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Cuomo Prime Time

Trump Turns Briefing Into Attack On "The Joe Biden Party," Ignores Violence From His Supporters; Biden: Violence We're Seeing Is "Donald Trump's America"; Reporter Caught In Middle Of Portland Clashes. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 31, 2020 - 21:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-HOST, NEW DAY: That could be appealed as well.

A lot going on, the news continues. So, I hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, CUOMO PRIME TIME: All right, J.B., thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

We've got 64 days until Election Day. And I don't think that we have had a more dangerous period in our recent history. It's time to come together to understand the facts and for you to make the choices that will set our course ahead.

The country is in the grip of two crises. Neither one is under control. Coronavirus continues to spread. Now, our kids are back in school, in different ways, in different places, almost everywhere, without the kind of testing we need to track, to trace, and to keep them and their families safe.

The President continues to ignore this health crisis. He instead sees advantage in focusing on the violence around the country.

But here too, he is ignoring the real illness of systemic inequality. Instead, blaming his opponent and anyone and anything else he can for the growing disorder that's happening on his watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The wave of violence and destruction that we have seen in recent weeks and months has occurred in cities exclusively controlled and dominated by the Biden - Joe Biden Party.

The violence is fuelled by dangerous rhetoric from far-Left politicians that demonize our nation and demonize our police.

Many young Americans have been fed lies about America being a wicked nation plagued by racism.


CUOMO: Now, again, I don't know who's writing this stuff for him. You can see he's reading. You can see he's not all that familiar with the material. But he likes its intent. And those people too are complicit in passing messages they know are not just wrong, but wrong for the country.

Systemic inequality is real. You know it. I know it. We see it in our schools, our lending, our courts, our prisons and our morgues. This President knows it too.

Of course, all Americans are not racist. No one should say that, because it's not the truth. And remember, our country was designed to be able to defeat inequality like this, and uniquely so.

So, why would this President lie about the reality? It seems this is just about scaring his base enough to win the election. And I have to tell you, whatever the polls say, it may work. The big question is, at what price.

He is now literally painting a man, who supports him as a victim, the same time the police are calling him a murderer.


TRUMP: That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw. And he was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like. And he fell and then they very violently attacked him. And it was something that we're looking at right now, and it's under investigation.

But I guess he was in very big trouble. He would have been - he probably would have been killed.


CUOMO: You guess? He probably would have been killed? The guy with the gun against the unarmed people? Is this law and order?

Backing a 17-year-old, who came to town, from out of State, with a gun that was illegal for him to carry openly, who then shot and killed people protesting, only to have police let him walk by, as the crowd shouted what he had done.

What about the two people who were killed at the scene? You don't have to guess about them. They're dead. They were White too, maybe not Trump supporters like the shooter, but think about it.

How can our President believe that painting this shooter as a victim is good for our country? How does that not encourage more of what the local police called vigilantism?

The violence in the streets, even when in the name of positive change is negative and wrong. You don't need me to tell you that looting and rioting are not protesting. Scenes of Whites and Blacks hurting and being hurt are scary. They're un-American. They are not progress. All politicians should be

loud and clear about that. It shouldn't be a point of division. But this President has chosen to make racial equality an opposing force to his own political cause.

He also defended supporters who shot paintballs at protesters, in Portland, saying, "Paint is a defensive mechanism," blaming Biden, who is not in office, for what is happening, while Trump is in office.


The Democratic nominee had a reminder for the President today.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The violence we're seeing in Donald Trump's America. These are not images of some imagined "Joe Biden America" in the future. These are images of Donald Trump's America today.

He keeps telling you, if only he was President, it wouldn't happen, if he was President. He keeps telling you, if he was President, you'd feel safe. Well he is President, whether he knows it or not, and it is happening. It's getting worse.


CUOMO: It is getting worse. And in 60-some days, you're going to have to decide what will make it better. That has to be our collective cause.

Now, our President is about to head to Kenosha. Local leaders there are uncertain about his impact. They think things are too unstable for him or for Biden to go. And I don't think they're wrong.

