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Fauci Lists Three Things U.S. Needs to do Now to Get Handle on Virus; U.S. Coronavirus Deaths Near 139,000; WH Claims Trump Never Downplayed Virus; WH Blocks CDC Director from Testifying on Reopening Schools; Home Depot, Lowe's Join Retailers Requiring Masks Nationwide; Interview with Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas Who Mandates Masks in Public; Report: Coronavirus Patients Experiencing Debilitating Symptoms Weeks After Infection. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 17, 2020 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing.

I'll be back tomorrow night 7 pm Eastern for another special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Dr. Anthony Fauci just revealing the three things the U.S. needs to do to turn the pandemic around as the world breaks a one day record in New coronavirus cases. U.S. responsible for nearly 30 percent of those new cases. Where's the President?

Plus, mask wars getting even uglier, all out brawls caught on tape. Local government meetings spiraling out of control. Top Republican Governor tells us why he is now mandating masks in his state.

And Dr. Deborah Birx has become the most powerful person in the White House on coronavirus, at what cost? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, Dr. Anthony Fauci just speaking out and revealing three things that this country needs to do right in order to get a handle on the deadly pandemic that is right now out of control in this country.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What we've got to do is reset. You may need to pull back a bit on a phase. You don't necessarily need to lock down, but you've got to do three or four or five things that are absolutely critical, Judy (ph), because we know they work and that is universal wearing of masks. Stay away from crowds. Close the bars.

If we do that for a couple of weeks in a row, Judy (ph), I think we're going to see a turnaround.


BURNETT: That is the warning tonight from Dr. Anthony Fauci. This as the WHO reports a record in new coronavirus cases around the world. In just the last 24 hours, more than 238,000 new cases reported. The United States with 4 percent of the world's population accounting for nearly 30 percent of those new cases, with cases trending higher in 38 states, nearly 140,000 Americans have died from the virus at least eight states hitting a record number of deaths this week.

And yet the President missing an action. He has not held an event on the crisis in 10 days. The last task force meeting he attended was in April. And as for the task force itself, we were told last Friday that there would be a briefing this week, which never happened.

Now, Trump's team is saying that the President did not do something really, really important that he actually did do.


MERCEDES SCHLAPP, SENIOR ADVISER, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN: He never downplayed - that you're saying that he downplayed the severity of this. This president has taken decisive and bold actions from the beginning.


BURNETT: OK. Well, let's roll the tape here is the President on March 10.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we're prepared and we're doing a great job with it and it will go away to stay calm it will go away.


BURNETT: On that day, the U.S. death toll was 28. About a month later, April 9th, this was the President.


TRUMP: There are certain sections in the country that are in phenomenal shape already. Other sections are coming online. Other sections are going down.


BURNETT: The death toll in the United States on April 9th, 20,638, 20 days later, April 29th, the president.


TRUMP: It's going to go. It's going to leave. It's going to be gone. It's going to be eradicated.


BURNETT: The dead on that date, April 29th, 61,960 Americans dead. May 15th, again, the President.


TRUMP: It'll go away at some point. It'll go away. It may flare up and it may not flare up. We'll have to see what happen.


BURNETT: On that day, 88,669 Americans had lost their lives from coronavirus. June 17th, the President.


TRUMP: The numbers are very miniscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.


BURNETT: U.S. death toll on that date 118,363. July 2nd, the President.


TRUMP: And the crisis is being handled and we are likewise getting under control.


BURNETT: The death toll on July 2nd, 128,803 Americans dead. Well, those are not minuscule, dying out, under control, leaving, eradicated, going or any of the other words he used. That is what he did. He downplayed this. The pandemic has gotten worse and worse.

Trump knows it and his entire team knows it. Just today, we learned that there actually is an internal White House document. A report by the task force obtained by the Center for Public Integrity shows that 18 states are in what they call the red zone and that they, this internal document, recommends that those 18 states roll back or pause their reopening because of a surge in cases.

That's an internal document that they know that people there have read, that wouldn't know that from hearing the President over the past few weeks.



