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Trump Admits To Woodward He "Bailed Out" Of Room When Someone Sneezed at WH In April; Trump Blames Bad "Management" For CA Fires as Governor Reminds Him Federal Government Owns 57 Percent of CA Forest Land; Search Continues For Man Who Shot Two L.A. Deputies. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired September 14, 2020 - 21:00   ET




SATER: This could be catastrophic flooding.

COOPER: Yes. Tom Sater, appreciate it, thanks for it, keep watching it.

The news continues. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, thank you, Anderson.

Happy Monday. A lot of unhappy things going on, so let's get after it. I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

We are 50 days out from this election, and boy, we are stuck in an IDKWTF cycle, meaning so many of us are forced to say, "I don't know" when it comes to what should be clear because nothing makes sense. We seem confused and divided on the most rudimentary and basic things. How can this country seem to be in this state? Obvious things! Then, a WTF happens that we believe can't be seen as anything but what

it is, like a pandemic or a cry for justice, or a big-ass fire or storms that are more frequent or worse, and yet everything is in doubt.

This President is driving this cycle. His latest WTF is his attack of science as a basis for understanding natural disasters.




TRUMP: You just - you just watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish science agreed with you. TRUMP: Well I don't think science knows, actually.


CUOMO: "I wish science agreed with you." "I don't think science knows," was the President of the United States' answer.

The problem is his nonsense informs his action and inaction, both of which have left us more vulnerable than ever with this pandemic, and with these disasters. But to be clear, this WTF with science must not create an IDK problem.

Science is not a person. It is not a CNN anchor that Trump can just insult to get his base riled up.

Science is knowledge. It is what we all look to for understanding. So, if science were a person, and it isn't, science would always know what it's talking about, because science is the answer.

"No touching stoves." "Why not?" Fire burns skin. Science! Want that Presidential paler that not quite found in nature nuanced look? Chemicals can color skin and hair. Science!

His intention is clear. Add science to the list of things that should not be trusted as much as he is. But we, my brothers and sisters, must break the cycle.

Murdering police, wrong, always, period! Saying police are murdered by those you're looking to demonize without proof? Wrong! Justice should be fair and equal for all. Period! Saying there's no problem with justice in this country is wrong.

And ignoring science is wrong. Hence telling your supporters to do things that you know will increase their risk of getting a virus that you know is worse than you're telling them is wrong. And yet, this President defies what all should agree with.

Listen to his, own words, to Woodward. New stuff!

April 13th, the day after Easter, remember, he wanted churches packed with people. Woodward reveals new audio, tonight, in an appearance on Stephen Colbert, Trump himself was running scared at that time, of catching COVID.


TRUMP: And Bob, it's so easily transmissible, you wouldn't even believe it.


TRUMP: I mean, you can - you can be in the room. I was in the White House a couple of days ago, meeting with 10 people in the Oval Office, and a guy sneezed, innocently, not a horrible, you know--

WOODWARD: Yes. TRUMP: --just a sneeze. The entire room bailed out, OK, including me, by the way.


CUOMO: So, "Including me," he says. No wonder he avoids church!

The man who has every rapid COVID test possible, at his fingertips, who has everyone tested around him, all the time, he was worried about how easily you can catch this. But he was telling the rest of you to do exactly what he would never do himself.

And he is still doing it, because this President is the opposite of science. He doubles down on dumb and dangerous, because he is about serving himself. Not you, not truth.


Today, a packed gathering in the hard-hit state of Arizona, the chairs were zip-tied together as a fire precaution. But what about the dangers of this many people in the audience with no masks on? Why?

Why would a President who cares about his people do this, if not because he cares more about himself? And once again, the only person safely socially distanced in that room is him.

In fact, the President of the United States violated state rules in Nevada yesterday for crowd gatherings, and his own White House guidance, holding a jam-packed indoor rally of thousands, as this country approaches 200,000 dead.

Make the case! How is this not proof, of not a care in the world? In that sea of supporters, didn't even say to wear a mask.

We must get back to basics and that starts with following science.

One of his top health aides, now attacking government scientists at the CDC, Michael Caputo, you've seen him on the show many times. He is the top HHS spokesman. He accused them of sedition, OK, and is pushing an insane conspiracy that Left-wing hit squads are preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

I asked him on the show tonight. He couldn't come.

