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CNN NEWSROOM

Coronavirus Screenings Spark Long Lines, Confusion At Major Airports; Germany Restricting Border Crossings Amid Coronavirus Pandemic; Interview With Tom Perez; Trump Tests Negative For Coronavirus; Biden, Sanders To Debate With No Audience Amid Outbreak; U.S Coronavirus Cases Top 3,100, Death Toll At 62. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 15, 2020 - 14:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:14]

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being with us.

More than 3,000 people -- that update just reported by health and government officials in the United States -- more than 3,000 people in this country are now infected with the potentially deadly coronavirus. 62 people have died now. The first infection confirmed eight weeks ago, and we've gone from one infected person to more than 3,000 in just 55 days.

The coast-to-coast response, fear, dramatic cautionary measures, panic shopping, a new nationwide focus on cleanliness and distance from people who might be sick or who might get sick.

Millions of kids won't go to school tomorrow. Millions of American workers won't go to their jobs tomorrow. So many businesses won't be open tomorrow, and remember, we got here from one person with the virus to 3,000 in 55 days.

Many American airports looked like this. Waves of travelers not leaving the states, but coming home from overseas overwhelming the TSA and customs at major airports set up to receive them and screen their health.

Travel rules and restrictions are changing nearly every day and there is no certainty right now in the airline or travel industry.

For now, the United States is not in lockdown. No curfews or limits on movement like in a growing list of other countries. But CNN asked the lead physician on the coronavirus task force physician if he wanted to see a strict national lockdown, and he didn't say no.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Would you like to see a national lockdown? Basically people -- you can't go out to restaurants and bars. You need to stay home? DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSITUTE OF ALLERGY AND

INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, I would like to see a dramatic diminution of the personal interaction that we see in restaurants and in bars. Whatever it takes to do that, that's what I'd like to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Let's get to JFK International Airport in New York now and CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo -- the pictures we've been seeing from inside JFK and other airports are alarming. People packed like sardines and in long lines for hours and at the same time, officials are telling people to keep a safe distance from each for safety.

What is going on and how long is this bottleneck going to last?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Travelers here at New York's JFK Airport, Ana -- are certainly hopeful that today will not be a repeat of yesterday. That was when the Trump administration's enhanced screening procedures were basically applied and the result, you mentioned, were these logjams where at 13 airports across the country there were these massive crowding of people that were hoping to essentially, to go through the health screening process the way it's been working, the way it's supposed to work today.

It's not long after these passengers traveling from various parts of Europe, again, U.S. citizens and permanent residents clear Customs passport control then they meet here, for example at JFK. About 50 health technicians that had been assigned to meet with passengers so that they can clear them.

They fill out what's called a traveler health declaration form and then they're checked out for potential symptoms. We're told that three passengers were referred to area hospitals appearing to present some kind of coronavirus symptoms yesterday.

So you do get a sense of what's been happening here. But as you said, the results are many passengers being forced to wait in these packed spaces while government officials are saying that now is the time to practice social distancing.

This is what passengers at various airports throughout the country had to say about yesterday's chaotic and confusing experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMA REUSCH, ARRAVING AT O'HARE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FROM PORTUGAL: Yes. Very crowded, which is not ideal considering what this contagion is. It took three hours to get through Customs. It took another two hours to get through the health check. And then took another like hour to get through CDC.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANDOVAL: So here's what the federal government is saying about this and how they were reacting in this particular case. The Department of Homeland Security's head Chad Wolf did tweet saying that his organization, that the agency is aware of these lines that we continue to see here.

Also saying that the agency's working to have additional staff to try to, to help the situation and they're also working with airlines to try to expedite this process of these health screenings.

But bottom line here Ana -- what you're hearing from the Department of Homeland Security, they're asking for patience right now saying that ultimately they're concerned about making sure that everybody who's traveling from these particular parts of Europe, they want to make sure that they are healthy, that they are screened, that they go through the right processes.

