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White House Holds Briefing On Coronavirus Response; Pence: Bipartisan Coronavirus Bill Will Help Hardest Hit; Google: Not Publishing A National-Scale Coronavirus Site Anytime Soon; Trump: I Took Coronavirus Test, No Results Yet; Trump: If You Don't Have To Travel, Don't Do It; Interview With Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA); Service Workers Face Added Risks During Health Crisis; Trump Takes Credit For Market Rally During Coronavirus Briefing. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired March 14, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD WOLF, ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: The Department of Homeland Security, the men and women of the department, were working day and night, 24 hours a day to implement these restrictions, and to make sure that we do this in a very orderly and efficient process.
And we also continue to look at all measures on the table and new measures that we have to implement as we go forward as the virus continues to evolve. So thank you.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
And I know the President would want me to reiterate your thanks and commendation to the dedicated men and women of DHS that are on the front lines of implementing these travel policies and doing an outstanding job.
With that, I'm going to recognize Seema Verma, the head of CMS to talk about our continued emphasis on seniors and particularly the risks of seniors with serious underlying health conditions, and the steps that we're taking relative to nursing homes and inspections and guidance to protect those most vulnerable.
SEEMA VERMA, ADMINISTRATOR, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. As the president and the vice president said, we did take action last night to indicate that nursing homes should restrict all visitors effective immediately and that includes all non-essential personnel. And there are some exceptions for end of life.
We're also canceling all group activities and communal dining. And there's active screening of healthcare workers that are in the facility.
The emergency declaration as Dr. Fauci said is also very important to our healthcare workforce. There's a lot more flexibility that they have, for example, they can have workers from across state lines, doctors and nurses that can help them, hospitals have the ability to move patients around. So that's also going to be very helpful as they go forward with this.
Also with the nursing homes, we talked about this couple weeks ago that we had a call to action for all healthcare facilities to double down around infection control practices. We have now come up with some very specific guidance.
For our surveyors, we have already begun the process of going into nursing homes, especially the ones that we had a history of problems with infection control. And those inspections have already started. We've been doing those in Washington State and California, New York. But we'll be increasing those over the coming weeks. Thank you.
PENCE: Thank you, Seema.
And I'm mindful of the fact that there are likely many seniors in nursing homes around America that could be watching us at this hour. And let me just assure you that we're going to continue to take steps to ensure that all the guidance from CMS, all the guidance from CDC about preventing the spread of infectious disease remains low.
But -- and the threat here I want to be clear, as Dr. Fauci has said, I might just ask him to emphasize again, the threat here is not to seniors, particularly or to seniors that may be on certain medications but for seniors with serious underlying health conditions, we're taking the steps of suspending visitors for the purpose of protecting the most vulnerable.
But to all of those other seniors that are watching from nursing homes or maybe watching from home or otherwise healthy. Dr. Fauci, maybe you'd give them a word.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Sure. I think that you -- I mean, obviously, when you're a senior individual like myself, that my degree of protecting against infections is not as good as it was when you're 30. But if you're otherwise healthy senior, that the things that you really have less of a risk than if you have an underlying condition. Thank you.
PENCE: Thank you, doctor. Thank you.
A couple more -- a couple more updates for you. Let -- I want to hear from the Surgeon General, and Dr. Carson, and we'll go to as many questions as you have. OK. The Surgeon General.
DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Thank you.
Yesterday was a very big, a very important day for our nation's providers and for our nation's patients in terms of the emergency declaration, and also in terms of the agreement with the House that Secretary Mnuchin negotiated.
And I want you all to understand some straight talk from the nation's doctor, we really need you all to lean into and prioritize the health and safety of the American people.
No more bickering, no more partisanship, no more criticism or finger pointing. There'll be plenty of time for that. But we all need to hit the reset button and lean into moving forward, that health and safety of the American people are their top priority. More stories on how people can protect themselves and more people on how people can get the resources that they need that we've unleashed from the federal government and state and local governments. Less stories looking at what happened in the past. Again, there'll be time for that.
I want you all to understand, as Dr. Fauci said, this will get worse before it gets better. But we are making progress to flatten the curve. We are making progress.
Three important points, number one, almost all people will recover 98, 99 percent of people will recover, people need to know that. And we heard a great story on NPR this morning about an 89 year old from that nursing home facility in Seattle who is recovered.
ADAMS: Number two, we must lean into protecting the most vulnerable, those with chronic or severe medical conditions, especially seniors. Now is the time for us to lean into that and we are taking the measures to protect them at HHS. Secretary Azar, (INAUDIBLE), Bob Redfield, Admiral Giroir are hard at work right now leaning into that from the federal level, but we need your help.
Social distancing and mitigation, they're not to protect the 30 year old or the 20 year old from getting coronavirus, they're to protect your Nana, they're to protect your granddaddy, they're to protect the people who you love in your life and we need your help.
