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NEW DAY

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Continue to Increase; Coronavirus Cases Reported in All 50 States in U.S. and Washington D.C.; New York City May Issue Shelter in Place Order Due to Coronavirus Pandemic; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Pandemic; Campaign: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Assessing His 2020 Bid. Aired 8-8:30a ET.

Aired March 18, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

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

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By making shared sacrifices and temporary changes we can protect the health of our people and we can protect our economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at sending checks to Americans immediately. Americans need cash now and the president wants to get cash now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just need to get money into family's hands so that people don't feel like they're going to literally be running out of a way to feed themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to put politics aside and work together as Americans. The coronavirus doesn't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. You are watching NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, March 18th, 8:00 now in the east.

And we do have some new developments for you on the coronavirus pandemic. Johns Hopkins University reports that there are now more than 200,000 confirmed cases around the world, and at least 8,000 people have died worldwide. Here in the U.S., there are now confirmed cases in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. More than 6,000 total cases, that's a 37 percent increase from just yesterday. If there were adequate testing, the numbers would be a lot higher. So far, at least 112 Americans have died.

Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta warns that every American should act as if they have the virus. Stay home in order to flatten the curve. We'll have much more from Sanjay Gupta in just a moment.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The financial impact is already staggering. Breaking overnight, the White House requested $45.8 billion in emergency coronavirus funding. That's on top of $1 trillion in a stimulus proposal that includes giving many Americans a check for maybe $1,000. CNN has learned that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned Republican senators that without action the unemployment rate could skyrocket to 20 percent. That is much higher than even the great recession more than 10 years ago.

In northern California, a shelter in place order has been expanded to nearly 8 million people. The mayor of New York City is urging everyone to prepare for a similar order, but the governor is downplaying that possibility, and frankly, the conflict there is unsettling to many people.

We want to begin our coronavirus coverage with CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN Medical Analyst Dr. James Phillips. Staggering new numbers, Sanjay, that we are seeing. We've had a sense of just how widespread this is. We've had a sense of just how deadly it is, but every time we see these new numbers, it should jump off the page and should force us into the kind of action that I know that you're calling for, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes, no question about it. I think a lot of people are starting to pay attention to the numbers for the first time. And these are real numbers. But as you and I have talked about, John, I think for a couple of months now, in the United States in particular when you look at those numbers, you've got to keep in mind still that we are still undertested in the United States. There's probably the numbers are a lot higher in terms of the number of people who have been confirmed with this -- to have this virus. So we will get a better sense of that over time.

And when people see the numbers suddenly go way up, they should keep in mind a couple of things. One is that the virus is spreading. It is a contagious virus. Two is that there is some time that passes between the time someone is exposed and the time that they may develop symptoms or test positive. So when you're testing, you're actually already behind the curve. And then finally, just because we are starting to test more, for that reason alone, the numbers are going to go up. So don't be surprised by that.

But, John, to your point, you know, this is when we need to actually do something about it. We needed to do something about it for a long time, but I think it's still within our power to do something about it to try and mitigate that spread, slow down the spread, and as everyone probably now knows, this term flatten that curve, so that hospitals don't get overwhelmed.

CAMEROTA: So Dr. Phillips, Sanjay is talking about things we can all do, that we all need to be just hyper-conscientious. Sanjay had told us last hour to act as though we all have the virus. How would we behave in our homes, how would we behave in our neighborhoods, how would we behave if we had the virus? That's good advice. But you also think that it's time for other things like hospitals to even begin changing the way they do business. Just, what, shut down visitation?

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, we have to figure out ways to limit the amount of virus in our own lives, and in our hospitals in particular. It makes perfect sense that we want to avoid virus around our most vulnerable populations. We've talked about that with nursing homes and homeless shelters and prisons. But hospitals themselves contain a large number of extremely vulnerable people who do not have the virus.

[08:05:01]

I think you'll start to see an increasing number of hospitals across the country start to limit visitation pretty significantly. They'll start to screen visitors before they come in for a fever and for symptoms. And that can be really disheartening. One of my best friends back in Boston wrote a great piece about how social distancing can become patient distancing. And during a time when she lost her own sister to cystic fibrosis, she understood the value of having somebody nearby. And it pains her to think that because of these sorts of restrictions that families may be missing out on that. And so it is something we have to look at seriously for the greatest good, but it is going to be very difficult for people.

BERMAN: Sanjay, we talk about the number of cases, which we're only learning about now because of testing. But there is also the mortality rate, the rate of deaths. And there was a chart "The Financial Times" put together last night, using the data from Johns Hopkins, which is some of the best data we have, which charts and plots where the U.S. death rate is compared to other countries. If we can put that up here, the United States you see is that pinkish line there. You can see Spain and Italy over time, the death rate is really high. And we're above South Korea, but below those other countries. So when you look at this, and see where the U.S. is, what does it tell you about how we're doing right now? And how do we keep from becoming Italy?

