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NBA Suspends Season After Player Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Reality Check on Coronavirus; Trump Restricts Travel from Most of Europe for 30 Days; School Closures Put Millions of Students at Risk. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 12, 2020 - 08:30   ET



ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The NBA says that the infected player was not inside the arena at any point yesterday but is in the care of health officials here in the Oklahoma City area. So everyone here is scrambling to figure out what exactly to do next. And that's what the NBA teams across the league are scrambling to do.

All of the different interaction between these players as they move around the country is one of the great concerns here. And obviously the players' safety.

There is a dramatic shot from down the road in Dallas, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban was captured reacting as he got the word that this NBA season had been suspended. His jaw dropped. And he talked about this -- this was his reaction after the game in Dallas last night.


MARK CUBAN, OWNER, DALLAS MAVERICKS: This is people's lives at stake. This isn't about basketball. This isn't about the Mavericks. This isn't about, you know, when do we start or do we start or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people's lives are at stake. And, you know, I'm a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who is 82 years old, you know, and talking to her and telling her to stay in the house than I am about when we play our next game.


LAVANDERA: And, Alisyn, across the league, from fans and players, as stunning as this news is, most people understanding about the drastic measures that have been taken so far -- Alisyn.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Look, I'll take it, Ed.

Mark Cuban is absolutely right. This isn't just about basketball, it's about our lives, all of our lives right now. In some ways it's a microcosm of what we're all seeing right now and Mark Cuban's jaw- dropping is something we're all experiencing as we wake up this morning.

So, Ed, thank you very much. The NBA season suspended, a million kids out of school this morning,

public gatherings being canceled in many states. This is a time when all of our lives are changing. And the president addressed the nation last night from the Oval Office. How did the message meet the moment?

John Avlon here with the reality check -- John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, guys. So President Trump was on cleanup duty in the Oval Office last night after weeks of misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. He was serious and sober minded, even if he had to correct misstatements in the script. While most of the new policies boil down to his two favorite transcriptions, travel bans and tax cuts.

But there are at least two major areas the president didn't address, where he's contributed to the confusion, comparisons to the coronavirus to the flu and the availability of testing kits today. So let's start with those faulty flu comparisons.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, three or four weeks ago I said, well, how many people die a year from the flu? And in this country, I think last year was 36,000 or 37,000 people. And I'm saying, wow, nobody knew that information.


AVLON: Well, he should have known that. Because his own grandfather died from the flu according to one biographer. But Trump doubled down this past Monday, tweeting that the flu kills between 27,000 and 70,000 per year, so nothing to shut down, life and the economy go on, think about that.

So, let's think about that. Because there are many, many ways that the coronavirus isn't like the flu. Here is the main one as explained by Dr. Anthony Fauci.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The flu has a mortality of 0.1 percent. This has a mortality of 10 times that.


AVLON: Ten times that. All right. Second, we have widely available flu vaccines and established treatments. They're not perfect but there'd be many more deaths and illnesses if they didn't exist. And as the WHO director general explained, COVID-19 is a new virus to which no one has immunity and that means people are more susceptible to infection. It also means there are no current proven treatments, no matter what snake oil people are trying to sell you on the Internet. And Fauci said they were at least a year away from a vaccine despite what the president has said. All right. Third, this is more contagious than the flu, by a lot. One

way to tell that is that entire countries like Italy don't get locked down during flu season. This is a global pandemic, packing at least 118 countries and territories in less than three months.

What about America's testing for coronavirus?


TRUMP: Anybody that needs a test can have a test. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful.


AVLON: All right, contrary to that, doctor and health officials around the country have said they don't have enough tests. The New York City Mayor's Office said that the slow federal action on this matter has impeded our ability to beat back this disease. And even the vice president admitted --


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward.


AVLON: Why? Well, that's because of faulty tests. Red tape, shortage of components and a lack of overall preparation. We're still playing catch-up. Four days ago the CDC had tested just 1500 people. Now we have over 1,000 confirmed cases in the USA, while South Korea is reportedly testing nearly 20,000 people a day.

Bottom line, coronavirus is no hoax, folks. It is real. It is spreading. And it's going to get worse before it gets better. But we will get through this together, especially if our government just tells us the truth, OK?





AVLON: And that's your reality check.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, thank you very much for boiling that all down for us.

Will President Trump's new travel restrictions be effective? We have a live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: President Trump says he is sharply restricting travel to the U.S. for more than two dozen European countries. The ban applies only to foreign nationals, not to American citizens.

CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. What's the scene there?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Yesterday we heard that unprecedented announcement from President Trump and those who were expecting more clarity about the U.S. response to the coronavirus that is spreading fast. We're instead met with confusion including the travel industry here who is caught off guard. We also understand that included world leaders.

Several ambassadors from foreign nations tell CNN that they were blindsided by the announcement. The White House there taking exception with anyone calling it confusing. In fact, Vice President Mike Pence was on NEW DAY this morning saying that there was no confusion at all.