This is what the President wants you to believe. That's why he's saying it that scientists are part of this growing radical-Left that are looking to ruin this country. With them? With science? Well because they're not saying what he wants to be said about COVID, so the scientists are bad.

His Administration just reportedly appointed a long-time climate crisis skeptic to help run NOAA, the federal agency that produces much of the climate research. This guy formerly served as Delaware's Climatologist but was allegedly forced out because of his controversial views on the issue. There must be more focus on what we know, and not what some politician wants you to believe. A President who refuses to say that global warming is real, let alone playing a role in the California fires, instead, blaming bad land management.


TRUMP: I was talking to a head of a major country, and he said, "We're a forest nation. We consider ourself a forest nation." This was in Europe. I said, "That's a beautiful term."

He said, "We have trees that are far more explosive," he meant "Explosive" in terms of fire, "but we have trees that are far more explosive than they have in California, and we don't have any problem because we manage our forests." So, we have to do that in California, too.


CUOMO: Now, he's going after California because he thinks he's going to lose California, OK? But here's the point for you to take home. Left and Right, put it aside, just be reasonable.

Much of the fires out on the West, right now in the West, were started or are burning on federal lands.

So, if it were a question of land management, and it is federal land that is at least part of the problem, whose job is it? Who's accountable for any bad land management, if it's federal land? Who's at the top of that food chain? He is!

California's Governor schooled him with something today.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We acknowledge our role and responsibility to do more in that space. But one thing is fundamental. 57 percent of the land in this State is federal forest land, 3 percent is California.


CUOMO: "Hmm! Hmm! Hmm!"

He doesn't know. He doesn't know. And you know what's worse? He doesn't care. Sitting there with his arms crossed, Gavin Newsom telling him, "You are in charge of the land you say is not properly managed."

So, what does he have to say to you about that? Just think about it. He doesn't think they manage the land well. That's federal land, you're in charge. It's OK that he says nothing. All blame no shame. That's what he's about.

Now look, it matters, OK? We can't deny truth just because it's inconvenient. We have to get a live update on Hurricane Sally, on the fires, both, because we have two natural disasters hitting us.

We want more on that state of those infernos out West, so let's start with fire, because I'm talking fire, and then we will go down South to see what's happening with this hurricane, but first, CNN's Martin Savidge, in Lyons, Oregon.

I got it right? Lyons?


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you do, Chris. It's one of those areas that's been just blasted by fire.

We're on the edge of what's called the Beachie Creek Fire, is the fire that has already racked up a number of fatalities, including a 13- year-old boy and his grandmother, and a number of other people. It just roared through this area.

Oregon is not used to the kind of fires they've seen in the last week. In fact, in the last week, 1 million acres went up in flames. That is usually what they see burning wildfires over two years, two years' worth of land gone up in one week.

There are 34 fires currently burning, 5,600 firefighters that are on the line, tonight, trying to control those blazes. They have had good fortune. The weather has turned in their favor somewhat. Temperatures have dropped, humidity levels have gone up, and the winds have died down. That's all good news.

But there is still 10 dead in this State, and there are 22 that are confirmed missing and, of course, as we know, the number of missing is going to go down, and the number of those who are confirmed killed are going to go up. It's still too dangerous for many search crews to get into some of the areas.

Other good news, rain predicted later in the week. The bad part of that news, lightning and wind will come with it, and as you know, Chris, lightning starts the fire and wind is what drives them. So, there is still a lot of concern in Oregon tonight. Chris?

CUOMO: Creates those firenadoes and all that turbo-charging of the flames where it just randomly seems to pick communities to destroy.

Martin, please be safe, you and the team.


CUOMO: And as always, thank you for helping us understand a very dangerous situation better.

All right, so from fire--

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

CUOMO: --to water, meantime, the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Sally, now a Cat 2, is expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours before making landfall. Not unusual.

Now, what is somewhat unusual here, though not entirely, CNN Meteorologist, Tom Sater will help us through this one, is you had a little bit of a direction shift. And obviously, as your map shows you, this is one among many brothers and sisters that are still out there, Tom.

SATER: Yes. Yes, can you believe this?

And you were talking about turbo-charge, you said a moment ago, five named storms, records go back to 1850, Chris, this has only happened once before, in history, that was 49 years ago. 1971, Paulette moved right over Bermuda, it was in the eye.

