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Millions of U.S. Students Affected By School Closings; Hospital in New York Containment Zone Stretched to the Limit with Coronavirus Patients; Dow Plunges 10 Percent for its Worst Day Since 1987 Crash. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 13, 2020 - 07:30   ET



RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Would you actually think that you're going to replace schooling with online when so many kids at home don't have WiFi. So, we're going to have to just figure out how to help create engagement and how to help create calm, and how to get the facts out to help kids as much as possible. So, we have a lot of materials on Share My Lesson, it's free.



BERMAN: It's just things that parents can do?

WEINGARTEN: Parents can do, teachers can do, it's totally free, we keep on putting more and more stuff up there. We have a lot of materials on, coronavirus. So, anything we have out there, we're trying to get it out transparently and trying to help fight this disease.

BERMAN: Randi Weingarten, you know, students are relying on teachers, teachers are relying on parents, parents are relying on all of us. Thank you --

WEINGARTEN: Thank you --

BERMAN: So much for being here.

WEINGARTEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll get through this.


BERMAN: Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Thanks, John. The pandemic putting President Trump's leadership style to the test. Why is he not using accurate information?



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, we're in great shape compared to other places. We're in really good shape.


CAMEROTA: All right, that was President Trump saying that we're in great shape. The numbers have just gone up for cases -- we just got an update. They're now at 1,680 cases across the country, 41 deaths. But of course, the numbers are hard to pinpoint since the testing has been such a failure according to Dr. Anthony Fauci on the president's task force.

Joining us now to talk about all this, we have CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart; he is the former press secretary for President Clinton and CNN national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem; she's a former official with the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration. I'm so glad to have both of you.

You have both been in government in different administrations, obviously, you both had to at some point think about what would happen with a global pandemic. Joe, I want to start with you. How are we screwing this up? How did -- if Dr. Fauci, who is the preeminent expert on this, says that the testing has been a failure, whose fault is this? How did we screw this up?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we got at the pandemic operation both at the National Security Council and at the CDC. But I think most of all, it was an example of the president just not taking something seriously enough. There's reporting that the Health and Human Services Secretary brought this to the president and he did not make it a priority.

He's made it much worse, though, by saying things that just aren't true. And he's saying things that just aren't true because he's playing politics with this. You know, just this morning, he had several tweets blaming the Obama administration for this. What the American public was looking for right now is someone who takes the politics out of it and gives them reliable, accurate information so they have some sense of what to do.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Juliette, I understand what -- that was helpful what Joe just said --


CAMEROTA: Gutting the Global Pandemic Council --

KAYYEM: Right --

CAMEROTA: At the CDC, now in retrospect does not seem like it was a good idea. Understood that was one --

KAYYEM: Right --

CAMEROTA: Screw up. But in terms of the CDC not having enough tests or not implementing them, would the president of the United States have to have gone to the CDC, and said I want you to begin testing?

KAYYEM: No, so this gap is inexplicable. But there are -- but here's what we know. We know that testing kits were offered by the W.H.O. and the international community because we had what now is being called squandered time. Once we knew that China was going to contain, we had essentially eight to ten weeks to get our acts together. We did not completely squander it. So, that's why we're in the sort of -- why is everything happening so quickly staged?

CAMEROTA: And do you agree that this was a leadership failure?

KAYYEM: Yes --

CAMEROTA: That in terms of the squandered time --

KAYYEM: Yes --

CAMEROTA: It would have been the president of the United States --

KAYYEM: It is --

CAMEROTA: To do this?

KAYYEM: Here's the equivalent. I see a forming hurricane 5 -- category 5 hurricane forming off the coast of Louisiana. And my reaction is, gosh, I hope it goes away, I really hope it goes away. That -- and that comes from the top, right? So that then when the hurricane hits shore, you're stuck with a population unprepared for the hurricane, right? So we saw the hurricane forming -- and then, you know, we have an execution problem, too, which is completely inexplicable to me.