TRUMP: We're working to safely and responsibly reopen our country.

We're safely reopening our country.

Our country is now in the next stage of the battle. A very safe phased and gradual reopening.


BURNETT: Wow. And the document, 18 states, their own internal document would recommend to roll things back and stop. He's saying the opposite at the same time.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT live outside the White House. Kaitlan, the President saying things like this. We just went through what happened as the death toll surged in this country month after month after month. And now he's barely addressed the pandemic for 10 days, why?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not a single event dedicated to COVID-19 happened with President Trump this week and instead he focused on other topics. Not even going when he went into went to Atlanta, he didn't even visit the CDC even though he was nearby giving a speech on infrastructure. And it seems to be that this concern that the President is not paying attention to what's happening in the country with this pandemic is sinking in with voters, because we're seeing this new Washington Post-ABC poll that says 60 percent of voters disapprove or of Americans disapprove of the way that the President has handled the pandemic so far.

And those are numbers that are concerning to even his advisers and now some of them are saying publicly, they think he needs to start taking a more forward-facing approach to this. Kellyanne Conway even suggesting he should bring back those daily briefings that were canceled after he suggested or that he stopped holding largely after he suggested using disinfectants like bleach to possibly try to treat coronavirus. Of course, something that no health experts have recommended.

And Erin, just to give you a sense of where the White House focus seems to have been this week. I want to point you to this great new reporting from my colleague, Jeff Zeleny. When you walk into the White House and you're in the grand foyer, you see these two portraits of President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. We are now told that in the last weeks since the President hosted the Mexican President last week and we saw those portraits hanging up, they have been moved to the old family dining room.

That's a room that's very small. No visitors go there. It's used for storage of tablecloths and old furniture. And instead, they've been replaced by President William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, which is unusual, because typically it's the last two of the most recent presidents that are there in the grand foyer.

And in the last week, the White House has moved those. We asked for explanation about why those portraits had been moved, what was behind that and if it was the President's decision to move those portraits, they did not respond to requests for comment, but it does give you an indication of where the White House's focus has been this week, as you're seeing cases soar throughout the United States.

BURNETT: Moving portraits around the White House of presidents they don't like. All right. Thank you very much, Kaitlan. Tonight, I want to go to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Jonathan Reiner,

Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at GW who was in the White House, of course, the medical team for eight years.

So, Sanjay, I'm just going to say I'm pretty disturbed about the whole portrait thing. I don't understand even why anybody would have any time to focus on anything like that, anybody at any level anywhere. But as I take a deep breath and try to move beyond how disturbed I am by that, the President has not had a coronavirus related event in 10 days and now we know about that internal document prepared for the coronavirus task force which says the opposite of what he has said publicly.

It recommends that they pause or rollback reopening in 18 states, red zone coronavirus states. Yet the President saying the opposite.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think what's in these documents is pretty much reflective of what I think most people frankly know at this point as they sort of reflect those original gating criteria that came out from the White House, sort of giving the states an idea of how to safely reopen and we're basically tossed out the window almost as soon as they were released. I mean, so it was basically words, not actions that came out.

So we looked at these documents, we looked at these 18 states and none of them are following these criteria. I mean, in Florida, Gov. DeSantis is defending keeping gyms open. That obviously would not be something that the task force would recommend, especially given that Florida is one of the hottest spots right now in the world with regard to this. There's a legal battle going on over masks right where I live, I mean, in the middle of the worst public health crisis in our lifetime.


GUPTA: So, Erin, this isn't about not knowing at this point. They know. I think most people know that are watching television right now. Frankly, I think it's probably incumbent on everybody that's watching right now to speak up. Nobody gets to sit this out anymore.


GUPTA: Everyone has to say something, because this is getting ridiculous and people are dying.

BURNETT: I mean, Dr. Reiner, to this point, one of those 18 states in the red zone in this internal report that we're referring to is, of course, Florida. And according to the internal document that was - to the coronavirus task force, they should be actually rolling back.


