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CNN NEWSROOM

Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting American Lives; U.S. Stocks Rebounding After Government Outlined Potential Actions That Could Shore Up The Economy. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired March 17, 2020 - 14:00   ET

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


MURPHY JENSEN, FRENCH OPEN TENNIS CHAMPION WHO CO-FOUNDED WECONNECT: That's always been my mission to share this hope.

We're going to get through this and this too shall pass and caution is your friend.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, Murphy, Daniela, thank you so much to both of you. That is it for me. NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

[14:00:20]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna, thank you. Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being with me.

Moments ago, the President made a critical promise of major financial help, as Americans make unprecedented sacrifices in the wake of this coronavirus pandemic.

The number of infected has now crossed the 5,000 mark in the country with deaths approaching 100. Now President Trump plans to send some kind of cash infusion to people as they follow the guidelines that go along, really against most of their basic instincts to stay at home. Do not eat out, don't go out. Don't go be with your friends are big groups of people over really 10 people or more is the number they're saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're going to do something that gets money to them as quickly as possible. That may not be an accurate way of doing it because obviously some people shouldn't be getting checks for a thousand dollars.

And we'll have a pretty good idea by the end of the day what we're going to be doing.

STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly. We want to make sure small business owners have access to funds. We want to make sure that hotels, airlines -- we have an entire package.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: And President also said all 50 states are now authorized and

can do their own testing. Plus, moving past his back and forth with New York's Governor, President Trump said he is now working on helping the state expand its hospital bed capacity.

New York has the most cases in the country with more than 1,300 people infected.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: When we asked to and we're --

QUESTION: Increase capacity?

TRUMP: Yes, we're starting to. We're starting the process and it's a process we hope it's not going to be necessary, but it could be necessary.

The state is working on it very hard themselves, but we'll probably supplement what they're doing.

BALDWIN: In the meantime, additional states are cracking down on people making non-essential outings by making assemblies of 25 or 50 or more illegal.

The City of San Francisco actually has shelter in place directive calling for people there to stay put, and the State of Ohio called off its Presidential Primary today, but those latest developments are just a few of the disruptions that continue to come from the coronavirus pandemic.

Let's take a broader look now with CNN's Nick Watt. Nick is live in Los Angeles and listen this is affecting every single one of us at every sliver of our lives.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Brooke. Texas just joined the list of states activating the National Guard. Florida just said groups of 10 or fewer now only on the beaches and those groups must keep six feet apart.

And, you know, we heard Steve Mnuchin actually talking about mailing checks out to people. Moody's now saying that perhaps 80 million American jobs at high or moderate risk, in part because of all these measures we are now taking to try and stop the spread of this virus.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WATT (voice over): Early opening in Houston, seniors only keeping them stocked up and safe from other shoppers. In San Francisco's Bay Area, seven million woke to a draconian dawn now allowed out only for essential needs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Life is turned upside down. It's just turned upside down. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): Brooklyn's DA has stopped prosecuting low-level offenses that don't jeopardize public safety.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The President also has us inventorying what you all would understand is field hospitals or MASH hospitals that can be deployed very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over); Federal officials warning there aren't enough gowns, gloves and masks stockpiled.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PENCE: We would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N-95 masks to your local hospital.

TRUMP: We've ordered massive numbers of ventilators.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): Miami's Mayor from self-quarantine now following New York and others in shutting all gyms, clubs, bars and restaurants apart from takeout.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): This could be a crisis of at minimum several months and we have to start being honest about the human impact if people are without their income from months on end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): At the 11th hour, Ohio postponed today's Presidential Primary possibly until June.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK LAROSE, OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: It was simply untenable for us to continue telling Ohioans to go to the polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): Florida, Arizona and Illinois went ahead. This voter in her 70s with underlying conditions, wearing mask, muffs and gloves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This election, it's always important, but it's ultra-important to me this year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): All AMC and Regal movie theaters now closed nationwide. Same with all McDonald's seating areas.

And for the first time since the Second World War, the Kentucky Derby will not be run the first weekend in May.

[14:05:10]

WATT (voice over): The world's busiest airport, Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta has closed some security checkpoints declined in demand, they say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MNUCHIN: This is worse than 9/11. For the airline industry, this is -- they are almost ground to a halt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT (voice over): Meanwhile, Amazon is hiring another hundred thousand workers to meet online shopping demands.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT (on camera): And the billion dollar question, how long will all of this last? We don't know.