If the kits are here, right? Why are they not being utilized sufficiently? Why are they not -- this is -- this is a basic supply chain problem. I've worked a lot of disasters, I'm sympathetic that things do not always go perfectly. But come on, we're now in week four, five, six, I mean, this is -- this is beyond supply chain problem.

CAMEROTA: And before I get back to Joe, one more question. Every administration briefs the incoming administration about --

KAYYEM: Yes --

CAMEROTA: A global pandemic, right? Isn't this one of the scenarios that you're getting now?

KAYYEM: Yes, so, I got it from the Bush administration. Even then -- because remember, President Obama's first major crisis was not terrorism, it was H1N1. We -- that hit us like March or April of our first year. Then later on as Lisa Monaco, his homeland security adviser said yesterday, her outgoing briefing was a pandemic briefing. And so, we knew that this was coming.

CAMEROTA: Joe, in terms of the messaging from the president, I mean, he continues to paint an overly rosy picture. He's not using facts when he's trying to assess what's happening with testing and with the cases. And you're hearing lawmakers start to speak out about it, even Republicans. Here is an example.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The president has said that anybody who wants a test can get a test. Is that consistent with what you heard in there?

SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R-OK): No, it's not consistent right now. That's obviously the goal, is to be able to get testing for everybody who wants testing to be able to get it and to be able to get it in multiple locations. But that's not accurate right now.

RAJU: Should he stop saying that?

LANKFORD: Yes, people should not say if you want a test, you should go get a test right now.



CAMEROTA: Joe, that's notable.

LOCKHART: Yes, I mean, listen, he's making a terrible mistake here by putting out wrong information. And people have a way of validating that and checking it and -- they've -- what they've done, I believe is tuned the president out. And now they're relying on multiple sources. And that's the problem because when you rely on multiple sources, you get different information.

The leadership in all of this have come from governors, mayors, companies, sports leagues, you know, Disney World closing down, but all without the leadership of the White House and the federal government. They each -- each of these organizations has been forced to make their own decision and the public is left to wonder, well, why are they doing that?

And every day, the president tells us everything is OK. You know, I think they really -- it's a pretty simple fix, which is they've got to get the president to stop talking, and to put Dr. Fauci or Dr. Bricks or someone else out on a regular basis to give straightforward information. And I think even if the news is bad, you will lower anxiety if people feel like they're getting it straight.

CAMEROTA: Your thoughts?

KAYYEM: I mean, absolutely. In a national crisis like this, the president is not allowed to be irrelevant, right? He's not -- or I put it another way. If an irrelevant president is dangerous. This is not a lie about crowd size or you know, how many people love him or polling. His inability to grasp the gravity of what is going on and the leadership vacuum that fortunately many governors and mayors have filled is one that -- you know, that's not why people elected him.

CAMEROTA: Juliette Kayyem, Joe Lockhart, thank you both very much for your experience in this realm.


BERMAN: Right. This morning, was -- what is it like on the front lines of the battle against this pandemic? Inside a hospital at the center of the outbreak. Dr. Sanjay Gupta here with an exclusive look next.



BERMAN: So, this morning, the city of New Rochelle in New York is home to the largest coronavirus cluster in the United States. A hospital in the city's containment zone is already stretched to the limit. Its intensive care unit is full. This, I think, is the single greatest concern as we sit here this morning with this pandemic. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was granted exclusive access inside. And Sanjay, you've been telling us this surge capacity is what worries you the most.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and no question. And this has been modeled, I mean, we're not -- the data has been out there for some time in terms of what to expect. Hospitals are sort of trying to figure this out now, and this particular hospital, as you know, is at the epicenter of this largest cluster in New York State. So, we wanted to see how prepared they are and how they're feeling about things.


THERESA MADALINE, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, MONTEFIORE MEDICAL CENTER: I am concerned. When we use the word pandemic, I think that tells us all that this is very serious here.

GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Theresa Madaline is the epidemiologist who manages New Rochelle Hospital and the ten other hospitals that make up the Montefiore Health Care System. She gave us an exclusive look at the hospital which is now at the center of one of the country's largest virus outbreaks. On March 2nd, the first positive patient in West Chester County appeared right here in New Rochelle.