And finally, we all have a role to play. If we are complacent, selfish, uninformed, if we spread fear and distrust and misinformation, this situation will last longer, and more people will be hurt. But if we pitch in, and we share the facts, we will flatten the curve, and we will overcome this situation.
So, finally, my prescription, know your risk, understand your circumstances and get the facts to protect yourself at coronavirus.gov.
PENCE: Well done. Thank you. And Secretary and Dr. Ben Carson.
DR. BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: Thank you Mr. Vice President.
Now sometimes you have to stop and think about what's unique about the United States. And one of the things that is really wonderful, and we should just stop and think about more often, is that we have so many people who are willing to put aside their self-interest for the good of the nation.
And I want to thank those people at the federal, state and local level who put their own lives on pause in order to try to help their fellow Americans makes a big difference.
But just as importantly, I want to thank the private sector. There are so many in the private sector who have volunteered their services who have stepped up, who are willing to recognize that maybe they're going to take a bit of a financial hit. But they recognize that we have to create the appropriate environment, so that everybody can succeed in this nation. And so often we overlook those individuals, I want them to know how much we appreciate.
What we're facing now is a significant threat. You know, as a physician and as a surgeon, I faced a lot of very, very complex problems. And most of them we were able to overcome not so much because of me, but because of the fact that we had incredible people working on this together. It was the teamwork that made the biggest difference in the world.
And that's what I'm seeing here in the government right now, the people behind me with others who are willing to work together as a team to be able to accomplish the goals for the American people.
And I used to think we had long hours in medicine -- you know, working 24 hours straight at working at midnight, two in the morning. This team is working that way too. I frequently get calls at nine, 10, 11, midnight, about putting together some policies doing various things.
And I just want to thank all the people who are involved and I -- and I hope that -- you know, we as a nation can use this as an opportunity to pull together for good.
Now President Trump is going to be recommending a National Day of Prayer. And, you know, we've gotten away from prayer and faith a lot in this country. There's nothing wrong with Godly principles no matter what your faith is, loving your neighbor, caring about the people around you, developing your God given talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you having values and principles that govern your life.
Those are things that made America zoomed to the top of the world in record time. And those are the things that will keep us there too.
PENCE: Thank you Mr. Secretary. OK, questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, can you explain why Secretary Azar is not here? And also can you indicate to us one of the things the president rolled out yesterday was discussion of Google partnering with the federal government. And then later Google said it was not aware that this was going to be announced and that it was not prepared in the same way the president forecasts to the country. So where is the discrepancy about the website, Google's involvement and why is the health and Human Services Secretary not present?
PENCE: Secretary Azar was at the coronavirus task force meeting this morning, he is back to work. And we -- we'll have a changing round up for these presentations so we can get quickly to your questions. But Secretary Azar is doing a remarkable job and working seven days a week for the American people and making a difference.
With regard to Google and other private partners, I know Google issued a statement that they are planning to launch a website. I think they gave a date of Monday, March 16th. We're working literally around the clock. And I know that our whole team working on this public and private partnership couldn't be more grateful to all of the hard working people at Google that are helping to put this website together.
But tomorrow, 05:00, we'll have very specific -- we'll have very specific description tomorrow about when the website will be available, when the parking lot sites will be available for people to be tested.
And we're working right now with state and local communities to determine where it's best to roll those out as the number of a -- the number of communities are already doing a great job meeting their needs. So we're trying to flow the resources. But 05:00 tomorrow night, we'll have details.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us whether you have also been tested for coronavirus? And can you or somebody else clear off the apparent discrepancy between the letter that was issued from the White House physician's office just before midnight last night in which the physician have concluded that you and the president did not need to be tested?
PENCE: I know the President announced that he has been tested and I'm going to speak immediately after this press conference with the White House physician's office.
At this point, as of last night, the White House physician's office had said that neither I nor Mrs. Pence either had the since symptoms were the contacts that would necessitate testing.
And maybe I might ask Dr. Birx to step up. As we expand testing across the country, we want people to be able to go to a website, there'll be a questionnaire there to determine whether or not a test is in order. Because we want to make sure that people are being tested that are -- that have the symptoms.
But I'm going to speak to the White House physician right after this press briefing and I -- Mrs. Pence and I will be more than happy to be tested.
Dr. Burke, do you want to speak to --
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE: Yes, thank you, Mr. Vice President for mentioning that because as I told you in South Korea, there are 250,000 plus tests, about 96 plus percent were negative. So and that was with symptoms.
So we're working very hard integrating everything they have learned about symptoms and screening, and that is going into the development of this website.
So it's not just a simple checkbox website, it's actually going to go through critical symptoms. And that's why we're giving ourselves the weekend to get it put up.
So far in the United States from LabCorp and Quest, they're running about a 99 to 98 percent negativity. This always worries me because I've worked in public health a long time. When you tell someone they're negative, yes, it's reassuring. But the last thing we want is them so reassured that they stopped practicing these critical practices that are going to protect all of us.
