Return to Transcripts main page

Cuomo Prime Time

Trump Grades Himself a "10" On Coronavirus Response After Admitting Virus "Not Under Control"; NY Governor on Plans to Bring in The Army Corps of Engineers to Combat Coronavirus Crisis; Celebrity Chef Helps Communities in Wake of Coronavirus. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 16, 2020 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: It can be difficult to find any good news in the avalanche of warnings and shutdowns and the abrupt vanishing of what used to be normal life.

But we want to leave you tonight with a glimpse of sunlight. The Columbus Dispatch Report said in the suburb of Collinsville, two kids held an impromptu Cello Concert on the porch of a 78-year old neighbor's.

She sat on her porch at a safe distance, and listened, as her young neighbors, a boy and girl, siblings, just six and nine, dressed in their best, did a performance for her.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yay! Yay! Bravo! Bravo!


COOPER: Bravo indeed! Neighbors helping neighbors. We are all in this together.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, Anderson, that was beautiful, a reminder that we will wind up in a better place, together.

I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

All these headlines, "Trump changes tone, recognizes Coronavirus a bad situation," welcome to the pandemic, Mr. President. That's all the time we need to spend on his change. Let's get to the realities on the ground. We have the Governor of New

York with what is and is not setting that State up for success in this war. New York is a metaphor for what's going to happen in the rest of this country.

The Governor's foreboding message for the President, "Do something about capacity before our health system is incapacitated."

Listen, we may be forcing ourselves deeper into isolation, and we should. But this effort, this war, may bring us closer together than we imagine.

What do you say? Let's get after it.




C. CUOMO: All right, so first it was "Avoid big crowds." Then the CDC said "50 people." Now they're saying "10." That's the number, the White House advises, should be the maximum for gatherings across the country.

"10" is also the grade the President gives him on dealing with the Coronavirus, as the management. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'd rate it a 10. I think we have done a great job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But does the buck stop with you, Mr. President? Does the buck stop with you?

TRUMP: Yes, normally. But I think when you hear the, you know, this has never been done before in this country.


C. CUOMO: No. One President, OK? One person said "I can fix it and only allow - alone, I can fix it." Maybe he gets a 10 out of a 100. Remember this.


TRUMP: It's going to disappear one day. It's like a miracle, it will disappear.


C. CUOMO: Remember how we got here, put it to the side, and now figure out how we get to a better place.

It was just yesterday, he said, "Tremendously, all under control." Then, he had a revelation. I don't even want to play it. The President finally gets it, and he sees that we may be headed for a recession.

But he didn't give you new information, OK? This is not news that the virus isn't under control. You know this. It's not news that the economy is going to be burdened by this. You know this.

It's just that our President is now where the rest of this country was two weeks ago, OK? That's OK. We all know now we are in for the long haul.


TRUMP: We'll see what happens. But they think August, could be July, could be longer than that.


C. CUOMO: He doesn't know. Nobody knows because it's all about what we do now, you and I, what we do now, to keep cases down. We'll talk about this throughout the show, and we'll talk about it a lot over the next few weeks.

And the big variable for government is one word, capacity, OK? This is going to be more controlled by us making smart choices than by anything else. Got to flatten the curve, why?

If there're too many cases, we can't handle it. And if our government, on the federal level and states, don't build up their ability to deal with cases, we will be overwhelmed. They know it now.

If you don't believe it from me, hear it from one of the many Governors, responding to this crisis. He just wrote an op-ed in The New York Times on the President needing to mobilize the military. You know him as the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, my Big Brother, of course.

It's good to see you, brother. What is the reality on the ground? What is working and not working for you?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Well the - the reality is exactly - exactly what you said, Chris. We have to engage this. We have to engage it fully. This is a war. It's a long-term war. This is not a few weeks.

We have to get the American people set for it. They have to get the facts. They hear so much different information they don't know what to believe. It makes them more anxious rather than more confident.


And I think the President is getting it. This has to be a national effort. There is no country that has done this that didn't make it a nat - national effort, China, South Korea, Italy. It's the federal government that has to do this.

You look at the national headlines today, "Every state doing their own thing, different cities doing their own thing." It's - it's confusing. It's chaos. They don't know which way to go. The federal government should come up, step in, and say "This is what

we're going to do. This is what we do in schools. This is what we do in businesses. Here are the rules," and then the states can adjust the rules to their particular circumstances.

