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Coronavirus Pandemic; Italy Calls In Military To Enforce Lockdown; Health Care Workers Grapple With Supply Shortage; Spain Counts 1K Deaths, 628 In Madrid; U.K. Orders Pubs And Restaurants Closed; Olympics In Doubt; Senators Sell Stocks Prior To Global Outbreak; Jewel Holds Digital Concert To Help Families In Need. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired March 21, 2020 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Next here on CNN, 1 in 5 Americans now being told to stay home as coronavirus cases soar in the U.S.
Also, an urgent plea from health care workers on the front lines, "We don't have what we need."
Plus, profiting from the pandemic?
Two U.S. senators and well-timed stock selloffs raising eyebrows.
We're live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. And this is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: 5:00 am here on the East Coast. And we really appreciate you joining us, as we bring you the very latest developments on the coronavirus.
As the pandemic surges around the world, the mantra in health officials is loud and clear: stay home. One day after California ordered its residents not to go out, New York, Connecticut and Illinois have now fallen suit. That affects some 75 million Americans.
For now, the rest of the country does not face such restrictions but people everywhere are urged to stay home as much as possible. And the reason, it's simple, testing shows the virus is spreading quickly everywhere.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S., now approaching 19,000. More than 250 people have died. The global pandemic shows no signs of slowing. Johns Hopkins University has logged more than a quarter million cases in the world and well over 11,000 deaths.
In Europe, Italy, of course, bearing the brunt of the outbreak, now reporting the highest single fatalities in a single day, well over 600 people.
And this chart tells the grim story; as the number of cases soar, many hospitals are overwhelmed. Supplies are short and health care workers are falling ill. And a disturbing trend. French health officials say more than half the patients in intensive care there are under 60 years old. That country now reporting more than 12,000 cases. And at least 450 deaths.
Cities like Paris and Nice are closing public spaces and imposing curfews. We have correspondents covering the pandemic around the world from Tokyo, where there are questions about the Summer Olympics, to the U.S. West Coast and the lengths to which hospitals are going to provide care.
But we want to begin in Europe and the newest restrictions aimed at keeping people safe there. Catherine Norris-Trent is in Paris, Delia Gallagher in Rome for us.
Delia, the numbers in Italy keep going up, too many to count. It just is getting worse and Italy is trying to clamp down.
DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie, 4,032 people have died. That is the latest count from yesterday, a total of 47,000 cases total.
On the high death toll, we have a report from the ministry of health, which gives a kind of picture of those people that have died. That report says the average age is 80 years old and 98 percent of them have one or more underlying health conditions.
That report also says the average age of those who get the disease in Italy is 63. And that's compared to 46 years of age in China.
So we have a kind of picture, at least, in this early stage; of those patients who have died, the suggestion being, of course, that Italy has a large elderly population and that is playing a role in that large death rate.
We don't have definitive answers on it because we're in the midst of the crisis. And the real focus is getting doctors up to the northern regions to help relieve the pressure on hospitals there. There are 53 doctors flying in from Cuba that have experience with Ebola in Africa.
GALLAGHER: The government is allowing 10,000 medical students to skip their exams and go straight out to work. They're bringing in retired doctors, nurses, all hands on deck, especially in the north, where they're under a large amount of pressure.
They have to build out tents to put in temporary beds and new ICU units to try and help this growing number of cases -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Can you remember when it was first in Milan and, you know, it was just slowly seeping in. And now this, Delia, it is unbelievable. Thank you so much for your reporting there in Rome. Now we want to turn to Paris where Catherine Norris-Trent is
monitoring how they're reacting.
France, obviously clamping down now?
CATHERINE NORRIS-TRENT, FRANCE 24 CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Natalie, the French interior minister says he wants to see the rules in France enforced much more strictly.
We've seen police officers out on the street here on the Champs- Elysees avenue, checking cars, checking to make sure everyone has the necessary paperwork, forms filled out, giving them one of the few reasons, one of the few official reasons that they are allowed on the streets, such as going to get food, going to the doctor or perhaps going to look after a child or a vulnerable person.
People are not allowed out just for pleasure at the moment. They have been allowed out, Natalie, jogging or for a stroll to get fresh air. Again, French authorities trying to clamp down on that, they are not allowing people to go for a run on the banks of the River Seine.
