Return to Transcripts main page

NEW DAY

Coronavirus Crisis Worsens with Cases in All 50 U.S. States; European Union Closes Borders for 30 Days; Queen Elizabeth Leaves Buckingham Palace Amid Coronavirus Crisis. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 18, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forcing us apart seems also to be bringing us together, closer than we've been in a long while. Martin Savidge, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Look, and we all need each other at a safe distance, but we all need each other. So, there has been a notable change in how the president has been talking about this pandemic, even acknowledging the existence of a pandemic. What prompted that change? We ask Maggie Haberman next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Here are the latest numbers for you. There are now confirmed coronavirus cases in all 50 states and Washington D.C., 112 Americans have died. And the number of cases has topped 6,000 now in the United States. The White House trying to stabilize the economy, they're requesting a trillion dollar stimulus package from Congress.

[07:35:00]

Also floating the idea of sending $1,000 stimulus checks to some Americans. A source tells CNN Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has warned Republican senators that without any action, the U.S. unemployment rate could skyrocket to 20 percent. That would be the highest rate since the great depression. United States and Canada preparing to suspend non-essential travel between these two countries while the European Union is closing off at least 26 countries to nearly all visitors for 30 days, hoping to stop the spread of coronavirus.

And the outbreak in Britain has forced Queen Elizabeth to leave Buckingham Palace. The 93-year-old queen and Prince Philip who is 98 years old are expected to self-isolate at Windsor Castle and remain there until after Easter.

BERMAN: So, after weeks of playing down the coronavirus crisis, President Trump has changed his tone this week as the reality of this pandemic grips the country. But he is also presenting an alternate version of history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've always known this is a -- this is a real -- this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: So, that's a lie, and we're going to talk about why that's important. Joining us now is CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman; she is a White House correspondent for "The New York Times". And Maggie, as you know, what we've been focusing on here really is the medicine and what will save lives. That is most important. But when you're talking about what will save lives, I think it's also important to acknowledge what may have risked lives.

And medical officials tell us that the way that the president approached this for the last two months and talked about it in public may have risked lives. And you have written about the way he talked about it, and how he's talking about it now. And the difference is -- so walk us through where we were and where we are.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK TIMES: Sure. John, look, weeks ago as you know, the president was claiming this was something that was going to go away, it was like a flu. He was actually asked on January 22nd if there were concerns that this was a pandemic or could become one. And he said no, not at all. January 22nd, that's not that long ago.

Since then in the last few weeks as he's been talking to Mike Pence, the Vice President who he put in charge of the coronavirus task force, some of the information that he has been getting has been more substantial. I've heard from several White House officials that it wasn't quite clear how he gets his briefings were in part because he reacts pretty badly to negative information.

But he just wasn't taking this particularly seriously, and he didn't want officials talking about it publicly for fear of rattling the markets. He was angry when people who had been affected on cruise ships ended up brought back to the U.S. for quarantine. Take it now to last week and a half when suddenly people are infected at Mar-a-Lago, his private club which now has to be cleaned.

He understands that. There are people around the White House who have faced self-quarantine because they may have been exposed, one of whom was his daughter, Ivanka Trump. This president tends to never experience things unless they come through the lens of himself, that's what changed in the last week and a half more than anything. Possible threats to his re-election, threats to the economy, which has been his calling card and people he knows around him getting sick, himself being questioned about whether he has been sick.

But for him to go out and claim that he treated this as if it was a pandemic the whole time, that is a lie, that is not true. This is actually something that does affect how people conducted themselves. There had been a lot of people in this country who are not taking this particularly seriously over the last few weeks. They have started to now, but again, John, that's not because the president suddenly declared a national emergency. It's because governors in a lot of states have been enacting substantial measures.

CAMEROTA: Speaking of governors, we just spoke to Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, and she was talking about how there was this -- what she felt basically alarming phone call between the president and governors. And I just want to ask you, Maggie, about his leadership style because what she felt, her impression was that he was trying to kind of pass responsibility on to governors, saying you guys are going to have to take care of this.

I think it was on the issue of respirators, ventilators, hospital beds. And he -- Her impression was that he was not taking responsibility for a federal response to that. And in terms of his leadership style, is that in keeping with -- does he delegate? Is he somebody who in a crisis does show leadership? What has been his style if we know in the past?

