Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SATURDAY
House Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill; President Trump Not Getting Tested For Coronavirus After Coming In Contact With At Least Two People With The Virus; More Than 2,200 Cases Of Coronavirus Now In The U.S. With The Death Toll Reaching 49; U.S. Travel Ban On 26 European Countries Now In Effect; Nursing Home Visits Restricted Under National Emergency; Streets Empty And Hospitals Overwhelmed In Italy Amid Outbreak; Italy Reports The Largest And Deadliest Outbreak Outside Of China; President Trump Declares Emergency as Coronavirus Crisis Spreads. Aired 6-7a ET
Aired March 14, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am officially declaring a national emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As uncertainty grows, Americans are stocking up for the long haul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just stockpiling some things because my health is important.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want us to be in a situation like Italy.
TRUMP: All Americans have a role to play in defeating this virus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In New Rochelle, New York, a drive-through coronavirus testing center just opened.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We have six lanes. We can do about 200 cars per day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least 15 million kids home from school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything we're doing is to try to save lives. Doing these things now and not waiting will, in fact, save lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, life as we knew it is on pause. This morning, there is a new reality in the United States. President Trump is calling on emergency powers to combat the coronavirus, but one of the more important questions here still remains -- where are all the tests? CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And in the early hours of the morning, the House passed that coronavirus relief measure, including paid administration leave, emergency leave and free coronavirus testing.
BLACKWELL: Right now there are more than 2,200 cases in the U.S. and at least 49 people have died. Every region of this country has been touched by the virus, impacting daily lives of millions.
PAUL: At midnight, the travel ban on 26 European countries went into effect. So U.S. citizens now still allowed to fly home, but they'll have to return through specific airports and undergo enhanced entry screening.
BLACKWELL: We'll have the latest on the international element of this saga in a moment, but let's start here in the United States. The House has passed the coronavirus response bill. That was at 1:00 o'clock this morning. Now, it came after a day of intense talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House. Now, the president tweeted his support for the bill late last night. Still, 40 Republicans in the House voted against it.
PAUL: So the relief bill goes to the Senate next week and CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood is with us now. Sarah, walk us through what is in this bill, what is specific.
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christi and Victor, this bill coming after lengthy negotiations over a couple of days between Republicans and Democrats. There was initially some resistance from the White House. President Trump even indicated yesterday that he wasn't going to support this bill, but I want to walk you through some of the elements that ended up in the legislation.
First, there will be two weeks of paid sick leave included in the bill for people who might not be able to go into work during the height of the coronavirus outbreak and three months of paid medical and family leave for those workers. Now, a key part of this bill is that it ensures free testing for COVID-19 regardless of whether you have insurance and it expands unemployment and food programs, again, for those people who are not necessarily going into work.
Now, the administration conceded eventually back to the bill, President Trump saying that it included some of the things that he had asked Congress to pass. It did not include, though, a payroll tax that he had wanted included in the legislation. Republicans won from Democrats a concession, though, because Democrats initially had wanted to make these paid leave programs permanent. They will now have an expiration date after the outbreak, however.
BLACKWELL: So let me ask you about the president specifically. We know now that he's been exposed to at least two people with confirmed cases of COVID-19, but he has not been tested. What is the explanation from the White House?
WESTWOOD: Well, we got a memo from the White House physician, President Trump's doctor, late last night explaining their position on President Trump not getting tested and not self-quarantining like several of his peers in Congress who have isolated themselves after coming into contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus.
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 is 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, keep in mind this is after President Trump has had known contact, has in fact been photographed with people who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus, but yesterday at his press conference declaring a national emergency, President Trump said that people should not rush to get tested if they're not showing symptoms or they don't have known exposure to people with the virus. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And we don't want people without symptoms to go and do the test. The test is not insignificant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now even so, President Trump was pressed yesterday on whether he would get the test given the fact that he could have been exposed to the virus.
The president said that his people were working on a schedule to conduct that test. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But I could tell you --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Doctors have said you might have it even if you don't have symptoms.
TRUMP: Well --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you being selfish by not getting tested and potentially exposing --
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'll happen?
TRUMP: Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you let us know the results?
