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Cuomo Prime Time

New York Governor On How State Is Fighting Coronavirus; ICU Nurse Practitioner On Battling Coronavirus In New York; FDA Approves 15-Minute Coronavirus Test. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 21:00   ET



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: Everybody, I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.

More than 500 Coronavirus deaths, many of them here in New York, it's the worst news on the same day as we received perhaps the best hope for a concerted response. How do you put those two together? These are very confusing times.

So, to get some clarity, we have two of the central figures of this crisis here with updates on their battle plans tonight. We have the Governor of New York and the Military's top Coronavirus Commander.

Now, we already know the most important facts. The only way we get through this is together as ever as one. So, what do you say? Let's get after it.




C. CUOMO: No small irony in the fact that today is National Doctors Day, and I see many of you filling up your social media feeds honoring the sacrifice that they have made and that we all know is still to come.

But remember, if you want to honor doctors, they're only asking us to do one thing, it's even a hashtag now, "Stay home," and not enough of us are doing it. And the proof of that is that yes, we're getting some good information, and we'll go through it tonight.

But it's about the rate of how fast this is moving, not that it's actually a curb in cases. We have a long way to go. You've got to take this seriously. Please, tonight, if you're watching, I've never wanted people to watch us more because it means you're home. It means you're doing what you're supposed to do, right?

More than three-quarters of the U.S. population is under a stay-at- home order. But you shouldn't have to wait for it to be official, you know, this should be about common sense. This is about doing for your own and from your community, for walking

the walk that we all talk all the time, about how we love this country, and how we're for one another. It's time to prove it.

Now, these daily death tolls are staggering. And as in every tragedy, I tell you, don't get hung up on the number because it's always going to go up. We have no idea what the scope of this tragedy is going to be.

We lost many in New York today in these 500 deaths. So, let's get some context on what the good news is, what the bad news is, what is the real deal about the state of play?

We have the Governor of the State of New York, my brother, Andrew Cuomo.

Governor, thank you for joining us.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Good to be with you, Christopher.

C. CUOMO: The good news, huge Navy ship came in today. The President said "We delivered on that. It got here sooner." What is the significance because you've said that some of the reporting about the ship is right, some of it's wrong? What's the reality of what this event means?

A. CUOMO: Yes. The reality is President Trump sent the U.S. Navy Ship Comfort to New York. It's in New York Harbor.

And the Comfort, and a federal facility that we built at the Javits State Convention Center, those two facilities, 2,500 beds in Javits and 1,000 beds at the Ship will actually serve as basically a relief valve for the hospitals.

They won't do COVID patients themselves. But they'll be a relief valve for the hospital system, and that's the whole battle is the capacity of the hospital system. They'll be a relief valve to relieve some of those patients, so the hospitals can focus on the COVID patients.

C. CUOMO: So, simple question, has the President been stepping up? Are they keeping their word on the federal level?

A. CUOMO: Yes. Look, I - I said to the President privately, I've said it publicly. We need to work together in partnership. That's - this is the essence of federal, state relations, right? This is how we deal with these types of situations.

And if the President is helping the State of New York, I'll be the first person to say so. If we have a difference, I'll be the first person to say so. And the President has been very helpful. The Comfort has been very helpful.

The Javits Center, 2,500 beds, I'll tell you Chris, the Army Corps of Engineers did a phenomenal job. It was like in one week they came into the Javits Center, and built basically an entire field hospital, and they're staffing it. So, those two facilities alone, right there, you're talking about a great relief valve. Now, we still have problems, and we have issues, right? Your opening point was right. This two missions, right?

Number one, stay home, reduce the infection rate, don't go out, you're exposing yourself to danger, you could get infected, you could infect someone else.

Second, this is going to be a battle at the hospitals, at the Public Health System. You're going to have the hospital system--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --deluged with people, and we'll have probably twice the capacity that the healthcare system was designed for, and that's why you'll see the doctors, the nurses, the staff, that's why they're under such stress.

C. CUOMO: You'll have twice the cases - you'll have twice the patients that the capacity was designed for, meaning you will not have the beds, and the ventilators, and the staff, to accommodate, you believe by a factor of two.


A. CUOMO: Yes. Well see, once you go to over-capacity, it's all-of- the-above, right? Actually the beds are the easiest thing to find. You wouldn't think of it. But it's easiest to find the beds. It's the equipment because now you have every state--

C. CUOMO: And the PPE.

A. CUOMO: --trying to buy the same equipment and you have countries all across the globe.

Yes, the PPE, the ventilators et cetera. And it's the staff. The staff is getting exhausted. I had one nurse say to me "More than physically exhausted, I'm emotionally exhausted." You know, this is weeks, and this will go on for weeks.

And you have people showing up into really dangerous situations. They don't know if they're going to contract the virus, if they're going to bring it home. Many people are dying. And this is going to go on for weeks. So, that's a - that's a whole new stress on the staff.

