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CNN NEWSROOM

New York Confirms First Coronavirus Death; Forty-Seven Employees At WA Nursing Home Test Positive For Coronavirus; House Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill; Interview With Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL); Interview With Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY); Georgia Declares Public Health State Of Emergency; Millions Of U.S. Students Affected By School Closings; Athletes Rally To Support Their Communities. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 14, 2020 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:10]

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And thanks for being with us here.

I'm Erica Hill, in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

We do begin with breaking news at this hour.

The fight against the coronavirus and new steps being taken in the U.S. to stop the spread.

We know there are now more than 2,300 confirmed cases in the United States, and there have been at least 50 deaths. The latest right here in New York City confirmed just moments ago.

Overnight the House passing a bipartisan relief bill which is aimed at providing paid emergency leave for impacted workers and free coronavirus testing.

President Trump tweeting his support this morning. The bill now moves to the Senate next week for approval.

Now all of this, of course, comes just a day after the President declared a national emergency. That frees up some $ 50 billion in federal resources.

Travel restrictions from Europe to the U.S. are also now in effect as of midnight. Those last for the next 30 days. Keep in mind the ban applies to foreign nationals not American citizens.

The emergency declaration also restricts nursing home visits nationwide. One nursing home at the heart of this epidemic in Washington State meantime now saying that dozens of employees have tested positive for the coronavirus. 19 patients have died with those deaths linked to the virus.

And as I mentioned off the top here just moments ago, New York City confirming its first coronavirus death. Also announcing a big jump in the number of cases here.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in New Rochelle, New York -- that's just a little bit north of New York City. It's the site of the largest cluster of coronavirus cases in the country.

So Shimon -- what more are we learning this morning?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The governor in a conference call just moments ago, Erika -- announcing that New York City, the state is seeing its first death.

That is an 82-year-old woman who had underlying conditions, emphysema. And sadly as a result of the coronavirus, given her pre-existing condition, she has died.

The governor also announcing that they're looking at a second drive- thru type testing site similar to what we're seeing out here. They're trying to figure out that location, perhaps out in Long Island in the Jones Beach area. That is another location perhaps the Governor is saying that they are hoping to set up a drive-thru testing.

But the news here this morning, sad of course, that an 82-year-old woman has now died as a result of the coronavirus.

HILLA: It absolutely is. As you talk about, too these testing facilities we can see the line of cars, some cars driving in there behind you.

We're now on day two for this drive-thru testing facility in New Rochelle. How is that going? Did the Governor update it at all?

PROKUPECZ: It's going -- it seems to be going pretty well. He said that yesterday about 150 vehicles drove through here and they were able to conduct the tests. And now behind me you can see, there's been a pretty steady stream of vehicles here, cars driving through.

And it's a little surreal. Think about this -- Erica. This is going to be happening all over the country at some point. You have cars driving by here, they stop at the checkpoint. You can hear the officers here behind me over a loudspeaker. They ask the driver are they here to be tested. If the driver says yes, they tell them roll down your window a little bit. The officers are wearing masks, they ask them if they have IDs. They ask them if they have an appointment.

And then they tell them to drive through to a second checkpoint. And then the test is then conducted at that point. But it's a little surreal, you know, to think about that this is going to be happening at other places around the country, test sites like this set up so that people can figure out whether or not they have this virus.

And as a country, as city officials, state officials try to get this under control, of course, testing is the big issue right now. Here so far we're seeing a pretty steady stream of people. They can take up to about 200 vehicles here a day. Some of these cars have more than one person inside, people wearing masks as they drive through.

So here today, so far, it's been pretty busy. And it looks like it's going to continue.

HILL: All right. Shimon -- appreciate it. We'll check in again with you throughout the day, of course.

Also new this morning,

We're learning in Washington State, dozens of employees at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, just outside Seattle, have now tested positive for the coronavirus.