The President barely spoke, at this briefing today, about Coronavirus, which is why he started holding these briefings again. He declined to take reporter's questions from CNN, that the pandemic is a problem and what is he going to do about it. Instead of answering, he blasted out of the room.

As we both know, in our lives, very few problems get better when you ignore them. The unrest over systemic inequality isn't getting any better. We're ignoring it or at least our leaders are.

We're getting sicker, figuratively because of that, and literally because of a pandemic. We got now more than 6 million of us infected with COVID. We could hit 300,000 deaths by year's end, according to a new projection.

Our President's answer? Forget the facts. Forget the reality. Forget that we need testing on a scale only he can make happen.

Instead, he wants you to believe that the statistics are grossly exaggerated. Do you need me to tell you that I'm sure you now know someone, in your own family, or the family you choose, who's had this thing?

You've heard the stories of people being sick. You're hearing the stories of them staying sick. Long-haul syndrome, we're hiding from it. We can't. Starting tonight, I'm going to start talking to you about what people are still suffering, even when they get mild cases.

So, instead of protecting the herd, the way only this President can, only he can marshal the testing we need. He now has a doctor, who's on your screen, Dr. Atlas, saying the herd is going to have to protect itself.

Dr. Atlas, on his Task Force, is reportedly trying to get the Administration to go for a herd immunity strategy. You know what that means. It means that you have to have a lot more people get sick, so that we can get this over with.

Now, I hope this isn't the best that this Administration can do. I really hope it doesn't happen. But hasn't Trump already told us that he's OK with staggering losses? Remember, he responded to news of the death toll by saying, "It is what it is."

How do we make it better than that? His FDA Chief is mulling fast- tracking a vaccine. Trials aren't complete. You got Tony Fauci and other Task Force members warning against that.

And again, the backdrop, remember where we are today, kids all over this country going back to school, in all these different fugazi ways, hybrid in, out, when, tracking, why? Because they can't test the kids effectively, in timely fashion, to manage the situation. We should have done better.

You see what's happening at our colleges? These reckless scenes. We should have been better than this. It's not fair to the kids. It's not fair to any of us.

Let's look at the path going forward from here. Let's bring in former CDC Director, Tom Frieden.

Tom, thank you for being with us tonight. Doctor, what is your take on what you understand Dr. Atlas and that part of the "Cabal" pushing as herd immunity?

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT & CEO, RESOLVE TO SAVE LIVES: Well, in the past week, Chris, we saw two very concerning things.

We saw the FDA have a decision on emergency use of plasma, which may have been the correct decision, but politicized in how it did it, where it did it, what it said.

And you had the White House and HHS overrule the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and say, "No, don't test people who are contacts of people with COVID, if they don't have symptoms," which makes absolutely no sense. That is the "Let COVID spread."

And this concept that "Young people will get COVID, they won't get very sick, and then we'll all be OK," ignores the fact that we're all connected, that what starts in the young doesn't stay in the young.

Chris, there have already been more than 215,000 excess deaths beyond baseline between March 8th and July 31st.


71 percent of those deaths had a doctor who wrote on a death certificate "COVID caused it." The others could have been from COVID that wasn't diagnosed or from people who couldn't get to the doctor to get their heart attack taken care of on time.

We've had too many casualties from this pandemic, too many people have died. Too many jobs have been lost. There's been too much harm to our economy. We can't let, the FDA and the CDC be the next casualties of this pandemic.

CUOMO: You tweeted about what happened with herd immunity in Sweden. And before people think, "Well that's not apples-to-apples, they're totally different," you compare how that worked for Sweden versus Denmark, Norway and Finland. What's the point there?

FRIEDEN: The point is, that Sweden took an approach of saying, "Hey, let's let a little bit more economic activity go, and have it voluntary rather than mandatory." Well it didn't work out. They have a much, much higher death rate than their neighboring countries. And guess what? Their economy is doing worse as well.

