Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Restricts Travel from Europe to U.S. for 30; Tom Hanks and Wife Rita Wilson Diagnosed with Coronavirus; Coronavirus Pandemic; American Couple Back Home After Long Quarantine. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired March 12, 2020 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Ahead this year -- this hour, I should say, Trump's new travel ban. The U.S. president cracks down on European visitors as coronavirus fears intensifies.

Global stocks take another beating over the pandemic plunging the Dow Jones into bad territory. And the coronavirus holds one of the world's biggest sporting leagues, the NBA announces it's suspending the season.

Well, after weeks of criticism over his misleading statements and handling of the coronavirus outbreak, Donald Trump has announced a raft of new measures. In a prime time address from the Oval Office, the President announced he's restricting travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days. The ban starts midnight on Friday. But it will not apply to permanent U.S. residents, American citizens, or travel from the U.K. and Ireland.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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. 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.


VAUSE: And after that address, the president tweeted a clarification of thoughts. "Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats. And please remember, very important for all countries and businesses to know, this is the clarification, that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people, not goods."

Many in Europe are now waking to this new of the just-announced travel ban. CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in Berlin where it's just gone 6:0 a.m. And Fred, this is sort of stunning news for you waking up to on a Thursday morning.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is stunning news to be waking up to. And we've sort of been scanning around German news, European news early this morning. There really isn't very much in the way of reaction coming from the continent right now.

We know that our own Alex Marquardt spoke to some European ambassadors or European diplomats, I should say. And the echo that he got from them, as some of them said, they expected something would happen. They sort of got a wink that something might happen from the U.S., but certainly nothing of this magnitude.

There's other apparently diplomats who said they didn't know anything was coming at all. So you're absolutely right. It is pretty much shocking news not just to folks here in Germany, but certainly to Europeans as a whole.

Now, one of the things we need to point out, John, is that of course, a lot of businesses here in Europe have sort of been trying to have less sort of in transatlantic travel going on, non-essential travel going on. A lot of them are teleconferencing, there has been a steep decline in flight bookings.

If you look at, for instance, the German flag carrier, Lufthansa, they just announced yesterday that they were canceling 23,000 flights in total. A lot of those are within Europe. But of course, they've also downsized a lot of their transatlantic routes as well and for instance, are thinking of taking their entire A-330 fleet out of commission.

So a lot of businesses have already sort of been building up to try and travel less transatlantically (ph), but of course, there are businesses that simply do this every day. They have to go back and forth between Europe and America just to keep their business running. You look at, for instance, the German automakers, a lot of which are down in the area where you're out, in the -- in the sort of south of the United States. Specialists go back and forth. All the time.

So certainly, this comes very suddenly. It's going to be very, very difficult, obviously, to adapt to. And then, of course, you have a lot of American tourists who are here in Europe right now. And you just talked about those exemptions that the President then later had to clarify about the fact that Americans and permanent residents are still able to go back, but they are going to need a clean bill of health to be able to do that and go through proper medical checks.

So certainly a lot of uncertainty that folks here in Europe, Europeans who do business with the United States, who frequently traveled to the United States, who maybe had travel plan to the United States, they're waking up to that, but a lot of Americans who are here in Europe, certainly waking up on some or a lot of uncertainty this morning as well, John.

VAUSE: And Fred, given the steep declines already in a travel that you mentioned, there has to be a pretty good chance that a lot of European carriers at this point would just simply cancel all flights for the next 30 days to the U.S.

PLEITGEN: Yes, I think -- I think you're absolutely right. I think -- I think from what we've seen in sort of the read that we've been getting from European airlines over the past couple of weeks. They have been pretty quick to cancel flights. And you know, I've been traveling around Europe over the past week or so, and you could already see that a lot of planes have been pretty empty. And a lot of people have already been canceling their transatlantic trips, especially, because of course, that is long-distance travel. People are looking at teleconferencing and similar things.


So the bookings -- Lufthansa, for instance, have already gone down considerably. And it certainly seems as though a lot of air carriers are sets to possibly cancel even more routes and possibly cancel almost all of their routes to European destinations. And, of course, not just the European carriers doing that, but of course, the American carriers as well.

