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NEW DAY

Prince Charles of United Kingdom Tests Positive for Coronavirus; Senate Passes $2 Trillion Economic Stimulus Package; Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is Interviewed About Stimulus Package. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired March 25, 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]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Including Prince Charles. He has tested positive for coronavirus. We have new details for you, and NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY): We have a bipartisan agreement on the largest rescue package in American history.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): This is a wartime level of investment into our nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are the ventilators, where are the gowns, where's the PPEs. The president said it's a war. It is a war. Then act like it's a war.

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ultimately the goal is to ease the guidelines. I hope we can do this by Easter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's really very flexible. Obviously, no one is going to want to tone down things when you see what's going on in a place like New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love nothing more than to be able to responsibly begin to open up things in a few weeks. I just fear that we're not going to be there yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Good morning. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, March 25th, 8:00 now in the east. John Berman here along with Alisyn Camerota.

And we do begin with breaking news. There is a deal, this $2 trillion stimulus agreement reached by the White House and Senate leaders just a few hours ago. It is being touted as the biggest spending package in history, but will it be enough to make a difference in your life and spark this frozen economy. The Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joins us just a few minutes from now to give us some of the details in this deal.

Two other major headlines this morning, we just learned that Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus. The 71-year-old prince has mild symptoms. We are told he is in isolation. We'll have more on that ahead.

And there is also the alarming and perhaps unchecked spread of coronavirus in the United States, especially here in New York. Cases are doubling every three days in the nation's largest city. Almost half of the new cases are people under 45-years-old. Governor Andrew Cuomo says simply we have not flattened the curve. The federal government now says that anyone who has recently left New York should self-quarantine for 14 days.

CAMEROTA: John, there are now more than 53,000 cases in the United States. Yesterday was the deadliest day so far, a total of 709 people have died. Despite that, President Trump says he would love to have the country opened by Easter Sunday, but leading health officials warn that timeline will be far too short. Dr. Anthony Fauci calls Easter, quote, an aspirational goal. He has stressed the need to be flexible.

So we begin with the breaking news on Prince Charles testing positive for coronavirus. CNN's Max Foster broke this news. He is live outside of London. What do we know about his condition, Max?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know he has mild symptoms, but otherwise remains in good health. He's up in Scotland at his private home, Birkhall. The Duchess of Cornwall is there with him as well. She's being tested as well but she doesn't have the virus. What we're being told they met the criteria required for testing, and they're now isolating up there in Scotland.

They're also telling us that it is not possible to work out who he caught it from because of the high number of engagements he's carried out in his public role in recent weeks. I work with him all the time. Alisyn, as you any, he's incredibly busy. He works harder than any other member of the royal family. He meets more people than any other member of family I know. And he wasn't self-isolating. They told us that earlier on. He is now self-isolating.

But he is well so far. He's in a vulnerable group, he's above 70. Thankfully the duchess doesn't have it. But they're trying to work out where he got it from and who he may have had contact with since, particularly, of course, the queen. And we are told that they met on the 12th of March, that was after an investiture. But I've just spoken to my sources, and Prince Charles is being advised that he was contagious from the 13th of March. So they don't feel too concerned about the queen. I'm told she's in good health. But they won't be commenting any further.

What is interesting is when we're told that Camilla and Charles met the criteria of testing and they're in their early 70s, you would have thought the queen certainly would have met the criteria of testing in her mid-90s. But we're not being told whether or not she's been tested, Alisyn, or the result of that test if it took place.

CAMEROTA: Max, thank you very much for the breaking news and all of the details. I know that you will keep us posted and keep working your sources.

Joining us now with where we find ourselves today, we have CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Dr. Leana Wen, emergency room physician and former Baltimore health commissioner. Great to see both of you.

Sanjay, all of the news that is breaking this morning in terms of the spike in cases and the death toll here in the United States, certainly what is happening in New York, how do you assess where we are today?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the numbers are going up, and the rate at which they're going up is increasing as well, Alisyn.

[08:05:05]

The curve, and a lot of people have seen this curve over and over again, this flattening of the curve, one of the goals has been to try and acknowledge the fact that a lot of people are likely to be exposed to this. But the rate at which they actually access the healthcare system, we want it to slow down. It looks like we're more -- at least in New York City, more on the red side of that curve than the blue side of that curve.

So you can see what that means, Alisyn. It obviously means that a lot of people may need hospitalization, which is why the governor there is planning the extra ventilators, extra hospital beds, all that sort of stuff. It also does shorten the duration of this a little bit as well. So you would rather have it go longer duration, fewer people get sick at any given time. But right now it is in between the blue and red area, and that's what I think people are focusing on, with these stay at home sort of orders, try and flatten that curve more.

