Return to Transcripts main page


Some Passengers Disembark Cruise Ship Hit By Coronavirus; Stocks Sink More Than 2,000 Points, Italy Goes On Lockdown And A Total Of 5 U.S. Congressmen Self-Quarantine; Rep. Mark Meadows, President Trump's Incoming Chief Of Staff, In Self-Quarantine As A Precaution. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 9, 2020 - 20:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. John Berman here, in for Anderson.

On a first night of what could be a very long, tense week for people in this country and around the world, that's because the markets suffered an unprecedented point drop.

In Italy, a country of 60 million people, effectively closed all its borders to the world.

Now, all of that happening as passengers are finally disembarking from a cruise ship now reported in Oakland.

At a news conference a short time ago, Vice President Pence said 21 were infected on the ship. However, none of them children.

President Trump was also there, or should we say he was there briefly. He use this team to explain the outbreak is, quote, not our country's fault and was, quote, something we were thrown. Also, he talked about a stimulus package he hopes Congress will pass.

But then the president left the room before taking any questions. And we want to play you that moment, because tonight, the health of the president is now a concern after several Republican allies in Congress, some who had recent contact with the president, announced they have self quarantined after coming in contact with someone who was infected.

Here is that moment after reporters ask, whether the leader of the free world has been tested.


REPORTER: Has he been tested? Have you been tested?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have not been tested for the coronavirus.

REPORTER: Has the president? Has the president been tested? He's been in contact with people who were in proximity to somebody who had the virus.

PENCE: Let me be sure and get you an answer to that. I honestly don't know the answer to the question. But we'll refer that question and we will get you an answer from the White House physician very quickly.


BERMAN: The vice president doesn't know if the president has been tested and we still haven't received an answer from the White House.

Now, here is what we do know at this time about the president's health. Four Republican members of Congress have self-quarantined them after they came in contact with an individual at a recent political action forum who has tested positive for the virus. Ted Cruz, Dr. Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins. Congressman Collins of Georgia shook the president's hand after exiting Air Force One in Atlanta on Friday, after Congressman Collins came in contact with the infected individual.

And then there is Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida. Today, he rode with the president aboard the presidential limo, as well as Air Force One. Gaetz was also a dinner guest of the president Saturday evening, spending the weekend with President Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Now, Gaetz had previously appeared to mock coronavirus prevention. He appeared last week in a gas mask during a vote on funding for coronavirus prevention and he tweeted out a photo of himself in that same gas mask while in his office.

By the way, all of that happened before this weekend when a constituent of his died from the coronavirus.

Today, his office responded to the gas mask controversy, quote: Congressman Gaetz had expected COVID-19 to impact Congress given the elevated frequency of travel and human contact and demonstrated his concern last week on the House floor.

He demonstrated it all right.

Interestingly, President Trump attended the same CPAC conference as the four congressmen who have self-quarantined. That was February 29th, nine days ago.

President Trump said of the coronavirus, quote, everything is under control, unquote. And he said it twice.

Let's start with Boris Sanchez at the White House tonight.

Boris, as we mentioned, Vice President Pence, he couldn't or wouldn't say whether the president has been tested. Is that still the case?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We don't have any clarity on that at this point, John. You heard Vice President Mike Pence there say at the podium that he would give some clarity to the press. He sort of struggled to answer the question. Ultimately, acknowledging that he, himself, had not been tested. He said that he didn't know what the White House's physician's advice

was to Trump on that. We should point out as you saw there, the president totally ignored the question, quickly walked out of the room before answering any questions from reporters.

We should also note that the president, just this weekend, over the last few days, has ignored the advice of top experts when it comes to senior citizens protecting themselves from the coronavirus. He's attended a number of fundraisers with hundreds of people in attendance, shaking a lot of hands, John.

BERMAN: So what more is the White House saying about the president's interactions with Congressman Gaetz and Doug Collins?

SANCHEZ: Yes, not much at all. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham didn't answer questions I sent her after this news came forward. The White House has maintained that President Trump is fine, and that he's healthy. He, himself, has made clear that this isn't a huge concern for him.