CNN's Ryan Young joins us from Seattle. So Ryan -- I know initially it was tough to get those tests for the staff. What do we know about these results?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this ripple effect is really starting to show itself. We know that 47 employees have now tested positive. They tested 95 of them, but this is that new number that's come out here.

[11:04:53]

YOUNG: Look, we're in downtown Seattle right now and the ripple effect is quite different than every place else in the country because you see people really taking this quite seriously.

In fact, a bus driver just drove by, you see them wearing masks as they go throughout the city.

Several businesses have shutdown trying to make sure they stop some of the spread.

And in the news you see college students, people not only from students -- college students but workers at different businesses are saying they've now become infected by the coronavirus. So you've seen the impact.

We've talked to Uber and Lyft drivers who said they've seen a 70 percent drop off from their sales from the last few weeks and on top of that hotels have seen an impact. Some occupancy rates have fallen below 30 percent.

So you understand, some of these large hotels only have 25 people in their rooms. In fact, the hotel that we're staying in even says they're going to stop food service.

So the impact here in this community is quite large and widespread. And right now, people are hoping that soon things will return to normal.

Let's not forget thought, schools here closed for the next six weeks -- Erica.

HILL: Yes. It's going to be -- it'll be a little while before normal arrives again -- or a new normal here.

Ryan Young -- thank you. In the early hours of this morning, the House passing a coronavirus relief bill. It will now make its way to the Senate. And of course, that bill comes after the President declared a national emergency on Friday afternoon to combat the spread of the virus.

The new bill provides for free coronavirus testing and it also includes paid emergency leave.

CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood joins us now. So Sarah -- give us a better sense. What is in this bill and also what is the White House saying about it?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, this bill is meant to provide some relief for Americans feeling the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. Like you mentioned, it has some emergency leave built into it. It has two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who might not have that at their job and up to three months of paid family or medical leave.

So that could help with workers who, for example, might have to stay home to take care of a sick loved one who contracts covid-19.

Now crucially it also provides for free testing for coronavirus regardless of whether a patient has health insurance. That coming as the administration is trying to ramp up its testing capacity and it also expands unemployment and food assistance programs for people who might be struggling because they're furloughed or not going into work.

Now President Trump last night tweeted his support of the bill after a marathon series of talks between Treasury Security Steve Mnuchin who is leading negotiations on behalf of the White House and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

This morning the President was applauding the rare display of bipartisanship from Republicans and Democrats. He wrote on Twitter, "Good teamwork between Republicans and Democrats. People really pulled together. Nice to see."

Now not everybody got what they wanted in this bill. The White House, for example, they wanted a payroll tax holiday. That did not get included in the legislation -- Erica.

HILL: Interesting to see. But it's nice to see them working together especially in this moment.

There's been a lot of talk about the President's exposure. He was exposed we know to at least two people with confirmed cases of the virus. He hasn't been tested. Yesterday at that press conference he said -- seemed to say he was thinking about it. Where does that stand this morning.

WESTWOOD: Well, last night the White House physician released a memo explaining that the President is not going to be tested and will not be isolating himself despite being exposed to multiple people who later tested positive for the virus. I want to read you part of that memo. "These interactions would be categorized as low risk for transmission per CDC guidelines and as such there's no indication for home quarantine at this time."

And then he goes on to say, "Additionally, given the President himself remains without symptoms, testing for covid-19 is not currently indicated."

Now, despite that, the President was pressed repeatedly on whether he would get tested. He ultimately said that he's likely to, just working it into his schedule. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I can tell you --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doctors have said you might -- may have it even if you don't have symptoms. Are you being selfish by not getting tested and potentially --

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to be?

TRUMP: Most likely, yes. Most likely --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do you think that will happen?

TRUMP: -- not for that that reason but because I think I will do it anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you let us --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Fairly soon, we're working on that. We're working out a schedule.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WESTWOOD: Now, this comes as the administration is working to ramp up testing capabilities across the country. Administration officials, Erica -- have not had satisfactory answers as to what the timeline for that looks like and why those tests haven't been widely available so far.

