details now from CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president spoke for about 11 minutes in the Oval Office last night, talking about his administration's response to the coronavirus in what really was his first acknowledgment of what a crisis it really has become, not just here in United States but across the globe.
One of the president's most restrictive measures that he announced is that he is banning all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days, starting at might on Friday.
Had to later be clarified by his DHS secretary, saying it wasn't that extensive, basically offering the fine print, later one saying that it will affect mostly foreign nationals in certain European country, leading up to their arrival in the United States.
But they said this does not apply to legal permanent residents, generally immediate family members of U.S. citizens and others identified in the proclamation.
So a really important clarification for those who are unsure about whether or not they should be traveling, how soon they should be returning to the United States.
Also the president seemed to be saying, when he was talking about that, the trade flowing between the United States and Europe would also be affected, something he later had to respond to in tweet, saying it only applied to human beings, not goods.
Very important for how these markets are going to react to the president's speech. He went on to say several other measures, how he wanted the Small Business Administration to dole out loans, have tax payment deferrals. He wanted to take emergency action to ensure that people who aren't getting paychecks because they can't go to work are still getting their paychecks.
We are waiting to see what the president has to say about this. But overall it was this 11 minutes speech from the president, hoping to reassure Americans and hoping, continuing to say that this will have a deadline on it though health experts say it is unclear.
The president saying this is one moment in time, this is not a financial crisis. Of course it remains to be seen just how widespread the effects of this are going to be, not given what they already are -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
VAUSE: And if market reaction is any indication, this presidential address was not received well. U.S. stock futures have plummeted. All major indices are down right now more than 4 percent. Many in Europe are waiting for the news of this just announced travel ban. CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now from Berlin.
For many there, this must be stunning news you are waking up to on a Thursday morning.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. Especially if you look at a country like Germany, France, they have deep relationships with the United States for decades. People traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. The Atlantic
routes of companies like Air France or Lufthansa, some of the biggest routes that they fly. Also that big industrial relationship between these countries as well, especially if you look at Germany and the United States.
And in Kaitlan's report, saying it would not affect goods. But one thing we have to keep in mind is that there are a lot of international German and American companies, that work in a transatlantic way.
PLEITGEN: They don't just send their executives back-and-forth, they also send specialists back and forth. A lot of those companies have been scaling down on nonessential travel, especially intercontinental travel. But there are certain things, when you talk about exports for the auto industry, where it's going to be difficult to compensate for that, especially in the south of the United States, places like North Carolina, South Carolina and, of course, the Georgia area where you are as well.
There's a lot of European, German companies that have settled in those places. So it's going to have an effect on trade as far as they're concerned. And then for Europeans, it's a big signal, for people to not be able to travel as freely to the United States.
And there are expectations for U.S. permanent residents who can still travel to the U.S. if they get proper medical screening. But there are going to be a lot of people that will have to last-minute cancel their travel and don't really know when they're going to be able to travel in the future.
As far as reactions are concerned, it's about 5:00 am here in Berlin, so not much coming out of political Berlin, political Europe, at this point. But our own Alex Marquardt was able to speak to some European diplomats, who said they didn't see this happening at all.
Others saying they were sure the U.S. was going to do anything but they didn't expect something as extensive as what the president announced.
VAUSE: I don't know if you can answer this, is there any explanation, any talk in Germany, as to why the U.K. and Ireland are exempt from the ban?
Doesn't that create a great big loophole?
PLEITGEN: Yes, the U.K., maybe because the U.K. is not in Shenzhen area, it doesn't have a border where you have to show your passport going into the United Kingdom. Europe hasn't closed its borders. Yet there has been some talk about potentially restricting travel within the Shenzhen area.
Austria has done a little bit of that from Italy. But by and large the Schengen borders are still open. I'm not sure about Ireland. Ireland is within the European Union. I'm not sure at this point. That seems strange. But the only way I can explain it is that because
there are no borders between the Shenzhen area.