The only way to control this virus is to control the virus. It's not a question of health versus economics. The way to regain our economy is to control the pandemic.

CUOMO: The vaccine, everybody knows they're going as fast. They keep being told that they have an all-star team working on it that Operation Warp Speed is moving at just that.

However, now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner, Dr. Stephen Hahn, is saying that the Agency could possibly green-light a vaccine before Phase 3 trials are over.

Is Phase 3 somewhat superfluous or that once you get into it, you know whether you have a winner or not, so you don't need to do the whole Phase? Is this a good move?

FRIEDEN: Vaccines are really complicated, because you need to know, "Do they work? Are they safe, and will people trust them?" We've got vaccine manufacturers who have never made a vaccine before. We have vaccine technologies that have never been used before.

I think, at this point, we would all be surprised, if there weren't a surprise announcement of a vaccine in October. But the fact is that a vaccine may be the single best tool we have to fight COVID.

And that's why it's so important that we get it right, that we not cut any corners on safety, because if people don't trust it, if it's not approved with clear data, if there hasn't - complete transparency about what's happening, we risk a blow-back. We risk one step forward, three steps backwards. That's what happened

with this Administration opening too soon in southern states. That's what's happening in schools opening where there's lots of COVID, and having to slam-shut again.

We don't want that to happen with a vaccine, because vaccines are precious. They're our most powerful tools to control a pandemic. A Phase 3 trial--

CUOMO: By all indications, Doctor, if they announce a vaccine in October, it's not about science. It's all about political science.

And it's right in line with when there'd be an October surprise, and there'd be something positive to line up for this election. I just hope it's backed by science, and something that makes us better, not worse.

I got to jump. Dr. Tom Frieden, as always, thank you, for keeping us informed, and help us understand what matters here.

FRIEDEN: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right, to me, I don't know about you, but what's more scary about this is not being told the truth about the numbers and what's happening. That's why we covered Rebekah Jones. Remember her? The ousted Manager of Florida's Coronavirus data-tracking dashboard?

Jones said then, "Hey, they're not doing numbers the right way in Florida." She got savaged. She was right. She said she was asked to manipulate the numbers. Her superior said she was fired for insubordination. She then filed a whistleblower complaint.

But now, she's going to take us inside the reality of what's happening with schools. She's got a kid herself in Florida schools. So, she's worried as a parent and as a scientist.

She's also launched a tool that may be the first and certainly the best of its kind to do something that nobody else is going to do for us, track COVID-19 cases in school K-12 all around the U.S. How could we not have that? Why did she have to do it?

Rebekah Jones with the reality, and what the right way should be, next, on PRIME TIME.






CUOMO: Rebekah Jones joins us now, once again, to talk about this groundbreaking COVID-19 dashboard of hers. Just think about that, a citizen came up with how to track K-12 school cases, not our government.

Good to see you. Thank you for joining us.


CUOMO: Now, you were in the middle of controversy, last time we had you on. They were saying they had to get rid of you. You were saying, "I'm telling you, they told me to manipulate data. I'm telling you, they're not being straight about the data."

Now, you're going to track it yourself.


CUOMO: Why do we need a dashboard that tracks it nationally? What will that mean for us?

JONES: Unfortunately, we've had no leadership, at the federal level, to embark on a mission to track cases in K-12 districts across the whole U.S.

So, I noticed that there was a gap there, an information and data gap, and having the resources and the knowledge and the skillset I have, I joined up with FinMango, who is a financial literacy non-profit, and decided to fix it.

CUOMO: And how hard was it for you to do this, by the way?

JONES: Very hard. It's more work than any one person can manage by themselves. And that's why, I was really lucky to find people to help me build this project, help find all the data resources that are out there, and pull it all in.

We're currently talking with potential contributors to add to this list of resources. So, it is a lot of work.

CUOMO: Do you have any early indication of what's going on out there?

JONES: It's bad. It's bad.

CUOMO: How do you know already?


JONES: Well, schools in Mississippi and Georgia, Alabama, a lot of places in the U.S. Southeast have been open since the first week of August.