But it seems that the tide is turning. Specifically, when you watch the Dow Jones dropped 2,000 points in a single day. That really has gotten the president's attention, especially going into this 2020 re- election campaign.

BERMAN: There is no question about that.


And that's clearly what he wanted to focus on at this news conference. Saying that tomorrow, he'll hold a precedent where he will announce some kind of economic relief. What was the president talking about there? And does the White House think it'll be enough to stem the losses on Wall Street?

SANCHEZ: It's really an open question at this point. From what we understand, the president met with aides this afternoon, going over a draft, different ideas, opinions of what an economic stimulus package would look like. The White House has repeatedly said that they would look to help the airline industry, the cruise industry, support tourism and travel in that regard. There's been speculation about a potential payroll tax.

It would also not be a surprise if we see some kind of help for the energy sector, as well, with this price war over oil going on between Saudi Arabia and Russia. There is less demand for oil. We may see the White House try to boost that.

The big question on the horizon, and we're still several steps from this but it's an important one to keep in mind, how will Democrats respond to this? Are they willing to help the president pass an economic stimulus package that might turn the tide with the way that the White House has handled this coronavirus crisis? And help the president boost the economy, avoid a slowdown going into November.

All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House -- Boris, keep on pressing and let us know if you get any answers tonight.

I want to bring in CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk more about what we heard at this news conference a short time ago.

And, Sanjay, what do you make of the fact that the vice president couldn't say whether or not president Trump has been tested for coronavirus?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I was a little surprised they didn't know only because it's been such, you know, a topic in the news today. And everyone's been talking about it, reporting on it. So that was a little surprising.

The president walked out, John, I don't know if you saw, before he could take those questions. So I think the vice president was a little surprised. At first, he thought -- he thought he was being asked if he had been tested. So I think there was a little confusion there.

I do want to say one thing though, John. So the scenario basically is that these Congressmen Gaetz and Collins interacted with somebody who was subsequently found to be positive with coronavirus. And then they interacted with the president. It's not clear whether Congressman Collins or Gaetz have coronavirus themselves, and I think that's going to be an important question.

I bring it up only to say, John, as we move forward over the next days and weeks, who should get tested, I think, is going to be a question that comes up. Should you get tested if you came in contact with somebody who was known to have coronavirus?

The answer may be no. I mean, the White House doctors may say, hey, look, we think we'll watch you. See if you develop any symptoms. But we don't necessarily want to make this precedent that everybody who has second or third-degree contact should go out and get tested, John.

BERMAN: And the members' offices do tell us that as of now, those members are all asymptomatic.

Another big part of this news conference was the idea that the CDC guidelines, these new pieces of paper are coming out. What do you make of this, Sanjay? I suppose any information is good, although, maybe it's a little late for some of this.

GUPTA: Well, you know, and Dr. Fauci did describe it as being very basic information about how to, essentially, protect yourself at home, at your business and restaurants, whatever it may be. And my -- we haven't seen it yet. I guess it's going to be coming out later tonight or tomorrow morning.

But I think it's going to be a lot of stuff that has been discussed. I think, peripherally, in terms of hand washing and disinfecting and -- and the appropriate distance to stay away from somebody. How do you interact with people at a restaurant? In terms of lowering your risk of getting infected. I think you're right, John. I mean, we have been hearing about this

but it's been sort of piecemeal. I think what they realize, and they being Dr. Anthony Fauci and Ambassador Birx, that there probably needed to be a more coherent sort of way of presenting all this information to the entire American public. This is supposed to be for everybody.

So, yes, I mean, you kind of wish they would have had this sooner. Although they have been talking about it, now we are going to have it in a more organized firm.

BERMAN: Just overall, Sanjay, what were your biggest takeaways from this briefing?

GUPTA: I think the biggest takeaway for me, when you observe the president at the beginning and I was there for the first press briefing he did around this topic. And I did get the sense that this time around, there was an acknowledgment, more of an acknowledgment by the president, that this was a big deal.

