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Hala Gorani Tonight
Italy's Coronavirus Outbreak Grows; Interview With Quarantined Tenerife Vacationer; Hosni Mubarak Dies At 91; WHO: Preparedness Is Key To Dealing With Epidemic; Trump's State Visit To India; Democratic Candidates To Debate In South Carolina; Nine-Day Heat Wave Melts 20 Percent Of Antarctic Island's Snow. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 25, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very good evening, everyone. Live from CNN London, I'm Isa Soares in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, coronavirus cases spike right around the world, the outbreak now rattling fears in the Middle East and Europe.
Plus, former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, died at the age of 91. We'll talk about the legacy he has left behind.
And a heat wave is scorching northern Antarctica. New satellite images show melted snow (ph).
But first, cases of coronavirus are surging far outside of China once again, dragging stock markets down. In Iran, the virus may be spreading
faster than we know. The country has confirmed 96 cases and 15 deaths, but one lawmaker accuses officials of covering up the real numbers. Iran's
deputy health chief has even caught the virus.
Now, it's all leading to confusion as well as fear, as you can imagine, in the whole region as more countries report infections of their own. Iraq has
banned travelers from Iran and from other countries. Turkey is evacuating its citizens from Iran and putting them in quarantine. In Bahrain, across
the Persian Gulf, has six cases now.
Meanwhile, in Europe, Italy is struggling with the biggest outbreak right in Europe, at least 322 infections with dozens popping up overnight. Ten
people have died there, and the World Health Organization says the spread of cases shows the importance of planning ahead. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAN LINDMEIER, SPOKESMAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: It's one of these scenarios which we have been warning against for a couple of weeks
already, that countries have to be prepared for the virus literally knocking at their door.
And medical authorities have to be ready, medical staff has to be trained and there needs to be the protective measures for the population and the
medical authorities at the same time. But yes, preventing further transmission would be important, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: While most of Italy's cases are in the Lombardy region there in the north, as you can see, 10 cities there are under lockdown, meaning
people really aren't allowed to enter or to leave. The European Union is pledging to face the threat together, saying closing borders would be,
quote, "disproportionate and ineffective."
Elsewhere in Italy, Venice looks a lot different right now, thanks to Coronavirus fears. Our Melissa Bell is there. And, Melissa, so we just
outlined there, the cases keep on growing there and that, I'm sure, is raising questions about whether the country is really capable of containing
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Many questions, and they've come from the prime minister himself. But I'll get back to that in a
First of all, I'd like to show you, Isa. This is essentially all you're going to see of the Venice Carnival this year. It is, of course, Mardi Gras
and it is contained to this. This is what it should look like on a grand scale in St. Mark's Square.
But if you come with me just a moment, you'll see that actually, given that the carnival was cut short a couple of nights ago, on Sunday night, St.
Mark's Square, which should be full of those kinds of revelers -- they're all contained to that cafe -- is essentially looking pretty empty tonight.
So lots of tourists have stayed away, lots of people are asking a lot of questions about how much further, how much worse this outbreak is going to
get, how many more villages and towns are going to be locked down.
But in the meantime, to your question a moment ago, we heard from the Italian prime minister, yesterday, about that question of the handling of
the virus since it arrived. Still, Italian authorities are trying to work out who patient zero is. And until they do, there are going to be all kinds
of questions about exactly how bad this outbreak is, how far it's spread already, why it spread so quickly.
They have, however, identified patient one. He was treated in that town in Lombardy that was the first town to be affected, that is now under
lockdown. We heard from the Italian prime minister last night, who said that essentially when he turned up at that hospital, patient one, the first
Italian person to be contaminated by that unknown first patient, patient zero, he was not treated with the sort of protocols that should have been
in place. And that is what allowed the virus to spread as quickly as it did.
What does that mean, Isa? It means that so far, there has been a mishandling of this situation. It means also that there are questions about
whether Italy is really (ph) in a position to continue containing it. We've seen a number of regions added to that list of regions that have been
affected, Tuscany and Sicily have been added.
We're now at eight regions in all with fears, of course, of how -- what will happen now, how the virus will be prevented from spreading across
Italy's open borders -- Isa.
SOARES: And really, Melissa, given Giuseppe Conte -- the prime minister's -- words, what he said, really following the fact the hospital isn't
following proper and prudent protocols. Has anything changed? Have they changed the way they're trying to contain it? Or does it remain the same
since you've been there?
BELL: Well, they've certainly -- they've certainly changed the language. We've reached out to a number of hospitals to try to get access. They have
shut down, really, their communications here. You sense that there's been a reaction to what he had to say last night.