HABERMAN: Well, he's never faced something like this, Alisyn, so we haven't had to deal with this, but certainly other issues that have required federal response like mass shootings for instance. He has gathered, he has said that he wants to enact stronger gun laws and then never goes along with it. This is the first crisis like this that most countries have seen.

This is a -- this is a once in a life-time event. But certainly, in his call with the governors, a lot of governors ended up feeling as if he was telling them it was on them to get hold of respirators and ventilators and medical equipment.

[07:40:00]

He did say we'll back you. Which was, I think intended to be the Feds will be doing this too. But I think for governors who have been trying to sound the alarm on this for weeks, and who felt like they weren't being taken seriously by this president, I think it was a deeply angering and frustrating statement.

BERMAN: So, Maggie, some of your colleagues in the paper today, and one of the very few articles you haven't written get into the fact that the president is calling for a whole of government response. Two things --

HABERMAN: Yes --

BERMAN: Notable about that. Number one, why on earth today on March 18th or March 17th and you're only calling for a whole of government response to something that is a pandemic and a crisis. That aside, number two though, it gets to an issue which I think you know a lot about which is how the president has viewed or his understanding of different parts of the government until now. HABERMAN: It's funny, John. You know, he doesn't take most of these

departments or agencies particularly seriously unless to my point about how they reflect through him all events, unless it deals with immigration or law enforcement. He cares about DOJ. He cares about DHS only through the prism of immigration enforcement. DHS has a number of responsibilities.

One of which is that FEMA is integrated into DHS. If you are not initiating a strong response and you are outsourcing this solely to health professionals, you're not going to mobilize major portions of the government in order to be able to respond to this. It is candidly inexcusable that this took this long for any of this to happen, and it just again speaks to the fact that he was not engaged with this until recently.

CAMEROTA: Well, on that same front, I mean, let's talk about the Army Corps of Engineers. So the message out of the White House is, OK, we're going to enlist their help now. And the message from the Army Corps of Engineers is we're still waiting for direction from the White House. Let's talk about the FDA.

They just a few days ago began lifting important regulation, a restrictive regulation that is going to allow for more university hospital testing. And so how is this message not getting to these different arms of government?

HABERMAN: Look, there has been enormous confusion for most of the last two months on this issue as to who in the White House was in charge. What the task force was doing. I think there was a shift when you saw Mike Pence take it over. But I also think that there are certain things that the president needs to be pushed to do. There are a number of officials in the government who are trying to push him to do certain things.

I think one was the counselor Kellyanne Conway and the other was the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner who has tried taking on a much larger portion of this which has this issue which has bothered some of his colleagues. But it all points back to the same issue which is that there is not one single person who can move the president. And the idea that -- think about our conversation of the last ten minutes.

The idea that it has taken this much of a heath of the will to focus the president and get him to do something that should have been plain to him before his eyes was taking place says a lot.

BERMAN: OK, there is no question though, the last two days, and you can count them because it's been two, the president has had a different tone at these news conferences about coronavirus. It is a welcome tone by many I know in the public health community. The question, Maggie, that you point out is will it last?

HABERMAN: Right, look, so two things I would say about that, John. Number one is it's amazing how Trump has conditioned so many of his supporters to see everything, every discussion, every public utterance in terms of whether it's up or down about him. Is this praise about Trump or is this criticism about Trump? Sometimes things are just statements of facts that have nothing to do with him, and whether he should be getting credit or support.

And he sees everything in terms of whether he should get credit or praise. He has shown in the past he can modulate his behavior with his back against the wall. The final week of the election, he was actually more disciplined in 2016. He didn't fire Mueller, the special counsel, despite the fact that he wanted to over many months. You know, and the last couple of days he has seen his own political standing, face a problem and realized that he could be -- he could be left -- be seen as accountable for what could be many deaths.

But he has never shown an ability to sustain it for a very long time. He thinks and he's very short increments of time. We are going to be dealing with this issue for several weeks and possibly months despite the rosiest assessments that he still continues to try to offer. We're going to be dealing with this for a while. And it is not clear that he can do this for eight more weeks.

CAMEROTA: Or through November. I mean, which may be his bigger motivation. Maggie Haberman -- yes, thank you very much for all of the reporting. Great to talk to you.

HABERMAN: Thanks guys.