The Governor of New York said it could be another 45 days before they even see a peak in cases in New York State and Dr. Anthony Fauci of the White House Taskforce fame. You know, he says it may be several weeks or even longer, Brooke, before we even know if what we're doing right now, all of these measures are even having an impact -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: At least Amazon is adding workers. I was just buying home weights and another yoga mat just, you know, keep working out at home while we stay sane through this whole entire ordeal.

Nick Watt, thank you in Los Angeles.

To the medical expert, Anne Rimoin is a Professor of Epidemiology at UCLA and the Director for UCLA's Center for Global and Immigrant Health.

So Dr. Rimoin, thank you so much for being on with me. I've got a bunch of questions for you, just starting with, we played some of the sound from the President off the top when he was speaking this morning, and he is giving more power to the states in terms of testing, for example, do you think that will be effective. Will that work?

ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA: Well, I think it's a very good idea to give states more powers. There's no one size fits all solution for outbreaks or for epidemics, and certainly not in a pandemic scenario. You know, we learned this -- I've spent many, many years working on

Ebola, and what we've learned there is that you can have general regulations.

But what you really need is to tailor solutions for each population. You know, California is very different from Alaska, which is very different from Mississippi and from Wisconsin.

So it's going to depend upon the density of people, how people are generally interacting, where the hospitals are, how people can get care.

I mean, all of these things need to be taken into account when thinking about how to manage an epidemic of this scope.

BALDWIN: Sure. And in terms of people getting care, President Trump also mentioned today, he basically gave a green light to the Army Corps to build more hospital beds as health official sounding the alarm on the stockpile shortages.

You tell me, what medical supplies are needed the most right now?

RIMOIN: I think there's a whole host of medical supplies that are needed right now. I mean, we know we need more ventilators. We know we need more of the supplies that go all around ventilation, and managing care for people who have respiratory problems.

But the biggest thing that we need to think about right now is the personal protective equipment. What we call PPE. And this is something that is going to protect our healthcare workers.

And I think that the big issue that we have not been able to solve as of yet is how healthcare workers are going to have enough PPE. We know that hospitals are running out, and this is the rate limiter. We have to protect our healthcare workers.

They are our most precious resource in this issue, and they're on the front lines and exposed without what they need to protect themselves.

BALDWIN: To that point, we have heard about 200 nurses at one facility being exposed. Nine doctors down at Emory in Atlanta have gotten sick. If this continues, the question I'm getting from a lot of people is how do we make sure we have enough doctors and nurses just to fight this? Let alone people are still breaking arms, having heart attacks, et cetera?

RIMOIN: Well, you're not going to be able to fabricate new nurses and doctors in a matter of days.

BALDWIN: Unfortunately.

RIMOIN: Unfortunately. So what you need to do is you need to be able to protect these healthcare workers. I know I'm repeating myself, but it goes back to the same thing. You have to provide them with the tools that they need to protect themselves. And that is personal protective equipment. They have to have the masks. They have to have the gowns. They need to

have the goggles they need. They need to have gloves.

BALDWIN: They are in short supply. How are we going to get them?

RIMOIN: It's a very good question. I think that the government really needs to think about this and to take drastic action to ensure that they have these things.

You know, the general public doesn't have it either. I mean, hand sanitizer, gloves, you know, all of these masks -- all the equipment that I've just mentioned. There has to be a way. They're going to have to find ways to be able to provide these materials, whether it's working with industry, or finding other solutions.

I mean, I don't -- that part, unfortunately -- that part luckily is not my job. But I can tell you, that's what we need.

BALDWIN: Yes. I hope the government is listening. I know they are.

Also, and I'm going to set you up for question that you really may not know the answer to and that's okay. But you know, everyone sitting here is like all right, how much longer are we going to have to endure this, right?

[14:10:05]

BALDWIN: So President Trump said today he wants people hunkering down for two weeks. I was listening to Governor Cuomo here in New York this morning saying, it'll be 45 days before just the State of New York alone sees its peak.

Realistically, how long do you think we are going to be living in this hunkered down reality?