They named Teddy today, they named Vicky, there's only one name left, on the list, Wilfred. And we're only halfway through the season. We knew it was going to be a super-charged season, and no doubt about it. We are three weeks ahead of the benchmark year, 15 years ago.

We knew that Sally was going to increase in strength. However, last night, this time, it was just tropical storm. It went under - underwent rapid intensification. That's a signature of climate change. That means it jumped for 35 miles per hour in less than 24 hours. It actually went from 60 miles per hour to 100.

CUOMO: "No, Tom, it's always happened."

SATER: Now, the other thing--

CUOMO: "It's always happened, Tom."

SATER: That's true.

CUOMO: "They've always done this."

SATER: Typically, one or two a year actually go through rapid intensification. This is the fourth hurricane, so third one that's done it. But here's what happened, and this is what's a little frightening, because we're not really sure, Chris, where this is going to make landfall or when.

We thought it would make landfall somewhere near Pascagoula after midnight tonight. Well because it's slowing down so much, remember Harvey in Texas dropping all that rain, this could spin out here for 24 hours. They've extended the warnings over into Florida, just east of Pensacola.

But the model, still we have to lean on them, it looks better for New Orleans now. There's a big cut-off in the rain. They may only get a couple of inches. But with it spinning offshore, that means we could have over 24 hours of a surge.

And you know, with each passing hour, that water gets deeper and deeper inland, but it's going to halt the progress of any rain-falling to make its way and recede back into the Gulf. And if you're talking about it spinning, here's the difference with

Harvey, Harvey was spinning over land. This is spinning over a water source. So, I think this is going to surprise a lot of people.

But again, this could make landfall late tomorrow, it could be after midnight tomorrow, it could be midday Wednesday. And I wish we had better idea, but that just means we're going to have to watch this hour by hour.

Mobile Bay could get hit hard. Right now, the National Hurricane Center has it going in toward Pascagoula, but six inches to 10 inches of rain, all the way up to the Carolinas.

So, it's not just inland flooding. That will be the worst with the surge. But you can see these bands moving in, it's going to be a long process. We got to - we'll watch this one every hour.

CUOMO: We will, and as always, you come right back to me if you need to give an update during the show.

SATER: Sure.

CUOMO: My time is your time.

And other quick points, that water collecting up, Tom has taught me in the past, that's a convection experience within this type of storm, where the spinning will suck up more water, so there's more water to dump. That's called science.

When I said to him, "I don't like what you're saying about it spinning up stronger like that. It's not true. It always happens," which is BS, right, what does the Meteorologist Tom Sater say? "No, actually, not this many storms, this is unusual," which is why he believes it's a function of a dangerous dynamic called climate change.

See, that's science. And that's what we have to respect. It's not always going to give us the answer, sometimes it's developing.


But just going on what works for you in the moment is dangerous. It's as dangerous as telling people, "Don't worry, the storm won't be that bad. Go on outside, have a barbecue. Go to church on Easter. Don't worry about it. I'm not, but you should," and then telling people, at that time, you knew that it was dangerous, for them to be doing it, and you thought it was going to spread like crazy, and that it was terrifying how fast it spreads, and you're telling them to do things like that.

That's the difference between science and playing people for a sucker. "COVID was going to disappear," he said, "Magically." "It's going to magically get cooler now," so that will just take out the fires and hurricanes, right?

We're going to take all this nonsense to a former EPA Administrator, all right, a real Republican. A Trump World insider, also we're going to have, next. Let's talk science and sense.









CUOMO: The reality of science has never been a more real threat to American lives. Yet the President who said he inherited his Uncle John's brilliant genius as a scientist actively discredits science.

Let's talk with two Republicans who know the threat, former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, ran the EPA under George W. Bush, and Miles Taylor, former Chief of Staff to Trump's own Homeland Security Secretary.

Welcome both to PRIME TIME.



CUOMO: I always remember, growing up, the Republicans being the smart ones. Pew just found that 27 percent of Republicans/lean Republican trust scientists.

Governor, 27 percent? How?

WHITMAN: That's just President, it really is. He has been denigrating science since the moment he took office.

He has been saying scientists doesn't matter. If it doesn't comport with the message he wants to send, or the things he believes in his brilliant brain are true, then the science is wrong, the scientists are wrong. He's been hamstringing them.