BERMAN: The curve is getting steeper, more quickly than we feared. That from Andrew Cuomo. So, Dr. Wen, what does that mean, exactly? When does that mean the peak might be, and what data are you looking for here?

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, we don't know where that peak is going to be and when. But as Sanjay was saying, the goal is for us to try to flatten that curve so that we don't overwhelm the healthcare system all at the same time. Even if we have the same number of people infected, if we can spread that over multiple months instead of having everybody come in within a few weeks, that will help us save lives, because otherwise, it means all these individuals are going to need hospital beds, many will need intensive care and ventilators at the same time. And we've seen what happens in Italy and now Spain when doctors have to make these just horrific decisions, untenable decisions, where they have to choose in the heat of the moment who gets that last ventilator and who has to go without.

And it is in the only the patients with coronavirus that we have to worry about, because healthcare is still happening. There's still patients coming in with heart attacks and strokes and car accidents, and these patients may become infected themselves, but they may also be -- end up being denied care, because we simply don't have enough to go around. And that's why these public health measures, like social distancing are so important, but also why strengthening our healthcare system, getting equipment to these frontline providers, is so critical right now.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, let's look at New York City as a microcosm of what is happening. This is obviously a hot spot, the numbers here are spiking in terms of the death toll as well as cases. And younger people are coming down with the illness here in New York. What are you seeing, and what does it tell us about the run of this virus?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I think there is a few things. First of all, yes, New York City is considered a hot spot, a term that Ambassador Birx and Dr. Fauci are now both using to describe this. But there are other places around the country where you're seeing significant spikes in cases, Washington, California, where people have heard, but Michigan, Louisiana has had significant rises, Florida, Georgia, all these places.

I think the issue of younger people being affected by this, Alisyn, I think is one of the most important things for people to remember, because I think people have often said, hey, look, this is something that affects the elderly. If I'm young, it is not as big a deal. They wort of have gotten the message that, look, even if I'm young, I can still spread it, so I should be careful.

But it is even a step further, Alisyn, as you point out, 20 percent of those that are hospitalized with this, so hospitalized, that's many in critical care, many on those breathing machines that you just described are young people, 20 percent of the hospitalized are people between the ages of 20 and 44. It is true they're far less likely to die, thankfully, from this. It's rare, but it can happen. But the idea that they're hospitalized, they're accessing the healthcare system, like Dr. Wen was talking about, is still part of this whole equation. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, if there's not enough ventilators, not enough hospital rooms, it makes a difference.

And one thing I'll just point out as well, they're retrofitting a lot of places around the country to try and accommodate patients who are going to need this critical care. To put a ventilator in a room is not easy. You need to have backup power supply. No matter what, you can't lose power, right? You have to have oxygen. There is a lot of planning that goes into these types of things. And frankly that's what should have been happening over the last several weeks, but thankfully it's starting to happen at least to extent in some of these places now.

BERMAN: And they're talking about doubling up on ventilators, which is something that some doctors have told us they've never seen before, and it raises questions about whether or not you should need to MacGyver a worldwide pandemic.

Dr. Wen, the president is talking about opening up maybe some parts of the country by Easter. Yet we hear about the rates of increase in Boston and Louisiana, what Sanjay was saying, in Michigan and other parts of the country. How much do we really know about the spread of coronavirus all over the country, and what would you need to know before opening places up?

[08:10:08]

WEN: Well, that's exactly right. And you're asking exactly the question that we as public health experts are asking, which is we need to know the data, and if we don't have the data, how are we making these decisions at all? It seems like these dates that are being picked are arbitrary and not based on science and evidence.

We don't have enough testing. We have talked about this, we know about this, but that lack of testing is preventing us from understanding the true spread of coronavirus in communities. It's almost certain that not only in New York, and the identified hot spots, but all over the country, there are significant underestimates of the true number of coronavirus cases. And until we can solve the serious problems of overburdening our healthcare system in these hot spots, and until we have the data about the rest of the country, it would be premature for us to roll back any of these restrictions which, frankly, have just started.

I know that we're eager to get back to normal life, and it is a big sacrifice that so many people are making, but we also have to do the responsible thing and not wait until people's lives are the cost of our inaction.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Wen, Dr. Gupta, thank you both very much for all of the latest information for us. John?