BERMAN: So millions of students this morning figuring out new ways to learn, not in the classroom. Up next, we're going to bring you tips from parents who are home-schooling in the best way to keep your kids engaged.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:45:00]

BERMAN: We have breaking news, a staggering number just in from the United Nations. More than 850 million students, 850 million students worldwide are currently out of school because of coronavirus. The pandemic has now made virtual learning the new norm for students across the United States. Will it be effective? CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro is here with a closer look at that. Evan, good to see you.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, nice to see you. You know, one of the strangest things about this moment, if you don't know how long it's going to last. So for all these students who are having to stay home, some of them may never go back to their class rooms this semester. I tried to find out what that's like for schools who are trying to keep the school year going as best as they can. So I talked to some students from Westminster School in Atlanta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So who is going to be in class today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): The running list of school closings nationwide changes by the minute due to coronavirus. For the time being, the face-to-face school day has been replaced by e-learning. Many college students may be used to logging in to school, but now online learning has become the norm for students of every age.

[07:50:00]

SAM MONTAG, STUDENT: But we have four classes a day with 15 minutes in-between each class and a 30-minute lunch break.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Sam Montag is 13. This is his first day attending seventh grade from his bedroom.

MONTAG: I think going online is a smart idea because we don't know when we'll be able to get back to school.

CAROLINA MARES, TEACHER: You've not been --

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MONTAG: No --

(SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Westminster School; a private K through 12 in Atlanta, is trying to make online school as close to regular school as possible. So the day starts with home room, from home.

MARES: Just follow what I'm doing, everyone is doing it.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Carolina Mars has been teaching French and Spanish classes for eight years. For the past few days, she's been translating her classroom lesson plans into e-learning.

MARES: I've been working on how to order food, and being open-minded about trying new foods. Field trips are completely out of the picture now. And so, we are trying to change the focus of the scene to instead of ordering food to cooking at home.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: This is the first day she is wrangling her students from her dining room table.

MARES: And we have everyone in class, applause, everyone made it quite yes. Control over the class is one thing and I just have to like it. I'm not there, so I'm not going to have the same amount of control.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The obvious question, is this going to work? Online education has been around for a long time, but it's never been tested quite like this.

MARES: You know, there's that rule or that guideline that your attention span is only as long as your age in minutes. So for middle- schoolers, we're talking attention span is usually 11 to 14 minutes max.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (on camera): Do you think that you can leave your students with the same kind of education that they would have if they were with you in the classroom? MARES: Yes, I can probably cover everything that I need to cover. But

education is so much more than what we cover in class. A little extracurricular activities, robotics, all of that is part of a student's education.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, look, this is early days of this online education shift. So right now, it's still kind of, you know, a new thing, it's kind of fun I think if people are trying something different. But the question is how long can this keep going on? I spoke to a bunch of experts about online education, and the thing is, those teachers who teach online, they spend a long time developing that kind of curriculum and that kind of schooling.

And these students have either been thrown into this stuff, and teachers like Carolina Mares who you saw on the piece, she had no real time to prepare herself to just change her classes over to online. So, it's a big question as to how long that will work, not to mention the resource gap that we have with other schools, Westminster being a pretty upscale private school, where the students have a lot of resources, other school systems don't have them.

BERMAN: Yes, how can you do online learning if you don't have an iPad or a computer at home? That's a serious question, Evan, and I think you raised the main question which is one, two days, one week, two weeks, maybe, but if this is months, parents and educators need to brace themselves. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much for that report.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Thanks so much.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: And then John, as you know, there's many parents who now find themselves playing the role of teachers, they're having to home- school their own children. So joining us now to share their personal advice on home-schooling, they're both experts, we have Joy Shepard, mother of three, and Shay Greenwood, mother of five. Great to see both of you.

And I know that parents will devour your advice because you guys have been doing this for years and some people are just trying to figure out what to do with their kids now. As we just -- I don't know if you heard this, this breaking news, but there is 850 million kids out of school now worldwide. So you -- we could not have better timing. So, Shea, let's get to your three top tips for parents and you can explain them to us. Number one, get to know your children, you say. What does that mean?

SHAY GREENWOOD, HOME-SCHOOLS CHILDREN: Yes --

CAMEROTA: How do you do that?

GREENWOOD: It means that we should have intentional conversations with them, just about themselves. You know, we struggle so much because our culture is just busy. Lots of activities, lots of extracurricular activities, people are working, and this is a great opportunity for us to just have intentional conversations, simple as what's your favorite color?

You know, how many of us know our kids' favorite color? Or who is their best friend? What do they like about their best friend? Just conversations, even about what's going on in the world. I think that they know more than what we even think. And so just having conversations about that and engaging with them, I think it's just important at this time.