And that just brings a little more of that uncertainty, of course, for folks who are in Europe who want to travel or have to travel back to the United States, and generally people who, for whatever reason, need to go back and forth between the continents. So a lot more uncertainty and really measures that that are almost unprecedented, or at least that I haven't seen between the U.S. and Europe since basically since 9/11, when, of course, a lot of travel came to a halt after that awful attack happened there, John.

VAUSE: Not only unprecedented but very questionable too about whether or not they actually work when it comes to stopping the spread of this virus and whether we're past this point when it comes to containment. But as always, Fred, I know what, 6:00 a.m. in the morning there, you're up early as well, so thanks so much for the early morning live shots. It's much appreciated.

We'll head off to Los Angeles now for the founder of the travel Web site, -- with the man himself Johnny Jet. Good for you to come in and being awake for us as well. I mean, it's kind of late out there, so we appreciate that.

JOHNNY JET, FOUNDER, JOHNNYJET.COM: Yes, thanks for having me on.

VAUSE: You're welcome. We've got an airline industry, which has already been talking about financial losses similar to the days after 9/11. There is another travel ban. It seems to be the last thing they needed. And for some airlines, could this push them over the edge?

JET: Without a doubt. I mean, this -- when I watched the president do his address, I mean, my jaw dropped. I was like, oh my God. This should have happened two weeks ago. And it should have not just been Europe, it should have been Asia. It should have been the world really. But you know, right now, this is probably the last thing the airline industry needs. And some of these carriers that are on the brink are not looking too good today. VAUSE: Yes. And I guess a lot of carriers -- I was talking about this

with our correspondent Berlin, basically, you know, they'll have no choice really but to essentially suspend all flights over that 30 day period, right?

JET: I would think so. I hope they'll go on for a couple of days after at least just to get people home or to back wherever they go, and you know, Europeans back home, and Americans back here because they're going to need to get home. I know -- I have a lot of friends who are in Europe right now and they're asking me questions. And to be honest, I really have no idea what's going on. This is -- this was out of left field.

VAUSE: Do you think the administration thought this all the way through about the actual implications of what they're talking about here?

JET: I don't think so. But, you know, I would say no. I mean, they really --

VAUSE: It's hard to know precisely, I guess.

JET: They did not consult with anyone that I know in the industry.

VAUSE: There is this exemption though for the U.K. So if you really want to travel between Europe and the U.S. just fly via London or maybe Canada.

JET: Exactly. That's the first thing that I thought. I was like, why isn't the U.K. included in this? So, you know, if you are in Europe and you want to get home and you're most likely can't get on the flight today or tomorrow because they're going to -- they have to be full. I know you can't even get through to the airlines right now. But my suggestion would be go to the U.K. and try and jump on a flight either back to the U.S. or even try and go to Canada.

VAUSE: You know, like some of the announcements that come from the president, you know, this one was sort of muddled, it was confusing, they've had to clarify I think at least three points since you know, the address came to an end. I mean, are you clear here where the exemptions are and who's allowed and who isn't allowed or are you still waiting for some more detail?

JET: Listen, I'm supposed to be a travel expert. I have no idea what's going on right now. I am -- I'm speechless.

VAUSE: Yes. It just seems one of those things that again, you know, that there are so many people who will be left hanging by this that possibly the full ramifications and the implications of this are yet to be felt and will be felt in a very major way that has not been sort of foreseen by the White House.

JET: 100 percent. I mean, it's going to -- it's going to be interesting next few days.

VAUSE: Chaos to say the least. OK, Johnny Jet there in Los Angeles, thanks for being with us. And I'm glad you're just as confused as the rest of us because we're all very confused with what this all means, but hopefully, it'll sort itself out. Thanks, Johnny.

JET: I hope so. Thank you.

VAUSE: The U.S. stock futures have been in retreat to put it nicely since President Trump's Oval Office Address. Take a look at the numbers there. The Dow Futures is down by more than three percent, NASDAQ Futures down by 3.3 percent, S&P futures down by almost three percent. So if Mr. Trump's message was intended to reassure the financial markets, it appears to have had the opposite effect.