Bear in mind, also, Isa, that there is a particularity here in Italy. The region's -- the health system is dealt with pretty much regionally. We
heard from the WHO spokesman who was visiting Rome today who said, it is no surprise that Italy has perhaps more cases than other European countries,
that the virus has spread as quickly as it did simply because the administration, the organization of the health system is carried out at a
Here in Northern Italy, both Veneto and in Lombardy, these are regions that are run by the Northern League. So there was clearly a political element to
that issue. It is not a simple single chain of command, as it is elsewhere in Europe. Clearly, Italian authorities, making lots of reassuring noises
today about how they intend to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The truth is, Isa, that Europe is now facing what Asia did over the course of the last few weeks.
BELL: This is a virus that is very difficult to contain, there is a long incubation period and there'll be many questions about how many more cases
we're going to have before it can be stopped.
SOARES: Yes. And Europe tonight, saying they will work together to try and really contain the virus, here in Europe. Thanks very much, Melissa Bell
there for us. Good to see you, Melissa.
Well, dozens of hotel guests on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife are being asked to remain in their rooms as two guests tested positive
overnight for the novel coronavirus. Tourists on holiday there work up Tuesday morning to a note under their door from management. The company
that owns the hotel says it's under partial lockdown due to an initial male guest and his travel companion testing positive for the virus.
Let's talk to someone who's there. Joining me now on the phone is Silke Bal, she's a guest at the hotel under lockdown. Silke, thank you very much
for joining me. Tell me how you were informed of your lockdown, and why they decided to this in the first place, from what you've been told?
SILKE BAL, GUEST UNDER LOCKDOWN (via telephone): So this morning, we got a letter underneath our door that the hotel was on lockdown. But we didn't
really know what to do, and we still went to get breakfast. But then we were informed to go back to the rooms, and now we got a letter that we have
to stay in our rooms until further notice.
SOARES: And since that letter under your door, has any other information been given, been provided? What are you being told?
BAL (via telephone): They took our temperature and they said that we have to take our temperature every morning now. And if there are any changes, we
have to report that to the reception. And they don't know yet when we can leave this place or when we can leave our rooms.
SOARES: And are you taking your own temperature or are others taking a temperature for you? Are you being provided also with food, are you allowed
to leave your room?
BAL (via telephone): They took our temperature first, but now we have to do it ourselves.
BAL (via telephone): They are giving us food inside our rooms, so they are coming with masks and stuff. And we got mouth masks ourselves, so then we
can go out our rooms. But right now, we can't go outside.
SOARES: Have they told you, Silke, why you are on lockdown? Have they told you the reason why?
BAL (via telephone): No, they haven't. We found out about it from the newspaper, but now they know, everyone knows, I think, and we can ask
information and we can call if we want to, or for any further information, we can always go to the reception, where we went this morning for a little
information. But they don't know much yet, so they can't give us very much information at this moment.
SOARES: And I suspect you were in Tenerife on holiday? You're from Belgium, right, Bal? So when did you arrive in Tenerife?
BAL (via telephone): I arrived this Saturday, and I was supposed to leave next Saturday. But I don't know if that's going to.
SOARES: You're not sure whether that's even possible. So in the meantime, you're just basically stuck in a room, waiting, keeping an eye on your
temperature and waiting for more information. How are you feeling?
BAL (via telephone): I'm fine at this moment. It's the most -- the part that is the most irritating is that you have so little information about
everything. But they can't give you enough, so they don't know if there are any other persons that are -- people that are here that have the virus. Or
they don't even know if the man for sure has the virus, it's still in Madrid, his blood. So we don't know a lot and they don't know a lot.
SOARES: Are you worried at this stage?
BAL (via telephone): I'm not so worried at this moment because the chances are so low for getting it. But yes. We'll see.
SOARES: Silke Bal there for us in Tenerife. I appreciate you speaking to us, thanks very much.
BAL (via telephone): No problem.
SOARES: Now, the coronavirus is rattling the markets once again. If we bring you a look at the stocks, they're down two, just almost three percent
in fact, 802 points.
Stocks initially appeared poised to really rebound Tuesday's open, but soon fell back into negative territory. Tuesday's decline continued steep
losses, if you remember, from Monday. That was the Dow's worst day in two years.
Our Clare Sebastian joins me now from New York with more. And, Clare what we saw really was a little bit of a reprieve, right at the beginning of the
stock markets' opening. But then that was short-lived. Markets clearly back in the red, Dow down almost three percent. What -- is this the fear of
contagion? What's rattling the markets at this point?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa. I think, you know, it's important to have a look at the big picture here. The S&P 500 was up some
30 percent through 2019, it continued rising for the first month of the year. So some do believe that this kind of reset was actually a good thing,
might be healthy for the markets.
But it's very clear that in terms of the coronavirus, the tone did shift at some point last week. We saw the cases of the virus start to -- start to
sort of increase outside of China. We've seen new countries today reporting -- Austria, Croatia, there's the hotel in Tenerife on lockdown. All of that
is leading companies to sort of recalibrate, this is not just a China story.
And we're hearing more and more warnings from companies, the likes of Apple last week, you know, one of America's most valuable companies, that was
really a sobering moment for the market.
