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America Shuts Down Over Coronavirus Fears; Travel Ban Leads to Uncertainty, Empty Airports; Frustration Grows Over Availability of Coronavirus Testing. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired March 13, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Life screeching to a halt across the country as officials worked to contain the spread of coronavirus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Concerts canceled. Spring break canceled. Sports seasons suspended and postponed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unprecedented. Never seen anything like this, really, in the world of sports.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Reduce the number of people, no gathering with 500 people or more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All Broadway shows have suspended performances.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Testing has been going very smoothly.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: It is a failing. The idea of anybody getting it easily, we're not set up for that.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, March 13. It's 6 a.m. here in New York.
And this is, like, unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. But chances are, you know that, because you're working from home, have a child at home with no school, have had an event, a game, a meeting canceled. You have seen for yourself that this is different. America is shutting down.
This morning and every morning we'll try to tell you everything you need to know about the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic and where it's headed. There are now more than 1,600 confirmed cases in 47 states and
Washington, D.C. Forty-one Americans have died. Five states have closed all of their schools, and there are other closures all over the country. This amounts to about five million students, K-12, at home today and for who knows how long. And that number is rising.
New York, Washington, Oregon, Ohio, California, they have all banned gatherings ranging from 100 people to 500 people. The NBA, NHL, MLS have suspended their seasons. The NCAA has canceled March Madness. Major League Baseball has suspended spring training and delayed opening day for at least two weeks.
Here in New York, Broadway has gone dark for the next month. No shows. Disney parks in Florida, California, closed for the first time since 9/11.
And the economy is reeling. The Dow plunged 10 percent yesterday to its worst day since the 1987 stock market crash.
Overnight, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing that she has tested positive for coronavirus. The prime minister says he is self-quarantining for 14 days.
Meanwhile, as far as we know, President Trump has not been tested, despite coming into close contact with a top Brazilian official at Mar-a-Lago over the weekend, who is now infected with coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration's top expert on infectious diseases, admits the U.S. is failing in testing for coronavirus. The president has not echoed that conclusion, but whatever the president has said has certainly not calmed the fears of the markets.
Negotiations are expected to continue today on a relief package addressing the economic impact of coronavirus.
There's so much to cover. Let's begin with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. He is live in New York's Times Square, where it looks fairly quiet behind you, Shimon.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very quiet behind me here this morning, Alisyn. Really, a new way of life for many New Yorkers. Waking up this morning in places like Times Square which will probably be mostly deserted today.
There are five theaters just behind me on this one street here in Times Square. All of them will be empty today. There are restaurants on the street. All of them will be empty today.
As most folks waking up this morning confront a new norm, as states and cities across the country now are trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
PROKUPECZ (voice-over): New York's governor taking drastic measures, banning most gatherings statewide of more than 500 people. CUOMO: We all talked about how it's contagious. Touching surfaces, et
cetera. Reduce the density. So we're going to take very dramatic actions in that regard.
PROKUPECZ: That move turning the lights out on Broadway until at least mid-April.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It sucks for those of us who work in the theater community, because we don't have jobs for the next month. Hopefully, we all have savings to get us through.
PROKUPECZ: New York City under a state of emergency, but the mayor says city schools will remain open.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We have so many working New Yorkers who have no other place for their kid to be. On top of that, there's a reality. If a lot of parents don't have any choice, they'll simply not be able to go to work at all. They'll have to stay home with kids. That includes people we desperately need, like first responders.
PROKUPECZ: Nationally, nearly 5 million children are out of school, pushing the classroom online for many. But for some districts, like in Seattle, learning will stop entirely for the next two weeks.
TIM ROBINSON, SPOKESPERSON, SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Not all 53,000 students have online access or a device, a computer. So if we can't provide that online learning for all of our students, then we can't.
PROKUPECZ: Drive-through testing centers are popping up across the nation, including this five-minute clinic in Minnesota. But you'll need permission from your primary care doctor first.
DR. PRITISH TOSH, MAYO CLINIC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT MEDICAL DIRECTOR: Until we had this set up, a lot of the testing was being done through emergency departments.
PROKUPECZ: March Madness canceled this year, the NCAA halting both the men's and women's basketball tournaments. Major League Baseball suspending spring training and delaying opening day by at least two weeks, joining the NBA, the NHL, the pro tennis tour and Major League Soccer in pressing pause on their seasons. One official says travelers may want to reconsider flying.
FAUCI: I certainly wouldn't get on a plane for a pleasure trip. It would have to be something that was really urgent.
By Saturday morning, both Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California will be closed for the first time since the September 11th attacks. The move after California's governor banned all gatherings over 250 people.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): It is not only our strong recommendation, but codified in the executive order that we have directed cities, counties, private, public sector, large and small all throughout the state of California to no longer permit large nonessential events in this state. Sporting events, other types of conferences, music festivals and the like.