Also here in Germany, people with coronavirus are people who traveled to Italy, then made it to Germany, made it on land to other parts of Europe. Whether or not that is the case, it's hard to say. Why there is that exemptions for the U.K., the fact that it is not in the Schengen area is the only explanation I can see for it.
VAUSE: It was a very garbled, unclear speech at times. Even though the president wrote it himself. Many people were wondering what he meant by all of it.
Many passengers at airports in the U.S. were taken off guard by this announcement from the president.
If they can't travel, will they be refunded?
One airline worker at JFK Airport tried to calm down the crowds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not going to happen tonight. (INAUDIBLE) common sense, that's all I can do. (INAUDIBLE) probably come out with a commercial policy like most international areas at some point in the next 24 hours.
The only thing that we really can do here for you is that if you really don't want to go, we are not going to make you go. But if the leader of the free world is (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Pro basketball is on hold in the United States. The NBA suspended the season after a player tested positive for the illness. Results came back just before the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were about to play Wednesday night.
Some games on Thursday were scheduled to take place but without spectators. CNN Sport's Carolyn Manno joins us with more.
All because one player who just a few days ago was making fun of the NBA's new coronavirus policies tested positive.
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Rudy Gobert, the two-time defensive player of the year, was reported to be diagnosed with the virus and an unfortunate incident on Monday, where he felt that the virus was overblown.
At a press conference, he proceeded to wipe his hands over everything deliberately in an attempt to just emphasize the fact that he felt like everyone was blowing this out of proportion.
That's not to say ha-ha, look at you, you have the coronavirus, I'm sure he's having a difficult time this evening in the wake of learning that he's the first player in the league domestically to be diagnosed with this thing. But it speaks to a larger point.
MANNO: In the world of sports, especially here domestically, we feel like we are insulated or impervious to some of the larger news stories happening around the world. Today this was the first concrete example that we are not.
This is affecting sports here domestically on a massive scale. It's going to bring everybody and everything to a halt. Players and owners, fans are in shock. They have a lot of questions for games played tonight.
One postponed because of Rudy Gobert and the last game canceled because one of the referees because he potentially had contact with Rudy Gobert.
Mark Cuban learned of the news just like everyone else when they filtered into the arenas. He was shocked when he learned that the NBA is suspending play until further notice. Here is what he is saying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK CUBAN, DALLAS MAVERICKS OWNER: This is something out of a movie. You just don't expect it to happen in real life. But that's the randomness of the world we live in. So it is stunning. But we are where we are. And we have to be smart with how we respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MANNO: John what happens now is that teams, players, everyone just tries to move, forward the games themselves have been suspended until further notice. The teams are saying that they will try to meet, get some practice time for, players.
But at this hour in this evening in the United States, plenty more questions in a story that did not going away anytime soon.
VAUSE: This is still very early days, early hours you could say. There must be a lot of unhappy players and fans out there.
Does the NBA have any idea how to address?
MANNO: I think the NBA is trying to first the digest the news that the entire rest of the regular season into the playoffs might be in flux. Playoffs set to begin mid-April. The finals are in June. I think we'll see those steps continue to evolve. The Golden State Warriors, at the tip of this iceberg, they were the first ones to say we are not going to play Thursday's game in front of fans. This is before the news said that they are going to suspend it completely.
They said that they're going to make an effort to reimburse everyone. So we'll see some of that. Also see the key take away, beyond just the season ticketholders, there are employees that depend on these games for their livelihood to make money. This affects executives at the top, all the way down to parking
attendants, ticket takers vendors, so it's thousands and thousands of people affected by this.
VAUSE: Yes. This clearly is an indication that things are getting worse, continuing to get worse for quite some time. We appreciate it. Thank you.
Life is coming to a standstill in Italy. The extreme measures being introduced by the Italian prime minister to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Also in China, the mass lockdown of millions may have been key to breaking the transmission of the virus. But could tough quarantine measures be introduced in the U.S. without an authoritarian government?
