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Fears Grow Of Deadly Infection Spreading In U.S.; Nearly 700 Cases Of Virus Linked To Cruise Ship In Japan; African-American Votes Key To A South Carolina Win; Rivals Take Direct Aim at Front-Runner Bernie Sanders; Coronavirus Outbreak; Biden Hits Steyer for Buying Stake in Private Prison System. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 26, 2020 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Just ahead, U.S. health officials issue a warning on the spread of the coronavirus but the White House downplays the threat.

And showdown in South Carolina: front-runner Bernie Sanders under attack from rivals in the last debate ahead of Super Tuesday.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie and I agree on a lot of things. But I think I would make a better president than Bernie.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump. Think about what that will be like for this country.



CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

And we start with fears of a potential coronavirus pandemic raging through the United States. Nearly 81,000 cases have been reported globally with more than 2,700 deaths. The vast majority are in Mainland China. But South Korea reports it has more than 1,100 cases.

Publicly, U.S. president Donald Trump says his country has nothing to fear. But federal health officials are painting a very different picture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are, in all cases, I have not heard anything other. The people are getting better. They're all getting better.

I think that whole situation will start working out. A lot of talent, a lot of brain power is being put behind it. $2.5 billion we're putting in. There's a very good chance you're not going to die. Now they have studied it, they know very much. In fact, we're very close to a vaccine.



DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: Current global circumstances suggest it's likely that this virus will cause a pandemic. In that case, risk assessment would be different. And new strategies tailored to local circumstances would need to be implemented to blunt the impact of the disease and further slow the spread of the virus.

Now it's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will become infected and how many of those will develop severe or more complicated disease.


CHURCH: Fears over the fast-spreading outbreak triggered another massive sell-off on Wall Street. The Dow fell almost 900 points on Tuesday after a 1,000-point drop the day before. The SNP and Nasdaq each lost about 3 percent.

Meantime, in Asia, markets are still trying to rebound after falling sharply earlier in the week. Most indices dipped again on Wednesday.

Well, the virus has now spread to at least 40 countries and territories around the world. Next to China, Iran has reported the most deaths, while South Korea has confirmed the second most cases.

Among those infected, an American soldier stationed in South Korea. It is the first known infection of a U.S. service member. And CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me live from Seoul with the details on all of this.

So Paula, what more are you learning about this infected U.S. service member?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, we're down at the Camp Humphreys base, which is the headquarters here in Korea. And this is where that particular individual has been brought, we understand from the commander, by ambulance so that he can be treated in a low- pressurized isolation facility.

So they're saying he's getting the best care. He's a 23-year-old male. And he was based in Camp Walker -- sorry; he was based in Camp Carroll, which is very close to Daegu.

This is the city in the southeast of the country where the vast majority of these cases are now emerging. It's really the area and the focal point of South Korea's fight against coronavirus.

So we know that that individual did go onto a different base which is in the center of Daegu and just a mile away from a religious group which is also becoming a focal point of this coronavirus -- the numbers and the spike in cases.

What the military's trying to do now is effectively trace his footsteps, find out who he came into contact with and to try to make sure that this doesn't spread any further.


HANCOCKS: Now there's 28,500 U.S. troops in Korea. This is obviously a concern for the U.S. military.

And we also know within the South Korean military they have cases as well; 18 South Korean soldiers have been confirmed as carrying the virus at this point. And, of course, the concern is that there is a close proximity issue when it comes to any military around the world. They're living in barracks. You do not want this kind of virus being able to spread throughout.

Now we've just heard from the commander, this headquarters here will be essential personnel only from Thursday. They're really trying to restrict soldiers' movements, they say. And all non-essential travel to Daegu, the area that's most affected, is not going to be permitted by the generals as well.

So they're really trying to crack down and prevent this spreading any further -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Many thanks to our Paula Hancocks, joining us live from Pyeongtaek.

And now Ben Wedeman joins us from Milan.

Ben, after significant problems with Italy's early containment efforts, what's the latest on that?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've seen here in Milan, for instance, Rosemary, is that, on a normal day -- it's just after 8:00 am In the morning -- this road would be full of traffic but now it is relatively quiet, if not somewhat empty.