He's been undermining people's confidence in government overall in our institutions of government, rule of law, and minor things like that. But science has really taken a hit.

And those 27 percent, I will bet you anything, are the ones who will switch over and vote for Joe Biden this winter, this November.

And it's the rest of them, who are these Trump acolytes who just believe everything he says, and even when he tries to walk it back, when they hear his voice, in those tapes, from Bob Woodward, saying "This is serious, this is much worse than I think," and yet, he has these rallies, where people don't wear masks, except the people standing behind him. He makes them wear masks, so he looks good on the shot.

But the other people - and then they'll say "Well I don't believe this. It's not real." And they were asked the question, but the President himself said it was, "No, no, it's not real."

I mean that's what happens when you keep hitting a message home, and he's done it enough now, and undermined science enough now, that people don't know who to believe.

CUOMO: Miles, I see you nodding along with much of what the Governor is saying.

OK, fine, if he's going to say something, and people believe him, so they believe it. But usually that line stopped when it came to non- political sentiment, like if he were to say, fire is not hot, I do not believe Trump supporters would be touching stoves. I don't believe that.

What is it about science? We know what it is about institutions. It's easy for him to bash institutions, because people do feel humiliated, disaffected, thrown out by this system, betrayed by this system.

I get that, but science? Why is that such an easy sell for him?

TAYLOR: Well look, I've got to agree with the Governor. Donald Trump is anti-science. But I'm going to give you the simple explanation for why he is. Science represents truth. Donald Trump doesn't like truth, unless it fits his narrative.

So, when the science runs contrary to the narrative he wants, it's no longer truth to him, it's inconvenient, and he'll push it away, and he'll push the people away, who try to tell him about it, he'll push the information away. And ultimately, that puts the American people in danger.

We saw this all the time, Chris. So the Department of Homeland Security, of course, we had FEMA within our department. And the people at FEMA are responsible for tracking things like climate change, because it's going to affect flooding and hurricanes, etcetera.

They would be scared to brief the President and the White House on climate change and climate developments that affect disaster mitigation, because they were worried they were going to get shooed away.

Now, this isn't surprising in a sense, because this is a man who we couldn't brief unless we brought pictures with us.

But what's really affecting to me, Chris is, this week, while we're talking about the California wildfires, and the hurricanes, I've actually been in the room with the President, on both a response to California wildfires and hurricanes, and let me tell you how he responded in terms of science.

The last time we went through this with the California wildfires, again, he denied that it was the federal government's problem. He said what he's saying now. He said it's a land management issue.

But then incredibly, he told us he wanted to cut off the aid to Californians, because he was mad because the Californian people didn't support him politically. That's what happened then. I'm worried that's what he'll do now.

When it came to hurricanes, last time I was in the Oval Office, briefing him on hurricanes, the big question he had for us is, "Is that the direction hurricanes always spin, counter-clockwise," that's what he wanted to know, Chris.

He wanted to know if it spun that way just like toilets flushing in a different direction, down in Australia. That's what the President cared about.

And one last thing, when we were trying to convince him that he needed to tell the people in the Carolinas to evacuate, when we had a hurricane coming into North Carolina and South Carolina, the President said, "Well, I saw a Trump supporter on TV say he was going to hunker down, and that's what I want to tell the American people to do, because Trump supporters are tough. Let's tell them to hunker down."

This, as his scientists were telling him, "You need to tell the people of the Carolinas to evacuate to save their lives."


But he saw a guy with a MAGA hat, in a parking lot, in a grocery store, on television, say "I'm going to hunker down because I'm a Trump supporter," and that changed his mind.

CUOMO: Gov--

TAYLOR: This is the President of the United States.

CUOMO: Governor, I'm not sure if Miles wants me to laugh or cry. But I'm bouncing back and forth between the two reactions.


CUOMO: And this is the part where it starts to become problematic. You want to believe in somebody, fine. If you want to say, "You know what, Miles?" - let's assume he's right about all of that, politicians stink. And I'm not surprised, because all politicians stink.

But when he says this is a land management issue, and then people find out what he does not deny, which is, it is largely federal land that is the problem here, which means it would be his problem, it does not move the needle with any of his supporters, why?