And it's important to look at this in another way as well, Isa. This isn't just about the disease itself. The -- in terms of the economy, people are
worried about how the remedies to this will impact, things like these quarantines, these lockdowns now in Europe.
This amounts to a sort of hard stop on economic activity in certain areas, and I think that is leading to -- to concerns in the market about how long
that will last and how difficult it will be to get things back to normal.
SOARES: I think you just hit the nail on the head because I'm sure for economists, Clare, the concern is really the unknown. It's the effect of
the coronavirus on global supply chain, on output and trade. How are companies adapting to this? How are they shifting?
SEBASTIAN: Yes. I mean, it's very difficult, Isa. In terms of companies, I think it's very telling that we're getting the likes of United Airlines,
even Apple not actually issuing guidance for this quarter. United Airlines withdrew their guidance, Apple said they wouldn't meet their revenue
guidance, but they didn't offer a new range.
So that is extremely telling. Companies don't really know what to do. I've spoken to a lot of smaller businesses who feel like they will get things
back up and running in the next couple of months. There are a lot of Chinese factories that are sort of creaking back to life.
We know China is putting in measures to bring its migrant workers back, to try and get business back to normal, things like charter flights put on by
local governments, high-speed trains, all of that. So they are clearly conscious of the impact this is having, both at home and abroad.
But right now, you're absolutely right, the uncertainty is a very big deal. And I think a lot of the confidence that we saw early on in the markets was
fueled by the comparison with SARS, where we did see a bounce-back, I think. Given the size of China now, given the intertwined nature of global
supply chains, that comparison is losing steam.
SOARES: Yes. And just remember, over a week ago or so, we were talking about the economic disruption being limited, how so much has changed in the
last few days. Clare Sebastian, there for us. We'll have much more, Clare, in about 45 minutes on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS." Thanks very much, Clare.
Good to see you.
Now, coronavirus cases in South Korea continue to surge, approaching the 1,000 mark, leaving 11 people dead and hundreds, in fact, in quarantine.
More than half of the infections are in the city of Daegu.
In an effort to boost morale, Korean President Moon Jae-in visited a hospital there today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOON JAE-IN, PRESIDENT OF SOUTH KOREA (through translator): Amidst this corona situation, I express my deepest gratitude to you all for taking the
role of preventing the epidemic on the frontline, as the designated hospital for corona.
Lots of medical staff have volunteered to join in on this job of halting the spread of the infection. And I'd like to say thank you once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, Korean Air closed its office after a flight attendant tested positive for the virus, and flights to Daegu are suspended. And all four
branches of the Korean military have cases forcing the U.S. to consider scaling back on joint military exercises.
Still to come right on the show, U.S. President Donald Trump is downplaying fears of a coronavirus and sounding confident about possible vaccine. But
that's not what his own administration is telling members of Congress. We'll bring you that story.
Plus, from an iron fist to a metal cage, we'll look at the rule and downfall of Egypt's late president, Hosni Mubarak.
SOARES: Now, Egypt has declared three days of mourning for its former ruler, Hosni Mubarak, who died earlier today. He was 91 years old. Mubarak
held a firm and sometimes bloody grip on power in Egypt for a generation and a half, until he was forced out during the Arab Spring.
CNN's Becky Anderson has more for you.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN MANAGING EDITOR (voice-over): Muhammad Hosni Mubarak climbed his way to the very top, going from training as a fighter pilot in
the Soviet Union to taking command of Egypt's air force. He did so right before the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise
attack on Israel.
Two years later, he became the country's vice president. And then, six years later, the president, Anwar Sadat, was assassinated by Islamic
militants. Mubarak himself, only narrowly escaping the assassin's bullets.
With such a close brush, as president, Mubarak fought a long and bloody war against Islamic militants who were bent on toppling his regime, and
massacred brazenly. In the worst example of their brutality, this, they murdered more than 60 people, mostly European and Japanese tourists, in a
Well, in its wake, Egypt's security forces went full force on crushing the militants while human rights groups accused Mubarak's regime of widespread
torture and abuse.
Still, he remained a regular close friend of America. He was in many ways their go-to guy in the Middle East, and so a regular guest at the White
House. He sent Egyptian troops to help drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait during the first Gulf War. His troops, in fact, making up the largest Arab
But friendship had its limits. Mubarak, later declining to join the second invasion of Iraq to (ph) Saddam Hussein. He reacted coolly to Bush's calls
for Democratic reform in the Arab world.
But under intense pressure from Washington, Mubarak began to ease his grip on power. In September of 2005, Egypt had its first ever multi-candidate
presidential election. While his opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood, made some gains, Mubarak still held firmly onto power.
That was until growing discontent over corruption, police brutality and economic inequality boiled over on January the 25th, 2011, when a group of
young activists, using social media, organized an uprising that would in some ways become a revolution, erupting (ph) 18 days of mounting protests
across the country, calling for his resignation. To which Mubarak responded brutally.