VAUSE: As the coronavirus crisis grows in Italy, the response from the government just gets tougher, ordering the closure of all restaurants, bars and shops. Only grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open.
The move comes after the number of confirmed cases jumped more than 12,000, the biggest 24 hour increase since the outbreak began. CNN's Ben Wedeman reports now from Bologna.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside the intensive care unit in a hospital in northern Italy, doctors and nurses struggle with what they say is a tsunami of new patients. Every day brings ever more new cases, ever more deaths.
Despite it all, the few tourists left in the northern city of Bologna pursue la dolce vita, though many sites are now closed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Italy is so beautiful outside but I think inside is better. But I have next trip, I think.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): This country of 60 million souls is now, in theory, under lockdown. Movement is restricted. Schools and universities closed. Public gatherings prohibited and all sporting events canceled.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day, this main square is full of people that stuck (ph) with each other, very close, kissing, handshaking. You don't see that now. So, of course, it's like the plague.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): The bubonic plague killed thousands here in the 17th century. Bologna survived and went on to prosper.
The cafes in the city's normally bustling central Piazza Majore are emptier than usual yet the few patrons are hardly panicking. Life must go on. The dogs still need to get out.
Two dark clouds hover over Italy at the moment. Of course, there's coronavirus. But many people here are, in fact, more worried over the long-term impact the virus will have on the economy.
Business has all but evaporated. If draconian measures are what it takes to bring it back, some say, so be it.
"We have to face the emergency with the strictest measures, like they did in China," says this woman. "It is a dictatorship but they did the right thing."
Across the street, this person says more should be done.
"I would be fine with a total 20-day shutdown," she tells me, "because people are afraid and work is going badly."
It's bad but this city has seen worse -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Bologna, Northern Italy.
VAUSE: Along with the president's announcement of a suspension of European travel to the U.S., many American cities are now banning large gatherings; 1,200 confirmed cases have been reported across 41 states and the District of Columbia, the largest clusters are in Washington, New York and California.
With the death toll at 38, the government's leading infectious disease expert warns there is still much worse to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. How much worse will it get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people, who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country. The bottom line: it is going to get worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: New York City has more than 100 confirmed cases, many suspect from one single patient, it is a cluster so big, New Rochelle has been made a containment zone, so the government has to deploy the National Guard. CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus catapulting the New York City suburb of New Rochelle into the national spotlight. The number of cases continue to spike, with a majority of them tracing back to a 50 year old lawyer who tested positive earlier this month.
ANDREW CUOMO (D), GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: New Rochelle has about three times the cases of New York City.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Lawrence Garbuz, identified by his wife in a Facebook post, did not know he had the virus. After retracing his steps, state health officials realized he commuted to New York City, where he is a partner at a law firm.
He attended a service at this local temple and, eventually, he went to an area hospital with symptoms of pneumonia. Doctors treated him for several days before he tested positive for coronavirus.
His wife saying in the post, she believes he was, quote, "rundown and susceptible to the illness."
Two days after his diagnosis on March 4th, she, along their two children, a neighbor and friends, all tested positive.
CUOMO: It took off like fire through dry grass.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Now about one week later, more than 100 people in New Rochelle have the virus. More than half trace back to lawyer and about 1,000 people are under quarantine. Tamara Weinberg (ph) is among them.
GINGRAS: What day are you on right now?
TAMARA WEINBERG (PH), QUARANTINED IN NEW ROCHELLE: I don't even know. The thing about quarantine is that every day feels like Sunday.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Weinberg is a member of the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue, the centerpoint of the containment zone. In an aggressive move to curtail the virus, the state ordered schools with a mile radius of the temple to close. An estimated 5,500 students are impacted.
Places of worship like Young Israel are shut down. The National Guard is being deployed deployed to assist the city with cleaning public spaces. A testing facility will also open in the designated area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't manage what you can't measure.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Some residents are questioning, is it enough?
Like this mother. Her son's school outside the containment zone remains open.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe that's closed 2-3 days (INAUDIBLE).