And second, what you said about capacity is exactly right. They all talk about "Flattening the curve, flattening the curve." I don't see a curve. I see a wave. And the wave is going to break on the healthcare system. And I am telling you, my little brother, it is going to be a tsunami.

You take any numerical projections, on any of the models, and our healthcare system has no capacity to deal with it. We, in New York, have 3,000 ICU beds, in case you don't understand, intensive care unit beds.

C. CUOMO: I get it.

A. CUOMO: We already used 60. We need multiples of that.

You're talking about thousands because the people who are going to come in are the older people with the underlying illnesses, emphysema, heart disease, etcetera, they need acute care. We don't have those beds.

What I'm saying now is we've been behind this disease all along. Let's get ahead of it. Let's get ahead of it, and let's bring in the Army Corps of Engineers, and let's start building temporary medical facilities, because we know we're going to need them.

As many as we produce, if we started today, as many--

C. CUOMO: Too scary!

A. CUOMO: --as we can produce, we would need twice--

C. CUOMO: Too scary! You wrote the op-ed.

A. CUOMO: --as much.

C. CUOMO: I obviously--


C. CUOMO: --read the op-ed.

"Too scary," they say, "The military? I don't want tanks. I don't want guys. I don't want martial law. I mean it's too scary. We should have enough hospitals. Do it another way."

A. CUOMO: No martial law. The Army Corps of Engineers builds.

I used to be in the federal government. I worked with the Army Corps of Engineers. They build bridges. They build the airports. They're builders. They're engineers. Army Corps of Engineers, right, look at the word "Engineers." They build. Let them come in, build with me. I'll find an old dormitory, an old nursing home, let's convert it to a hospital, and let's do it quickly, so we have some backup space, when the wave crashes on the healthcare system.

C. CUOMO: You can't do it. You don't have the resources.

A. CUOMO: And that's Italy, by the way.

C. CUOMO: And you don't have the control. It has to be the federal government.

So, the question becomes it is no secret that the people around the President, let's take him out of the equation, they know that you have capacity issues. They have not enlisted the military. What does that tell you?

A. CUOMO: I think they have not yet fully owned this. I think they've been watching it.

I think they don't understand the capacity of the federal government and what it can do. And I think they have to own it, step into it, understand that this is not working, "Every state, do your own thing, figure it out."

Look, in truth, I'm very proud of my State. We're New Yorkers. We have that New York arrogance. I don't have the strength and capacity and resources to build thousands of hospital beds in a matter of weeks.

I - this State builds more than any State in the United States, bridges, airports, tunnels, but we can't build thousands of hospital beds. It's a federal response. And when you look at--

C. CUOMO: You say weeks, that's the window. You think--

A. CUOMO: --past crises--

C. CUOMO: --you think bad numbers are coming your way in a matter of weeks?

A. CUOMO: Yes. I think you look at that trajectory. Just go dot, dot, dot, dot, connect the dots with a pencil. You look at that arc.

We're up to about 900 cases in New York. It's - it's doubling on a weekly basis. You draw that arc. You understand we only have 53,000 hospital beds total, 3,000 ICU beds, we go over the top very soon.

C. CUOMO: What about all these social contacting?

A. CUOMO: And that's Italy. And that's an arc--

C. CUOMO: What if we do what you're asking us to do?

You know, because I - I want to make sure that people don't hear this, and say, Andrew, "Well then I'm not going to do it. I'm going to go where I want to go then, and open everything back up because you're saying I can't - it doesn't make a difference. You're going to be over-capacity."

What is the message to people about what they need to do to give us the best chance of controlling the spread, in giving the system a chance to deal with the worst cases?


A. CUOMO: Well we're talking about, you know, it's also deep breath time, right, because we have all this fear, all this anxiety.

I think part of it is people hear so much information, they don't know what to believe. And I think part of it that is they hear some federal official say one thing, then they say something else, and that - that adds to the anxiety.

This is what go - is going to happen. The numbers are going to go up. We're going to run out of capacity on the ICU beds, if we don't actually engage the Army Corps of Engineers, etcetera. And the disease is going to affect older people, immune-compromised people, people with underlying illnesses.

We have seven deaths. There's a common denominator, older people, emphysema, heart disease, cancer. It's pneumonia. When someone is sick, they get pneumonia, they say, "Well, pneumonia killed them."