TRUMP: Fairly soon. We're working on that. We're working out a schedule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: Now, this comes as administration officials have struggled to answer questions about why tests are not yet widely available and to answer questions about their ability to ramp up that testing capacity as the virus spreads across the country, Christi and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us in Washington. Sarah, thank you.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Let's add to that reporting about the potential exposure of the president. We've just learned that a person who attended a Trump fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago last Sunday has tested positive for the coronavirus. Now, all the participants were notified in an e-mail yesterday. President Trump gave a speech at that event. We're told that he did not have direct contact with that infected person.
PAUL: And we want to make sure that you are really aware of how this is developing because we have updates on all of these numbers. We want to get to them right now. Right now we know more than 2,200 cases of coronavirus are here in the U.S., so life as we know it being put on pause.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Dozens of schools and universities across the country have closed, major sporting events, you've watched them, league after league canceling, millions of social gatherings postponed or shut down all together. Let's go now to CNN's Natasha Chen. She's following the latest on the impact across the country. Good morning to you --
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: -- and it seems like, you know, you and I get the same e- mail updates.
BLACKWELL: One after another, postponement, cancellation, rescheduling --
CHEN: The flood gates are open Yes.
CHEN: Absolutely. This is a new world that we're living in and I want to start by going back to the map showing the number of cases right now across the country to give you an idea of just where these cases are. So as Victor and Christi mentioned, more than 2,200 cases right now, at least 49 people have died and most of those deaths have occurred in Washington State.
Now, we have been told that as more people get tested, the numbers will climb and there are questions of whether hospitals actually have enough beds and ventilators to meet that demand if a spike happens in the number of people requiring hospitalization. Now, speaking of tests, President Trump did say on Friday that 5 million coronavirus tests would become available within a month. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke before a congressional committee on Thursday acknowledging that the U.S. system for tests right now is not meeting the country's needs. Now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed those sentiments saying that the log jam is really in the lack of laboratories able to process those tests.
Now, meanwhile in the New Rochelle containment zone in New York, the National Guard is there assisting and Governor Cuomo says there will be drive-through testing, something that Colorado has also done. Here's Governor Cuomo talking about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: What this drive-through does is you call, you make an appointment, you stay in your car, you drive in just like a drive- through. The medical staff comes to you. We have six lanes. We can do about 200 cars per day and that can ramp up. You drive off and then we call you with the results. So as a way to bring this testing up to scale safely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And here are some ways in which both the government and private sectors are really trying to curtail this. Already we are seeing more than 8 million American school kids staying home from their classrooms, doing distance learning which is creating quite a challenge for parents and caretakers and especially those kids who rely on their schools for their meals and we are also talking about higher learning institutions as well.
Colleges, universities telling students not to return to campus after spring break, doing online classes. We know the University of Michigan has also announced their commencement activities are canceled and so we are seeing a lot of changes and cancellations, as we talked about. Remember, we are still in the middle of an election as well. We're hearing that the Louisiana primary is actually being postponed for two months. It was supposed to be April, now it's going to be June.
As far as businesses go and sporting events, we saw the NCAA cancel their tournament in an unprecedented move.
CHEN: Disney Parks has closed all of their parks around the world. Some were already closed in Asia, but at least the domestic parks closed until the end of the month. So a lot of closures and cancellations that people in this country probably have not seen in their lifetimes.
PAUL: Or since 9/11. A lot of it is -- we have not seen anything like this (ph) since 9/11. BLACKWELL: And some of this we didn't even see then.
BLACKWELL: I mean, to see the Disney Parks close. We've talked about the massive blow to the international, the global economy.
[06:10:01] It's really hitting personal economies as well --
BLACKWELL: -- as people are having to figure out some of the needs for their family at home and those children not only get food at school, some of them get safety.
PAUL: Yes (ph).
BLACKWELL: That may be the safest place they are --
PAUL: Yes. True. (ph)
BLACKWELL: -- in the entire day. Natasha Chen, thanks so much.
CHEN: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Natasha. So overnight, the U.S. travel ban went into effect as well. This essentially cuts off travel into the U.S. for 26 European countries.
BLACKWELL: So U.S. citizens, green card holders, some family members as well, they're exempt, but everyone who returns will undergo, we're told by the White House, enhanced entry screening. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following the latest. She's in London. You're at Heathrow Airport, Salma. Good morning to you. Tell us how this has gone. It's now six hours into this ban.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning. It is already here starting to feel a sense of rush, really, for travelers and we saw that just a few days ago as well. This is of course as Americans are trying to make their way back home under these new travel restrictions. Just a short time ago, we spoke to a history teacher from the state of Texas. He was here with 30 of his students on a field trip around Europe.