GINGRAS (voice-over): Garbuz's wife posting Tuesday she hopes her husband is, quote, "a messenger of something good, that his illness was able to make us all aware of the problem."
He remains in critical condition in the hospital.
GINGRAS: Officials stress this is a containment, not a lockdown, that means people will still be able to come and go from the designated area.
Will even more enforcement be needed to get a handle on this?
That is what some local residents are asking and in some cases are calling for.
VAUSE: The heavy hand of China's authoritarian government and the draconian measures it implemented widely seen as one of the main reasons why the number of coronavirus cases has fallen so dramatically so quickly. At one point hundreds of millions of people in tiny Chinese cities were under some kind of travel restriction or lockdown.
So can other countries like the United States implement quarantine to the same extent?
Georgetown University professor Lawrence Gostin is with us now from Washington, he is an expert on global health laws and, in particular, quarantine laws.
Good to see you. Thank you for being with us.
LAWRENCE GOSTIN, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Sure. Thank you.
VAUSE: Clear this up for us. What I have seen about quarantine laws, either it is an open and shut case, federal and state governments have an absolute authority to force anyone into quarantine or it is kind of an open question, especially at a federal level, which relies on the commerce clause of the Constitution to regulate commerce with foreign nationals and among several states.
That clause has been the focus of disputes since the days of Hamilton and Jefferson. SO you're telling me earlier, that you wrote these laws.
How do you see it?
GOSTIN: First of all, the federal government has very limited power with quarantine, in fact it almost never uses it and it is only really to prevent introduction of an infectious disease into the United States.
So the last time we used it was 50 years ago for one smallpox case. It turned out to be a false alarm. We have currently the largest federal quarantine we have ever had, which the evacuees from Wuhan, China, and also the evacuees from the two cruise ships.
But in the United States the primary power is with the states. So if we saw quarantine size and we will, it will absolutely be at the state and local level, not at the federal level. The federal government can't go into a state and start quarantining people within the United States.
So could the states do it?
They could do it if they had good evidence that there is an individual that had been exposed and imposed a significant rise to the public, but the lockdown of an entire city, America's not China, I can't see that happening here.
VAUSE: There's also the issue of any legal challenge, making sure that stuff on the legality on a state level but there is still the Constitution, that denies states and governments from denying anyone life or liberty or property without due process.
VAUSE: And in the context of quarantines, the right to due process is especially well defined.
GOSTIN: It's not but I think, as I say, I drafted the most state laws at the request of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention after the anthrax attacks and 9/11. So most of these laws require clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a risk, that there are no less restrictive alternatives to achieve the same purpose.
And there is some due process and it might not be a court but it might not be or a tribunal. But there has to be some due process, the same you would have for a civil commitment of met leo (ph). The Supreme Court has said that a civil commitment does require this type of individualized risk assessments.
So I think it is very clear in the United States that the Constitution would allow a reasonable, proportionate use of quarantine powers. But what is not at all sure -- and I'm quite sure would be unconstitutional -- is to lock down a whole city.
VAUSE: I wanted ask you about state laws but I guess they are all sort of a muchness. In Texas there is a evidentiary requirement that someone is actually suffering from a disease and is tested positive.
And just from a practical sense, if there's not enough testing kits right now in the United States, getting someone to test positive for the disease, when there's a widespread shortage of testing kits, it seems kind of difficult.
GOSTIN: It is but it is actually all a misconception because there is a technical difference between isolation and quarantine. Isolation is when somebody tests positive. You know they are infected. And then you isolate them.
Quarantine is when somebody who has been -- you suspect we've been infected, because we have been in contact with somebody with symptoms or diagnosed with COVID-19. For those, you don't need a positive test result. And in fact, it may not be positive at all.
So you would quarantine them for the length of period of incubation of COVID-19, which is 14 days. That is what we are seeing in the United States. Government, this self isolation, self quarantine and also compulsory quarantine for 14 days.