Gov. DeSantis, as Sanjay just indicated, is recommending that gym stay open because a healthy lifestyle will make you less likely to get really sick from coronavirus. Here's what he said about it.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you're in good shape, you have a very, very low likelihood of ending up in significant condition as a result of coronavirus.


BURNETT: So he was using that again as a justification for gyms. Does that make sense to you, Dr. Reiner? Is there any situation in which maybe that does add up?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No. No. If there was a 25th amendment for Florida, that statement might trigger it. It doesn't make sense on any level. Let's just go through this again for the millionth time.

The virus affects people of all ages. The virus doesn't care if you're well or not. The virus will infect anyone that it encounters and the outcome of that infection is not just for the person who acquires it. So, yes, if a heavy weight lifting 18-year-old gets it, that person is likely to do fine. But that person's grandfather at home in their house is likely not to do fine or the person they encounter on the way home who then gives it to two or three other people.

We're talking about viral transmission. The Governor of Florida was educated in two very world renowned places, but he doesn't act it. This is basic stuff. Why are we keeping gyms open when 11,000 people in Florida tested positive today? If Florida were its own country, it would be among the highest number of cases in the world today.

BURNETT: So Sanjay, in Florida you have, obviously, one county where you have ICU beds full, you have two days in the past seven where you have a record death. And Marco Rubio is pointing out a big issue here, which is that the one drug which has been proven to work in some cases to make a difference, remdesivir, has not been available in Florida the way it should be.

Here's the Republican Senator, Marco Rubio, on a tweet. "New reports late last night of several hospitals in Florida with low or no supplies of remdesivir. Shipments are coordinated by the federal government and we have a bad disconnect between what they think we need and what we really need."

Then, New York's Governor, Andrew Cuomo, offered to send some New York supply, DeSantas then dismiss that, so you have this whole gamesmanship going on. But what's going on here, Sanjay, with remdesivir, which the federal government was supposed to be in charge of saying, we're going to make sure we stockpile this so that when there's a surge, it gets to where it needs to go, how come that hasn't been happening and at what cost?

GUPTA: Yes. I think that it's very hard to point to any part of these logistics that has worked well here. And we heard a lot about the problems with personal protective equipment initially, ventilators and now this one medication, which could potentially have some impact, so it's really unclear. I think I did speak on background today to folks who are helping

coordinate things at the level of HHS. They did say that basically bringing in more hospital information through HHS could possibly help address these sorts of problems, because they would know ahead of time which hospitals are likely to need things like remdesivir or personal protective equipment.

But look, it's very hard for me to be convinced. I mean, I'm a generally pretty optimistic person, but nothing has worked well, which is why I keep saying, Jonathan Reiner, who's so smart and so eloquent on this and knows that world should be doing this, should be in charge of this. I know he doesn't want to do that but, I mean, we need somebody to actually really create a tsunami of activity around this. We need to overreact to this right now, because that'll probably be the right level of reaction.

BURNETT: Dr. Reiner, I laid out the President over months again, and again, and again saying the virus was going away as the death toll surged from 30 people to 130,000 people. How significant were his words?

REINER: The tone is set by the President and the President can turn things around very quickly now. If I were a political advisor for the President, which I'm obviously not, I would say to the President, come out to the Rose Garden tomorrow, tell the country that we're at a pivot point, we're going to take this virus down, everyone's going to wear a mask, we're going to open schools only in places that we can open them now. We'll get there eventually. We're going to test like crazy. We're going to get our arms around this. I'm a wartime president, we can do this. Let's do it. Let's do it together. I'm with you.

His polling would go up 15 points overnight and he would look like he's in charge. Instead, he looks like kind of a sick old man hoping that things get better. Look, he looks like somebody that struggles to get out of bed in the morning. He can turn this around. He needs to be a leader. He needs to do it right now.


