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New York City Closes Public Schools; Restaurants and Bars Ordered to Close Across U.S.; Germany Seals Border with 5 Countries to Contain Outbreak; Coronavirus Cases More Than Double in Spain Over Weekend. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are pretty clear across the United States this weekend.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very contagious virus. It's incredible, but it's something that we have tremendous control over.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: A pandemic like this could overwhelm any system in the world no matter how good it is.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whether or not I'm president, is to shut this president up right now. Because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're guided deeply by what's happening, not just by anxiety, not just by fear but a very pragmatic response.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in this for the long run. This is not going to end overnight.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, March 16.

It is 6 a.m. here in New York. And chances are you're watching us from home this morning, knowing that you will be there and pretty much nowhere but there for weeks. Maybe many weeks. This is the new reality of the coronavirus pandemic.

What we will do for three hours, and every morning for three hours, is give you all the developments and all the facts as they come in. Pomposity and punditry are not going to keep your family safe. Science will, facts will, truth will. So here we go. This morning there was a national state of emergency as concerns grow

that too many Americans are ignoring warnings and failing to practice social distancing. Breaking overnight, the CDC issued a new recommendation to limit gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. No groups. Don't do it.

At least seven states have ordered bars and restaurants to close, limiting them to takeout and delivery only. The nation's largest public school system in New York City is shutting down. Thirty-three states have now closed public schools which affects at least 32 million institutes.

The number of known infections in the U.S. is rising. More than 3,500 cases with 65 deaths.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The Federal Reserve slashing interest rates to near zero in an effort to backstop the U.S. economy.

President Trump, though, has a different take on all of this. He's downplaying the severity of the virus, claiming his administration has, quote, "tremendous control" of the pandemic. At the same time that his top infectious disease expert is warning, quote, "the worst is yet ahead."

Americans across the country waiting in long lines as they rushed to stock up on food, toilet paper, other essentials. You can see, it has left many store shelves empty.

Coronavirus dominated last night's CNN Democratic debate between joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. So we will bring you the highlights this hour.

But let's begin our coverage with CNN's Brynn Gingras. She's live outside of a New York City school. Schools here will now be closed for weeks -- Brynn.


And John just said it. New York City School District is the largest in the country. And Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it was a painful decision, one he never thought he would never have to make, to close these schools. There are schools across the country closed for two weeks. In this case a month. Sometimes for the rest of the school year.

I think a lot of Americans at this point can relate to Bill de Blasio and are making decisions they never thought they had to make to navigate this new reality. The reality of a sweeping coronavirus pandemic setting in for many Americans.


NEWSOM: We are, in essence, home isolating 5.3 million people. We're guided deeply by what's happening. Not just by anxiety, not just by fear.

GINGRAS: New York City's mayor closing all public schools until at least April 20, impacting 1.1 million children.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: There is a real possibility that, by closing our schools now, we may not have the opportunity to reope [SIC] them -- reopen them in this full school year.

GINGRAS: This move as the city took another drastic step: limiting restaurants and bars to takeout and delivery service, mirroring efforts taken in states like Illinois and Ohio, as the CDC discouraged events with more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone's good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It's unfortunate that many people didn't take that seriously.

GINGRAS: New York has the second largest number of coronavirus cases in the nation, and the governor is asking President Trump to allow the military to step in, fearful the state's medical systems will soon be overwhelmed by an influx of patients.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): We can use the Army Corps of Engineers to come in, retrofit dormitories.

What happened in Italy was the health care system became overwhelmed. We will be overwhelmed. Every number says it. We were slow on testing. Let's not make the same mistake.

GINGRAS: Chaotic scenes playing out in airports across the country as people arriving from Europe faced new advanced screening procedures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very crowded, which is not ideal considering what this contagion is.

GINGRAS: Voters in four states are still scheduled to head to the polls tomorrow. But other in future contests, like Louisiana and Georgia, already postponing their primary.

Meanwhile, inside the White House, President Trump urging Americans to relax.

TRUMP: It's a very contagious virus. It's incredible. But it's something that we have tremendous control over.

GINGRAS: But the nation's top infectious disease expert issuing this warning instead.

FAUCI: The worst is, yes, ahead for us. It is how we respond to that challenge that's going to determine what the ultimate end point is going to be.

GINGRAS: At CNN's Democratic presidential debate Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders directly firing back at the president.


SANDERS: First thing we have got to do, whether or not I'm president, is to shut this president up right now. Because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people.


GINGRAS: And this was talked about a lot on CNN last week. But it should be underscored. Millions of kids around this country depend on these schools to be open to get food. They have, in some cases, parents who have critical care jobs, like emergency responders.