A 50-year-old attorney who works in Manhattan. On March 4th, two days later, his two children and wife tested positive, and so did his neighbor. By March 6th, the New Rochelle Hospital received its first confirmed patient. To give you a sense of how fast this is all moving, not even a week later, there are now at least 148 positive patients in the county.

(on camera): If you look at those curves, I mean, they kind of go like this, and then all of a sudden like this. MADALINE: That's right.

GUPTA: That's what you're preparing for here?

MADALINE: That's right.

GUPTA: Your ICU is full.


GUPTA: So, how do you -- how do you -- how are you going to handle this part of things?

MADALINE: Well, we have plans for transferring patients to different places if we need to. We have plans for setting up different units in areas of the hospital if we have to do that. It's just a matter of keeping our eye on the situation all day every day and being ready to push the button at any moment.

GUPTA (voice-over): Right now, the hospital has one confirmed coronavirus patient, and six others with symptoms they are closely monitoring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just started as a cold. I mean, I still don't know if I have it or not. But it just started as a cold, and you know, just want to be safe, and just get checked out.

GUPTA: But here's the thing, with every new or suspected patient, it comes down to resources.

(on camera): So this has become a pretty precious commodity.

(voice-over): Ventilators, machines that can help patients breathe are now in high demand, and you can't just move them to any room. You need backup power supply and of course, you need an oxygen line.

MADALINE: I think sharing of resources and thinking really creatively as not just smart of your health system, but what about nationally. I think we're really going to need to begin collaborating together and thinking about this on a larger scale.

GUPTA (on camera): Are you able to keep up?

MADALINE: Right now we are, but certainly things change quickly and we're preparing for if resources get tight or it gets to be a surge capacity situation.

GUPTA (voice-over): And so that means keeping things even like masks under lock and key. Stocking up on gowns and cleaning wipes in warehouses. All of this at a premium during an outbreak, down to every last swab.

(on camera): We saw what happened in China. We hear about hospitals being filled to the brink really in Italy and tough decisions is being made about patients and patient care over there. Do you anticipate that happening here? MADALINE: We certainly hope that we won't need to make tough

decisions like that. But we have to be prepared to do so.

GUPTA: I imagine because at some point it comes down to somebody needs one, may not be able to get it because someone else is deemed to be more likely to survive or younger or healthier or whatever. Just got to be -- you know, I just -- that's the hardest part I think in all this.


MADALINE: It's hard-wrenching where caregivers, we took an oath to care for people, and to have to ration resources is a very painful decision to make. But when we're given no choice, we try to collectively together make the best decisions that we can.


CAMEROTA: This is the scariest part on it, you've been telling us about this now for days or weeks, what if hospitals are overloaded?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, look, can shout this from the roof top, but we've known about this for some time, frankly, the modeling data that I've been talking about in terms of the expected need for ICU beds and ventilators, that's the federal government's data, Alisyn? I mean, I'm not making this up. This is what they projected for moderate pandemic.

So I really appreciated speaking to Dr. Madaline there because she's trying to make these decisions now. They're part of a big hospital system, you know, this hospital system well. They got ten hospitals, so they can start to rob Peter to pay Paul. But what you start to do when it's bigger than that, bigger regions and then obviously the whole country?

BERMAN: Italy is making decisions about who gets a bed. We're not there yet --

GUPTA: Right --

BERMAN: But we're not far.

GUPTA: No, right, and they're starting to think about that. The medical part of it, the ethical part of it, the logistical moving things from A to B part of it, it's remarkable. That's what they have to do.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, thank you very much for all that --

GUPTA: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Reporting and bringing that to our attention, we'll talk to you --

GUPTA: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Again in a minute. The stock markets appear to be recovering a bit, yes, a lot, from the worst day in decades, with America shutting down, though, is a recession looming? Christine Romans here next.