Before, I think it was still sort of, you know, not necessarily recognizing -- he had just come back from India. I think he was a bit surprised that he had to talk about it. This time, he said basically, look, everybody's talking about it. I get it. Everyone around the world is talking about it. This is the big topic. So he acknowledged that.

And, you know, he talked mostly about the economy. But he did bring up some specific things like helping workers who might have to stay home. We're asking people to stay home. Maybe they can't afford to, you know, an acknowledgment of details like that.

So I think that was good. But, again, he spoke for a very short time.

BERMAN: He did, which is notable. We'll get to that in a minute.

Sanjay, thank you very much. We have a lot more to discuss with you coming up.

First, though, I want to talk with a veteran with years of service working on an array of Washington crises, former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta, who also served as defense secretary and CIA director.

Secretary Panetta, are you surprised that Vice President Pence couldn't say or wouldn't say whether President Trump has been tested for coronavirus, given that the president interacted with people that had come in contact with someone who now has coronavirus?

LEON PANETTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF, CLINTON ADMINISTRATION: That was -- that was kind of not -- not a smart move by the vice president. I think both the president and he knew that question was coming because of the fact that he had contact with members of Congress who have now quarantined themselves. So I -- I think they should have been better prepared to have responded to that question because it is a critical question. BERMAN: And then it struck me that the president, after floating a

payroll tax cut and some other wage benefits, he left. He walked out of the news conference early. I'm wondering why you think the White House, perhaps, didn't want him taking questions?

PANETTA: It's the president of the United States, the commander in chief, if you will, who's got to stand up there and speak to the American people about what's happening and what we're doing to try to deal with it. I thought it would have been far better, frankly, to not even have the president go out there because it created the impression that the president was not fully knowledgeable about what is happening with the virus, did not want to speak to it, and, instead, wanted to mention the fact that he was going to meet with senators tomorrow to talk about an economic package, which -- which is all well and good.

But the fact that he went out there, did not speak directly to the issue that American people are concerned about, and immediately went off stage. I -- I just thought -- I just thought it left -- it left me with a sense that the president, for a lot of reasons, does not seem to have his arms around this issue and does not feel comfortable addressing it, as he should have addressed it at that press conference.

BERMAN: What does it tell you that you have concerns about the president of the United States participating in a news conference about coronavirus? That's pretty extraordinary.

PANETTA: Well, you know, it's -- it strikes me that the president, for the last few weeks, as we've been dealing with this crisis, has tried to play down the threat of this virus. He's concerned about its impact. He's concerned about what it's doing to the economy. It's -- he's concerned about what it's doing to his presidency.

And so, as a result of that, I think he's trying to put the best face on it, without really relying on the scientific facts and the medical facts that are so apparent. I appreciate the vice president, and I appreciate the whole medical team that was there because i, at least, had the sense that they were presenting the facts and the truth to the American people.

I don't think this president has come face to face with the truth of what's happening. And as long as that's the case, I have a feeling that we're not going to see the president doing many briefings on what's happening with the coronavirus.

BERMAN: You know, every public health expert I speak with says that in a crisis situation, the number one ingredient for public health is public trust. So I guess the question is, what happens when a leader forfeits some element of public trust?

PANETTA: Well, you know, the problem is this president has had a hard time with the truth since he entered the presidency and before that. And, you know, the American people want to be able to trust. What -- what the president is what -- what the president is saying to them. But, in many ways, he's forfeited that trust by the fact that he

continues to shade the truth. The most important thing in these crises is to present the truth to the American people. And this president, so often, would rather shade the truth so that everything looks fine.

When, in fact, this is a crisis that we're all apart of. All Americans are a part of this effort to deal with this crisis, and he should be comfortable, not uncomfortable, with telling the American people the truth about what's happening.


BERMAN: You know, I want to ask you a question on a slightly different subject. It has to do with the crisis over oil prices. Now, this has to do with two countries that the president, for whatever reason, has gone out of his way to develop these particularly close relationships with Saudi Arabia and Russia. What does it tell you that he can't just get on the phone, after years of building up these relationships, and say, hey, fix this? Isn't this exactly where you should be using the leverage he claims to have been building up?