What we've seen is that, so far, the latest statistics are that 322 people have contracted the coronavirus. There was one new fatality yesterday, bringing that number to 11. The victim was a 76-year-old woman with previous medical conditions.

Now just south of here about 60 kilometers, a so-called red zone has been set up, where nobody can leave or enter. The police and the army have been deployed to make sure that people stay in place. Here in Milan, we've seen a combination of sort of life as normal,

oddly, and, in other respects, life completely changed.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): The pigeons outnumber the tourists in Milan's Piazza del Duomo. It's less than an hour's drive from one of the so- called red zones, where more than 50,000 people are living under lockdown, as the Italian authorities struggle to halt the spread of coronavirus.

"It's not normal that there are so few people," says this woman. "This is the week of Carnival and people usually bring their children here in costumes."

Some tourists are still here but their presence belies the jarring reality of this crisis.

Via the Internet we spoke with journalist Mario Borra, who lives in the red zone town of Codogno with his wife and two young children.

"Normal life," he says, "has come to a screeching halt. The city is completely closed," Mario says. "You can't do anything, literally. The municipality, post offices, banks, any activity with a gathering of people has been suspended. Even funerals can only be attended by two or three close relatives."

In this close-knit town, tragedy is felt by all.

"We're a very small community," he says. "Everyone knows each other. Someone who died yesterday is the father of one of my friends."

In Milan, museums, universities and schools are closed. The city's famous La Scala theater is shuttered. All bars and cafes are under orders to shut their doors at 6:00 pm, all these measures intended to slow the spread of the disease.

This group of university students gets in their last drinks before closing time. Emma isn't worried.

EMMA, STUDENT: The death rate is very low and in the end people die always.

WEDEMAN: OK. That's fine. You're young. Not everybody is young.

EMMA: Yes, I am worried for my grandparents.


EMMA: I already called them already, made sure that they have precautions and everything.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): More "precautions and everything" may still be needed.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WEDEMAN: And today is Ash Wednesday. Normally there would be services in all the churches in the morning. But all of those services, Rosemary, have been canceled.

CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Ben Wedeman, joining us live from Milan.


CHURCH: And just ahead, the top Democrats running for the White House took the stage in their last debate before some major primary races. And front-runner Bernie Sanders was under constant fire. We will look at the winners and losers next.




CHURCH: Welcome back. Well, in just a few days voters in South Carolina will choose their Democratic candidate for president. Then it's on to Super Tuesday, when 14 states will vote. And in their last debate before these critical races, the gloves were off and front- runner Bernie Sanders was feeling the heat.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Of the last 50 polls that have been done nationally, Mr. Bloomberg, I beat Trump 47 of those 50 times. If you look at battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, polling --



SANDERS: I beat Trump.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS HOST: You proposed more than $50 trillion in new spending. You've said Medicare for all --

SANDERS: Over a 10-year period.

O'DONNELL: -- will cost $30 trillion. But you can only explain how you'll pay for just about half of that.


O'DONNELL: Can you do the math for the rest of us?

SANDERS: What we need to do is to do what every other major country on Earth does, guarantee health care to all people, not have thousands of separate insurance plans, which are costing us some $500 billion a year to administer. Our plan -- we have laid out options all over the place. One of the

options is a 7.5 percent payroll tax on employers, which will save them substantial sums of money --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bernie, let me respond to you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does the math add up?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, the math does not add up. In fact, just on "60 Minutes" this weekend, he said he wasn't going to rattle through the nickels and the dimes.

Well, let me tell you how many nickels and dimes we're talking about. Nearly $60 trillion.

Do you know how much that is?

For all of his programs.

SANDERS: Not true.

KLOBUCHAR: That is three times the American economy.

WARREN: I think I would make a better president than Bernie.

BUTTIGIEG: Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump. Think about what that will be like for this country.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie Sanders' analysis is right. The difference is I don't like his solutions.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie, in fact, hasn't passed much of anything.