RIMOIN: Well, I wish I could give you an answer that would -- that would make everybody feel better. But the truth of the matter is, is we don't know.

What we can do is we can look to other countries. This is -- there are other countries that are ahead of us in this epidemic curve. So we can look to Italy. We can look to South Korea. We can look to Singapore. We can look to China.

And we can also look to see how these countries managed these outbreaks and understand what happened as a result. The number -- how long we are in this situation is directly linked to how well we manage it. How well people are following social distancing. And I think that that is a very big issue.

People have to social distance. They have to respect that. And we have to be able to empower our healthcare workers.

I think that these are the key things that we have to be able to do. We have to be able to flatten the curve. And that takes everybody working together to do it. And if those things are in place, then it's very possible that you

know, we'll be able to get out of this situation much sooner.

BALDWIN: Hopefully so. Hopefully so. I hope everyone is just hanging on, including me, you know, hanging on, on your words about social distancing, staying home doing your part, so we can roll through this together.

Anne Rimoin, thank you very much.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

BALDWIN: How about cash to the American people immediately? That is just one of the new measures Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says the White House is considering right now. We have those details ahead.

And several Americans just received their first doses of a potential vaccine for coronavirus. One of those brave volunteers will join me live.

And we'll talk to a quarantined American in Italy about the lesson she has learned from the dire situation there and any advice she has from us here States side.

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

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[14:21:32]

BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

After a brutal set of trading sessions, U.S. stocks are rebounding after the government outlined potential actions that could shore up the economy.

Alison Kosik is live at the New York Stock Exchange. But first, let's go to Manu Raju on Capitol Hill with new details about how much these new White House stimulus measures could cost in total. Manu, what's the figure?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're learning from a source familiar with the matter with the White House and with the Treasury Secretary are pitching right now is a stimulus plan that could be in the ballpark of about a trillion dollars.

That is what the total price tag is what I am told from a source familiar with what they are looking at.

Right now, the Treasury Secretary is meeting with Republican senators behind closed doors about that eye-popping number to provide a jolt to the economy amid the concerns that the country could slip into recession.

Earlier today, the word had come out that it had been about $850 billion would be this package. But after budget crunchers looked at this figure closer, the total plan, I'm told is about a trillion dollars right now.

Now what that would encompass would include, I'm told about $250 billion worth of checks that would go in form of payments to Americans and that would go out over the course of time. If they needed more money, they would come back and deal with more money later.

But also it would have aid to key industry sectors like the airlines, as well as the hotel industry. There'll be some assistance also to small businesses as well.

But this is just the opening pitch, Brooke. This needs to, of course be approved by the Senate by a 60-vote margin. That means Democrats in the Senate will need to get behind this. Also House Democrats, of course control that chamber and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put out her own ideas of a list of proposals.

So there are a lot -- there's a lot of negotiation that still needs to occur, but the administration is calling for immediate action on this plan.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wants this done this week. But at the moment the Senate is waiting for a House Bill dealing with free coronavirus testing and other measures. That's the immediate course of action.

But right now, a package of up to a trillion dollars to provide a jolt to the economy -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Manu. Thank you very much for that news from Capitol Hill. To the markets we go and Alison Kosik, markets up today. Why is that? What are you hearing from investors?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, you know, part of the reason for the rally is because of this proposed stimulus making its way through Congress. And the other part of it is the market has really been craving leadership. It's been craving this coordinated government action. And today, they really got it, which leads me to the second bigger reason we're seeing these green arrows.

The Federal Reserve has just greased the wheels of a part of the economy that's been showing signs of stress. That's the credit markets and they just invoked emergency powers to offset a safety -- to give a safety net to businesses, essentially. We haven't seen the Fed take this kind of action since the financial crisis.

You see, the American businesses may be temporarily closed, but they've still got bills to pay. I'm talking about medium and large businesses and industries from travel to retail to airlines and all of these industries, they are facing cash squeezes as they try to pay their workers and they try to pay their vendors, but they don't have the money coming in.

And what they usually do is they get these short term loans, but that's the area that's freezing up.

So the Fed is going in there and stepping in, announcing measures to help companies who are struggling to get this funding and providing this funding that they need.

And this is really a huge relief to Wall Street, because we have seen the credit markets kind of become stressed in the past few weeks -- Brooke.