HILL: Yes, questions a lot of us would like answered.

Sarah Westwood -- thank you.

Joining me now on the phone is Senator Rick Scott, Republican senator from Florida.

Senator, good to have you with me.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL) (via telephone): Good to be with you. HILL: And first of all I just want to get an update on your situation for folks. You actually self-quarantined because you had contact with a member of that Brazilian delegation who tested positive for coronavirus. So how are you feeling at this point? And have you actually been tested?

SCOTT: Sure. I was not at the events that President Trump was at. I introduced the President the next morning at a conference that he had in Miami. So I was in the same room as members of the delegation that had been tested positive.

[11:09:55]

SCOTT: I talked to the Senate physician and my physician, and they said that I don't have high risk. They said there's no need to take the test since I don't have any symptoms. I checked my temperature this morning, I don't have a temperature.

And they said I don't have to be quarantined but out of an abundance of caution for everybody I'm around, I decided to do the quarantine and work from a house in D.C. So I know -- I assume the President will get tested and we'll go from there.

HILL: And do you think the President should get tested?

SCOTT: Well, I think -- why not? I mean -- the recommendation from the CDC is if you don't have any symptoms not to get tested, you know, but why not get tested. I don't see there's any reason not to.

By the way, I like what New York is doing with the mobile testing sites. We're starting to do that in Florida. We need to do that around the country. I've been talking to the President about that.

HILL: Yes.

SCOTT: And I'm glad that he's going to get that done. I have a bill to make sure HHS pays for that, to get it done as quickly as possible.

We also need to make sure people are not getting on these planes and trains with temperatures. We have got to take this seriously. I'm hoping like all of us that this will go away, but why not -- why not be very aggressive right now?

HILL: I want to get into a little bit more of those measures that you proposed and that you are championing, not just the mobile testing. But as you said we need to take this seriously.

There's been a lot of talk and frankly some questions about the President's behavior specifically yesterday at that press conference when he announced the national emergency -- the President shaking hands, sharing microphones, very close to all those folks up there who he's working with until at one point one of the CEOs went to do the elbow bump instead.

Do you think the President is putting out the right message himself that shows he's taking it seriously when he's ignoring a lot of the recommendations that we're getting from the nation's top health officials, specifically about --

(CROSSTALK)

SCOTT: You know, Erica --- I think everybody is in the same position -- so used to shaking hands that it's hard to not do it. But we shouldn't -- we have to stop doing it. I was talking to a top physician this week at one of the HMOs and he told me that if you will wash your hands at the right times you have a 40 percent reduction of getting any virus, not just the coronavirus. So all of us have to wash our hands.

You know, we have to have social distancing. We don't go out when we have a fever, whether it's the flu or anything else, coronavirus. So let's -- let's all take this seriously.

So I'm glad the President did a national emergency. I'd like him to secure all the borders, not just China and Europe. So I'd like to do more of that. I think we've got to make sure we get all these -- you know, all the protective gear out.

HILL: Right.

SCOTT: But the big thing right now, get these testing sites open, so we don't have people walking into our emergency rooms with coronavirus and then all the health care workers there have to be quarantined.

We've got to get this done as quickly as possible. We have to stop allowing nonessential visitors at our nursing homes, all of our health care facilities because we don't want the outbreak that we're seeing in the state of Washington right now --

HILL: Sure.

SCOTT: -- with that nursing home.

HILL: Nobody wants it to spread any further.

You know Senator -- one of the other things that you proposed, really quickly -- I do just want to get more on -- is you proposed taking temperatures of people before they get on mass transit. So planes, trains, but also testing students' temperatures before they're allowed to enter the school each day.

SCOTT: Well, first off -- we'll take all the mass transit. No one should be getting on mass transit, any of it. Look at the individual that flew into Florida, had symptoms, had the test and still flew before they found out the results - which the results are positive. That was selfish. That was wrong.