Around the Eiffel Tower, officially closed off and French authorities stepping up checks in train stations and airports, telling people they're not allowed to go on holiday or go away for the weekend as many Parisians like to do.
We'll see French troops on the streets, providing backup for the police. In terms of how medical authorities are dealing with the illness in the eastern portion of the France, the Alsace region, there the French military is setting up a field hospital because the medical services there are saturated.
That's one of the hot spots, as is the French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean. There are helicopters being sent there to take the more seriously ill in Corsica back to the mainland because there are areas in France where the health services are struggling to cope, Natalie.
ALLEN: Yet another country trying to keep up. Catherine Norris-Trent in Paris, thank you, Catherine.
As the United States adjusts its stay at home orders, medical personnel are scrambling to get the supplies they need while unexpected parts of the private sector work to fill in the gaps. As CNN's Nick Watt reports for us from Los Angeles, the strain and uncertainty are taking a toll.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA): This is the day everything changed.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Californians, New Yorkers, the populations of Illinois and Connecticut will all soon be under orders to stay home. That's more than 70 million Americans.
GOV. JB PRITZKER (D-IL): To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the State of Illinois.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): These provisions will be enforced.
This is the most drastic action we can take.
WATT: People can go to the store, get out for some solitary exercise, but stop socializing.
CUOMO: "We're going to go visit Mom. I'm going to bring the whole family to see Mom," no, not now.
WATT: Essential workers are exempt, like food service and healthcare providers, who are still struggling nationwide to find the supplies to keep themselves safe and treat the sick.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We're starting to see those individuals become sick as well and be taken out of the work force, or in some -- in some cases become seriously ill. So, here's where everything can fall apart very quickly.
WATT: In Los Angeles, they're erecting tents in hospital parking lots to treat Coronavirus patients, distillers now making sanitizer for first responders, nurses making their own masks.
DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, LIFESPAN/BROWN UNIVERSITY: We absolutely feel like we are in this alone.
WATT: The U.S. is the biggest economy on earth. And the Mayor of our most populous city is saying it will run out of medical supplies in two or three weeks.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY): I have made repeated appeals to the federal government to get us basic medical supplies and there is no meaningful response. Where the hell is the federal government in the middle of the biggest crisis we've seen in generations?
WATT: The President says he has now pulled the trigger on the Defense Production Act, giving himself essentially wartime authority over private industry to produce supplies.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a lot of people working very hard to do ventilators and various other things. We have millions of masks, which are coming and which will be distributed to the states.
WATT: Goldman Sachs now estimates that this week, 2.25 million Americans filed for their first week of unemployment. If that estimate is accurate, it would be eight times last week's figure and an all- time record.
All interest on federal student loans now suspended, tax deadline day pushed three months to July 15th.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This is not a permanent state. This is a moment in time.
WATT: How long will this last?
Well, the mayor of Los Angeles says it's on the books for a month. But he thinks it could extend to two. And Friday afternoon, the mayor of New Orleans said that city is going under a similar stay at home policy. When New Orleans stops partying, we know we've got problems -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
ALLEN: As you just heard, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio did not mince words. He's been openly critical of the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus and pleading with the federal government for supplies and support. But de Blasio is far from the only one sounding the alarm. CNN's Sara Sidner with more about that.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nurses and doctors from coast to coast are afraid and concerned.
CONSUELO VARGAS, ILLINOIS NURSE AND UNION MEMBER: I have been a registered nurse for over a decade. My hospital is in complete chaos and confusion in regards to COVID-19.
SIDNER (on camera): Do you feel like they were ready for this when it came to the United States?
CATHERINE KENNEDY, NURSE V.P. NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: No, absolutely not. They're still scrambling. We just don't have what we need.
SIDNER: Are you afraid for yourself and your patients?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's the first time in my entire career that I've ever been afraid and I've heard other physicians say the same.
SIDNER (voice-over): They are worried about how the hospitals and governments are falling short as the coronavirus sweeps the nation. Experts warn, we're not even experiencing the worst of the pandemic yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of hospitals are asking us to keep your mouths quiet.