They were in Paris when they found out about the new travel restrictions. He scrambled to get to Heathrow Airport. His students -- now, remember they're high school students, so they're just 16 to 18 years old. They've had to split up of course because there's limited flights. They're going to be going to one of just a dozen -- it's only about a dozen airports that have these enhanced screening measures in place. So they're going to be split up, they're going to make it on the ground and then they have to make their way back to their home state of Texas.
And what this teacher was telling us and what we're hearing from a lot of travelers is the guidelines aren't clear. It's very difficult to know what to do next, what are the proper procedures and this is what we heard from the E.U. leaders as well yesterday, saying that the Trump travel ban is something that happened without cooperation with the E.U., that it doesn't necessarily help when we need to see nations working together to battle this global pandemic.
So really a sense here in London and across Europe that at a time when we should see the U.S. government working together with other nations to battle this pandemic, we are seeing, once again, President Trump America first policy and that could be detrimental, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Salma Abdelaziz for us there doing her best to speak over those landings. Thank you so much there at London's Heathrow Airport.
ABDELAZIZ: Victor, thanks for that (ph).
BLACKWELL: Listen, I know you have a lot of questions about this new environment and what this means for your family. This is new for all of us. It came quickly. Well, we're going to try to get you some answers. We'll be joined by medical experts throughout the morning. So tweet us @VictorBlackwell and @Christi_Paul. Use the hashtag #NewDayWeekend.
First we want you to tell us how the outbreak is affecting your life. We'll be sharing some of the stories throughout the morning, but also ask questions. We've got the medical team here. For that, go to cnn.com/coronavirusquestions and we'll get your answers throughout NEW DAY Saturday.
PAUL: And just to give you a sense of how people are dealing with this, there are streets that are empty, there are hospitals that are overwhelmed, particularly we're talking about Italy. Tough decisions that doctors there are facing right now during this struggle to treat what is a growing number of patients.
BLACKWELL: Plus, the first potential case tied to an NBA player who tested positive for COVID-19 is a child.
BLACKWELL: Seventeen minutes after the hour now. Visits to nursing homes across the country will temporarily be restricted, I should say. It's all part of a plan to battle the coronavirus under President Trump's national emergency declared yesterday.
PAUL: Family members of patients at the Washington State nursing home affected by the outbreak are talking about what their concerns are here. Here's CNN's Sara Sidner. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Cox (ph). Why don't you guys cover his legs up?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One after another --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Better, same or worse?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, you can open the windows today.
SIDNER: -- daughters and sons desperately trying to show their sick parents how much they love them without being able to touch them. Their parents are living in a nursing home that is the epicenter of the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus in the United States to-date. Sisters Carmen and Bridget sat outside their mother's window with a picnic trying to soothe her on the phone. In reality, the sisters are filled with dread.
SIDNER: Does she understand what's happening?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes. Today and yesterday are both not good days for her. She's rather confused.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said she woke up crying this morning.
SIDNER: Do you feel that your mother is deteriorating at this center?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely. Without question.
SIDNER: They say their mother came to the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington to rehab from a knee replacement and ended up getting coronavirus.
SIDNER: What's this process been like for you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been horrible. It's like a nightmare that I just can't wake up from. I just want to see mom and talk to her face- to-face and laugh with her and joke with her and play backgammon and all the stuff we used to do together.
SIDNER: They do not speak their biggest fear, but they are acutely aware coronavirus has killed 22 people associated with this facility, 18 of them were patients. Families are worried their parents and grandparents aren't getting the care they need, especially after hearing this.
TIMOTHY KILLIAN, LIFE CARE CENTER SPOKESPERSON: We've lost a third of our active employees.
SIDNER: Are you absolutely sure that the patients who are there are getting the care they needed considering you don't have the staff that you normally have?
KILLIAN: I'm absolutely sure that our staff is doing all they can with the resources that they have. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My understanding is --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not answering (ph) --
SIDNER: That answer did not satisfy the families.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're saying they -- who is they so we can follow up with it?
SIDNER: There are too many lingering questions to count. How is it possible that some of the staff has still not been tested three weeks after the deadly outbreak and why is this facility's entire staff not quarantined when a third of the staff has reported coronavirus symptoms?