So we've got -- we've got to take care of that.

And large schools are getting closed but the schools that are open -- I mean don't go to school if you got any temperature. And let's take this very seriously. Hopefully if we do it in a short period of time, we can get by this. I'm furious with how China has handled this. No transparency, they've caused all these ramifications for our country. They ought to pay for these -- all these costs.

HILL: That is one we'll have to tackle in another segment.

Senator -- we're out of time but appreciate you taking the time to join us and glad to hear you're feeling well. Thank you.

SCOTT: All right. Thanks -- Erica.

HILL: We want to get now to more on this breaking news out of New York. The state confirming its first death related to coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joining me now by phone. Governor -- good to have you with us.

What more can you tell us, sir -- about this death which we just learned about this morning?

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Good to be with you -- Erica.

We unfortunately had a death -- a person who had coronavirus. She was 82 years old. She had emphysema. And on top of the emphysema, she contracted the coronavirus.

[11:14:54]

CUOMO: I think, Erica though -- perspective, perspective, perspective -- you're going to see people who are ill, older people who have underlying respiratory illnesses who get the coronavirus. They will be in a grave situation. And we will see this over and over and over again.

But by the way, an 82-year-old person who has emphysema, was hospitalized for emphysema, if they get the normal flu, they're in a grave situation, right. So yes, we have a death from coronavirus.

We have many deaths of people who are senior citizens with an illness who have the normal flu. So again, the context here is everything.

HILL: Context is everything.

I want to talk a little bit about the mobile testing. I spent a fair amount of the week in New Rochelle. I know you've been back and forth as well. Was out there at the mobile testing site yesterday.

Shimon Prokupecz, who's on the ground there for us, says about 150 cars were processed. Does that mean 150 people were tested yesterday?

CUOMO: It depends on the occupancy of the car. So if a car had one person, two people, three people, four people -- it actually worked very well because with the drive-thru it does a number of things. It keeps people out of the emergency room. And you know, everyone is so anxious now they walk into an emergency room. That's the last thing you want to do. You walk into an emergency room, if you are positive you wind up infecting other people and staff. If you're not positive, you wind up exposing yourself to people in the emergency room who may be positive.

So first, stay home, use telemedicine.

Second, the drive--thrus allow you to stay in your vehicle. You come into a drive through and people come to you, they take the test. It's about -- we thought it would be about 15 minutes per car. It's actually less. So we're going to increase the volume.

But you don't expose yourself. You don't expose others. And it's the fastest, safest way to get these tests done. The testing has been such a major problem, as everybody knows. This is a totally different way of doing it and a faster way and a better way of doing it.

HILL: And give us a sense, too -- what is the turnaround time? The mayor in New Rochelle told me that prior to this site opening -- even when testing was done, it had to be sent to Albany to actually be processed. What's the turnaround at this site?

CUOMO: Well, the watershed change is -- I spoke with Vice President Pence and I spoke with the President yesterday. And they have now allowed New York state to do its own testing. The reason the testing was so slow was it was all regulated by the FDA and the CDC from Washington. And they had very specific rules on who could test, what lab could test, et cetera. And that was a bottleneck.

You now -- now, they've allowed New York state, that has 200 laboratories in New York state, to do our own testing. So the turnaround time is about 24 hours.

HILL: 24 hours -- that's pretty good for folks to get those answers. I know the priority has been given in New Rochelle to those who were in quarantine or in that containment zone. Do you anticipate opening it up to other local residents soon?

CUOMO: The priority is for New Rochelle residents because right, when you have limited capacity, you want to first prioritize people who are most likely positive and most likely spreading.

So the first priority is for people in New Rochelle because that is the highest cluster in the United States. People within Westchester are also eligible to go to that test center. And we're going to open one on Long Island where we also see a rise in cases.

But, look Erica -- this is going to be all across the country. This virus has spread much more than we know. These testing results represent really nothing. They just represent the number of tests we're taking.

