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NBA's Warriors To Play Sets Without Fans Tomorrow Night; White House Official: Oval Office Address Possible Amid Outbreak; NYU's Dr. Robyn Gershon Discusses Administration's Mixed Messages On Coronavirus & Answers Viewers' Questions; Live Nation Entertainment President, Joe Berchtold, Discusses Growing List Of Concerts & Festivals Halted Over Coronavirus Fears; Immigrant Kidnapped In Mexico While Awaiting U.S. Asylum Hearing. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 11, 2020 - 14:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: What about March Madness, Marc? So far, that was supposed to go on as usual. But if this is happening with the Warriors -- you hearing anything about the NCAA tournament?

MARC STEIN, SPORTS REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via telephone): I think throughout the sporting landscape and beyond U.S. borders, every major sport in the world is weighing options and looking for direction.

In a lot of cases, I think the sports officials are taking their cues from city officials.

The same thing happened in the tennis world when the Indian Wells, tournament, which is basically the biggest tennis tournament as there is outside of the four majors, cancelled Sunday.

The direction really came from local officials in the Coachella Valley in the desert area. So it's really going to depend on -- I think it's still case by cases but we see this worldwide now.

The whole NBA is waiting now. The Warriors are the first but there's 29 other teams that have to make similar decisions.

BALDWIN: There's no way they'll be the last.

Marc Stein, with the breaking news, with the "New York Times." Thank you very much.

Also, new developments in the White House response to the coronavirus pandemic. We are learning about the possibility of an Oval Office address from the president of the United States.

So let's go straight to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.

Jim, what do you know?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, one thing we should underline is that this is not confirmed yet. A White House official saying an Oval Office address is possible in the coming days but they're not really willing to nail it down just yet.

One reason they may be hesitating is the Oval Office is not the preferred venue for the president to get his message across. He's done that in other sections of the White House. So we'll see how that shapes up.

But one thing we should note, in just the last hour, Brooke, the vice president, Mike Pence, who leads the coronavirus task force at the White House, was supposed to be meeting with hospital executives in front of the cameras. There was a press pool spray, as we call it, at that meeting scheduled. And then, really, after the press pool have been delayed for 45 minutes, we got word that our coverage of that meeting has been cancelled.

And so while the vice president has been out in front of the cameras at these coronavirus task force briefings in the White House briefing room and saying that there's nothing but transparency going on, inside this administration, when it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, they did just cancel press coverage of a critical meeting just a short while ago.

The president has another meeting with banking executives coming up at the top of the hour. We have not been told yet whether or not that is going to be opened up to pool coverage.

But the vice president is expected to have his daily briefing later on this afternoon about 5:30 to talk about the administration's response to the outbreak.

But you do get the sense, Brooke, they're starting to clamp down just a bit on the press coverage with how they handle this outbreak.

And there's a good reason why. The mixed messages are becoming almost rampant up on Capitol Hill earlier today.

As you saw earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci was essentially contradicting the president over and over again on several fronts saying the coronavirus is more deadly than the flu, and that large gatherings should be avoided. And the president is holding a campaign event next week.

So that might be part of the reason why they're starting to clamp down on some of this.

We'll get a better sense of it later on this afternoon at that briefing -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Great, Jim. We'll talk to you then. Thank you very much. Jim Acosta, at the White House, with warnings about travel and avoiding large crowds.

You may have to miss out on your favorite festivals and concerts and movies. Even some TV shows don't look the same. We'll talk about that, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think if you count all the cases of minimally symptomatic or asymptomatic infection, that probably brings the mortality rate down to somewhere around 1 percent, which means it is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.


BALDWIN: That was Dr. Anthony Fauci, of the Coronavirus Task Force, moments ago to Congress. He also added that it's going to get worse.

Just for some perspective, I have with me Dr. Robyn Gershon, clinical professor at NYU's Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Gershon, thank you so much for coming on.

Again, to Jim Acosta's point a second ago over at the White House, this is in stark contrast in what we've heard from the White House. Downplaying the coronavirus. Kellyanne Conway describing it, saying it was contained. And now you have Dr. Fauci saying this. Why do you think he's saying this today?

DR. ROBYN GERSHON, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC GLOBAL HEALTH, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: I think we're getting a better handle on the numbers. We still have to keep in mind that, originally, we thought it would be about 2.3 percent.

So even with this latest information from Dr. Fauci, the world's expert in this area, it's still 1 percent. So it's somewhat reassuring in the sense we're getting more counts, more numbers. We have to keep in mind, I believe, it's still about 80 percent who have mild symptoMs.

So even though we'll have more cases, the bulk, unfortunately, of the most severe cases will be those over 80 and with chronic diseases.

BALDWIN: I'm stuck on your word "reassuring." People are thinking, hand on a second, it he's saying this is going to get worse and it's 10 times more lethal than the flu.

GERSHON: But for most of us, it is not going to get worse. For most of us, it's going to be a mild infection. We're going to recover. We'll be fully recovered. Hopefully, we'll even be immune once we get the infection.

It's, unfortunately, for this smaller subset -- not so small in Italy. And we have a large number of elderly people in this country. And 15 percent or about 49 million Americans are over 65, many with chronic disease.