PANETTA: Well, frankly, what concerned me more today was the fact that the president tweeted out that somehow this crisis on oil prices was going to benefit the American people with lower gas prices. The problem is it's a crisis. We've never had that much of a drop on energy prices for almost 30 years.

And when that happens, it creates a very unpredictable marketplace that could impact on our way of life, because we are so dependent on that source of energy. So I -- I would have thought that the president would've really spoken to the danger points that we're seeing now with regards to oil. And also, as you say, he should have picked up the phone with Saudi Arabia and with Russia.

BERMAN: Secretary Leon Panetta, so great to have you with us this evening. Stay healthy. We'll talk to you again soon.

PANETTA: Thank you, John. You, too.

BERMAN: Just ahead, Dr. Sanjay Gupta rejoins us to help us take a step back, take a deep breath, and answer more questions about the coronavirus.

Also, a live report from Oakland, a cruise ship with passengers infected with coronavirus has just docked. The latest on the conditions of the passenger when 360 conti -- returns.



BERMAN: A lot of fast-moving events tonight on coronavirus, including news we just learned. A source tells CNN that the Trump campaign will announce a rally for tomorrow. They did not say what the location is.

So, we want to bring back Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about that and a lot of different questions it seems like everyone has right now.

Sanjay, just in the last segment before the Trump campaign said they were going to announce the rally, you said the president seems to be taking the coronavirus more seriously. Do you still believe that's the case? I mean, medically speaking, is it proven to hold a rally?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I mean several doctors were asked about this today. Even at that -- even at that press briefing. You know, the coronavirus task force. And, you know, the answer was always some variation of everyone has to sort of make this judgment on their own. Clearly, people who are in their 70s or 80s are more at risk and, you know, Dr. Fauci has said people of that age group or with pre-existing conditions, you know, should, as much as possible, try and not be in large, public spaces. So this clearly seems to fly in the face of that, no question about it.

You know, they also said that if -- if it were -- if the rally were happening in an area where coronavirus was not known to be spreading, perhaps it would be OK. That's what one of the other doctors said.

So, look, you know, John, you know, it's been very interesting over the last few weeks because there is hardly any precedent for some of what we're talking about here. And because the virus is so new, you know, I think recommendations are sort of being altered and tweaked as we go along.

But, yes, to your general question, I think Dr. Fauci and others have been very clear. The elderly, people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and lung disease, as much as possible, should not be in large gatherings. And, certainly, a rally would qualify as that.

BERMAN: And just to be clear -- both Democratic candidates still in the race right now are also over 70. We'll talk about that more I'm sure in the days and weeks ahead.

I do want to ask you, though, about this age thing in general. If the risk is greatest to people 70 years old and older, why are so many schools shutting down? Middle schools, high schools, colleges -- what's going on?

GUPTA: Yes. That's a great question and I think what the -- what the real goal of that is when you start talking about the social distancing, it does come with this acknowledgment with younger people, even though they tend to be, you know, somewhat insulated even though they can become infected, the concern is that they can still carry it. And if you are a someone who is a student and you're in school, you come home and you're spending time with someone who is elderly, even though the young person may not be sick themselves, the concern is by being out in that situation in a crowded school where the virus may be circulating, that they could then bring it home and infect somebody who would be vulnerable. That -- that's the real goal.

But -- but it's a good point. It doesn't change the fact that younger people do seem to be pretty protected from this virus. BERMAN: That's really it because there are thousands, tens of

thousands, could be soon, of kids who will be missing school. And the schools are shutting down so they don't get their grandparents sick. And I'm not making light of that at all. I mean, that might be a serious consideration.

But that's what's going on here?

GUPTA: Yes. I think a lot -- it really is this idea that to break the spread of transmission, you've got to stop, you know, any modes of transmission. And we know that even though kids aren't getting sick, they can carry the virus.