[06:20:10] At the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, the U.S. government flew Americans by charter out of Wuhan and put them on a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Meantime in this facility where nearly two dozen people have died and yet staff can come and go. Why hasn't there been a self quarantine?
KILLIAN: We have not received and we have been in discussion with the CDC and Department of Health in Washington. They have not told us to completely quarantine in place.
SIDNER: He says no one else will take the patients unless they show life-threatening symptoms. Do you find that odd since they were quarantining people who they had flown out of Wuhan for 14 days even though they didn't test positive, but they haven't quarantined a facility that has so many people dead?
KILLIAN: I can't speak to the CDC's own decisions and the directions that they're giving. I can only tell you what they have or have not told us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, dad. I love you. You look good.
SIDNER: Still, the families of patients here keeps showing up, trying to boost their parents' spirits.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You need to rub your legs and get that blood flowing, OK?
SIDNER: Katherine Kempf's father has tested positive, though he's not showing major symptoms.
KATHERINE KEMPF, FATHER QUARANTINED AT LIFE CARE CENTER: For him to say to me on the phone it's rough in here, that's a huge statement for my dad. So to walk in there and just like --
SIDNER: Kempf has been bringing him herbal medicine. Her dad, she says, is a stoic Vietnam veteran, but even he has indicated how bad things are. Now he's losing friends to an enemy no one can see.
KEMPF: He's dealing with it stoicly and, you know, he's just, you know, doing this kind of thing. It's, you know -- but the reality is is his friends have died.
SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Kirkland, Washington.
PAUL: Somebody tweeted me and said the same thing, that their mom is in a facility and they won't let him go in and he said I'm all she's got, she's all I've got. It's so hard.
BLACKWELL: To watch those sisters sit next to the window with a phone and put their hand up to the window --
PAUL: Can't imagine.
BLACKWELL: -- it just -- it really breaks your heart knowing that there are so many families at that facility who are feeling that.
PAUL: And really all over the place.
PAUL: It's not just -- that's not an isolated case. So what is life like if you're under lockdown in Italy? That country is struggling to deal with the second largest number of coronavirus deaths and infections in the world. We will take you there.
BLACKWELL: The head of infectious medicine at a hospital in Italy says this is a war. That's his description of the country's struggle to contain the spread of coronavirus.
PAUL: Countrywide, lockdowns are leaving streets deserted, hospitals are packed, a dwindling number of resources to treat patients. Two- hundred-fifty deaths and 2,500 new cases were reported yesterday. So the latest data, let's roll that all together, from Johns Hopkins University shows in total there are more than 17,660 cases in Italy and more than 1,200 people have died. That's second only to China.
BLACKWELL: A team of Chinese experts, they arrived in Rome yesterday. They took with them medical supplies, extra respirators, masks with medical supplies as well, including several other items.
PAUL: CNN's Melissa Bell is in Rome. Melissa, thank you so much for being with us. I know that hospitals in Italy are struggling obviously. Experts are warning the U.S. here you could face a similar challenge. Is there any sign that Italy's strategy thus far to contain this has had an effect?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is. There is the beginning of a glimmer of hope. You mentioned those nationwide figures a moment ago, that shocking figure of an extra 250 deaths that was announced yesterday over the preceding 24-hour period. Those nationwide figures continue to progress at record rates.
So nationally, things are going to take some time to show these effects, which are quite extraordinary. I mean, you're talking about people not able to leave their homes, the streets are policed by policemen and military personnel who can stop you and ask you where you're going, so people staying at home, hunkering down, the streets deserted, Rome feeling like a ghost town.
The authorities had warned that it would take some time for this extraordinary national lockdown to translate into a stabling out or a drop in those nationwide figures, but from the north of the country, where three weeks ago, so before the rest of the country, we had those first cases and I think it's worth remembering how quickly that can -- we can go -- things can go. Three weeks ago, fewer than three cases in this country. You just mentioned the latest ones, Christi. It's extraordinary how fast this outbreak has progressed.
Three weeks ago, those initial villages and towns, 10 of them in the northern provinces of Lombardy and Veneto, were locked down as the rest of the country now has been. What we've seen these last few days, and we've had an opportunity to look at these figures ourselves, are some of those figures in those localities that have been under lockdown for three weeks now beginning to level off. We're no longer seeing the rises that we did the week before or the week before that.
