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Coronavirus Puts America on Hold; Coronavirus Wipes Out Sports Calendar; 11-Year Bull Market Comes to a Screeching Halt; U.S. Set to Impose Europe Travel Restrictions. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 13, 2020 - 05:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Back to the cats. They will be so angry.

RIPLEY (voice-over): They carry a message of hope from the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic -- they survived and so can you.

Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Will Ripley, thank you so much for bringing us that story of the Frasures and their reunion. Nice to see them back together --


JARRETT: -- after such an ordeal.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: America grinds to a halt. Schools, sports, work, big changes as closures and cancellations pile up. The big question remains, where are the tests?

Good morning. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday, the 13th of March, 5:00 a.m. here in the East.

America is closed, closing or on the verge of closing. Bottom line, state and global governments and famous cultural hubs that are a part of the fabric of American life are shutting their doors. The threat of coronavirus is changing our way of life, at least for now. The effects practical and emotional are creeping into everyone's lives, a subject addressed at CNN's coronavirus town hall last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. CHRISTINE MOUTIER, PSYCHIATRIST: It's such a -- sort of a challenge and an exercise in managing uncertainty because you look at it and you try to gauge, should I be incredibly concerned? Is this -- is this life-threatening or is this simply a new and unfamiliar threat, which always will have an exaggerated sort of anxiety and stress response. We live with risk and health threats every day and we have an incredible ability, actually, to --


MOUTIER: -- cope with that -- you know, to make rational choices about how we manage all of that.


ROMANS: There are now at least 1,665 coronavirus cases in the United States. That's up from 227 a week ago. All but three states have cases and 41 people have died. Long lines and empty shelves greet shoppers nationwide, trying to stock up on basics, unsure if they may be asked to self-quarantine or if schools might be closed forcing major changes at home. Many are trying to balance their jobs and perhaps a lack of paid sick leave with caring for their own parents, a lot of them at an age where contracting the virus could be much more serious.

There are also worries about running out of medications, worries about our health care under stress, still with no clear plan on how to test everyone who needs it.

JARRETT: An astonishing 4.9 million kids are now out of school for reasons related to the coronavirus, including exposure, cleaning or simply planning. At least 10,600 schools have been closed or are scheduled to be closed. That includes all schools in Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky and New Mexico. Michigan will shutter all classrooms starting Monday. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has closed schools in three hard hit districts and told all districts to prepare to close and big systems like San Francisco and Atlanta are shuttered now.

In Los Angeles, the teachers union is calling on the L.A. Unified School District to shut down as well.

ROMANS: Another prominent figure testing positive for virus, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, has been quarantined with mild symptoms. Officials say the prime minister himself is in good health, but as a precaution he will be placed in isolation for 14 days.

JARRETT: The sports and cultural events that Americans lean on to escape bad news, well, now being called off themselves. Broadway shows are dark. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera House all closed. The Seattle Space Needle is closed. Disney parks are closing for the first time since 9/11, paralyzing the company's tourism empire. The Smithsonian Museums and the National Zoo also close tomorrow.

ROMANS: Pop star Billie Eilish is postponing ten tour dates in cities across the Eastern U.S. The NHL has joined the NBA in suspending its season. The crack of the bat also has gone silent. MLB canceled spring training and delayed the new season by two weeks, which could be extended.

JARRETT: It's important to remember here, it's not just players and fans missing out, it's the hotel cancellations. It's the empty restaurants. It's the supply chain before big events. The vendors, the ushers and many, many other hourly workers who will have go without pay. They in turn have less money to spend themselves. This hurts the economy far and wide.

ROMANS: Yes, Mohamed El-Erian, a noted economist, has said that it's very, very likely there will be a global recession as the economy grinds to a halt.

All right. Concerns over the coronavirus have wiped out the sports calendar, including the NCAA tournament.

Andy Scholes joins us now with more.

No bracketology this year.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, good morning, guys.

This is unbelievable how quickly all of this has happened. You know, in the matter of 48 hours, the entire sports world just come to a complete halt. The NCAA shutting down March Madness, the biggest of all.


The NHL following the NBA, suspending their season. Major League Baseball delayed opening day for at least two weeks. The PGA tour meanwhile canceling the rest of players championship and the next three events. The XPL canceling the rest of their season, the list just goes on and on.

But, again, the March Madness, the biggest event to go down due to coronavirus concerns. The first time it's ever been canceled. The NCAA also canceling all of the spring championships, so we're not going to have any college world series to watch this summer either. Utah Jazz all-star Donovan Mitchell, he confirmed that he was the second player to test positive for the coronavirus. His teammate, fellow all-star Rudy Gobert was the first, and that, of course, led to the NBA suspending the season.