C. CUOMO: And the worst is yet to come. PPE is going to be a big deal.

As some may know and may not know, the Governor put out a call today that "Hey, if this isn't happening in a bad way in your community, or even in your state, come, help us." And that is really a clarion call for the need to be calling out anybody who can come to help. It'll be interesting to see who responds.

And the President said something today that I want your take on, the answer that you've given so far, you said you don't know what he means. But I want you to think about it a little bit more. Let's play the sound about what the President suggested might be happening with some of the equipment that we are all desperate to find for our healthcare professionals.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It's a New York hospital. Very - it's packed all the time. How do you go from 10 to 20, to 300,000? 10- to 20,000 masks, to 300,000?

Even though this is different, something is going on, and you ought to look into it as reporters. Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000? And we have that in a lot of different places. So, somebody should probably look into that.


C. CUOMO: Now, you said, "I don't know what he means." You know what he means.

He's saying that somebody is stealing this PPE stuff, or that something is being done with it that is wrong, which is the implication is "I'm doing the right thing. I'm getting them the right things in New York. I don't know what they're doing with them." That's the implication.

What's your response?

A. CUOMO: Yes. My response is, first of all, if I say I - I don't know what he means, you can't tell me that, yes, I do know what he means. You might think--

C. CUOMO: But what do you think he could--

A. CUOMO: --that you--

C. CUOMO: --what do you think he could mean other than that?

A. CUOMO: He could mean - yes, I don't know. It's a very vague thing. "It went out the back door," I don't know maybe--

C. CUOMO: What do you mean "They went out the back door?"

A. CUOMO: I don't know what that means.

C. CUOMO: What is it? A stray cat? What do you - it didn't go out the back door. He is saying--

A. CUOMO: And he could be. I don't know what it is.

C. CUOMO: --somebody's taking some masks.

A. CUOMO: Maybe it's the - well maybe that's what he means, but I don't know. It's a very vague reference. You should ask the President. But look, the exponential increase in the PPE is real, right? Almost,

in the hospitals now, there's COVID PPE, non-COVID PPE. Everybody is wearing COVID PPE because you don't know who has COVID, you don't know who doesn't have COVID.

Every time they see a patient, they have to change their PPE. So, yes, the burn rate of the PPE is much, much higher. So, I think when the President says it's an incredible increase, I think he's right.

If you are right by what you thought he meant when he said "Out the back door," as if it is being stolen or misused, if that's what he meant then he should say that, ask for an investigation, and that's how you handle that. If that's what he meant, which is what you think he meant.

C. CUOMO: I don't know what else he could mean. But your point is taken, which is it's about the burn rate.


C. CUOMO: He may not understand the facts yet. He may not want to accept it. It's a way of hedging against the need, as great as it is. But this is something that this President does. He's done it to you a few times.

You know, he goes back and forth about whether or not you're good or bad. Right now, you're good. Poll numbers came out, and said, and he's very responsive to poll numbers, and they say you're popular now because of how you're doing this.

So, he weaponizes it, and says, "You know, what he should do. He should run for President, this guy, Cuomo. He'd be better than Biden, this guy Cuomo. But I'd beat him, too."

Let me ask you something. With all of this adulation that you're getting for doing your job, are you thinking about running for President? Tell the audience.

A. CUOMO: No. No.

C. CUOMO: No, you won't answer?

A. CUOMO: No. I answered. The answer is "No." I answered the question.

C. CUOMO: No, you're not thinking about it?

A. CUOMO: Sometimes, it's one word. I said "No." No.

C. CUOMO: Have you thought about it?


C. CUOMO: Are you open to thinking about it?


C. CUOMO: Might you think about it at some point?


C. CUOMO: How can you know what you might think about at some point right now?


A. CUOMO: Because I know what I might think about, and what I won't think about. But you're a great interviewer by the way.

C. CUOMO: Appreciate it. Learned from the best. The point is this.

A. CUOMO: Thank you. Thank you.

C. CUOMO: What do you think of him trying to play you against Biden? That's what's going on here. He's trying to say "Joe Biden is weak. Look, even Cuomo is stronger than he is, and he's not even running." What's your response?

A. CUOMO: Again, that's your interpretation of what you think the President was saying.

I know Joe Biden many, many years. I worked with him when he was Vice President. He has been a tremendous asset to the State of New York when he was the Vice President with President Obama.

So, I've worked with him on a professional level. I know him very well personally. I can't say enough good things about Joe Biden. So, I think he's a great public servant. I think he has been extraordinary on a number of levels.

I think he's a good man. I think he has a good heart. I think he has a good soul. I think he - he's well-meaning. He's knowledgeable as heck. He has wisdom, and I think he's a leader.

You know, at one point, Chris, it comes down to a simple concept. It's about leadership, right, the experience, the wisdom, the capacity to do the job. Not just think about it, not just talk about it, not just tweet about it, do the job.

