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CNN NEWSROOM

Celebrities Test Positive for Coronavirus; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, (D), Discusses the Coronavirus and Restrictions; Markets Plunge Despite Fed Slashing Interest Rates; New Jersey Family Quarantined in Their Home after Contracting Coronavirus; Dr. Joshua Morganstein Discuses Coronavirus. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 14:30   ET

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


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[14:33:44]

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IDRIS ELBA, ACTOR: What's up, guys. So, look, this morning I got some test results back for coronavirus. And it came back positive. Yes. And it sucks. Listen, I'm doing OK. Sabrina hasn't been tested. And she's doing OK. I didn't have any symptoMs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: That was actor, Idris Elba, confirming he, yes, confirmed he tested positive for coronavirus.

And Brian Stelter is back with me.

It seems to me there was this point last week right after President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office and within that, I was checking my Twitter, Tom Hanks, what? With his wife, Rita Wilson, and NBA canceled. So to me -- it got very real. And now Idris Elba. Just this is where we are.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": And Hanks is doing well. He's posting.

It is important when high-profile people are experiencing this to share the experience. It gets the word out, spreads awareness.

He said he's feeling fine. He says he's been isolated since he found out about the possible exposure.

I don't know when he was exposed. He was at a big event March 4th with Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Justin Trudeau, who also tested positive.

There are big events from, what, 11, 12 days ago where we learn about possible exposure.

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STELTER: Elba saying on Twitter, I'll keep you updated, but don't panic, be pragmatic.

[14:35:10]

BALDWIN: Stuff is getting real.

Brian Stelter, thank you very much.

As more cities enforce strict social distancing practices, Atlanta says it is in unchartered territory. The city and state of Georgia are under states of emergency in Georgia.

One person has died from the virus and there are now more than 120 cases. Atlanta public schools and city hall have closed. And the mayor just banned large gatherings of more than 250 people.

With me now, the Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottom. She was appointed by the governor to the state's task force to come up with best safety practices. She's with me now.

Mayor, always a pleasure to have you on. I hope you're staying well through all of this.

Let's start with your big announcement to limit gatherings of people to a maximum of 250. The CDC there in Atlanta capped it at 50. I'm curious why not follow CDC's numbers, CDC protocol?

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, (D), ATLANTA MAYOR: Thank you for having me on, Brooke.

I want to stress how close to home this is for all of us as I saw the announcement about Idris Elba. My oldest son and Idris' daughter are classmates. I think that really should tell -- stress to the entire nation that we are but a few degrees of separation from one another.

But to your question on the 250-person ban, I literally was signing that ban as the announcement was coming from the CDC on the 50-person limit. And so we will update that with another executive order today. This is very fluid.

But whether it be Idris Elba or your next-door neighbor, people need to understand that this is serious. This is a highly contagious disease or virus. And I don't think that people are taking it seriously.

And it is the reason that -- in Atlanta we are having to take extraordinary steps. My preference would be that we get more guidance from the CDC and from our federal government so that we can be on one accord.

Atlanta is a limited geographic area and a large metropolitan area. So no matter what I do within the city, someone can go to the county or city next door and it is all for nothing.

BALDWIN: And how frustrating that must feel, just while I'm hearing you loud and clear, beyond your point about one degree of separation for all of us is you will be changing that number from 250 to 50? LANCE BOTTOMS: I certainly will. And we will continue to think outside

the box on what we can do to extend resources to our small businesses to extend resources to our hourly employees.

I also signed some legislation just last evening that will set up a small business loan fund because we recognize that people will hurt right now.

We're asking people show some compassion. If you can get some relief to your employees, please do so.

BALDWIN: The president is considering recommending a nationwide curfew. Certain nonessential businesses would have to close early. Would you,

Mayor, would you plan to institute a citywide curfew in Atlanta or wait on the governor to makes a decision?

LANCE BOTTOMS: We are leading in a way we know best, locally and at the state level. We're in constant contact with the governor's office. He has empowered us as local leaders to make the decisions that we find appropriate.

I understand a curfew, sort of, but in ways I don't. If you have a curfew and people are congregating two hours earlier, what is the point of a curfew?

I think that we have to institute some very solid bans on gatherings and, again, stress to people how serious this is.

My mother comes to my house every day. I asked her to stay at home because I recognize many younger people may be carrying this and may be positive and may not outwardly show symptoMs. So we need to take it seriously and stay in.

BALDWIN: I'm sure that's so hard to have to say to your mom, but it is for the best. It is for her.

To your point, on the curfew -- and thank you for being transparent. When I hear about curfews and thinking, what does that mean, does that mean we can't step foot out of our homes or whatever time is mandated depending on the state of the city. And when you talk about social gatherings. How would you as a huge city official enforce that?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Well, with our emergency powers, by declaring a state of emergency within the city of Atlanta, it does give me the capability to shut down businesses if we deem it appropriate.