And, you know, these schools and, especially, you know, for young kids, in particular, the schools, you know, we know that the virus is, including other viruses, not just coronavirus, transmit pretty easily. So that seems to be the big part of it.

I will say this. That, in the past, even going back to H1N1, which I covered extensively, there were 700 schools that were shut across the country back in 2009, 50 in New York City where you were. And there wasn't clear evidence at that point that it made a huge difference.


And I'm sure that's data that they're going to look at this time to determine whether or not they do any mass school closings.

BERMAN: So, on the subject of kids, our congressional reporter, Jeremy Herb, just tweeted this tonight. Quote: Rep. Gohmert is still giving tours despite his contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus. He explained to the group of several dozen kids and parents about his conversation with the doctor that he didn't have any symptoms and that he wouldn't shake hands.

Again, I understand that we don't know yet about third-person transmission from one to the other to the other.

GUPTA: Right.

BERMAN: But just in terms of the public health messaging, this is a congressman who now says he came in contact with someone who had coronavirus, who's quite publicly advertising the fact he is now giving tours in the Capitol.

GUPTA: Yes, I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't do that. I mean, look, he talked to his doctor about not necessarily needing to be in quarantine. I guess. That's what I have read and the CDC doctor said he didn't necessarily need to be in quarantine.

But the idea then you are deliberately going out, even if you're not shaking hands and being around large gatherings of people, I doubt that his doctor would have recommended that.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I really appreciate you being with us tonight. I know you have more to do. We'll see you tomorrow morning on "NEW DAY."

GUPTA: Got it.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, the Grand Princess cruise ship finally docks in Oakland. Some passengers are allowed off. But some are not. We'll get the latest on the situation next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: More on our breaking news, as we report at the top of the program that after staying at sea for several days, the Grand Princess Cruise Ship has docked in Oakland, California, and some people have now been allowed to leave the ship. There are at least 21 people or there were at least 21 people on board with coronavirus.

CNN's Nick Watt joins us now live from Oakland. Nick, what more do we know about who exactly is off the ship and who remains on board?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the headline is that this is going to take quite some time, 3500 people aboard that ship and everybody is going to get tested as they come up. So, the first priority was with people with acute medical requirements. They, we believe, are now off.

Next up will be the 962 people aboard that ship who are California residents. There are buses waiting to take them to Travis Air Force Base where they will continue their 14-day quarantine. Others will head down to Miramar down in San Diego. Then residents -- other residents of the U.S. will get put on planes and taken to bases in Texas and Georgia.

And also the U.S. government has been working with the Brits and the Canadians to get their nationals off this ship and out of this country as quickly as possible. They will be bussed onto the tarmac at local airports and put straight on charter planes back home as of the U.S.

So, this will probably take a couple of days. They'll carry on for another couple of hours now until it gets dark. Then they say they will cease disembarkation overnight, start up again in the morning.

Again, John, one other word we just heard from a Florida couple, they have already filed suit, looking for a million dollars in damages against the cruise lines, saying that the cruise lines put this ship to sea knowing that it was infected. The cruise line tells CNN that the safety and health of the passengers and crew is always paramount to them and they won't comment on ongoing litigation. John?

BERMAN: So Nick, the majority of people that tested positive for coronavirus, they're crew members. Will they be allowed to leave?

WATT: Right. They will not. Yes, you're right. Of the 46 tested, 21 were positive, 19 were crew. They will not be allowed off. Once all the passengers are off, that ship is going to go back out to sea where the crew will serve the rest of their quarantine away from everybody else. John.

BERMAN: All right, Nick Watt for us in Oakland. All right, Nick, thank you very much.

One of the passengers aboard the grand princess is Kari Kolstoe, a 60- year-old woman from North Dakota who has a serious medical condition, separate and apart from coronavirus. She's been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and is supposed to be going home for treatment. She and her husband had planned the cruise as a vacation in between her radiation treatments. I spoke to Kari shortly before we came to air.


BERMAN: So Kari, first of all, how are you doing? How do you feel? I see your smile. Is it genuine?