And Joe Biden is a guy who does the job for - for real Americans, right? We grew up.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: We're middle-class New Yorkers. We relate to him that way. He relates to people all across the country that way. And his - his sense of connectivity, his sense of capacity, you put all that together and he's the real deal.

C. CUOMO: Well, we'll see. He's got to get through his primary. There's a long race to go. We'll see how this plays for the President.

Two quick things. One, what do you still need in terms of the urgency? Where are you on ventilators? Where are you on PPE? Where are you in terms of being up to where you need to be because of

what you think is coming, in context of Tony Fauci telling America today the sober reality that we could lose six digits in terms of the death toll in this disease, at least 100,000, what do you still need?

A. CUOMO: Well if Tony Fauci is looking at the numbers, right?

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: And that's why I respect him, and that's why I like to talk to him. Everybody has a theory, everybody has an idea, including you. I like to talk to Fauci. He has numbers, he has facts.

We, in New York, you'll have different curves in different places around the country, right, because the virus moves faster in some areas.

It moves very fast in New York because we're a very dense area. We're very intense. We're on top of one another, so the virus moves fast. We are still on our way up the mountain of the curve. We hadn't hit the curve.

One of the things we're doing now, I brought all the hospitals across the state together, first time ever, and I said, "Look, we're no longer New York City hospitals, Long Island hospitals, public hospitals, private hospitals, Upstate hospitals, we're one hospital system, and we're going to operate that way.

And we're going to share equipment, we're going to share staff, we're going to share resources. All the fiefdoms are broken down." We're going to have to make that entire healthcare system work because we're still on our way up the mountain.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: The apex is anywhere from six days to 21 days away depending on who you listen to. The apex can either be 1.5 times the capacity of the hospital system or three times the capacity of the hospital system--

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: --depending on which projection you reach. So, I want to prepare for that apex because this virus has been ahead of us every step of the day, Christopher.

C. CUOMO: Right.

A. CUOMO: We have never gotten ahead of this virus. And you never win fighting the last battle. And we have to get ahead of it. And the next encounter where we meet the enemy is on the top of the mountain, at that apex, and that's what we have to be ready for.

C. CUOMO: Understood.

Now, you've been really giving people a lot of comfort about recognizing the difficulties of staying at home, making an effort, obviously to be home. You got your kids up there with you, you're keeping them close.

You know, you said something about yourself, where you said, "You know, I'm not really good at cooking and, you know, I've had to learn, and do stuff with the kids." I don't know why you're taking your shot at that, I mean, you know, just because you don't cook.

I mean Mom shares her secrets about how to make sauce, very few people. I mean you shouldn't criticize yourself that you're not one of the people that Mom saw as worthy to, you know, teach how to cook and make tomato sauce.

A. CUOMO: Well, look, I'm sure she would have. It's just that you spent so much more time in the kitchen, Chris, than I did.

You were just available to her. You know, you had that that - always like Mom's little helper in the kitchen. I really respect that. So, I think it's because you were there and always underfoot. And--

C. CUOMO: Yes, see, I don't see it that way. I don't see it that way.

A. CUOMO: I mean you spent years in the kitchen when you think of it.

C. CUOMO: I don't--

A. CUOMO: Yes.


C. CUOMO: --I don't see it that way. I didn't spend years in the kitchen. But I--

A. CUOMO: Well I didn't mean - I didn't mean - I didn't mean to offend you.

C. CUOMO: Well I think maybe you did. But that's OK. There's no offense taken.

A. CUOMO: I didn't mean to offend you in any way. I think it was great that you helped.

C. CUOMO: There's no offense taken. But what I'm saying is--

A. CUOMO: No. I think - no, no, please, that you helped Mom in the kitchen was a beautiful thing. I had to do work, you know.

C. CUOMO: I didn't help Mom in the kitchen. You're saying something a little different.

A. CUOMO: Like look into--

C. CUOMO: She taught me things that she chose--

A. CUOMO: Yes. By the way--

C. CUOMO: --not to teach you--

A. CUOMO: --well yes.

C. CUOMO: --is what I'm trying to say.

A. CUOMO: May I - may I ask you - may I ask you a question?

C. CUOMO: You don't have to play the sound. But I just - hold on - hold on one second.

A. CUOMO: Can I just ask you a question?

C. CUOMO: You'll have them on. I'm having a--

A. CUOMO: Where are you? Where are you?

C. CUOMO: Where am I?

A. CUOMO: Can I ask you, where are you?

C. CUOMO: I'm in the - I'm in the process of making a point is where I am.

A. CUOMO: Yes. I don't recognize where you are.

C. CUOMO: I'm in my basement.

A. CUOMO: But where are you physically?

C. CUOMO: I'm in my basement. That's what I just said.

A. CUOMO: Oh, you're in your basement?

C. CUOMO: Yes, that's where I am.

A. CUOMO: Oh, you're in your basement, that's it.

C. CUOMO: Yes.

A. CUOMO: Well you spend a lot of time there, right? Cristina says she sends you there a lot. So kitchen and basement, that's where you've spent your life.

