Return to Transcripts main page


California Orders 40M Residents to Stay Home; Senate GOP Unveils $1 Trillion Stimulus; Layoffs Expected to Worsen. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired March 20, 2020 - 05:00   ET



GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it. They'll do the right thing. They'll meet this moment. They'll step up as they have over the course of the last number of weeks to protect themselves, to protect their families and to protect the broader community.



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Now, here's what you need to know. The essential services will remain open including gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers' markets, food banks, convenience stores and the delivery restaurants.

Officials project about 56 percent of California's population, that's more than 25 million people, will be infected over an eight-week period. The governor has asked President Trump to send a U.S. navy -- a hospital ship to give state medical options and relieve pressure on a health care system to be already under just great pressure.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nationwide, there are at least 13,479 coronavirus cases in the U.S., (AUDIO GAP) this time last week now seems like such a long time ago (AUDIO GAP) and 41 deaths. Many hospitals are already in need of medical supplies. There have been pleas from health care workers running out of surgical masks and there's fear there will not be enough ventilators, breathing machines, as the cases mount.

President Trump says it's up to the states to obtain them.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governors are supposed to be doing a lot of this work, and they are doing a lot of this work. The federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping. You know, we're not a shipping clerk.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Vice President Mike Pence leading the federal coronavirus task force says the private sector will meet the need for medical equipment, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says, that's just not enough.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It would literally take the federal government to say to manufacturers stop what you are making or start making these machines. They're fairly technical as I understand it, but the supply chain issues are real.


JARRETT: New York City says it's two to three weeks from running out of medical supplies. Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city needs millions more protective masks and 15,000 ventilators.

ROMANS: The president says he's pushed the FDA to eliminate hurdles to getting anti-coronavirus drugs to patients. He points to an anti- malarial drug that he falsely says has been fast-tracked to treat COVID-19.


TRUMP: We're going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. Normally, the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that and it's -- it was approved very, very quickly.


ROMANS: He's just wrong on that. Fact check, the drug is FDA approved, has been for (AUDIO GAP) it's used for lupus. R.A. and malaria.

The head of the FDA is tempering expectations as is the government's top infectious disease doctor.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Today, there are no proven safe and effective therapies for the coronavirus. That doesn't mean that we're not going to do everything we can to make things that have even a hint of efficacy more readily available. But there's no magic drug out there right now.


JARRETT: There has been one promising step toward a vaccine. The world's fastest super computer, IBM's Summit, has run thousands of simulations and identified 77 drug compounds that might effectively stop the virus.

ROMANS: All right. Senate Republicans are rolling out their $1 trillion economic stimulus plan. It's not in its final form just yet. But it currently calls for direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to airlines in distressed industries and $200 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small business.

JARRETT: The GOP rollout sets the stage for negotiations with Democrats to reach a bipartisan deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell exclusively tells CNN joint talks with Democrats were bypassed until now to speed up the process.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The Republicans are in the majority in the Senate. We wanted to put forward our proposal. We feel like we have an obligation to do that as a majority. And the Democrats, of course, need to be given an opportunity to react to it.

This is the quickest way to get it done. Trust me, this is the quickest way to get it done.


JARRETT: Democratic leaders are already pushing back. Overnight, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on first reading, the Republican plan is not at all pro-worker and instead puts corporations way ahead of workers.

ROMANS: All right. Businesses big and small are already paying a big price.



ROMANS: All right. Here we go. Layoffs are here, big layoffs. The government reported weekly jobless claims last week surged to the highest level since September 2017 and Goldman Sachs predicts 2.25 million Americans filed for jobless benefits for the very first time this week. That's the highest in history.

Numbers in California already up 33 percent, 96 percent of small business owners are already feeling the strain of coronavirus. More than half say they won't be able to continue operating for more than three months like this.

Wall Street closed up yesterday about 1 percent. The first time since March 6th, the Dow closed within 1,000 points of where it opened. Take a look at futures right now bouncing here. We hope that holds. Still, a lot of concern going forward.

The National Retail Federation is asking for clearer guidance from the White House on which stores can stay open since the response has been driven by conflicting state and local orders.

Now, gas prices are falling. The average price of a gallon of gas is below 2 bucks in 12 states. No one is going anywhere. So, how much of a benefit is that really for drivers who are staying home?

Spring is usually a big home selling season. The good news, mortgage rates are at rock bottom. The bad news, who wants to go to an open house?