BURNETT: And Sanjay, I have to ask you about another big story breaking late today, the Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and now she's undergoing chemotherapy to treat a recurrence of cancer. And we know this cancer has come back again and again for her. She says the treatment is yielding positive results, those are the words. What are you learning about her condition in her treatment tonight?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, we can put up the sort of various medical issues she's had over the years and as you mentioned, most recently, pancreatic cancer treatment in August of 2019, May of 2020, she had this non-surgical treatment, but we now know she actually started in another form of chemotherapy at that point. The August 2019 therapy did not work. That was a form of immunotherapy.

It's really concerning, Erin. I think the type of chemotherapy that she started now, Gemcitabine, that is a type of chemotherapy that is typically sort of more of a palliative chemotherapy. It's to try and decrease symptoms. So she seems to be responding to it. She's 87 years old. She has recurrent pancreatic cancer and she's on a palliative as opposed to a curative treatment.

So it's worrisome. I mean, everyone is different, but this is obviously very concerning.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, the White House tonight blocking the CDC from publicly testifying about how to reopen schools. Why? Why would you silence that? That's the most important conversation we can have.

Plus, the battle over masks getting uglier by the day. This time, a fight breaking out between two couples at a restaurant.

And Republican Chris Christie with a warning to the President, lay out a vision or prepare to lose.



BURNETT: Breaking news, the White House blocking the CDC Director from testifying on reopening schools. The House Education Committee calling the move alarming as parents, of course, now are in the debate. We're weeks away from sending our kids back to school.

The CDC also did not release additional guidelines for schools as was expected today. They're saying they're now going to come until the end of the month. The senior CDC official calling this situation a 'mess' and 'dysfunctional'.

OUTFRONT now Dr. William Schaffner, formal official with the CDC. Dr. Schaffner, OK, that's pretty scary when you have the CDC itself saying dysfunctional mess. The White House in the meantime, we know Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary and the President himself has said we got to open schools, we got to open schools. And yet here we are, we're not even going to hear the CDC testify about it.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Yes. It does sounds a little bit dysfunctional, doesn't it? Now, fortunately, at the local level, I think school boards are working with their state and local health departments. They're getting consultation from their academic medical centers. I know some of my pediatric infectious disease colleagues are helping out here in Nashville.

So everybody is working their way through, but it sure would be great if we had clear guidance from the CDC, that would help everybody, obviously. And not to have Dr. Fauci testify, that doesn't seem at all appropriate.

BURNETT: So the guidelines now delayed till the end of the month. I mean, at that point, you're in it. You've got school districts that now are going online only for the beginning of school who would be opening. You've got school districts across the country opening weeks from then.

So if the CDC is going to make any real changes, it's going to be almost impossible for anyone to actually implement them, right? And when we get to big questions like they put ventilation out there and most public schools don't have central air conditioning or anything of the sort, I mean, is there any way that anybody is going to be able to get this done right in time now?

SCHAFFNER: Everybody is going to be doing their best to do their best and we're all going to have to watch that very, very carefully. The countries that have done this successfully have actually controlled community spread first. We haven't done that. We're nowhere near control. It's out of control.

So we're doing what I like to say and this will make no parents happy, a large series of experiments out there. We're trying to find out what will work and can we make things work to reduce the risk for our children and everyone else who works in those schools?

BURNETT: So the senior CDC official that I mentioned called the situation with the guidelines for schools 'mess' and 'dysfunctional' and we're hearing bigger picture. CDC teams on the ground aren't able to make decisions like they used to. So they used to have a lot of autonomy to make decisions on things like this. But now they have to 'run them up the chain' for approval to the White House. So how big of a problem is that?

I mean, they're also saying people who used to be privy information in the past would be central to these kinds of decisions are now not. They're now sort of being choked off. What do you make of that?

SCHAFFNER: You're breaking my heart, Erin. You know I'm President of the CDC fan club and they've been put aside and constrained. And a process that should be working efficiently has now been slowed down and has become very politicized in many ways. That's exactly the wrong way to do it.

