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Cuomo Prime Time

Trump: "Country Wasn't Built To Be Shut Down"; NY Governor: This Coronavirus "Wave" Is Going To Crash Over Our Healthcare System; States And Cities Compete For Needed Medical Supplies. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 23, 2020 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: She was always careful about germs because of her compromised immune system from her cancer treatments. She died about a week after being admitted to the hospital. Sundee Rutter was 42 years old.

Larry - Larry Edgeworth was a long-time employee of NBC News. He works in the equipment room at 30 Rock in New York City. He'd worked before that as an audio technician for NBC, traveled around the world for the network. He'd seen a lot of things.

He was the type of guy you wanted to be by your side, according to his colleagues. They called him the gentle bear of a man who always had your back. Larry Edgeworth was 61 years old.

Our coverage of the Coronavirus continues right now. Want to hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, Anderson, thank you very much. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

We're still at the studio in New York City, what we call a flash camera studio. I don't know how long that will be the case. People at CNN and at all the companies that are broadcasting to you are so committed. But the realities are more cases by the hour.

More importantly, hospitalizations in a place like New York are only increasing and rapidly. And our ability to treat the worst cases, what we keep calling capacity, is not growing as quickly.

So, if those are the facts, why is the President talking tonight as if America could be ready to open up shop as soon as a week from today?

What is the reality of where things stand in the home of Wall Street? The New York Governor knows the answer, and we will get straight-talk from him on where are we really, how long are we looking at, most likely?

We also have the President's former Acting Homeland Security Chief to lay out just how hard is what government trying to do, what - how hard is it, OK? And what still needs to be done? Now, for the rest of us, we know the remedy for what ails us, don't we? We have to be informed. We have to be ready. And we have to be our best. So together, as ever as one, let's get after it.




C. CUOMO: So, President Trump says he will not let the cure be worse than the problem.

Well the problem is there is no cure yet, and the only thing that every expert, from everywhere in the world, the only thing they say that we can do, to stop the spread, is what? Isolate.

And it seems like the President thinks he may have a better idea.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our country wasn't built to be shut down.

We're not going to let the cure be worse than the problem. At the end of the 15-day period, we'll make a decision as to which way we want to go.

I'm not looking at months, I can tell you right now.


C. CUOMO: Look, no one wants the economy to struggle. What we've done here is balanced financial hardship with avoiding extreme illness that could debilitate us for who knows how long. Are we now comfortable with the idea that it's two weeks and then over?

The leader, who knows the reality, better than any other right now, at least in New York, is the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, of course, my brother.




C. CUOMO: Thank you for coming back to the show.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Mom told me I had to.

C. CUOMO: What was your reaction to what the President said about "I'm not looking at months. I'm not going to let the elephant jump off the ledge because of a cat" or whatever he said, "We're looking to open back up." Surprised? A. CUOMO: I'm not surprised. Look, the President is very concerned about the economy, right? The economy was doing well. The economy is now truly suffering.

The consequences haven't even been felt yet because not only have you stopped the revenue machine, you've increased the expense machine, OK? So, those two things are going to compound each other, so the President's very eager to get back to the economy.

Everybody agrees that this is an unsustainable situation. You can't keep spending money and close down the economy. And the President's eager to get it opened as quickly as possible.

I actually have a group that is working on the restart of the economy because I get it too. I mean this is New York. And we're - we're the home of so much of this. So, coming up with a plan to restart the economy is very important.

I think the - but - but this, you don't want to - it's a false choice to say public health or restart the economy, right? Nobody's going to make that choice.

And, by the way, if you have to make that choice, it's public health all right, because you cannot put a value on a human life. And nobody cares how long it takes to get the economy up and running if you actually saved lives.

But Christopher, there is an art form here, which is overlaying a public health strategy, and an economic strategy.


In other words, what we did is we just closed everything down as quickly as we could, just shut all the doors, border all the windows. There was no art to what we did. There was no nuance.

Is there a public health strategy that says, "Look, you can start to bring young people back to work. You can start to test and find out who had the virus, and who resolved from the virus, and they can start to go back to work."

And that's how we'll restart the economy with a smart public health strategy because closing the door on everyone was only because we didn't know better, right?

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: If - if you now look at it, it didn't make any sense to close the schools, send my kids home with me, or older people, or with grandmothers who were vulnerable to this virus, and young people were then maybe bringing it - bringing it into the house. We didn't have any data or science to instruct us.