KLOBUCHAR: I do not think that this is the best person to lead the ticket.

BLOOMBERG: Should you keep on going, we will elect Bernie. Bernie will lose to Donald Trump.


CHURCH: But Sanders wasn't the only one under attack. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg was also sparring with his rivals.


WARREN: I don't care how much money Mayor Bloomberg has. The core of the Democratic Party will never trust him. He has not earned their trust. I will. And the fact that he cannot earn the trust of the core of the Democratic Party means he is the riskiest candidate standing on this stage.

O'DONNELL: All right, Senator Warren --

BLOOMBERG: I'm the one choice that makes some sense. I have the experience, I have the resources and I have the record. And all of the sideshows that the senator wants to bring up have nothing to do with that.

GAYLE KING, CBS ANCHOR: Senator Warren, that is a very serious charge you that leveled at the mayor. He told a woman to get an abortion.

What evidence do you have of that?

WARREN: Her own words.

KING: Mayor Bloomberg, could you respond to this?

BLOOMBERG: I never said it. Period. End of story.


CHURCH: Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis joins me now to talk more about the debate.

Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: Presidential candidates shouting over the top of each other, a sense of desperation for those who know it's do or die.

Who were the winners and losers this time around and who landed some punches there?

KOFINIS: Well, you know, I'm not sure anybody won in a debate like that. It reminds me of watching your parents argue. It's never fun for anyone.

I think in terms of maybe who didn't lose, I think Biden did fairly well. I think Warren landed some punches. I think Buttigieg the same thing. You know, Sanders seems to have gotten the brunt of the attacks, which is not surprising when you're the front-runner and everyone sees you as kind of the primary threat. That's to be expected.

Bloomberg, you know, I think probably did as well as the last debate, which wasn't that good. So I think he is not helping himself in these debates, to say the least.

But overall, did it change the dynamics of the race?

You know, I don't know. In a weird way, I think it's probably still a lot of status quo. James Clyburn is supposed to endorse tomorrow. The reporting that's leaking out is he's supposed to endorse Joe Biden. In South Carolina, he's kind of seen as a very powerful voice amongst the African American community.

So I would say that's probably a more significant event than this debate was.

CHURCH: Yes. I mean, that's -- you're right. We saw targets on the back of both Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg and, of course, the other presidential candidates attacked Sanders on his electability or lack thereof, pointing out his vulnerabilities, particularly given his recent partial support of Fidel Castro.

Let's just take a listen to what Pete Buttigieg had to say about that.


BUTTIGIEG: Not looking forward to a scenario, where it comes down to Donald Trump, with his nostalgia for the social order of the 1950s, and Bernie Sanders, with a nostalgia for the revolutionary politics of the 1960s.

This is not about what coups were happening in the 1970s or '80s. This is about the future. This is about 2020.


BUTTIGIEG: We are not going to survive or succeed and we're certainly not going to win by reliving the Cold War. And we're not going to win these critical, critical House and Senate races if people in those races have to explain why the nominee of the Democratic Party is telling people to look at the bright side of the Castro regime.


CHURCH: So is Buttigieg right?

If Bernie Sanders ends up being the Democratic nominee, does that automatically hand victory to Donald Trump?

Is that message starting to resonate now?

KOFINIS: You know, I think, amongst some of the elites in Washington, there's no question there is enormous anxiety about Sanders' candidacy. I mean, I hear it every single day.

I think the problem with that anxiety -- and what I tell people -- and I'm not saying this because I support Bernie Sanders or don't support him. I don't support any of these candidates. I'm a Democrat but I haven't endorsed any of them.

So from my perspective, when I look at the polling, the polling that my firm has done -- just recently, for example, what I see is that Bernie Sanders is as competitive as any of the other candidates.

So does that mean in a general election he won't face enormous criticism and attack?

Absolutely. But I get very uncomfortable, to be honest, when people tell me that Bernie Sanders can't win, he can't beat Donald Trump, that it'll be a disaster if he's the nominee. Those may end up being true. But it also sounds a lot like what people said in the opposite way,

which was Hillary couldn't lose, she's unstoppable, there's no way that Donald Trump can win.