The countries that have done this correctly have had a national program that put the public health people in front. The politicians have stood in the back and they have supported the public health decisions and the communication has been clear, sustained and very supportive and empathetic. That doesn't sound like as though this happened in the United States at all. In fact, quite the opposite, right.

BURNETT: No. Quite the opposite and you know what people should take heed to what you say, listening to public health officials having politicians in the background and many countries around the world that has resulted in kids being back in school, different setups than it used to be but kids back in school, which if that's what they want, they should let the public health figure out how to do it.

Thank you so much, Dr. Schaffner. I appreciate your help.

SCHAFFNER: Sure. BURNETT: And next, the battle over masks getting uglier. Here's a

scene in Arkansas. I'm going to talk to the State's Governor who's now requiring everyone wear masks in public.

And Dr. Deborah Birx, a survivor in the Trump White House, at what cost? A report you will see only OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, Home Depot and Lowe's announcing facemask mandates for all stores across the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci sending this message to Americans who still refuse to wear masks.


FAUCI: So even though deep down you want to open up the country and you want to get back to normal, by getting infected you are propagating the process of the pandemic and you are slowing down the process of opening up.


BURNETT: Athena Jones is OUTFRONT.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): It's a new epicenter for the virus. Florida now leading the nation in cases per capita.




JONES(voice over): The virus even forcing the temporary closure of part of the state's emergency operations center after a dozen employees tested positive. The toll on Southern Florida particularly evident as hospitals and hard hit Miami-Dade County have started to overflow. Intensive care units now at 119 percent capacity.

Coronavirus infections now trending upward in 38 states with national coronavirus case numbers hitting new highs on a near daily basis, topping a record 77,000 on Thursday. The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci with a warning.



FAUCI: People keep talking about the possibility of a second wave in the fall, when you're having up to 70,000 new infections in the certain areas of the country. That's something you need to focus on right now as opposed to looking ahead at what's going to happen in September or in October.

JONES: And the debate over masks rages on.

FAUCI: Masks are important.

JONES: Despite clear guidance from public health leaders.

FAUCI: I would urge the leaders, local political and other leaders in states and cities and towns to be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks.

JONES: In Georgia --

DR. KATHLEEN TOOMEY, GEORGIA PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We continue to see outbreaks in workplaces, in businesses, in congregate settings, daycares, camps, fraternities houses, many churches.

JONES: A legal battle over the mayor of Atlanta's mask order.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): Mayor Bottom's mask mandate cannot be enforced. But her decision to shutter businesses and undermine economic growth is devastating. I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens.

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA), ATLANTA: What I see happening is that the governor is putting politics above the people. For the governor to sue us over a mask mandate when the CDC has told us that it helps save lives really speaks to his lack of leadership.


JONES: And there is more news on the mask front from one of the hardest hit communities in one of the hardest hit states. Starting Monday, people in Miami will no longer get a warning when they failed to wear a mask. They'll be fined on the first offense. Those fines start at $50 and rise with each additional offense -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Athena, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, the Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, who has announced a new statewide mask mandate.

And, Governor, it's good to see you again. Why did you feel it was necessary to mandate masks in your state?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): For a couple of reasons. Of course, wearing masks has become more understood. They understand how important this is to stopping the spread.

And so, I looked at this as a way to reinforce what people already know, but some of those that are resistant to it, hopefully, this will bring them over the line. So, we have -- our cases have increased in Arkansas. We have doctors

on the front line. They need the support. They're asking for this mandate.

Then I think about our school children. I've delayed the opening of school for a couple of weeks in Arkansas to give us more time to prepare. But, eventually, they're going to be going to school and they're going to be wearing a mask under both circumstances.

And so, if we're going to insist upon that with our school children and try to bring education back, I think as adults, we need to set that example as well, and prepare them for it.

And so, it was the right decision. I resisted it because it is an infringement upon what somebody's comfort or what they want to do, but it is necessary in this public health crisis. And so, we did that. We're working through all the issues around that. But it was a necessary thing to do for our state.