CAMEROTA: Those are great questions to ask. Number two, you say focus on things you love. That doesn't sound like home-schooling. I mean, that sounds like playing.

[07:55:00]

GREENWOOD: You know what? I think that we all, even when we're working, we love doing the things that we love doing. When you have a gift for something, when you have a God-given talent, you want to do that all the time, so why not allow them to do the things that they love the most. I home-schooled my first four kids who are older now, they're range in age from 24 to 18. And they really did concentrate on the things that they loved doing.

And I see that in them to this day. That they are able to do the things that God has gifted them to do. And so I think when you do that, other things happen for you. You know, those other weak points can grow. And so I just think that it's important for them to do things, things that they love.

CAMEROTA: OK, number three, you say cut yourself some slack. So how can parents at home --

GREENWOOD: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Do that right now?

GREENWOOD: I think that we assume that school should be a certain way at home. And I'd say that, you know, people are posting these beautiful pictures of their kids doing work sheets, and, you know what? Ten minutes later, there might be a meltdown. And so it is totally OK to put those work sheets away and just give yourself grace. If there is a meltdown, do something fun, just know that it's not going to be perfect. We are all going to struggle.

You know, it's hard right now. You know, there is enough pressure on all of us, and so it's just important for us to put that perfection to the side and just --

CAMEROTA: Yes --

GREENWOOD: Cut yourself some slack.

CAMEROTA: That's great advice. OK, so, Joy, let me put up your three tips all at once for parents. You say, stay calm, provide structure and have fun. And so just give us, Joy, some of your favorite activities. I mean, for people who are not necessarily as creative at home-schooling their kids as you guys are, what do you recommend that people try to start doing with their kids today, Joy?

JOY SHEPARD, HOME-SCHOOLS CHILDREN: Sure. You know, I totally echo what Shay was saying. It's so important to know your kiddos. And in this time of such uncertainty, the best thing that we can do is stay calm for our kids, and one way to do that is to have some fun together. Whether it's having indoor picnic or do some exercises together or turn on some music.

One of the best things that we do in our house, we laugh to do a little game called dance freeze. We turn on our best music, we dance, we move around, then we push pause and everybody freezes. And that is so much fun at any age. Get yourself moving. It will raise your serotonin levels, you'll have a great time together, you'll laugh together. And just as Shay said, this is a hard time.

We are not going to do it perfectly. My second point that I talked about was providing structure. While we do want to have fun, if our students are in school every day of the week, they are used to having a schedule and some structure. So as much as you can, be characterized by a little bit of structure each day, have some goals that you can set with your children, saying OK, we're going to do a little bit of math, we're going to do 30 minutes of reading.

But then obviously give yourself grace for those times that you do have meltdowns, we all have them as well, it's OK, we will get through this. And a little structure will help.

CAMEROTA: That's great advice. And by the way, I have been playing dance freeze for years. I didn't know that, that was going to be one of your tips. That is a great one.

SHEPARD: Isn't it great?

CAMEROTA: It is great. But it doesn't feel like school. And I know that you're both saying, it doesn't have to feel like school during this time while you're at home. But Joy, I mean, some parents are afraid of their kids academically falling behind. And they don't feel like they're necessarily equipped to teach them math and English. Do you have any tip for a parent who feels that way?

SHEPARD: Of course. There are a plethora of resources available online. Free academic help, websites, free tutorials, free virtual field trips, just doing a Google search for free educational activities. You can search by subject, whether it's math or reading or history. There are so many free options available right now. Even subscription programs that are typically quite costly are offering free subscriptions during this shutdown.

So take advantage of some of those offerings that are available to us now that might not be available to us when this whole ordeal is over.

CAMEROTA: That is great advice. Ladies, thank you so much --

SHEPARD: You're welcome --

CAMEROTA: For modeling for the rest of us how you can actually have fun at home and stay calm. I love the virtual field trip, I'll be trying that today, indoor picnic, and --

SHEPARD: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Of course, dance freeze, the crowd favorite. Shay Greenwood, Joy Shepard, thank you both very much.

GREENWOOD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: John?

SHEPARD: Thank you --

BERMAN: Meanwhile, I'm going to give myself grace for my next meltdown. So, we have brand-new numbers on the worldwide death toll, and the number of coronavirus cases. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The federal government, the White House and the Congress needs to focus on states, send supplies and money. We're the ones in the front lines.