Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Coronavirus Outbreak: Virus Infects More Than 100,000, Turns Life Upside Down; Officials Cancel SXSW Festival Over Coronavirus Fears; Trump Visits CDC As Number Of U.S. Cases Grows; Grand Princess Cruise Ship Stuck Off Coast Of California; Female Parliament Member Dies In Iran; Italy Reports Sharp Spike In Deaths Friday; Fighting Online Myths And Rumors About The Virus; Public Health Expert On "Social Distancing" During Outbreak; Trump Visits CDC As Confirmed U.S. Coronavirus Cases Rise. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired March 06, 2020 - 17:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: On Facebook, on Instagram, and Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage on CNN

continues right now. Stay healthy this weekend. See you next Sunday.


PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight on "The Brief," the coronavirus has hit a new milestone with more than 100,000 cases confirmed. The global economy is

rocked by the virus with some analysts now estimating nearly $9 trillion in losses. And we'll look at how misinformation on the internet could be

making the outbreak all that much worse.

Live from CNN Headquarters here in Atlanta, I'm Paula Newton in for Bianca Nobilo and welcome to the show. Now the coronavirus epidemic is touching

more people every day. And of course, changing the rhythms of life right around the world.

Now so far the virus has infected more than 100,000 people in dozens of countries. You can see them There. Here's the thing, fear is hitting

everyone. Really investors are in focus now. The Dow closed down more than 200 points after a volatile week. And the issue here is that volatility.

Analysts say at least $9 trillion have been wiped off global stock markets in just nine days. Yes, that means your pension.

But it's not just markets that are at risk. Much of the global workforce, remember, is now in a state of uncertainty. Tens of thousands of airline

jobs are on the line as more people choose not to travel. Airlines are asking employees to take vacation at reduced pay or just to take unpaid

leave. Companies are asking employees to work from home and hundreds of millions of children are at this hour out of school.

In some places panic buying is making it difficult to find just basic things like toilet paper, and of course, the all-important hand sanitizer

and other items. Retailers in Australia, the U.S. and the U.K. are setting limits on how much you can buy when you go into the store now. Even

religious life looks very different at this hour. Catholic masses in parts of Italy are suspended. And in the Middle East public prayers and

pilgrimages are canceled or restricted.

Now, we have some news just in from Austin, Texas. Officials announced that the annual South by Southwest tech, film and music conference in that city

has now been canceled due to the coronavirus and the concerns inherent in that.

We want to talk about the economic impact of all of this. Joining me now is CNN Global Economic Analyst Rana Foroohar. She is also the Global Business

Analyst for the Financial Times. And Rana, look, we just got that wire in from South by Southwest saying they're canceling. That's just the City of

Austin. It's one of the biggest events they host every year. Once again, real impact on the real economy, not just markets.

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: 100 percent, Paula. I mean, it's hard to know where to start with the impact. You know, we're already

seeing this dramatic effect on travel and tourism, on retail, on services of all kinds.

But you know, today indexes in almost every industry went down - stocks, bonds across the board. And the markets are really starting to price in a

much higher chance of a recession in 2020. In the U.S., that really has to do with the fact that two-thirds of the economy is consumer spending.

So if you have people that are not going to those conferences, and not even possibly going out of their homes, going to work, going to schools - we're

already seeing talk of school shut downs, that's going to have an impact. There's no question.

And you know, as we've talked about many times together, this is coming at the tail end of a very long recovery cycle. It's coming after 10 years of

easy money when the Fed is really out of ammo to do a lot more to bolster the economy. So it's sort of a perfect storm. And I think that we're going

to be here for a while.

NEWTON: Yes. And it's the uncertainty, right, that people - it's been interesting to see through this Rana, because everyone's actually quite

forthcoming. It doesn't matter if you're talking to medical experts. or economic experts, they're all saying we have no idea.

Now the markets reflected that all week. I mean, if you just look at the Dow, I mean, it was up down, up down at the end of the week. In fact, if

you have a look here, it actually did in the end eke out almost a 2 percent gain. The NASDAQ and the S&P didn't fare better than that. But still, it

shows that there is no clear direction with this thing.

How closer, do you think, we are now, 24 hours after the last time I talked to you, on fiscal recovery here? Right. It seems that the market in the

last few hours, was wondering what's Europe going to do? What's Asia is going to do? Crucially, what is the United States going to do to actually

try and bulked up the consumer?

FOROOHAR: 100 percent. Well, you know, the Fed is already trying to cut rates, I think we're going to see more rate cuts. The problem is, that's

about trying to get people to borrow more money.