But, again, we don't want to extend our public safety personnel if we don't have to. We're asking people to please be responsible.

We had a call earlier today with our restaurant association. They understand the state of emergency that we are facing. And while they recognize that this will be a challenge to their industry -- about 10 percent of our workers in the state are related to the hospitality industry -- they recognize that it is important that we do so. [14:40:10]

So we are calling on our federal partners to please put resources in place so that people can continue to buy food and continue to pay their bills.

And what we're saying in the city of Atlanta, this is not a time for panic. But it is certainly an opportunity for us to be -- to take precaution and to be prepared.

And we ask that people just be responsible and considerate of those who may not be able to ward off this virus in the way that a healthy person may be able to.

BALDWIN: Be considerate, be compassionate, let's all be calm.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, thank you so much.

LANCE BOTTOMS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: As for the financial markets, they're responding to the Fed's attempt to calm the growing panic with yet another historic drop. The New York Stock Exchange again halted trading at the open this morning, a day after the Fed cut rates to near zero for the first time since the global recession more than a decade ago. Right now, the Dow is down over 2,000 points.

CNN business anchor, Julia Chatterley, is with me now.

So, what else? What else can the Fed do?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: OK, by any standard, this was a bazooka from the Federal Reserve. You look at the stock market reaction, down 9.5 percent, you would think they were shrugging it off like a pea shooter.

What you have to understand is we're dealing with a health crisis, as you talk about on the daily basis. That's creating an economic shock, an economic crisis with restaurants, bars shutting down, people not spending the way they were.

What we haven't got yet, and what the Federal Reserve is trying to protect against is financial crisis, just making sure banks can still lend to businesses and individuals.

But what Jay Powell said yesterday -- this is important. He said we can't help support small and medium-size businesses. We can't protect workers right now.

And so the message from the markets is more needs to be done from the White House, from President Trump. More needs to be done to support workers. And what Congress came up with isn't enough.

BALDWIN: More needs to be done is what I'm getting from you.

Julia Chatterley, thank you very much for your smart assessment of the markets.

Still ahead, I'll talk to a mother of two kids who tested positive for the coronavirus. She joins me, along with her daughter, from their self-quarantine. That is next.

And the White House coronavirus task force should hold a live briefing on the evolving crisis this afternoon. We'll take it.

You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.

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[14:46:41]

BALDWIN: For one New Jersey family, the coronavirus outbreak has become a very real ordeal. The entire Helt family, of Little Silver, New Jersey, has been quarantined in their home for past 10 days after two siblings tested positive for coronavirus. The brother and sister were among the first people in New Jersey with confirmed cases.

So with me now, Pernille Helt, the mom of these two children who tested positive. One of them is her 17-year-old daughter, Leva.

Ladies, thank you for being here. I appreciate both of you.

And let me start with how you're doing, Leva, starting with you.

LEVA HELT, RECOVERED FROM CORONAVIRUS: I'm doing much better. I just have a slight cough and a headache now, kind of achy. But other than that, I'm doing much better.

BALDWIN: Can I ask you what was the worst of it? Can you describe what it feels like for people who are worried they may get it too?

L. HELT: Probably on Friday. Saturday, I was achy, I didn't have a fever luckily. I have been very fortunate with my symptoMs. Mostly the headache, achiness, coughing, of course, but for me I was fortunate not to have it that bad.

BALDWIN: Yes, and you're on the upside.

And, mom, over to you, Pernille. Listen, she's your daughter. You live in the same house. You're sitting next to one another, as any mom and daughter would. Are you doing anything not to get it or thinking this is inevitable?

PERNILLE HELT, MOTHER OF LEVA HELT: The four of us are now in quarantine together. So I mean we do the normal things we do. We of course don't kiss each other, don't drink out of the same bottles, you know, so we try to take care like that. But other than that, we just together in quarantine like other people are at the moment.

BALDWIN: And, Leva, back over to your daughter, Leva, everything I read about you, you're kind of a big deal in your town, right? The stud soccer player. You were the kicker on the varsity high school football team. So people know who you are. And they know you tested positive for coronavirus, so how have people responded to you?

L. HELT: People have been very supportive. I've gotten Instagram DMS, texts from of course my closest friends and then everyone around the town, neighboring schools, my teachers, the whole school has been very supportive. It has been actually a really revealing moment about how community can come together and, like, show support for those in the community.

BALDWIN: Yes, maybe that's part of the silver lining is we all have been so at each other's throats and this is bringing people together in a way I think people weren't expecting.

Pernille, to you, what has it been like, people foes focusing on your family and your town in New Jersey? And maybe there's a family down their street who is sick, what do you want to tell them?

P. HELT: We -- it started of course with a lot of -- we read about ourselves in the news, and on different social medias, we knew all of the things was about us, but we just couldn't, you know, come out and say anything. That was a little strange because a lot of the things that was being said were -- a lot of nice things and also lots of rumors.