CABRERA: Polo Sandoval, thank you.

Now to CNN's Omar Jimenez in Chicago and this is an airport where some returning Americans say they've been subjected to three different lines -- one for customs, one for a health check, and another one for a temperature scan.

Omar, what's going on?

[14:04:56]

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana.

We just heard from Chicago's mayor and Chicago's head of the Department of Aviation and basically what we are seeing on that front is that when passengers come through they're being subjected to that first level of screening. Almost what you would normally see from Customs and Border protection.

And then if that person is coming back from one of the more than 25 countries in the midst of that current coronavirus travel ban in Europe, they are going through a secondary set of screening by the Department of Homeland Security.

And then if that person is potentially showing symptoms or have a travel history that could make them a risk basically to the wider population they're then being sent to a third set of screening by the CDC.

There were some reports that it took up to five hours in total last night just to get from the plane actually out into the United States.

And this afternoon, things have been a little better. We just spoke to a woman who is coming back from London and only made it through two levels of those screening. And even that took an hour and a half.

But the bad news on that front is that essentially nothing has changed from last night to what we are expecting to see tonight. Even though the mayor and governor here are requesting more federal screeners to help with just that -- Ana.

CABRERA: That doesn't sound good. Omar Jimenez -- thank you.

We do know federal officials are aware of what's happening. The acting chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection releasing a statement just a short time ago to CNN calling these wait times unacceptable and he says, "With this national emergency there will unfortunately be times of disruption and increased processing times for travelers. CBP is working around the clock to minimize these inconveniences."

Meanwhile, the White House now working through how to manage this crisis. There is a briefing scheduled this afternoon. But we heard from the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci this morning and he gave a dire warning. But is the President heeding it?

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House for us. And Jeremy -- what are you learning?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana -- what we've seen so far is most of the Trump administration's actions have been focused on two things. One, those travel restrictions that we are seeing, as well as rectifying that lack of testing.

But now there are big questions being raised about the impact on Americans' daily lives as we have seen this epidemic grow into a pandemic and already seeing the impact on Americans' daily lives here in the United States.

And with that we are seeing one of the government's top public health officials, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning Americans to brace for much more and really making the case himself for Americans to make more changes to their daily lives to avoid the worst case scenarios of hundreds of thousands of people dying from this.

Listen to Dr. Fauci just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Are you thinking that hundreds of thousands of Americans could die from this?

DR. FAUCI: You know, I say that and it sometimes gets taken out of context. But we have to be realistic and honest. Yes, it is possible. Our job, our challenge is to try to make that not happen.

But to think if we go about our daily lives and not worry about everything that it's not going to happen, it could happen, and it could be worse. To me, that's a real impetus to take very seriously the kinds of things.

I might make a point that people sometimes think that you're overreacting. I like it when people are thinking I'm overreacting, because that means we're doing it just right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: And when Dr. Fauci talks about that perceived overreaction but really doing it just right, he also indicated repeatedly on the Sunday shows this morning that he is pushing the administration to take more drastic measures and he did not rule out this question about the possibility of a national lockdown -- Ana.

CABRERA: We did have that emergency declaration from the President just on Friday. The House then passed a relief bill late Friday night. The Senate is expected to vote on it tomorrow and President Trump has indicated he will sign it. Who will this bill help?

DIAMOND: Right. Well, there are four key provisions within this bill that has been passed by the House that the White House is hoping can get passed in a Republican Senate as well. The focus really primarily is on this question of paid sick leave for small business workers.

Now, this does not affect all of the workers in the country, all employees of any business. It's simply for those employees of businesses with 500 or fewer workers.

Then you also have this issue of free testing for every American, expanded unemployment insurance, as well as increased federal funding for Medicaid to help those states with the kind of increased cost burden.

Of course, we do know that Democrats wanted more as far as the paid sick leave portion of this but they said that they did this because it was a compromise to get some quick relief out. But even the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin this morning making very clear that there will be more legislation needed, more funding needed to help with the economic impact of this pandemic -- Ana.