This epidemic will be stopped at the community level. Those are the individuals, its Americans, and their response that will get us over this hump. And that's why yes, we'll have testing available, we'll have to know there are many are going to be negative and you're going to have to help us carry that message that that means just at that moment you're negative. You need to continue to do all of your protection and protection of others to ensure you remain there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To follow up on the Google question about the website, Google said that the website they are developing is in its early stages and will be limited to the San Francisco Bay Area. That seems very different from what you and the president are saying.
PENCE: Well, what Google said was that they're planning to launch a website this coming Monday, March 16th. It will enable individuals to do a risk assessment and be scheduled for testing at pilot testing sites in the Bay Area with the goal of expanding to other locations. And we're very grateful for that.
The objective here is to have a website up very quickly that first people in the areas that have been deeply impacted, Washington State, California, New York. Now we've seen community spread in Massachusetts and also Florida. And so we want to make sure that we're flowing those resources as well as those remote testing sites in that area.
But that's a statement I was handed this morning from them. And again, I want to tell you, folks, we're working 24/7 on this. We're going to have very specific details on the rollout of this new public-private partnership and testing at 5:00 tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Could you give us more details on the potential financial assistance for the entertainment industry, for the cruise industry that the administration is looking at right now?
And if I may, on the temperature checks, where all the members of the Cabinet who were in here today, did they also have their temperatures checked?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And -- OK, I see you nodding. But is it also the White House policy now that anyone who, for instance, comes into the Oval Office needs to have their temperature checked at the door?
PENCE: I'd refer those questions to the White House physician's office. I have been informed that they're establishing new protocols for temperature checks, and I had my temperature check too.
Let me ask the secretary of Treasury to address what may be the next few innings. And as I thought, Secretary Mnuchin put it very well. We got the initial support, $8.3 billion from the Congress. The House passed legislation to act on the president's priorities. But we understand, the president's made it very, very clear whether it's our airline industry, or cruise industries that we expect to be coming back to Congress to make sure that our -- as we put the health of America first, as businesses make those hard choices to make a priority of the health of their employees or those that they serve, or their customers, that we're going to make sure that they can come all the way back, Mr. Secretary?
STEVEN MNUCHIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: So, let me just emphasize that this is a unique circumstance. This isn't like the financial crisis, where people didn't know how long this was going to go on.
And let me just say, there's no question because of the things that we're requesting people to do, there are parts of the economy that are shutting down or slowing down dramatically.
And as I said before, and I said yesterday, we are committed to use all the tools and all the resources of the government to make sure that we protect the economy. So, many of the industries that you've talked about, as I said, the airlines are the most obvious because we have a unique circumstance where we have shut down travel, and these are of strategic importance to us.
But we appreciate there's many industries that are impacted by this. I would also say there's many individuals, the president has talked about a stimulus program, whether it's through a payroll tax cut, whether it's through refundable tax credits, we are 100 percent committed and I can assure you there is bipartisan support.
So, we have a lot of tools. The Fed has a lot of tools. Some of these tools we don't have that we had in the financial crisis will be going back to Congress. And one of the reasons why this bill was so important is this is just the now the second step on bipartisan support.
We will -- we will make sure that the economy recovers out of this and whatever support --
(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you talk about, sir, how much more money -- if I may follow up, how much more money would you like to see? I'm not talking about the previous bill, I'm talking about in the future for those industries.
MNUCHIN: Let me just comment, it would be premature to comment on specific money. As I said, I use the analogy of learning a baseball game and we're in the early innings. We have 100 different things that we're looking at.
Yesterday, the president announced on student loans suspending interest. That was one of the things. He announced using the strategic oil reserve. This is a great time, we also have a unique circumstance having nothing to deal with the coronavirus, parts of our economy are very much impacted by the temporary low price of oil.
So, the president, the vice president, and everybody else is 100 percent committed. We got 100 different ideas and whatever we need to do, we will do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, thank you so much. I have a question for you and if I can productive Birx. First, for you, sir, if I may. Your language has changed a bit, you've tweaked it a little bit. Early on, you said that there was a low risk of for the average American to contract the coronavirus but recently your language has altered a little bit you think the risk of a serious illness remains low?
Can you address why the change is the potential of contracting the virus for an average American no longer low? Why the change, sir?
PENCE: Well, I'm going to let Dr. Birx address that because the reason we're --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which, sir, and you are the vice president. If you don't -- if you don't mind, sir.
PENCE: Everything that we're communicating to the public is based on what is the unanimous opinion of our health experts based upon the information that we have at the time.
It's now a little more than a few weeks since we had our first instance of community spread in the United States, and letting the American people know the president took every step to prevent the coronavirus from coming into our country.
I think you can't overstate how unprecedented and extraordinary the suspension of all travel from China was when the president made that decision before the end of January. And the travel advisories with portions of Italy, South Korea, the screening of personnel coming into our country.
But allow me to let Dr. Birx address that because what we're going to continue to do is tell the American people straight from the health experts, the best information that we have to see that their own health, the health of their family, and their community. Dr. Birx.