KARI KOLSTOE, CANCER PATIENT WHO JUST LEFT THE GRAND PRINCESS CRUISE SHIP: My smile is genuine right now. We've had a number of crying days this morning. I'm in a fair amount of pain and I had some pretty heavy duty painkillers. We earlier were given the understanding that I wasn't going to get off today, and so we are actually awaiting getting off the ship any time.

They passed out masks and came in and got luggage and so I have no idea where I'm going, but any place off this ship would be great. I've got -- as the day goes on, the battle gets tough to bear with the pain. So, hopefully, we can hold it together long enough to get somewhere.

BERMAN: So just to be clear, you have been told you're getting off shortly, within hours, but have you no idea where you're going?

KOLSTOE: That's correct. The only person I've seen or talked to is a man at 3:00 p.m. -- 3:00 a.m. in a hazmat suit. He identified himself as a physician and asked me questions about my medical needs. Other than that, through this ordeal I have talked or heard from no one.


BERMAN: So that person in a hazmat suit is the only person that's aware of your serious medical condition, correct?

KOLSTOE: He's -- I believe they were notified by Senator Cramer's office and various other ways. But on the ship, the only person I've talked to is the man in the hazmat suit at 3:00 a.m.

BERMAN: And the doctors back in North Dakota, your doctors, what are they telling you now about your treatment? Will it start when you're in quarantine, wherever that might be?

KOLSTOE: We have no real idea. We sure hope that's the plan, because it's imperative that I get both my radiation and my chemotherapy started as soon as possible. We know the cancer is growing. We're told to go ahead and go on the cruise by everybody, including my palliative care physicians. You know, when you have a chronic serious condition like I have, we're always weighing the risks versus what's right for our family and what's right for, you know, everyone else. I know there's lots of folks on this ship that have story and they all have a good story. And I don't expect to have preferential treatment, but I do expect that our story gets told too, and how I need to get this treatment.

BERMAN: What have you been doing the last few days to get through this? This trip was supposed to be the one that took your mind off your problems. So how have you been working through these last few days and how is your family holding up?

KOLSTOE: Well, we are holdings up well. We have two grown daughters who are manning the dog and all the other things, the one back at home. They are, of course, frightened, but we are very faith-filled family. We believe that good will come out of this and that somehow we'll trust in God and something good will happen. Right now, it isn't terribly evident what that is, but we're hoping that we get some clarity to that soon.

BERMAN: Well, Kari, I can tell with you that smile, I know something good will happen. We wish you the best of luck and the best of health, wherever you may go. And I hope you find out where that is soon.

KOLSTOE: We do, too. It's a little unnerving, but it's forward progress and that's all we're asking for.

BERMAN: Good luck. Thanks so much for speaking with us.

KOLSTOE: Thank you.


BERMAN: So you heard, Kari, say they were hoping to get off the ship at any time. Well, we just got word at moments ago she was able to disembark the Grand Princess. We'll try to find out where she is headed. I'm sure she is trying to find out too. We will update you on her progress and, of course, we wish her all the best.

Still more breaking news straight ahead, reaction to the alarming drop in the stock market today, why it happened and what might be in store for tomorrow.



BERMAN: Markets took a major dive today on the 11th anniversary of the longest bull market in history. It was the single biggest point drop on the Dow in history.

Let's get two takes. CNN's Richard Quest, anchor of "Quest Means Business," joins us along with Alexis Glick, a financial expert and former executive at Morgan Stanley. She's also CEO of GENYouth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing child health and wellness. Richard, just in some, this was what a cocktail of concerns over oil prices, coronavirus, and confidence?

RICHAR QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The house was on fire already because of coronavirus and gasoline was poured on the flames by the Saudis who said they're going to pump oil, oil, oil until the cows come home when they will push down the price. The market could see no way out. All it sees is troubles, woes and misery. And that's why we came pretty close today, I think almost to capitulation.

BERMAN: Capitulation.