CABRERA: Right. We just barely scratched the surface. Jeremy Diamond at the White House -- thank you.

And we have breaking news from overseas in Italy. They are now announcing 368 more deaths in just the last 24 hours from coronavirus. That brings the total death toll in that country now to more than 1,800.

Officials say tomorrow they plan to distribute up to two million more masks to help combat the spread of the virus.

[14:10:01]

CABRERA: For more on the White House response I want to bring in Dr. Zeke Emanuel. He helped draft the Affordable Care Act while serving as the White House health policy adviser under President Obama.

Dr. Emanuel -- as we monitor what is happening all around the world right now, how would you grade the Trump administration's handling of the crisis so far?

DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE HEALTH POLICY ADVISER: Well, it's been pretty poor. And I think they're trying to find their feet, and, you know, get things under control.

But let's be honest at this point we still don't have widespread testing. It's better than it was before but, you know, you've had almost a quarter million people tested in South Korea. Surely we can, in the United States, do better than getting up to close to 10,000. Second, in terms of social distancing and a uniform policy, that's coordinated among the states regarding schools, restaurants, bars, concerts, conferences. We don't have a concerted policy and I think I could detect in Dr. Fauci's voice some frustration about, you know, we need to get our handle on those things and not just leave it to different states, because we know that some states are doing a very good job, you know.

Governor Mike Dewine out of Ohio is doing a great job. He's a Republican. But a lot of states aren't doing very much and aren't taking an initiative. And since this virus doesn't stay within state borders, that's very important.

So I think -- I think there are some good examples out there, but they're not at the federal government. And I think that's frustrating a lot of people, because we do need leadership at this moment.

CABRERA: I want to go back to the comments you made on testing because I feel like a broken record. It's been three weeks in a row now where I feel like we've been at the same place in terms of saying, where are the tests? Why aren't we seeing more tests?

Why is this country struggling to keep up with the demand while other countries aren't? Explain the challenges in our health care system or the way that the government works?

EMANUEL: Well, I don't know that it's the health care system. I think this was a series of decisions by both the FDA and the CDC to make their own tests. The test they sent out was inadequate and then when they sent out tests they didn't send out all the reagents and they didn't involve the large hospitals that can run their own tests or the testing companies, or they didn't buy a commercial test that was available from a German company, Qiagen.

Lots of bad decisions along the way that have sort of compounded each other.

CABRERA: And, Doctor --

EMANUEL: And it is, I mean you know --

CABRERA: Let me just ask you quick follow, though because a lot of viewers have been asking me why haven't we just been using the World Health Organization test from the start?

EMANUEL: Well, that's a Qiagen test and I don't know the answer to that question. I don't know why that decision was made. I'm not privy to that decision. But it obviously was a bad decision and I think the idea that we, you know -- as you point out, three weeks ago we were told we'll have four million tests by the end of the week and we are behind the eight ball every time.

I would say testing is important but we now know very clearly that we've got widespread coronavirus in the community, and we need to address that problem while we're waiting for testing and better data. And part of that, addressing that problem, is taking these measures much more systematically about social distancing.

I would say a really good example has been the leadership of the mayor of Hoboken, who's basically said close down bars, restaurants go to take-out. Close schools. No gyms. No movie theaters. That sounds as Tony Fauci said pretty drastic but we might have to -- we're probably going to have to get there.

I'm sympathetic, I'm related to a politician. I was in the White House making decisions that are both political and policy. You know, you don't want to overreact and penalize people.

On the other hand, there's a tendency in these kind of crises to do too little too late and possibly be catching up. And I think we need to be more aggressive, not I think -- we definitely need to be more aggressive than we are.

I work for the Center for American Progress and on Friday we released a call to action for governors and mayors to do many things to tamp down this because we have to be aggressive. If we're not aggressive this really could spin out of control.