BIRX: Yes, thank you, Mr. Vice President. So, every day we analyze data from around the world and look at age groups that are impacted, look at and try to get a sense of the late -- the amount of asymptomatic patients.
Now, remember, all of the groups that are doing screening are screening on symptoms. And so, we're trying to figure out based on that information and based on the profile of the epidemic, to really understand is there a whole group under 20 that really doesn't get significant symptoms. Yet, we don't believe that uniquely people under 20 are naturally protected from the virus. So, are they a group that are potentially asymptomatic and spreading the virus?
Because of that, and because of that unknown, we don't want to say that the risk is low when we don't know how low the numbers are for people who are asymptomatic. We have a good sense of the number of people who are having symptoms, and we have a good sense of who is deeply impacted by this.
I mean, if you look at all the data coming out of all of the countries that we triangulate on a twice a day basis, people of a certain age are at higher risk for a worse outcome, and that's why we have been so laser-focused on that.
But the other side of the epidemic is how much transmission? And until you really understand how many people are asymptomatic and asymptomatic passing the virus on, we think it's better for the entire American public to know that the risk of serious illness may be low, but they could be potentially spreading the virus to others.
And that's why we're asking every American to take personal responsibility to prevent that spread. And that's why we've made all of these recommendations broad, even past people who have symptoms or no symptoms because we need to have everybody taking precautions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right --
PENCE: Last question. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said tomorrow, you're speaking to all the governors. Are we --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Monday. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, we're going to speak to all the governors. Are we looking at any sort of domestic travel restrictions that could be coming down the pipeline anytime soon?
And my other question for you is leader McConnell's statements saying that he was going to read the bill, and he was going to speak to some of his members over the weekend. Are you confident that the Senate is going to take up this House legislation and get it done quickly?
PENCE: Well, the president expressed strong support for the legislation that received the very large bipartisan vote in the House. But, we respect the process, grateful for the support that Leader McConnell has expressed for the process and the priorities that the president has outlined.
We'll be working with members of the Senate to -- are to unpack the bill for them and why President Trump endorsed it yesterday. And we believe that they should move it expeditiously to passage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on --
PENCE: With regard to -- with regard to additional travel restrictions --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the U.S.
PENCE: But let me just say, as the president said, we'll -- we're considering a broad range of measures. But no decisions have been made yet. But I just want to assure the American people of two things. We're going to continue to follow the facts. We're going to continue to listen to the experts about recommendations. We'll bring as we did this week when the president made the decision to suspend all travel from Europe. We'll bring the -- we'll bring the best recommendations of our healthcare experts to the president.
And I promise you, and I promise the American people, this president is going to continue to take every step necessary to protect the American people and put the health of the American people first and together we'll get through this. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's being done health goes in public housing during this coronavirus?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: So, you've just been listening to an update there from the White House's coronavirus task force. Now, that briefing started out with the president himself, who came out.
Didn't sound like it was going to take a question -- any questions, but did then take a couple of questions and reveal that he says he was actually tested for coronavirus last night, says he doesn't know when those results will be in.
But this, of course, comes on the heels of the White House physician's office, issuing a statement saying they don't think the president needs to be tested. That is just one of many things we have to unpack here. I want to bring in Senior Medical Correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.
Also with us, Brian Stelter is here. Juliette Kayyem, Kristen Holmes, who was there in the briefing room. And Elizabeth, I just want to start with you. So question. First of all, I have a couple of questions on the testing itself.
One thing the president said, is that he said, this is a complex test. Number one, is it complex? And number two, in terms of the president getting that test, we heard in the briefing that if you get a negative test, you could get a positive test the next day. Is there a chance that he might need to take a second test just to be sure?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, so, I'll take the first one first there. OK, it is not a particularly complex test at all. I mean, this test is being given in parking lots and drive- thrus. There is nothing particularly complex about this. We test for viruses in this country, whether it's flu or anything else all the time. So, I don't know what he meant when he said that it was complex.
And as far as whether he should be tested again. You know, that's it's an interesting question. I would say that he should talk to his doctor about this, but his doctor just last night said he didn't need a test at all, and then the president got tested.
So, maybe he needs to speak with several doctors and come to a decision about what to do. Because yes, a test is at a point in time. It says at this point in time, we are not seeing this virus in your respiratory secretions. Of course, that could change the next day.
HILL: A lot of questions coming out there Kristen in the briefing room, and a lot of attempts to get some clarification. And one of those specifically was about what we heard from the president yesterday about Google.
So, the president saying that Google had 1,700 of their engineers working on a web site that would allow for people across the country to basically put in their systems -- symptoms and figure out if they -- if they needed a test, sort of where they were at.
Google pushed back on that pretty strongly, saying this is not what's happening. It sounds like the message is still not clear within the White House as to what Google is or is not doing.
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Erica, there was no real answer here. First of all, we tried to ask President Trump that multiple times, he did not give any sort of answer there.