SIDNER: This physician asked us to not use her face and alter her voice because she says she believes she'll be fired for speaking out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't have enough staff, we don't have enough protective equipment and we have too many patients.
SIDNER: She works in Georgia. U.S. health officials are now asking doctors and nurses to do things they haven't had to do before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're asked to use things, you know -- things that are one-time use only to be used for a day and saved for the next day.
SIDNER (on camera): If you are being asked to reuse something over and over going to different patients, aren't you putting patients and yourself at risk?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
SIDNER (voice-over): In Roseville, California, Catherine Kennedy has been a registered nurse for 41 years.
KENNEDY: We are the front line. If we go down, who's going to take care of these patients?
SIDNER: They've never talked but both agree the hospitals and governments didn't properly prepare for a pandemic.
(on camera): Some of the hospitals will say, look, we didn't know what this was either. This is new to us. How do you expect us to know what to do, how to prepare? What do you say to that?
KENNEDY: Well, we were here before with Ebola. We had a protocol. And, you know, various hospitals were ready to utilize that same protocol that they did for Ebola. But the hospitals said no, they didn't want to do that and so then, at the last minute, they started scrambling.
SIDNER (voice-over): The Kaiser Permanente, the hospital system Kennedy works for, said the procedure it's using to screen, test and care for healthcare workers and patients suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 are aligned with the latest science and guidance from public health authorities.
These protocols and personal health equipment have been reviewed and approved by their infectious experts and are in use by the major hospital systems. They said they're committed to ensuring health care workers have to right level of protective equipment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think these guidelines are irresponsible and I think that they're playing with human lives knowingly.
SIDNER (on camera): You don't believe that it's now okay to use different masks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I mean, a bandanna is not made for particles of a virus. It's just a decorative item, maybe to keep pollution out a little bit, but it's not meant to protect from potentially lethal disease.
SIDNER: And then there are the fights over testing at some hospitals. Consuelo Vargas is a registered nurse in a Chicago emergency room. She says she and other nurses were exposed to a potential COVID-19 patient at work, but days later, they have not been tested and they have not been told if the patient has tested positive.
VARGAS: So I'm supposed to return to work tomorrow. I don't know if I need to go get swabbed.
VARGAS: I don't know if I need to be off until we get the patient's test result back. I'm left wondering what to do.
SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN.
ALLEN: To talk about this problem, Dr. Richard Dawood, joining me from London, he's medical director at the Fleet Street Clinic.
Thank you, Doctor. Good morning to you.
DR. RICHARD DAWOOD, FLEET STREET CLINIC: Good morning.
ALLEN: Let's start right there with the story we just heard. This virus is exploding across the U.S.
What is your reaction to the fact that there are not facilities, there's not equipment and that medical personnel are disguising their voices to talk about the fact of -- that the United States is not on top of this and not ready to handle what's coming?
DAWOOD: (INAUDIBLE) evidence, there's not really any precedent to this that we've had. And even the -- your correspondent (INAUDIBLE) Ebola, that was on a much smaller scale. There is a concern, you know, a very serious disease only on the timing scale of a country.
No health system has the capacity to cope fully with the (INAUDIBLE) surging cases that is expected. And that's why health authorities are taking the means to (INAUDIBLE) to limit transmission, to limit person-to-person spread of the virus, by locking down, by restricting movement.
In the early stages, we watched this happen in China and couldn't really believe that this might happen on home turf and thought that it might be possible do control it just by restricting entry and by tracing contacts.
But that's not now the case. And until -- the only way to take the pressure off the health system now is what governments and public health authorities have been doing increasingly. That's been happening. That's been happening in Italy, where they've really scaled up the isolation and distancing.
And that's now being implemented in other countries. They have been a bit slow to wise up to that in the United Kingdom. I can see that's happening on a big scale in the United States. So the only way to take the pressure off the system is to reduce the number of cases and prevent the person-to-person spread if you can.
And to use that time to build up more capacity and resilience in the health system and support the people working in the health systems as best we can with testing and facilities and resources and doing things like mobilizing additional staffs. So, for example, in the U.K., there's a program to relicense recently
retired physicians and nurses, getting them back in the workforce in the United States. I've heard of plans to try and improve state-to- state recognition of licensing, things like that to absolutely build up the workforce and scale up things very quickly.