Any law, including the Texas law, would allow the quarantine of somebody, if you have good reason to believe that they would be infected or exposed.
However, we are not going to see, I don't think, the kind of mass quarantine we have seen in China or Italy. America is not China. American values would not tolerate the kind of social control, intrusive surveillance.
And China's used citizen informers and an app on your cell phone to monitor your movements. That's inconceivable to me that America would tolerate that.
And did you really see armed police forces on the borders of major cities in the United States, like New York or Seattle or Chicago?
I don't foresee that. I would be very alarmed if that were the case.
VAUSE: We have to leave it there, we're out of time. But thank you so much for clarifying where things stand. It's an important point to make, especially in the United States, what could be on the horizon, at least to some extent. We appreciate it.
GOSTIN: Thanks. Take care.
VAUSE: Oscar winner Tom Hanks says that he has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. So has his wife, Rita Wilson. They're currently in Australia.
Hanks posted on Instagram that they have slight fevers, body aches and felt tired, adding, "Well, now, what to do next?
"The medical officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one day at a time approach, no?"
The Trump administration has been sending mixed messages for weeks about the coronavirus. Even on Wednesday night, during a speech, the president's message was muddled and confused.
Will he stay or will he go?
The big choice for Bernie after poor showings. That's ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The main story this hour, President Donald Trump is restricting travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days in an attempt to stop or at least try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The new measures start midnight Friday, but they will not apply to permanent U.S. residents, American citizens, and travel from the U.K. will be exempt.
Ron Brownstein is a CNN senior political analyst and a senior editor at "The Atlantic." He is here with us from Los Angeles.
Good to see you, Ron. Thanks for being with us.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, John.
VAUSE: OK, so I guess if Dow futures are any indication, the president's national address didn't do a whole lot to reassure our nervous nation. In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect. How did you see the speech?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, if you view Donald Trump's presidency, I mean, the core of his hold on his voters has always been more about ideology than about competence. It's more about expressing cultural views, cultural anxieties, really, about the way that America is changing, more than it is a sense that he has kind of -- has got his finger on the pulse, and you know, is a day-to-day manager of the federal government.
And here, he now has a challenge that demands you do the job. And tonight was, on the one hand, an improvement in that he took it more seriously than he had in these very cavalier comments over the first several weeks. But it was just an extraordinary performance. I mean, he looked uneasy. He was twiddling his thumbs. There have been, I think, three policies that they identified in his speech. The White House has since had to clarify. There was nothing about this, I think, address that at the end left you feeling that, all of a sudden, things are under control. And I think the Dow futures reflect that.
VAUSE: And you made the point that -- that, you know, Donald Trump is -- sort of expressed his anxiety, I guess, of white middle-class America in many ways. And that was throughout the speech, too. It was classic Trump in many instances. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Taking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe. The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seated by travelers from Europe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So in between the lines, he's sort of saying this is a foreign virus. Europeans weren't as smart as he was to ban travel from China this foreign virus came from. And now the Europeans are paying the price. BROWNSTEIN: Yes. And you know, and other -- he did not go as far as
the Republicans in Congress, who are calling it the Wuhan virus, or the China virus, and you know, clearly trying to appeal to a kind of xenophobic sentiment, that the world is out there. It is a threat, and Donald Trump is literally building a wall against it.
Ultimately, I think here you see the limits of that, both in practical sense. I mean, you cannot wall yourself off from a virus in the modern world. Very -- a stark contrast with the way he kind of talked about this from the way that President Obama dealt with Ebola, where the U.S. was very focused in helping the frontline states contain it right at the source.
But I think also, again, in limited political value to this, because yes, there is a substantial audience that is drawn to Trump because of the way he expressed their cultural views and their cultural resentments.
That is not, by itself, enough to win. Ultimately, he needs a kind of circle of voters who are drawn to him because of the results, because of the performance. And he's had a piece of that because of the strength of the economy until recently.