But then, on top of that, we were able to ask Vice President Pence, who continued to say that there was going to be some sort of update at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. That they said there was going to be some kind of rollout of this web site on Monday that Google had said that.
But we really need to break this down here in terms of what we know, we know that Google was not working on a nationwide web site that was going to help people find testing and see if they had the symptoms for that. That was just simply not happening.
And the number that you mentioned, that 1,700 engineers, we have no idea where that came from. Now, what we have since learned a source with knowledge has told CNN's Jake Tapper that actually California officials were stunned when they saw the graphic that was used in that Rose Garden announcement, talking about that web site, because that was their graphic from a model that they are working on with Google's parent company, not with Google themselves, with their parent company on a modest statewide pilot program.
So, there a lot of disconnect here as to where exactly they got this graphic? Why it was presented as though Google was working hand in hand with the White House on this nationwide site. That they were going to, apparently, in terms of the White House roll out very quickly.
So it seems as though based on what the president is saying that there is going to be some sort of announcement at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Perhaps, Google has signed on to do this, but a lot of questions here as to what exactly President Trump was talking about when he said, and he think actually Google for this web site that they are working on.
HILL: 5:00 pm and 5:0 p.m. We keep being told 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. Brian Stelter, as I bring you in on this. The other issue, of course with this is and I do want to preface this by saying, it's really important that the White House is doing these briefings, basically on a daily basis.
This is not only important in terms of information, but it sends a certain message to the country that this is, in fact, being taken seriously that they recognize that and that they know that the American public wants and needs information and updates on a daily basis.
That is a good thing. That being said, Brian. What we're hearing even just in trying to clarify what we get from the president, what this does is reinforce the fact that we don't know if we can trust what the president says, because the president makes grand proclamations, and then, his staff have to go out and correct them. And this is happening again in the last 24 hours.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: And in the midst of a crisis. The president lost the benefit of the doubt a long, long, time ago. But every day, he has a chance to win trust back if he handles this crisis effectively.
Unfortunately, he got it wrong about Google and his aides got it wrong about Google again today. They don't seem to be admitting that this is a small pilot program only in the San Francisco Bay Area. That's what it is. That's what Google's parent company, Alphabet has confirmed. That's all it is.
So, the country is being misinformed.
I think it's fair to say the country is being lied to about this small pilot program that they are implying is going to help the entire country starting Sunday or Monday. I am sorry to say it will not help the entire country on Sunday or Monday.
You know, look, maybe the president is trying to pressure Google. Maybe he thinks he's playing a game where he's pressuring the executives to get it done faster, but there's no indication that game is working.
And we continue to hear things from the president's aides that our very dear leader trying to promote him out.
And we also heard the surgeon general saying there should be no more criticism or finger-pointing. He essentially was saying, don't look back at the past and what we did wrong. Just focus on uniting. That's also disturbing in a democracy to hear.
HILL: And he was speaking pretty clearly to the press corps, saying I want you to write nice stories --
HILL: -- about all the good things we're doing here. And there are things that are happening --
STELTER: There are good stories.
HILL: And, Juliette, as -- certainly based on your experience, as we know, what's most important and it's interesting because we hear this from members of that task force that we all need to focus on the facts.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes.
HILL: And, yet --
KAYYEM: We also need to focus on a pandemic that is coming, that is here. What we've done or what Trump has amazingly done, as somehow turned this story about him. Whether he should get tested or not get tested. Whether there's a Google app or not a Google app.
An honest incident command system would have someone just telling the truth so that the American public would focus on the pandemic.
And let me just be as clear as I can. The Department of Defense's decision to keep domestic -- to ban domestic travel for military is a sign, in my world, it's a signal that the Department of Defense is preparing for a homeland mission. That is good because you always want a plan B, but we're not messing
around now. I mean, in the sense that we now have the foreign travel bans essentially a hint of a domestic travel ban which I would assume -- I came home today from New York.
And so, you know, this is now in the very, very serious stage. And so, you know, I'll use this perch to just tell the American public, ignore, you know, it's not about Trump and his test. But the problem is, of course, he's the president of the United States and one would like leadership coming out when you have -- when you have 50 states dealing with it.
So instead, we're depending on CEOs and governors and mayors and all of you guys in the media and everyone just to try to get people prepared for what clearly I would say the Pentagon is clearly preparing for.
HILL: And to your point, we know from the vice president, he says he'll be meeting with all of the governors, speaking with all the governors on Monday.
HILL: And the president was asked specifically about the Pentagon saying not to travel domestically. The president's words, and I quote, "If you don't have to travel, I wouldn't do it," when asked if he would recommend the same thing.
We also have Representative Tony Cardenas.
I'm wondering, sir, have you had any foreknowledge of this? Any warning that something like this could be coming down the pike? There could be a domestic travel ban going into place?
REP. TONY CARDENAS (D-CA): No. The president hasn't been giving Congress any warnings. He hasn't given the American people, who he was elected to protect and defend, hasn't been giving them information. As a matter of fact, he's been lying to them over and over and over again.