Let's check out the markets in Asia, how they've been racking up steep losses as well. The Nikkei down by almost four percent, Hong Kong down by almost 3.5 percent, Shanghai down by one third, Seoul KOSPI down by just over three percent.

It all follows Wednesday's sharp sell-off on Wall Street, the 1400 point drop officially signals the start of a bad market. Kaori Enjoji is tracking all of this from Asia, from Tokyo. And so Kaori, we're looking at numbers that are down. I think you told us last hour that the day started off you know, wasn't too bad, but then it sort of turn for the worse.


KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Absolutely. I mean, 1000-point loss on the -- on the equity market here, the fourth time this has happened this year. And that goes to show how unstable sentiment still is. It's not just the lack of clarity from the U.S. administration, but I think the fact that it didn't offer any guidance to investors who were hoping to get some kind of signal that governments had a handle on the situation. And I think that uncertainty was what fueled the renewed selling on the equity markets. And as you've seen, Dow futures, U.S. futures are down sharply across the board.

What you're also likely to hear from market players is our expectations of the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan as well, and the U.S. Federal Reserve may have to take measures when they meet later on this month. And the problem with some of these central banks, particularly the ECB, and particularly the Bank of Japan, is that there are -- their hands are tied.

Interest rates are close to zero negative in some cases, and particularly in Europe, you have Italy, which is the third-largest economy among the eurozone in dire straits. So I think it's those kinds of factors combined, which makes the selloff quite relentless when it starts to happen as they did again here today.

You're also seeing a renewed interest in the supply chain story because the factories in China, some of them, even in the epicenter are slowly starting to come back. But you're seeing the domino effect filter through to industry in the - -in the -- in Europe, for example, with companies in Italy or Spain saying that they're going to have to adjust production because they can't get their hands on parts that originally would have come from China. And it takes a time for the -- it takes a while for these things to

adjust themselves. So I think that time lag is playing out in the equity markets as well. So although you are hearing sort of verbal rhetoric from government officials and central bankers, and an effort to try and contain this, you aren't really seeing a united front and one -- you know, a solution that convinces investors to get back in to put on some risk.

And I think people are starting to worry about corporate credit as well. You hear more and more companies trying to take on more cash to try and cushion themselves for their prolonged fight economic fallout from the coronavirus. And I think that is what's playing out in the markets today.

We saw a bit of time to go before the market closes in Tokyo but we are still very sharply lower, more than 700 points. You're seeing markets across the region, Shanghai, Australia, all lower as well. And very, very whipsaw trading continuing in the dollar-yen, which goes to show that the yen in recent trading days has been a safe haven. And when you see it cratering towards the end, as you did again today -- see again today, it means that people still are risk averse.

So I think this addressed by Donald Trump didn't allay the concerns that the market wanted -- you know, they didn't get what they wanted to hear, John.

VAUSE: Yes. And you know, we've seen pullbacks and sell-offs before this one just has a different feel to it. Kaori, thank you for being with us. Kaori Enjoji live in Tokyo. In the United States, pro basketball is on hold. The NBA has suspended its season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The results came in just before the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were about to play on Wednesday night. For details now, we're live to Carolyn Manno in New York. So Carolyn, you know, there was already some major changes in the whims of you know, the NBA. There was a game scheduled to play I think on Thursday but without spectators in the stands. But now, suddenly, everything kind of turned around on Wednesday night. So where do we stand at the moment?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: This is unprecedented territory, John. And you're exactly right. When the Golden State Warriors announced that they were going to play a game without spectators on Thursday, even then in the United States where we found ourselves in unprecedented territory because that's something that you do not see here domestically.

It's not a situation where internationally you may have a sporting event that's not played with spectator. So we knew that shoes were about to drop. We didn't know how big and when we found out that the NCAA tournament was going to take spectators away, which is also known as March Madness, it's an enormously profitable tournament here in the United States, it's a very big deal, and then the NBA tonight made the decision to suspend play all together, quite frankly, everybody was shocked. I mean, this is a place where sports has never been before. And this

is not the last thing to come. This is going to be a story that we're following for a long time leading into the summer even into the Olympics as we continue to put all the pieces together because it's complex.

As far as it goes with the NBA, everybody in the arena who showed up on Wednesday night to potentially see some basketball were shocked, team owners were shocked. Mark Cuban even found out the news in the arena. Here's -- listen to what he had to say.



MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: This is something out of a movie. And you just don't expect it to happen in real life. But that's the randomness of the world we live in. And so it's stunning but we are where we are. And we have to be smart in how we respond.


MANNO: John, it's kind of surreal to see Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's reaction when he's sitting and all of a sudden gets notification that the entire NBA is going to be suspended completely. And the scary thing from here that I think a lot of officials are trying to figure out now is what the next steps are going to be.

The leak has said that they took a hiatus. They did that in part because their hand was forced a little bit by a Utah Jazz player who was potentially confirmed to be carrying this virus. That's a game- changer. So now the league has to take a step back and evaluate when, if at all, the league is going to be able to pick up heading into the playoffs which are supposed to begin in April.

VAUSE: It is incredible to think that the NBA season is on hold. We'll see what happens. Carolyn, thanks so much for being with us. I appreciate it. Well, still to come, after a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Germany, the Chancellor had a very stark warning to the public.

Also ahead, should you be around crowds or cancel your plans? An expert answers your questions about the virus and how to stay healthy. That's next.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Water vapor imagery indicating a stormy and very progressive pattern taking place across the western and central United States, pumping in a lot of moisture from the Pacific Ocean and also helping trigger showers and thunderstorms, which some of which could become severe later today.

Check out this area highlighted in red, specifically the Tennessee River Valley. We have a slight chance of severe weather later this afternoon. Something we'll monitor very closely. Here's another storm system entering into southern California. Hefty rainfall totals expected especially into the mountainous regions of Southern California and into the four corners as well.

They're focusing in on the potential of severe weather. Here's our high-resolution forecast radar imagery, lots of rainfall expected across the Ohio River Valley, but some of these storms that will start to fire off later tonight and into the overnight hours of Friday morning again could become severe. Isolated tornadoes, large hail, and damaging winds certainly a possibility as well, along with some heavier rainfall totals.

Here it is through Saturday. You can see masses of rain from the Mid Atlantic stretching towards the panhandle of Texas. Let's get to details of your temperature forecast. 17 for Chicago today, 10 for New York, 31 however, for Dallas. You can see the cooler air starting to enter into the equation across the Great Lakes all the way to the east coast. Here's look at your temperatures for New York City over the next seven days.



VAUSE: For the first time in 11 years, the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. This as the coronavirus has surpassed 118,000 confirmed cases worldwide with more than 4000 people dead. The WHO's Director-General says the classification should not impact how countries are responding, adding it would be a mistake to abandon containment strategies.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WHO: Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It's a word that if misuse can cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.


VAUSE: Germany is seeing a sharp increase in the number of infections. According to the Cook Institute for Infectious Diseases, the country is now nearing 1600 cases. Chancellor Angela Merkel says border closures are not being considered but she did warn the public about the possibility of high infection rates.


ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR, GERMANY: It has to be understood that if the virus is here and there is not yet immunity of the population against this virus, no vaccine and no therapy that then a high percentage of the population, experts say, 60 to 70 percent will be infected as long as this is the case.


VAUSE: Beyond Germany, throughout Europe, the number of cases continuing to grow worldwide. We're seeing more school closures, bans on large gatherings, and increased travel restrictions. CNN Christiane Amanpour reports now from London.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: This is what St. Peter's Square in the Vatican usually looks like. Now though, it is empty, locked down as the coronavirus outbreak worsens. Even the Pope's weekly audience was held behind closed doors.

POPE FRANCIS, LEADER, CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): I express my heartfelt thanks to the hospital staff, doctors, nurses and volunteers who in this very difficult moment are next to those who are suffering.

AMANPOUR: Across Italy, there's been a further spike in cases making it the worst affected country outside China. The government has already enacted drastic quarantine measures putting the whole country into lockdown. Restaurants usually full of diners now sit empty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope that we will see the end of it because we've gone from around 140 plates a day to just 20 to 25 plates.