People are already in debt in the U.S. People don't need to borrow money, they need to go to work, they need to get paid. So the ability of monetary

stimulus to deal with this is really limited. So it's about fiscal, as you say, but that requires both sides of the aisle coming together, and there's

polarization already.

The President of the Trump administration has really tried to point the finger at China. There's been a lot of concerns about xenophobia. You know,

you have Democrats saying, look, we need to pull together and have a major public health program right now. We need to bolster the social safety net.


I think what's going to happen is that coronavirus is really going to draw back the veil on just how fragile this recovery has always been. I mean, if

you look just today, at the reasonably good job numbers that we've seen. About half of those were in low wage areas like services, restaurants. I

mean, are people going to be going out to restaurants? I don't think so.

So I think that you're going to see gig workers under threat. I think you're going to see teachers. It really - we're in for a long haul here.

And it's going to be a big political impact too, I think.

NEWTON: Yes. And you make such a good point. Despite the strong U.S. economy, whether it was Japan or Europe, especially Italy, these were

already economies that were vulnerable. Rana, we're going to buckle up and we're going to talk to you again next week. You have a good weekend.

FOROOHAR: You too.

NEWTON: Appreciated. Now, for the first time since the coronavirus outbreak hit the United States, President Donald Trump is visiting the government

agency really on the front lines of this thing. You're going to go to live pictures right now. You see him there. That is the President talking at the

CDC. He's meeting with health experts at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta here.

Mr. Trump has downplayed the threat from coronavirus, but the number of cases is growing literally by the hour as we get more test kits in the

United States. Right now. The number stands at 265 cases reported in this country.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is live from the CDC. She is watching this visit carefully. And from what you know about why the

President in there and what he wants to learn. What's crucial that the CDC can do right now to instill some confidence.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, one of the things that will be interesting to know Paula is that just yesterday, the

CDC quietly, without making an announcement that we know of said - put on their website that older Americans and those with severe underlying medical

conditions should stay at home as much as possible.

That is a very different set of advice than what they have said before. So, obviously, that is millions and millions of people, older Americans and

Americans with severe underlying medical conditions, things like diabetes, heart disease, things that many people have. Are they sharing that

information with the President? Are they saying to him, Mr. President, we have changed the advice that we are giving? That advice that has evolved

over the days and the weeks. It'll be interesting if they say that to him.

Now, of course, Mr. Trump is, over age 70. It will be interesting to see if he hears this what he will think about this as advice for himself.

NEWTON: Yes, such a good point, point, Elizabeth. He is in this category, and he has political rallies and other things already scheduled right now.

And as you said, that advice, especially to the elderly and those who have compromised immune systems continues to change.

Elizabeth, I know you're going to be watching towards the end of his visit as we also await a briefing from Vice President Mike Pence Elizabeth Thank


In California, meantime, two new cases have been linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship both for passengers on a previous sailing, and the

spread is in fact international. A couple in Canada have been diagnosed after returning from a 10-day stay on board and another woman in the City

of Calgary in Canada has also been diagnosed.

The CDC is still waiting for test results from about 100 people that remain on the ship and they are now stuck on the Grand Princess off the coast of

San Francisco. We should say, though, as well that they have a manifest from people that were on the cruise before and they are trying to do

contact tracing from those people. We are going to get an update though on that ship right now. And that comes from Nick Watt who has more.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On board the Grand Princess cruise ship, uncertainty and fear, how many, if any, passengers are

positive. The testing continues. At least five from the ship's last leg of its voyage caught the virus. One died.

CYNTHIA TRAVERS, PASSENGER ON GRAND PRINCESS: He was around a lot of us on the cruise up on the 14th deck where we all kind of lounged and hung out.

WATT (voice-over): It's an older crowd and that demo is hardest hit.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Those over the age of 70, were looking at 10-15 percent case

fatality rates.

WATT (voice-over): In Washington State where at least seven deaths are now tied to this nursing home. There is grief, fear, and now confusion. Add

Herrick's mom among the dead.

PAT HERRICK, MOTHER DIED FROM OUTBREAK IN NURSING CENTER: --tested, I want her body tested. And I've been told, well, we do that. You know, we just

have to assume that it's natural causes. And so I'm saying, it's not OK. I need to have her tested for the larger picture.

WATT (voice-over): The University of Washington just announced no more classes on campus. The North Shore School District already shut down. At

least 80,000 students in the Seattle area now being kept home.