Gobert apologized for being reckless in an Instagram post, saying: The first and most important thing is I would like to apologize to the people I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. Gobert had come under fire for playfully touching all of the media's microphones during a recent availability.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the NBA season will be suspended for at least 30 days and he joined "Inside the NBA" on TNT last night to explain the decision.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: If you think of one of those maps in the country where planes go, that's what players do, they move from city to city. As you know, when they're in those communities, they're in contact with people in the arenas, they're in contact with people in restaurants, hotels, and other places. That's how a virus can spread.


SCHOLES: Now, during last night's show, Charles Barkley was not in the studio because he revealed after a recent trip to New York, he was not feeling well and was self-quarantining. He was tested for coronavirus and is awaiting the results. Certainly, sending "get well" wishes soon to Chuck.

All of this news has been depressing. How about some good news? Cavaliers star Kevin Love has donated $100,000 to the arena workers in Cleveland. The Cavs saying they would be paying all event staff members like every game was still taking place.

Love adding he hopes others step up and do the same. It's not just the players affected by this when all these things get cancelled, there's so many people that depend on those paychecks.

Props to Kevin Love and the Cavs for stepping up.

JARRETT: Mark Cuban also said he will try to do to help out, right?

ROMANS: Yes, you think that they want those employees to be around, ready and happy and loyal after this is over as everything is back up and running, right? So, take care of your people, everybody.

All right. Thanks so much, Andy. Nice to see you.

All right. Clearly, the economy taking a hit from coronavirus, not just Wall Street. Parents and employees nationwide adapting to a new reality.



JARRETT: The failure to deploy enough test kits in the U.S. is becoming a symbol for the federal government's inadequacy in the fight against coronavirus. Right now, public health experts have simply no idea how bad the U.S. outbreak will get. Bottlenecks in lab testing mean there is no way to know how many infections there really are or the true extent of the pandemic nationwide or where the clusters are or how to treat them.

A source inside a closed door House briefing yesterday says lawmakers were told only 11,000 tests had been run so far. You recall Vice President Mike Pence said millions of tests would be available by the end of the week. Meantime, the CDC has now committed to pay for coronavirus tests, which can cost over $1,000 and are not always covered by insurance.

ROMANS: All right. Let's take a look at the markets this morning after a vicious selloff on Thursday. You have futures higher, when you factor in what's called fair value, it looks like the Dow could be up 400 points.

So, there's some discrepancies when you have a huge move in the market like that. But still looks like a bounce. Anything can happen in the next four hours or so.

In Asia, spooked by what they saw in the U.S. those markets are closed. European shares opened and they are bouncing.

What happened yesterday? The worst day since Black Monday. That crash in 1987. The Dow down 2,300 points. We have not seen that level, just above 21,000, since the summer of 2017. That means about three years of your gains are gone.

The S&P and Nasdaq closed 9 percent lower. All of them in the bear market. The stock market is telling us the U.S. economy will grind to a halt. Notable economist Mohamed El-Erian says a global recession is very, very likely.

The New York Fed said they will pump $1.5 trillion into the financial system. The Fed trying to ease concerns that banks won't have enough cash to lend to businesses.

The battered airline industry took more hits after news of President Trump's European travel ban, Norwegian Air temporarily laying off half of its workers. American Airlines reducing international capacity by a third over the summer. Delta suspending flights on seven European routes to and from Paris and Amsterdam. Airline stocks down sharply. United last a quarter of its value in one day.

The nation's top infectious disease doctor said this during a CNN town hall.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I certainly wouldn't get on a plane for a pleasure trip. It would have to be something that was really urgent.


ROMANS: No part of the travel industry has been hit harder by the outbreak than the cruise industry. Princess and Viking cruise lines will halt all operations until May. You know, since it's bad for business, a lot of -- for the cruise business, cruises have food suppliers, their stopovers at destinations, where are stores, and restaurants and all kinds of activities, they will lose visitors and lose dollars.

All right. Joining us this morning, CNN Business lead writer, Matthew Egan.

Good morning, Matt.

Matt is joining us from home where he's part of the work from home trend that we're seeing across the country.

And, Matt, I'm interested, with so many people working from home, with schools closed, with so many sporting events closed, the American economy feels like it's grinding to a halt here. Will that mean a recession?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: It increasingly looks like it will, Christine. All the economists that I talked to say that basically the market right now is signaling that either we're about to go into a recession or we already are.

One of the biggest problems is what you mentioned, we've seen major parts of the country start to shut down. We see people working from home. Obviously, that just deals a major blow to some of these local businesses. I mean, think about the pizza shops, the restaurants, the bars, the food trucks that all rely on a steady stream of commuters, and that stream is stopping in major parts of the country.