But now, you can come up with a smarter public health strategy that actually protects older people, lets younger people get back to work, and that can start to - start the economic recovery. But it has to be that smart. It can't be reactive. It can't be emotional.

C. CUOMO: But this is the part I don't get. So, from watching the coverage of what's going on in the state, the rate of hospitalizations seems to be increasing, so it seems like you're just starting to feel what this enemy, this war is really about.

So, how can people make sense and reconcile these two things that we're getting close to figuring out how to open things back up at the time that it seems that it seems to be getting even worse, and the idea that a month from today, we may have the worst part of the capacity crisis, and the President's saying he's going to reopen things in a week or so, it - it just doesn't seem like those can go together.

A. CUOMO: Yes. Well, look, the so-called walk and chew gum, do we have to think about restarting the economy? Yes. Do we have to plan for it? Yes. Should we be thinking about a public health strategy that actually starts the economy? That, to me, is the art form for government in this situation.

But what we're looking at right now is this wave of increasing cases. I just got off the phone with a new projection model that New York City was seeing double the number of cases every 2.5 days. That can take your breath away.

That curve they keep talking about that "We have to flatten the curve, flatten the curve," that's not a curve, Christopher. That is a wave. That is a tsunami.

That's the scene in "The Perfect Storm" where George Clooney is trying to go up the wave, and he gives the boat all the gas he can diesel, he can, to try to get over the top of the wave, and the wave crashes over him.

This wave is going to crash over our healthcare system. It will crash anywhere from 10 days to three weeks.

C. CUOMO: From now?

A. CUOMO: It is going to overwhelm the healthcare system. From now. It's going to overwhelm the healthcare system, and where - where we're going to feel it most?

We can scramble and create beds. We'll have a staff problem because staff are getting sick and we're doing everything we can to find reserve staff.

We won't have the equipment, and we won't have the ventilators. I have been saying for weeks we need 30,000 ventilators. I've been saying it publicly. I've been requesting from the federal agencies.

HHS Secretary Azar there sent 500 ventilators. We need 30,000 ventilators. If you don't have the ventilator, a person who needs the ventilator will die without the ventilator. It's a respiratory disease. And we're not getting the ventilators.

I've been saying institute the darn federal - Federal Procurement Act, demand--

C. CUOMO: So, why do you think he doesn't do it?

A. CUOMO: --companies to produce vent--

C. CUOMO: Why wouldn't he do it?

A. CUOMO: Because their - yes, their theory is companies are voluntarily saying "I want to help. I want to help. I want to increase production." General Motors is saying "I'll get into the ventilator business." That's all well and fine, and it is a nice thing, and corporations are doing great things.

But you can't - you can't manage an operation on this ad-hoc basis of people saying "Yes, I'm really going to give it a - give it a go." Order the ventilators. Pay for the ventilators, say this is how much I - how many I need.

C. CUOMO: But why wouldn't he do it?

A. CUOMO: This is where they have to go.

I - because their - their theory of operation is public/private sector partnership. You've seen them at press conferences, Peter Navarro, companies are coming forward and saying they'll do it anyway. We don't have to order them because they're doing it. It's - it's a totally different theory of operation.


C. CUOMO: All right. So, let's do this.

A. CUOMO: That's nice that corporations want to help you. I want specific numbers.

C. CUOMO: Governor, I'm sorry to - I'm sorry to interrupt you.

A. CUOMO: Well then don't. Then don't. If you're sorry--

C. CUOMO: I know. But I - I have to take--

A. CUOMO: --about interrupting me--

C. CUOMO: --I know. But you--

A. CUOMO: --don't interrupt me. OK.

C. CUOMO: --you have a little bit of Pop's gift where you just--

A. CUOMO: All right, I'm just saying.

C. CUOMO: --kind of keep going.


C. CUOMO: Let me take a commercial and then when we come back-- A. CUOMO: And you don't? You don't?

C. CUOMO: When we come back from the commercial--

A. CUOMO: I see!

C. CUOMO: I want to ask you--

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: --what you need--


C. CUOMO: --where things are, and what your assessment is of the job you've done so far, and where you think this goes.


C. CUOMO: Thank you very much for your patience.


C. CUOMO: I appreciate it.

A. CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you.

C. CUOMO: We'll be back right after this.








C. CUOMO: All right, we're back with the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. You talked about ventilators right there at the end of the first block, Governor that they gave us 500, we need tens of thousands. What do you do?