JESSICA READ, KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL UP TO TWO WEEKS: They said up to 14 days they might be closed.

WATT (on camera): Are you concerned that you know the virus is going to get inside your home and that you and that you and or your kids might be


READ: Yes, my middle son has asthma. So it's mild asthma. But that's a big concern. Seems like here it's really what it's going for is the lungs.

WATT (voice-over): The number of confirmed cases across the country climbing at nearly three per hour in just over the past day.

And Connecticut, Emma, just back from Italy, where nearly 200 have died, is in self-quarantine, just in case.


EMMA, COLLEGE STUDENT IN SELF-QUARANTINE AFTER STUDYING ABROAD: I've been allowed to like pet my dog every once in a while, but it's pretty lonely.

WATT (voice-over): In New York State right now more than 4,000 in a similar situation.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): This is like a flu on steroids.

WATT (voice-over): 11 new cases in the state and names today all connected to contact with one man who's right now being treated in a Manhattan



NEWTON: Okay, a good overview there from our Nick Watt as this virus pushes West. Now in just the past 24 hours in Iran, meantime, more than 1,200 new

cases of coronavirus have now been confirmed.

Iran's Tasnim News Agency reports that a newly elected female politician has died after contracting the virus. Iran's Health Ministry says 124

people are now dead as a result of this virus and the number of cases is edging toward 5,000 in terms of those confirmed. On Thursday, the Iranian

health minister launched a national mobilization plan to try and combat the coronavirus.

And now we go to Italy where they are also reporting another 49 additional deaths and almost 800 new cases. You know, that's today alone - just on

Friday. Now one image that underscores how cautious people are being around others. Take a look at this. There's the Italian Prime Minister avoiding a

handshake seems to in the nick of time.

Ben Wedeman is in Milan with more details on the country's outbreak.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Paula, Italy is reporting the largest single increase in the number of new coronavirus

cases yet. According to the Civil Protection Agency, there are 4,636 reported cases of coronavirus, among them 197 dead.

The authorities continue to struggle to bring this outbreak under control. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome is calling for all Christians to fast

and pray on Wednesday. He says to ask God's help for our city for Italy and the world. While the Islamic community here is calling for cancellation of

all public activities to stop the spread of this virus. Paula.


NEWTON: Thanks to Ben there. Now one challenge in fighting the outbreak is, of course, misinformation. I know you've seen it. The internet is full of

social media posts and websites, spreading conspiracy theories and false cures. So what can be done to try and stop them? Here's CNN's Hadas Gold.


HADAS GOLD, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): It's not just COVID-19, better known as the novel coronavirus that's spreading fast. There's a flow of

misinformation online about the virus and health officials are mounting a concerted effort to combat it, they are calling in an "infodemic." The ease

with which conspiracies are shared and reshared, makes stopping something going viral online almost as difficult as stopping a biological viral

outbreak in the real world.

After the deluge of misinformation around the measles outbreak that started in 2018, the World Health Organization is taking new approaches to tackle

the problem.

GOLD (on camera): Hey, Andy, how are you?


GOLD (on camera): I'm good. Would you call this the first social media epidemic?

PATTISON: I think there's probably been micro academics - epidemics, we call them infodemics. I think this one could well be the first global one.


GOLD (on camera): So one of the big streams of the infodemic is misinformation about the virus's origins and how its spread. Numerous sites

and groups online have been falsely claiming that this virus is a result of some sort of biological warfare, some sort of bio weapon, or even created

by the pharmaceutical industry to try to sell more vaccines.

GOLD (voice-over): Another area of misinformation is fake cures and remedies. Some are harmless like drinking garlic water or basic herbal

tonics. But others are dangerous.

HEIDI LARSON, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE: In our social media monitoring, for instance, we've come across proposed cures and

prevention options for coronavirus for everything from you just need to pray, to more harmful, proposed treatments like drinking bleach.

GOLD (voice-over): Health officials are taking this infodemic seriously. The W.H.O. was working directly with tech companies on a daily basis to

flag and take down bad information, and to ensure that facts from reliable sources get to users first.


GOLD (on camera): We're seeing different approaches from different companies. Some of them are taking a more aggressive approach to taking

down this content. Are there some that you're more pleased with than others?

PATTISON: Yes, definitely. I think it depends on the company's maturity with regards to their social impact and their social care for their users.

So if they've suffered reputational knocks in the past, they're much more likely to respond now to help us.