GUPTA: You look at that chart, and that's a good chart for people to sort of put in the back of their minds, because it is this inflexion point. You can tell where we are. We are early on, although that may be a reflection, again, of the lack of testing in this country. And I'm not going to keep belaboring that point because I think we've got to stop looking in the rearview mirror and move forward. But I think what it tells me, and I'm sure Dr. Phillips as well, is that right now it is sort of within our power to sort of become more like South Korea and start to bend that curve down. Or if we don't do anything, then -- look, I get no joy in talking about this. The idea we can start to become like Italy, there is nothing that is good about that, obviously. And I'm sure James and I are both hearing stories of doctors in those other places that are having to make tough decisions because they got more patients than they can handle and more patients than the supplies that are available. It is terrible. Those are terrible decisions for people to make.

But to your question, John, I think we have to behave in a way that makes us believe and makes us sort of turn that course more towards South Korea, which I think is still possible. I think that is still possible, and I think this will end. This is all sounding very dire, I get it, and it should. And this is Mother Nature, and we're all in this together. But we -- I think it is still within our power to make a difference here.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I think the part of why it's sounding so dire is that we recognize that we're just heading up to the cusp of this, that we're not yet at the pinnacle from all accounts. And so I think that people are trying to gird themselves and figure out what are these next few months going to look like.

And I understand, Sanjay, I think that it makes sense not to look in the rearview mirror except that the testing still is not where it needs to be, and Dr. Phillips, correct me if I'm wrong, but what we have heard is even if the testing now does ramp up and there's more tests available, because doctors don't have the protective gear, the surgical masks to wear, the gloves, the gowns, they are not able to handle samples and tests and everything. So it is just this kind of confluence of, I don't know, inadequacy.

PHILLIPS: Well, I wouldn't go so far to say that we have run out of equipment yet. I want to be clear that we're starting to see shortages, we're starting to see friends, emails that I get of places saying their hospitals are asking for more because they're getting close. So I don't want to alarm anybody and say we're out of equipment and we can't handle samples yet. But that is the big fear.

We can look at the mathematics of what is needed for the number of masks and gowns and gloves for the number of projected patients we have and how often we change that equipment. And what we see so far doesn't add up if this thing lasts for more than a couple of months. And that's why I think it is so critical that we start talking about converting our existing factories and fast tracking personal protective equipment like masks and also ventilators for our folks. And if we end up with an excess of those because a miracle happens and this disease suddenly disappears, it's a great exercise for the future pandemics that coming 50 or 100 years from now.

BERMAN: We had Scott McLean on from Madrid earlier today, and he was highlighting a military-led effort in Spain to produce hand sanitizer. That's just part of it. They obviously need more equipment and masks and whatnot. But when you see the military in Spain getting behind that effort, you see the scope and the importance here.

[08:10:01]

Sanjay, there is a lot of discussion in New York City about whether or not there will be a shelter in place order. Mayor Bill de Blasio suggested it may be needed. The governor says no, and he is the one who will issue the order. The political debate, push that aside. What I want to know from you, from a public health standpoint, what is the difference or how much does the distinction matter between a shelter in place order that allows dog walking and calls for social distancing and/or limiting groups of more than 10 people, is there any real distinction here?

GUPTA: I don't think so, John. And I think the shelter in place, I typically heard that term in response to a hurricane or tornado or something. And maybe that's an apt metaphor, people said this is like a storm coming. I think the question you're asking I think is the important question, which is at the end of the day, I think people know what they need to do here. We need to -- the reason you social distance yourself from others is because you want to stop the spread of the virus. They say six feet away. These numbers are a bit arbitrary. Point is you just want to try and stay away from people so that you can break the cycle of transmission.

And, by the way, John, it does make a difference. We have seen this throughout history. We have this chart, I think if people haven't seen this yet, looking back to 1918, which you brought up, and looking at two different cities and what happened. You may have seen this before, but Philadelphia is the line that goes straight up and St. Louis is the dotted line. Philadelphia, I think, had a big fair that year and there was not social distancing. There was a lot of big mass gatherings, and St. Louis adopted some of the strategies we're talking about today. Look, we have history, we have precedent, we have data for why this should happen.

BERMAN: We have science if we'll listen to it. Dr. Phillips, Dr. Gupta, thank you very much for being here with us this morning.