We have 500 quote/unquote "positive cases" in New York. That's only because that's the number of people we've tested. If you actually could find out how many people had the virus in New York, it's going to be in the thousands, if not the tens of thousands. All probability is, thousands have had the virus and self resolved and

never knew they had the virus. So again, it is context and perspective. And I get the anxiety, but you know, facts matter also here.

HILL: Indeed they do. And as you know quite well, we are committed to those. We appreciate you taking the time to join us, Governor -- thank you.

CUOMO: Thank you. Best to all.

HILL: Next hour, the White House will give an update to the coronavirus response. And we will bring that to you live when it happens.

[111955]

HILL: Also the state of Georgia now under a state of emergency as this nation grapples with how to test for and treat the coronavirus.

Up next, you'll hear from a man who's under quarantine in Georgia after testing positive for coronavirus. He's going to talk to us about his experience and that road to recovery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: As officials across the country work to stop the spread to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus we're learning more about the virus itself. This morning, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declaring a public health state of emergency. There are now 64 confirmed cases in Georgia.

Over the last several days CNN has been in close contact with one of those confirmed cases. Clay Bentley remains under quarantine in Georgia. He tested positive for the coronavirus and also double pneumonia.

He joins us now, live, from his hospital room in Rome, Georgia. So Clay -- you and I were talking briefly during the break. There are a lot of people who have seen you here on CNN with us as you updated your journey and you told me every day you're feeling a little bit better.

So give us a sense, where are you this morning?

[11:25:01]

CLAY BENTLEY, UNDER QUARANTINE IN GEORGIA: Well, I'm on day eight of my process. It's been a long eight days. You know, I haven't seen many people so just to be able to hear your voice and talk to you is awesome in itself.

But I'm feeling great today. You know, it's been a struggle. It's been a fight. But I fought through it and my oxygen level is starting to rise and I'm starting to feel air in my lungs again. And I'm able to breath freely now. So I just really feel like I've overcome the hardest part. And I told someone yesterday, I feel like I'm rounding third base and getting ready to run home.

HILL: You can see home right there. I can only imagine how -- it must be one of those things where you don't realize how much you miss it until it's gone. And you never think about what it feels like to actually feel that air in your lungs like you just said.

BENTLEY: That's right. We take so many things for granted and air is one of them. You know, when I first contracted this thing, I couldn't get any air at all inside of my lungs. And it's a very scary place to be, you know.

And I need -- I mean this coronavirus is ten times worse than the flu they say, and I needed -- if I was ever going to get through this, I was going to have to put my faith in a higher power to gain this strength and the energy to make it. But praise God he's brought me through.

HILL: You are certainly pulling through and quite strong. We're seeing that every day when we talk to you.

What is it like for you? I know earlier in the week you said it felt like a prison. But as you said, you're not really getting to see or talk to anybody. What's your daily interaction with the folks in the hospital?

BENTLEY: Well, it's a 10 by 10 room here and, you know, it's a locked room. And they come and go. When they come in the room they have to wear these ebola suits and masks. So you know, I really can't see them. And, you know, they're gloved up, gowned up. So they come in, do what they have to do and then they leave.

So -- I mean it's a terrible feeling. I mean you feel like you're just cut off from the whole world. And to be -- I've never been that isolated before in my life. So I just look forward to walking outside and being able to stand in the sun. So, yes -- I'm looking forward to getting reacclimated to the world.

HILL: And do you know when that may be?

BENTLEY: Well, the doctors are telling me my lungs are improving. Once they improve to a certain point, they say they'll have to test me for the coronavirus and once I test -- have a good test for two days in a row, then I can go home and continue recovering at home. And that's where I want to go.

But I don't know how many more days I'm going to have to stay. I'm just having to ride it out -- telling me I just have to ride it out one day at a time.

HILL: As I understand it, the Vice President gave you a call after seeing your story. Can you tell us about that conversation?