GOLD (voice-over): We've contacted all the major platforms, and they've told us they're taking measures to combat the school of misinformation. But

these measures don't catch everything.

LARSON: It's very difficult to just delete, unless it's very clearly misinformation. They are, in fact, provoking questioning and doubt and you

can't delete the doubt.

GOLD (voice-over): In today's online world there will always be misinformation. The challenge now for governments and platforms is how to

fight a virus online.


NEWTON: And our thanks to Hadas there. Important to note about the misinformation that's still out there.

Coming up next on "The Brief," I'll talk with an infectious disease experts and here's where you're going to get the facts about this virus. And what

steps you and your loved ones might want to consider at this point. Stay tuned.


NEWTON: As the coronavirus outbreak surges right around the world, two top infectious disease experts are urging some people to really reconsider

going about their usual activities. Now, they recommend anyone above the age of 60 avoid activities that include crowds. And I'm quoting here and

let's go through the list. Do not travel, do not go to a movie theater, do not go to shopping malls, do not even go to religious services or large

family gatherings.

Now the same recommendations apply for anyone with immune issues. You can think of people going through cancer treatment, for instance. Researchers

say there is much more to be learned from this global crisis and that's why it's better to take precautions.

Now joining me for today's "Debrief" is Michael Osterholm. He is one of the experts who suggest people reconsider those daily activities I just

outlined. And again, it is for the elderly and those with a compromised immune system. Thanks so much for joining us.


NEWTON: Michael, I want to make sure that we understand these recommendations, because, you know, there are people sitting at home

saying, how is this different from the flu? I don't do this when we have a flu outbreak in the United States or anywhere else, for that matter? What

are you actually saying to them in terms of what social distancing means and why it's necessary right now?

OSTERHOLM: Well, first of all, let's just distinguish this disease from influenza. While they're both being transmitted in a very similar way, this

disease surely has, at this time, a much higher risk of causing severe disease, and even death and those who have we just outlined in terms of the

age groups. And so from that perspective, this is not just like another seasonal flu year, and we want therefore, for people to be aware of it.


The other thing that we are concerned about is that many people today will be at risk that might not be at risk for flu, because one, there is no

vaccine that they can take. And number two, they've not previously seen this virus before. There are a number of older people who have had

influence in the past that have some protection that would reduce the severity of their illness. So this really is a situation where we are

seeing for the first time a new virus that can really cause serious disease and older people. And we have to take it very seriously.

NEWTON: And I'm sure you recognize the reluctance that I'm talking about here people do this. I mean, I was just on a call with the Chief Public

Health Officer in Canada, she is telling elderly people - in fact, anybody to not go on a cruise right now. We are not seeing those same market

recommendations, for instance, from the American government or the CDC. What do you think? Do you think people should just avoid things like

cruises right now?

OSTERHOLM: Well, I think first of all, we're all coming together to some kind of consensus. Just remember, just a week ago, we were hardly talking

about cases in the United States. And there was this sense that somehow that it been contained, and now we see what's happening.

Now many of us knew that this was going to unfold, just as it did and said so weeks ago, but there's been a general denial in the business community,

in many parts of the medical community. Now, people are waking up to the fact this really is a pandemic of influenza, but caused by a coronavirus.

So I think you're going to see more consensus around recommendations. You're going to see people coming together and saying, OK, this is what we

can do about it. Remember, what we're trying to do in part is just stop the onslaught of cases coming in quickly into the medical care system. There's

not much we can do.

When you have a disease that transmits like influenza virus, either you have a vaccine or else is kind of like trying to control the wind. And so

in this case, just take for a hypothetical 100 cases that might occur today. If they all hit the medical care system today, it's going to stress

this a lot.

If those hundred hit the medical care system 10 a week for the next 10 weeks, that really makes it easier job for us to try to provide great care.

That's what we're trying to do right now, is delay cases and in the rare instance, hopefully prevent them.

NEWTON: And I'm really glad that you parse it out that way, because that's what people are talking about. We already have flu raging in North America

right now, and plus you have public health care providers dealing with just - their normal everyday lives, whether it's cancer treatment, or

operations, surgeries, elective or otherwise.

At this point, when we talk about the population that is compromised, no matter where you are in the world, if it's elderly people, I mean,

President Macron actually - of France today actually suggested, Look, just try and stay away even from elderly people, because you are a threat to

them if you could infect them.