There are major cities, including New York, who are having to take emergency steps. For example, here, they're having grab and go at some of these schools for the next week. In some cases, they're also installing Internet, Alisyn, in order for them to participate in the virtual learning.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. That's one of the things that this whole crisis has highlighted, is how many kids are homeless and hungry in New York and across the country. So obviously, we need to address that today, as well. Brynn, thank you very much.

States across the country are taking aggressive steps to stop community spread. So in Illinois, an order to close all bars and restaurants to the public takes effect tonight. It runs through March 30. Drive-through and pickup services will still be allowed.

And despite warnings from health officials, thousands gathered in downtown Chicago this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Chicago with that.

It's hard for people to break these habits, Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Alisyn. And sometimes when you don't see the effects of a pandemic like this happening directly in front of you, it's hard for sometimes people to realize how serious this actually is.

But you look no further than the policies and the drastic measures that many of these states have now taken. And Illinois, as you mentioned, is set to close all the restaurants and bars starting tonight with the exception of carry-out and delivery. Which means stretches of this city, like where I am right now, will look the same at prime time and lunchtime as what it looks like right now at 5 a.m. in the morning.

You can see just by the proximity of a lot of these places, you can imagine how booming these places typically are and how much they are going to be affected by these orders, whether it is for these public health safety reasons or not.

And when it comes to why this is happening, you touched on maybe the most important part. Governor J.B. Pritzker's announcement here in Illinois came partly in response to the celebrations that we saw over St. Patrick's Day weekend here, where we still saw people lined up outside bars, despite calls for social distancing and to stay home and, potentially quarantine, as well.

And this also comes as we are seeing new CDC guidance about keeping gatherings to 50 people or less. And at this point, we are now basically on the precipice of seeing if this first wave of states coming through and barring -- banning, I should say, restaurants and bars from being open at their normal capacity spurs a second wave. And if this becomes just a new chapter here fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Omar, thanks very much. Hopefully, people will listen now that the CDC has spoken with these new limits on gatherings of more than 50 people. And we're told the vice president is set to announce more restrictions at 10:30 this morning. So how far will he go? That's next.



BERMAN: Developing overnight, officials across the country announced the closure of restaurants, bars and schools. A lot of Americans spent the weekend stocking up at groceries and supplies, leaving store shelves depleted.

As the coronavirus spreads, the number of deaths in the United States -- the number of deaths in the United States has grown. And state and local officials have taken extraordinary measures to mitigate the damage, trying to get people to take this seriously.

Joining us now, Dr. Sean Morrison, chair of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mt. Sinai; and Bianna Golodryga, CNN senior global affairs analyst.

Can I just acknowledge one thing that we're talking about?

CAMEROTA: You miss me?

BERMAN: Normally -- normally, I'm practically sitting in Alisyn's lap on this show. We have, you know, moved a few feet away from each other, and we're spacing everyone out on this table as much as we can, because social distancing is now so important.

So Doc, let's start with that. The CDC suggesting limitations of no more than 50 people at gatherings. Why? And is it enough?

DR. SEAN MORRISON, CHAIR, BROOKDALE DEPARTMENT OF GERIATRICS AND PALLIATIVE MEDICINE, MT. SINAI: It's important. We don't know if it's enough right now. And the reason for that is threefold.

One is that, obviously, we want to stop the spread of this virus and its spread by droplets and contact and contaminated, touching somebody else. So we want to stop the spread, and we want to stop everybody bringing it to another. And if you're in a gathering of 100 people, you can essentially infect 100 people. In a gathering of 50 people, much less.

No. 2, we want to prevent older adults and those with serious medical illness from contracting it. Because they're at the highest risk of developing severe coronavirus -- or sorry, COVID-19-related illness. And No. 3, we need to be able to get this under control. It's a

serious problem right now. We have a reason to be scared. Yet, we're at the point that if we do the right things -- social isolation, assiduous hand washing, don't touch our face and our mouth, and disinfect everything. We'll be able to get on top of it.

CAMEROTA: That's why, Doctor, I find the number 50 to be arbitrary. I mean, if we are supposed to be social isolating and staying in our homes, that's like five people. That's like don't go to a gathering of more than five people. Why 50?

MORRISON: We don't know. I would be honest with you: There's no data or science that says 50 is the magic number, versus 25, versus five. We think 50 is a reasonable number. To the extent that you can limit your gatherings to much less than 50; to the extent that you can limit your contact to less than 50, we should be doing that. But from the public health perspective, 50 seems like a reasonable number to start with.