A. CUOMO: Yes. We need 30,000. First, what I do is I say to Secretary Azar, "Look at the first word in the name of the department that you run. It's called Health and Human Services, focus on Health.

You look at the projections in New York. You look at the hospital - hospitalization rate. Look at how many people are going to an ICU, how many people have to be vented, and tell me how we save these lives without the 30,000 ventilators." Second, we're trying to buy the ventilators all across the globe. Everyone's competing against everyone else, and that's why the federal government should step up and do it.


Third, we're going to try an untested technology where we split the ventilator tubes. In other words, normally it's one ventilator to one person. Is there a way to take that ventilator, which is essentially a pump--

C. CUOMO: Well you're the mechanic.

A. CUOMO: --and split the--

C. CUOMO: Do you have enough power in the pump to split it?

A. CUOMO: You have enough power in the pump to split it? Yes. But can you split that ventilator into two tubes for two patients, three tubes for three patients? They're trying things like this in Italy.

The tricky thing is the ventilator has a set pressure. And normally, you regulate the pressure to that patient's lungs, right? My lung capacity is better than your lung capacity, so the ventilator would have to give me more oxygen than it would have to give you. How do you put two people on that same ventilator? So, we're working through that.

But this is a - this is just a - a real stretch, Chris because you don't have the number of ventilators.

C. CUOMO: I will talk about your newfound confidence in a second.

But first, new drug therapies that the President puts a lot of stock in, there's a lot online about them.

A. CUOMO: Hello?

C. CUOMO: Can you hear me, Governor? Can you hear me, Governor, or no?

Boy, this is - this is a great chance for me to say some things to him. Do you hear me now? You never know with the politician if they really don't hear you or they didn't like where the questions were going. So, let me see if we can get him back online.

Governor, can you hear me?

A. CUOMO: What happened?

C. CUOMO: Can you hear me now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost communication for DM (ph).

C. CUOMO: All right, let me do this. I'll take a quick commercial. We'll get him back online. I want to try to get you the information on well what about these new drug therapies and where does he see it going in terms of how many weeks and months.

And also, why are people paying attention to New York in a way that the - the President doesn't seem to? Why are so many of you resonating with what's happening in that State, and frankly, with this Governor?

And I'll figure out why he didn't like the question once it became a little uncomfortable, next.









C. CUOMO: All right, let's bring the Governor back. We think we fixed the audio problem.

Do you hear me, Governor?

A. CUOMO: I hear you. But you should pay your phone bill.

C. CUOMO: I think the problem is on the state's infrastructure side. We'll deal with that later.


C. CUOMO: One problem at a time, if you will.

Drug therapies, the President seems to have faith in them. They're all over the internet, that anti-Malarial drugs, that people are getting better, even in this country, in Florida. You put any stock in any of that at this point?

A. CUOMO: I put hope. We have three drugs we're looking at, the Hydro- chloroquine that the President is talking about, that comes in tomorrow. We're going to start that right away in the New York City hospitals. The President expedited the FDA approval.

We have a second drug that New York State is working on developing that actually tests the plasma of people who had the virus, extracts the antibodies, and injects those antibodies into someone who's dealing with the virus.

And the third drug is testing your blood to see if you had the virus, and have the antibodies, and it resolved. That would let you know you had it, you're immune, by most probability, and you can go back to work.

C. CUOMO: So, there's hope. But again, that all takes time, and there's empiricism in that and testing and protocols. Tony Fauci's talked about that. I actually would like to take a turn to that quickly.

What is this straight-talk on what it's like working with the White House right now? I've heard you be deferential to the White House, and saying, "Look, we're trying. We're doing it."

But it seems like your needs are not decreasing at the kind of rate that you need them to, to deal with what you call a tsunami. What is the reality of dealing with the White House? Straight-talk.

A. CUOMO: Yes. I - I always do straight-talk. And I would disagree with your use of the word "Deferential," but it's your show. The - I've been very clear with the White House.

C. CUOMO: Don't forget it.

A. CUOMO: Yes, it's hard to forget.

The - I've been very clear. I have an immediate problem on the equipment for this wave that is happening, PPEs, gowns, masks most important are the ventilators, and there has been no response, there has been no response.