AMANPOUR: Italy isn't alone reporting an accelerating number of cases. In Germany where there's been more than 1200 confirmed infections, authorities have set up drive through testing stations. While here in the U.K., the country's Junior Health Minister is in isolation after contracting coronavirus. Nadine Dorries says on Twitter that she's more worried about her 84-year-old mother who's staying with her and has begun coughing. But the situation has raised concerns about whether other lawmakers may be infected.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: We will be guided by Public Health England in our response to this situation. And they are also providing guidance to honorable members and to their -- to their offices.

AMANPOUR: In the Middle East, the number of coronavirus cases is continuing to rise to most notably in Iran where the country's health system is struggling to cope The country's leaders blame U.S. sanctions for limiting access to drugs and medicine. But others point the finger at the government for the worsening situation.

JAVAID REHMAN, SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN, UNITED NATION: The disease has spread widely. It has been a rapid expansion. In my estimation, the state has done too little and too late.

AMANPOUR: Across the Asia Pacific, mass disinfection programs continue in South Korea. Indonesia reported his first coronavirus related death. And Hong Kong's troubled airline Cathay Pacific announced its canceling even more flights.

In mainland China where the outbreak began, the number of confirmed cases continues to trend down. But despite that positive news, the streets of Wuhan remain eerily quiet. A strict quarantine measures remain in place, an indication it could still be some time until life their returns to normal. Christiane Amanpour, CNN London.


VAUSE: Well, the Trump administration has been sending mixed messages for weeks about the coronavirus. When we come back, even on Wednesday night, reading a speech he wrote from a teleprompter, the President's message was muddled and confused.



VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Welcome back, everybody. I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour. Donald Trump restricting travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days to try and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. Americans will be allowed to return from Europe if they pass health screenings, so to permanent residents. The new restrictions will not apply to travel from the U.K.

Wall Street bracing for another volatile trading day. Futures and all the major indices have been down sharply after Donald Trump's address from the Oval Office. The Dow was closed on Wednesday already put it into bad market territory.

Ron Brownstein is CNN Senior Political Analyst and a senior editor at the Atlantic. He is with us from Los Angeles. Good to see you, Ron. Thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: OK, so I guess, the Dow Futures are any indication the President's national address didn't do a whole lot to reassure a nervous nation. Fact seems to have the opposite effect. How did you see the speech?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, in 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 America is changing, more than it is a sense that he is 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 ultimately 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 -- that he identified in his speech. But the White House has since had to clarify. I mean 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. JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And you made the point that, you know, Donald Trump has sort of expressed his anxieties I guess of white middle class America in many ways. And that was throughout this speech, too. You know, it was classic Trump in many instances. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, 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 ceded by travelers from Europe.


VAUSE: Yes. So in between the lines, he's sort of saying this is a foreign virus --


VAUSE: -- 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 -- you know, he did not go as far as some of 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 and is a threat and Donald Trump is literally building a wall against it.

Ultimately I think, you know, you see the limits of that both in practical sense. I mean you cannot wall yourself off from a virus in the modern world.

A stark contract with the way we kind of talked about this from the way that President Obama dealt with Ebola where the U.S. was focused on helping the frontline states contain it right at the source.

But I think also, again a limited political value to this because yes, there is 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 should be. Can he do the day-to-day job. And I think this is the sternest test he has faced on that front of his presidency.

VAUSE: Yes, the big headline is this 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 (INAUDIBLE), but then it picks up again.

Do you think it's negligible? These bans though leave many countries reluctant to accurately report their numbers, strength in public in case they get hit with a travel ban.

On top of that by now including the U.K. the President seemed to create this great big loophole, you can fly 747.

BROWNSTEIN: Literally, right. Look, I think most public health experts will tell you that we are kind of past the point where we can wallow ourselves off from risks.

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 just extraordinary. And which I think is going to be the central issue and 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 are eight tests conducted by public health entities in the U.S. today, and zero by the CDC. I mean that's just extraordinary.

It is a management failure of historic proportions at the moment. Now, you know, are tests moving out, yes. But this failure, I think, is really putting the U.S. in a very difficult position where we don't know exactly what we are dealing with.

And the likelihood is that as we are going to be surprised in an unpleasant away on a daily basis as we have 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 his address from the Oval Office, everything under his presidency is amazing. You know, here's a sort of an example of it. Listen to this.


TRUMP: This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign 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 United States.