GOLODRYGA: My read on it is it's also psychological, too. I think if you say you can never talk to anybody outside of your house, I think people may go stir crazy and panic to the extent that it turns into a very bad situation for the country.

So I agree with you. I think people hopefully get the sense when you say that bars should be closed, that public gatherings should be less than 50. They get the urgency of what is taking place right now and the unprecedented situation the country finds itself in.

And it doesn't help that you have a president who seems so detached from this, even yesterday saying that we have it under control.

CAMEROTA: Tremendous control.

GOLODRYGA: As he said, tremendous control. It is nowhere near under control.

BERMAN: Let's play that. Let's play that, because -- because Dr. Morrison said -- he said one of the goals of this limiting of social distancing is to get it under control. This is what the president said.


TRUMP: There's a very contagious -- it's a very contagious virus. It's incredible. But it's something that we have tremendous control over.


BERMAN: So we promised you facts and truths here. Dr. Morrison, the president said it's under tremendous control. This morning, that doesn't seem to be the case.

MORRISON: I can't speak for the president. What I can speak for is what we're seeing at Mt. Sinai in New York City, and it's not under control. We are very worried that, if this continues at the rate that it's going to -- the rate that it's going now, we won't have enough hospital beds. We won't have enough healthcare workers. We won't have enough resources. That is the worst-case scenario.

However -- and this is a big however -- if we do what the CDC has issued -- said we should do, if we follow the right guidelines, we can get this under control and prevent a much more serious situation.

CAMEROTA: But Dr. Morrison, what are you seeing at Mt. Sinai? How many people are coming in? Just paint a picture for us of what it looks like there.

MORRISON: Yes. I think we're still early. We are having a number of people coming in with concerns about respiratory illness. Some of those will be testing and are testing positive for COVID-19.

CAMEROTA: And do you have the capacity to test everybody who comes in, claiming of a respiratory?

MORRISON: We don't have the capacity yet. What we do, however, have is the ability to tell people, if you have a respiratory symptom, stay home. If you come in and have respiratory illness and it's not severe, we want you to stay home. Socially -- isolate yourself, socially isolate yourself, everybody.

And recognize that the majority of people are not going to develop serious illness from this. What the majority of people -- of people are going to do is pass it on to somebody else.

CAMEROTA: See, what worries me is that we have some stories, and we'll be talking about them throughout the program, of it galloping away. Like, you think you might have just a cough, and then it getting much more serious. There are people right now in critical condition who doctors, frankly, people on the frontlines, who thought that they were on the other side of it and getting better; and then it deteriorated quickly. Like this, once it catches hold for some people, it moves really fast. And that's scary to everyone.

MORRISON: It is really scary. And I think what we need to tell people is to aggressively self-monitor yourself so that, if it's just a cough, if it's just a fever, stay home. But if you start developing any shortness of breath, that's the time to immediately call your doctor. Because that may be a sign it's progressing from something that's very mild to something more severe.

GOLODRYGA: And this is something we all need to hear from the president, right? Just as simple as that, and leave it to the experts. And most Americans don't have access to C-SPAN or to listen in to Dr. Fauci. When they do turn to the president, to have him say under control; when you have representatives like Devin Nunes say, Go out to restaurants and bars, it really does a disservice to the community and the nation whole -- as a whole, especially the medical community, right?

BERMAN: This is, I think, the first day, Bianna, we're all waking up, schools -- 32 million kids without school. Businesses, everyone working from home, as many people who can are working from home. The pubs and restaurants, everything closed. What's it going to be like, do you think, the next few days?

GOLODRYGA: Look, it seems like the past 48 hours were 48 days already for many people across the country. And that's people taking care of kids at home, not necessarily having to worry about incomes.

Think about those families that don't have that luxury. Think about those families that do have elderly at home that they're taking care of, as well. This is a whole new reality for everybody in this country.

And you're really going to see the discrepancy between those who maybe have things that are a bit uncomfortable and not have access to certain items but know that financially they may be better off, versus those that don't. And that's why the government coming together with the medical community right now is so crucial.

BERMAN: Bianna, thank you very much. Dr. Morrison, we really appreciate you coming in. I'm shouting at you from over the table there. Thanks for coming in and bringing the facts. Please come back. We need more.

CAMEROTA: We're going to also have a psychiatrist coming up with tips about how people can avoid going stir crazy and what to do with their kids, et cetera. Thank you both.

So multiple countries in Europe tightening their countrywide lockdowns as coronavirus spreads. We have live reports for you from Spain and Poland. What it looks like there, next.


CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, Germany has closed its borders with several of its neighbors as they try to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Thirteen people in Germany have died. More than 5,800 are infected there.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live for us at the Germany-Poland border. What's happening there, Fred?


Well, you can see this. The border's really across here, that countries are shutting the borders down and instituting these really tight controls. And there's guys in hazmat suits who are actually taking the temperatures of everybody who's trying to cross this border.

Now, the way it works in these European countries, for instance the border here, Polish people are allowed to go across the border. However, Germans who try to cross into Poland can't do that.

The same is for instance, between France and Germany. People try to cross there, Germans can go across. The French people can't, except for trucks.


And if you look down here, this is really also a showcase of what happens to the economies when things like the coronavirus hit. You can see, there's a line of trucks going down here. Cargo is still allowed to go across the border, but every single truck driver also has to get his temperature taken, also has to fill out a health form. And if he does have a temperature, then those drivers get isolated.

So you can see how the border traffic, the cross-border cargo traffic really also pretty much screeching to a halt, as well, as a lot of these European countries are closing down their borders.

And guys, one final word. Normally, on a normal day, two days ago, maybe right here, you wouldn't even have known that there was a border between Poland and Germany, because it was basically like going from one state to the next in the United States.

But now as you can see, there's a massive backlog. There's massive border controls and, really, a lot of restrictions on the travels at a really --not just here in Germany -- between Germany and Poland, but in a lot of European countries. Exactly, this is taking place right now. You'll feel the economic impacts, but you can really also feel the impact on everyday lives for a lot of these people who, they want to go into their home country and, again, have to get their temperature taken and have to go through some really rigorous steps to make it across -- John.

BERMAN: That looks like -- that is a remarkable image: you standing in the midst of this traffic jam, people in hazmat suits behind you. This is the new reality, though, across the world.


BERMAN: Fred, thanks so much for being with us.

In Spain this morning, deaths from coronavirus have more than doubled. The nation now has more than 8,000 cases. We're saying nearly 8,000 confirmed cases. And all 47 million people in the country have been told not to leave their homes. The wife of Spain's prime minister has tested positive.

CNN's Scott McLean live in Madrid with the very latest. Extraordinary measures being taken, Scott, with people told, just stay inside.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, John. Let me show you around really quickly. This is Madrid's Puerto del Sol. This is the main square here in Madrid, the Times Square, if you will.

Normally, this is a bustling square. It would be packed with people. And today, there's hardly anyone here.

The people that you do see around walking, well, they are either going to work or they are going to the grocery store or the pharmacy. If -- beyond that, you're not allowed to leave your house. And if you do out, you have to be alone.

There's not much sense in leaving, though, and that's because stores, restaurants, businesses, they are closed with very few exceptions.

The police are also out, fining people who don't have a good reason to be out on the streets. Spain has also called in its military, its version of the U.S. National Guard, to try to keep an eye on things. And if that sounds like a wartime footing to you, well, listen to what the health minister had to say yesterday, saying, quote, "Companies that have the capacity to produce supplies, hygienic and sanitary, must inform the government. Failure to comply would lead to its corresponding sanctions."

The government obviously worried about having enough medical supplies the longer this lockdown drags on for.

Because of capacity issues at the civilian hospitals, they've opened up military hospitals to the general public.

On the other hand, the airport when I arrived here yesterday was nearly deserted. That is likely to get much worse as airlines like easyJet and Ryanair completely cancel or severely scale back the flights into this country.

The Portuguese prime minister said yesterday he is working with Spain to try to close the border today between the two countries to tourists.

And one other thing to mention. That's that trains around this country are running about half as often, and they're supposed to run at about 30 percent capacity. But a video posted this morning by this country's civil guard showed a pretty full looking train arriving in Madrid. The number of new cases in the country is set to be announced in about 30 minutes from now -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Scott, we'll check back with you. Thank you very much.

Italy has been the hardest hit in Europe. Over the weekend, 368 more deaths were reported in just 24 hours. The total number of deaths in Italy now tops 1,800 people. And there are nearly 25,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

The entire country remains on lockdown this morning. The government has imposed strict isolation measures.

Back here on the bright side -- well, no, first, let's go to Italy. The neighbors, on the bright side, who are confined to their homes in the town of Sienna are still singing to boost morale there.




CAMEROTA: And from his balcony, Italian tenor and opera star Maurizio Marchini serenading the people of Florence.




BERMAN: Sings like an angel. Singing to people need.

CAMEROTA: Music, of course, has an incredible healing power.