And that's why I said, right here, looking at the camera, on your show, to Secretary Azar, he has to be responsible here. Tell me where I get 30,000 ventilators, because Christopher, people will die, who need a ventilator they will be mostly elderly. They'll have an underlying illness, that's true.

But some can be younger, like Anderson Cooper show showed us. You can have an underlying illness, be recovering from cancer, be younger, you'll need a ventilator, and you won't get it.

We're trying this splitting mechanism, but we shouldn't be here. Just order a company to produce the darn ventilators, and that's it. And when we get to two weeks and you have people in hospitals, who are dying, because we don't have ventilators that's going to be a national tragedy.

We'll try all the drugs. I'm trying everything else. We're working on every level. But it comes down to having the vent - ventilators, and you have them or you don't.

C. CUOMO: What is the day like for you now? How is it managing a situation like this? I'm not talking emotionally. I'm just saying in terms of the daily activities. What is this like?

A. CUOMO: Well this is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And look, I've been in the federal government. I did disaster work all across this country, all across the world, we did disaster recovery, as you know. I've been in this State. I've handled everything in this State. So, it's the - the hours don't matter. It's the consequence here. It's the consequence here.


Christopher, the numbers are big. And it's life and death. And if they are anywhere close to right on these projections of how quickly these numbers are going to grow, the number of people who we are going to lose can easily be in the thousands.

And God forbid we say we could have saved them if we had the right equipment, that's what keeps me up at night, and that's why I'm as strident as I am about these ventilators, and the urgency of the ventilators and the equipment, because it literally is life and death.

You see it coming. It's two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, down the road. But it's coming. That wave is coming. We were on a boat once till we--

C. CUOMO: What do you say to the people who say "Ah, we misjudged it?"

A. CUOMO: --saw that wave coming.

C. CUOMO: "We - but we didn't need to do all this. The numbers aren't going to be that bad."

A. CUOMO: Well they're wrong (ph).

C. CUOMO: "This was - this was too much preparation."

A. CUOMO: Yes, they're wrong.

They're going to be wrong because people will die, and the numbers will be inarguable. Look, I don't make any political decisions on this. This is all "Follow the - follow the science. Follow the numbers. Follow the health professionals."

You look at those numbers increasing every day, doubling every 2.5 days. Just look at that trajectory, just dot, dot, dot, dot, connect the dots, right, and then you tell me that anyone is over-hyping this situation.

C. CUOMO: Let me ask you something. Why do you think New York is getting so much attention right now, and people have such a spotlight on you that they're watching your pressers every day? What do you think it's about, personally?

A. CUOMO: I think it's because New York, we have this density, we are the gateway to the world. The disease came here. The disease is growing here faster than anywhere else. So, just on the numbers, New York is the epicenter.

C. CUOMO: Do you think that, when you assess this, people who don't know you, obviously you raised me, so I understand how you do things because you taught me.

But, in assessing, what was the right move that you've made, so far, and what was a wrong move that you've made, because the President talks about learning things, and then he talks about washing hands. I don't know how profound a lesson that is.

What have you learned on your level?

A. CUOMO: Yes. First, thank you for - for the compliment. I don't want to be - have total association with you frankly in your show because I don't need all that negativity. I'm generating my own negativity. Thank you very much.

C. CUOMO: Not right now. You're the man right now.

A. CUOMO: The best--

C. CUOMO: Why is that?

A. CUOMO: Yes, best, because I'm your brother, that's why.

C. CUOMO: That was my suspicion.

A. CUOMO: The best decision was - yes.

C. CUOMO: Go ahead.

A. CUOMO: The best decision was closing everything down, which politically may have terrible consequences. But so what? It was the right thing to do. That's what Pop taught us. You do the right thing. Closing everything down was the right decision.

The worst decision, which is a lousy question by you, is probably coming on your show, frankly.

C. CUOMO: What have you learned in terms of what you could have handled better or sooner because that seems to be the lesson is that states were listening to what was being said from the federal level.

What is the lesson there for how to prepare for the next wave that you'll do differently?

A. CUOMO: Every disaster has its own little hidden trick in it. This one was medical capacity, medical equipment, and these ventilators.

I did not see - no one saw these ventilators coming, and the urgency of ventilators, and how many ventilators we have in this country, and how many we can make. So that, I don't think anyone saw.

I was watching China, and it was inevitable that what was happening in China was going to happen here. There was no theory that their immune systems were different than ours.