C. CUOMO: Listen--


C. CUOMO: --here is what I'm trying to say.

A. CUOMO: Go ahead. Did you have a question?

C. CUOMO: I'm in the basement because this is where I had the availability to do this.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: Right now, I need to be working at home. That's why I'm here.

But Mom, you don't have to play the sound, but last night I was doing what I do for my family, which is make my mother's sauce. She taught me how to make the sauce--

A. CUOMO: Right.

C. CUOMO: --which is something that is very coveted. And she said, I can only teach he, not she, he who will carry it on best. And you will see the B-roll of me cooking.

My mother called me and said, and I was listening to her favorite - one of her favorite songs, Andrea Bocelli, and you'll see I had a picture of her behind me, as I always do when I'm cooking in the kitchen.

I always have a picture of my mother there to remember our bond, and how I care for her that she taught me how to make the sauce. She didn't teach anybody else.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: And she called me and said, "Is Andrew there?" I said, "No, Mom, I'm all alone here out on the island with my family." And she said, "Where is he?"

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: And I said he's up in Albany in the house with the big gates and the attack dog. And she said, "Oh, that's too bad." And I said, "It's OK, Mom."

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: "I love him and I'll make sauce for him, too."

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: And she started to cry.


C. CUOMO: And then I said goodbye.

A. CUOMO: Yes.

C. CUOMO: That's what happened.

A. CUOMO: No. You've always been good at manipulate - you've always been good at manipulation. You've always been the meatball of the family. And look, some of us have to work, right? I don't have the luxury of working one hour a day. God bless you. I'm happy for you.

C. CUOMO: Well, first of all, it's a full-time job.

A. CUOMO: But most of us work more than one hour a day. That's all I'm saying.

C. CUOMO: You certainly have been working a lot. And I'll tell you what, be careful, not just because you look like you've been burning a lot of hours, but you show up in a lot of places, and I know it gives comfort to people.

But if you get sick, God forbid, God forbid, there's only one of you right now. And if you get sick, it's a problem.

So, I know you like to run around with your ill-fitting jacket, but just remember that. You got to stay healthy. I need you, big brother, because I love you, and you're the center of the family, but you're the center of the State right now, also.

A. CUOMO: Yes, but I have to do my job, and Mama didn't raise an Armchair General in me anyway. I'm not going to sit in my basement.

I say to the National Guard every time before I go out there, "I'll never ask you to go anywhere that I won't go. I'll never ask you to do anything that I won't do." So, I need to be out there doing my job.

You stay where you are in the basement. I think it's very nice. I love you. Be safe. Call me some time.

C. CUOMO: I have to be honest. This basement puts me in a bad position, and I am sitting in an armchair right now. Those are two terrible facts.

But you're doing the right thing. You're talking to the audience. You're being open to the media. I know you're working your tail off for everybody. I love you. I respect you. Stay safe. I'll talk to you soon. I'll send you some sauce.

A. CUOMO: Love you, brother.

C. CUOMO: Mom's secret favorite.

A. CUOMO: Oh, yes, thanks. Thanks, yes, I know.

C. CUOMO: Yes. Well--

A. CUOMO: I know. Meatball!

C. CUOMO: Yes, I heard it.

A. CUOMO: Yes, you.

C. CUOMO: It's a term of endearment in Italian circles.


C. CUOMO: To be the meatball, you can please make him--

A. CUOMO: Yes, sure, yes.

C. CUOMO: Please hang up on him now. Thank you very much. He has a lot of work to do. Is he gone? Is he gone? He's gone.

Meatball is a term of endearment in any Italian family. They only call one son that, and it is the best thing you can be called. Being in the basement was not helpful for me tonight, in this particular parlay.

But it was good for him to tell you where the state of play is, where with the President, that political implication for him to deal with it head on, he should tell you whether or not he's thinking of making a run for something. That's why we asked the question.

It's going to be a mixed picture for a while. We're going to have problems for a while. We're going to tell you, personal stories, and we're going to keep you on the front-lines of where that fight is being had.

For instance, we have somebody who was surrounded by COVID-19 victims. That's going to be the reality of people on the front-lines, 12 hours a day, day after day after day.

She is a hero, nurse practitioner. It's not just doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, everybody, the people cleaning the floor, the people running the machines, the people making the diagnosis.

So, she took a camera with her, into the hospital, to show you the reality now. And remember, we're not even dealing with the worst yet, next.









C. CUOMO: Now obviously, I love being able to have aside with my brother for you that is different than just the serious Front-line General that he has to be. Just to kind of just stay in touch with what we're all dealing with, we're all leaning on family right now.