This, however, is something that I really think, you know, throws into relief the question of can he do the job that you expect of the president? Not only is he a cultural avatar, not only is he expressing your views about what you think America can -- should be, can he do the day-to-day job. And I think this is the sternest test he has faced on that front in his presidency.
BERMAN: The big headline is the travel ban from Europe for the next 30 days. Yet, the World Health Organization as well as, you know, another recent study which looked closely at the travel ban that China imposed on Wuhan found that, you know, travel does slow for a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), but then it picks up again. The effect is negligible.
These bans, though, leave many countries reluctant to accurate report their numbers, make them public, in case they then get hit with a travel ban. On top of that, by not including the U.K., the president seemed to create this great big loophole you could fly a 747 through.
BROWNSTEIN: Literally, right? Look, and I think -- I think most public health experts will tell you that we are kind of past the point where we can wall ourselves off from risk.
Whatever the merits of minimizing or reducing travel from Europe, we are dealing with community spread in the U.S. And we are dealing with it in an astonishingly blinkered capacity because of the failure over these many weeks to develop the testing capacity in the U.S., which is -- which is just extraordinary and which I think is going to be the central issue in how this is litigated politically through the rest of the year.
I mean, the fact that even Sanjay Gupta held up his phone today, you know, on CNN earlier tonight and said that there were 8 tests conducted by public health entities in the U.S. today and zero by the CDC. I mean, that's just extraordinary. And it's a management failure of, you know, historic proportions at the moment.
Now, you know, our test moving out, yes. But this failure, I think, is really -- put the U.S. in a very difficult position where we don't know exactly what we are dealing with. And the likelihood is that we are going to be surprised in an unpleasant way on a daily basis, as we have made today with the cascading announcements by the NBA, the college basketball tournament, and so forth.
VAUSE: But then if you listen to Donald Trump in this -- you know, in this address from the Oval Office, everything under his presidency is amazing. You know, he's a sort of an example of it. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a virus in modern history. Our team is the best anywhere in the world. We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world by far. No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States. We have the best economy, the most advanced health care, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There has to be a line somewhere between playing the cheerleader in chief and being reassuring, and the guy who is just completely unbelievable and full of it.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, there was very little reassuring. And it was more about kind of almost defensive, you know, that I've done a good job. Rather than this kind of tone of, like, we've got this. I mean, I don't think you would come away feeling that.
Look, there is 42 percent of the country that's kind of in the conservative information transmission belt. That that is what they are hearing, and that is what they will believe. But as I said, ultimately that is not enough for the president to govern with or to win reelection with. And he needs an additional increment of the public to believe that he is, in fact, affecting a good job.
And that increment of the public is going to judge him not on his assertions, but on the results. If they see this coming under control in the U.S., I think people will, you know, respond positively. But if, in fact, it continues to spiral in the direction that it's heading. Who knows if there will be a baseball opening day, after what we have seen today from other sports leagues.
I think the president will be held accountable, because there is certainly a case that they have dithered and failed to act quickly enough, in part because of his desire to show that he, you know -- to argue that he had it under control long before there was any evidence that we did.
VAUSE: Yes. Good point to finish on, Ron. Thanks so much for being with us. Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles. We appreciate it. BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.
VAUSE: U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has broken his silence after his bruising loss in this week's Super Tuesday, the sequel. Sanders plans to stay in the race and is especially looking forward to his first one-on-one debate with Biden this coming weekend.
He also says while he's losing in the delegate count, his progressive agenda is winning over many Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country, and you must speak to the issues of concern to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joe Biden cemented his frontrunner status with wins in critical states on Tuesday, and he appeared to gently encourage Sanders to drop out, saying they could defeat Trump together.
In a campaign memo obtained by CNN on Wednesday, Biden's team also argued it would be nearly impossible for Sanders to overcome his current delegate disadvantage.
Well, it's been a brutal week for world markets. We'll see how the markets in Asia are trading just hours after the announcement from the president of tough new travel restrictions. And as you can see there, it is right across the board, from 1.3 percent all the way up to more than 4. We'll have the latest when we come back.