We started very early on, Christopher. I started very early on getting ready, preparing, blowing the whistle, blowing the horn, making the case, the ventilators, not having the ventilators, and not being able to get the ventilators, and the PPE equipment, which the federal government could help us with. That is the greatest frustration in all of this.

C. CUOMO: Well you got to get it right because there's going to be another wave, right that this will - if you look at the models, it goes down, but it comes back, not to use 1918, as a go-to, but obviously that was the huge miss in that situation.

So, how do you get to where you need to be where people don't live through this a second time the same way?

A. CUOMO: Yes, I'm old. But I wasn't here in 1918.

But you're right. The medical capacity, you know, we have a healthcare system that is basically a private healthcare system, right? So, they have private economics. They have capacity that they can sell. They don't build beds as backup beds. They don't build additional ICU beds for a public health emergency.


These are expensive beds. It's expensive real estate. So, they don't have a backup public health equipment stockpile that's worth anything or a backup medical capacity. That has to change. That has to change.

C. CUOMO: So, it's going to get worse. The hospitalizations are increasing. You want people to know that, even though it's a tough message to deliver. That type of tough talk has had people recognize you in a different way, even though you've been doing this job a long time. You're in your third term.

How do you explain to yourself how people seem to be seeing you in a different way now, even physically, making, you know, comments about how you look and how you come across that are really hard to kind of square with any sense of reality.

A. CUOMO: Because it's not reality. You know, I'm doing the same job I've done all the ways that I did in - that I did in Washington, that I've been doing here in the State of New York.

You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of Pop. Pop used to talk about how he gave the same speech, and then one day he gave the Democratic National Convention speech, and then he became great, and after that speech, everybody said "Wow! Your speeches are so great."

And Dad's point was "It was the same speech I was always giving. But the lens changed."

The only thing that happened here is the lens changed. I'm doing what I do, and I've been doing it the same way. And I look the same as I've always looked.

C. CUOMO: To be fair, the reason Pop - so I'll get to that.

A. CUOMO: Which is better than how you look, but that's irrelevant.

C. CUOMO: I'll get to that. One, I'm hearing your fingernails like scratch on something like you're nervous. I know you're busy. There's always time to cut your fingernails, and call your mom.

But the - what happened with Pop was he delivered the right speech at the right time, and it was seen by so many. That's what you're doing right now that is being recognized and given a claim. You're doing the job the right way, when it matters, when eyes are on you, so thank God for that.

The looks have to make you question the veracity of the - it must be very confusing for you because you know that what people are saying about how you look really can't be accurate. So, it must be hard for you to make sense of what is real and - and what is true now. I feel for you.


C. CUOMO: No. Always straight.

A. CUOMO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE) jealous my brother.

C. CUOMO: Right across the plate. Straight across the plate.

A. CUOMO: My little brother. Don't worry. There's still time. There's hope for you.

C. CUOMO: Listen.

A. CUOMO: One day you can grow up to be like me.

C. CUOMO: I've tried to be like you my whole life. Look where it got me! Governor Andrew Cuomo, thank you very much for doing the job.

A. CUOMO: You're better than me.

C. CUOMO: Thank you for caring for the family. I love you. I'll talk to you after this.

A. CUOMO: You're better than me. You're better than me. I'm proud of you.

C. CUOMO: Only on the basketball field.

A. CUOMO: Never! Never! Don't lie.

C. CUOMO: It's what Pop said. It's what Pop said.

A. CUOMO: Never! He did not. He did not.

C. CUOMO: It's what he said.

A. CUOMO: You never beat me once.

C. CUOMO: The country should know.

A. CUOMO: Not once.

C. CUOMO: He said Andrew has tremendous capability. He is blessed in many ways. But he's got hands like bananas and he can't play ball. Everybody knows it.

A. CUOMO: Please. Put--


C. CUOMO: Just saying it. You're doing a great job though.

A. CUOMO: --on the table and I'll take you out and spank you.

C. CUOMO: You know where I live.

A. CUOMO: Thank you.

C. CUOMO: I'll see you soon.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: Be well, Governor.

A. CUOMO: Love you.

C. CUOMO: I do love him. The tension is real though.

And I'll tell you what. The pressure is real as well. It can't be true that we're a week or so away from getting back, and that the hospitalization rate is going up, and up, and up, and they're not getting the equipment they need to deal with the need.