BURNETT: And, you know, as you point out, look, there's some intense fights over this because it became, unfortunately, political even though it is a public health issue, as you point out. There's a viral video, you know, out of a lot of places. Now there's one out of your state.

A fight breaks out between two couples at a restaurant, one couple wearing masks, the other couple not, apparently got too close, and it led to a physical brawl, which we see here.

And it's not just your state, right? Yesterday, we had the man chairing this meeting in Utah which had to be cancelled because a hundred people showed up to protest masks and schools, packed the room wall to wall, didn't social distance.

Governor Hutchinson, why do you think it has gotten so ugly?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I hope that's the exception and it is the exception and not the rule. Most people understand it.

But it's -- we've got to get over any divide on this issue. It is important. I've said this from the very beginning. We have to make decisions based upon the public health guidance.

I listened to our Dr. Fauci, which is a Dr. Smith and a Dr. Romero here in Arkansas, and it's clearly the guidance of the public health community.

There shouldn't be any politics about it. That's just what it is necessary. And I think people are understanding that. It's not a partisan issue here in our state.

Some people resist it, but it's not on that basis. It's just that they live in a rural part of the state. They don't think that's necessary. But we're trying to show that our -- the spread can be anywhere in our state, even the rural areas. BURNETT: So, today, there were some strong words from the former New

Jersey Governor Chris Christie, you know, one of your former colleagues tonight. This is about President Trump's re-election chances in November. Let me play for you -- Governor Christie.



CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: -- concerned about the election, Julie. There's no doubt. The president went from a strong position in early February to an underdog position. Now there's no question he's the underdog.

And I think Joe Biden is a very formidable opponent and the president has got to get to work in laying out his vision. If he doesn't do that, he will lose.


BURNETT: I talked to the Republican Governor Larry Hogan yesterday from Maryland, your colleague. He said it's a really tough road to re- election. Those were his quotes.

Do you agree? Are you concerned Trump could lose?

HUTCHINSON: Well, President Trump is in a good position in Arkansas to win re-election. Now, of course, it's a big country and so, there's -- obviously, the battleground states are in a different position.

But yes, I think Chris Christie said it right, and he's the undergoing right now. He's focusing on the economy. And, by the way, in Arkansas, our unemployment rate dropped to 8 percent today, 3 percentage points below the national average.

But, you now, he's focusing on the job creation side. He also simultaneously needs to be able to focus and have a message in regard to the greatest health crisis that we've had in our lifetime.

And so, when you're president, you've got to deal with both of those crises going on at the same time. And by the way, his team is doing a masterful job.

Now, nothing's perfect. We all make mistakes in this. I've talked to them today. They're engaged in this. They're supporting this. They're trying to look for solutions.

And so, the team is working hard. And the president, though, has to have both messages, economic as well as health.

BURNETT: We all hear you loud and clear.

Thank you very much, Governor Hutchinson. I appreciate your time, sir.

HUTCHINSON: All right. Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the long term effects of coronavirus.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suddenly, I was falling over in the street, tripping over a paving stone that was clearly in front of my eyes, dropping a bowl of sugar because when I went to get it I missed it.


BURNETT: I'm going to speak to a researcher who is looking at this.

And Dr. Deborah Birx, she's been walking fine line between her and President Trump. How is that balance doing for her?


BURNETT: Tonight, a new survey revealing thousands of coronavirus patients reporting new and dangerous symptoms with long-term consequences -- concentration issues, memory issues, severe headaches, chronic diarrhea -- months after they had the virus.

And most of the patients who are saying this did not have severe cases at the time, 91 percent of them did not go to the hospital when initially diagnosed.

Joining me now, Michael Rutgers. He studies the long term effects of the coronavirus. He is the director of the Lung Foundation in the Netherlands, joining me from there tonight.

Michael, I really appreciate you taking the time. I know it's late there.

So, you've been looking at people who think they got away easy, mild symptoms, you know, they just barely even got sick. You're now finding thousands of them are reporting new and worse symptoms months after they had coronavirus, with 60 percent of them still unable to go back to work after 80 days.