Yes, well then pneumonia killed them. But, by the way, they had cancer. That's what's going to happen. We're only talking about the vulnerable population, but we want to save as many of them as we can.

C. CUOMO: What about all the economic victims of this, so--

A. CUOMO: And look, this nation at its best--

C. CUOMO: --Andrew, how do you deal with that that, you know look, you're not going to get the virus.

A. CUOMO: Yes, but--

C. CUOMO: A lot of people won't get it. But you're going to have more people out of work because of this than probably at any other time since the Great Depression. How do you deal with that at the same time?

A. CUOMO: Yes, two quick points.

C. CUOMO: Go ahead.

A. CUOMO: One, don't give up on America, and don't give up on what America can do when she steps up full force.

You bring in the Army Corps of Engineers. You're working in partnership with the states. I was there post-9/11, that spirit, that energy, we can do anything, and we'll be the better for it.

Economically, the bill is going to come due. It is a big bill. And it's going to take a long period of time. You just start to add up, because we've never done this, Chris, add up

all the costs, add up all the businesses closed, all the people who are going to be unemployed, the economy was teetering to begin with. They were talking about when the recession was going to start.

I believe this has triggered a recession. I believe the bill and the bailout is going to be the second big federal episode here. You're going to have mortgages foreclosed like 2008. You're going to have business loans that you're going to have to repay.

No, this is a deep, deep economic hole. You'll have businesses closed that never re-open, Chris. And you'll have billions of dollars, not just in loss, but billions of dollars spent in getting ready for everything that we have to do.

C. CUOMO: Let me - let me do this, Guv. If you have--

A. CUOMO: Ask me a tough question.

C. CUOMO: Well I'm--

A. CUOMO: Come on, ask me a tough question.

C. CUOMO: I have - I have a few. Let me do this. I want to keep you a second block. I'm going to take a quick commercial. You can prepare yourself for what's going to happen on the other side of the break because I want to ask you about what the--

A. CUOMO: You don't.

C. CUOMO: --what the eventualities are.

Let me just take a quick break. I'm going to change this show because this is an important conversation. The Governor is going to stay with us. Believe me! It's harder for me than it is for anybody else.

But we do have to understand, well where is the federal government in terms of giving him what he just asked for, because other states are going to ask for it also. And how do you balance that with the economic pain? You know, what are our solutions and where will they come from?

We'll be right on that right after this.









C. CUOMO: All right, a lot of eyes are on the State of New York right now because, and obviously, New York gets a lot of attention, but also it's a metaphor for what we're dealing with now, and what the future may look like in big population centers.

The Governor, of course, is my brother, Andrew Cuomo.

So, I don't want to talk politics about this. But, you know, you and the President go back and forth a little bit. He cleans it up later on in a press conference. But the substance of the back-and-forth was about what needs to happen and who needs to do it.

And in a rejoinder tweet that you sent to the President, you said you'd love to be doing more. "Give me the control of the Army Corps of Engineers and I'll take it from there."

First of all, do you have any reason to believe that you will get that kind of assistance?

A. CUOMO: Look, you don't know. You don't know how he's going to react. And - and you are right, we go back and forth. Look, I tell him the truth, right?

And I said, by the way, a week ago, I said the testing is a debacle, and we're not testing fast enough in this country. We knew China was coming in November. Why didn't we start ramping up testing?

And that the federal government should decentralize testing and give it to the states. I have 200 labs in this State. Let me use my 200 labs. Why am I waiting on the FDA and CDC?

And the President, to his credit, to his credit, I credit the President, he said, "You're right," and he gave New York the authority to do the testing.

C. CUOMO: Good. What about on this?

A. CUOMO: And this still needs some more authority to do the automated testing. So, he heard it.

Now I'm saying, look, I don't have a crystal ball, and it's not that I'm - I'm making a prophecy. If you track the numbers of China, South Korea, and Italy, and overlay the United States, you know where this is going.

C. CUOMO: Right. But why haven't they--

A. CUOMO: It overwhelms the healthcare capacity.

C. CUOMO: --moved on it then?

A. CUOMO: Yes, because, you know, I don't know. You'd have to ask him. But it's a big step. You have to know how to mobilize the federal government. You have to know how to manage the federal government. You have to get that Army Corps of Engineers, which is not that easy to move around.