He did call the announcement unprecedented and that it is no doubt. We were here this morning to see how travel is going and about 5:30, it was extremely active. The lines slowed down since, but what we have seen is mixed reaction from passengers this morning. We have seen those individuals who are taking added precautions, safety measures, wearing things like gloves, protective goggles, surgical masks. We even saw just a short time ago somebody wrapping their face and their child's face in a scarf.

Earlier I interviewed a young man who was actually sent with a care package if you will by his aunt who he said worked at the CDC, including things like hand sanitizers, surgical masks and other things they thought would keep them safe.

One thing is clear, though, after yesterday's announcement, John and Alisyn, is that life is about to change for all of us.

Guys, back to you.

BERMAN: There's just no question about it, Nick. It was changing already, but if you went to bed early last night you woke up really to a different world this morning. I think that is safe to say. We'll get through it, we'll get through it, but it has changed. And it is going to stay this way for a while.

Thank you so much for being with us there, Nick. A lot of people on the road right now forced to make serious decisions.

This morning, more than one million school kids, elementary school and high school, have had school canceled or will. They're not in the classrooms because of coronavirus. That's on top of dozens of colleges and universities that have canceled in-person classes.

CNN's Athena Jones has more.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A growing number of colleges and universities suspending classes. As Harvard's campus empties out at the end of this week for spring break, students living on campus are being asked to pack up their things and leave until further notice.

JUAN CRESTANELLO, HARVARD STUDENT: They're make us move out by Sunday morning at 5:00 p.m. from all the dorms. But I think we have to stay calm and that's what we're doing.

JONES: Harvard's decision to move all in-person classes online was not taken lightly, the university president says. President Lawrence Bacow telling students, "We are doing this not just to protect you, but also to protect other members of our community who may be more vulnerable to this disease than you are."

KARINA COWPERTHWAITE, HARVARD STUDENT: I definitely understand the precaution. It is definitely coming from, like, a young person who maybe the corona threat isn't as pressing for me, upsetting I won't be able to finish my freshman year the way I wanted to. But I understand like where the university is coming from.

JONES: Georgetown University announcing similar measures. From coast to coast, schools are suspending or even cancelling in-person classes. Opting instead to teach remotely, including schools like Duke, Yale and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Schools are heeding the advice of top infectious disease experts to take caution with high population areas. Limiting in-person interaction with the disease can move quickly.

FAUCI: l Start seriously looking at this kind of mitigation. They call it social distancing but it's commonsense stuff. You don't want to go to a massive gathering particularly if you're a vulnerable person.

JONES: Some K-12 schools also temporarily closing across the country. All Seattle public schools closing for a minimum of 14 days, as well as Elk Grove Unified School District in northern California. North Shore School District in western Washington closing and moving classes online.

In New Rochelle, New York, one of the hardest hit parts of the country, multiple schools will be closed for the next two weeks.

DR. HOWARD ZUCKER, NEW YORK STATE HEALTH COMMISSIONER: One of the places where people gather together particularly is the school systems and schools and other areas, events and daily or weekly activities. And we believe that the most important thing from a public health standpoint is to minimize that.

JONES: We've also learned that a teacher at the United Nations International School in Manhattan has tested positive for COVID-19. That teacher had not traveled internationally in the last few months.

Now, two schools are closed until spring break starts on March 20th. Bottom line, this is a trend that doesn't look like it is going to end anytime soon. Social distancing and virtual instruction are becoming the rule here at Harvard, and at schools all across the country.

Athena Jones, CNN, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


BERMAN: Absolutely is a reality, it's a reality for you, your kids don't have school today. It's a reality for me and it's a reality for millions of parents across the country who now have many questions.

So up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions about coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: But first, a fashion designer who finds inspiration in her own pain. Here is this week's "Human Factor."


KRIS KEYS, TRAVEL WEAR FASHION DESIGNER: For me, blood is something that just strings all of us humans together.

My name is Kris Keys, and I'm a travel wear fashion designer. My collection "Hematology" is inspired by a blood disorder called hereditary spherocytosis. I had a few complications like enlarged spleen, gall bladder attack.

When I was 7, my mother noticed that I was really weak. I had jaundice, yellow in the eyes, I could not walk, my blood cells completely stopped reproducing.


The only thing that kept me calm was drawing and painting and doing watercolors which is the theme of my art and my fashions.

I studied at London College of Fashion and I knew that for my ending collection I wanted to do something that told the story of my life.

Hematology is the study of the physiology of the blood. That's been a common theme since I was 2 years old. I came back to Memphis and I got blood smears. I infused that into my collection by taking all the colors of blood. Blood as it oxidizes, purples, plums, ox bloods. The prints on the scarves and on the prints of the travel and garments, they replicate blood disorders.

I'm really happy that I was able to take those dark moments and make it into something that people can love and wear and cherish.




BERMAN: So, we've been asking you to send your questions about coronavirus and how to protect your family and so many have been coming in. We all have so many questions this morning.

Joining us now is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta who has been so generous with all of our personal questions, and also viewer questions.

So, let me just dive in, Sanjay. Sherry from Detroit writes, "What can I take medicine-wise to prepare myself if I do become infected or to prevent infection?"