How shocked were you to learn this?

MICHAEL RUTGERS, DIRECTOR, LUNG FOUNDATION NETHERLANDS, STUDYING LONG- TERM IMPACTS OF CORONAVIRUS: You know, we were surprised by that finding. I can't say they had mild symptoms. They had symptoms but not as bad that they had to go to the hospital.

We set up this website to care for these people after their acute phase. But it turned out most people came to the website and whom we sent a questionnaire, most people had not be in the hospital. About 87 percent were not in the hospital. And had the same symptoms and the same number of symptoms and the same severity of symptoms as the people who went to the hospital and survived. So, it was quite surprising.

BURNETT: And so, when you look at this, you say 87 percent of the people that you surveyed were not hospitalized. But many of them are now having these severe symptoms, right, including --


BURNETT: -- you know, intense fatigue, shortness of breath, increased heart rate while they're resting, palpitations, elevated pulse, chronic diarrhea, severe memory issues to the extent that some of them have trouble, you know, feel they can't mentally be the same as they were before.


BURNETT: I mean, what are the -- is there any part of the body that isn't affected? What stands out what you saw in people's responses?

RUTGERS: Well, we were surprised that it was not only symptoms related to lung disease. It was also symptoms related to all kind of other organs, as you mentioned. So, we are surprised about it. The people were surprised about it as well.

And that these symptoms, they keep ongoing for so long, at least 80 days. We're going to send them a questionnaire again in 1-1/2 months and find out how they are now. But we are not hopeful that -- we don't -- we are hopeful, of course, that they recover. But the speed of recovery seems to be quite slow. And that's a worrying thing, especially from our group. Six of them -- dozens haven't gone to work 80 days after the first infection which is really worrying, especially now in the U.S.

I guess, if it happens to you, with thousands of people, if you translate our results to your country, then those people who are that sick, they can't go to work, it will cause bigger problems for them apart from the unemployment which is already soaring to your side.

BURNETT: And, look, it's deeply worrying and troubling because we just don't know how long these last, whether these are life long for people.


BURNETT: Which is why it's so terrifying.

You know, I've talked to a lot of coronavirus patients who told me some of their longer term effects that they've had. One of them is our Richard Quest, and here's what he said.


QUEST: Suddenly, I was falling over in the street, tripping over a paving stone clearly in front of my eyes, dropping a bowl of sugar because when I went to get it, I missed it.


BURNETT: Obviously, coronavirus is supposed to be a respiratory virus but you have also seen people talk about these sort of neurological effects. RUTGERS: Yep. We have. Indeed, we've heard from people who have memory

loss, who have difficulty in focusing, concentrating, difficulties in putting a few sentences together.


And it does improve, but it improves quite slowly. As this disease is developing now, we don't know what the disease will look like in the long term.

We're monitoring those people. We're getting a lot of messages from these people. And together with them, we try to build up an idea on how to care for them because if we don't have the disease, we don't know how to care for those people and we don't know how to give them assistance to regain their life and their livelihood.

So, it's important, I think to develop research, to get the care system in place to support people and to improving. Training will help. Nutrition will help.

So, there are several things which we could do and can do, but we have to work our way slowly forward to develop proper care.


RUTGERS: Proper care for them.

BURNETT: Well, Michael, I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

And next Dr. Deborah Birx has become one of the president's most trusted advisers on coronavirus. Some of her peers are telling CNN that there are some questions now about her credibility.

And W. Kamau Bell speaking with his mother about growing up black in America.



BURNETT: Tonight, Dr. Deborah Birx walking a fine line in the Trump White House, making sure she doesn't contradict the president in public, while quietly ensuring that scientists have the biggest seat at the table for the coronavirus task force. But her silent service could come at a cost to her.

Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Deborah Birx quietly emerging as the most powerful person in the Trump White House on the coronavirus and her path there an unlikely one.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: The common sense of washing your hands, not touching your face.

BROWN: As the relationship between Dr. Anthony Fauci and president Trump soured over the past few months.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I find him to be a nice person. I don't always agree.