Of course, I'm worried about him being out there. Of course, I'm worried about how much he has under his control right now. But we balance that light and dark to kind of keep everybody where we need to be. We have to do the same thing with the battle on the front-lines.

I know we're not as bad as it's going to be yet. I believe my brother. I believe the projections from Fauci and the rest of the experts. But it's already so bad. They're so overworked. They are desperate for the PPE, the personal protective equipment. They are. They are having to wear things more often than they should be.


And we all say we love them. And, to me, it's starting to smack of first responders after 9/11, and our troops when they go to war. We say we love them. But are we taking care of them, all right?

Now, that's why I want to tell you this next story. This is no joke, OK? Elyse Isopo is a nurse practitioner from the critical care unit of North Shore University Hospital on Long Island, here in New York.

Elyse, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you for what you're doing, and thank you for letting people understand the reality, so they get it's not just talk, it's not just numbers, it's your life.


C. CUOMO: No. It is a privilege!

Tell people, even though it's not at the apex, see because remember, people who aren't doing your job, they say "Well it's not that bad yet. It's not that bad yet." What is it like right now?

ISOPO: It's bad. It's as bad as I've ever seen anything before. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I've never seen it this bad. I've been doing critical care for that long, and these are patients that are the sickest I've ever seen.

We're used to taking care of sick patients in the ICU, one, two, and then we have some easy ones. This is one after the other.

We have six ICUs already open that is strictly for COVID patients, and they are all, all on mechanical ventilation. They're all intubated, sedated, being paralyzed, as sick as they could be. We're having sicker patients on the regular floors that we usually would have in the ICUs, but don't have room for them.

C. CUOMO: So, what kinds of things? Just look, I mean, I don't think it's a time to hide anything from people.

So, when you say they're really sick, what kinds of symptoms, how are these people behaving, what are you having to deal with, so people know if you want to play, play. But if you wind up in one of these beds, this is what you're going to be like.

ISOPO: Absolutely. So, I could say stay home to stay safe.

But if you wind up as sick as these people are, you're on a ventilator and we are unable to oxygenate people, give enough oxygen. We can't do a 100 percent oxygen. We're putting people on their bellies to be able to make their lungs get more oxygen. We're putting people on high settings of the PEEP, which is something

that people wouldn't understand out there, but it's a high amount of - to perfuse the lungs even better than we already are, and we're still not oxygenating people enough.

C. CUOMO: We've heard from people saying, "Listen, these people get so sick. They're coughing up blood. They're turning blue. They're being paralyzed by this. They get on the ventilators, they can't get off."

Other nurses, and health practitioners, in your position, and others, are saying, "It's like we've been thrown to the Lions that we are all alone here, and the case flow is just coming and coming, and one case is worse than the next," and there is no relief for them in sight.

Is that your reality as well?

ISOPO: Absolutely. So, the reality is that every ICU we open, we have another ICU ready to go. Today, we opened our fifth - our sixth ICU.

But the one that I was working in today only had eight or nine patients to begin with. We filled it up to 21 patients, and then opened the next ICU, all on the ventilator, all as sick as possible, and it's just getting so bad, and it's getting worse every day.

Every day, we're getting more and more patients. Every day, we're hearing overhead to intubate for anesthesia to come, and intubate people, and we cringe every time we hear that overhead because we know another patient is going on the ventilator, and coming to the ICU.

C. CUOMO: Now, I want you to be honest because you know that the premium for us is on you guys. You're the guys who are going to get us through. Look, we have to do our part, no question.

I don't know if you had a chance to hear my brother. But you know he's been out there doing a lot of this, as the Governor. He says he's doing what he can for the hospitals. The federal government says they're doing what they can.

Do you feel supported? Do you feel that the government is doing what it can do for you?

ISOPO: I actually have to say I do. I feel supported by the hospital. The hospital where I work, and I don't feel that I'm worried about PPE.

Yes, we are reusing masks. We're reusing them every day. We're saving them in bags for the next shift, unless they get contaminated, and we are able to get new ones, and we don't have new ones.

I feel we got ventilators today from outside, and we are being supported. We do have enough equipment right now. I'm afraid we're going to run out absolutely because we are going through it so fast, faster than I've ever seen before.

We're changing non-stop. Every time we go into another room, we're changing, we're washing our hands. And where we - we're not - we're only reusing the masks, and nothing else.

C. CUOMO: How are you going to do this emotionally, physically, mentally, if it gets twice as bad as it is now?


ISOPO: So, today was a - a rough day. Every day, every time we open a new ICU, it's rough. Once we get the ICU open, and up and running, we're getting staff from all other areas.

I worked with a plastic surgeon today. I usually - I'm a critical care nurse practitioner. I'm used to working with pulmonary critical care doctors and all ICU people.

Today I worked with people from the medicine floors, hospitalists that only do hospital medicine. I worked with people from plastic surgery today. Everybody's coming together to work together to support each other.