[01:34:54] TRUMP: We have the best economy, the most advanced health care, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world.


VAUSE: That has to be aligned 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 is very little reassuring. I mean it was more about kind of almost defensive, you know, that I have done a good job. Rather than this kind of tone of like we have got this. I don't think you would come away feeling that.

Look, there is 42 percent of the country that is coming in the conservative information transmission belt, that that is what they are hearing, and that is what they will believed.

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 doing 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 that it continues to spiral in the direction that he's heading in. Who knows that 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: Ys, good point to point.

Ron -- thanks so much for being with. Ron Brownstein there in Los Angeles. We appreciate it.

BROWNSTEIN: John -- thank you.

VAUSE: Oscar winner Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. They are currently in Australia and are among more than 120 confirmed cases there.

For more, Lane Calcutt from 9News Australia is live from Broadbeach on the Gold Coast where Hanks and Wilson are staying.

So I guess Lane -- do we know their condition right now. And why are they in Australia in first place.

LANE CALCUTT, 9NEWS: Well, John -- first of look the son -- one of Tom's sons Chip went to social media a few hours ago to say they're really not feeling that sick but they're ok.

Tom himself took to Instagram this morning to confirm they had coronavirus and were in a hospital in isolation probably for the mandatory 14 days here in Australia, telling everybody I'll just have to follow the protocols, and do everything right.

They are here -- or Tom has been here since January in pre-production for the Baz Luhrmann directed biopic about the Elvis Presley manager Colonel Tom Parker.

Filming was due to start here at the Holly (INAUDIBLE) studios, not far down the highway from here on Monday. Tut that is now on hold indefinitely.

So, we will just have to wait and see how that all pans out -- John.

VAUSE: Well, at least they are together. They have each other for company for the next 14 days. And we wish them well.

Lane we appreciate the update. Lane Calcutta there from 9News years Australia -- a rainy day on the Gold Coast, very rare. Thanks -- Lane.

Well, as the lead infection specialist in the U.S. warns the coronavirus outbreak will only get worse, will answer questions from you, our viewers, about the virus, and how to stay healthy.

That's when we come back.



VAUSE: Well, experts say that next month will be critical if the United States is to avoid the worst of the coronavirus outbreak. And a leading specialist in infectious diseases has warned there is still much worse to come.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the worst yet to come Dr. Fauci?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Yes, it is. I can say we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. Bottom line, it is going to get worse.


VAUSE: Dr. James Phillips is an assistant professor at George Washington University Hospital and he's with us this hour from Washington. So Doctor Phillips -- thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: Right now it seems the only guarantee is that this will all get worse. So if the question is by how much, will the answer depend on what we do, our action, what we do in the coming days and weeks. How we respond to this?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. So the virus is transmitted from person to person. Therefore, if we're able to interrupt the interactions between people, our hope is that you don't get the virus.

What we know about this virus is that it is spread through droplets. So if you can avoid coming in contact with those droplets, your chances of not getting this virus are much, much better.

In China, we saw sort of the most extreme measures that can be taken, where people were told to stay home in their houses and were not allowed outside, out all. They really shut down society. And that did seem to level off the infection curve.

However, most of the world doesn't act in such a way.

VAUSE: We heard a little bit earlier from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. I want you to listen to him again. He has a warning about just how lethal the coronavirus is. Here he is.


DR. FAUCI: It is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. I think that is something that people can get their arms around and understand.


VAUSE: You know, with all due respect to Dr. Fauci, I guess with a mortality rate of 3.4 percent, the math suggests it's actually more than $30,000 more lethal but yes, I guess that's a moot point because, you know, the ultimate point here is that, you know, it's valid still.

And this is a highly transmissible, highly infectious and highly deadly disease.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely, you know. As humans, we want some data that we can latch onto because it provides us with comfort, right.

So that's why people are so interested in understanding what is the case fatality ratio, which is that number you are talking about because we are trying to find some comfort. We want it to be one percent or less because that makes us comfortable.

The 3.4 percent number from the WHO is high and concerning. I've even heard another physician irresponsibly referred to it as a disinformation campaign by the WHO.

None of this stuff helps anybody. We understand this is a deadly virus and it is certainly, by all data that's out there, significantly more deadly than the flu.