PROKUPECZ: And Alisyn, here in New York, the governor ordering that restaurants serve about half the number of customers it would normally serve to try and keep space between people eating at these restaurants.
Again, isolation here, separating people, keeping people from gathering together at large venues is the key now as officials continue to warn that things could get worse. So they're trying to keep people isolated from gathering to try and prevent the spread of this virus.
CAMEROTA: I mean, of course, Shimon, it's just a huge challenge in a huge metropolis like New York City. We'll see how it goes today. Thank you very much for reporting from Times Square.
President Trump's travel restrictions from most of Europe go into effect at midnight tonight. But they're already sparking confusion at airports across the country and around the world.
CNN's Melissa Bell is live in Rome's airport.
What's the situation there, Melissa?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Extremely quiet. Much quieter than you'd expected. And of course, Alisyn, the new normal in a country here that is on lockdown: recommendations everywhere about keeping that one meter distance with other people.
And just take a look at this board. Canceled, canceled, canceled. Many of them European flights because, of course, they've been extremely impacted by Italy, essentially having to lock itself down entirely. But also, the last flights to the United States. Already the big American carriers have simply stopped making the journey. Now it is the European ones, as well.
Now, the last Alitalia flight just left for New York, and then that's going to be it, Alisyn.
What we're hearing from staff here at Alitalia was that there were a lot of Americans on that flight but also Europeans hoping to get in before that travel ban comes into effect.
It is, of course, everyone that's been affected by the confusion of the announcement of that ban. Have a listen to what some passengers have had to say to us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as we're in the air, we land, and we get bombarded with messages from our families, telling us Trump announced this; and you can't come back. And the end of the world and all that good stuff. So --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know a lot of people that are freaked out and trying to change their flights, like, yesterday. But I think people kind of calmed down now that American citizens can return home. But there's definitely been, like, a lot of uncertainty, which has caused a lot of, like, panic.
BELL: Americans, they are trying desperately to get home. Of course, they're not going to be affected by the travel ban itself. But they are going to be affected by the fact that so few flights are now going to be happening between the European continent and the United States.
Just this morning, the last flight from the U.S. arrived here in Rome. A Norwegian Airlines flight, a company, bear in mind, that sacked half its employees overnight, because it focuses so much on that transatlantic crossing. That's no longer going to be possible.
And to give you an idea of how bad things are, this entire terminal, Terminal 1, at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, will entirely shut down on Tuesday -- John.
BERMAN: That is incredible. As empty as it is right now, it's going to shut down completely in a few days. Melissa Bell, thank you very much for that.
Look, we are getting new developments into the NEWSROOM all morning long about how your life is changing and will change over the next few hours and next few days. Coming up next, we're going to give you some ways to help navigate through this. This coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives. That's next.
CAMEROTA: The coronavirus outbreak is shutting down life as we know it. So what can you do today to prepare for the major disruption we're all about to experience, if you're not already, in our daily lives?
Let's bring in CNN senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She is the former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, I'm going to start with you. Because while we've pressed pause on life as we know it, what should families -- everybody who's watching right now, how can they get their heads around this?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So -- well, there's ten kids amongst all of us. So this -- I hope to answer your questions, as well. And I did write a book called "Security Mom."
Listen, the most important thing, or two most important things, one is a battle rhythm. I just say that to employers. I say it to governors, and I say it to parents. You've got to stabilize this uncertainty for them so the sort of waking up every morning and going, Oh, my God, what's going on, is like, not helpful. So try to get a rhythm for those of us who may not be worried about resources and stuff.
CAMEROTA: But a battle rhythm means come up with your own structure?
KAYYEM: Own structure for them, because otherwise, it's going to be just day after day. And you know, I got an email that said two weeks. I'm not convinced it's two weeks. So it might be four. It might be six. I don't know. Right? I mean, we're going to have to make those calculations about how long the kids are home.
The second is, you know, work -- it can be stressful. Even though I knew this day would happen, in the sense that I knew that these closures would happen, I found yesterday jarring. I mean, every alert, right?
So we're the adults. Life is going to go on. It's going to get back to normal. There will be a summer. And so we have to act as the adults, because our instability and concern, which we may have amongst our friends, is not helpful to them.
BERMAN: That's so interesting. So prepare for the indefinite, in other words.
BERMAN: Don't set an end date to this, because you don't know an end date.
BERMAN: And the other thing that's really interesting there is that parents have to think like governors.
BERMAN: Or leaders. Frankly, some of our leaders should start thinking like parents.