ALEXIS GLICK, CEO, GENYOUTH: And the degree of uncertainty. You came in already knowing that the market is unstable just with what we know about the coronavirus. But add to it, the decision by Russia to opt out and the Saudis to cut prices, everyone wakes up this morning and oil prices are down 30 percent. We haven't seen this since the Gulf War in 30 years ago. I mean, that caused a shock to the market.

QUEST: And you then add in for certain key shocks. I mean, today, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruises, these all major companies employing thousands of people and the stock went down 25 percent. United Airlines down 10 percent. The banks were down. This is a broad-based route of a market that you've not arrested will lead to a recession.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, the President said today that it's good for the consumer the gasoline prices are going down.

GLICK: Well, because the reduction in oil prices right now, if you look at about the 25 percent sell-off, what that translates into is in the next couple weeks we will probably see gasoline prices at $2 a gallon. So there will be a positive effect on the consumer.

The issue is, is that because of containment, what we're saying to folks is don't travel, right? So it's like what are the levers we can really put in place to help the market and the economy right now, and that frankly is the thing I think that's rattling folks in the market.

I had conversations today with about a dozen different CEOs. What they say across the board is, Alexis, we've been dealing with contingency processes. We've shut down any non-essential travel. We're getting everything we need from the CDC. But factories coming back online, which is starting to come back online in China. It's going to take time.

Things that have happened in February, we're going to see the ripple effects in March and April, whether it's imports coming in, whether in L.A. or some of the largest docks in the country. We need this to work through the system and the question is, what are the levers that the government can put in place right now other than cutting interest rates, adding fiscal stimulus, you know, loan forbearance, things like that? Are we going to help small businesses? Sixty million people have are employed by small businesses.

[20:45:13] BERMAN: The President seemed to hit that he was going to try to do something and now stopping (ph) tomorrow payroll tax cut. Richard, is it enough? Because you now think, what, chances of recession are 50- 50?

QUEST: No. Look, people in the markets, I thought are being very polite when you ask them what they think the chance of recession. I asked the chief economist of the IMF today what the chance of this a U.S. recession and they all sort of talk about, well, it's getting more potentially more likely. 50-50 is being generous. If we continue with this disruption, it really goes the other way.

GLICK: Here's the thing about this. You know, a recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of declines in quarterly GDP. GDP last year was just north of 2 percent. You have some economists who come out -- some of the leading economists who come out and said the second and third quarter we may not even grow at all.

Now, the question for everyone I have talked to is the size and length. What everyone is talking about is the uncertainty around the time horizon and what the longer-term consequences will be.

But I can tell you that with every CEO, and I'm talking -- I spoke to the largest companies in the world today, what they're all saying is they have created 90-day contingency plans. So they are well into Q2 in terms of preparation, how they're addressing, their factoring, their work force.

Now, what they're saying is we're over communicating. We're staying calm. We're building the plants in place. I will tell you one other thing, the entire tech sector came out, Apple, Microsoft, you name it, all the tech giants came out and said they're going to step up and pay hourly workers to stay home.

The health care industry said they're going to step up and make sure that they are paying for coronavirus tests for the uninsured. So, corporate America is looking for ways to step up and help at this moment in time.

BERMAN: Alexis Glick, Richard Quest, I know I'm going to see you bright and early tomorrow morning on "New Day," one of the people who will get some sleep tonight because investors, they certainly won't.

All right, we have just learned that President Trump's incoming chief of staff has gone into self-quarantine. Details, next.



BERMAN: More breaking news to report. A fifth Republican at that conservative forum now says he is in self-quarantine and this one is the President's incoming chief of staff. Congressman Mark Meadow's office says he is in self-quarantine as a protective measure. He was advice this weekend that he may have come in contact with the CPAC attendee who tested positive for coronavirus. His office says he's doing this out of an abundance of caution and that testing for him came back negative.

Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the top of the hour. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Listen, God bless Meadows. May he be healthy. Hopefully the test was OK. The concerns about the President are real. If he came into contact with them, he should be tested. You know, this is a really dicey time, my brother.

You know, so often in the news we're trying to decide how to make things sound important so people can care and now we're in a process of just trying to be a reality check daily.