BENTLEY: Yes. He called and -- heard about my story on CNN, and told me that, you know, he had been -- he and his family had been praying for me. And that he would continue to pray for me. You know, that just makes me -- I'm just proud to be an American to know that our country -- you know, the Vice President is (INAUDIBLE) -- Mike Pence has got a heart of gold and a heart of compassion. He's been there for me. And that one phone call made me feel absolutely wonderful.

HILL: Well, you have got a lot of people cheering you on, as you know, many who have never met you but certainly feel connected to you and your story that you are generously continuing to share with us.

Clay -- we appreciate it. I'm glad to hear you're feeling better and I look forward to the next update where we hopefully hear that you've been able to get out there, feel a little sunshine on your face. Clay -- thank you.

BENTLEY: Thank you -- Erica.

HILL: Millions of students will not be going to school on Monday across the country -- more than 20 million -- as this country tries to find a way to manage the coronavirus pandemic. And those are just K thru 12 schools.

We also have to take into account the colleges and universities who have cancelled their semesters effectively, even though some are moving classes online.

Up next, we'll be joined by the president of one New York college who is right on the edge of that containment zone in New Rochelle. He'll talk to us about measures they're taking and how folks should do it.

[11:29:41]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: In the U.S. and frankly all across the globe, the coronavirus is impacting nearly every facet of daily life. All everyday activities, actual events -- many of them just coming to a screeching halt as Americans struggle to adjust to this new normal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: An unimaginable week ends with a nation on pause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just following some things because my health is important.

HILL: As uncertainty grows, Americans are stocking up for the long haul. Shelves across the country stripped bare of essentials as lines wind through the stores and even outside.

In New York City, this bread distributor can't keep up with the demand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every single supermarket is just completely wiped out.

[11:34:59]

HILL: Life changing by the minute.

In Louisiana, the state's primary postponed until late June. In Boston, one of the world's most well-known races will now be run in September.

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER (R-MA): Obviously postponing the marathon is a difficult thing to do, it's one of the most iconic and patriotic events for our Commonwealth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to be cautious and obviously the marathon attracts a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of saw it coming, honestly.

HILL: In Los Angeles, the nation's second largest school district will now close for two weeks starting Monday. Across the country, at least 21 million kids now home from school.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): The experts tell us, look, two weeks is too late, you know. Another week is too late. You've got to try to slow this thing down early. We can't stop it, but we can slow it down.

HILL: Decisions with a massive impact for working parents and for all the children now spending the school day at home.

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Closing schools is always the last resort because of all the negative impacts. We feed kids every day for breakfast and lunch.

HILL: In response, the districts are using school buses to deliver meals and setting up food distribution sites. And while schools are adding distance learning that only works if every child has access.

TIM ROBINSON, SPOKESMAN, 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.

HILL: With all the closures and cancellations, there are openings. In New Rochelle, New York drive through testing beginning Friday morning.

CUOMO: We have six lanes. We can do about 200 cars per day. And that can ramp up. You drive up and then we call you with the results.

HILL: Colorado and Washington also using that model in some areas, a way to increase testing while minimizing exposure. But it's still not enough to meet the demand.

DAWN CLEMENTS, WAITING FOR CORONAVIRUS TEST: I'm running a fever and I have chest congestion. And nobody can test us here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: So many changes in such a short period of time. Joining me now is Seamus Carey. He's the president of Iona College in New Rochelle, New York -- right there on the edge of the nation's first containment zone. Appreciate you coming in to join us.

So you and I spoke earlier in the week. I think it was Wednesday right after this containment zone was announced. I'm just curious. What's it been like for you to be in that area? You had already cancelled classes at that point, started spring break a little bit early for the students.

But I'm sure there were a lot of questions coming your way.

SEAMUS CAREY, PRESIDENT, IONA COLLEGE: There have been a lot of questions and a lot of anxiety. The anxiety has risen over the last several days. We've done our best to communicate as clearly and frequently as we can with the best information that's available.