That shows that these extraordinary measures are bearing their fruit, but it will take some time, another couple of weeks no doubt, perhaps three, for them to translate onto those national figures, but of course that's what everyone is watching for. They're hoping that this is going to work and one of the things we've noticed is the extreme discipline of the Italians. You really get a sense that people understand that this is necessary, this is an emergency, this is about saving themselves, it's about saving others, it's about getting their country out of this crisis, a country that is now on the front line of this global pandemic.
BLACKWELL: Melissa Bell for us in Rome. Melissa, thank you.
PAUL: So millions of people in Italy obviously living under lockdown as we saw, they're keeping each other company as well apparently with music.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Oh, some needed relief there, coming together even though you're not too close. They're singing on their balcony all together there. This is something that we're seeing across the country, apparently, because they want -- I'm sure, I mean, we know that human interaction is healing. BLACKWELL: Yes, it certainly is. Our next guest is seeing some of this
where he is in Milan. He described his daily experience for "The New York Times" and he wrote this -- "inevitably, the virus is bringing a new awareness that we all share the same physical space. Milan, Italy, we really live here and sink or swim together. Perhaps we will even have to get to know each other, albeit without shaking hands. I sense a new spirit of unity."
With us now, Tim Parks; a writer and translator living in Milan. Tim, hello to you. First, how are you feeling? How long have you been confined to where you are? Just I see a smile --
PAUL: That's a good thing --
BLACKWELL: So that's a good indication.
TIM PARKS, WRITER AND TRANSLATOR: Yes, you know, I'm feeling well. I mean, one of the problems of this thing is that all of us are extremely anxious any time you get the slightest cough or something. So the last thing you want is to have a bad cold and then imagine you've got -- you've got this problem. But we've been -- we've been actually supposedly confined to our houses for a week now and then the two weeks before that most of the pubs and so on and lots of other things were closed.
BLACKWELL: Yes --
PARKS: Actually, you know, the streets are not as deserted as the kind of dramatic narrative would like to pretend. You know, if I go out on the main street, there are people walking out to the supermarket or the pharmacy and stuff, and they have now told us we're allowed to take walks from time-to-time, which is a big relief.
So, you know, there's a sense of responsibility and people are going about and keeping a meter away from each other and so on.
PAUL: You know, we just heard Melissa say that the people in Italy seem to be very disciplined about all of this. But it still has to be hard. And there are people in this country now who aren't under lockdown the way that you are by any means. But they are isolated, some of them are in quarantine, and what can you tell us? What have you been able to do to focus on, to kind of keep your sanity in something like this?
PARKS: Yes, I do think you have to be aware of how nervous you might get and how irritated with people around you, if you're stuck in the house all day. There's no doubt about that. You know, one of the problems of this thing is knowing how long, how long it's going to go on. I know, I do honestly wonder how wise it was to close down the whole of the south where they have very few cases right now because, you know, they might find that they're going to be closed down for a whole month.
And I wonder how long that discipline will last. Some people have being very disciplined, but just today, there was a news story that last night a lot of people from Milan departed on the night train for the south which was packed. Now, that can't make much sense if we're supposedly under lockdown to have a whole, you know, thousands of people on a train together moving down south.
So, I think the situation is actually a lot -- very patchy, and you know, it's very hard to know what's really going on.
BLACKWELL: Yes, Tim, let me ask you this, because I really enjoyed the piece that you wrote and I learned a lot. You talked about the initial indignation when the limits on gatherings were set and the shop hours were limited, and how then eventually you and others reached what you describe as sobriety. For people here in the U.S. who are now at the point of indignation as they watch their children's schools close and businesses are limited. How did we reach sobriety?
PARKS: Well, you know, I think it's really interesting to keep an eye on your own psychology through this. At the beginning, you realize how attached you are to all the ordinary things you do. I was really furious that they closed my gym, you know. Then you look at the figures, you see that people are dying, you think no, this makes a lot of sense.
But then there's what I think could be a dangerous swing that people start to get sort of excited about the drama of it all, and even to ask for more stringent measures so we can all feel we're at war.
Like I really do wonder, I'm sure in the hospitals it feels like war. But I wonder if for the rest of us, that's the kind of metaphor we need. We should be just keeping calm, staying quiet. We're not fighting anything, we're just looking out for ourselves and for everybody else.
PAUL: Tim, I just have a couple of seconds, but I want to ask you. You also wrote, it's been a spiritual exercise in letting go. That's striking, what does that mean?