Human rights organizations estimated more than 800 protestors were killed in clashes with police and his supporters. But no amount of blood could
turn the tide, the movement against Mubarak, growing. He refused to simply step back. He saw himself as a modern-day pharaoh, to whom Egypt belonged.
But on February the 11th, 2011, he was finally forced out. And millions of Egyptians took to the streets in wild celebration. So long his rule, two-
thirds of all Egyptians were born under it.
A year and a half later, justice. He was sentenced to life in prison, a sentence for his role in the killing of protestors. Barely seven months
later, an appeals court reversed that ruling. He was free of sorts. He walked back into the world, but with little fanfare or opposition, some six
years after that uprising.
Since then, he'd been rarely seen in public. This, believed to be the last public photo of Mubarak, frail, with his son by his side.
Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.
SOARES: Let's take a closer look now at the legacy of Hosni Mubarak. Mona Eltahawy is a journalist, author and activist who has written about Muslim
and Arab issues. She joins us from Skype from Montreal. Mona, thank you so much for being with us. I'm really excited to get you on the show.
You know, I was reading some of what you have written about Hosni Mubarak, because you were 14 when he became president. And correct me if I'm wrong,
but roughly about 44 when he was forced to step down after the revolution. You covered him extensively. What do you think his legacy will be, Mona?
MONA ELTAHAWY, FEMINIST AUTHOR, JOURNALIST, ACTIVIST: Well, I think the best way to remember Hosni Mubarak is to know that he died at the age of
91, a free and rich man, who spent 30 years of his life imprisoning, torturing and stealing from Egypt. And I think that too many people forget
that because he's been off the scene for quite a number of years, as your correspondent just said in her report.
But the tyranny that we see in Egypt today is a direct link and a direct consequence of those years of Mubarak stealing, torturing and holding Egypt
SOARES: And we'll talk about Egypt today and whether what has changed, if anything, since Mubarak.
But on a personal note, Mona, you lived through this brutality. And that included violence as well as sexual assault. Did you ever come face to face
with him? What was he like?
ELTAHAWY: I covered Mubarak extensively when I was a Reuters correspondent in Cairo from 1993 to 1998. And I went to the presidential palace many
times to cover his news conferences.
And this is how I remember the news conferences. The information minister would come in and give questions to the state-owned media so that he could
guarantee easy softball questions for Mubarak.
And then after he got those easy softball questions, the rest of us were allowed to answer questions. And I was always yelling, "President Mubarak,
And one time, when he entered an open-air restaurant in Sinai, where we were waiting for him to have a news conference with the Russian foreign
minister, I refused to stand up. And because of that, I was punished by Mubarak's security forces taking my presidential press pass away.
And when Reuters called them up and demanded my press pass back, they were told, tell Mona Eltahawy, the next time the president enters anywhere to
stand up. That's how I remember him.
SOARES: And you know, you remember him, perhaps, the way that many Egyptians remember him, the protests we saw against him or against
corruption, inequality as well as police brutality.
How many people, Mona, from those you've spoken to today, do you think can speak openly and freely about the current government? What if anything has
changed, or has his legacy endured?
ELTAHAWY: I think what has changed since we started the revolution in Egypt is that we prevented his son, Galam Mubarak, from inheriting us as if
we were the property of his father.
What hasn't changed and what has got worse is the repression, the lack of freedom of expression. Egypt is the number three jailer or journalists.
Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who was the head of military intelligence during the last years of Mubarak's rule, is now the dictator of Egypt and there are an
estimated 60,000 political prisoners in Sisi's jails.
Donald Trump calls Sisi "my favorite dictator," and that's a reminder that five U.S. administrations propped up Mubarak.
ELTAHAWY: Now, in 2005, an unprecedented protest against Mubarak, he used sexual violence against Egyptian women. And we've seen that continue under
the current regime. So this is an era of tyranny that Mubarak consolidated for 30 years, that he has bequeathed our current dictator, Sisi.
SOARES: And given the oppressive and brutal legacy that you are outlining there, Mona, what do you think kind of funeral he will get? From those you
have spoken to in Egypt on the ground, what's the mood like?
ELTAHAWY: Well, all the Egyptians that I know are saying good riddance. This man occupied such a massive part of our life. It's like when you
abuser dies, you're not mourning him, you're not grieving for him. You're grieving for yourself and the massive chunk of your life that he occupied,
30 years of our lives.
And I think what the Egyptian regime now under Sisi is doing, is basically going through the motions because they have to, because he was one of their
own. But we have to remember that the military regime continues. The same military regime that we wanted to overthrow in 2011 continues. We overthrew
only one man, and its current man is Sisi.
So they're going to basically go through the motions and pay lip service to mourning, but they also know how much anger there is in Egypt against the
Sisi regime, how much injustice people are boiling over from, how much economic suffering Egyptians are living through.