The coronavirus is now in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. So why the state with fewest cases at least so far may have the population at most risk. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:36]

BERMAN: New this morning, West Virginia has confirmed its first case of coronavirus. The pandemic now officially hitting all 50 states.

Joining me now is Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Senator, thank you so much for being with us. I'm so glad to see you, because for so many days, people were pointing out that West Virginia, the one state in the country that had not yet seen a confirmed case of coronavirus and they were pointing to that as some kind of a model of a good thing. But all along, you were looking at it concerned. Why?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, first of all, John, we have the most vulnerable population at risk. I knew that from my days of being governor and also nothing has changed demographically.

And we have over 720,000 or 730,000 more people who are elderly. We have over 230,000 people who are under 60 with chronic illnesses because of the hard work they have done. A lot of respiratory diseases, diabetes, we have a lot of problems that we know we are facing.

And I just knew that if we weren't prepared, if people got lulled into a false sense of security, we were going to be harmed very, very devastating and I thought it was just carnage waiting to happen. I want to make sure that people understood they should not get a false sense of security. I was hoping that the president would not go down that road and making

look like we're doing something special. What we did, they didn't test, John. Up until a couple of days ago, we had 40 tests done. Now I think we're at 130 or so.

But with that being said, John, we have no testing, we're not prepared, people think that we're immune from this.

And I will say this, I talked to the vice president last night, I talked to Dr. Hahn, the FDA director, yesterday morning, we need the testing -- test kits. We have to have. And all the supplies that go with it.

Talking to the vice president last night, we need personal protection equipment for all of our first responders and all of our healthcare workers. We got to make sure that we're not in a tier 2 because when it hits my state and had has hit, it is going to be absolutely catastrophic and we're going to make sure we're on top of this and do everything that we can to protect the people.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Yes, that's news to me. That's news to me -- you only had 40 tests before 130 tests, period, conducted.

MANCHIN: As of -- as of this morning, John, I think it's 137 tests that --

BERMAN: The reason -- the reason there were no confirmed cases is because they weren't looking for them.

MANCHIN: John, that's exactly correct. That's what I was saying all along.

How can you say that we're a beacon of some kind of hope here, that we've done something different? We got five states that surround the state of West Virginia. And these people are the most beautiful hard working people in the world, but they're vulnerable on this situation here.

If they're allowed to think they -- we're protected, there is something we're doing differently, we weren't -- we weren't just (ph) doing testing and didn't know. And now, we're starting to, and hopefully, we'll be able to stay ahead of this thing.

We've got hospitals that have been closing in rural areas because of a lack of economic vitality to keep them open. We shouldn't close any hospitals right now. We don't know what's going to be needed, John. We got to be prepared.

BERMAN: You talked about seniors. You have a high senior population. You talked about smokers, high smoker population. And this is a group that you worked your whole career with and to serve them -- the miners. Many of whom have some kind of respiratory issues from being in the mines.

What are your concerns there?

(CROSSTALK)

MANCHN: Yes, they'll be the last -- John, they'll be last ones that will complain. They always have been. They're the hardest working, last one to complain, the most patriotic people.

Everything good about a human being is in these people. And that's why I love -- I just love my state and I love the people of my state. But the bottom line is I want to make sure they're protected and I was scared to death that we weren't and I was scared to death something would happen and when it breaks out, it will.

The pandemic will hit with a vengeance and that's what I'm afraid about. I'm hoping that we can avert that and we're doing everything we can now. I agree on closing the schools, I agree on closing social gatherings. I agree on all of these things.

And we can all say we should have done a lot sooner, and we really should have, John, and we've been warned and we've known about this, but, you know, for some reason, Americans think that, hey, we're America.

Well, you know what? We're human beings and we're still vulnerable and we got to take care of each other.

So, I'm asking neighbors, if you have elderly, elderly neighbor, go do some shopping for them, don't let them be exposed. Help them a little bit if they don't have family members.

And those family members that do have someone, make sure you're protecting your elderly patients or your elderly family members or family members that have been sick who you know have respiratory problems, or have health problems. Don't --

[08:20:02]

BERMAN: Very quickly --

MANCHIN: Yes.

BERMAN: Very quickly, Senator, a stimulus plan, trillion dollars, a lot of different things being discussed right now. Are you supportive of putting money in people's pockets, some kind of a check going out to many Americans?

MANCHIN: John, what I'm supportive of, first of all, let's find a cure for this virus. That's where all of our efforts should be right now, too. Finding a cure, how we can keep people safe and get back to normal life as quickly as possible.

Next of all, if you want to help working people, take the waiting period off and expand unemployment comp. We already have a system in place.

If you want to help small businesses, make sure you take all the red tape off and be able to get capital into small businesses' hands quickly through the SBA or changing the restrictions we have on banks.