WHITMAN: I know. It's extraordinary to me, Chris. I do not understand how you can present people with facts, they can

see it for themselves, and yet they just will not accept. They have so bought in to the fact that it's only what Trump says, not what he does, but what he says that matters and it's scary, because it's costing people their lives.

And it might be fine for those people, who go to his rallies, and say, "Well if I get sick and die, that's fine, I'm in God's hands." But what about all the people with whom you interact when you go home from those rallies? They don't deserve this, and yet you could be a carrier.

It's just mind-boggling to me that we have reached this stage, where you have a man, who is promoting conspiracy theories, denying science, looking away from his job. I mean, his job is to protect the American people. He is miserable at that. He has never really done it, because he doesn't really care.

He only cares about himself and whatever is going to reflect well to get his voters out, so he can win in November. And he's running scared now, and so he is going to become even more dug in on this idea that what he says is right, everything else is a conspiracy.

CUOMO: He's certainly going for broke. Governor Whitman, thank you very much, Christine Todd Whitman. And Miles Taylor, I appreciate the insight. Thank you very much.

WHITMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, we turn to the manhunt for the gunman, who ambushed and tried to assassinate two California deputies, sitting in their patrol car.

He's still on the loose, after more than 48 hours. If you have information, it is the only right thing to do in this situation that is so wrong. Let people know if you know what happened. Nothing but despicable!

But there is a larger conversation we have to have as well. No political lens should be used in looking at this. I'm back with two important voices in law enforcement, next.









CUOMO: The L.A. County Sheriff says, quote, it is a "Miracle" that two of his deputies escaped death.

I need to warn you, this video I'm going to show, of them being attacked is disturbing. But we need to see reality so that we can be disgusted by it, and push against it.




CUOMO: These deputies were shot. They were ambushed, sitting in their cruiser, Saturday, in Compton. And then, the gunman, still on the loose, you'll see him, he walks up, shoots, directly into the window, before running off. It is incredible he failed to kill either of those deputies.

The extent of what we know, that's it I just showed it to you. Anyone who says they know why this happened is pushing an agenda because we don't know anything other than what you just saw.

And there are a lot of crazy people. I know we don't like that word, with mental health awareness, and I'm all about that. But you know what? That guy either has a bad mind, a bad soul, or a bad brain, or a combination of all of them.

Let's bring in two men, who know how this fits into the bigger conversation this nation is having over the police, former Baltimore Police Commissioner, Anthony Barksdale, and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

Thanks for both of you being here.



CUOMO: So, in a situation like this, Commissioner Barksdale, where do you want people's heads and hearts to go immediately? What should this mean to us?

BARKSDALE: First, I would hope everyone would be concerned for the sheriffs that were victims of this attack.

An incident like this hits home to me, 18 years ago, I had a partner killed in an ambush, off-duty. And it was vital for us to solve the crime, and not make it a political - a piece of a political game, a political agenda.

The case comes first. Solving this case is the priority. And I think it's huge that you're asking your audience to come forward. You got to focus on this case, make a prosecutable case, and get this person off the streets. And that's the focus.

CUOMO: And brother Wexler, when you see this and you know what's being said, what do you want to remind people about situations like this? I mean they're rare, thank God, but it's not like we haven't heard about them. We had one in New York, not that long ago. And then, there was a copycat not long after that.

WEXLER: Yes. No, my first reaction, when I saw this was, December 2014, when two police officers in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York were assassinated, very similar to this.


Look, it's tragic that - look, this is the only profession, where you put on a uniform and, to some people, you are a target. No other profession like that. So, this is - this is horrible, an assassination. But - and hopefully, they will identify this person.

It's very important to find out what happened here, what the motivation was for this individual. But, right now, we're just praying that these officers will be OK.

CUOMO: I mean amazing that it didn't wind up like Bed-Stuy, God forbid.

And the way the Deputy, the female involved, got out, applied a tourniquet, and was making all these rational decisions, after being shot like that, phenomenal statement of her character and her competence.

So, Commissioner, then it starts. "You know why this happened. You know why. That guy looks Black in that. Blacks are angry. And this is what happens. This is what happens. It's all over the internet. It's all over" especially the Right and the fringe.

What do you say in response?