Governor DeSantis, here in Florida, issued an Executive Order that was overturned last week that all schools here in Florida had to open by today. While--

CUOMO: But he's litigating it, so the order stands--

JONES: That's correct.

CUOMO: --which is why they went back to school. I told them, in the last segment, but so they remember, you're a mom, and you've got a kid--


CUOMO: --who's in Florida school, so this isn't just a clinical interest for you.

JONES: Right.

CUOMO: Is it true that in your home state of Florida, the Governor has the schools not reporting cases?

JONES: Yes, it is. Duval County schools were ready to launch their own dashboard, tracking cases in every one of their schools, and every, you know, across their whole district.

And, according to the Superintendent there, the State stepped in, and said, "No, you need to ask us for permission before you even notify parents about cases in your school."

CUOMO: OK. So even--

JONES: But eve - yes.

CUOMO: --so let's say that that's a protective mechanism that they're able to vet the data, and make sure it's good data, no false panic. What happens when people ask to release the data?

JONES: They're told that DOH is working on the best route to publish this data in a way that doesn't compromise patient privacy. But all of these states that are using HIPAA as a shield to not release data about cases in schools aren't using HIPAA correctly.

HIPAA is designed to protect an individual healthcare record that can be tied to a person. You cannot identify any single person by saying the number of, let's say, teachers who have tested positive, across an entire school district.

CUOMO: Right. And they're already putting out data like that.

JONES: That is not what HIPAA means.

CUOMO: About cases and who and where and how. They're just being now selective about this new category.

Is it true that, at some point, this month, Florida actually released reports on COVID-19 cases associated with daycares, schools and colleges and then pulled them back?

JONES: Yes, they did. For three days in a row, one day after the other, they released a polished and finalized report that listed the number of cases in each one of those categories for every single county in the State. CUOMO: And when called on it, and asked about it, they said, "No, no, no, no, we're taking them off. They're not finalized." What does that mean to you?

JONES: Correct.

That means that I think someone was told to generate this report, and upload it, before all the ducks were in a row, at the leadership level. And leadership didn't like what the numbers showed, so they pulled back on it, and decided they're just not going to tell us anything.

CUOMO: What are you worried about as a mom with your kid?

JONES: That I'm not going to find out about cases in my son's school until it's too late before me pulling him out to be effective.

CUOMO: But all the kids are OK when they get sick. It's like one in a gazillion has something bad. Why doesn't that work for you?

JONES: That's not true. I've written obituaries for several of the kids who have died in Florida. I still remember their names, like Daequan Wimberly and Kimmy (ph), and Carsyn Leigh Davis, I've written their obituaries.

This is not something that kids are immune to. Over 3,000 children, just in the State of Florida, have been hospitalized because of this illness. This isn't just "Oh, they get better."

And people seem to forget, children have been the single-most shielded group since this started. We immediately canceled schools for the rest of the semester, in March, when there were only a couple of hundred cases in Florida.

So, what do they think starting schools when there's a baseline of half a million active cases is going to do?

CUOMO: I hope it doesn't look like the colleges, I mean those scenes!

And again, I get criticized for this. It's hard for me to blame the kids, man. You have kids there in their college age. You're telling them they can come back on campus. What do you think they're going to do?

That's why leadership is about making decisions that people aren't going to find popular. And it is amazing to me, Rebekah Jones that you are putting together the national database, and we don't have it at the federal level.

Thank you for staying in touch. Thank you for the work you're doing, and good luck going-forward for you and your family.

JONES: Of course, thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Now, look, have you been following what happened in Portland? It's not easy. We don't know exactly what happened yet. And we should. You should take time for facts to develop. There's no question that sometimes people get ahead of themselves. It doesn't help anything, all right?

We do know a man was killed in violent clashes that were going on between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters. I don't understand why those have become opposite causes. I don't know why the President encourages that.

But we do know the identity of the victim. And we have a Reporter who was there. They have a video, this Reporter. They will take us through what went down before the shooting, all right?