So I think that people who are so-called pundits and experts trying to predict what the outcome of an election is, most times their track record isn't very good. And here's the other sip of reality. Bernie Sanders has coalesced a certain groundswell of support. It's just that simple. And whether --


CHURCH: But when you look at the politics of Americans, you've got, what, 27 percent Democrat, 30 percent or so Republican and then you've got around 40 percent in the middle there. They're moderates.

So you're going to want to find, if you're a Democrat, you're going to want a more moderate candidate here, surely, to draw some of those more moderate, centrist Republicans.

Can Bernie Sanders do that with his stand on certain policies?

KOFINIS: If he runs a typical strategy that Democrats have run in the past, that appeals to kind of just trying to win over moderates, he's going to have a really tough election. There's no way to deny that. The problem is, the strategy you just pointed out, by the way, is exactly what Hillary Clinton tried and it failed. So --

CHURCH: But she still won the popular vote, though, didn't she?

KOFINIS: Yes. But that's not how it works in America. We don't -- we don't elect presidents based on the popular vote. It's the electoral college vote.

So the question becomes, how does he do in some of those battlegrounds?

It's just not clear at this point.

Now I would prefer ideologically someone more moderate?

Yes. That is my personal preference. But here's the problem. You've got to win the primaries. You've got to win the nomination before you win the general.

So when candidates sit there and say, whether it's Buttigieg or Bloomberg or others that Bernie Sanders, you know, can't win, well, then you've got to beat him in the primary process.

And right now, because there are so many moderates in the race, none of them can beat him. And that is the problem and the issue that we're facing in the Democratic Party, that, even though there might be some moderate and conservative Democrats that think Bernie Sanders shouldn't be the nominee, as long as there's four, five candidates splitting up that vote, Bernie Sanders is on a path to become the nominee. CHURCH: And do you think it's the end of road for Joe Biden?

KOFINIS: No, I actually think Joe Biden right now is in a pretty decent position in South Carolina. If he wins South Carolina, that'll give a boost to his campaign going into Super Tuesday.

The question is how much, right?

If he wins it by double digits, he gets a real boost. And people will start talking about, you know, Biden being back. If he wins it by a couple points, then it's a bit more of a challenge.

But here's the difference between this calendar and other years. Super Tuesday is literally a week away from today. And so, in that sense, there's not going to be a lot of time between South Carolina, which is Saturday, and Super Tuesday, which is the following Tuesday.

And so the question I have -- and I'm not sure anybody can answer -- is what kind of momentum does Biden get if he wins South Carolina?

The bigger question, though, is what happens if Sanders ekes out a victory?

I don't personally think that's going to happen. But if it did happen, the nightmares of all those folks who don't want him to win would be coming true really quickly.


CHURCH: We shall see. It's only a few days away before we get a better picture of where this is all going. Chris Kofinis, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.

KOFINIS: You're very welcome.

CHURCH: And tune in Wednesday for the Democratic town halls with Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren, live from South Carolina, starting at 7:00 pm Eastern, right here on CNN.

It is the end of an era for Disney. Long-time CEO Bob Iger is stepping down as chief executive after 15 years. During his tenure, Iger oversaw major acquisitions, including Marvel Studios, Pixar and Lucasfilm.

Disney says Iger will stay on as executive chairman and will direct the company's creative endeavors through next year. Bob Chapek will take over as CEO. He is the former chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products.

A former food company executive has been sentenced to five months in prison for paying bribes in the U.S. college admissions scam. Michelle Janavs, whose family invented Hot Pockets, pleaded guilty to paying $100,000 to fix her daughter's exams.

She also paid $200,000 to get one daughter into college, posing as a beach volleyball player. Her attorney praised the judge's sentence, noting she's a profoundly good person.


JOHN LITTRELL, JANAVS ATTORNEY: I want them to know that she understands the harm that her choices caused. She understands the impact that those choices had on students, who tried to apply fairly to get into college. She understands how discouraging her choices could be for others.


CHURCH: Health officials are expecting the coronavirus to spread in the United States.