BARKSDALE: I think that we - those in leadership have to stop this wave of jumping to conclusions. And it's happening time and time again, whether the police are victim or allegedly the problem. And there are cases where cops are the problem. We've got to be honest, Chris.

But when you have two officers shot, sitting in the vehicle, we need to know all of the details. We need to let the Homicide detectives, everyone, Robbery detectives, everyone must get involved, and solve this case.

Jumping to conclusions must be stopped. It's out of control in the United States. And it's even worse, when you've got a president that wants to say "Death penalty!" You can't do that. We need to know the facts. We don't have them all right now.

CUOMO: Right. And just so people don't think I'm pulling this out of thin air, to cause trouble, because this would not be Brother Lewis' definition of "Good trouble," that's for sure, listen to what the Sheriff said.


SHERIFF ALEX VILLANUEVA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Actions, words have consequences. And our job does not get any easier because people don't like law enforcement.


CUOMO: Now look, Chuck, the reality is a lot of people don't like law enforcement. And you have people try to kill cops, to get stripes with their gang, to get a reputation, because they're unstable, because they're angry about something, a lot of reasons.

If anything, it should inform us why officers are so on point when they're doing their job, because they know this is a reality that can come visit them the way it does, and no other job that any of us has.

But the idea that "Words have consequences," why would the Sheriff go there, in your opinion, Chuck?

WEXLER: Well words do have consequences. And you know that was back in 2014 that there was this rhetoric out there. And so, some people, and people who are mentally unstable, they hear some of these - this rhetoric and they act--

CUOMO: I think he's talking about what's going on right now, not in 2014, Chuck.

WEXLER: Well but no, in 2014, that was the case. We don't know what happened. We don't know exactly why this individual did it.

CUOMO: Right.

WEXLER: And I think it's important to get the facts. But you know, something to keep in mind, most people like the cops, right?

CUOMO: Right.

WEXLER: I mean, what we're seeing today is, we're seeing some very difficult scenes, and let's be honest, some of these videos are really difficult, and we need to learn from them.

See, that's what we - that's what has to change. Every time we see one of these tough videos, every Police Chief in the country should take his people, bring them in, and say, "How would we do that differently?"

We have to change how we're thinking about this whole thing. Where we are today, right now, is one side, and then the other side, we really have to be the grown-ups. We really have to step back and figure out, how do we get cooler heads to prevail? We all have to change. People want the cops to change. People want the

community to change. We all have to own these issues and stop the finger-pointing.

CUOMO: Commissioner, I'll give you the last word.

BARKSDALE: I agree with the training and tactics. I am happy that these sheriffs appear that they're going to survive.

But we have to look at issues such as officer safety. When I was a cop, in Baltimore, if I'm riding with a partner, my head's on a swivel while that partner is doing the paperwork. So, it goes back to training, like Mr. Wexler just said.

And we've got to keep our cops safe and be sure that they're doing the right thing when they're out there, to make it back home.

CUOMO: We need them. We need those men and women who are brave enough to put on the uniform. The communities of color, the more impoverished--


CUOMO: --a community gets, the more it needs the police. And the people there--


CUOMO: --will tell you that. A lot of stuff's getting mixed up in sideways now, in terms of what people think and what people really believe in their communities.


And Anthony, I know this kills you, watching this happen to the people in blue. And Chuck, I know it does as well. I'm sorry this happened. And I appreciate you both being on the show to talk about what matters.

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

WEXLER: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, God bless and be well.

The Coronavirus story that we're just not getting to you enough, this Long-Haul Syndrome is not hype.

You're about to meet a father, who's been through six months of hard- COVID, and his 9-year-old son has endless symptoms as well. That's right, the kids who aren't supposed to get it, it's not supposed to be the same. He's learned so much.

I got to tell you, this kid and his father are worth listening to, I learned some things, next.








CUOMO: "Kids don't really get Coronavirus." Wrong!


Science, 550,000 children in this country have tested positive for COVID since the pandemic began. Some, we're learning, are also not just getting over it, not just asymptomatic. They're hurting and they're becoming long-haulers.

My next guest recently wrote about what he and his 9-year-old son have faced. 9! It's not just physical. Convincing others, even doctors, in the early months that their pains were real was a lonely taxing battle.

Jonathan Lipman writes, "I have now been sick with COVID-19 for over 180 days. Until recently, almost nobody believed me, so I stopped even believing myself. When you tell the same story over and over and nobody hears you, you start to wonder whether the world has gone deaf or if you've just ceased to exist."