But there is some relief for home (AUDIO GAP) deferred (AUDIO GAP) payments as part of additional (AUDIO GAP) customers.


JARRETT: The coronavirus has decimated one New Jersey family. Seventy-three-year-old Grace Fusco and her sons Carmine and Vincent, and her daughter Rita have all died. Two other relatives are in critical condition and a third is in stable condition.

Nineteen other family members have been tested and they're worried the carnage is not over.


ROSEANN PARADISO FODERA, COUSIN OF FAMILY MEMBERS: Our biggest concern for the family right now is there are 19 family members that were tested last Saturday that do not have results.

ELIZABETH FUSCO, LOST FOUR FAMILY MEMBERS TO CORONAVIRUS: To know that two of those women I sat with on Tuesday and nourished and promised everything's going to be OK to is gone. They were the root of our lives. That was my mother and my oldest sister. They were everything. Like, it's surreal.

My two oldest brothers -- like, they were the core of our family since my dad's been gone. They've held us together like no other.

And it's like the second we start to grieve about one, the phone rings and there is another person gone -- taken from us forever.


JARRETT: "The New York Times" reports a family dinner earlier this month may have spread the infections in that family. It's so heartbreaking for all of that. They're trying to do the right thing and stay among family members. Clearly, you know, it's just --

ROMANS: Very close, tight family. What could be more safe than a family dinner and hugging and kissing the people you love. But this is life in coronavirus now.

All right. Eleven minutes past the hour. The virus began in China, but now Italy has paid the biggest price. CNN live around the world next.



ROMANS: U.S. State Department telling Americans not to travel abroad at all because of coronavirus. This travel advisory now at the highest rating. It shouldn't be hard to follow that edict. Countries are already closing borders around the world.

Meantime, across Europe, thousands of medical students are being fast tracked into early service to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. In Italy, this year's med school graduates will begin working as fully qualified doctors immediately months ahead of schedule.

JARRETT: A grim milestone for Italy at the same time. They now have more deaths from coronavirus than China, where the pandemic first began.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is live in Rome for us.

Hi, Delia.


Yes, some really disheartening numbers reported yesterday, 3,405 deaths from coronavirus. On those numbers, the day before yesterday, the Ministry of Health gave some numbers of those who had died saying the average median age was 80, about 30 percent were women, and many of them had two or three prior health conditions.

But, still, those numbers are not looking good for Italy. Of course, Italy has a very large elderly population which may have something to do with it. A definitive analysis is yet to be done obviously because we are still in the very midst of the crisis.

The vice president of the Chinese Red Cross was here and he said in Wuhan at the one month mark of lockdown, they began to see their numbers decline while in Italy we've been on ten days of a total countrywide lockdown. So, clearly, the expectation is we have not yet reached the peak of those numbers.

One other point that the officer from the Red Cross pointed out from China is that he saw that stricter measures needed to be enforced in Italy and that sort of echoes something that the regional governors have asked the central government to please crack down even more on the lockdown and also getting people to understand the need to respect the rules. We've seen police cars going around here asking people to please stay inside. It is still ten days in, something that people need to get used to and understand.

Of course, these are democracies, perhaps you'll be experiencing this soon in the United States, that it is difficult for people to understand the limitation on their freedom of movement. It's not something people are used to. So, authorities really trying to encourage people to do that -- Laura.

JARRETT: Sure, not something we're used to at all but certainly for a good reason.

Delia, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. The Olympic flame arrived in Japan, marking the start of official celebrations for a global sporting event that could still be derailed by this pandemic.

Will Ripley live from Tokyo with the latest developments.

And Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, has a big decision to make here. Let it go on, let it go with no crowds or defer it a year? What are the choices here?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He's really caught between a rock and a hard place. I know that's cliche, Christine, but I mean, considering how much Japan has riding on these Olympics. It was sold on Japan's revival after the devastation of nine years ago when, you know, massive earthquake and tsunami, you know, triggered a triple nuclear meltdown in Fukushima prefecture, which is where the Olympic torch relay is supposed to begin in the coming days.

It was supposed to be a symbolic welcome today, a huge ceremony with throngs of people, crowds cheering on the torch, watching as Japan's two most famous Olympians lit the flame and instead it was just not what Japan had hoped for. There was nobody there, except for a handful of officials and the cameras capturing almost a somber ceremony in many ways as the Olympic torch was handed over and the flame was lit, because there's just too much uncertainty, there's this dark cloud kind of hanging over Japan right now, and nobody knows what's going to happen by the time that torch reaches Tokyo.