I worked with him - with them when they were in Washington. They're a big, huge, bureaucracy. But has a lot of power. You have to get that mobilized. It's not easy.

But I think - I think he hears it. I think he gets that this is now a national issue. I think it get - he gets what he says matters.

Calm leadership matters that you're not going to assuage the American people by just saying, "Don't worry, don't worry, take two Aspirin and call me in the morning." That's not going to work.

They need to hear the facts. They need to hear the truth. It has to be consistent, and you need the federal government to stand up and do it.


C. CUOMO: What if they don't?

A. CUOMO: And the mechanism is the Army corps of Engineers.

C. CUOMO: What if they don't?

A. CUOMO: If they don't, I--

C. CUOMO: What if it happens "We're not going to do it? We don't think the need is there. You've got a lot of facilities. You've got a lot of different resources. You say it all the time. Use what you have."

Then what?

A. CUOMO: If they don't do it, then - then I'm on my own. But, by the way, I assumed I was on my own from day one, right?

C. CUOMO: But can you handle the capacity?

A. CUOMO: This has not been an - I cannot create enough hospital beds in time.

C. CUOMO: So then what happens?

A. CUOMO: With the Army Corps of Engineers, we probably won't. We will have a shortage of ICU beds. It will be ugly.

The good news is, or the moderate news is, the people who are in danger are going to be in danger anyway. You know, these are going to be older people with underlying illnesses. If it wasn't the Coronavirus, they would be in danger if they got a flu, Chris.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: That's what people are missing in this overreaction. But we won't have the intense ICU beds to take care of all the people who need it.

C. CUOMO: More curfews--

A. CUOMO: That's what happens on the worst-case scenario.

C. CUOMO: --more restrictions, shutting down the city like every day, I get like 500 people saying "I hear it's coming. There's going to be a federal shutdown of the entire country. New York City is shutting down. You're not going to be able to go on the roads, curfews."

Do you have any reason to believe that you need to do any of that as of now?

A. CUOMO: Look, because there's been no federal - federal national guidance, what I did today is I joined with my neighboring states, with Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, who's a great guy, Jersey Governor Phil Murphy who's a great guy, and we came up with a common set of rules.

I believe it's the only region in the nation, because you can't do this state-by-state. So, we said we're going to close all the bars, the movie theaters, etcetera, 8 o'clock tonight, everything closes. Don't try to go for a drink after this show.

So, we came up with a common set of rules for the three states because there's been no federal leadership.

It will ratchet up if the numbers don't come down. This is pure data and science. You watch those numbers, the numbers keep going up, you tighten the valve more, to get less density, less density, less spread.

Curfew, I don't like the word "Curfew." Dad tried to have a curfew for me. I never got past the resentment. But I do believe you'll see more tightening--

C. CUOMO: It's the least of your problems, by the way.

A. CUOMO: --if the numbers don't slow.

C. CUOMO: Your problems with the curfew, it's the least of your problems.

A. CUOMO: Well!

C. CUOMO: Just so you know.

A. CUOMO: I never - you violated the curfew all the time, caused much pain. But that's a different story.

C. CUOMO: I don't believe in rules.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, I appreciate you coming on the show.

A. CUOMO: Yes. You think you don't believe in rules. C. CUOMO: I love you. I'm proud of what you're doing. I know you're working hard for your State, but no matter how hard you're working, there's always time to call Mom. She wants to hear from you, just so you know.

A. CUOMO: Yes. I called Mom. I called Mom--

C. CUOMO: It's not what she said.

A. CUOMO: --just before I came on this show.

C. CUOMO: It's not what she said.

A. CUOMO: By the way, she said I was her favorite.

C. CUOMO: She never said that.

A. CUOMO: Good news is she said you are her second favorite, second favorite son, Christopher.

C. CUOMO: No. We both know neither of us are Mom's first or second favorite in the family. I can't believe you're lying to my audience. You've blown the credibility of the entire interview. I should have ended it before.

A. CUOMO: Second favorite son, listen to the words.

C. CUOMO: Oh, I didn't hear it.

A. CUOMO: Listen to the words.

C. CUOMO: Politicians are very tricky.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: Throw a word in there after the first time you said it, creates a lot of doubt.