ALLEN: You talk about the fact that the U.K., the U.S., they were caught off guard. Health experts say the U.S. was two months late in preparing. That's why we are where we are today. That found unbelievable that these countries weren't prepared.
DAWOOD: No. Well, I didn't say that they were totally caught off guard, because, clearly, it was being watched from afar. I hope that time is being used productively. I know that the CDC, it was helping to develop tests. And there must have been some escalation in preparedness.
But I think that it was hoped at the beginning that it would be possible to delay the most draconian measures necessary until we've reached the peak of the outbreak. But it's become clear that those measures need to be put in place at a much earlier stage.
So we're having to adapt to the situation we find ourselves in. I think at least if we can put in these extreme measures now, they can be fine-tuned as more knowledge emerges about the infection and what can be done to mitigate its effects.
ALLEN: Yes. As you say, United States, the U.K., Italy, all trying to bring back doctors who have retired and put new doctors, who are just finishing med school, on the front lines. It is surreal. We thank you so much for your input, Dr. Richard Dawood, thank you.
The streets across Spain are empty amid the fears of the virus, while, in the U.K., tough new closures of people's places to congregate. You can imagine.
ALLEN: We're talking about pubs. We'll get into that soon in a live report.
Plus, reports of insider trading of high-ranking senators who perhaps knew that coronavirus was coming and didn't communicate that to the public. Details, just ahead.
ALLEN: British authorities have faced criticism for not imposing tougher measures, restricting movement, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Well, that's changing. On Friday, the prime minister said all pubs, gyms and cinemas must close. Meantime, in Madrid, they are building a massive temporary hospital;
60 percent of Spain's fatalities have occurred in the Spanish capital. But people are heeding the warnings now. We are told Spanish streets are nearly empty.
We're about to get a firsthand look, because we're joined by Anna Stewart in London for developments there and Al Goodman in Spain's capital, Madrid.
Al, let's start with you, you're right there. And as we can see, you're one of the only people out right now. And I guess that's good.
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Natalie. The state of emergency in Spain has been in effect for one week and, really, you can see, on this shopping street, it's about 10:30 in the morning on a Saturday here in Madrid.
This would normally be packed with shoppers. We've seen just a couple people come by while we were waiting to go live. These measures, the government announcing that inner-city train traffic, the bullet trains from Madrid to the south to Barcelona, running at 2 percent of normal traffic.
The bus traffic, which is still very important, taking people around Spain, running at 9 percent. So people seem to be heeding the call not just because they want to but because the police are enforcing it fiercely, issuing 75 fines a day across the country, starting at $100, to get people off the streets.
There's very limited activities. You can go to work, food shop, just a handful of other activities. Now all of that is because the cases are going up. Nearly 20,000 cases across the country. About 10,000 of those people in hospital, Madrid having a huge number of those cases and the deaths.
So as you just mentioned, a field hospital is being put up in the sprawling Madrid convention center out by the airport by the military to accommodate 5,500 hospital beds. And a couple of big hotels in town that are closed because they have no clients are also providing about 1,200 other beds that will be staffed by doctors, 50,000 doctors and nurses mobilized, especially young doctors just finishing med school or a couple years into their practice, into residency, the country trying to ramp up and take care of those sick -- Natalie.
ALLEN: And looking for creative way to create beds. That's really important right now. You told us about the hotels as well, saying, look, we're here. You can use us as well. Al, thanks so much.
We want to turn now to Anna Stewart, joining us from London.
Anna, the U.K. a little bit behind others and started to clamp down on people's movements.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a huge ramp-up in containment measures, pubs, bars, restaurants asked to close down. People have been urged not to congregate in these businesses but they haven't really closed them down.
Really, the reaction is this is what was going to happen. People expected it. The businesses, of course, it's very sad in time. Along with these measures were actually a huge fiscal policy, a big injection of money. Salaries of those workers who cannot work will be provided largely by the government. They'll foot the bill of 80 percent of salaries.
Speaking to business leaders yesterday, that being the biggest concern, how do they pay their workers. For the states, of course, they don't want their people losing their jobs and relying on the welfare state as well. But a huge amount of money.