And you heard Tony Fauci say I'm not saying that we won't have hundreds of thousands of deaths.

CABRERA: Right.

EMANUEL: If that's the risk being aggressive is probably a good thing.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, if we are aggressive, if there is a lockdown, let's just say, how long do you foresee that being in place?

EMANUEL: That's a -- I'm not an epidemiological modeler but if you look at the China and South Korea data it suggests around about eight weeks. But once you release it, that's not -- it's not one and done. We're going to be -- there's going to be more viruses around.

CABRERA: Ok. Dr. Zeke Emanuel -- thank you for helping to guide us throughout this. We appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being here.

[14:15:01]

DR. EMANUEL: Thank you.

CABRERA: The coronavirus pandemic upending yet another Democratic primary. So what is being done to make sure the pandemic doesn't disrupt your ability to vote.

I'll talk to the chair of the Democratic National Committee next here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Breaking news. We have just learned Germany will begin restricting border crossings in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Let's get right to CNN Senior International Correspondent, Frederik Pleitgen on the phone with us. Fred -- what is happening?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Hi -- Ana. Well, it's essentially Germany shutting down most of its borders. They're saying that except for people who have to commute between Germany and France, for instance, Germany and Switzerland and other countries, and cargo traffic no one is going to be allowed to cross the German borders.

[14:19:50]

PLEITGEN: I'm actually right now watching a press conference by the German interior minister and he said that there is already German police forces who are on the way to those borders. From around 3:00 a.m. Eastern American time those borders are essentially going to be closed -- again, except for people who have to commute between Germany and these other countries.

You know, right now in Europe, there are a lot of people who just go cross-borders because normally there isn't really any border controls out there. But they're really putting them in place again.

I can tell you -- Ana, that's really a sign of Germany, like so many other European countries essentially shutting down public life in places like Berlin and other places in Germany as well.

Schools are shutting down. Public places are shutting down. So it's really something that you can see. And now with these border crossings, that is another escalation.

By the way, on the day when the Germans just announced a couple of minutes ago also announced that they have over a thousand,000 more cases of coronavirus and have also been confirmed as well. But the Germans now essentially shutting down their borders to most of their neighboring countries -- Ana.

CABRERA: And Fred -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she's warned up to 70 percent of the population or 58 million people may contract coronavirus. What is the feeling there on the ground?

PLEITGEN: Well, I mean people certainly are quite concerned about it. And you're absolutely right. That's exactly what Angela Merkel said. But she did say that with caveat -- it is that the Germans are obviously trying to slow the spread down.

It's one of the things that we hear in so many countries and, you know, we're hearing it in America as well is to try and flatten the curve, as they say. To try and make sure that people that contract the coronavirus as slowly as possible to try and make sure that the health care systems in these countries are not overwhelmed.

But she essentially she said that if a vaccine is not developed and if they don't find some sort of treatment then it could be up 60 percent to 70 percent. But of course, one of the reasons why they're doing these measures of social distancing. And I can tell you, over the past couple of days being here in Germany, you can really see how public life has been shutting down. My kids' schools have shut down. My other kid was on a class trip in Austria. They had to come back early.

So you can really feel how the Germans have been escalating this day by day to try and make sure that if people are going to contract this virus that it moves forward as slowly as possible, that they're able to halt it as much as possible. At least slow it down as much as possible to try and make sure that the health care system here in this country is not overwhelmed.

But now with these border crossings being closed, that's obviously another attempt to try and do that as well. Ana?

CABRERA: Frederik Pleitgen, thank you for your reporting. We appreciate that update.

No country practically is untouched. No part of our everyday lives is untouched practically.

Georgia has now become the second state to put primary elections on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. That vote had been slated for March 24th. That's now postponed until May 19th. Last week Louisiana became the first state to delay its presidential primary. That is now scheduled for June 20th.

So delayed voting, cancelled rallies, campaigning curtailed. Coronavirus is impacting all phases of this year's presidential race including the debate.