So how should Americans prepare?

We will discuss that with an expert just ahead.

And another passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died from the virus. More on its spread from passengers to crew and further -- when we return.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Right now, we are following a massive fire at an oil refinery in California. Local stations report the fire broke out Tuesday night at the Marathon Refinery just before 11:00 p.m. local time. This facility is the largest refinery on the west coast. That is according to the Marathon Web site and we will, of course, continue to watch this and bringing more details as they come into us.

Let's go back now to our other top story, the novel coronavirus. And there are at least 57 cases in the United States and President Trump is downplaying fears of an outbreak. But federal health officials are warning of a potential pandemic. They say it's not a question of if the virus spreads in the U.S., but when and how badly.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What's going on in the rest of the world recently, in countries like Japan, South Korea, Iran, and other countries, we're starting to see community spread. And if you have community spread of multiple generations of infections in a variety of different countries, you have the makings of a potential pandemic.

And if that occurs, we can expect to see cases in the United States that we would have to deal with. How we deal with is really going to be the crux. Will we be able to control it, or would it turn out to be something That is much more widespread than we would like. So the idea about anticipating is not unrealistic. At the same time that presently today, we do have things under control. We just need to be prepared for the situation to change.


CHURCH: And just a reminder, globally, there are nearly 81,000 known cases and more than 2,700 deaths. South Korea has the largest outbreak beyond Mainland China with more than 1,100 people infected. With me now is Robert Kim-Farley. He is a professor at UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health. Thank you so much for joining us.


CHURCH: So the CDC is warning Americans, it's not a question of if coronavirus spreads across the United States but rather when. President Trump insists the problem will disappear very soon, but U.S. and global markets, well, they appear to believe the health experts rather than Trump. What happens when the public get mixed signals like this, mixed messages?

FARLEY: Well, I think it is important that there be a consistent message that is given to the public so that there isn't a misunderstanding. I think the important thing is to recognize that the CDC is really trying to say that we need to be preparing for the worst. But we are hoping still for the best.

CHURCH: Of course, the CDC tweeted Tuesday evening that Americans should think about getting ready for an outbreak across the country. So what does that mean exactly? What should we all be doing to prepare for a novel coronavirus outbreak? What should businesses be doing? What should individuals be doing?

FARLEY: Well, I think first -- a couple of things to think about is to what is the scenarios that we might expect. You know, the one scenario would be like with SARS that happened that ultimately the genie, if you will, was put back into the bottle within about nine months period from 2002 to 2003. I don't think we're at that stage with the current coronavirus. It's really out of the bag at this stage.

We can also think -- I see a scenario of fits and starts whereby it's like throwing matches into a fire, forest fire, it may start in different places. And that's what we're going to be seeing potentially in other countries like we've seen already in Korea or Italy. But the real concern will be like in a densely populated developing country, let's say Lagos, Nigeria, you could have a much more explosive outbreak there.

But we can have the third scenario where basically you end up with the fact that this becomes a virus. It does spread pandemically around the world, including here in the United States, and we'll have to learn to live with it, if you will, like we do with influenza. We have to realize influenza kills 36,000 people a year here in the United States.

And hopefully, we'll be able to mitigate over time with vaccines that are under development. It will still take time for such vaccines, of course, to be able to be tested in humans. And to be able to be -- come up to speed in terms of development, the scale where it can be helpful.


CHURCH: Right. And it's worth pointing out that Singapore appears to have learned from the 2003 SARS outbreak and has successfully contained the coronavirus. Why aren't other countries following their lead and what are they doing that all of these other countries need to be doing right now?

FARLEY: I think one of the things that happens, and we call it non- pharmaceutical interventions or MPI for short, the idea that if we don't have a vaccine, what other things we can do? That can be done at personal level where you have, for example, social distancing. People ensure that if they are sick, they're not going out. That we are making sure that we are washing our hands frequently, covering our coughs and sneezes.

Those sorts of things can be done at the personal level. At the social level, community level, social distancing can involve the issue of closure of schools, it can involve closure of theaters, things like this where you have large numbers of people congregating. So those are the two things that can exist. And that's what Singapore was doing in SARS.