And this is a message to Trump and all the allies in Europe that continue to prop up our current dictator. Sisi is like Mubarak. Sisi is the
inheritor of Mubarak, and we will have another revolution. Trump will call Sisi, "my favorite dictator." Must remember this. He's in India now,
encouraging fascism in India, and Americans must know that Trump is encouraging fascism in Egypt.
SOARES: Mona Eltahawy, thank you very much. Great to have you on the show.
Now, still to come right here on the show, as countries outside China prepare to see more coronavirus cases, the U.S. president is decidedly more
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You may ask about the coronavirus, which is, you know, 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.
Now, new coronavirus cases are reporting seemingly every minute and fears bring all the time. But remember, the World Health Organization said it's
not a pandemic and that there's still a lot the countries can do to really prepare themselves.
Right now, more than 80,000 people have caught the virus. Take a look at this map we've got for you. More than 2,700 people have died, despite
smaller hotspots in places like South Korea, Italy, Iran, most of the numbers still come from China, as you can see in your graphic. And all of
this continues really to take a toll on the global economy as I bought you at the top of the show.
Dow is down just three in a quarter percent, 910 points second straight day of sharp losses really by driven by fears over the virus. As Clare
Sebastian was telling me, driven by the unknown. Companies not sure how this has been a fight effects, supplies, factories, people staying at home
output, hence, why we're seeing the Dow Jones in the red for a second day.
Well, let's talk really about the virus and the country's managing the virus. Here with us to discuss the global spread is Dr. Carlos Del Rio, a
professor of medicine at Global Health at Emory University.
Professor, thanks very much, Doctor, for being with us. As I've just topped line and our viewers would have seen this, we're seeing, you know, the
virus spread to newer hotspots from Iran, to Bahrain, to Iraq, Afghanistan, even in Oman.
In Europe here, we've seen a staggering increasing cases in Italy. What do you make of how it's spreading at the -- and the rating which is spreading?
DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AT GLOBAL HEALTH AT EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, you know, this is -- this is beginning to act a lot like
the flu, which is one of the things that I've learned about the flu is it's totally unpredictable.
This virus is becoming unpredictable. And I think, you know, we have to first of all keep in perspective that 97 percent of the cases, and 98
percent of the deaths are still in China. So the case outside of China are really a small number of cases. And the deaths are a small number of
But as you say, the number of cases the rapid increase of cases in Korea, the rapid increase in cases in Italy, in Iran and other countries, I think
it just tells us that the entire global system is at risk, and it's at risk for two reasons. Number one, we're globalized. People are traveling
everywhere, you really cannot stop people from traveling and going to different places. And number two, I think, you know, our healthcare systems
around the globe, are simply not ready when somebody walks into a hospital in Italy with a cough.
You know, it's really -- it's very nondescript, this could be anything, right? And then later on, you find out that this person had coronavirus.
And meanwhile, several healthcare workers and other people inside the hospital have gotten infected.
So I think there's a lot of preparation that needs to happen both at countries but also in healthcare facilities. We need to yell already to
think that anybody coming in with fever, with a cough is a potential case.
SOARES: Yes, of course. And then given that we're still in flu season, at least I'm still -- I'm feeling still very banged up. So I'm sure that's a
challenge for authorities too trying to differentiate.
But right from the beginning --
DEL RIO: I don't believe this.
SOARES: -- I met the very -- the WHO basically saying that their biggest concern, Doctor, was the countries where their health infrastructure really
wasn't as strong, as well equipped to deal with the virus.
When you look -- if we can bring the map up. I'm just going to get my producer to bring the map again. When you look at the map where it's being
affected as hotspots, which one worries you the most Italy, Iran, China still? What's your biggest concern?
DEL RIO: You know, it worries me -- all of them worried me. I mean, China, you know, Wuhan, Hubei Province has been overwhelmed. I mean, their
hospitals have been totally overrun with patients. In Iran, you know, they're having difficulties because of the surge. In Italy, they are. In
But quite frankly, if we in the United States had 1,000 cases in any of our cities, all of a sudden, we would be rapidly overwhelmed. We have no surge
in health care capacity today. Our hospitals are full To start with.
You know, don't (INAUDIBLE) all of us are very concerned about this taking a hold and having cases in Africa, especially because there's been a lot of
-- there's a lot of connection, there's a ton of flights, a ton of transit and commerce between Africa and China.
And I would say, surprisingly, but also by a miracle that I don't totally understand, there haven't been cases in Africa and, yes, for example,
having, you know, a huge increase in cases in a city like, you know, like Lagos in Nigeria or, you know, Durban, South Africa will be pretty
SOARES: Yes. Well, we heard from the WHO director basically saying there is a potential for a pandemic. Take a listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global
spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease orders. Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we
there yet? From our assessment, not yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So at what point, Doctor, does it become pandemic? I mean, what is the criteria for a pandemic here?