I have found that that's helped at least on our campus, meeting with staff. I walked the campus the other day and met with each division. And we explained the protocols that we should be following, working with staff on tele-working.

And once they had the information and as much planning as we can give them at the moment, that helped with the anxiety a great deal.

HILL: The anxiety is there, you and I were just talking on the break, I think in large part because this is such an unknown for people. So when we look at it from the college perspective, there are both parents and students who are wondering what happens now.

So you sent your students on spring break a few days early. Are they coming back after spring break? Are they moving to online learning?

CAREY: So we went to spring break a week early as you said and we're out now until after the Easter holiday. We were going to have a break at Easter as well, so we just continued that. And that gave us time to have our faculty get up to speed on delivering their courses and curriculum online.

Many of our faculty had already been doing a good amount of online and hybrid learning and the other ones have done the training they need to be able to deliver the courses effectively when we resume after spring break, but that will be virtual.

HILL: There has been -- which you've likely seen -- there's a change.org petition. There were maybe 850 students who'd signed it. They were petitioning for a reimbursement for tuition and for their room and board. A -- have any students or parents contacted you directly about that? And B -- what is that conversation that's happening right now? Because I'm imagining it's not just Iona that's going to be hit with that question.

CAREY: Sure. We've had students contacting us, and students have been delivering different messages. Thankfully a lot of students are very grateful for what we've done and the communication we've provided and our willingness to try to make this work going forward so that they can continue their academic progress.

And certainly other students are concerned about their finances and what this means in terms of their meal plan money, their room and board money. And so we have already committed to reimbursing students for meals they won't eat and time they will not have spent in a dorm.

HILL: Ok.

CAREY: What exactly that amount is will be determined upon how much time they're away and we will calculate that money, pro rate that money and reimburse as we get towards the end of the semester. So we've made that commitment already.

[11:45:04]

HILL: Which is great. A couple of quick ones before I let you go because we're a little tight on time. In terms of your employees, two are under self-quarantine -- is that correct?

CAREY: Yes. We have no known cases at Iona as of yet. Two employees out of an abundance of caution, before they came -- one was coming back from a trip and didn't feel well when she got back to internship (ph) -- before she came back to work she self-quarantined. And similarly with another, she didn't feel well and just didn't come to work. But we have no known cases at the moment thankfully.

HILL: Do you know if they're going to try to be tested at this mobile site in New Rochelle?

CAREY: We haven't contacted them about the testing. I think we'll check on their symptoms as we go. And if they require testing we'll make sure that they get those.

HILL: And lastly this morning, I woke up to a lot of headlines, as we all did. But one that really struck me is that the University of Michigan cancelled its commencement. I know that yours is scheduled for I think May 16th here in New York City at Madison Square Garden. That is a massive venue.

CAREY: Yes.

HILL: Are you going to hold commencement?

CAREY: We don't know yet. I mean I was just talking to (INAUDIBLE) off camera, you know, let's evaluate as we go and see where we are in a month. A lot can change in a month although we know that this is going to be spreading for a while. So we're not being naive about it but we want to hold out hope, that two months out, three months out that maybe things will be different but if not, we'll do what's in the best safety of our students and faculty and staff.

HILL: President Carey -- good to have you with us this morning. Thank you.

CAREY: Thank you so much -- Erica.

HILL: Best of luck for this --

Up next, a child gets an autograph from an NBA star and now there are questions as to whether that moment may have led to a positive coronavirus test.

Coy Wire is here with a live report.

[11:41:38]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: A child tests positive for coronavirus and officials say that confirmed case came after an interaction with an NBA player who had tested positive earlier in the week.

Coy Wire joining us now with more. This really gives you pause, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: It does. Good morning to you -- Erica.

Now, we can't say for certain if the child got the virus from the player or from somewhere else but here's what we do know. Westerly police department, Rhode Island announced yesterday that a child who attended the Celtics/Jazz game in Boston last week contracted the virus.