So for that proportion, this is very concerning. And they have to especially now take special precautions.

BALDWIN: On the flip side, and this is, you know, a teeny little sliver of a thing, thank goodness, if the fact that when children are getting this, they fare pretty well.

GERSHON: They fare great.

BALDWIN: Thank goodness.

GERSHON: Thank goodness.



GERSHON: They do fare great. You're absolutely right. Only about 0.2 percent of the cases in China were in very young children. They have a much -- there's been no deaths in young children anywhere yet. Thank goodness.

Not exactly sure why at this point. They're still doing studies. But it may be either they've been exposed to so many common colds, many of which are corona-type viruses or corona-like viruses, so they're immune.

It could be because, as you age, your immune system degrades in some way and you may have lung damage, pollution damage.

It may be because they simply have some mechanical reason why the virus is not attaching to the lunch cells.

They have been doing some very exciting baby mouse studies where they find they get infected but the virus doesn't cause damage in the lungs, whereas in the adult mice, it does.

So for whatever reason, it's a totally bright spot in this terrible picture.


I have some viewer questions.


BALDWIN: Thank you for sending them.

Here's one. I think this pertains to the fact that simply because coronavirus is such a thing, people are still breaking their arms and having heart attacks. Heaven forbid.

So the question is: What should happen if there's a shortage of hospital workers because so many people could get infected or quarantined?

GERSHON: It's actually a great question and something that people like myself, who have been studying health care workforce preparedness and willingness and ability to report to duty, something I've been studying for years, and it's quite concerning.

We have to look at it in perspective. About 18 million people in America work in health care. It's a huge sector.

And of those, we have about three million nurses. The average age of nurses in this country is about 30, although, some of the more experienced ones are much older. But we have only about a million doctors, M.D.s in this country, and their average age is between 55 and 65.

So, A, some of them are at risk just from community spread. B, we are going to get a huge influx of patients into our hospitals. It's undoubtable. It's going to happen.

We have some issues with supply chain. We have about 15 million respirators in our national stockpile. We've put in an order for 550 million more, but it will take about 18 months to get that supply chain up-sourced.

So think about it. We'll have a surge of patients. We may have health care workers out because they're sick or family members are sick.

But from my studies, which is most concerning, is that about 50 percent of nurses in a very large study, about 5,000 health care workers in the New York City area --


GERSHON: -- about 50 percent said they would not show up for work if it was a potentially lethal agent for which there's no vaccine or treatment.

BALDWIN: They have children. They have loved ones.

GERSHON: They don't want to bring it home.

BALDWIN: They don't want to bring it home. You can't argue with that. But it's just a real concern that I know a number of people have.

I think we're just holding our breath a little bit on this.

GERSHON: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Dr. Gershon, thank you for coming in.

GERSHON: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: I really appreciate it.

GERSHON: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Our special coverage of the coronavirus outbreak continues with Washington State and San Francisco announcing a new ban on large gatherings of people.

Also, the doctor just mentioned Italy. A shocking new number out of Italy about the number of cases there.

You're watching CNN. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: The list of concerts and festivals that have been cancelled is growing. We'll show you just a partial list of events no longer happening or have been postponed. San Francisco and Washington State have already banned large public gatherings.

So let's talk to Joe Berchtold, the president of Live Nation. And by the way, Live Nation is an entertainment company that produces and sells tickets to some of the biggest live concerts series and festivals around the world.

So, Joe, thank you so much for coming on.


BALDWIN: Can you just help give us a ballpark of all of the, you know, amazing upcoming spring and summer concerts, roughly, what percentage has Live Nation had to cancel?

BERCHTOLD: At this point, the cancellations have actually been very low. We're in a bit of our off-season as it relates to concerts. If you look at the events that we have through April and May it's limited.

We thought if you look at the shows in Asia and Italy, from March through May, it's about one-half of one percent of our shows.

As we looked out at Washington, where obviously we're having a hot spot today, over the next month, we have one arena show planned. So what we're seeing in the market --


BALDWIN: Is that still a go?

BERCHTOLD: No. I assume, based on the announcements from Governor Inslee, that show


BERCHTOLD: -- will be postponed.

And really, what we're seeing is the major shows, the arena shows are being postponed. The artists are eager to still get back and be in front of those fans. The fans are still looking to attend the shows when things become safe again.

The festivals are still, to a large extent, the same. We've seen Coachella moving to October. Many of the festivals that we have over the next few months, we're

looking now, what's the plan B. When can those move to into the summer or fall when, hopefully, things are settled down?

BALDWIN: I hear you on the Washington State. Of course, that would have to be cancelled because of what Governor Inslee said.

But there are other state governments who are worried about people gathering in large crowds, even if they haven't officially put out a policy yet. For those few shows that would still be a go, if you continue to have them, would that be putting people at risk?


BERCHTOLD: Our expectation is the next month to two months will be very fluid. That we're going to be working with the CDC, local public health officials. And everybody needs to do their part.