Tonight Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will debate right there in Washington in our CNN studio. No audience, just the candidates and the moderators and their podiums, you can see, are six feet apart per CDC recommendations.

So that's the candidates.

As for the voters, four states are scheduled to vote this Tuesday amid the pandemic -- Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio. Those states say the vote will go on.

And Joe Biden is encouraging people to get out there and vote, if they are healthy. He tweeted this. "If you are feeling healthy, not showing symptoms and not at risk of being exposed to covid-19, please vote on Tuesday. If you're exhibiting symptoms of covid-19 or might be at risk, absentee or vote by mail options are the best way to make your voice heard while protecting your neighbors.

The Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez is joining us now. Chairman -- thank you for being here.

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Pleasure -- Ana.

CABRERA: One thing we know is people can still exhibit no symptoms and yet spread the virus to others. Do you think it will be safe for people to wait in long lines and share voting booths two days from now? PEREZ: Well, we've been in consultation and so have our state party

and state officials who are running elections to make sure that we take the necessary measures to ensure safety.

One of the best measures to take is what many states have already done which is they have no excuse absentee voting. They have vote by mail. You look at places like Washington state last week and California, Oregon, Colorado -- we worked hard as Democrats to make it easier for eligible people to vote.

And in a moment like this where we have public health implications, it really is important those steps that have been taken. And in all four of these states that are voting this week, they all have some form of either early voting or vote by mail. No excuse absentee voting.

[14:24:47]

PEREZ: And I encourage people to take advantage of those options if they are still existing now because they really are important. Because this Tuesday actually is the third largest haul of delegates. Super Tuesday is the first. The last week -- the last Tuesday in April is the second. And this coming Tuesday is the third.

Safety is always paramount and I have confidence in the four states moving forward, and we will continue every day to make sure we're taking the appropriate steps.

CABRERA: And we have reporters in touch with a lot of those election officials and there is a lot of worry out there. I mean, now we see Louisiana and Georgia postponing their primaries because they did not feel safe to be able to execute it effectively at the time that was expected. Do you anticipate we're going to see more of this? Postponing primaries?

PEREZ: Well, we heard from the four states that are going Tuesday. They feel confident that they can get it done. I've been in contact on a daily basis with all the remaining states. And after Tuesday we will have allocated over 60 percent of the delegates.

So we're over halfway there as of Tuesday. Actually -- about -- over 60 percent.

CABRERA: So the states that are Tuesday I guess are the ones I'm talking about.

PEREZ: Right. Sure. No, absolutely. And again -- those are the ones that I've been in contact with. The states that are going, the last weekend in April is -- the last Tuesday in April, I should say, is what we call here the Acela primaries from Rhode Island down to Maryland.

And so we're in contact with all of those states to make sure they've been taking the necessary measures. Again --

CABRERA: What are those necessary measures you speak of? PEREZ: Encouraging people, making sure people know that they can

actually vote absentee. For a lot of people, voting is -- they like going to the polls. I understand that. It's part of their sense of exercising their democracy.

CABRERA: Right.

PEREZ: When you get something in the mail, it doesn't feel as real for some.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: And not everybody has the option of mail-in ballots. Right? Not everybody has the option of that. So there is a limitation in some states and in other places, those polling locations are at places where there are a lot of elderly people. Near nursing homes or in nursing homes.

I know Florida has been making arrangements to try to move some of those locations that obviously create other logistical options.

But let me just ask you really quick -- a quick follow on the states that have now delayed their primaries because this was the response to Louisiana's initial announcement from the DNC. And I'm quoting here. "We will continue to work with every state party as they adjust the delegate selection plans around coronavirus. This change would violate our rule on timing which provides that all states hold their contest by June 9th."

They are scheduling the primary, or proposing it happens on June 20th. And they go on to write "Any violation of our rules could result in a penalty that would include a state losing at least half of its delegates." Is the DNC going to penalize states for delaying their primaries?