We're trying to take critical care people and put them in each of the ICUs to support each team to build it up. But we're - we're getting taxed. We're definitely getting taxed because we're the knowledge there amongst other healthcare providers that are helping us.

C. CUOMO: One other thing, you know, I'm - I would never put you in a position of politics. But the President, the explanation is probably ignorance that he doesn't understand how much PPE is being used.

And still, he said something today, and I just want to reinforce the character of the people involved here, the idea that "Hey, I don't know where all this PPE is going. Maybe it's slipping out the back door."

To me, my brother disagrees, he says it's a subjective impression, that, to me, sounded like an ugly implication like somebody is taking some of this stuff, and it's not just that you don't have enough.

I want you to speak to the character of the men and women that you're working with right now, and how they're coming together, how seriously they take their jobs, and a level of trust that you have of these people in terms of somebody slipping out the back door with things.

ISOPO: Absolutely. So, right now, we're working with people from all different ICUs. I'm used to only working with my team. Now, we're working with, you know, people from thoracic ICU, neurosurgery ICU, and the camaraderie has been unbelievable, the teamwork.

The community giving us food every single day is unbelievable. The people just want to be there to take care of the patients, and make people better, because it's devastating what's going on.

We're seeing it firsthand. We're seeing people in their young ages, 30s, 40s, like I said, we had a 20-year old. Nobody's invincible in this. Everybody is in this together, and we're fighting together to keep people alive. We're fighting together. We're FaceTiming families, so we can be able to be with them because we feel terrible that they can't be there by their loved one's bedside. Physically, I'm holding people's hands as they're dying because their family is not there. It's - it's terrible. But we are there as a community together being families for these patients.

C. CUOMO: So, not only is it that people aren't stealing things, but you guys are making moments for families that they're not going to have.

You're going above and beyond, and that's why we're keeping our spotlight on you guys because you are the best of us. And, in the worst of times, we see the best in humanity. And that is going to be you and your brothers and sisters on the front-lines in the hospitals.

Please, Elyse, let us know anything that needs to get out about what you need, or what's happening, and we will be here for you the way you are here for us.

ISOPO: Thank you. Thank you for the support everybody.

C. CUOMO: Thank you. Stay strong, stay well, God bless.

ISOPO: God bless America.

C. CUOMO: Wow, look, she is proof of why America is blessed.

I mean, can you imagine having to hold hand after hand of people who are passing away because you know there's no one there with them, there's no family because they can't come?

13 hours shift after 13 hours shift after 13 hours shift, day after day, and they're not even where they're going to be yet, and they know it. Imagine that strain! We've got to be there for them any way that we can.

The war analogy holds. So, we talk to the people on the front-lines. We hear from the politicians.

We're also going to talk to the man in charge of our Armed Forces across North America to tell us how they are approaching this, and what they see as our best bet going forward, next.








C. CUOMO: All right, good news. The USNS Comfort is in New York Harbor.

It's going to serve as an impressive reminder of the need for the world's best fighting force in this battle, which just turned a Manhattan Convention Center into one of the country's largest temporary hospitals. The man in charge of this unprecedented effort is General Terrence O'Shaughnessy.

General, welcome to PRIME TIME.


C. CUOMO: So, my brother is obviously the Governor of New York.

He was talking with a tone of amazement about how quickly the Javits Center was brought into being a relief valve for the State of New York, and how the ship "Comfort" is not only aptly named, but will be a great way of offloading people who don't have COVID, into a situation where they can still be cared for.

How big do you see the need in New York and how well can you match up in terms of capabilities?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Well, Chris, I think the story we just heard from Elyse is exactly why we're here. You hear the stories of the healthcare workers on the front-line, the true heroes of what's going on today. They need relief. They need extra capability.

And that's what we brought in with the Comfort, and that's what we're bringing in with the arming explicitly (ph) medical capability that's coming in the Javits Center. So, we hear loud and clear that we need help. The federal aspect is - is here. We want to be part of the solution.

C. CUOMO: In terms of staff, I mean that seems to be the big deal, right? As - as my brother and a lot of other experts have said, it's not the beds, it's the man and woman power, the human capital to do it. How can you assist with that?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Yes, you're exactly right. And that's what we're seeing not only in New York but really across our great nation.

And whilst we're certainly building some beds and building those things, the key element is how do we staff them with the right personnel. And so, we're working hard on that.


An example I use is not only the Comfort, but when we bring the Comfort in, she has a 1,000 medical personnel, with the - the Javits Center we're filling with 500 or so Army medical technicians and doctors and nurses.

And then, we're going nationwide. And so, for example, we're going down to Jacksonville, our team from Jacksonville is going down to New Orleans and Dallas, and they're falling in on - on facilities that are already there.

They're just bringing the staff, that expertise, and that - that is key across our nation, the shortfall of healthcare workers at this very incredibly important time.