A. CUOMO: Not me.

C. CUOMO: But I appreciate you clarifying it.

A. CUOMO: Not me. Straight across the plate.

C. CUOMO: Stay strong.

A. CUOMO: Straight across the plate.

C. CUOMO: Stay strong. Stay for your people and I appreciate you being here. I love you, brother. All right.

A. CUOMO: You, too, brother.

C. CUOMO: All right, so that is the Chief Executive of New York State.

Look, it is not the most sanguine perspective that "This is all going to be OK. It's all going to be OK."

But I don't know that you want to be hearing that from people in charge right now, when they don't know what's going to make it all OK, not End Days, but how long, what happens, what not, they don't know.

So, we go from a Chief Executive to a Doctor-in-Chief. Will these new guidelines work? Any of the numbers they're throwing at us, about how long, and how many, is that science, or is it suggestion?

And these myths that are popping up online about how to get it, and not get it, and what's happening, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will set us straight to the best that we can on the facts as available, next.









C. CUOMO: Look, we're in the business of trying to get you the best facts. But let's be honest. There's a lot of BS out there about Coronavirus, so much that the World Health Organization has called it an "Infodemic."

Doesn't mean the person sharing a meme or a tweet is necessarily doing something malicious. They may think they're trying to help. But when it's wrong, it adds another fear of un - you know, another layer of unknown that we don't need it.

So, let's bring in Sanjay Gupta to help us sort it out.

It's good to have you there with us.


C. CUOMO: Doctor, first, the numbers, June, July, 50, 10, a 100.

GUPTA: Right.

C. CUOMO: Is this science that we're having thrown at us or is this about, you know, some type of common sense space like where are they getting this stuff from?

GUPTA: I - I - you know, it's interesting, Chris. The numbers are arbitrary, obviously right, in terms of the - the

number of people who can gather. We heard 50 yesterday and now we hear 10. There's not a real science behind this. Two things really jump out at me.

First of all, the goal is to get people to - to have as much separation between them as possible. The more separation you have, the harder it is for the virus to jump from person to person. That's how you break the cycle of transmission. That's what the goal of social distancing is.

The other thing, it sort of struck me, Chris, is that this - I think there - there's this idea that, you know, we - we don't want to shock people too much with all the things that we want to tell them to do right away.

Maybe I'm wrong on this. But you heard that this has got 15-day plan to - to try and curb the spread.


But, in two weeks from now, 15 days from now, my guess is we're going to hear from Dr. Fauci again, who says, "Look, we're reassessing, and we think we need to get more stringent now on these things."

So, maybe they should do it all up front. That would make the most sense. But I think they're trying to do this balance between public health utility of these social measures, and trying to get the messaging right around this, Chris.

If we had said we're going to suspend the NBA a month ago, I think people would have gone crazy. It made more sense probably the people at the time that it happened.

C. CUOMO: There's also economic consequence.

GUPTA: Sure.

C. CUOMO: The longer this goes on.

But then, with the kids, you know, they say let's do two weeks with the social isolation. But the kids are out of school here in the New York area until like April 19th or 20th, and they say maybe the 30th. I just think that the randomness is causing people a little bit of concern. But you're giving them the right perspective on.

All right, then we get into the mythology, OK?


C. CUOMO: And let me try and bumble - bundle some of these. I don't want to do one at a time because, frankly, they don't deserve it.

GUPTA: There's so many of it, yes.

C. CUOMO: "Drinking water every 15 minutes will flush the virus down. Gargling with garlic or salt water will kill it." Let's deal with those two first. Any of the remedies online about "Here's how you can do this, take this, and you'll stop the virus," any reason to believe any of it?

GUPTA: No. I - I wish there were. You know, I mean, and when you don't have a lot of information, bad information tends to fill the void.

The - there's - I've seen these home remedies, you know, the drinking the water, the - the gargling with garlic water, some of that can help ease the symptoms that people have or sore throat, for example.

But the virus itself is not going to be killed by that, and that's important. I mean this is a new virus. And I, you know, we want obviously to try and find a good therapeutic for that.

But you find that any of these things, high - high-dose Vitamin C, high-dose garlic, you know, frequent ingesting of water, no matter the dose, doesn't really seem to have an impact on the virus.

C. CUOMO: "Cardboard products from China, or anywhere else, toilet paper, carries Coronavirus more. Facemask, wear a facemask, because it'll keep you from getting sick." Those two are getting a lot of traction.