DEL RIO: It's essentially an issue of semantics, right? I mean, I think I totally agree with Dr. Tedros that we're not there yet, because we don't
see -- as I said at the beginning, 97 percent of the cases, 98 percent of the deaths are still in China. So we're not seeing widespread cases and
deaths outside of the region of China. But you know, it can happen. And I think we're in the direction that that nothing is telling me that this is
not in that direction. It's a little bit like seeing a tsunami wave coming.
You know, hasn't hit line land. But I think it's coming, and I think that, again, if you listen more to Dr. Tedros, he says, everybody needs to be
prepared. I think governments around the world need to have plans, need to figure out what to do. We all need to start thinking today.
CDC said, you know, you got to start thinking about what -- how this is going to impact society. I mean, are we going to have to close schools? How
do we implement social distancing? How are we going to do more telework? How are we going to try to keep people who are sick and not and not
definitely at home, rather than coming to hospitals where it can be more (INAUDIBLE)
And more importantly, I think from a science standpoint, there's a lot of progress being made. There's 11 potential vaccine candidates, and I hope
that within six months to a year, we will have an effective vaccine against this virus.
SOARES: Yes, and we're hoping, of course, that with the warmer weather that things will improve as well. I think that's important.
Dr. Carlos Del Rio, thank you very much. Good to have you in the show.
Go ahead. Go ahead. Finish your thought. Sorry.
DEL RIO: No. I was just saying, you know, I wish, but we cannot rely on wishful thinking about the weather. We have to be prepared and not hope
that the weather is going to take care of things for us.
SOARES: Yes. And that's why we heard the WHO director basically saying that the country needs to shift -- countries needs to shift their mindset,
really, to preparedness. I think that was --
DEL RIO: Exactly.
SOARES: -- what he said.
Thanks very much, Doctor. Great to have you on the show.
DEL RIO: Take care.
SOARES: Now, U.S. President Donald Trump is on his way back to America right now after a state visit to India. But before he left Tuesday morning,
Mr. Trump predicted the novel coronavirus will eventually go away.
Health officials with the Centers for Disease Control says it's possible the virus could be a seasonal disease, but they need more time to determine
One senator briefed by officials from the Trump administration said they told him a vaccine is at least a year away from production. That
contradicts the optimistic message Mr. Trump delivered in in India. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The coronavirus which is, you know, very well under control in our country. We have very few people with
it. The people are getting better. They're all getting better.
And I think that whole situation will start working out, a lot of talent, a lot of brain power is being put behind it. Two and a half billion dollars
we're putting in.
There's a very good chance you're not going to die. Now, they have it. They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we're very close to a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's get more on this one. CNN's Stephen Collinson joins me now from Washington.
And, you know, Stephen, the president, as we just heard that played out, really, rushing away any concerns, sounding very positive, in fact,
regarding coronavirus. But is this the case behind the scenes? I mean, what are you hearing?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: What we're hearing from people inside the White House is that the President is actually much more
frustrated privately about the way his administration has handled this growing crisis than his rather sunny and optimistic predictions perhaps
intended to influence the financial markets that he's making out in public.
He was frustrated that some Americans were returned to the United States from that cruise ship in Japan that already had the disease. And he was
questioning why that took place. And I think this is something that we're going to see develop over the next few days.
As the president gets back, he left the United States with this not really on the political radar. He's flying back largely because of the stock
market crashes of the last two days into a big political crisis over the coronavirus.
SOARES: Yes. And if we can bring up the stock market, just so viewers get a sense what the Dow Jones is doing now, down 913 points or so. But the
reality is this, is that, you know, we're seeing this sell off again for a second day, that has the fears of an impact on global growth and a slowing
And that, Stephen, that could really pose some serious risk for the President. I mean, I would say risk, I would say a challenge for him as we
go into election.
COLLINSON: Right. The President's best rationale for reelection is that the U.S. economy has been very strong. We've never had a modern president who
spends so much time boasting about successive records on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, touting this as a sign of his strong economic
So therefore when things go wrong, he clearly is more politically vulnerable.
And the idea that there could be a global growth slowdown, that we get a crunch on supply chains that affect American companies that the cut, the
consumer demand of the United States, that has to be very worrying for the president, because where the U.S. economy to go and to reverse in the
months before he runs for re-election in November. That could really affect his argument.
And that is why I think we're going to see when the President gets back a lot more urgency because what the United States needs to do to keep itself
safe from this virus, and what he needs to do as he runs for a reelection are beginning to converge. So you're going to see, I think, a lot more
public messaging from the White House that they've got this under control.
SOARES: Well, we have been hearing, Stephen, from Democrats basically sounding the alarm on coronavirus. Take a listen to Senate Minority Leader,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): All of warning lights are flashing bright red. We are staring down a potential pandemic and the administration has no
plan. We have a crisis of coronavirus and President Trump has no plan.