Also, what governments and businesses can do to try and reassure the markets and avoid a total global financial collapse.
VAUSE: Asian stock markets are plunging after President Trump announced travel restrictions from Europe to the United States. And the Dow has ended bear market territory.
Right now, let's take a look at the numbers across Asia. The Nikkei down by more than three percent. Hong Kong by more than four percent. Shanghai composite down by almost one and a half percent. The Seoul KOSPI down by 4 and a quarter percent.
Keep in mind, these numbers are down after, you know, a week where we also saw numbers majorly down, as well.
For more, journalist Kaori Enjoji is live from Tokyo. So, you know, these numbers just keep going down.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Yes. I mean, initially, we started the day off, John, on a relatively steady footing. But then, when the U.S. president, Donald Trump, started to speak, it all U-turned. And I think there was a lot of confusion about what he meant about the travel restrictions.
Initially, the market interpreted as he said that it would include goods and -- you know, goods, as well. And that would deal a severe blow to the economies in Europe that are suffering already. And that was corrected later on. And so that sort of fueled this sell-off that we're seeing in the Asian markets and in Dow futures. Down futures are now down over 800 points, in very, very volatile trading.
The equity markets and Asia are starting to come off some of the lows. But still, we are seeing some fairly hefty sell-offs that have taken the Tokyo equity market to its lowest point in nearly 3 years. There's a lot of pressure on the Bank of Japan and the U.S. Federal Reserve, and the European Central Bank to do more. But the Bank of Japan has its hands tied, as does the ECB, because interest rates are pretty much at zero already.
But he was called into the prime minister's residence today. They've been meeting one-on-one several times over the last week. And there's a lot of speculation in the markets that there will be pressure to do more. Possibly make more funds in the market outright, as they have been when the market starts to tank like this.
There's also the psyche, of course. You're seeing major events being canceled, like the NBA, but an iconic event here, high school baseball has been canceled for the spring season. And that kind of psyche change is weighing very, very heavily on sentiment and on consumption. At a time when it was already weak, even before the coronavirus. So I think people are starting to calculate how deep this recession is going to be. Not if but how deep it's going to be, particularly because we're already halfway there.
When you take into account the two quarters of back-to-back negative growth, is technically already a recession.
You're hearing more small and medium-size companies go belly up in Japan because they can't -- they don't have the funds to weather this economic storm.
So I think initially, it was a bit of a stable day. But I think it all U-turned after those travel restrictions were announced, John.
VAUSE: Kaori, thank you. Yes, it's interesting to see what options they will have, given that, you know, interest rates are already in negative. There's not a lot of money in the bank for some good old financial pump priming. So options are limited.
Thank you. Good to see you. Kaori Enjoji live in Tokyo.
Europeans' central bank is expected to announce a possible rate cut on Thursday to soften the financial impact from the coronavirus. ECB President Christine Lagarde warns that without a unified response, Europe will see a scenario that will remind many of us of the 2008 great financial recession. But one international columnist says whatever the central bank does probably won't make much of a difference anyway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED EL-ENAN, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISOR, ALLIANZ: I don't know what they can do. I know what they will do. But I'm not sure it's going to help.
They will probably give us a notional interest rate cut of 10 basis points. They will talk about being ready to increase the asset purchases, where they go and buy bonds.
But rates are so low, this is not about funding costs. This is about something that the ECB cannot alter itself. I hope that they will be focusing like a laser on the functioning of markets and the health of banks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: But as CNN's Richard Quest explains, there are measures governments and businesses can take which will minimize the economic fallout.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The emergency is upon us. And policymakers and central bankers now deciding what they can do to help.
These are the levers of the economy. We know how they work. We know which ones need to be pulled.
For example, central banks, interest rates, monetary policy. As that gets pulled there have already been emergency interest rate cuts. The Fed and the Bank of England have lowered rates.