CAMEROTA: Can I add vitamins to that?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. I mean, I think, you know, being as healthy as you can be right now, getting your immune system as boosted as you can, because, you know, ultimately most of us will be able to fight this infection. And it will be a few bad days, you know?

I will say this one thing is that, you know, we do talk a lot about the flu in this country and getting the flu vaccine is still something that people can do because you don't want to, you know, co-mingle these two things and if you get the flu and then subsequent get the coronavirus infection that would be a bad double whammy.

CAMEROTA: But immune boosters, like, are there vitamins -- is there anything that we should -- in particular, vitamin C, vitamin B? What should we be taking?

GUPTA: I think that you want to make sure that you're not nutrient deficient at all. I don't know that mega dosing with any of those things makes a difference but if you're eating a healthy diet or if you're not, you can supplement, but if you are, then I think that's it, getting plenty of sleep, which none of us are doing, those kinds of things I think make a big difference.

BERMAN: So Jack from St. James City, Florida, writes, "Why are people with diabetes in jeopardy of getting the coronavirus? Does age have an impact to those with diabetes?"

GUPTA: Yes. So, it's interesting. There is a few conditions, these co- existing conditions, they talk about, that seem to increase the risk of getting infection and then having a more serious illness. And they are heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and hypertension. Kidney disease is also on the list. But really these four really increase the risk. With diabetes in particular, when people have high circulating blood sugar, it does tend to weaken their immune system.

This is all about this idea that your own immune system can fight the virus if the immune system is equipped to do so and the virus doesn't, you know, replicate and overtax the body.

CAMEROTA: Shalen in Minnesota says, "Are children carrying and spreading the virus even if they are not becoming ill?

GUPTA: This is a concern. And the answer is yes. They can. And we've really drilled down on this, and looked at some of the studies that are coming out of the infectious disease labs in China. They can -- asymptomatic people including young people can carry the virus in their bodies and spread it. It's part of the justification for what we're hearing with the school closures. That, you know, they can get the virus over there and then bring it home and infect parents or grandparents.

I will say this, though, and I think this is an important point, in the scheme of things, that appears to be a very low component of the spread. While it can happen, I'm not sure that we should be predicating a lot of our policy based on that. It's like one of these things that you have to target the big things first and asymptomatic, especially young people who really aren't getting sick and are less likely to get infected, they're not big drivers of this virus.

CAMEROTA: But just to be clear, since so many schools are closing, including our own children's, that's --


CAMEROTA: You think that that is not the most not effective thing to be doing right now in terms of containment?

GUPTA: I think, you know, from a scientifically based standpoint, I think you'd have a hard time making the argument. Everything is a risk-reward relationship. The significant, you know, risk or at least the tax on the system to close schools, the reward, all the modeling was done on flu. Flu is something kids do carry. Kids do get sick from and kids do transmit pretty readily.

This is a different virus. I don't know if we should be modeling these proposals based on flu.

BERMAN: We do have to remember there are more than just kids who are at these schools.

GUPTA: That's true.

BERMAN: We have to care about. And also sometimes, you do what you can, and closing schools is one thing governments do.

I want to -- there is a question from John on our crew who I think walked out who asked me to ask you, what are the chances the coronavirus becomes like the seasonal flu after we get through the pandemic, which is to say, once we kick it, is it going to come back next year and the year after and the year after?

GUPTA: It is quite possible that this starts to develop a seasonality to it, you know, ups and downs, peaks. Dr. Robert Redfield, he was asked that question from the Senate, and that's what he sort of suggested. That's what this is looking like. Didn't happen with SARS. Didn't happen with MERS. So that's a reason to believe that it might not. But the way that this is behaving, where it become endemic, sort of rooted in a society, and rooted in a country, that seems to be possible. But hopefully we'll have a vaccine by next year.

BERMAN: Everyone has got a gillion more questions for you. And the good thing is, you can join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper tonight for a CNN global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS," that's 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time. And also download and listen to Sanjay's new podcast, "CORONAVIRUS FACT VERSUS FICTION."

CAMEROTA: We appreciate you. Thank you for being on call for us.

GUPTA: I'll be back. Thank you.

BERMAN: Breaking news, Princess Cruises has just announced they are voluntarily halting global operations for 60 days due to coronavirus. This after two of their ships had cases.

CAMEROTA: Also new, NBA superstar LeBron James weighs in on the league suspending its season.


He has just tweeted, "Man, we're canceling sporting events, school, office, work, et cetera, et cetera. What we really need to cancel is 2020. Damn, it's been a rough three months. God bless and stay safe."

BERMAN: Well, stay safe is the key advice there. Everyone top to bottom needs to do what they can do, but this can bring out the best in us. Help your friends, help your family, help your neighbors. Be smart. Now is the time.

CAMEROTA: CNN's coverage continues after this quick break.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.


For so many of you, for so many of us, life turned upside down by this coronavirus pandemic. And this morning more confusion after the president's primetime address. The markets are rattled this morning as you can see. Look at that, Dow Futures down more than 1200 points.