BERMAN: Maybe we're so far along in this.
Bianna, you know, when you look at the macro, you look at these states -- Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, New Mexico, Michigan -- shutting down their schools. In the case of Ohio, they had five cases, and they shut down their schools.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right.
BERMAN: That's not many. Being proactive, it might be scary at first but maybe it should be reassuring.
GOLODRYGA: And it's also reassuring when kids know that their parents have a plan, which is why I came this morning, too. I wanted to be reassured by your plan. So I feel much better now. KAYYEM: Everyone --
GOLODRYGA: It's kind of nice to get out of the house if you can, as well.
KAYYEM: -- brace for impact.
GOLODRYGA: Because I have a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old, and we have college kids home, as well. So for the kids especially, you know, having a set schedule is key. And it's not sleeping in till whenever they want to. It's not just play games all day. It's do your work. And we're in touch with their schools, as well, and the teachers.
Look, it's been 48 hours. So talk to me in two weeks. Then maybe we'll have a different idea of what's been going on.
But having a set schedule, having enough food in the house and supplies. So if for no other reason than your own peace of mind, I mean, I bought a bunch of frozen foods just to have in case this does go on longer than two weeks. I don't expect to have grocery stores close.
But we did see what happened over the past 24 hours in grocery stores around the country.
And I also looked into what others in China and South Korea have been doing under self-quarantine, and some of the tips that I've heard that they gave. And one was really interesting. Aside from the obvious, making sure you have all your emergency supplies, have something savory. Have snacks at home. Because there are times when all you do want is a Hershey's bar or you want some popcorn. And that's what I heard drove them personally crazy. So I stocked up on all of these snacks and hid them away from the kids.
CAMEROTA: I love this.
BERMAN: My wife took me to the car last night, and she says, Come with me. And she walks me to the car, opens the door, and there's, like, this giant bag of candy.
CAMEROTA: Yes! Yes!
BERMAN: Do you want a Twix?
GOLODRYGA: You feel like a dealer when it comes to junk food.
CAMEROTA: But popcorn can kill a lot of time.
GOLODRYGA: Exactly, yes.
CAMEROTA: Keep eating that.
GOLODRYGA: As long as you have dental floss.
CAMEROTA: A long time.
Juliette, one of the things I'm struck by, though, I think, is adding to the uncertainty, but you tell me if this is how it has to work.
Municipalities across the country are all freelancing.
CAMEROTA: They're all doing their own thing. In New Rochelle, there's a containment zone. In Washington state, the governor is shutting down large gatherings of more than 250. Some places are closing public schools; some aren't. Should there be a coordinated federal response to this so that there's uniformity? Or can there not be uniformity?
KAYYEM: We can't. We're too big. There cannot be. There's going to be pockets of hot zones, so to speak. There's going to be -- you know, in Ohio, they only had five cases, but their public health officials were anticipating a lot more.
I cannot stress enough how this testing kit fiasco is the original and only sin. Because it doesn't only impact public health. It impacts homeland security planners.
So I've talked to a lot of governors and mayors. What's their denominator and what's their numerator? What are our numbers? So since they don't know what they are, you have to assume the worst. That's their responsibility.
So a lot of people are like, why did that all happen yesterday? Because every planner is now, with imperfect information, now has to assume that their resources are going to be stretched relatively quickly over the next two weeks is the trajectory we're seeing. And so has to try to do social isolation and other things to stop -- essentially to stop the spread.
So that's the original sin, and it will continue through homeland security. And I hate to say it, it's going to continue to figure out how do we get back to normal. Who's sick, who's not?
But I will say with kids, you know, don't promise an end certain date and don't -- you know, especially -- like, you know, everything is fine. Not everything is fine. You know, be honest.
BERMAN: And also, social distance is not social quarantine.
KAYYEM: Yes. With friends, yes.
BERMAN: People need to go out. They can go out. You can go to the store if you need to. There are things you can do.
GOLODRYGA: You can play with your friends. Yes, yes.
BERMAN: Don't go to a concert.
GOLODRYGA: Just not at a concert. Correct.
BERMAN: Yes. Don't go to a concert.
KAYYEM: This is not a quarantine. CAMEROTA: OK.
KAYYEM: No, it's not.
CAMEROTA: Avoid big gatherings, but you can play with your friends.
KAYYEM: Public health people are even, you know, torn about restaurants. If the restaurants are -- have enough space and stuff. So --
CAMEROTA: Good to know.
KAYYEM: Save the marriage. Save the marriage.
BERMAN: You're paying, by the way.
All right. Insanity, that is how one doctor who spoke to CNN describes the confusion over who can be tested, who should be tested for coronavirus. A new report on the challenges that Americans are facing in trying to get themselves tested.