OSTERHOLM: That's true. But I also want to add that we're in uncharted territory. As in China we saw a case fatality rates and percentage of

people who died, who got sick, in mean over aged 60 around 8 to 10 percent, but 65 percent or more of them smoke. We saw me much lower rates and women

for the same age, we're only 2 percent smoked. So these actual, what we call comorbidity or risk factors are important.

In the United States, we have a noose, another set of them. Over 45 percent of Americans over the age of 50 are obese. That is a huge risk factor, and

that's in men and women. We have 690,000 Americans who are living with end- stage renal disease, cancer challenges and otherwise. All of these are what we call comorbidities that could increase the frequency of death. So we're

not just talking about if you're old and you have an immune deficiency issue, but any of these conditions could surely predispose you to much more

serious disease.

NEWTON: Wow, that was some really sobering information, all of it true, which I know public health agencies around the world, and crucially right

now in the United States, are dealing with. Michael, thanks so much for joining us as we continue to try and understand more. Really appreciate it.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you very much.

NEWTON: When "The Brief" returns, coronavirus, a big Super Tuesday for Joe Biden, doesn't that seem like ages ago and tensions on the Greece-Turkey

border. We'll tell you about the week that was in brief.



NEWTON: OK, it's been a hectic week of news. I know we say that a lot. But really we mean it. Let's bring you right up to date on all that happened.

The World Health Organization is warning governments right around the world that quote, "This is not a drill," as the number of coronavirus cases right

around the world stands at this hour about 100,000 and counting.

Now, across the globe, stock markets are tumbling, airlines are canceling thousands of flights and companies are enacting backup plans for workers.

Meantime, it was definitely a Super Tuesday for Joe Biden. Former U.S. Vice President stormed the victories right across the United States. The race

for the Democratic nominee looks like a straight fight now between him and his competitor Bernie Sanders.

Now, a deal between the United States and the Taliban seems to be on shaky ground. A few days after it was signed, the U.S. attack Taliban fighters

and an air strike after fighting in Helmand Province.

Meantime, Israel's third election in less than a year, has seen Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition when the most seats, but they are still a few short

of an overall majority.

And chaotic scenes on the border of Turkey and Greece. Thousands of migrants turned up after Turkey allowed refugees passage to Europe, saying

it has reached its capacity.

OK, a programming note for all of us here. "My Freedom Day" is almost here on March 11th, CNN partners with young people worldwide for a day of action

against modern day slavery. This year, we're asking, "What does freedom mean to you?" Here's what basketball legend Charles Barkley had to say.


CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: I am Charles Barkley. What does freedom mean to me? Living in the greatest country in the world, being able

to say whatever you want to, just be a good person, be part of the solution, not part of the problem. That's what freedom means to me.


NEWTON: Now, tell the world what freedom means to you. Please share your story using the hashtag "MYFREEDOMDAY.

And that is "The Brief." I am Paula Newton. I will remind you that we are waiting on a briefing from the White House. This is from the Coronavirus

Task Force. We're going to hand it over right now to the capable hands of my colleague, Wolf Blitzer.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: I mean, we're going out and really testing people that have flu like symptoms. And then going to expand that

from the sites we started to the whole nation. So we're going to have on this and see. Whoops, this virus has now snuck up into Northern Maine,

whoops, we sit down in in Kansas and that information will then be used by doctors to know if someone comes in with an upper respiratory - I better

think about maybe testing for coronavirus.

So anyone have - will have confidence, it's not just in CDC, it's in the public health community of this nation. Its strong. They're doing their

job. I tell people every time we see a new confirmed case, they should think of that as a success, not a failure, because they know their public

health community is out doing their job.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the difference is that they're being proactive. We are being proactive. We're going out and

looking for spots. nobody else is doing that, not by leaving samples or anything else. We're going out and proactively looking to see where there's

a problem. You don't have that. But we're doing it to see if we can find areas which have trouble spots.

I even, don't even know if I agree with that. You'll find out those areas just by sitting back and waiting. But they're trying to find out before you

would normally find out by waiting. And you know, I think that's great, but that's what they are doing. They're the only - we're the only country in

that sense that's proactive. We're totally proactive, and we're totally equipped to handle.

REPORTER: Is the strategy shifting from containment to risk mitigation?

REDFIELD: So right now, it's - you shouldn't think of it as one or the other. All right. And I'm going to say we need to stay committed to

containment. And I still believe containment and control is the goal. But that's going to be complemented strategically by what we call mitigation or

non-pharmaceutical interventions like asking churches not to have big gatherings.

So in the state of Washington, in the last couple of days, they announced their initial mitigation strategy.