PARKS: Well, right. Letting go of my gym for a start. But just realizing how attached you are to many --
PAUL: OK --
PARKS: Ordinary things. And one last thing, I really do think we all live in different kind of virtual worlds. But this make us aware that, you know, we depend on the other people in our street even if we don't know where they're from or what they're like. So that's important, too.
PAUL: Such a good conversation. Tim Parks, we're so glad that you're happy that you're well. Thank you so much for keeping up with us. We're wishing you the very best.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Tim. PAUL: Still to come, the house passed the Coronavirus Relief Bill. The
Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week. Will it receive the same bipartisan support is the question?
BLACKWELL: Overnight the house passed the Coronavirus Response Bill which brought support from both Democrats and Republicans. There are a number of provisions including free testing for everyone who needs it, that includes the uninsured. A big question now, will the bill face any push-back when the Senate takes up the measure, that's next week. With me here to discuss, CNN political commentator and the host of "You Decide", the podcast, Errol Louis. Errol, welcome back.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hello, very good to see you.
BLACKWELL: Likewise. Let's start here with that question. Forty house Republicans voted against it. What are the chances in the Senate?
LOUIS: Well, I would expect that it's going to not necessarily have a hard time as far as the basics, Victor. But I think what tends to happen when you get to the Senate is that it's going to get exploded. That people are going to find all kinds of other things that they want to add to it. Keep in mind, this bill as proposed, as described last night, would really just kind of deal with the basics of testing, and that in itself is an expensive proposition.
But we're starting to realize there are going to be a lot of big after-effects that are going to roll through the economy and the Senate if it's responsible should try and address some of those concerns as well.
BLACKWELL: You know, one of the elements that the president was pushing for, although he tweeted support for it late last night. He was pushing for this payroll tax cut or payroll tax holiday as late as yesterday during the morning. That's not in there. Secretary Mnuchin wasn't even pushing for that in the conversations with Nancy Pelosi. It really exposes how in some parts of this, he's central and in others he really is not.
LOUIS: Well, that's exactly right. And look, that payroll tax holiday, maybe a month ago, it might have been relevant. But from what we know and what we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt about how this is going to affect the economy, it's not -- it's not the right tool and it's not the right dimensions of impact, of economic impact and it leaves out an entire swath of the economy.
The people who are the gig workers, who drive cabs and Ubers. The people who are doing seasonal work. The people who work in restaurants and so forth. This was not going to do very much for them in the first place. And so, it's really the wrong focus all together.
BLACKWELL: So, this news conference in the Rose Garden yesterday, the president, part of explaining the national emergency was this website that he had described to organize testing. Here's what the president said about it and the timing specifically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The goal is helping to develop a website. It's going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past. Google has 1,700 engineers working on this right now, they've made tremendous progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, Google released a statement saying that the tool is in quote, "early stages of development", close quote. They plan to roll it out through testing in the bay area only, and that they hope to roll it out more broadly over time. How do you interpret --
LOUIS: Yes --
BLACKWELL: The discrepancy and what's the political significance?
LOUIS: Well, the significance and it's very troubling, Victor, is that at a time like this, at the very moment he's declaring a national emergency, every word from the mouth of the president of the United States has to be accurate, it has to be factual. It's really important to get that stuff right. You don't stand at the podium and just wing it. Almost every single thing he said about that was absolutely wrong.
First of all, it wasn't Google, it's a sort of a subsidiary of it that's working on it. There are not 1,700 engineers that are rushing to make a publicly available website available to help steer people to the resources that they need. It's -- it was never what the project was about. Google was forced to contradict the president just a few hours later, saying we're not sure what he's talking about.
This is no way to take your first steps in dealing with a national emergency. Again, which was the point of the press conference. Things like this, the staff around the president have -- they've got to get him under control. They've got to exercise a lot more professional discipline. These things are going to blow back on the president politically, but that's not what really matters.
What really matters is 300 million people are relying on this federal government that we pay with our taxes to get some of this stuff, right, including factually describing what's going to happen, not just making up stuff from the podium.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and you have to wonder if there was a coincidence that this happened at 3 O'clock, an hour before the markets closed on Friday. It sounded like a lot of confidence, and then you get this statement from Google, we'll see if there will be a response Monday morning with the markets opened. Errol Louis, thanks so much.
LOUIS: Thank you, Victor.