PEREZ: Well again, Georgia moved their primary, but it was still within the window. So they're still within their window that we set forth in our rules and bylaws committee. If other states move it beyond June 9th, then they're getting really, really close to the convention. And our rules and bylaws committee will have to take that up.

Our goal is to make sure that everybody is safe when they vote and our goal is to make sure that every state has an opportunity to have their voices heard. And that's the conversation we're having now.

We know there's a lot of moving parts -- Ana. Everything you say is really, really important about ensuring the health and well-being of voters, of candidates, of poll workers. We're acutely aware of that which is why we're in conversation every day with public health officials and other colleagues.

We think we can get this done. We saw what happened last week and in previous weeks where folks have gotten out to vote. We've seen record turnout. We've also seen increasing use of these new tools, the vote by mail and early no excuse absentee voting. And so a lot of what we have to do is a massive public education campaign in a number of these states because there are opportunities to vote differently in so many of these cases, and in so many of these states.

And I think a lot of the states' voters aren't as aware of these new opportunity. And that's part of what we're going to try to do. And it's a public health imperative as well as a democracy imperative because I want everyone out there to vote.

CABRERA: Right. You mentioned the convention which is obviously scheduled this summer in July. And that seems like a long ways away and at the same time we know how fast time goes.

You previously told Axios that there was no consideration of moving it online. But I'm wondering is there a Plan B? What is Plan B?

PEREZ: Well again, I have every confidence. We've been in touch with both federal, state and local officials in Milwaukee and more broadly in Wisconsin. The Republican convention I think is going to go on. I think the Democratic National Convention will go on.

CABRERA: Do you have a Plan B, though?

PEREZ: Of course -- we'll always be talking to people, and public health will be paramount. And that's why we're in contact day in and day out. I have every confidence that we will be able to pull off our convention.

At the same time, as I've said to you a number of times just in this conversation, we're going to make sure that we have a convention in which everybody who attends and participates will be able to do so with enthusiasm and without any concern about their own wellbeing.

[14:30:14]

CABRERA: Tom Perez, obviously, this is a complicated situation. Thank you for taking the questions and do come back as we continue throughout the primary process.

PEREZ: Always welcome to do that. Thank you so much.

CABRERA: We appreciate it, thank you.

As the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic, are we prepared for a nightmare scenario? We may be able to learn from leaders of the past. And so up next, I'm going to speak to the former mayor of New Orleans on what we can learn from what he has handled in the past, obviously Katrina. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:00]

CABRERA: History shows us that in any disaster, the response and the recovery is only as good as the preparation, whether it's a public health threat, a natural disaster or overseas crisis. The list goes on. We look at the past, plan the present and prepare for the future.

Joining us now is Mitch Landrieu. He is a CNN Political Commentator and the former mayor of New Orleans. He also served as Louisiana's lieutenant governor during Hurricane Katrina.

Mayor, you've seen it all, storms, oil spills, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, you've been prepared for Ebola and ran table-top exercises on pandemics and bioterrorism scenarios. So with all that experience, when you look at what's going on, what is and isn't being done and are we prepared for what's to come?

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, we're in the firefight right now. I think that people have not gotten their mind around how serious this really is going to be. So I say this with the greatest amount of gentleness that I can, that this is going to be harder than we think. It's going to take longer. We're going to be in it in a much more difficult way than we thought and it's going to take more time.

Everybody can play a part. I think Dr. Tony Fauci is the north star here and has given us really honest advice. The first and most important thing that we have to do is slow down the spread. A couple of ways that have to happen in order for that to occur right away is that we have to get more testing to the ground quickly that everybody is working on, and the way that the public can help. The way that we can all participate and do our civic duty is to listen to the warnings and have social distancing.

I know that it's going to hurt economically, but the first order of business in an event like this is always the safety of life first. And I know that all the governors and mayors and the federal officials are working on that and we all need to be in this because it's in an all- in strategy.