President Trump, good morning. There's a -- there's a pandemic of coronavirus, where are you? Where is your plan?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So also went on to accuse him of being asleep at the wheel. I mean, what did the Democrats want to see being done, better preparedness?
COLLINSON: Well, they're saying that the $1.25 billion in emergency funding that the administration has requested last night, in fact, is not enough
and it's too late. They are arguing that the organization behind the scenes in terms of preparing for a possible influx of patients at hospitals, as
your last guest was talking about, is not far enough in advance. They say there aren't enough testing kits.
But on a wider census, an argument about the administration's lack of organization, the President has tried to cut funding for infectious
diseases in his budget. So it's a wider political argument that the President is incompetent, this administration fosters chaos, and really
going into election year that it really does not have the capacity to run this country properly. And the coronavirus is becoming a sort of symbol of
all that for the President's opponents.
SOARES: Stephen Collinson there for us. Thanks very much, Stephen.
Still to Come. Tonight Donald Trump visit to India, what came of his talks for the nation's Prime Minister, that's ahead.
SOARES: Now, violent protests stretched into a second day in New Delhi, at least 13 people having killed since clashes erupted on Monday to follow
months of demonstrations overly a controversial law giving Indian citizenship to asylum seekers from three neighboring countries, but not if
they're Muslim. At least 150 people have been injured in these clashes, including several Indian journalists.
Now, just a short time ago, Donald Trump departed Indian following his first visit since he was president. He and Indian Prime Minister, Narendra
Modi, held talks on Tuesday, just a short distance from the riots.
CNN Sam Kiley reports now from New Delhi.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Honoring Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, gunned down by Hindu
fanatic a year after modern India was born.
At a rally the day before, the U.S. president giving voice to his admiration for Indian diversity.
TRUMP: India is a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law, and the dignity of every human being.
Your nation has always been admired around the earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus, and Muslims, and Sikhs and Jains,
Buddhists, Christians, and Jews worship side by side in harmony.
KILEY: This was the reality on the ground in Delhi while he was addressing a rally in Ahmedabad.
Often bloody, sometimes fatal. In riots against India's new citizenship Amendment Act. Legislation critics say that discriminates against Muslims.
It was introduced by Trump's host, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, himself, a Hindu nationalist.
KILEY (on-camera): Now the Act allows for refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to apply for nationality here in India, but only
if they're not Muslims. And it's that aspect of it that its critics say, for instance, tear apart the very social fabric that has held this country
of 1.4 billion people together for 70 years.
KILEY (voice-over): But this has been a state visit high on (INAUDIBLE) and friendship. Either leader keen to mention national divisions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is your position at the moment on India's citizen Amendment Act?
TRUMP: I don't want to discuss that. I want to leave that to India and hopefully they're going to make the right decision for the people.
KILEY: They did announce that India would buy more than $3 billion worth of U.S. military hardware. But this trip has been about polishing the
reputations of these two populist leaders. They both been accused of exploiting ethnic frictions as a means to political power. And it's worked
well in India for Mr. Modi, whose BJP Party won a landslide in elections last year. And it's good for Mr. Trump in India.
Here, he enjoys an approval rating of 56 percent, a figure, no doubt, he'd like to take back home. It would almost guarantee reelection.
Sam Kiley, CNN, New Delhi.
SOARES: Still ahead tonight, democratic contenders for the White House are prepping for a critical debate just hours, in fact, from now, what to
expect in South Carolina. We bring you that story, next.
SOARES: Now the Democratic presidential hopefuls in the U.S. are gearing up for a pivotal debate, just hours from now, in fact, in Charleston, South
Carolina. It is the last debate before this weekend's crucial primary in the same state.
Bernie Sanders, the self-proclaimed democratic socialist, is the front runner heading into the debate. Following, really, what has been a
commanding victory in Nevada's caucuses on Saturday.
And that's not sitting well, as you can imagine, with many establishment Democrats who question his electability.
Our Senior Political Analyst, John Avlon, has more for you.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Donald Trump back in the day was a populist outside who broke all the rules, beloved by the base while the
GOP establishment warning be a disastrous nominee.
Now many people see a mirror image of that script with Bernie Sanders. This outsider has build a populist movement, his supporters are passionate that
quick to condemn the Democratic establishment.
And after two caucuses and one primary Sanders is the frontrunner, trailing Joe Biden for most of the campaign, he has momentum. But can Bernie win?
That's the 270 electoral vote question.
Now, the most ideological extreme candidate is usually worse positioned to win over swing voters in swing states. Barry Goldwater and George McGovern
are iconic if dated examples, both lost in landslides.
But what if this time it's different? As Peter Hamby argues in Vanity Fair, instead of asking if Sanders is unelectable, ask another question. What if
Sanders is actually the most electable Democrat?