BERMAN: So breaking overnight, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, the White House reached a $2 trillion economic rescue package early this morning. We don't know exactly what is in it. There are a few people who do. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is one of them. He will join us to talk about it, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:18]

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, after five days of negotiations, Senate Democrats, Senate Republicans, the White House have an agreement on a huge $2 trillion rescue package, which is really the largest spending bill in U.S. history.

Joining me now is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

I know it was a late night and early morning for you, Senator Schumer. I also know that we're at the disadvantage. We don't know exactly what's in this bill. You do.

So, politics aside, what people want to know this morning -- people who may be out of work, staying at home right now, not getting paid, what's in it for them? Your answer? SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Well, thank you. Just first I want to give

a "thank you", a deep heartfelt "thank you" to all the health care workers, doctors, nurses, everyone else on the front lines risking their lives for us. And to my staff led by Gerry Petrella and Meghan Taira. This bill wouldn't have happened.

To the American people we say, big help, quick help is on the way because we face about the most unprecedented health crisis we have. Our -- the five pillars that we fought for to make the bill better, much better than the bill Friday are all in the bill and let me quickly explain them.

First and foremost, a Marshall Plan for hospitals and health care nursing homes, community health centers, et cetera. These places desperately need help. They need ventilators.

They need equipment. They need PPE, all kinds of things. They need to build new beds. They have so much strain.

There's $130 billion in for health care in our health care system to be injected right away to help with the shortage of ventilators, equipment, and other things as well as what else they need.

Second, this is worker-friendly, workers first. We didn't want to put corporations first. We thought the original bill did that too much. This is workers first. Let me explain that.

So many people have been thrown out of work through no fault of their own. The restaurant closes, the small business closes. Now, all of those people will be able to apply quickly and easily for unemployment insurance. And most of them will get their full salaries, or very, very close to it.

And they can be furloughed. Which means that they can stay on the payroll of a company they work for, keep the benefits that that company was giving them, and then when God willing this horrible crisis is over, these businesses can reassemble because the employees would have not been scattered to the wind.

Third, real help for state and local governments, $150 billion worth. Our state and local governments are hurting. Many of them are going broke. They need the help.

Fourth, some real oversight and accountability, transparency of this large corporate -- corporate lending facility. And the bottom line there is that we will know very shortly after any contract with the Fed or with the Treasury is signed with a company, any loan is made, we will have the full details of the loan document. It'll be published very, very shortly afterwards. Congress will get it, the public will get it.

And we have strong oversight. Elizabeth Warren helped me design those so that we have an inspector -- a special inspector general to look over this, as well as a congressional board.

Fourth, help for small business. Small businesses have been desperate for help. I know the anguish of small business people who spent a lot -- years, years building up their business and boom, gone.

They're going to get very -- interest free loans. They're going to have their employees paid for by the Small Business Administration. So they can keep them.

So, those -- that's what's in the bill. And it is a good bill.

Does it have everything we need? No. Are some things in there that I would have rather not had? No, of course.

But this is the art of compromise. This is the art of coming together. America needed huge help quickly. And I think we've risen to that occasion.

BERMAN: Let's talk about what people are going to see in terms of money. We can put up on the screen here, $1,200 for individuals earning up to $75,000, $2,400 for married couples up -- earning up to $150,000, $500 per child.

And you outlined the extension of unemployment benefits too. And I don't think people necessarily realize in some cases, that's quicker and longer term money than just the immediate check.

SCHUMER: Exactly.

BERMAN: In terms of this $1,200 -- can I just ask, when are people going to see the $1,200?

SCHUMER: OK. I think the president has said that he would have it out by April 6th.

BERMAN: OK.

SCHUMER: But this -- the -- what we call unemployment insurance on steroids, it goes longer. That first check is nice but how are you going to pay the rent and buy the food and do things in the months after if you're still unemployed? The unemployment lasts for four years and it's larger, it's more money, because it pays you -- for most workers, their full salaries.

[08:20:07]

BERMAN: There's been a lot of shouting in Washington and a lot of complaints about the process.

Frankly, I guarantee you that people at home are interested in that. They're interested about what's in the bill.

So my question to you is what's in it today that would not have been in it Sunday if it had passed on Sunday? What did you get?

SCHUMER: All of the things I mentioned. Much more money for hospitals. The unemployment compensation plan has been strengthened and lengthened.

There was virtually no accountability over these corporate bailouts. The transparency and accountability that I mentioned is there.

The small business, much of it was there. That was the one thing that was there to begin with. But we have greatly strengthened the bill and we're proud of what we've done.

BERMAN: The oversight --

SCHUMER: Had the bill passed originally -- had the bill passed originally, there would have been huge holes in it in our opinion.