CABRERA: You wrote an op-ed in which you advised officials to put the poor and the vulnerable at the center of any response. Explain.

LANDRIEU: Well, General Honore said this more clearly than I could, that when it's get hot, the poor get hotter, and when it gets cold, the poor get colder. Essentially, there are a lot of people out there that are very, very vulnerable.

And I think that the communication that went on first is that people between 60 and over are vulnerable, so let's kind of take care of them from a care point of view. But I think young people heard, well, since it's not going to hurt me, I can still go out. That's absolutely not true. If young people are out and about and they're contracting coronavirus, they can then transmit it to their mother or to their father or their grandmother and their grandfather.

It is true though that people that don't have access to healthcare, they can't get testing or can't get the kind of treatment are going to be in harm's way. Unfortunately, everybody in the country is going to be affected. I think this is going to take a lot longer. It's going to take a lot more cooperation that we're currently seeing. But I think you see the American public beginning to step up and I think that that's going to be very helpful. But it's going to hurt.

CABRERA: Yes. New Orleans is known for its entertainment, restaurants, bars. Let's talk about the economic impact and what can be done in this crisis based on perhaps what worked after Katrina. How can local governments and people cushion the economic impact of businesses and jobs?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, again, the most important thing is life safety. And so I think in New Orleans, which is a town that loves to hug and be around each other, it's going to be very hard for us. We're also an economy, as you know, that is based on restaurants and bars, and that's going to be very difficult.

I was very heartened to see that the House of Representatives passed a fairly robust package. I don't know that that's going to be the last one. If Katrina is any example, there are going to have to be three or four economic recovery packages that cover the things that are missed especially for the line workers, the folks that actually work in the restaurants and the bars, that if they close, they don't get a paycheck. So I trust the Congress and the president will continue to work on that.

In the meantime, I think that we have to just give up to the fact that this is going to be very economically painful and I think the federal government along with state and local governments are going to have to do what is necessary to make sure that every citizen is taken care of.

But citizens can do their part too, and I think we're going to see a surge of that going forward. But, again, I would just caution all of the citizens, please listen to your local elected officials, to your governor. And, of course, the federal government seems to be getting into a good battle rhythm now with the governors and mayors, who, by the way, have to make decisions on an as-you-go basis.

In New Orleans, we're seeing a spike in a number of cases. We had 65 as of yesterday. Unfortunately, two of our citizens died. I think, again, since we haven't done the testing yet, when that starts, I think we're going to see a spike. And, again, people shouldn't panic but they can help by heeding the words of their local elected officials.

CABRERA: Absolutely. Former Mayor, former Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, thank you very much.

[14:40:00]

LANDRIEU: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Before it was announced President Trump tested negative for coronavirus, he told reporters Saturday he had taken the test just one day prior after coming into contact with two people, at least two people who tested positive for the virus. Now, CNN's own Sam Vinograd tweet, how did Trump walk into a room of journalists having been tested without results knowing he could be a biohazard? He screened then when he was as much of a risk.

Back with us for your week and presidential brief right now is Sam Vinograd.

And, Sam, we are in a critical position right now where everyone, including the president, needs to be follow best practices. We've also learned the vice president, Mike Pence, is not planning to be tested, again, even though he may have had some kind of exposure. Explain why this is so concerning.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, it's important to remember, even if Trump passed this test, that does not give him blanket immunity for life. I lived through swine flu at the White House.

[14:45:01]

And I can tell you that the president and other key officials should be regularly screened and tested as appropriate, because you don't want the White House becoming a point of contact for the pandemic. Social distancing isn't an option at the White House. It's very close quarters.

More generally though, President Trump has been a health hazard during this crisis. He has really flouted CDC guidelines when it comes to handshakes, social distancing and more, he's not really leading by example. At the same time, he's spreading misinformation when it comes to the actual state of the virus. We have him (ph) unequivocally leading this response. He's really undermining it in key ways.