And one thing that the American people need to understand, you're never -- the president and Pence and none of them are actually reminding the American people what they should be saying is, the coronavirus is here in the United States.
For example, on February 10th, there were 12 identified cases in the United States. Less than 30 days later, on March 11th, there were over 1200. Within three days, on the 14th, we had an additional 600 cases in the United States.
What they are trying to do and what they just did for over an hour in front of the American people and tried to fool you, the press, into trying to get you to tell nice stories about the reality is the coronavirus is here. And it is deadly.
The president finally took a test. We all saw before our eyes that he is standing next to somebody who actually was identified and tested to have the coronavirus. He was well within the six feet that his own medical doctors are trying to tell Americans, stay six feet away from each other, have this social change in your life where you actually are taking care of yourself.
One thing they finally said that's true, and that's this, everybody should be more careful today. If you are 30 years old, you're probably not going to die if you contract coronavirus. But if you take it home to your grandmother, that you love very much, she might get it, and she might die.
I'm sorry for the harsh language, but I have to say it because the president and everybody who is not allowed to tell the truth around him are not telling the American people the truth.
The coronavirus is here. We will get through this, but the fact that they waited over 30 days -- for example, the World Health Organization offered us some test kits. His administration said, no thank you. We're not going to take them. That was right around where we had about 12 cases that we were able to identify. Now we have over 1200 and growing.
Ladies and gentlemen, once -- and I don't even know when. And it's up to you, the press, because he's not talking to Congress.
The bottom line is this. The press needs to keep pressing this question to him. You keep saying that we're going to have mass testing in America. When is that going to be, Mr. President? When we are going to have mass testing? Because we need to do that because the American people need to know if they are walking around infecting their loved ones or not.
HILL: Well, and, respectfully, I'm with you. That's the question we've been trying to get answered.
We're getting conflicting numbers from the White House. Vice president Pence earlier this week saying that 4 million testing kits would be available by the end of this week. The president yesterday saying 5 million will soon be available. No real clear date.
Elizabeth, when we talk about the testing, two things I want to pick up on. There's been a lot made about when the vice president said that we didn't need the tests from the WHO because we just do things our own way.
Is that sort of standard operating procedure for the United States, to just say, we don't need it, we're going to do our own thing, even if it may mean we're behind a little bit?
COHEN: Right. I don't think that's written in stone anywhere. That's certainly not standard operating procedure all the time.
I have to tell you, Erica, I was emailing with a gentleman who runs a lab in Germany. He had testing kits out in the thousands upon thousands on January 13th. That was a very long time ago. Why wasn't that happening here?
And just to say, oh, that's not how we do it, we do it here ourselves, that seems like a rather odd explanation. Safety comes first. That should be the rule, not, oh, if we didn't make it, we don't want to use it. That doesn't make any sense.
HILL: It had me scratching my head, too. I'm glad I'm not the only one.
Juliette, as we look at all of this. You're talking about the messaging and what people need to hear. As I'm talking to folks, even when I was down near the containment zone in New Rochelle earlier this week, officials I spoke with said the minute we give people information, their anxiety -- they can physically see it reduce.
So in terms of getting that information out, what is the best way forward? For people who are watching now, when they are hearing things from this task force -- and it's important to get these updates on a regular basis. I mean, can they -- can all the information be trusted? What we are supposed to do with it?
KAYYEM: It's a tricky question, just because, in my field, you'd never imagine that the top -- that the White House would not be sort of solely invested in protecting -- in focusing on the American people. It's just become too much about Trump.
So basically, I just tell everyone, employers, university presidents, institutions, and all of us as parents -- I see Brian and I are home -- you just have to set up your own battle rhythm right now.
So governors, I've been briefing governors and mayors, you know, every day, same day, same time. I cannot believe it's taken the task force to do it on a daily basis. Information is good. Go to trusted sources online.
And then, personally, I don't know how better to say it because this is the ratchet up period. Tuesday and Wednesday were sort of the shock. This is now the ratchet up. Set your own battle rhythm. It's just the way you have to do it.
And then, in terms of information, it's a really interesting story. This is a local news story with national impact now. So go to your local sources as well. Public health. Public safety. Mayor's office. Governor's office.
There's a big dynamic going on, but if you want to stay calm or you want the reality -- I don't know if you can stay calm -- but if you want the reality, go to local sources. The big picture will come from news sources like us.
HILL: The local angle for a lot of people, you're right, that's where it's at as they're watching all of their weekend activities be canceled, as they're watching their kid's school be closed. That's why it does impact people and then to build up from there.
Elizabeth, Juliette, Brian, Kristen, Congressman Cardenas, we appreciate you all joining us with your expertise to help break this down this afternoon.
Also, I want to get to this bit of breaking news. A stunning admission from the president. President Trump confirming -- he says he was actually given a test for coronavirus. He says that happened last night. Making the announcement during news conference. He said that in response to a question moments ago.