In March, people who lost their jobs may regain their employment now. And it will continue for as long as it's needed. This is in addition to $400 billion worth of grants, loans. Two emergency rate cuts by the Bank of England.
The government has thrown everything at this. And I feel like the British people are now on board. People are at home and just bracing for what is happening next. Natalie.
Yes, bracing is important. And nice to see that people are adhering to this. Thank you so much, Anna Stewart.
And again to Al Goodman for us in Spain.
Keep us posted on the developments, Anna.
Next here, calls are growing to postpone the Olympic Games. How the coronavirus is casting a cloud over Tokyo 2020.
Also ahead, the singer-songwriter Jewel is live-streaming a concert. And there is a purpose behind it. We'll talk to her about it. As we continue here on CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen.
ALLEN: Well, more calls are coming in to delay the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over the coronavirus. The head of USA Swimming says the games should be postponed until next year. And in a letter to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees, Tim
Hinchey asked them to advocate for drastic changes, saying, "The right and possible thing is to prioritize everyone's health and safety and appropriately recognize the toll this global pandemic is taking on athletic preparations."
He's not alone. The virus is casting doubts over the future of the Tokyo games. Japan very much wanting the games to go on. But will they? CNN's Will Ripley reports for us, he's in Tokyo.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is not what Japan was hoping for, a scaled down ceremony, as the Olympic flame arrived at Matsushima air base. No crowds, just a few officials and two of Japan's most famous Olympians, lighting the Tokyo 2020 torch.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The games are still set to begin in late July, in just over four months. Japan is hoping for a comeback, from the catastrophic earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, nine years ago this month.
Japan's spirit and economy desperately needed a revival. Tokyo 2020 was on track to be just that. The novel coronavirus pandemic changed everything.
"It's possible the Olympic Games will be cancelled, despite Japan's best efforts," says Japanese lawmaker Shigeto Shiba (ph).
International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach tells "The New York Times" the Summer Games will not be cancelled for the first time since World War II but he now admits postponing the games is on the table.
Last week, Japan's Olympic minister quickly shot down President Trump's idea to postpone the games for a year. But a recent poll says 70 percent of Japanese have doubts that the games can go on as scheduled.
RIPLEY: Do you think it's going to be safe to host the Olympics in July?
"Under the circumstances, I don't think it's safe," says this resident.
"As an athlete, I really want to host the Olympics in Tokyo," this man says.
"But thinking of athletes and their families, I'm not sure it's a good idea."
Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo and Tokyo 2020 organizers say they are doing all possible to host the games on schedule. Inside Japan's Olympic Committee, signs of dissent; 1998 bronze medalist Kaori Yamaguchi told the Nikkei newspaper that the games should be postponed because athletes can't train.
Dr. Mike Ryan with the World Health Organization says much will depend on how the virus will evolve in the coming weeks.
DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Obviously, the government (INAUDIBLE) the IOC (INAUDIBLE) will not make a decision to move ahead if there's danger to athletes, danger to spectators.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Japan was expecting to host 90 million visitors this year. That was before global travel ground to a halt. Analyst Keith Henry says the economic damage could be devastating. The emotional toll could be worse.
KEITH HENRY, ANALYST: In some ways, there's a dark cloud over the whole world. And Japan is a part of that. Wherever that torch goes is not going to be necessarily a happy occasion.
ALLEN: Let's talk about it with Ed Hula, he's the editor and founder of "Around the Rings," which specializes in business news about the Olympics.
Ed, thanks for coming on here.
Should Japan be continuing to push for these Olympics to happen?
ED HULA, FOUNDER, "AROUND THE RINGS": Well, it's a very difficult situation they're in right now. They've got so much invested in it, whether it's capital building, facilities or preparing people for the games. But it's just getting much, much more difficult to bring these games to Tokyo.
The longer this pandemic goes on -- so they've got four months before the games. But in reality, that time is an illusion, because athletes are not able to train. They're not able to qualify for the Olympics. And without the athletes, there can be no games.
ALLEN: Well, there you go.
Where is the International Olympic Committee on this?
HULA: They're still waiting, waiting, waiting, to get some kind of definite word that the coronavirus would interrupt the July timing of the Olympic Games. Again, they have no deadline set for a decision. It's open-ended. And that's causing a great deal of anxiety on the part of athletes, in particular, who are trying to get to Tokyo for the games.