The president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, spoke to "The New York Times" and he said the cancellation of the games, which is the first time since World War II, is not on the table. So, Christine, they are having to look at other options, including as you mentioned, postponing the games or holding the events without spectators. None of them are good options from the Japanese perspective, especially considering this fact that the country not only has so much emotionally invested in the Tokyo 2020 Games, which is supposed to kick off in just over four months, but also, they're on track to spend some $20 billion on this.


All right. Will, thank you so much, in Tokyo. Keep us posted.

In China for a second straight day, the government reporting no new locally transmitted cases. The 39 new cases all involved infections coming from overseas.

CNN's Steven Jiang is live for us.

And, Steven, it shows, this thing is beatable.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: That's right. That's also why the authorities focus is increasingly a potentially second wave of new infections involving people coming from overseas. That's why on top of their already very strict policies targeting arrivals, they're now diverting some Beijing-bound international flights to nearby cities to have health screenings done there. And if you're deemed healthy, then you'll be able to board your flight to fly into Beijing.

Now you mentioned these remarkable turn around in Wuhan, the epicenter. It was achieved with tremendous costs, including the loss of more than 2,400 lives in that city alone, including doctors, like Dr. Li Wenliang, the whistle-blower doctor who was silenced by local officials and then died from this very virus over a month ago.

I mentioned him because the national authorities have just announced the findings of their investigations into problems or issues related to his death and, of course, it turned out to be very disappointing to millions of people around the country because it did not address any of the burning questions on their mind, who was responsible for silencing him and the initial mishandling or alleged cover-up of this outbreak by officials there. Now, they only blame the two local cops instead.

This issue is very much relevant now because President Trump is blaming China for not informing the U.S. early enough to let the U.S. have enough time to prepare for this. So, Laura, a war of words between the two governments, but they really need to work together to fight this pandemic -- Laura.

JARRETT: Yes, everyone needs to come together obviously right now.

Steven, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. The biggest move in the U.S. to stop the coronavirus. Forty million people, the entire state of California locked down.



JARRETT: Another round of prominent sports figures testing positive for coronavirus.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.


Yes, 10 NBA players have now tested positive for coronavirus and with the numbers growing, the league telling teams to shut down their practice facilities until further notice. That's according to ESPN.

And after the Nets announced four of their players tested positive, the Lakers were then tested and the team announcing two of their players have coronavirus.

Now, Celtics guard Marcus Smart also confirming that he has tested positive. He says he's feeling fine, doesn't have any symptoms. Smart also urging millennials to take this seriously and practice social distancing. Now, Saints head coach Sean Peyton becoming the first NFL employee to

confirm he has tested positive for coronavirus. Like Smart, Peyton says he doesn't have symptoms either. He did tweet: Appreciate the well wishes. I'm feeling better and fortunate to not have any of the respiratory symptoms. Four more days at home #beatcovid.

Now, it looks like we will have sports to watch in April. Big 3 telling Yahoo Sports that they are going to test and quarantine players and have them live and play games at one site in Los Angeles.

The league's founder, Ice Cube, telling ESPN it's going to be like Big Brother meets Big 3. Big 3 says they're currently negotiating a TV deal to air the reality show and games.

Of course, Laura, that news coming out before California effectively went into a shutdown. So, we'll see how that affects that, but Big 3 trying to give us some sports to watch.

JARRETT: They are determined to have their basketball tournament no matter what.


JARRETT: All right. Well, something to stay hopeful I guess, right?

SCHOLES: Yes, right.

JARRETT: Andy, have a great weekend.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: Total lockdown. The state of California, 40 million people told to stay home to stop spreading coronavirus.

JARRETT: And a dreaded sign of a down economy. Layoffs are here. Unemployment claims beginning to skyrocket.

Good morning. Welcome back. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 29 minutes past the hour.

And, Laura, one economist just told me there are 14 million jobs at risk right now.

But breaking overnight, the most aggressive move yet to stem the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. California ordering 40 million Americans, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population to stay home.

JARRETT: Life in California already profoundly changed. These are the empty freeways of Los Angeles during rush hour, which would normally look like a parking lot. Governor Gavin Newsom's new order, the first statewide restrictions remain in place until further notice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWSOM: We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it. They'll do the right thing. They'll meet this moment. They'll step up as they have over the course of the last number of weeks to protect themselves, to protect their families and to protect the broader community.