Those two things can't exist in the same universe unless one is politics and one is the pragmatism of doing what needs to be done for us, and that's why we need to have these conversations.

Another conversation to have, we are obsessed with the number of cases, and, of course, with the number of people who are succumbing to the illness. Anderson is doing beautiful obituary pieces, eulogies of people who have passed.

But what number should we be facing and dealing with that I argue to you no one's mentioning. We're going to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta for what is the reality behind the numbers. There he is, Doc, thanks for being with us, right after this break.









C. CUOMO: All right, staying informed, being prepared, that's why the data is important. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to help us.

Thank you, Sanjay, as always. I am in awe of you always. But the way you are going right now when you know how long we still have to go, impressive. Now, let's - let's deal with the context.

The President says "I'm not looking at months. We're looking at getting back online." I just had my brother on. He says he sees a tsunami coming--


C. CUOMO: --in three or four weeks. Those two propositions don't exist in the same universe. What did you make of it?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean I think - I think, look, if you - if any public health official, anybody who's looking at this data, the data that we do have, is being honest, they would say that there's - there's really no way.

I mean, first of all, as we've talked about Chris, we are behind the curve in terms of testing. And what I mean by that is not just the inadequate testing. It means that people who are testing positive now were likely exposed several days ago, took a few more days to get their test results. It could be 10 to 14 days behind.

C. CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: So, we know, during these last 10 to 14 days, there's been more spread. So, if anything, the numbers are going to go up.

But - but keep in mind, it's not just the numbers going up. It's the pace at which they're going up. It's the inertia of all this as well. That - that's what the social distancing is supposed to address, take some of the fuel out of the fire of this inertia.

So, I - I don't - I don't see any - any way that you could reconcile those two things. I mean I know it's painful. I mean and it's a - it's a tough balance. But from a public health perspective, I think it's very clear.


C. CUOMO: You know, the numbers, and what we look at, you know, I have, obviously, you know, we're very limited in our resources now, how we're broadcasting, so I'm going to be using this whiteboard to put some numbers up for people.

In New York, there're 20,875 positive cases, OK? Here's the metric I'm not hearing enough about--

GUPTA: Right.

C. CUOMO: --that I want you to discuss. 13 percent--

GUPTA: Yes. C. CUOMO: --13 percent of the number, of 20,875, that's the hospitalization rate. Isn't that the number that really matters, who's in the hospital, and then conversely, who's case has been resolved? We don't hear about resolved cases.


C. CUOMO: And the hospitalization rate seems to get short shrift to the case number. Help me make sense of it.

GUPTA: Yes. I think you're absolutely right, Chris. I mean, first of all, it was sort of a binary thing that was being presented initially, either people who - who lived or they died. That's what we were hearing mostly.

And then we were hearing that, you know, the vulnerable populations, but even then, we weren't getting a lot of detail on exactly what was happening to them--

C. CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: --except whether they lived or died. So now we're hearing the hospitalization rate, which is a - which is a - that's - that's more data.

And we're also learning, as we dig into the hospitalization rate, that it gets a little bit more tricky, in terms of the data, because we know that 20 percent of the people who are hospitalized are between the ages of 20 and 44, they are likely to survive, very likely to survive, but the hospitalization is significant, and the recovery is significant.

Your last question, I think the most important question, recovery. How do we determine what recovery means? Does this mean that they no longer have the virus? Does this mean they no longer have any symptoms whatsoever?

Different places are defining it differently. But it's a really important question. And after you asked me about it, earlier today, I started really doing some digging, and it's actually surprisingly hard to come by, this - this very important number, what is the percentage of recovery?

We hear 80 percent of people are likely to recover. But we don't actually know what that percent - what the - what the actual numbers are right now, Chris.

C. CUOMO: I know - I'll tell you what's freaky. I looked at China because China did this. And I'll put the numbers up for people. 81,093 cases, OK, confirmed, 32 - 3,270 deaths. Then they had this number. 72,703 patients cured--


C. CUOMO: --and discharged from the hospital. So, at once, that gives you hope that "Wow! 72,000 of 81,000 were

cured and discharged, and there's some lingering cases." But then, Sanjay, 72,000 of 81,000 cases had to be hospitalized? I mean that's really spooky, you know, so--

GUPTA: Right.