How challenging would it be for a postponement, until there is the all-clear with this virus?
HULA: It would be a big challenge. But it's a big challenge for all of the major sports events. Sports bodies, which have had to blow up their schedules, tear up their calendar for this year because of coronavirus.
And I think in solidarity, the IOC might want to stand with some of these other important sporting bodies and sports organizations and work together to try to find a way to fit the Olympics, perhaps, into a revised schedule for it later on this year, where there's even talk of moving them to 2021.
ALLEN: As you talk, we're looking at the venues there in Tokyo. It is heartbreaking, how these countries prepare and build stadiums and seeing them empty. You mentioned athletes and that even qualifying meets have been cancelled.
ALLEN: There are not enough athletes to participate.
What do you think is it doing those world class athletes?
I can't imagine the anxiety that they're having to deal with right now.
HULA: Yesterday, we had a press teleconference with the leadership of the U.S. Olympic Committee. And they stressed that the number one priority is the safety of athletes, the safety and health and welfare of the communities that -- where they live.
And included in that, they mentioned mental health. They have mental health services available for athletes who need counseling. There's a great deal of pressure that these athletes face, think about it, not only training for the Olympics, trying to perform at their top level, to qualify for the Olympics, but at the same time, worrying about their own health and the health of their families.
They have no place to go to train. Many of the training centers have been shut down. Travel restrictions are in place so they can't go to the swimming pools that they use or the tracks that they use for training.
So the regime of preparation for an Olympics that ordinarily follows a trusted cadence has been totally disrupted by this coronavirus pandemic. Forget July.
HULA: Right now, when these athletes need to be tuning up and getting ready to compete in the Olympic Games. And they just don't have that opportunity.
ALLEN: And when it's all said and done with the virus, the world will certainly need the Olympics. It's always wonderful when the world comes together. Ed Hula, we got to leave it there. Thanks so much for talking with us, as this decision is made. Perhaps we'll talk again.
HULA: A pleasure.
ALLEN: Questions over members of the Congress who sold stocks, hmm, right before a major Wall Street downturn. Who they are and what they have to say about the allegations. That's next.
ALLEN: Critics are going after the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the U.S. for stock trades that saved him a lot of money. At issue: his timing. As CNN's Tom Foreman reports, he's just one of several members of Congress now in the spotlight for selling stocks before the plunge.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Up to $1.7 million in stock, that's how much Republican Senator Richard Burr and his wife pulled out of the market on February 13, just before it started crashing, losing 31 percent in 10 days.
At the time of Burr's sell-off, the public did not know the seriousness of the virus.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's going to disappear. One day, it's like a miracle. It will disappear.
FOREMAN: But Burr, as the powerful chairman of the Intelligence Committee of Russia probe fame, was getting detailed updates.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC): It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Just after Burr sold those stocks, he even told a gathering at the Capitol Hill Club in D.C. the virus could be very bad, according to a recording obtained by NPR.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BURR: It's probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Burr says the NPR report is a "tabloid-style hit piece" that knowingly and irresponsibly misrepresented his comments.
He wants an ethics investigation to prove he did not use inside information to protect his bank account.
But conservative pundits who have long thought Burr not loyal enough to the president are pouncing. TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Otherwise, he must resign from the Senate and face prosecution for insider trading.
FOREMAN: Former Democratic presidential contender Andrew Yang tweeted: "If you hear about a pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio, you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest."
Other senators are being scrutinized for big stock dumps, Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican James Inhofe, but both say they're true were initiated by others and they were not as privy to virus updates.
SEN. KELLY LOEFFLER (R-GA): I do want to set the record straight.
FOREMAN: Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler did attend a big virus briefing and tweeted afterward about the work being done to, quote, "keep our country safe and healthy."
Then she and her husband, who is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, sold hundreds of thousands in stock. She says it was all handled by a third party, above-board.
LOEFFLER: That I'm only informed of my transactions after they occur, several weeks. So, certainly, those transactions, at least on my behalf, were a mix of buys and sells, very routine.
FOREMAN: And the president's assessment of them all?
TRUMP: And they said they did nothing wrong. I find them, the whole group, very honorable people.