GUPTA: So, with the first one, I think, you know, this is a big one, obviously, a lot of products from China, and they study this, trying to figure out how long does the virus live on the surface of something.

And you and I have talked about this, Chris. There are some surfaces where the virus can live quite a long time, even up to days. It doesn't mean that it's necessarily still pathogenic, able to cause disease, but it can live for days on - on these surfaces.

Porous surfaces like cardboard, not so much, and then, through the shipping process, it's actually a pretty fragile virus, thankfully, so it doesn't really survive that shipping process.

C. CUOMO: Good.

GUPTA: I want to clarify something on masks though because this is - this has been one of the - the most common questions we get. Two types of masks, the surgical mask, you tie it around the back of your head, and then there's the N95 respirator mask, fits very tight on your face, has to be fitted.

The surgical mask's not going to protect you against the virus. If you're sick, you can wear a surgical mask to prevent you from push - pushing respiratory droplets out into the air.

The N95 masks, the ones that healthcare workers wear, can help, you know, prevent you from absorbing these respiratory droplets, and - and getting sick. Very difficult mask to wear, I mean I've worn these masks. You can't walk a block without getting winded. It's very challenging. And also, as we've talked about a lot, Chris, the healthcare workers

need those right now. So, I - I would not rely on masks. If this thing is circulating in the community, at some point, and there's recommendation for N95 masks, perhaps we're not there yet.

C. CUOMO: Like you said, you don't want to overwhelm everybody with everything at the same time. Let's leave the myths there.

GUPTA: That's right.

C. CUOMO: Those are a lot that are all over the place online--

GUPTA: That's right.

C. CUOMO: --getting thousands and thousands of retweets.

Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

GUPTA: Good God!

C. CUOMO: I don't know how you're keeping up the energy, but thank God you can. Be well.

GUPTA: Appreciate it, brother. Thank you.

C. CUOMO: You know, maybe part of the explanation is hard times make strong people, and maybe that's the key. Sanjay's been around a lot of this. He's so dedicated. It's made him strong.

How about the rest of us? Can we do it? Think about the three letters that round out "American." "Can."

I have the perfect guest to launch this new series we're going to do during this. We got to look out for Ameri-CANs, people who are making a difference, helping us through this.

I have a Crisis Warrior, America's Chef Andres, next.









C. CUOMO: We got to be on the look-out for Ameri-CANs. Think about it. The very word embedded within what defines us as a nation is the fact that we "Can." We can get through it. We can help each other. We can put forth positive change and even kindness in the process.

My next guest is about all of that, and he's done it all over the world. You know him as Chef Jose Andres.

It's good to see you, my friend.


C. CUOMO: So, I just had my brother on. You know him. He's the Governor. He's talking about what he can do, and what he can't, what the federal government will do, state government will do.

Now, we know there's going to be a hole, the private sector. When we look at the people who need to eat, closing schools creates problems.

But people don't know what you know, which is so many kids go to school not just to learn, but to survive, and eat, and we don't know how they'll get fed now, Chef. What do people need to know?

ANDRES: Well they need to know that a lot of things are happening already. We have something called a School Lunch Program through the USDA.

And over - almost two weeks ago, already, the Governor of California announced that even if the schools close, they would use the schools as community centers, so the children can be getting that meal, that breakfast. This is happening all across, here in Maryland, in Virginia, in San Francisco.

The school systems, they are going to prove to be a great way to make sure that children that come from, you know, poor neighborhoods, low- income families, will be fed in this crisis.

But we are only at the beginning. But I love at least what I see. We are putting good ideas at the service of the people.


C. CUOMO: So, you believe this is an unprecedented emergency. And you believe it's all hands on deck.

You are in the restaurant business, obviously. You guys are going to get hit very hard. What do you want people to know about the toll this will take on the industry? And what do you want the industry to know about how it should respond?

ANDRES: Listen, already restaurants are closing. I closed my restaurants. I - I was there today. I cannot believe 27 years after I opened my first, the restaurant is closed. But we're going to be - we're going to be in - in a bad shape.

But if we come together, and we get help, hopefully from Congress, from the White House, to take care more than 10 percent of - of American workers, they are restaurant people, they are food people. We need to make sure that we take care of the people that feed America in the good times, but especially now that many restaurants are being shut down. But here is what I need people to know that food, People of America, we are going to come to help America in this difficult time.