[14:20:16]

BALDWIN: Alison, thank you. Richard Quest, I know you want to jump in on your read on the markets. But first, just that this number, $1 trillion, back to Manu and what Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary is proposing, $250 billion of which would be those checks, you know, given to Americans.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR: Helicopter money. It's called helicopter money. You literally -- that's the phrase that we use in these situations. You literally just throw the money out everywhere to everyone.

They tried it in Australia in 2008-2009, sent checks to everybody.

BALDWIN: What do you think of the plan?

QUEST: It's the only thing you can do, really. Let's not -- let's not quibble about whether it's the right plan, a different one. There'll be lots of critics, but the reality is, the house is burning. It's burning very badly, and you have to do whatever you can to put that fire out.

BALDWIN: Do you think it's enough?

QUEST: It probably won't be. No, no. Put this in perspective. The administration's budget for next year was priced at $4.8 trillion or $5 trillion budget. That gives you an idea. What they're talking about here is putting in an extra trillion or so.

Now, the U.S. government deficit next year is forecasted just under a trillion.

Again, this is not the time to be nickel and diming about a trillion dollars here or there. Because if you don't do this, you won't be looking at a recession. You'll be looking at a depression, because the downward spiral has begun.

You see it with Marriott's announcements today. You see it with the airlines in what they've said. United Airlines in their letter today.

So this is not the time to be worrying about who is paying the bill. This is you spend the money and you worry about it afterwards.

You wanted to make a point about the market.

QUEST: Yes. I wanted to bring up the Dow for today, and you'll see that there are definitely these two peaks. Now, the first peak that one run right around 11 o'clock this morning. That is the Fed agreeing to buy commercial paper. Basically all you can eat. The Fed is basically standing behind companies there after some

companies said they were having difficulty, but notice how it tails off in the afternoon.

BALDWIN: Right.

QUEST: That shows the fragility of any recovery, which is why I'm -- you know, it's very nice to see they're up 900 points towards the end on the back of the Mnuchin plan. But can it hold?

My gut says no, simply because there's no reason to buy this market at the moment until we get vision on what the long or medium term outcome is going to be for the economy. That is not there.

BALDWIN: Richard Quest, thank you very much.

The death toll in the United States now at 98. Details on the new measures being implemented across the country to stop the spread, flatten the curve.

And an emergency room doctor will join me live to take your questions on how we can protect ourselves. Stay here.

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[14:27:36]

BALDWIN: We are all being asked to make unprecedented sacrifices as the U.S. enters this new phase in the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of infected Americans has now passed the 5,000 mark with the death toll frighteningly approaching 100.

Today, President Trump promised that financial help is on the way for the American people and our businesses. The President also urged all Americans to limit travel and work from home for the next two weeks.

In Ohio, for example, there's no voting today. The state decided late yesterday to postpone today's Democratic Presidential Primary and two of the nation's largest movie theater chains are shutting down indefinitely.

Many Americans, the elderly, disabled or just sick are not able to easily get to the grocery store and these same people are the most vulnerable to getting coronavirus.

Anna Wille works at a Trader Joe's in Atlanta. She witnessed firsthand the rush to stock up on produce, frozen foods and cleaning products and so Anna, thank you so much for being with me.

ANNA WILLE, WORKS AT TRADER JOE'S IN ATLANTA: Thank you. It is truly an honor to be here.

BALDWIN: My goodness. What you are doing for others is nothing short of extraordinary, and I want to get into that because this is all -- you know, with high risk neighbors in mind. You posted this message on the Nextdoor app, volunteering to deliver essentials to those in need.

And so I want to ask you about that in just a second, but first, just a quick snapshot of just this, you, how are you holding up and how wiped out are the shelves at your store?

WILLE: Well, all of the stores within the whole area have been wiped out pretty consistently despite the fact that we are still getting regular deliveries at all the local grocery stores.

So it's everybody in retail specifically in grocery stores that are having a hard time keeping up, but doing our best.

BALDWIN: So doing your best. What motivated you to step outside yourself? To reach out to your community? And has anyone taken you up on your offer?

WILLE: All right, well, to start, the initial motivation was that I was -- I was seeing a lot of fear. I was seeing a lot of misinformation and even seeing a lot of anger around me and I was -- I personally was feeling overwhelmed.

[14:30:09]