This Reporter was hit by one of those defensive paintballs being shot at protesters by the President's supporters. What he saw on the streets of Portland, you need to know, next.









CUOMO: All right, let's go to Portland, Oregon, OK? There is a lot that we don't know. Start there. We don't understand what this dynamic was. But we're getting closer, and I can help you do that right now.

We certainly know the name of one man killed Saturday night, 39-year- old Aaron J. Danielson. He's on your screen. He was shot as Trump supporters got into it with people protesting systemic racism and police brutality.

CNN does have video of the shooting from across the street. It's dark. It's tough to see what really happens, I'll be honest with you.

So, let's get some perspective from someone who was on the ground to witness, not the shooting, not the shooting, but what was going on that night in those clashes, OK? The Reporter is named Mike Baker, of "The New York Times." He's in Portland.

Thank you for taking the opportunity.

MIKE BAKER, CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Hey, thanks for having me. [21:30:00]

CUOMO: So, tell us, what was it like on the streets?

BAKER: Yes, I mean, it became a real volatile scene that kind of lasted for quite some time.

It was - so the event began as a rally for Trump supporters, out in the suburbs, and they were going to come through, drive around the City, on the outskirts of Downtown, stay on the highways.

But a lot of them, are in the hundreds - hundreds of trucks with Trump flags, and American flags, driving through the streets, and a lot of them peeled often, and came right into Downtown, right where a lot of the protesters were gathering for the night, and immediately became a lot of conflict, protesters blocking the vehicles, you had the Trump supporters, as you said, firing paintballs into the crowd, some pepper spray being sprayed, and then protesters throwing things back at the crowd.

When their vehicle stopped, there were people getting out and fistfights happening. It was just an escalating thing over time, as these vehicles went through Downtown, Portland.

CUOMO: You saw them shooting the paintballs. You got hit with one of them yourself. The President says that this is a peaceful thing, it's a defensive thing. How did they seem to be deployed, in your experience?

BAKER: I mean, it was - it was clear that these folks were coming in ready for something.

I mean, they're sitting in the backs of pickup trucks with paintball guns at the ready. They've got bear mace at their side. And, for some of them, they were openly carrying, when they were getting into their trucks to head down to Portland.

So, it was a - it was a scene where they were clearly ready for some level of conflict.

CUOMO: Did you get to talk to any of the Trump supporters or get any sense of why they see it as being an opposition to the demand for systematic equality?

BAKER: For some of them, it was just a chance to come into Portland.

I mean, they were feeling like Portland had been dominated for the - basically the past three months by these protesters that they see as Left-wing and, in some ways, antithetical to what they believe.

And they wanted to come in and fly the Trump flag in Portland, and this was a chance for them to do it in big numbers, and show that they weren't afraid to make it happen.

CUOMO: Protests, according to the President, is a euphemism for violence like that's what's going on, all over the country. What's your experience on the streets there?

BAKER: I mean, it's a different - I've been out many nights now with the protesters, and it's a different thing, every week.

I mean, from the time when the Feds were here, in Portland, when there were thousands of protesters, and the moms were out, and these larger crowds, to now - I mean, when I was out last night, there were maybe 150 protesters out.

And they went out to a police station, and some of them were throwing eggs and rocks. And then the police came out, and arrested 20 - and the police say they arrested 29 people, out of maybe 150 - maybe one out of every five was arrested last night.

So, in - but that's a - it's a totally different scene. It's a 150 people compared to 4,000 that were there earlier last month. So it's - changes every night.

CUOMO: Your sense of policing, would you say that they are too soft? Do you think they're too harsh? What's your sense of how the police are dealing with protesters?

BAKER: Well I've definitely noticed a major change in their tactics here, the last week.

They're - they no longer use - or they're trying not to use teargas, they say. That's one of sort of obligations, is they're limited on their use of teargas. And their new tactic seems to be rushing out and grabbing everyone they can get their hands on, who they can - they can cite for a crime.