C. CUOMO: --do you take confidence from it?


C. CUOMO: Or is it like "Holy cow! Is that a high rate of hospitalization?"

GUPTA: Yes. No. That's a - it's a good point. I sort of take just - just the former from a - because I looked at some of that data as well, and it wasn't clear to me that they were all hospitalized.

Some were seen in the clinics. Some did get additional treatment, I - I don't know. But that's 88 percent roughly is - is the number that you're quoting there, 72 out of 81. And that's - that's good.

I mean that - that's even higher than we initially heard because we were hearing that it was closer to 80 percent and about 15 percent were in critical condition, 5 percent in - in severe - I'm sorry, 15 percent in severe condition, 5 percent in critical condition. So, these are actually a little bit better numbers.

But, yes, what we're hearing in the United States is about 12 to 13 percent of people who are getting the Coronavirus are being hospitalized.

The biggest age group there is people 65 to 84. But again, the 20 to 44 year olds, that was the second biggest age group here, about 20 percent of the hospitalizations, small data, we're still collecting it.

But I think that's - that's the best data that we have right now, and we got to better define what it means to be recovered because recovered like back to 100 percent normal, or just out of the hospital, I think we're going to have to more clearly define that.

C. CUOMO: Hey Sanjay, you were right about the young people. We're now knowing they're about 40 percent of the cases. Now we hear the President saying maybe they get back to work. And you're right about this too. We've got to track the right data to get a real read on where we are.

GUPTA: That's right.

C. CUOMO: Thank you, my brother, for the strength--

GUPTA: You got it.

C. CUOMO: --and for the consistency for the audience. Appreciate it. Now, strength and consistency, that takes us as a lever to what the federal government is doing. We have a great guest for you tonight, the former Acting Homeland Security Chief. He will tell you how big a job this is, and what we're going to need to see to get through it, next.









C. CUOMO: All right, nearly a dozen governors want military hospitals built in their state. DoD, Department of Defense says "Can't handle it, not this quickly." One man who knows the need and how to get it done, former Acting DHS Secretary, Kevin McAleenan.

It's great to see you. Welcome back to PRIME TIME. Sorry about the timing tonight. We had comms issues.

What's going on, on the Hill right now, Secretary, and the fights between the Left and the Right, and who's sneaking what into the bill, and the Democrats putting stuff in there that doesn't belong there, how dangerous is that given the enormity of the task that the federal agencies face?

KEVIN MCALEENAN, FORMER ACTING DHS SECRETARY: I think it's concerning because last week was a really important week on a variety of levels. You look back at a crisis you can see a point where you start to take concerted action.

And there were a lot of things that happened last - that's - last week with the activation of FEMA, to Alert Level 1, the National Response Coordination Center, embedding HHS there, coordinating better with the state and local governments.

You saw vaccines going into testing. You saw antivirals going into clinical tests. Some momentum in this crisis, and part of that was some non-partisan unity emerging on the Hill. They got two pieces of legislation done that would support response to this crisis.

That - that bill on the economy is even more important, I think, propping up the - the airline and hospitality industry that - that needs that relief, helping our employees that are on a paycheck-to- paycheck basis, or in gig economies, we've got to get that flowing, so people feel comfortable staying at home and following the advice of our public health experts.


C. CUOMO: 50 states all have you know, exposure to the pandemic. How do you handle something like that on the federal level?

MCALEENAN: Yes. The scale and the scope of this crisis is just massive, and it's unlike anything I've seen.

The last emergency I oversaw at DHS was Hurricane Dorian. We had four states implicated, a devastating effect on the Bahamas off the coast, and the level of information coming into FEMA Headquarters from just those four states, and the Bahamas, was absolutely overwhelming.

Think about a 50-state crisis with a 150 countries abroad, all with different experiences, in facing this virus, and you're right to focus on the data. Data-driven analysis is what's going to help make good policy. It's going to keep the decisions flowing that are responsive to the crisis and will get us through this.

C. CUOMO: Why no DHS at the table on the Task Force?

MCALEENAN: They're there. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf is there. He's been instrumental and advising on how to do some of the travel restrictions, how to maintain critical trade arteries, on both the Northern and Southern border, and participating in some of the briefings at the White House.

C. CUOMO: But shouldn't he be like one of the main seats? I mean, you know, isn't the reach of the Agency kind of right up the alley of this?