A lot of news coming in. Stay with us. Our special live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic continues next.
HILL: If you are feeling anxious, chances are you're not alone. Millions of Americans living in anxiety. They have so many questions and there are so many unknowns as the coronavirus spreads. That fear of the unknown can really consume you. So what can you do about it?
You can turn to Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst.
I always love talking to you. But it's so important that we have some tools because I found, to me, the stockpiling is clearly, this is the one thing that I can control so I'm going to buy as much toilet paper as I can because I know I won't run out because I don't know what else is going to happen.
DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST & PSYCHOANALYST: There are good coping mechanisms and not so good mechanisms. We are seeing a lot of people hoard things, even illogical things. Toilet paper will not save you from coronavirus.
SALTZ: And that is a normal response to high anxiety in what feels like a dangerous and emergent situation. It's understandable that people want to hoard, but there are better things they could be doing to actually manage their mental health.
Why is that important? Because we're in this for the long haul. Close to half of all Americans, at some point, have a mental health issue already, which will be exacerbated by this situation. So thinking about your mental health going forward is important.
And your mental health directly affects your immune system. That's just a reality. So we want to do what we can to manage our cortisol levels to keep immunity in a normal place.
Yes, it's really important to think about the coping mechanisms that you can use day-to-day to manage your anxiety.
HILL: What are some of those coping mechanisms? What can we do instead of hoarding toilet paper? SALTZ: First of all, do the things that are under your control because
the sense of loss of control is driving a lot of the anxiety. So, yes, the hand washing, the social distancing. Creating a structure during your day, since many of us are going to be at home with people. We're not even used to being at home with all day. Everybody should have a get-up time. A time that they do their work at a workstation.
HILL: Whether that's schoolwork or if you are able to work from home, your job.
SALTZ: Create a space where you can do that. Have a schedule for your day.
The schedule should include exercise because aerobic exercise, we know, reduces anxiety and stress. So 30 minutes of whatever you want to do, as a family or as an individual in your home. Create an exercise regimen.
A few moments of deep breathing or mindfulness that's built into several times during the day to relax yourself. That could be deep breathing, muscle relaxation.
Methods of distraction. So in the evening, whether that's the TV show, the podcast, the book you read, something to distract that's lighthearted to take your mind off what's going on.
And stop your phone alerts for news items. I'm sorry, CNN.
HILL: We understand.
SALTZ: But things that are jolting you during the day like -- he just said this -- they aren't so important in your day-to-day life right now. It's not the best. Take a break.
HILL: One of the things that I have to say I'm concerned about, and I don't have any of my loved ones in a nursing home, but I think about the restrictions we know we need.
HILL: But limiting visitors, limiting group activities and meals, the lack of social interaction, I think, could be really devastating. And this goes beyond just social distancing.
SALTZ: It's true. Before this happened, we already had a growing epidemic of loneliness in this country, which we know can cause depression and anxiety.
So you're right. Social distancing, particularly for vulnerable groups, but really for all of us, is going to be difficult because we quell anxiety with bonding, social bonding. And so I really suggest that people use the phone, the plain old phone.
(CROSSTALK) HILL: You mean for an actual voice call?
SALTZ: As used it in the old days. But hearing voices and talking and connecting and even talking about your anxiety but don't -- you can distance yourself from catastrophizers.
SALTZ: But people that you get comfort from. I think that's really important.
I do think texting and other forms of social media can definitely be useful. But the best of all would be face-to-face, so Skyping or Zooming. Whatever medium you want to use to have face-to-face conversations,
increase the amount that you do that because those connections really matter, particularly if you're elderly and really should be staying in and social distance.
But for kids, who can't see their playmates, you can have those Google -- you can have a hangout, literally, online, which I think the more that we do this to stay connected, it's really important.
HILL: My kids have got a great excuse to ask me for more Xbox time.
HILL: Thanks, Gail. Always good to see you. Thanks for your expertise.
SALTZ: Thank you.
HILL: Up next, life in America is on hold because of coronavirus. But, of course, not everyone has the ability to work from home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN DAVIS, AIRCRAFT CABIN CLEANER: A lot of people are at risk if they don't go to work. As they say, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: The coronavirus is now forcing many people across the country to work from home. The goal of that, of course, is to stop the virus from spreading using social distancing.
But not everybody has the option. For many service workers, blue- collar workers, teleworking isn't an option. It is not part of the job. Many people are understandably concerned about paid sick leave.
Moments ago, Vice President Mike Pence addressed those concerns at today's White House briefing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're an hourly wage earner in America, you need not be concerned about staying home. If you're sick, stay home. You're not going to miss a paycheck because of this legislation that is moving through the Congress. We'll make sure that your employer, including small businesses, have the ability to provide paid leave to you.
This also provides funding and flexibility to ensure senior citizens, women, children, income families, have access to emergency assistance and incentivize states to ease access to unemployment benefits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: CNN's Polo Sandoval is with me now.