And certain cities will be having to do those same sorts of things if they have actually local community-based transmission. It's not where you have these small introductions occurring where we can contain it. We isolate the persons who are sick, we look at their close contacts and have them in a quarantine situation.

But if you have community spread where you do not actually know where the sources now are coming from, that's when you have to practice some of these social distancing efforts. People telecommuting to work if they can do that. Maybe they'll be even internet distance learning for students if there were school closures, these sorts of things.

I think that's what the CDC is trying to say is that we should be at least thinking about those issues now, businesses, schools, etcetera, so that they are prepared should this local transmission occur in selected areas in the United States.

CHURCH: Some important tips there for all of us. Robert Kim-Farley, thank you so much for talking with us. I do appreciate it.

FARLEY: My pleasure.

CHURCH: And a fourth passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died. Japan's Health Ministry says he was 80 years old and links his death to the coronavirus. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now from Tokyo. So Will, what more are you learning about this passenger, and what's Japan's saying and reply to criticism about its role in the failed quarantine on board the Diamond Princess and of course the impact all this might have on the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is so sad. Not surprising, but sad that we're now learning of yet another death. This actually makes six deaths here in Japan due to novel coronavirus. Four of them as you mentioned tied to the Diamond Princess cruise ship. All of these people are senior citizens and they fall into that high-risk group.

The situation on the ship is definitely teaching Japanese authorities some hard lessons, because they're facing a lot of criticism about the way that they handled the quarantine. A lot of people have called it a failed quarantine. But what is so crucial now is for Japan and the world to learn the lessons from the Diamond Princess because in just a matter of months, Tokyo is planning to host the Summer Olympics where you will have people from 200 plus countries coming here and staying.

You're talking about hundreds of thousands of people staying in very close quarters, which is kind of like a Diamond Princess-like situation only expanded on a much larger scale. And these are people who then would fly back to their home countries. So if you still have an outbreak situation, you can see how absolutely catastrophic the Olympics could potentially be, which is why there's now talk about a backup plan, which is something that Japan would never consider unless they absolutely had to given the tens of billions of dollars and the blood, sweat, and tears that has gone into planning Tokyo 2020.

But when you have Dick Pound from the IOC saying that they're going to have to make a call on this possibly by the end of May, and then Tokyo 2020 telling CNN that they are continuing to consult with all the relevant authorities and you know, obviously any countermeasures that need to be taken, they will be considering that, this is a story that's changing by the day.

But as we look at how things unfolded on the Diamond Princess one thing is clear. People can be infected with this virus and show no symptoms and possibly infect other people before they even know that they're sick.


RIPLEY: The fateful voyage of the Diamond Princess. What began as a glamorous getaway ended as a holiday from hell. January 20th, the luxury liner leaves Yokohama, Japan onboard more than 3,700 people from all over the world. Five days later, January 25th, an 80-year-old passenger from Hong Kong is seriously ill. He disembarks in the Chinese territory. By then it's too late.

Five days later, January 30th, the Hong Kong passenger was hospitalized with a fever. The diagnosis, novel coronavirus, but the Diamond Princess sales on stopping in Okinawa on February 1st. As most passengers go sightseeing, others leave by plane. By now there's growing evidence something is seriously wrong. People are getting sick.


Two days later, February 3rd, the Diamond Princess abandons her itinerary making an emergency returned to Yokohama. By the time this ship arrives on February 4th, there's just one confirmed case of coronavirus. Japanese health authorities put the entire ship under quarantine for 14 days. The number of cases snowballs, becoming the largest cluster outside of mainland China. Passengers are confined to their cabins. The crew keeps working and perhaps unknowingly spreading the virus.

February 12th, a Japanese quarantine official is infected. It becomes clear the quarantine is not working. February 13th, Japan says some of the oldest most vulnerable passengers will be allowed to disembark. February 16th and 17th, the U.S. government sends two charter flights to evacuate more than 300 American citizens. Other countries and territories quickly follow suit.