Jonathan Lipman, and his son Eli, are here. They are long-haulers. You're going to hear about this because it's real. And we have Dr. William Li, a world-renowned physician studying long-haulers.


CUOMO: Jonathan, Eli, Dr. Li, thank you for joining me tonight.

JONATHAN LIPMAN, COVID-19 "LONG-HAULER": Thanks for having us.



CUOMO: All right, so Jonathan, look, what's not unusual is you got sick, back in March.

What's not unusual is that the testing was all over the place. It was hard to figure out what was going on. A little less usual is that your son got it, because we hadn't heard a lot about younger people getting it. Now, the part that is most relevant is that you haven't been able to get rid of it, and that is a lonely world, not just lonely in terms of what you don't know, but what other people insist is true about you, Jonathan.

What did you deal with in terms of the "Not believing?"

J. LIPMAN: Well, we were - first got sick in mid-March, and it was hard to get tests, and our tests came late. When we got them, they came back negative. And once you get a negative COVID test, to the medical community, you don't have COVID. Period! Full stop!

And so every time we came back to the doctors to try to figure out what was going on with us, the explanations kept changing. "Maybe it's some other virus. Maybe it's some problem in your gut. Maybe you just have anxiety."

And no one would really believe us, that we were still sick. And when you keep being not believed, you stop believing yourself.

CUOMO: So, you got diagnosed with COVID, and you had been struggling with it all along, but then it didn't really go away. Now, you and I had similar cases, in terms of the fever and all that. What happened in terms of your experience of what we're now calling "Long-haul" symptoms?

J. LIPMAN: I mean it's a lot of intense body aches. I broke my shoulder once while I was on a bike crash, and it felt a lot like that, on those mornings.

It's a lot of - I had shortness of breath, couldn't make it up the stairs really without gasping, can't make it more than a few blocks. But the worst part has been the fatigue. I can't get through a regular day. I can't work full-time.

Eli will tell you, I like to cook dinner. I cooked dinner for the family most nights before I was sick. And I couldn't do that anymore. I couldn't take care of my family, because I was just falling asleep, passing out on my couch every day.

CUOMO: Now, Eli had that fatigue also.

And just, to put it out there, I've been fairly open, Eli, with what happened in my family. My 14-year-old, Mario, the one who maybe you guys will do some Minecraft action, at some point, but school first, school first, he too had that fatigue.

And Eli, I know you dealt with that also, where some days, he'd be OK. Other days, he was in bed all day. What was it like for you and what is it still like for you?

E. LIPMAN: So before, it felt like getting some - the day after you got smashed into a wall, like you're achy, you're sore, you're tired, but like not the tired where you go to sleep.

I can't go to sleep in the daytime. I wish I could, because if I could, I would. But my body's just like, "No, you can't go to sleep." Every time I try I just don't. And I don't like it.

CUOMO: Dr. Li, very unusual, first of all, to hear a kid as articulate as Eli. Period! But the "It" not going away with adults, rare, but we're starting to get educated. Kids, I haven't really heard about at all. What's your take for them?

LI: Well, Chris, first of all thank you for having me on.


And, as we've been talking about, long-haul symptoms, actually come after COVID has struck, and it really beats people up, and not everybody. Some people get better and they just go on with their lives.

But for those people, who actually feel beaten up, in the same way that you guys are talking about, we need to take these symptoms really seriously. We're still trying to understand what's going on.

My research is in blood vessels. We believe that there's actually a problem that can affect your blood vessels, and we need to heal those blood vessels up, but there may be other things going on as well.

And so, one of the important things is to keep talking to your doctor, and doctors need to keep listening to their patients, and listening to shows like this, to really understand that there is something unfolding between, before our eyes that we need to actually come together with the patients and with ourselves, as researchers and as doctors, to try to help heal.

CUOMO: Jonathan, what has worked for you, and what do you want to know from the Doctor, if anything?

J. LIPMAN: I think what's worked seems to be rest, and time. Eli and I are both doing acupuncture, and that seemed to have caused some relief.

I guess we've been hearing about things you can do to try to support blood vessel health. That's what's something that a lot of the long- haulers have been talking about on places like the Support Corps Facebook group.