And at the same time, we've seen, as you mentioned, sports leagues. I mean, Major League Baseball talking about delaying the start of the season, stopping spring training, NBA, NHL on hold, soccer is on hold, that's all going to deal a real blow to the economy, and then you have the consumer front. That's a big deal.

This health crisis is dealing a really big blow to consumer psychology, to consumer confidence. And when that happens, people often hunker down, they stop spending. And even if they want to spend now, they might not be able to. They can't go to Disney. They can't go to baseball games, or hockey games. And so, all of that is certainly going to slow down the economy, Christine.

JARRETT: Yes, one of the reasons they probably can't spend is people who have kids are out of work are now trying to think about how do I make sure my kids are cared for? Maybe that means I have to pay extra for a babysitter that I wasn't planning to.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: Matt, I want to get your thoughts on the Dow down 10 percent obviously yesterday, just a horrific day. Why did it plunge so fast? I mean, why have we seen such a dramatic fall?

ROMANS: Twenty-four days from high to a bear market. It took 275 days for that to happen in 2008.

EGAN: Yes, the losses are breath taking and the speed of the losses are what is most notable. This is clearly all about fear. Investors are selling first, they're asking questions later.

Now, the big worry is obviously the coronavirus. How bad will it get? How many people will get infected? How many people will die? And how much damage will that do to the economy?

No one knows those answers. Not the best economists in the world, not the best health experts in the world. That's all that uncertainty is what is driving down the market.

Now, as you mentioned, the Dow, worst day since 1987. But actually, it was also the fifth worst day all time --


EGAN: -- since the average was created in 1896. $7.5 trillion in market value has been wiped off the S&P 500 in not even a month. Now, the hardest hit area of the stock market is obviously the travel industry, which is facing a 9/11 style crisis. Cruise companies, airlines, hotels, event providers. The whole industry is really getting hit.

The energy sector is also getting clobbered, because we've seen just unprecedented selling in oil prices and now there's real bankruptcy fears there.


EGAN: So, clearly, investors are looking to Washington to do more to try to instill some confidence, because, clearly, confidence is all but gone on Wall Street right now.

ROMANS: Yes, we saw the Fed step in and say it was going to inject $1.5 trillion, just an astonishing amount of money and the Dow still closed down 10 percent. So, watching to see how much more the Fed can do.

Thanks for that, Matt Egan. Nice to see you.

JARRETT: Thanks, Matt.

All right. In less than 19 hours, travel for Europeans to the U.S. shut down completely. What are travelers saying?

CNN is live in Paris, next.



JARRETT: The U.S. is preparing to implement large travel restrictions for a large swath of Europe. President Trump initially called it an outright ban but the administration later clarified that American citizens are exempt. The ban is mostly for foreign nationals.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is live at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport for us.

Jim, what are you hearing on the ground there? What's the mood?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's a little bit of panic, but not much. I mean, Laura, you can see from -- this is a Delta ticket change counter behind me, and there's a lot of Delta flights as the day goes on here. And there's been a number of people this morning, I would say probably close to 100 that were in line waiting to change their tickets and whatnot. They've now managed to do that so the lines have thinned down a little bit.

The confused messaging was really a problem. People didn't know who to believe about what exactly was going to happen in the United States. We talked to a psychologist from Los Angeles on her way back home who cut her trip short, and she said that -- she described it as mass hysteria.

Here's what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday morning, all these texts, all this stuff, they said you need to get out of here by tonight, March 13th, at midnight, or you're going to be held in the country -- you're going to be held in the country for 30 days basically. You will not be able to get out for 30 days. So, immediately, I was on the phone yesterday with Expedia for four hours to get everything changed.


And I got here just, like -- I left LAX on Monday, and I got here on Tuesday.


BITTERMANN: Some of that anxiety, I think, Laura, has been caused by the fact that the airlines themselves have been cutting back on flights. So, Americans who are over here are wondering about whether they'll be able to get seats coming back.

Delta, for example, says that as of Sunday, they're going to be cutting back on European flights, and American Airlines, which also flies out of Charles de Gaulle said that they're going to be looking over things for the next several days and cutting back on flights.

So, some of it is necessary panic and some of it is real worry about actually finding an airplane to take people back home -- Laura.

JARRETT: So much understandable frustration. You can see it from that psychologist that you interviewed there.

Jim, thanks so much for being there for us.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-five minutes past the hour.

Essentially, society as we know it coming to a standstill. Closures and cancellations, pile up for schools, work, cultural spots, families nationwide adapting. How long will this last?