February 18th, South Korea sends its presidential plane. February 19th, more evacuation flights, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy. February 20th, two Japanese passengers in their 80s die from the virus after they leave the ship. The first deaths but sadly, not the last. By February 21st, the number of cases tied to the ship skyrockets above 600 and the numbers keep rising.

February 22nd, the final passengers are off the Diamond Princess, but the crew must begin their own quarantine. For some, the nightmare is over, for others, the cruise from hell continues.


RIPLEY: To give you a sense, Rosemary, of just how seriously Japanese authorities are taking this. This is a country with the salary man culture where people go to the office and they stay in the office for long hours every single day. Japan is now urging large companies, and some of them are already doing so, to encourage people to work from home. That is a tectonic shift here in Japan.

But you know that along with canceling sporting events and encouraging people to reconsider, you know, gathering in public places, all this talk about social distancing just indicates how seriously they're taking this situation. And they say, Rosemary, the next one to three weeks here are really critical because they don't frankly know how many people could be walking around with this virus and not even know it.

CHURCH: Yes, this is the big problem. It's got everyone on edge across the globe. Will Ripley bringing us the very latest there from Tokyo, many thanks. And we'll take a short break here. Still to come, a pivotal U.S. presidential primary is just days away. Coming up, the key voters candidates are trying to win over. Back in just a moment.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: The gloves were off at the 10th U.S. Democratic presidential debate Tuesday night, which quickly became a chaotic shouting match among the seven candidates. The stakes are high with South Carolina's primary this weekend and Super Tuesday next week. And it seems everyone piled on the frontrunner Bernie Sanders.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The economy is doing really great for people like Mr. Bloomberg and other billionaires. In the last three years, last three years, billionaires in this country soared $850 billion increase in their wealth. But you know what, for the ordinary American things are not so good.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you think the last four years has been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am scared. If we cannot pull this party together, if we go to one of those extremes, we take a terrible risk of reelecting Donald Trump.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we spend the next four months tearing our party apart, we're going to watch Donald Trump spend the next four years tearing our country apart.


CHURCH: Well, whoever wins Saturday's primary in South Carolina will do it with the support of African American voters. An NBC-Marist poll shows Biden winning 35 percent of the black vote, Bernie Sanders captures 20 percent, and Tom Steyer has 19 percent. No other candidate has double-digit support.

And to get an idea of which candidates are effectively reaching these key voters, Randi Kaye spoke with several African American women.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really feel like Biden is the best candidate and I'd like to convince you that --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You got a hard job ahead of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he can move this country forward.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has the ability to go against Trump.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this North Charleston, South Carolina hair salon, Roxanne Johnson is trying to convince fellow clients to vote for Joe Biden in the upcoming primary.

ROXANNE JOHNSON, VOTER, SOUTH CAROLINA: I like his experience, how he knows what's going on in Washington D.C. He's familiar with policies. KAYE: Denise Cromwell was a Biden supporter, but now she's undecided.

She says Biden disappointed her with a canned response to an emotional story she shared about her uncle, a veteran taking his life.

DENISE CROMWELL, VOTER, SOUTH CAROLINA: To me it was just a political move, a political response to hear and say what needs to be heard and said publicly.

KAYE: She's also concerned about Biden's health and stamina, though she's still considering voting for Bernie Sanders. She also likes Pete Buttigieg but worries about his electability.

CROMWELL: I just don't think America is ready for a president that's married to man.

KAYE: Especially here in the bible belt, she says, where voters may like Buttigieg's policy, but because of their religious beliefs, won't vote for a gay candidate. Still, Alisa Locke is supporting Buttigieg.

ALISA LOCKE, VOTER, SOUTH CAROLINA: And he has a really awesome plan for moving the black agenda. You know, the Frederick Douglass plan which he has a lot of great points that we really need to be watching. So instead, of we watching Bernie Sanders with that, free, free, free --

KAYE: She likes Buttigieg's honesty and his Medicare for all who want it plan.

LOCKE: If I like my health care plan, I want to keep it.

KAYE: All of the women are concerned about how Sanders would pay for Medicare for all, free college, and his other promises.