CABRERA: You've been in disaster response meetings before. When you look at how other countries kind of working to stop the spread of the virus, what options are on the table?

VINOGRAD: Well, how to respond to a virus should be a multiple choice questions. Countries should and are picking various response options.

Let's start with travel. Travel is a two-way street. Countries are trying to limit departures by their own citizens abroad. We actually have global travel advisory in place for American citizens. U.K. is reportedly advising their citizens against traveling to the United States.

Looking the other way at arriving passengers, various countries are trying to limit who comes within their borders. We're doing that, we've identified certain countries. Other countries have gone further and banned international travel altogether, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

Poland is banning non-citizens from entering their borders as well. Guatemala, for example, is looking -- has announced that they are barning the U.S., Americans and Canadians from entering. Colombia has closed their border with Venezuela. Other countries are currently focused on quarantining. We have Israel, China and others looking at that, while we know that countries like France, Spain and Italy are mostly focused on closing non-essential businesses, public gatherings and facilities. So expect President Trump to review those options on an ongoing basis.

CABRERA: All right. Sam Vinograd, as always, thank you very much for being here.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:00]

CABRERA: We are just hours away now from the next presidential primary debate and the rising concern over coronavirus is having an impact there too. Tonight, there will be no audience when Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders take the stage.

CNN Senior Washington Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny joins us.

Now, Jeff, no audience. That's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how this debate will be different than ones passed.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Ana, no question. That is sort of the metaphor for how much many things have changed since the last Democratic debate. For one, as you said, it's just going to be Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders standing alone in a studio one-on-one.

So that has changed dramatically, a sign of how this race has changed, but it also underscores gravity of the moment. No question that all of this has a political component. But now this central question, is the Trump administration handling this? Are they ready? So Joe Biden will try and use that to his advantage to make the case that he is ready to be president on day one.

We will see Bernie Sanders, of course, though still making the argument that he believes his ideas are different, his ideas are better for this moment. But I look to see a lot more unity from these Democratic candidates and simply rising to this moment, this occasion here. So no question, everything is entirely different. But the voting is still going on, and that is something Joe Biden still needs to do, is win those delegates.

So another round of primaries this week and, of course, you know, several of them are still up in the air here. So, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, with a very, very different moment than anything we've seen in both substance and style. Ana?

CABRERA: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thank you for that quick update from Washington. Biden and Sanders go head-to-head for the first time tonight. The CNN and Univision Democratic Presidential Debate begins at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN. Much more ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. But, first, it is an election year and the coronavirus is keeping people keep inside. The last thing you need now is another political argument at home, right?

In today's Staying Well, how to keep the peace during troubled times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNE SAFER, PSYCHOANALYST: You do not have to tolerate something that's going to be divisive everybody else miserable.

I'm Jeanne Safer and I'm a psychoanalyst.

RICHARD BROOKHISER, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: I'm Rick Brookhiser. I'm a Senior Editor of National Review.

SAFER: How long we've been married?

BROOKHISER: 39 years in September.

I'm a conservative Republican. She's a liberal Democrat. You know, we used to fight a little bit. And then, overtime, we learned just not to do that. It didn't result in me or Jeanne changing one of our minds.

SAFER: As a therapist, the issue is not politics. It's psychology. I interviewed 50 people for this book. I would say, about 48 of them were busy trying to stick their opinions down the other person's throat.

BROOKHISER: I find complete love.

SAFER: If you want your marriage to be better or your friendship or your relationship with your child, I hereby give everybody permission to say, let's not talk about this and stick with it. You don't have to agree with these positions. It makes relationships closer. It also says, I know the place of politics and I know the places are personality and character, and I choose character over anything.

BROOKHISER: We got the wrong key.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:55:00]

CABRERA: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And we are experiencing a national emergency impacting nearly every part of American life right now. The number of Americans now confirmed infected with the coronavirus today soar past 3,000.

[15:00:00]

Sadly, 62 have died.