CAMEROTA: The longest bull market in U.S. history appears to be over. U.S. stocks had their worst day since the Black Monday crash of 1987. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with more. So, the fact that a bull market is over, we're in a bear market, can it bounce back out of that now?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't look like it will in the near term because there are forecasts for a recession in the U.S. economy now right now, Alisyn, to be honest. And I want to look at the world markets and futures right now. Everything moving higher. In fact, futures up so high, they stopped the trading up 5 percent, it's called limit up.

And that's because there are some hope, maybe there's going to be a stimulus announcement soon, maybe finding some common ground between the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the house. So, look for maybe some stimulus news today. But the story was the bear market now, a ferocious unraveling in the stock market.

The Dow down 2,300 points yesterday, more than two and a half years of gains gone, more than 8,000 points in the Dow vanishes in a matter of weeks. The S&P 500, the Nasdaq both down at least 9 percent. OK, guys, think of it this way. The U.S. economy is grinding to a halt on purpose to fight the spread of coronavirus. In fact, managing yourself almost into a recession to prevent even worse public health crisis.

Notable economist Mohamed El-Erian tells us a global recession is very likely. Here is how that would happen, let's use sports as an example, the NBA, NHL, March Madness, baseball canceled or delayed. Now, that's not just about players and fans, it's hotel cancellations, empty restaurants, the supply chain before the big events. The vendors, the ushers, the hourly workers who may have to go without pay, they intend have less money to spend, that hurts the economy far and wide.

Social distancing has the travel industry in a rough patch, not seen since the days after 9/11. Airlines slashing flights as demand vanishes. Hotel and cruise line bookings have collapsed, some cruise operators are canceling their cruises through May. That means lost sales and likely lost jobs. United Airlines and Delta have hiring freezes already. Norwegian Air temporarily laying off up to half of its workers.

Airline stocks this year, you can see it, decimated, major cruise lines down even worse there. Now, thousands of schools have closed, millions of Americans are working from home, when you avoid public places, you hurt sales at restaurants, retailers, malls, any public venues, and you idle the millions of Americans who work there. In short, a stopped economy cannot grow and that will likely lead to recession. BERMAN: You know, I moderated a conference last night, it was

initially supposed to be in person, but it ended up being virtual, talking to people in Asia who have been living through this. And there was one banker that I talked to from Hong Kong, they've been working from home for a month. And I said how efficient have you been during this working from home?

He said, and he goes, you know, 75 percent, but the cases in Hong Kong are going down --

ROMANS: That's right --

BERMAN: So it's worth it.

ROMANS: This is telling the American public to do something different, to prevent, to flatten that curve. Everyone is talking about flattening that curve, but to prolong this so you don't have real stresses on the public health system. In a sense, it's almost like taking one for the team in a way, you know? I mean, you're trying to really step back now to make sure there's not something worse in the future.

And that could risk recession. JPMorgan has a recession call for the first half of the year. There are other calls saying that maybe you see zero growth this year. But here is the important thing. This isn't a financial crisis. This is something -- we can see the end of this. We can see out to later this year and know that the economy is going to grow again and you're going to have some kind of a snapback. So there is --

BERMAN: Oh, if we get our -- if we wrap our arms around the public health crisis --

ROMANS: If we wrap our arm -- absolutely. And that's why you have all of this social distancing right now and so much work being done ahead of it.

CAMEROTA: Can cruise ships see the end of this?

ROMANS: I'm not sure about cruise ships. And I know they're really working hard -- I mean, they're idled for two months, that is going to be devastating to earnings and sales. You have all kinds of companies who have just been pulling their guidance to Wall Street, saying we can't see how bad this is going to be. I will say, a lot of economists and companies even have first, second and third grade scenarios, right, of how bad this will be.

You know, so when you look at the worst case scenario, they could have no earnings this year. But what if -- what if we do get our hands around this, and what if it's not as bad as we thought, then the snapback later this year will be as ferocious as the sell-off.

BERMAN: But plan for the indefinite.

ROMANS: Yes --

BERMAN: I think --


BERMAN: Is the best advice. Christine Romans --

CAMEROTA: But so helpful, thank you, Christine --

ROMANS: You're welcome --

CAMEROTA: You really explained that so beautifully to us. Thanks to our international viewers for watching.