Tomorrow, some of my restaurants in Washington D.C., in New York, in Virginia, in Maryland, we're going to be opening during four hours, between 12 and 4, 12 and 5, and we're going to start doing what we call Community Kitchens.

People are not coming to the restaurants to enjoy themselves anymore. If people are in need of food, well because they don't have money, well because it's elderly people that they are afraid to go, maybe to a supermarket, crowded with people, I want to test what will be if this gets any worse to have Community Kitchens in actual restaurants that will come to the aid of people in need of a plate of food.

Restaurants should charge. But I want people to know, in my case, in my restaurants, if people have a problem, hey, we'd pay it forward. They can pay us later in the future.

Now we need to be here for the American people. And this is used to show one of the many ways that we should be thinking in the weeks to come, as this gets worse and worse, how we can be together feeding America.

C. CUOMO: How do you - what do you say to people to invite them to come? This is new for a lot of people like in New York City, there are going to be a lot of families, who may be struggling to figure out what to eat, and they don't - they're not used to having to ask for meal.

ANDRES: So, listen, I - many things are happening. Obviously, the private sector, we'll do what we can to be part of the solution.

But we have, for example, The Capital Food Bank, here in Washington D.C., the Executive Director, Radha Muthiah, I was talking to her yesterday. They are already doing boxes of food that they can be given to families for having enough food for one week at a time.

Every single food bank in America, they're going to be very busy in the weeks to come. It's good to have them there ready. Restaurants, NGOs, big and the small ones, all together, we're going to have to be coming with this plan to cover all the blind spots.

World Central Kitchen, we're going to be opening our own kitchens. We already worked today in Arkansas, in Little Rock. We're going to be New York, in Bronx. We're going to be in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, we're going to be in Oakland.

Remember, the World Central Kitchen, for the last three, four weeks, we've been fighting already, Coronavirus. World Central Kitchen team members were in Yokohama, feeding the cruise ship.

I was - I just came back from Oakland, where my teams at World Central Kitchen were feeding also the Princess Cruise ship, right in Oakland. We are going to have to be ready. We're going to have to adapt. We're going to have to work together.

And World Central Kitchen is going to come up with a map at, where we're going to show what we do, but also we're going to be showing what our partners do, and more important, what anybody else is doing, in terms of feeding. We have to have a master plan. We have to be clear who is feeding America.

And as we go day-to-day, week-to-week, I hope we, together, we can be covering any blind spot that we may find, where people need food, World Central Kitchen, the people, food for America, we'll be there to provide that plate of food.

C. CUOMO:, you can go there, and see where Chef Andres and all his partners will be.

You let me know when you're going to be here in New York, and you want me to see what the need is, and how it's being met. I'll be there with the camera. We'll tell the story to people about how this country is coming together.

And, as always, this is why I love you. You are a beautiful man who cares about the right things for this country. Thank you for helping.

ANDRES: Thank you for having me. And it's no "I," the person. It's "We" the people. Together, we can make this happen. Together, we can achieve that horizon of hope that we are looking for.

C. CUOMO: Beautiful! Beautiful words! And thank you, Chef.

So, that is the beauty of it, right there. That's what Ameri-CAN is all about. And sure, you know, Chief - Chef Andres is a big shot.

We're going to give you people who are doing this all over the country, in their own ways, small, discreet. But we will see the best of people in the worst of times, I guarantee it. He's the perfect way to start off this new series.


Now, he also gave you a huge hint about what the Closing is about, "We, the people." He puts the "We" before the "Me." That is the biggest test before us. Next.







(END VIDEO CLIP) C. CUOMO: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." You know those words, JFK's Inaugural, rallying the country to the cause of freedom, in the depth of the Cold War.

Well we are in a war, once more. And like then, the unknown, the anticipation of what may happen, has us not just cold, but frozen. And our President now has no such soaring rhetoric or even an apparent grasp on the reality.


But you now know Trump cannot fix this. We have to hope that he can handle it adequately. And Congress can't fix it anyway or anyone closer to home. Yes, they all have very critical roles to play. But the truth is, in this war, our fate is in our own hands.

I know it seems like all these restrictions on us prove that we are losing the war, must be bad against the virus. The truth is the opposite. This is our blockade. This is our best defense. It's a simple logic play.