The chief says the child got an autograph from a Jazz player who later tested for coronavirus. He didn't name the player but Jazz All Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell both tested positive earlier this week.

The Celtics/Jazz game Erica was March 6th, just five days after the NBA put out a memo to teams urging players to restrict physical contact with fans.

It was on Wednesday of this week, Erica -- that the league suspended play for at least 30 days.

HILL: Wow. You know, we've talked so much about the ripple effect of all of these cancellations and what happens. What do you know about athletes at this point? So many sports have essentially shutdown, what are they up to?

WIRE: Well, without games -- Erica, we have no slam dunks to show you today. But we are also getting some incredible assists. This coronavirus, as we know, is disrupting living and daily routines around the globe.

Well, athletes are stepping up to help like Warriors star Steph Curry. He and his wife Ayesha pledging to help raise money to feed children in Oakland where about 18,000 students rely on their schools every day for at least two meals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AYESHA CURRY, WIFE OF STEPH CURRY: And so we want to make sure that we rally around everyone and ensure that these kids are not wondering where their next meal is coming from and that the parents who, you know, some are still having to go to work, worrying about the kids logistics, we just want to make sure there's one less thing to worry about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: How about Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Cavs Kevin Love, or Pistons Blake Griffin, they pledged $100,000 each to help arena staff in their cities.

Superstar Rookie Zion Williamson of the Pelicans, he posted on Instagram, Erica -- that he's covering salaries for all Smoothie King Center workers in New Orleans for the next 30 days.

There are an estimated 100,000 stadium workers around the country who have lost work. I think we're going to see a lot more of this without the athletes being able to play Erica -- they're going to find ways they can help their communities even if it's telling kids, reminding kids that look up to them wash your hands, don't touch your face.

The parents are telling them but maybe if their star is telling them, they'll listen a bit more.

HILL: Well listen -- they still have a platform, whether they are on the court or not. And as you point out a lot of young kids are looking up to them and listening to them and they're seeing too how they're stepping up and that's so important.

WIRE: Absolutely.

HILL: Coy -- always good to see you, my friend. Thank you.

Just ahead, Spain now struggling to contain a dramatic spike in cases, now the biggest outbreak in Europe after Italy. We're going to take you straight to Madrid where the government may be considering new measures to try to contain the virus there.

We are also waiting on an update from the White House on the response to the coronavirus. We'll bring you that live when it happens.

[11:48:55]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: And you see there, a live picture of the briefing room. We're actually waiting on an update form the White House Task Force on the coronavirus.

I can tell you though that as they've been waiting in there, reporters -- actually we're learning from our folks, their temperatures were taken. And we're told it was, "Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individual who may be in close contact with the President and the Vice President."

So again, that happening as reporters are assembling. We are waiting for this update from the White House task force, perhaps from the Vice President himself. Perhaps by members of his team but again, we will bring that to you live as it happens. Meantime, we are monitoring events not only in this country but across the globe. In Spain, the government declaring a state of emergency for at least two weeks, and they are expected to introduce some new restrictions on movement within the country. That's according to a government source telling CNN.

One U.K. airline turned its planes around midflight. They were headed to Spain but then flights were canceled into the country.

Spain has recorded an increase of more than 1,500 cases in just one day. It now has the biggest concentration of confirmed cases in Europe outside of Italy.

CNN's Al Goodman is in Madrid. So Al -- what more do we know about these new restrictions?

[11:54:58]

HILL: Al -- I'm not sure if you can hear me. We're going to try to get in touch with Al Goodman.

Let's take a quick break while we work on that audio issue and then we'll get you more straight from Madrid and also Washington as well. We're covering all of this for you.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:59:54]

HILL: Top of the hour here. Thanks for joining me.

I'm Erica Hill, in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

And we begin this hour with breaking news.

Moments from now, the White House coronavirus task force is set to update us on the administration's response to the growing pandemic.