BERMAN: Frustration growing across the country this morning as healthcare facilities report a shortage of tests for coronavirus. And Americans are worried they -- Americans who are worried they have coronavirus are struggling to get tested. The nation's top infectious disease doctor admits the U.S. system is failing.
CNN's Drew Griffin joins us now with a look into the problem.
Drew, I'm so grateful that you've really taken the chance to dive into this, because we need the answers.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And John, the answers are troubling. Just think of these statistics. South Korea has already tested about 250,000 people for coronavirus.
I just checked. As of last night, the CDC and public labs in the United States of America have run just 13,000 tests.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): From every part of the country, CNN is being told that, despite what's coming out of the White House and out of the vice president's mouth, what you're about to hear is just not true.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was some concern that -- that the guidance that doctors had had at the time was, if you were only mildly symptomatic, it did not indicate that a test was appropriate. We changed that, and that's when the president said that anyone who wanted a test could have one on a doctor's orders. There's no -- no barrier to that now.
GRIFFIN: Not everyone who wants and even needs a COVID-19 test is getting one, even with a doctor's order.
In Katy, Texas, school teacher Courtney Cherry (ph) has been home with a flu-like symptom since Monday. Her doctor told her she doesn't have the flu. She says her doctor doesn't know what she has, but she can't get a coronavirus test.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said that I did not fit one of the two CDC guidelines which to her was, one, I've traveled somewhere where there's infection. Internationally is what they initially had asked me when I went to the doctor and, two, I had not come in contact with someone who was positive for coronavirus.
GRIFFIN (on camera): But that's only as far as you know. Right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): While testing is increasing in some areas, healthcare workers tell CNN they are furious they're not able to test their patients for coronavirus because of a lack of tests and the restrictive CDC guidelines. That's led to rationing, which infectious disease experts say will only hurt our ability to fight this disease, because without tests, we have no idea where it's spreading.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We must start now testing people who are not just severe and hospitalized but also have more mild symptoms so that we know the scale of the problem. Unless we know the scale of the problem, we really can't prepare or mitigate the outbreak.
GRIFFIN: In Massachusetts, one doctor told CNN, "We are being crippled by our public health department and the CDC on our ability to combat this pandemic," adding, "It's going to cost American lives."
An E.R. nurse from California says, "We should be swabbing everyone who walks in the door who has flu-like symptoms. This is absurd."
Adding to the confusion, mixed messages between the White House, which insists tests are available, and the federal government's top infectious disease expert, who within hours told Congress, actually, they are not easily available.
FAUCI: The system does not -- is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing. The idea of anybody getting it easily the way people in other countries are doing it, we're not set up for that. Do I think we should be? Yes. But we're not.
GRIFFIN: The lack of testing is so bad some firefighters in suburban Seattle feared they'd been exposed, yet can't be tested unless showing symptoms. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a number of friends that have told me
they've been in quarantine and have not been able to be tested.
GRIFFIN: Health departments say they are following CDC guidelines, which call for testing if someone with symptoms has been to a foreign country affected by COVID-19, or has had close contact with someone diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Dawn Clements in Largo, Florida, has been sick since Friday. Her daughter went through it two weeks ago. She has all the symptoms, no flu and can't get tested.
DAWN CLEMENTS, CAN'T GET CORONAVIRUS TEST: I didn't meet criteria, because I did not travel out of the United States to one of the countries.
In the meantime, I'm immunosuppressed with some health conditions, and I live at an ALF. And I don't know what virus I have. I'm running a fever, and I have chest congestion. And nobody can test us here.
GRIFFIN: Florida Health Department official confirms tests are being prioritized. Would not say if that's because of a shortage, only that Florida is trying to focus on those most likely to have COVID-19.
GRIFFIN: Alisyn, when this is all over and the investigation begins, the investigation into how this testing debacle took place is going to be damning.
CAMEROTA: Understood. And we're trying to get the answers to that even now as we speak, Drew. Thank you very much.
Joining us now is Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the co-director of Texas Children's Hospital, Center for Vaccine Development and the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Dr. Hotez, great to have you with us.
When Dr. Fauci says that we've seen a failure of testing here, "We're not set up for it," quote, what are we supposed to do? What does that mean for the rest of us?
DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, what it means is we're at risk for having a much bigger epidemic in the United States than we should be having.
Why do I say that? Well, we've been doing -- looking at an analysis, my colleagues at Harvard School of Public Health and elsewhere have been doing an analysis of where the successes are in China in terms of limiting the extent of the epidemic and the number of patients who are hospitalized, in an intensive care unit, versus those where it's bad, where it's not -- where it's become a serious issue.
And the key is this. If sustained transmission goes on for several weeks before it's picked up.