C. CUOMO: Half of the Army's field hospitals reportedly are now dedicated to the COVID-19 fight. If this becomes what it is expected to be, on the worse-end, can we handle it?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Well I'll tell you what. This is a whole-of-America approach, and that's what we have to do.

The cooperation that we're seeing all the way from the public/private, to the interagency, to the state, local, and federal part of it, we have to come together as a team, and that's what we're seeing. That's the only way we're going to get through this.

But I'm confident we are going to get through this, and we're going to get through it together.

C. CUOMO: It's the only way we've ever made it through anything difficult, and we've always relied on the military. Never this way though. This is a unique effort to have at home.

Usually there are people like, you know, me and the rest of the CNN team telling the stories of heroism from the men and women on the ground in, you know, off our shores.

This is different, and there's going to be a toll on the troops. Your men and women are going to get this, and they're going to get this both in living their own lives and in helping others. How are you going to handle that?

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Well I'll tell you what. We're certainly taking that into consideration.

And, of course, our medical providers will take the appropriate precautions just like Elyse and - and the civilian healthcare workers are. But we're also worried about our home and defense mission, our global mission set.

And so, we, the United States Military, are taking those precautions to ensure that we can operate in and amongst the virus, and still continue to do our mission. Mission assurance is key for us.

C. CUOMO: It is a very scary thought. We haven't heard it mentioned in a while, and I'm happy you did, General that we are vulnerable right now. We are fighting inside--

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Yes. C. CUOMO: --against a virus, and that is an opportunistic situation for enemies abroad, and that's something that unfortunately we have to be aware of as well.

General O'Shaughnessy, with people like you at the helm, we know we're going to give it our best shot. Thank you, Sir. Stay well, and I wish you well.

O'SHAUGHNESSY: Thank you so much, Chris, and - good well - good luck to you, and then all of the healthcare workers, thank you for what you're doing.

C. CUOMO: They need our thanks, for sure, General, and you deserve ours.

It is an interest - little bit of a scary thought though. But I'm glad the General brought it up. You know, we do have to balance. You can't throw everything at this. Why? What if something happens? What if somebody attacks? What if we're somewhere else?

I know it all sounds far-fetched, so did COVID-19. That takes us to political leadership. The President now says over 1 million Americans have been tested for Coronavirus.

Could this new 15-minute test help end the gridlock for so many others, and how about these other things that you're hearing all the time on social media? What's true? What isn't?

The Good Doctor is in the house, our Chief, with the answers, next.









C. CUOMO: All right, the need is real for this new test that could provide results in a matter of minutes, 15 is what they're saying. In California, more than two-thirds of those tested are still waiting for results.

And yes, I get your messages from all over the country. I know that's the most common complaint. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with me right now.

Thank you for being with me tonight, brother.


C. CUOMO: The idea of a 15-minute test from the FDA sounds amazing. What are the practical realities?

GUPTA: Well, you know, we're watching this unfold real-time, Chris. So, this was just approved last Friday.

We've been talking to the - to the makers of this 15-minute test. And they say, starting April 1st, they're going to start shipping out about 50,000 of these a day. So, they're not out yet. But they will go out.

And I think it's going to be a big deal because it's - that timing is going to be really important. As you know, we've talked about it, people waiting several days for the test results. What are they doing during that time? If they're positive, they could still be spreading the virus.

Another big thing, Chris, quickly, are these self-administered swabs. That's going to be, you know, I think, a pretty big deal as well. You do have to send those back into the lab, so you're going to have to still wait awhile to get those results.

But I do think that these are going to change testing to some extent. It's been a long time coming.

C. CUOMO: Yes.

GUPTA: Hopefully, this will help.

C. CUOMO: And it'll still be a long time because even if it's 50,000 a week, or whenever they can do it, you know, you're going to take time to get up to capacity of how many tests we need.

GUPTA: That's true.

C. CUOMO: But it would be a nice addition to the mix.

"Ibuprofen, don't take it. COVID-19 loves it." Is that true?

GUPTA: Well, you know, there's been a lot that I've read about this.

And there was some concern initially. A lot of people said, "Look, Ibuprofen could be making the COVID disease worse." World Health Organization weighed in, looked at the data, said "Probably not. It's OK."

It is a anti-inflammatory, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. If you're somebody who deals with autoimmune disease, or if you have some immunosuppression already, may not be the best option.

But, for most people, Chris, this Ibuprofen, Advil, medications like that really shouldn't be a problem.

C. CUOMO: OK. And just in terms of perspective, Tony Fauci says a 100,000 people may die. People thought it might be in the millions, and they're saying that the rate of acceleration is slowing down.

What is the reality about what is our current state of expectation about how bad this could be and whether or not we're anywhere near flattening the curve?

GUPTA: Well, you know, this is really interesting, Chris.