In the near term, we're going to have postponements, cancellations. The hot spots will pop up. We don't have all of the testing, unfortunately, to have the data to be as predictive as we want so we'll be more reactive.

And we will react on a moment's notice, working with each of the governments to postpone the shows to make sure we have the right balance of safety for fans and the public in general.


So, Joe, who makes the call? I think we were talking yesterday to a guy from "Rolling Stone." He was talking about how Pearl Jam canceled their tour. But still, from my knowledge, the Rolling Stones have a huge tour this summer. That is still on.

Just using the Rolling Stones as an example, is it up to them to say we're not doing it or would it be you guys or the venue? Who makes the decision to cancel?

BERCHTOLD: Well, first, it all starts with the CDC advise and the public health officials and what they're telling all of us in terms of their view on what is the risk and what should we be doing going forward.

Then we work with the artists, with their managers to figure out what are they comfortable with. We listen to the fans in terms of what they're feeling. And we're trying to have the right balance.


BERCHTOLD: We have tens of thousands of part-time and seasonal employees who work in the venues every year, whose income is based on the events happening. And we have to figure out what we should do where and when.

It is why we're looking to postpone shows because we want to keep these people employed and have them have the chance to continue to have that income.

BALDWIN: Of course. So, so tough.

Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation. Joe, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you very much.

BERCHTOLD: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: The president's national security adviser says China is to blame for the world being, quote/unquote, "two months behind" to respond to the outbreak.

Plus, as the president and Congress debate an economic stimulus, the Dow once again falling hard. Hear why, ahead.



BALDWIN: This just in. The Supreme Court rules that Trump's Remain In Mexico asylum policy can stay in effect while legal challenges playing out. That decision coming after a federal appeals court blocked the controversial policy.

And while federal officials insist the policy has been successful, CNN has obtained exclusive audio in which a government lawyer admits there's a risk to immigrants.

CNN's Nick Valencia brings us the story of one immigrant who was actually kidnapped while awaiting an asylum hearing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suffering everywhere.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was late last year when these cousins left Venezuela on a track to seek asylum in the United States.

Smuggled across the Rio Grande by coyotes, they were detained and immediately sent back across the border under the Trump administration immigrant protection protocol, MPP, a policy where asylum seekers are sent to wait in Mexico for the U.S. asylum hearings.


VALENCIA (on camera): He says, for the grace of God, they're still alive.

VALENCIA (voice-over): We were at some of the crowded camps just south of the border a few months ago.



VALENCIA (voice-over): And saw firsthand what life was like.


VALENCIA: They say they slept on filthy streets with nearly 500 others going without a shower for nine days.

Immigrant rights groups say kidnapping and violence targeting immigrants are rampant in the cartel border towns where asylum securities are sent to wait.

At a recent press conference, acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Mark Morgan, defended the program as safe.


If there's a criminal act that is conducted, there's only one entity responsible for that and that is the human smugglers and cartels who are doing that criminal activity.

VALENCIA (on camera): When you hear that the government here in the United States said that this program is safe, what do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): It's completely false. At no moment are we safe. It's a lie.

VALENCIA (voice-over): They say it took two weeks waiting in Mexico for one of them to be kidnapped.

Now living in the shadows of America, they agreed to tell us their story only if we hid their identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): When we got off the bus and were entering the bus station, she made it inside behind some people.

Some other people grabbed me at the door. They started asking me where I was going, who I was, if I had a password. I told them I didn't have a passport. I even showed my papers, that have I appointment with immigration at the United States. And at no moment did they accept my explanation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (through translation): There were intense moments.

VALENCIA (on camera): So you saw it happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): I saw when they were down. I saw when the vehicle arrived and they put him inside. I could only see Willie's face through a glass.

VALENCIA (voice-over): With their cousin held for ransom by the cartels, she attends the court hearing alone. While migrants physically appear in makeshift tent courts along the border, judges preside over the cases via video teleconference, sometimes more than a hundred miles away.

CNN exclusively obtained audio of their hearing. In the clip, we hear a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security argue to deny him asylum because he was not in court for his hearing. He's kidnapped.

UNIDENTIFIED DHS LAWYER (voice-over): Your honor, the circumstances that they're concerned with is potentially a reality for every respondent, again, that opens up the floodgates because everybody doesn't have to show up as long as they have counsel.

UNIDENTIFIED IMMIGRATION JUDGE: I think what I'm hearing from the government is -- and I'll be honest, I don't like it. What I'm hearing is, well, everybody has to take that risk and that chance and, you get kidnapped, you get kidnapped, that is the risk you take for being in Mexico and wanting to apply for asylum here in the United States.

VALENCIA: It is a stunning admission. And immigration judge lecturing the government on its defense of the controversial policy.

UNIDENTIFIED IMMIGRATION JUDGE: I don't think humane. But we're talking about human beings and lives. It's not a piece of paper, in my opinion. And I really don't like what I just heard.

VALENCIA: Kennji Kizuka is a lawyer at Human Rights First, who filed the Freedom of Information Act request to get the court audio released to the public.


KENNJI KIZUKA, LAWYER, HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST: It is shocking to hear a government attorney admit that in court. This is just as bad or worse than family separation.