BERMAN: There are some progressive Democrats, so-called progressive Democrats, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of your home state of New York, concerned that they haven't seen the bill yet, they're concerned about the $500 billion to corporations. They want to know more about the oversight measures.

There won't be a period -- a six-month waiting period where people won't know where the money is going?

SCHUMER: No. That was the original -- that was in the original bill. It was appalling. They could give out billions and tens of billions of these loans and to companies and no one would know what it is.

Now within seven days, Congress gets the full document. Within 14 days, they're made public, each one. And the whole document, not just -- not just the outline.

So, every -- there will be accountability, and in fact, many of the suggestion that Elizabeth Warren who went through this with the TARP oversight board were incorporated. She worked with me on this.

BERMAN: And in terms of the president's own companies, I understand there are some restrictions there.

SCHUMER: Yes. We wrote a provision. Not just the president. But any major figure in government -- cabinet, Senate, congressman, if they have majority, they or the family have majority control, they can't get grants or loans.

And that makes sense. Those of us who write the law shouldn't benefit from the law.

BERMAN: Is this enough? Is this going to be enough?

SCHUMER: We don't know. We don't know. One of the -- the two awful things about this crisis are one, that we don't know how long it's going to last. Who's affected? We still don't exactly know.

I asked a doctor friend of mine the other night, a rudimentary question, which is, once you get it, are you immune? No one knows the answer to that.

So, the unknown is one thing. That's why we may have to -- we should be willing, able to come back in a bipartisan way and do more if we need it. I believe we'll probably have to do that one way or another. The second problem about this crisis, John, is it separates us. We New

Yorkers, we love to be together. We mix and mingle and get strength from one another and isolation is tough.

BERMAN: I have to let you go, but do you have any plans to get back to New York or do you need to stay in Washington now based on the situation in the state?

SCHUMER: Well, I'll have to -- I'll have to take stock after we pass this bill. And, by the way, I think we will pass it today. You know, they have to -- the staff who's done such an amazing job has to write everything and make sure everything is accurate and all of that. Then I'll have to decide what to do. I've been down here for close to two weeks.

BERMAN: All right. Senator Chuck Schumer, we have to let you go. Thank you for helping us understand what's in the bill.

SCHUMER: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Obviously, we're going to learn much more over the next several hours.

SCHUMER: Thank you. Thank you, very much.

BERMAN: So, Liberty University in Virginia letting thousands of students return to campus while hundreds of other colleges remain closed.

Liberty's President Jerry Falwell Jr. joins us next to explain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:27:26]

CAMEROTA: Hundreds of colleges and universities have sent students home because of the coronavirus. But one university is bringing students back to campus during this crisis. About 1,900 students have returned to Liberty University. That's a private evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia.

There is still a statewide ban in effect there on gatherings of more than ten people.

Joining us now is Jerry Falwell Jr., he is the president of Liberty University.

President Falwell, thank you for being here.

So, just explain the thinking here. That as we see the cases spiking, the number of deaths spiking, what's the rush? Why have students come back to campus in the middle of this?

JERRY FALWELL, JR., PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: First of all, most of the press reports have been false. Liberty did not reopen. Liberty has between 1,000 and 2,000 students on a campus built for 15,500. And almost a thousand of those are international student who have nowhere else to go. Others have no place else to be except in their dorms.

We don't know how many students have come back to town and moved into their apartments off campus. But we decided early last week when the governor said no classrooms over a hundred people to go completely online. There's only a few medical labs in the medical school, nursing school that have less than ten people in accordance with the governor's orders.

And so, these reports have been overblown. The false reports started with the local newspaper article here that was irresponsibly written. But we appreciate you allowing me to come on and clear it up.

CAMEROTA: Well, thanks. We appreciate the real information. So let's just go through it.

So your dormitories are open, yes. That's true. Correct?

FALWELL: Dormitories, yes. Liberty -- the campus has become more like an apartment complex than the university. The education is all being done online. All the restaurants are serving takeout only.

We are wiping down every surface that's touched often every hour. We are -- have extra police, extra -- we've really -- we are very unique in we started external education back in 1985.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

FALWELL: So, we -- by 2000, it was all online. We've become one of the largest online universities in the country. So we --

CAMEROTA: OK.

FALWELL: We felt like we had a responsibility as a Christian university to make education available to as many as possible online throughout this crisis because they're going to be pandemics like this in the future.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

So many of our kids are doing e-learning because of all this. I want to be clear. Is your library --

[08:30:00]