I think that, you know, a lot of people pay attention to something known as doubling time, how long does it take to double the numbers, number of cases, number of hospitalizations, number of people who've died.


New York, interestingly, is starting to spread out their doubling time. That - that's a good thing. But it's actually lower now than in the rest of the country. So, the rest of the country has started to actually speed up and double a little bit faster than New York.

What I think is interesting, Chris, even if you look at these states where there aren't that many cases, and you really dig deep into the data there, what you find is the curves, even though there're a smaller number of cases, are very similar to these things - these places that we call these hotspots. They're just earlier in the - in the timeline.

C. CUOMO: Right.

GUPTA: So, I think we're seeing the sort of patchwork picture across the country that makes it confusing.

Middle of April, as you heard, may be the peak in New York, where you are. Middle of May, perhaps, is possibly the peak down in Florida. And then, all these other places in between. So, it's tough.

You've heard millions. You heard a 100,000 from Fauci. It's jarring, I think, for people to hear these numbers, in terms of the possible number of deaths. The truth, I'll tell you, Chris, probably lies somewhere in between those two numbers.

You know, we did not react quickly enough to this. As we know, we did not test quickly enough. And for some of these things, you can't just play catch-up. So, I think that's what Dr. Fauci was sort of referring to.

C. CUOMO: And you got to own what you did wrong the first time because there's going to be another wave. And if you don't learn from the past, you will repeat it. We see it time and again.

Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Stay healthy, brother.

GUPTA: You got it.

C. CUOMO: Love you.

GUPTA: You too, brother. C. CUOMO: All right.

GUPTA: You got it.

C. CUOMO: The President today told you the truth about things that you needed to hear. And it was a totally new message for him. Now, what do we make of it?

You can't just take what he says now. You have to look at the whole picture, and you have to argue that we have to be on the same page, including this President. Here's where we are, and here's where we're not, next.











TRUMP: By very vigorously following these guidelines, we could save more than 1 million American lives.

And this is a very vital 30 days. We're sort of putting it all on the line, this 30 days.

Over 1 million Americans have now been tested, more than any other country, by far.


C. CUOMO: Imagine if that 30 days had come 30 or 60 days ago. Imagine if he gave that same message back when he first heard about this. And remember, not only did he not tell you then, he was giving you the toxic opposite of the truth.


TRUMP: Democrats are politicizing the Coronavirus.

They tried the impeachment hoax. And this is their new hoax.

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: "Well why do you keep going back?" Because if you don't learn from the mistakes that you made then you will repeat them.

Those cheering behind him, when he was talking about it a hoax, you know, how many of them are sick today? How many of them are sick because they believed Trump when he said it was a hoax, and they didn't self-contain, they didn't take the precautions?

You know, the Task Force now says a 100,000 dead are likely.

And, in Trump fashion, the guy who said it was a hoax that nobody was going to die, he now is saying, "A 100,000? Oh, it could have been 20 times that or more." He's going farther than anyone else now in the opposite direction.


TRUMP: When Tony and Deborah came up with numbers yesterday to say that, if we did nothing, you could lose 2.2 - up to two point - maybe beyond, I don't know, maybe beyond, but 2.2 million people if we did nothing.


C. CUOMO: This is bad as calling it a hoax because, look, forget about the numbers. Don't try to make it look like we brought it down. It's that we did do nothing for too long, and that is a reality that this President still refuses to own.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to Americans who are upset with you over the way you--

TRUMP: Here we go.

ACOSTA: --downplayed this crisis over the last couple of months?

TRUMP: We are doing a great job. If you look at those individual statements, they're all true. Stay calm. It will go away. You know it - you know it is going away, and it will go away.

The statements I made are: I want to keep the country calm. I don't want panic in the country. I could cause panic much better than even you.

And instead of asking a nasty, snarky question like that, you should ask a real question.


C. CUOMO: It is not just a real question. The real question! Many of you are confused about whether or not your community is the

same country as what you're seeing in New York. It doesn't seem as bad. He has to be consistent, and on message, and he can say "That's why everybody hates CNN."

Look, you guys are coming to us in droves, and we understand why. We know that everybody is scared, and that we need the facts, and we need reality, and you don't always get that from this White House on a good day.

We report to you, and for you, and we will expose the mistakes of the past because otherwise we're going to repeat them, especially with this President. And he still does not get what this war is about.

Listen to his own words.


TRUMP: The spirit, I've never seen anything like it. It's a beautiful thing to watch. Unfortunately, the enemy is death. It's death. A lot of people are dying, so it's very unpleasant. It's a very unpleasant thing.

And I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I am very proud to be your President.


C. CUOMO: He said "The enemy is death." The enemy is not death.

The enemy is disinformation, inaction, lies, division. These are all the things this virus is testing in our society as much as it's testing our bodies. It's going to test our ability to sacrifice, our ability to lead, and our ability to follow.