Now, this may sound like magical thinking, but Hamby explains, in the age of Trump, hyper partisanship, institutional distrust, and social media,
Sanders could be examined as a candidate almost custom built to go head to head with Trump. So let's dig into that.
Now, Bernie isn't authentic political celebrity. People know what he stands for. But there's plenty to suggest his views played better in a polarized
primary than in a general election. Let's look at Democratic Party divisions.
According to 2019 Pew study, only 15 percent of Democrats identifies very liberal, 32 percent liberal, 38 percent moderate, and 14 percent is some
flavor and conservative.
I will zoom out to the overall American electorate, 27 percent of Americans now identifies Democrats according to Gallup, 30 percent Republican, 42
America remains center right nation with 37 percent call themselves conservative. In 2019, 35 percent moderate and 24 percent liberal. But any
nominee is going to need to reach out beyond the base to win. Bernie's argument echoes Trump, he'll drive turnout by connecting with working class
voters who've been alienated by the establishment, maybe true, but the new voters predicted haven't materialized yet.
And the label socialism or which democratic socialism lives is really not popular. Now, you can say Americans vote on authenticity, not ideology.
Fair point. But the center right center gravity is tougher to argue against. Democrats need to understand why Reagan and Nixon won 49 state
reelections while Clinton and Obama had to fight for their second term. Electoral College also seems to favor the GOP with President Bush 43 losing
the popular vote.
So running up margins in New York and California ain't enough, can't write off Florida or ignore swing district Democrats warning against Sanders.
But bottom line, could Bernie win? Sure, anything is possible. Donald Trump is an unpopular president despite the strong economy today. Top tier
Democrats beat Trump by different margins and had dead polls like this. Same is true for key swing state polls, Pennsylvania and Michigan, better
gauges of who might actually win the White House.
But Bernie Sanders has built a movement. He has momentum. But there are rational reasons to think that nominating a democratic socialist and a
center right country is a real risk that could reelect Donald Trump.
SOARES: And we'll have the debate in about four hours or so.
Now on Antarctica's northern tip, nine days of record heat wave dramatically changed the surface of the normally frozen tundra.
On February the 6th, it reported its hottest day on record, but as the same temperature as Los Angeles. Meteorologist Tom Sater shows us some
surprising satellite images of the polar continent.
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice-over): An image of Antarctica's Eagle Island from space captured by NASA on February 4th, days later, this
picture, the same area on February 13th, 20 percent of the snow cover melted.
In just nine days, the continent's northeastern peninsula dramatically changed after an unprecedented heat wave in the coldest place on Earth.
As temperatures continue to rise due to global warming, scientists say mass melting could lead to irreversible changes.
ZOE THOMAS, RESEARCH FELLOW, UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES: With ice sheets, it's very easy to melt them. This happens very fast. But building
it back up again takes thousands and thousands of years. So what we're saying with the West Antarctic ice sheet is that this starting of the melt,
once we reach a certain threshold, will continue despite efforts to stop it.
SATER: And that threshold may be approaching quickly.
Earlier this month, Antarctic experience its hottest day ever recorded as part of what experts described as an accelerating trend.
CLARE NULLIS, SPOKESWOMAN, WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: It's among the fastest moving regions of the planet. The amount of ice lost annually
from the Antarctic ice sheets, increased at least six fold between 1979 and 2017.
SATER: As Antarctica's ice sheets melt, the world sea levels rise, but scientists say it's the unnatural speed of melting that's cause for alarm.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, Antarctica's ice sheets contain enough frozen water to raise global sea levels by 60 meters. Over
time, that could translate to a catastrophic threat for millions living along the world's coast.
THOMAS: What we will see is a gradual increase in the sea level over tens of hundreds of years, and this will gradually displace people as it goes.
We know that this is already happening in small island communities, and this will just continue to happen.
SATER: Along with images of balding ice caps and melting glaciers, a warming Antarctica may also lead to more scenes like this, an iceberg, the
size of Malta breaking off earlier this month from Antarctica's western edge, the 300 square kilometer chunk detaching itself as sea temperatures
More evidence, the European Space Agency says of Antarctica's meltdown in the midst of the world's climate crisis.
Tom Sater, CNN.
SOARES: Now, there aren't many people who have achieved icon status while still in their teens, but two of them met up in the U.K. Malala Yousafzai
and Greta Thunberg took a moment out together at the University of Oxford.
Yousafzai, you recall won a Nobel Peace Prize for advocating girl's education after she was shot by the Taliban. She is studying at Oxford.
Thunberg was nominated for a Nobel for climate change activism. She's in U.K. for a protest. Great to see them together.
And before we go, let's give -- show you a very quick look at the stock markets. The Dow still taking a beating down, 728 points, almost three
percent, second straight day of sharp losses, largely caused by fears over coronavirus. We will focus on that.
Our Richard Quest has much more on that at the top of the hour with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."
Do stay right here with CNN. I'm Isa Soares. Thanks very much for watching.