So, I've been trying different supplements and stuff that are supposed to support blood vessel health. But if there's anything the Doctor can advise people on for that, we're all ears.



LI: Yes. Well so one of the important things for our blood vessel health is actually to try to get as much sleep and try to get as much regular movement. It may be difficult to exercise. But movement keeps blood going through coursing through our blood vessels. And that can be helpful. Also eating leafy greens, I just came out of a plant-based nutrition conference, and I gave a lecture about food and diet nutrition and COVID. There's a lot to be said now more than ever about eating to beat disease.

And so, I think this is something that we can talk more about at any point. But I do think that there's more research should be done. Talk to your doctor about nutrition, go work with your survivors' groups.

CUOMO: Eli, what do you want kids to know, because this is scary stuff. And most of the adults are telling people your age "You'll be OK. You probably won't get this. And if you do, it won't be any big deal." What do you want people to know?

E. LIPMAN: Kids, I'm sorry to say this, but it is a big deal. It will hurt. You just got to face the truth. Sometimes, you're not OK. And right now is one of these times if kids have long-haul, they're not OK.

But, the good side is, you will get better. Before - after - before here, like five months before this, I felt like I was just going to die at any moment, but - not really die. I just felt super-tired. I couldn't get up. I didn't want to do anything.

But now, I'm walking around, I'm getting more energy, and I'm feeling better.

J. LIPMAN: We have started to see some improvement for him, which has been really, really heartening.

A month ago, he was still really down at the depths of it. And the last month or so with the acupuncture, and more rest, and starting to really admit to ourselves that we're sick and give ourselves the space to rest, he has improved.

But one of the other symptoms, Chris that I wanted to tell people about is Eli had a low-grade fever, every day, for months, and that was one of the most maddening things.

We would tell the doctors about it, and they would say, "Well it's only a 100-degree fever, so we're not worried." But a 100-degree fever every day, for months, you know something is wrong with your kid, and I just kind of wish some of the doctors have listened to us about that.

Even this morning, he had a fever again. And it - he was back down by the afternoon. But it really wiped him out this morning. And that's still a thing that we're struggling with.

CUOMO: Doc, any take on the fever?

LI: Well this - the fevers are caused by cytokines in our bodies that are rearing up, trying to fight disease. And so, hopefully, this is actually something that's going to get better for Eli, and I think better for everyone who actually has got long-haul syndrome. Eli, I actually have to tell you, I haven't heard a 9-year-old actually explain medical symptoms as well as you. So, if you ever want to go to medical school, I'll write you a letter of recommendation.

E. LIPMAN: That's what my grandma says. But I'm going to be either a zoologist or a vet so, maybe medical--

J. LIPMAN: That's you heard it hear.

E. LIPMAN: --could be - will be OK.

CUOMO: Well if you become a vet - if you become a vet, Eli, that's good, because then you can be my doctor.

J. LIPMAN: There you--


CUOMO: Jonathan, Eli, thank you very much for being with us. We're family now. We'll stay in touch. I'll keep listening to you. I'll have you back on the show if there's something that happens that is relevant to people's understanding.

And Dr. Li, as always, appreciate the good counsel.

LI: Thanks, Chris.


J. LIPMAN: Thank you so much, Chris.

CUOMO: I'll hook you up with Mario.

E. LIPMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll see how good you're at Minecraft. Take care. Keep getting better guys.

E. LIPMAN: Minecraft--

J. LIPMAN: We're looking forward to it, thanks.

E. LIPMAN: --it's been on glitch though, so.

J. LIPMAN: Thanks, bye-bye.

CUOMO: Take care.


All the kids complain about glitching!

You believe we just heard more about facing the truth with the pandemic from a 9-year-old than we have from our President. We'll be right back.








CUOMO: Let me just leave you with this bit of perspective. You can't tell me that you look at that father and son, and see somebody who is faking it, for you.

180 days, they have been dealing with this. That kid is bright as hell. He's got some future. A 100-fever, for days and days and weeks, can you imagine what you would do if that were your kid?

And yet, in this country, look what we're doing with our schools. We're working on an assumption that "Yes, no, yes they'll be fine." And even when they're playing it too careful, because look, I've been very clear with you, I'm not happy that my kids aren't in school, and I don't see these ideas as in conflict--