Yes, we understand the idea that when we start testing children and younger folks and healthy folks, that that number will drop. But even 0.5 percent when you're looking at seven billion people in the world and maybe 20, 40,50, 60 percent of them get this infection, that's very serious.

So I think it's time that we stop trying to focus on what that number is because we won't know until it's over. That's the bottom line.

VAUSE: Yes. Having said all that, you know, they're folks who continue to act as if this is all just the media or, you know, a conspiracy theory you put out there.

Tim Constantine is a radio host. He wrote an op-ed on Monday for the conservative "Washington Times". He begins with the death lol. He compares them with a 2018 flu season with was 80,000 dead.

He goes on to write about the coronavirus. "No evidence that closing gatherings makes anyone safer and yet panic is setting in everywhere. 566 cases of corona virus in the entire United States, 22 related death -- does that really warrant billions of dollars in Wall Street losses? The cancellation of festivals, games community gatherings, schools, church services and more."

He goes on to write, "In a word no. It is hysteria."

Well, that was Monday and by Wednesday the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. had doubled to 1,200. The death toll rose to 37.

I mean Dr. Constantine, I'm sorry -- he's not a doctor. He's actually just a self described America's voice of reason. He managed to make a number of multiple errors in just that short path of the op-ed I read.

PHILLIPS: Medicine should be left to the doctors. We dedicated our lives to this. We study this. And I don't just mean physicians, I mean, you know, doctors in epidemiology, and people who have dedicated their entire lives to public health.


PHILLIPS: We don't have any vested interest in lying to the public. The last thing we want to do is disrupt the economy. And certainly we approach this from an apolitical standpoint.

Giving that sort of advice to the public is irresponsible and dangerous. And you know, I'm not here to try to bicker with other people in the media. I'm here to try to educate the public. I'm an educator.

And what matters to me is that people are being safe. If you listen to these sorts of things that are not true, they're going to make you feel more comfortable and more cavalier. And you're going to go out and you're going to take risks that you shouldn't take. And your chances of getting a virus are higher.

And if you are young and healthy, and you don't care about getting the virus, you know, that's your risk profile. But giving it to the older elderly lady who lives next door, or your grandparents -- that's what we really are worried about.

So people have to take responsibility, and the nonsense like that in the media just has to stop.

VAUSE: Very quickly we have some questions from our viewers for you.

One writes, "I have asthma and just coughing and shortness of breath but no fever. Should I worry?" What's the answer?

PHILLIPS: Well, are you worried about coronavirus? Are you worried about the flu? Are you worried about your allergies? Or maybe just your asthma flaring up. There are so many different things that can cause that. But it's a question that people all over the world are asking right now.

VAUSE: Another viewer tweeted us asking this question, can swine flu medicine help in curing covid-19?

PHILLIP: I don't necessarily know what the swine flu medicine is. There was a vaccine, but as far as flu medications go, like antivirals -- antiviral medicines are medicines you take once you've been diagnosed with the virus. And it can, it can try to kill the virus. Those have been very difficult to produce by a scientist.

VAUSE: Ok, last question is a bit of a head-scratcher. What do you do, one viewer asks us, when soap and water are not available?

PHILLIPS: Well, the -- I think the underlying question and concern is why are there empty shelves in the stores? And what do we do about that?

VAUSE: Dr. James Phillips -- thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

PHILLIPS: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Well, a long quarantine for an American couple finally comes to an. CNN has been following their story from cruise ship to hospital into flight boat. Their advice on surviving the coronavirus -- that's next.



BARTIROMO: Well, a husband and wife who were quarantined for nearly a month in Japan are finally back home in the U.S.

CNN's Will Ripley caught with them as they prepared to leave. He joins us now live from Tokyo -- Will

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi John -- yes, can Rebecca Will -- talk about, you know, not expecting what they got. They thought they were going to go on luxury and it turned on a more than month long nightmare, a nightmare that is finally over and they're they coming out of it all with a smile and a message. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've been following Kent and Rebecca Frasure for more than a month. This is our first time altogether.

It's surreal to be sitting here, seeing both of you in person.


RIPLEY: Their luxury cruise on the Diamond Princess turned into a holiday from hell.