We got Bernie Sanders on tonight. This is arguably the biggest night of his campaign. He's got to make the case. He's got to -- it's got to pay off for him tomorrow. He was on Fox tonight doing a town hall. I want to talk to him about coronavirus. He's at risk, too. We're all at risk, but we got to stay true to reality and stay together, just like you and I are.

BERMAN: Yes. All right, Chris, we'll be watching. And of course, the fight for Michigan, that's tomorrow's top prize in the primaries. We'll talk about Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, how they're battling for votes. That's next.



BERMAN: Joe Biden is hoping to repeat his Super Tuesday with more victories tomorrow when six states hold primaries, Michigan, Idaho, North Dakota, Missouri, Mississippi and Washington State.

Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are now both campaigning with the former vice president tonight in Michigan. That state is critical for the former vice president and Senator Bernie Sanders.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny takes us inside the fight for Michigan.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bernie Sanders is looking to Michigan for a campaign comeback.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tuesday is a very, very important day and Michigan is the most important state coming up on Tuesday.

ZELENY: It's not only the biggest prize on Tuesday with 125 delegates at stake. The primary is seen as a trial run for November as Democrats weigh who has the best chance of defeating President Trump.

Democrats have neither forgotten nor forgiven what happened here four years ago as their blue wall of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania collapsed. Trump is the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan since 1988, carrying the state by only 10,704 votes. That number is certain to the minds of many Democrats who believe it's time for Joe Biden to take command of the raise.

(on camera) Four years ago you supported Bernie Sanders. What changed?

LT. GOV. GARLIN GILCHRIST (D-MI): Well, the first thing is that Joe Biden is in the race. He wasn't in the race in 2016. Someone that has the records, results and relationships here in Michigan, I didn't have that choice in front of me before.

ZELENY (voice-over): And Garlin Gilchrist is the state's first African-American lieutenant governor. He admired Sanders in 2016, but now believes Biden is building the broadest coalition to defeat Trump. Four years ago, Sanders come from behind victory in the primary here injected new life into his battle with Hillary Clinton.

SANDERS: And if we win here in Michigan.

ZELENY: Today, he's trying to rekindle that spirit. Yet conversations with some loyal Sanders supporters are taking a practical turn.

BEAU CRNKOVICH, SANDERS SUPPORTER: We're going to go as far as we can with the Bernie train, but if it comes down to Biden, I'll definitely vote for Biden for sure.

ZELENY: The fear of Trump winning reelection comes up again and again.

JOANIE SOARES, SANDERS SUPPORTER: That's the whole thing, you vote with your beliefs because we believe in everything in this platform or are you practical? So it's a real struggle.

ZELENY (on camera): Do you think that Biden has a better chance in a general election?

SOARES: He's more moderate. He can get a lot of those kind of middle of the road voters and Bernie's going to have a harder time.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Biden campaign is working to build on its Super Tuesday performance. Here in Michigan, that same coalition is key, winning convincingly in the city of Detroit and showing strength across the sprawling suburbs.

Since 2016, Lori Goldman has been organizing women voters in the battleground of Oakland County, awakening a new army of political activist. She liked Elizabeth Warren but now is all in for Biden.

LORI GOLDMAN, FOUNDER, FEMS FOR DEMS: Tuesday will be a bellwether. If Biden wins, which I hope he does, I can breathe a small sigh of relief. If he does not, then I have to worry how Michigan is going to perform.


ZELENY: Now, on the eve of the Michigan primary, that Biden bandwagon is growing. Cory Booker has just taken the stage here for his first endorsement appearance with Joe Biden here in Detroit, Kamala Harris also on hand. So John, there is a sense here the Biden campaign looking for a strong finish here to try and close this down. They do believe mathematically and politically speaking if Bernie Sanders loses, it will be challenging. But John, let's keep an eye on Michigan tomorrow because Bernie Sanders pull a surprise four years ago. Let's see what happens.

BERMAN: You got it. We will be watching very closely. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

The news continues. I will hand it over to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time."