Polo, how is the service industry responding?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erica, the announcement we heard from the White House a little while ago is certainly going to be well received by many hourly workers.
We've been speaking to them over the last several days. These are people who do not have the luxury of staying home to quarantine themselves or perhaps to -- if they're sick so the announcement we heard today certainly can't come at a better time for many.
DAVIS: Every hour, every minute I'm at risk.
SANDOVAL (voice-over): Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Dan Davis never really considered his job as high risk.
DAVIS: What I do is I go on board and clean the plane. I think have to pick up the pillowcases, I have to pick up the laundry, I have to pick up the blankets.
SANDOVAL: The New Yorker is a cabin cleaner, sometimes boarding up to 10 planes a shift and coming into contact with what passengers from all over the world leave behind. To Davis, that means his risk of exposure to the virus is even higher.
DAVIS: They give us mandates, I call them, which is the gloves, the masks, the hand sanitizer.
SANDOVAL: But lately, the 57-year-old worries those measures aren't enough to protect him. He only has a handful of state-mandated sick days to use should he become ill.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Housekeeping.
SANDOVAL: Like most in the service industry, taking any additional leave would mean no pay. DAVIS: A lot of poor people are at risk if they don't go to work. As
they say, damned if you do, damned if you don't. So some people roll the dice and they go and hope and pray that they don't get sick.
SANDOVAL: Federica Tlatelpa is afraid to go to work for the first time in her nearly 15 years cleaning facilities at JFK airport.
FEDERICA TLATELPA, AIRPORT EMPLOYEE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
SANDOVAL: She tells me she feels a greater risk coming into contact with thousands of travelers every day.
Labor statistics show nearly 34 million Americans have no access to sick leave. That means lower wage employees filling traditionally blue-collar jobs may be feeling added pressure to stay on the job amid the worsening pandemic.
LANE JENSEN, RIDE-SHARE DRIVER: People aren't going to want to go out because they're scared to go out. It's going to put a hurt on everybody's business, everybody including myself.
SANDOVAL: Oregon ride-share driver, Lane Jensen, is taking steps to protect himself and his customers. Uber and Lyft are among the companies now offering some form of economic help for employees who test positive for coronavirus or who have to self-quarantine.
DAVIS: I wouldn't say scary but it is alarming, right? And something has to be done about this. Corona's here. It's here for -- I hope not for a while but it's here.
SANDOVAL: As some workers heed advice to stay home, others can't afford to stop clocking in.
SANDOVAL: And we have reached out to the union representing both of those airport workers hoping to see exactly how this could hopefully positively impact them.
But as we heard a little while ago, Erica, from the Trump administration officials, the plan here is for the federal government to cover 100 percent of the costs of some of these emergency sick- leave programs for some of the medium-sized companies that perhaps could be in the form of tax guidelines.
When it comes to the larger companies, perhaps IRS tax credits to allow them to compensate for the expense.
Certainly still fluid but, so far, what you hear from some of the hourly workers, some of the hardest-working people in the United States, they hope this will help them.
HILL: Yes. It's still a fluid plan.
Polo, thank you. There were questions at the briefing about the cruise and
entertainment industries and what about those folks, who we were told there could be more to come. We will, of course, keep an eye on Washington, any further legislation to help that could be coming down the road.
Meantime, as the spread of the coronavirus takes its toll on the economy, it is causing dramatic swings on Wall Street. The market is closing up almost 2,000 points on Friday, which is something the president took credit for just moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Over a 45-minute period that we had the press conference yesterday in the Rose Garden, that was a record, all-time record. I think we should do one of them every day, perhaps. How about five times a day? We'll do one five times a day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CNN's Matt Egan joining me now.
So that nearly 2,000 points, are investors taking relief from what they heard from the president? Can we equate the two?
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: I think investors are a little bit relieved President Trump and the federal government -- it sounds like they're taking this a lot more seriously, by declaring a national emergency, getting help from the private sector to get testing out.
It does show President Trump and the White House are concerned about this. I think there was a sense that maybe the administration was sort of downplaying the extent of the health crisis and that was alarming investors.
But we should also point out that even though the market closed up big yesterday, the Dow up almost 2,000 points, it was down sharply for the week down almost 10 percent. So I don't think many people who are looking at their 401K statements after this week are smiling.
HILL: The president also criticized the Fed Chair Jerome Powell again, said repeatedly he could fire him. Said our interest rates should never be higher than our competitors.
Really quickly, what kind of difference would it make right now if there was another rate cut?
EGAN: The Fed will most likely have to lower interest rates again. Investors are pricing in the fact that the Fed will actually go back to zero rates. I think it will help on the margins, because it can help confidence, help confidence on Wall Street. And that does trickle down to Main Street.
Of course, this is a health crisis and it is hard to see how easier borrowing gets people to hop on planes or go on cruises or go out to restaurants. This has to be solved at the federal level from a health standpoint.