R. FRASURE: We didn't know long how we'd have you'll have your sale in the hospital.

RIPLEY: Rebecca tested positive for coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is negative.

RIPLEY: Kent tested negative.

She went to the hospital. He stayed behind.

How long was it actually, that you are separated?

R. FRASURE: 28 -- Days.

RIPLEY: That's nearly a month in isolation in this hermetically-sealed hospital room.

R. FRASURE: Good to see you.


R. FRASURE: You're live.

RIPLEY: When Kent finally got off the ship, this was as close as he could get.

Did you guys add up how many test kits are were used between the two of you?

R. FRASURE: Yes, it was close to 20.



RIPLEY: They worry, the U.S. won't have enough of those test kits.

K. FRASURE: You're going to need so many. When people started getting tested -- yes, you need. You need millions and millions.

R. FRASURE: If there's so much panic, and so much like, you know just general fear within the population.

RIPLEY: That fear Rebecca says is more dangerous than the virus itself. Like most patients, she fully recovered. Her advice.

R. FRASURE: Don't be afraid to live -- for one. And wash your hands. For the love of God, wash your hands.

RIPLEY: Now it's time for Kent and Rebecca to go home. They fly out of Tokyo's Hanada Airport. It seems every surface is sanitized. Every employee wears a mask. The only thing missing passengers. It's the emptiest I've ever seen it

They carry paperwork from the U.S. and Japanese governments certifying they're both negative.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is approved.

RIPLEY: Safe to fly.

K. FRASURE: It's been such a long journey.


K. FRASURE: It felt like this day would never come.

RIPLEY: Now, back home to Oregon. Back to the cats.

R. FRASURE: Back to the cats.

They're going to be so angry we get home.

RIPLEY: They carry a message of hope from the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. They survived, and so can you.


RIPLEY: So, those are the key words -- John. Don't be afraid to live. She is not saying, you know, go out and party like normal and go to concerts and stuff. She's saying said don't live in fear because she had it, and she survived. And that's the message she is trying to pass along. And also wash your hands which is obviously very good advice.

VAUSE: Yes, that's what I wrote down actually. Don't be afraid to live. I thought that was kind of a key to all of it.

But I was still wondering about, you know, for these guys who went through hell, and the whole quarantine was just a disaster, and it was bungled, and there just seems to be a degree of negligence there that, you know, we have not really seen before.

Do they have any kind of legal recourse here? Are they talking about legal action in some way? Because of everything they went through?

RIPLEY: It's a good question. And I have to say that we have been in touch with a lot of passengers, and nobody is talking about that at this stage because Diamond Princess fully refunded the entire cost of the cruise.

[01:55:03] RIPLEY: They gave people in many cases business class flights back

home, those who did not board that U.S. charter flight, you know, earlier in the process.

They put people up in hotels during their quarantine period, and they also offered a 100 percent credit for future cruise. So in other words, they get refunded for the cruise, they get a future cruise out of it. And you know, Kent and Rebecca told me, and this might be controversial, they said they are actually already planning their next cruise.

They said they've been on 11 cruise. They feel like this was a fluke incident. And you know, they are going to give it a go again at some point.

VAUSE: Not a chance in the world would I go on another cruise if I'd been through that. But you know, it's their right. Good for them.

Will -- thank you. Good to see you. Cheers.

Paper airplanes and the drums mean we have been marking By Freedom Day. CNN has been partnering with young people around the world for the Student led day of action against modern day slavery as well as other injustices.

And they've been making their voices heard. With us, some members of the next generation in Nigeria -- what freedom means to them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe freedom is the ability to make my say, think, and express myself in my own ways without fear of judgment from outsiders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is the act of being free, and not being controlled by anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom is doing whatever you want at anytime you want, believing whatever you want, and no one can infringe your right to do what you want.



VAUSE: Tune in later today for our "MY FREEDOM" special. It airs at 7:30 the morning in London, 3:30 in the afternoon in Hong Kong.

Not too late to be part of this global celebration, tell us, what does freedom mean to you. Share your story on social media using the #MyFreedomDay.

And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

The news continues on CNN after a very short break with my colleague Rosemary Church. [01:57:16]