Let's make sure.

BERMAN: Yes.

MANCHIN: But just throwing money out, for the sake of throwing money out, thinking it is going to cure it, if you don't have a plan, you don't have a system that monitors that, John, you're going to be trouble in the long run. I'm concerned about that.

BERMAN: Senator Joe Manchin -- Senator, look, thank you for coming on this morning and talking to us.

MANCHIN: Well, John, let me --

BERMAN: I know you care deeply about your state. We look forward to talking to you again.

MANCHIN: I'll say one more thing, John, very quickly, if I can.

Every mayor, every governor, every leader, supposed to basically, the first thing they do when they take office, make sure you do everything you can, have in place to protect the people you represent. The mayors are stepping up, basically, the governors are starting to step up and they have done a great job.

We in Congress have to step up and make sure we're protecting the people and looking down the road. What happens if a second one comes behind this and we're not prepared, John.

BERMAN: Senator Manchin, we do appreciate you being with us this morning. Thank you.

MANCHIN: Thank you. Good to be with you.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: OK, John, giving $1,000 checks to Americans. That sounds a lot like Andrew Yang's idea during his presidential campaign. How did it go from being radical pie in the sky idea to a Trump administration proposal? The former candidate joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:25:46]

CAMEROTA: Here is the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. Johns Hopkins University reports that there are now more than 200,000 confirmed cases around the world. And at least 8,000 people have died. There are now cases in all 50 states, and Washington, D.C. also several U.S. territories. There are more than 6,000 cases here in the U.S. with 112 deaths at the moment.

A shelter in place order has been expanded in northern California with nearly 8 million people now impacted. And New York's governor is downplaying the possibility of a similar order in his state, though New York City's mayor has told people to prepare for it.

CNN has learned Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin warned Republican senators that without action, the unemployment rate could skyrocket to 20 percent, that is Great Depression era numbers. The White House is scrambling to stabilize the economy, requesting a $1 trillion stimulus package from Congress.

The administration also wants to send $1,000 checks to many Americans.

BERMAN: All right, we have breaking political news. The campaign manager for Bernie Sanders just released a statement saying, quote: Senator Sanders is going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign. But Sanders is currently focused on the response to the coronavirus.

Joining us now is CNN political commentator, a former Democratic presidential candidate, Andrew Yang.

Andrew, it's great to see you, welcome to NEW DAY as one of our colleagues and to the big empty room here.

Look, we're going to talk to you about the thousand dollar checks that people may be getting. You're the man of the moment there. But let's get reaction first to this statement from the Sanders campaign, whenever you hear a campaign saying it is going to assess, it generally means there is a big chance they're going to suspend for -- or end the campaign. What do you think the consideration is and should be for Sanders?

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Bernie's run an incredible campaign. He's moved our entire country in a better direction, but the delegate math is getting worse and worse where he's now down by almost 300 delegates and the states ahead do not project that they're going to change that.

And so, Bernie is doing the right thing by assessing what his path forward looks like, particularly because we're in the midst of this coronavirus crisis. We need to be focused on taking care of the American people, and extorting people to go to the polls is not good for public health. We can all see that.

So Bernie's -- Bernie's entitled to make his own decisions, but I think assessing his campaign's path forward is the right thing to do.

CAMEROTA: But, Andrew, it sounds like you're saying he would actually be hurting the party and even the country if he were to stay in at this point.

YANG: Well, if you can imagine a sporting event, and then a thunderstorm comes in, and there is lightning crackling, they call the game, you know? They say, all right, let's get the players off the field.

And that's a similar situation where we're in right now, Joe Biden is up, like, at this point it is not wise to encourage people to head to the polls. This race is essentially frozen where it is. Everyone can see where it's heading, and I certainly don't think that Bernie and the supporters want to endanger anyone. But that's the reality of the situation we're in.

BERMAN: All right, so let's talk about you being the man of the moment. You campaigned on universal basic income, which is a thousand dollars a month for every American adult. What's being proposed now by different parties is some kind of a stimulus, not the same thing as the UBI, but it's either $1,000 check to people making under $75,000, maybe $100,000, maybe it is a few infusions of cash to Americans over time.

But there are some similarities. What do you think of these proposals and just how does it feel to be discussed the way you are right now?

YANG: Well, certainly, I would never wish for these circumstances. I think putting money into the hands of American families is vital right now because we're facing a recession, immediately, and it is going to potentially teeter into a depression. Putting money into people's hands will just help keep us afloat during this crisis. It doesn't solve many of the economic issues. But it is a stopgap that we have to do.

I certainly would never want to be, you know, proven right in this particular type of situation --

[16:30:00]