MCALEENAN: I think they are there. And I think the added recommendation to have FEMA take the operational lead, and have the Health and Human Services, and CDC personnel, embed at the FEMA Operations Center, is a great combination of the operational and logistical muscle of FEMA, and its outreach, its connections, regionally to the emergency managers in all the states, with the CDC and public health expertise embedded.

C. CUOMO: Do you think you need to have the - to have the power to trigger manufacturing done?

You heard my brother's argument earlier that it's all about ventilators. And the only way he's going to get them is if the companies here are told to make them right now. How powerful - how important is that power?

MCALEENAN: So, we got to get the ventilators made, one way or another. And I'm hearing the same thing, governors asking for support from across the country. I think we need to prioritize that in the hotspots like New York, first and foremost.

And the Supply Chain Task Force that's been set up by FEMA is exposed to manage that process, working with what we have in the stockpile, combined with the needs from out in all the states, and regions, we're experiencing this virus, and then go into the private sector to fill the gap.

And they're - they're looking at that right now. That is a massive challenge, combining those three streams of information, and getting that flowing logistically. My sense is that's starting to happen. But we're obviously going to get - need to see it very quickly to keep pace with this crisis.

C. CUOMO: Let me ask you something as I let you go. First, I ask you, please come back, because I need you more on the show, to help explain these situations. And I wish I had more time with you tonight.

Quickly, Tony Fauci, how important was he, when you were there, and why?

MCALEENAN: Yes. So, Dr. Fauci is a national treasure. He's the kind of civil servant, expert. He absolutely need to tell the truth, to give you the hard facts, even when they don't accord with - with the hope for a path of a crisis.

And, you know, I saw him in the Ebola crisis, in the 2016, helping provide advice to manage that. He's a tremendous person. He's indicative of the kind of civil servants we have that are fighting to get this job done.

And I'd be honored to come back because I think the service you're providing to inform your viewers about the crisis, to press on the response aspects, and hold all of us accountable is critical, and we've got to steel ourselves for a hard period ahead.

But I do think the machinery is moving and pushing in the right direction in a more concerted way. And I'm optimistic that we're going to keep pushing through it.

C. CUOMO: Kevin McAleenan, you've always been straight with me. You had a hard job. There were a lot of politics around it. You answered every question I ever had. You are always welcome on my show. Thank you and thank you for your perspective on this. I'll see you again soon.

Why did I ask Kevin about Tony Fauci?

MCALEENAN: Thanks, Chris.

C. CUOMO: Dr. Anthony Fauci? Because he wasn't on the podium, again today, at the White House. Why? When you guys have come to rely on him so much, he has the most valuable commodity in politics, you believe him. I have an argument about what's going on, and what we must be careful about, next.








C. CUOMO: Not seeing Dr. Anthony Fauci on stage today worried me, and it should worry you.

You know the Doctor now. He's a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But more than that, he's become like America's Grandpa. He gives conscience and comfort and fact to this country, and uniquely so.

Instead, today in his absence, we got this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is Dr. Fauci right now? Why is he not at this briefing? Will - will he attend future ones? And--

TRUMP: Well I was just with him for a long time. And--


TRUMP: Oh, he's at the Task Force meeting right now. We have a Task Force meeting. He was there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does he agree with you about the need to reopen the economy soon?

TRUMP: Well he doesn't not agree.


C. CUOMO: "He doesn't not agree," I don't know what that means. But it doesn't matter and here is why. Is Dr. Fauci important to our economic decisions? No. Why would we make Fauci a foil to Trump?

"Why would we not want to do that?" Do you know what's more dangerous than COVID? Telling the truth about Trump as a member of the Executive branch, no one survives that.

Why put Fauci in a position of having to admit that Trump is wrong or lying when we already know that to be the case? You literally sometimes leave Fauci with no good answer other than "What do you want me to do?"

The answer to his question is "Help us get through this." Fauci must be kept bigger than the politics of Trump.

Just as our collective well-being has led us away from the petty gripes and calls from coast to coast for lawmakers to be not Right or Left, but reasonable, why? More people are getting sick.

I do not see how we get through this any better or faster without Tony Fauci present and up front. So, let's test Trump's truth abuse directly, and let Fauci have the power to test solutions to this pandemic. He needs to be on the podium.

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

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, CNN TONIGHT WITH DON LEMON: You know, I saw, you guys had the on last week was a Town Hall, and then on Friday.