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Singer-songwriter Jewel is resilient. The coronavirus forced her to cancel a big concert but the show will go on and for a great cause. We'll talk with her, next.
ALLEN: Singer-songwriter and philanthropist Jewel is using her music to raise money for her charity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN (voice-over): The Grammy nominated artist is putting on a
digital concert Saturday to help those stuck in quarantine and others in need of aid. The online event is called "Live from San Quarantine." The Inspiring Children Foundation as it's called, helps children in need with housing, food, clothes and many other things.
My colleague Michael Holmes spoke with Jewel a short time ago and she talked about the mission of her foundation.
JEWEL, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I have a youth foundation. For the last 18 years we worked with at-risk youth and we give them mindfulness tools and entrepreneurial skills to build resilience and go into their lives.
And I wasn't able to do the annual two fundraising concerts due to the epidemic. So we decided to pivot and be resilient ourselves. I decided to do a concert online. I call it "Live from San Quarantine" because I'm a big Johnny Cash fan and we're going to try and raise money.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hopefully, you will. We've got it up on the screen for people to see. Tell me more about the Inspiring Children Foundation.
JEWEL: Yes, I was a recipient of charitable donations as a child. I grew up very poor. I moved out at 15. I was raised in an abusive household. I ended up homeless at 18 because I wouldn't sleep with the boss. I had a lot of adversity to overcome. And I refused to believe that I would be a statistic.
I always wanted to try to figure out how to be happier and it wasn't taught in my household. And I wanted to understand if it was a learnable skill.
If my nurturing was bad, could I still get to know my true nature?
So I started developing a set of tools for myself just out of sheer survival while I was homeless. And a neuroscientist actually proved why these exercises work. I'm very into putting mindfulness into motion. Meditation it's great, like doing a biceps curl. But if you don't put that muscle to work throughout the day, it's not going to do you much good.
So I started developing tools that are putting mindfulness to work. Mindfulness just means being consciously present. Then you can start working with habits and rewiring your brain. It's very possible.
So I started taking these tools and giving it to these youth in the foundation. One of the fundamental flaws in philanthropy in my opinion is it makes the person feel bad about themselves.
We don't want it to be that way. It's just a side effect of it. So with our foundation, we only want to give our kids skillsets, so we teach them entrepreneurial skills, mindfulness skills. These are suicidal children, children who are highly abused and highly at risk. And they've all turned their lives around. I'm very proud to say this
year 99 percent of our kids have earned their own college scholarships; 90 percent are Ivy League. It's incredible, these tools work.
Now we're starting to scale these tools and make them, offer them to everybody. So the kids helped me develop a website called jewelneverbroken.com. It's free to everybody.
JEWEL: In times like these, these are tools that I really hope people will begin to adopt, to help with our own mental hygiene as we face these really difficult times.
HOLMES: It's so important with this mixing of music with mental health. As you say, these are difficult times. I wonder if you could share with us what message you would send to your fans and anyone watching right now, about, you know, keeping the faith, staying positive, working together on this?
JEWEL: Humanity has faced epidemics and horrors since the beginning of time. We haven't had to face one in quite a while. But we are built for this. It is frightening. You know, it would be crazy not to be scared right now. So we have to look at the things that we can do that are within our control. And then we really have to let go of the rest.
Because stress and anxiety affects our immune systems and our children will remember the mood we have in the house much more than they'll remember a lot of the other details.
So getting very serious about realizing not every feeling is a fact. Not getting on what I call fear porn which is social media if you use it wrong. Stay away from the things that fill your eyes and fill your mind and fill your ears with too much fear. And really start to take this opportunity to understand how can we connect to ourselves in a more profound way.
HOLMES: Very quickly, the coronavirus has virtually shut down the live music industry. A lot of musicians are streaming online these days.
What is your message to fellow singer-songwriters about how to carry on?
JEWEL: We can all adapt. You know, music is going -- people need music. We'll find a way to get it to people. And we'll find a way to be supported by people.
ALLEN: Jewel's concert airs live on her Instagram page 8:00 pm Eastern Saturday. That's @Jewel on Instagram and streamed on her Facebook page. What a wise woman she is. I'm Natalie Allen. Stay with us, "NEW DAY" is just ahead.