PAUL: Well, there're some companies who are preying on victims to buy products to cure the coronavirus. We need to point out, the FDA has not approved any vaccines yet. But ahead, we have a look for you at how you can protect yourself from some of the bogus products that are out there.
BLACKWELL: The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission are cracking down on companies selling fraudulent coronavirus products.
PAUL: CNN Health Reporter, Jacqueline Howard has more on how to avoid some of these coronavirus scams.
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: It's important to definitely be cautious of any websites or stores that's selling products that they claim will prevent, treat or cure coronavirus disease. The FDA and FTC already issued warning letters this week to seven companies selling fraudulent products, and the agencies say they will continue monitoring online activities for sales of these products.
Now the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, Joe Simons, he says this in a statement. Quote, "there already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus. What we don't need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims" end quote. Remember, currently there are no vaccines or drugs approved to prevent or treat the coronavirus.
There are investigational vaccines and drugs in the works, but they're not yet approved for the public. And using a fraudulent product could put your health at risk, especially if you're relying on that product and not getting proper treatment. So during this time, here are three ways to avoid coronavirus scams. First, be wary of e-mails claiming to be the CDC or World Health Organization asking for money.
The World Health Organization says it does not ask for direct donations to emergency response plans via e-mail. Second, I'll repeat, be suspicious of the products that claim to cure coronavirus disease. And third, always do your research before purchasing a product or donating to a charity, verify that it's credible and make sure it is not a scam. Victor and Christi, back to you.
BLACKWELL: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much. Coronavirus has forced sports to -- you saw it, shut down. But athletes are still finding ways to inspire.
PAUL: That's what Coy Wire is talking about. We just asked him, Coy, there's no sports, what are you doing here?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: No work for any sports week in gear right now. But look, in this time, you know, we know that food and a paycheck are -- a lot of people, that's all they're thinking about. So, some stars, they're stepping up to help and make sure that some of those needs are met. We'll tell you who and what they're doing coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: A child has tested positive for coronavirus, and officials say this diagnosis happened after an interaction with an NBA player who also has the virus.
PAUL: Yes, Coy Wire is here with the details. I mean, it certainly highlights the need for what they did this week that shocked --
WIRE: Right, and suspending the season --
PAUL: Because it have to be that expansive, I don't know, that's still debatable. But --
WIRE: Yes --
PAUL: If there's a problem, they need to take care of.
WIRE: We can't know for certain that this child did contract the disease directly from the NBA player. But what we do know is that Westerly Police Department in Rhode Island announced yesterday that the child who attended the Celtics-Jazz game in Boston contracted the virus. The chief says the child got an autograph from a Jazz player who later tested positive for coronavirus.
Did not give a player's name. Jazz's players Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, they both have tested positive for coronavirus earlier this week. The Celtics-Jazz game was March 6th, that's five days after the NBA put out a memo urging players to restrict physical contact with fans. On Wednesday, the league suspended play for at least 30 days.
Now, the NCAA announcing it plans to give extra eligibility to athletes because of coronavirus. A statement says eligibility relief is appropriate for all division one student athletes in Spring sports like softball, baseball, men's volleyball, and the details will be finalized at a later time. On Thursday, the NCAA cancelled all Spring and Winter sports, including as we now know March Madness.
All right, this Coronavirus is disrupting lives and daily routines across the country. Athletes are stepping up to help, like Warriors star Steph Curry and his wife, Ayesha, pledging to help raise $1 million to help feed children in Oakland where 18,000 students rely on their schools for at least two meals a day.
(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 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 more -- the last thing to worry about.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WIRE: Yes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, they've
all pledged a $100,000 to help arena staff in their cities. Superstar rookie Zion Williamson, he posted on Instagram that he's covering the salaries for all Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days there in New Orleans. There are an estimated 100,000 stadium workers around the country who have lost work.
So, it's good to see these athletes using their platform and their privilege to be able to help those who need some help right now --
PAUL: And recognizing the need is there for those people.
WIRE: Indeed --
BLACKWELL: Yes --
WIRE: Yes --
PAUL: Coy, thank you --
WIRE: You're welcome --
BLACKWELL: Thanks, Coy.
PAUL: So our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic is continuing now.
BLACKWELL: In the next hour, we'll speak with the scientist who is working on a vaccine, and we'll take a closer look at how the economy and the industries across the country, really around the world are being affected by all of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am officially declaring a national emergency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As uncertainty grows, Americans are stocking up for the long haul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just stockpiling something because my hair is important.