[14:49:59]

So after, you know, it is after we got out, and we told this is about us, it actually has been really nice and nice for the community to hear us, from real people, real a real story. They've heard our story and it has not been so bad for our kids and maybe young people. This is the way young people get it.

There are, of course, a lot of other people who get it worse than my kids. Those we have to think about, too, but in this case, two young kids, the symptoms have been mild.

And now they -- you know, all the support we got from everything and they told us how great we are to come out and, you know, tell our story.

We are actually very happy we did it. It's from the mayor of Little Silver, the school, the teachers, our neighbors, our friends.

BALDWIN: Great.

P. HELT: It's been amazing.

BALDWIN: It's wonderful. It's wonderful.

Just tune out any of that negative noise. Focus on this community and everyone, you know, sending the love. We're sending it your way as well there in New Jersey.

Leva, thank you so much. Feel better. Congrats again. I see the Columbia sweatshirt. You're excited to come up here in the fall.

And, Pernille, I hope you don't get it. Thank you, ladies, very, very much.

P. HELT: Thank you, Brooke.

L. HELT: Thank you.

BALDWIN: CNN's special live coverage continues. The White House coronavirus task force will soon hold a briefing on the crisis. Of course, we'll take it live for you.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.

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[14:55:57]

BALDWIN: As of midnight tonight, the U.K. and Ireland will be added to the list of restricted to the United States. Some Americans coming home say they are appalled at how the screening has been handled.

CNN's Miguel Marquez talked to one man, who was actually called back to the airport by Customs and Border Patrol after he got back from South Africa. He was under the impression he would receive a coronavirus test. Instead, officials just checked his temperature.

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MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When they bring you back, they stick you in a room with people who might be positive for the virus.

KEITH PALMER, CALLED BACK TO AIRPORT AFTER ARRIVING FROM SOUTH AFRICA: Exactly. They stuck me in a room with the people they're worried about the most. I have to fill out some forms and use the same pen these other people have been using and touch the same papers and sit in the same chairs. In a small confined space with the people that are most worried about.

Now, by coming back, I've exposed myself to more risk than I did by just going through the airport, which, frankly, had me worried in the beginning.

MARQUEZ: Is that your sense they were winging it along --

PALMER: That is the absolute sense. They're flying by the seat of their pants. No one is really sure what to do. They're trying to do their best but have no idea what they should be doing, really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Bottom line, what we are all experiencing is an extreme case of life disrupted.

Dr. Joshua Morganstein is the chair of the American Psychiatric Association's Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions in Disasters.

Dr. Morganstein, thank you for being on with me.

I wanted to have a conversation with you today about just, what is your biggest piece of advice for people to help them stay calm during such a time of uncertainty?

DR. JOSHUA MORGANSTEIN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF TRAUMATIC STRESS & FELLOW AND MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON THE PSYCHIATRIC DIMENSIONS OF DISASTERS: Thanks, Brooke. It's good to be you.

I think it's important for people to understand that it's normal to be concerned right now when things threaten our safety and health and the safety and health of our family. People feel understandably concerned.

Some things that are often helpful in terms of managing some of those concerns involve making sure that you have accurate information. So using sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site to help yourself and your family know what the health risks are, what the recommended behaviors are to do.

That can also correct misinformation. Misinformation can lead to confusion and also increase people's stress.

Other things that are really helpful for folks involved, addressing basic self-care issues. So, getting good sleep, exercising, eating, staying hydrated. They're really important, but they're often very easily overlooked during times of increased stress or crisis type of events such as this.

BALDWIN: The thing I've been asking people, the thing I've been asking people is, are you breathing? I mean, I'm just making sure -- it's people -- whether you want to call it breathing, meditation, I'm trying to do is twice a day. I imagine that's something you would advise for people to take five minutes and breathe.

MORGANSTEIN: Yes, things that help people relax, whatever that is for you. That could be exercise or maybe going for a family walk as a way of getting out of the house as people are feeling confined.

That's also a nice way to connect with people socially at a time where we're having to increase physical distance. Connecting with neighbors is an opportunity to share, kind of talk about our own shared adversities, connect with each other and exchange problem-solving information, how are people dealing with certain things.

It's also a way of reminding us we're not in this alone. And we know that strong communities help protect people against adverse effect of crisis and disaster type of events.

But certainly, deep breathing, other types of relaxation activities, if there's something that work or helpful for people, should certainly be encouraged at a time like this.

BALDWIN: Yes, I appreciate you for coming on. And just, we all need that reminder, right, to try to stay calm, be compassionate with one another, to dance, work out, breathe, whatever it is that relaxes you, especially when so many people are working from home for the same time, and have loved ones and children and everyone's all under the same roof. So, just things for all of us to keep in mind.

Joshua Morganstein, thank you so very much.

Thank you, all, for being with me.

[14:59:56]

We're going to send it to Washington for some special coverage today with Jake Tapper -- Jake?