JOHNSON: I just don't see how he's going to do it. I need to have some hard facts. Show me the numbers.

KAYE: Back in the 2016 South Carolina primary, Sanders won just 14 percent of the African American vote. Most in our group are still turned off.

BLONDELL KIDD, VOTER, SOUTH CAROLINA: You have to have more of a way to deal with people without being so gruff. I think he's kind of rough around the edges there.


KAYE: Blondell Kidd is supporting Biden.

KIDD: He worked with Obama for several years and I certainly trusted that administration.

KAYE: As for Mike Bloomberg, none of these women have even considered voting for him.

JOHNSON: I just don't feel like he knows what it's like for us everyday Americans and what we're going throughout here in the real world.

KAYE: What do you make of Bloomberg his apology for the stop and frisk policy?

JOHNSON: I don't know that it's genuine.

KAYE: Meanwhile, as the primary ticks closer, those undecided are looking to the heavens for help. So how are you going to make up your mind? You only have a few days left.

CROMWELL: I'm praying. I believe in powerful prayer.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, North Charleston, South Carolina.


CHURCH: Egypt is morning a ruler who's left a complicated legacy. Coming up, a look at how Hosni Mubarak's near 30-year reign shapes the country.


DON RIDDELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL SPORTS ANCHOR: Hello there, I'm Don Riddell with your CNN World Sport headlines. Bayern Munich will be confident of reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a really big way win at Chelsea on Tuesday. The Germans run to a three-nil victory at Stamford Bridge giving the blues an uphill climb in the return leg next month in Germany.

Robert Lewandowski scored yet again for buying his 11th in Europe this season, but it was Serge Gnabry who stole the headlines with a brace. He's now scored six goals against London teams in the English capital this season. He got four against spurs back in October.

In the other game, Barcelona should be contempt with their one-all draw at Napoli in Naples. The Italians took the lead with a brilliant first-half goal from Dries Mertens, making him their all-time joint top scorer with 121 goals. But the Catalans drew level in the second half through Antoine Griezmann, a valuable away goal for Barcelona.

So we have now seen 12 of the 16 teams who made it to the knockout stage of this tournament. The two remaining first leg games will be played on Wednesday night. Cristiano Ronaldo's pursuit of a six title with a third different team continues when the event is going to Leon. Will Ronaldo's former club Real Madrid are going to be at home to Manchester City?

That is a quick look at your sports headlines. I'm Don Riddell.


CHURCH: A state funeral will sure begin in Egypt for its former President Hosni Mubarak. The country declared three days of mourning for Mubarak who died Tuesday. He was 91 years old. For more, CNN's Selma Abdelaziz joins us now from London. So Selma, how will Egypt's former president be remembered? [02:55:04]

SELMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, ultimately, Egyptians will have a very mixed memory of Mubarak. And that's because ultimately, their relationship with Mubarak is very complicated. On a day like this in a country like Egypt where there is a great culture of respect, the older generation, in particular, will say let him live in peace. Let him be buried in dignity. Let's not push this any further.

But it's important to remember that he ruled the country for 30 years. That means when he was overthrown in 2011 by the revolution, there is an entire generation of Egyptians who knew nothing of the country but Mubarak. Mubarak was Egypt. He was the pharaoh. It was almost impossible to imagine life without him.

And on a day like this, when people are reflecting back, when they're looking back on his time, and now under President Abdel Fattah el- Sisi, many will see that President Mubarak institutions, those powers that he put in place to contain his grip on the country are still very much in place.

He ruled through the military. He ruled through the police. He ruled through a ruling elite class that was rife with corruption, all of those factors remain. And life is even more difficult now under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Individual rights have been reversed according to human rights groups.

So in a moment of reflecting on this, yes, there will be those who will respect him, see him maybe as a national hero, but those who oppose him are going to accuse President Mubarak of stealing an entire generation's future. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right, Selma Abdelaziz, thank you so much for bringing us the latest details from London. And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is next for our viewers here in the United States. And for everyone else, CNN NEWSROOM continues in just a moment. Do stay with us.