FAUCI: You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don't really fully understand it.

BROWN: Birx has amassed power inside the White House to the point that sources tell CNN she's effectively running the task force day to day, and sources say she's the only member to brief the vice president and White House officials daily.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I spoke with Dr. Birx this morning. Dr. Birx briefed me before coming out here.

BROWN: And at times, Birx herself has taken the podium wearing her signature scarf and a mask to match.

BIRX: I just want to mask and be a fashion statement.

BROWN: She spearheaded administration's recent decision to have hospitals send COVID-19 information to a new federal database, bypassing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an agency Birx often complained about to colleagues sources say.

She is also a forceful advocate for the president's push to reopen schools. Reopening guidelines after Trump called the CDC's plan, quote (AUDIO GAP).

She also works closely with the president's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner who praised her to CNN, saying she's an outside the box thinker and not afraid to get dirt under her fingernails. Kushner credits Birx for coming up with an idea to speed supplies to hospitals, many of which were complaining they didn't have what they needed.

Birx has worked in two previous administrations and is one of the rare political appointees held over from the Obama administration.

BIRX: I'm particularly grateful to President Obama for his bold leadership.

BROWN: But her staying power in numerous administrations during three decades in Washington has come at no small cost to her management style and her notoriety among peers. One former official telling CNN that, quote: Her reputation is finished following her silence when Trump publicly suggested injecting disinfectant might be a virus cure.

TRUMP: And I say the disinfectant knocks it out in one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection?

BROWN: Along with her duties on the task force, Birx serves as the U.S. global AIDS coordinator at the State Department known as PEPFAR. Former colleagues describe her as a no nonsense leader.

BIRX: From the very beginning of PEPFAR, it's been a bold experiment.

BROWN: The State Department I.G. report characterized the leadership as PEPFAR as dictatorial, directive and autocratic. Birx has never mentioned by name but almost a dozen people interviewed by CNN says she was partly responsible for fostering a, quote, toxic work environment.

But other former Obama administration colleagues told CNN her tough leadership led to results with one calling her reputation, quote, dazzling and as she continues to combat COVID-19, five months in, she's facing testing lags and a rise in hospitalizations and death toll in parts of the country.


BROWN: And the White House push back on the notion Dr. Birx lost standing in the public health community, a spokesperson for the vice president's office said her goal is to, quote, put health and safety before any other considerations, and the senior administration official told me that Dr. Birx doesn't try to play to the press that she is in this role to be effective and build trust.

We should note, Erin, that CNN reached out to Dr. Birx for an interview and she did not respond to our request.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much.

And next, W. Kamau Bell opening up tonight about the challenges that he has faced growing up black in this country.



BURNETT: This weekend on CNN, W. Kamau Bell is back with his hit series, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA". And as always, he's tackling some of the most conversations happening across the country right now.

Tonight, the impact of white supremacy, systemic racism, and what it's like to grow up black in America. So, he talks to his mother about what that meant for them. Here's a clip.


W. KAMAU BELL'S MOM: I was very conscious about that, and I remember when you were a little guy, you know, 6, 7 years old and there was a drugstore near us and we would shop in, and as soon as we walked in the door, the store detective would follow us. I said, be really careful, and I pointed out the store detective because we're always being watched.

W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": I remember that lesson and it sticks to me today. So much so that I'm aware of when I'm in stores now as a fully grown adult where my hands are. W. KAMAU BELL'S MOM: Uh-huh.

BELL: And then, you know, as a kid I aware because I didn't want to be arrested. And as an -- now as an adult, I'm aware because I don't want to be killed.



BURNETT: It's pretty incredible as all of his programs have been, every single one of them. So, tonight, 10:00 Eastern, you definitely don't want to watch -- sorry, Sunday night 10:00 Eastern -- all time zones. So, definitely watch.

And thanks so much for joining us.

"CUOMO PRIME TIME" with Chris Cuomo starts right now -- Chris.