Some are considering quantity of easing. The European Central Bank, the ECB, will make its own policy decisions on Thursday.
So if that's what central banks do, then you've got fiscal stimulus. Pull the lever, and remember, everyone has been saying that governments need to do more. Boost government spending, tax work -- tax cuts for workers and corporations. More money into the hands of consumers.
The British government had its budget. The Australian government had its budget. The Italian government has already come up with billions of euros extra and spending necessary.
And then you have the private sector. What can the private sector? Emergency aid from governments for industries worst hit: airline, cruise industries, health, industry hospitals that need extra cash.
And for individuals, expand the paid leave for sick or quarantined workers. There are plenty of levers that can be pulled in the economic battle that lies ahead.
Richard Quest, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Still to come, President Vladimir Russia could potentially lead Russia for another 16 years. Not everybody -- not everyone's thrilled about that. Reaction from Moscow in a moment.
VAUSE: A proposed change to Russia's constitution could have a dramatic but not entirely unexpected impact on the country's leadership. It could allow Vladimir Putin upcoming, election to lead Russia for another 16 years.
CNN's Matthew Chance reports from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is Russia's Parliament basically paving the way for Vladimir Putin to potentially stay on as Russia's president until 2036.
He's already been in power, of course, for 20 years. And after his current presidential term ends in 2024, he's constitutionally barred from standing again. Putin's already been elected president four times, and he's twice been prime minister.
These latest amendments would reset to zero his number of presidential terms, allowing him the possibility of staying in -- staying in office for two more six-year periods, by the end of which the Russian leader, who's now 67, would be 83 years old.
Well, as you might expect, opposition figures in Russia have expressed outrage. Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said he believes Putin will now try to become president for life.
And opposition activists say they're organizing protests later this week against the move to allow Putin to stay on.
Well, the measures, which have now been passed by both houses of the Russian Parliament, still have to jump over a few more legal hurdles before they become law, including scrutiny from the country's constitutional court, and finally, a public vote on April the 22nd, in which Russians themselves could decide whether they want to potentially keep Vladimir Putin as their leader.
Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: Disgraced movie mogul and rapist Harvey Weinstein has been sentenced to 23 years in prison on sexual assault charges.
And the judge in New York also ruled he must register as a sex offender.
The high-profile sexual assault case against Weinstein ignited the #MeToo movement in the U.S., but it's not over yet. Prosecutors have already started the extradition process to try Weinstein in Los Angeles for other sexual offenses.
After Weinstein was sentenced, Gloria Allred, who represents some of Weinstein's accusers -- victims said this is what justice looks like.
Weinstein was later taken to the hospital, suffering chest pains.
We've been marking My Freedom Day as children around the world make their voices heard in the fight against injustice. More on this day of action when we come back.
VAUSE: CNN has been marking My Freedom Day by partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern-day slavery, as well as other injustices. They've been posting on social media about what freedom means to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me freedom is the freedom to learn and the freedom to live.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom for me is knowing that I can achieve anything, even though I come from Kenya.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me is getting an education.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, freedom is when you are free to do something, and there's no one that can stop you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be free is to be happy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are broadcasting against human trafficking. And especially, we are raising our voice for children, because 50.6 percent of human trafficking involves children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is doing what you like. And liking what you do is absolute happiness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me freedom is being able to decide what I want to do with my body.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, freedom is to choose with whom I want to spend my time with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is to stand against hunger and starvation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is stay safe from coronavirus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is a chance to be better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For me, freedom is if society will accept me for who I am, because first, I'm a part of the LGBTQ community. So sometimes, people discriminate me from a lot of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom to me means being able to live life devoid of the fear of being kidnapped and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For me, freedom means being able to make my own choices for my life and future career.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom!
VAUSE: Freedom. For more about My Freedom Day, and the mission to end modern-day slavery, please go to CNN.com/freedom.
That does it for this hour. I will be back, though, with a whole lot more CNN NEWSROOM after a very quick break. Don't go away.