If you can keep people who have the virus from spreading it, and the best way to do that is what, limit interactions, right, then they, who have it, can get better without creating more cases, and that will help us with this capacity problem. It will give the healthcare system a better chance of dealing with flow, all right?

Then comes the biggest unknown in this situation. We can only win here if you and I are able to surrender the "Me" to the "We."

It does not happen if you contest the reality out of personal convenience. We'll call that "Pulling a Trump." He knew this was serious and only going to grow, but he tried to play you when it started.


TRUMP: And again, when you have 15 people, and the 15, within a couple of days, is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we have done.


C. CUOMO: I don't know why he said it. But he knew it was wrong right up until yesterday.


TRUMP: It's something that we have tremendous control over.


C. CUOMO: Only now is reality forcing him to stop lying.


TRUMP: If you're talking about the virus, no, that's not under control for any place in the world.


C. CUOMO: All right.

Look, he spread his lies up until now, hoping to do what? Keep his election hopes up. He's spread so much BS that alone could explain the recent run on toilet paper. Look, you know what he's about. You know what that's about.

This really is about us. We're going to have to decide what happens here, and for how long we have to fight. And, you know, there is something ironic about what's being asked of us, if you think about it.

We all spend so much effort, creating lifestyles where we do what? Never leave the couch, right? You don't have to leave the house to do anything you want to do. We text. We FaceTime. We have chat apps, online gaming.

My son Mario plays Fortnite with kids all over the country, never leaves his bed. My daughter, Bella, is a TikTok Machine. Now her sister, ChaCha, is right on her heels.

They shop all over the internet. It's all delivered to the door. There are Amazon Prime boxes all over the damn place. Grubhub and new apps every day that deliver exotic food, I've never even heard of, all over my house.

How many brag about countless hours, days, binging on limitless series that you don't even remember a month later? Now, you're being asked to do basically that, and you're freaking out. Come on, man!

A generation or so ago, they were called to a war that took them to hell for years. They signed up in waves to serve. They lied about their age, they lied about their health, to get a chance to make a sacrifice for this country.

You are being asked to stay on the couch, like the meme says today, and Rosie the Riveter said during World War II, "We can do it!"

But it's not just the practical, is it? It's the potential. We're worried, and you are right to be worried about what's to come. For all the qualifiers about who's most at risk, any of us could get it, any of us could spread it, suffer.

Maybe it doesn't end, maybe not for a long time. This is heavy stuff. It scares me as a parent, man. I'm worried for my kids, and I'm seeing them be worried.

I am having the same conversations with my family that you're having with yours, all over the country. We don't know many of the answers about this virus. But we do know what matters most.

I took a video, at home, this weekend, to remember what we're living. Take a little look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C. CUOMO: You got to care about people, right?


C. CUOMO: And that you can't be having stupid petty fights when, you know?

M. CUOMO: Like other like more important things.

C. CUOMO: That's right. And what matters most?

M. CUOMO: Family.

C. CUOMO: Family, right? And we say that all the time, right? Grandma says "La Familia." But it reminds you that being together is good, right?

M. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: And to remind yourself about how precious what you have is, right?


C. CUOMO: He was nervous. He's watching the news. He doesn't know what's going to happen. He's worried about it, worried about school. I get it. We all get it.

But if we can surrender the "Me" to the "We," to be the patriots we love to say, when we wave our flags, and put them on our cars, and avatars, if we stay informed, and stay together, by staying put, we'll get through this.

And I'll tell you what. We're going to know more about ourselves and the Family of America than maybe ever before.

JFK once put it to America in a way that matters as much today as it did then. "Ask not what this country will do for you with Coronavirus. Ask what you can do for the country."


And the good part is you already know the answer. So, let's get after it. Now, on that positive note, I got some great news that will hopefully uplift during the scare.








C. CUOMO: 80 percent of those who get Coronavirus will deal with it at home. Many of them won't even know they had it.

And what about the 20 percent who need medical treatment? For the answer to that, Ask Tom Hanks, and his wife, Rita Wilson, now recovering at their home in Australia, just days after they were hospitalized in isolation.

Hanks is in good spirits, tweeting this, "A thanks to all," those who helped him get through it, and a reminder, "Let's take care of ourselves and each other." If we do it together, we will get through it together.

Thank you for watching. CNN TONIGHT with D. Lemon starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: I was wondering why I didn't see you this weekend. You had your Mom there.