And it can be pretty aggressive. I mean, we saw people getting thrown to the ground, pretty hard, last night, and some aggressive tactics to make that happen.

CUOMO: Well, when the police are getting aggressive, are they usually being met with aggression?

BAKER: A lot of it is more - what I see - every once in a while you see someone throw a water bottle, but a lot of it is just yelling.

I mean the protesters here have endured three months of Portland police, at the beginning, a lot of teargas. And a lot of it since then has been chasing them through the streets, and tackling them to the ground.

So, I think - they just have an immense frustration with the level of aggression that they see from police, and feeling like it's just more proof that this is - this cause is a just one for them.

CUOMO: Now, you did not see the actual shooting that took Mr. Danielson. What is your concern from being on the street about what will happen going-forward here, and what do you think is needed, from a reporting perspective?

BAKER: Yes, we're seeing - yes, I mean, we're seeing a lot of concern from the protesters that there some - might be some level of retribution coming. In fact, this was - this was actually the third weekend, in a row, where there was Right-wing folks, come into town, and clashes with these protesters.


And we saw, same juncture. Three weeks ago, it was someone that fired two gunshots from their vehicle. And then, two Saturdays ago, it was someone pointing a gun in the middle of a really volatile situation. And then, we had this shooting that left this far-Right activist dead on Saturday.

So, three Saturdays in a row, where there's been guns drawn, and violence on the streets of Portland, so there's a lot of concern that this is - this is a really a flashpoint where this could get even worse, and the protesters are starting to figure out how to take precautions.

They're not folks - a lot of these folks have philosophical aversions to guns and gun violence. They - they'd spent most of their time sort of preparing for teargas and pepper balls, but nothing like actual gunfire that they're afraid of now.

CUOMO: Well especially in this charged political environment, as we're getting down to the election, which is turning into kind of a D-day, you do have an increase in the supporters of this President, meeting the protesters that they are being told by the President, and others are a problem, in America.

So, you're in the right place, maybe at the wrong time. Mike Baker, be safe, but thank you for giving us a clear-eyed perspective of what's happening for "The New York Times" and for us today. God bless and be safe.

BAKER: Thanks.

CUOMO: All right.

Now, let's go back from one crisis to another, COVID. This conversation has to happen. I really wish it didn't, I'll be honest with you.

This Long-Haul Syndrome, I really wanted it to be just a pocket. I really did, like yes, some people, but they're super-sensitive, and they were going to get sick anyway, and now it's just worse because they had COVID.

But it's turned out not to be the case. Many who have suffered with this virus continue to suffer. Some of the original symptoms repeat or extend or they're starting to get new illnesses.

Now, I started reaching out to people, because there are support groups and stuff, you can find them on social media. And more and more people are sending me the scariest stories.

So, one of my new friends, my COVID sister, who has been having her own long-haul experience, Shelby, you're going to meet her, along with a top medical mind, Dr. Li, who I met through a friend, who's dealing with long-haul as well, and he says he sees science in this.

This is not just some kind of randomness. Something's happening here, and we need to talk about it, next.









CUOMO: All right, now, some of us who have tested positive for Coronavirus, symptoms go away. Some are very mild.

Now, for some of those people, then something comes back, then even though they didn't have bad things in the beginning, they started to develop things later on. Maybe related, maybe not.

Then you have another group, and I've been reluctant to discuss this with you guys, because enough about me, and the COVID. So many people have it. But I am in this other group, OK?

And you're going to meet my friend, Shelby Hedgecock, who is in my group as well, where we got sick, and it's not really going away. This is more true for Shelby than it is for me.

Again, I am one of the lucky ones and I ain't that lucky, OK? For me, it's depression. My body isn't recovering the way it did. I'm having problems with my blood levels.

And I do have a lot of antibodies. And Sanjay Gupta and I are going to show you how to donate plasma, if you have them. And I'm fit as a fiddle for that purpose. But my head's not right. My body's not right. My lungs aren't right.

Shelby was tested several times. Then came back positive in April, negative a couple of times in May, positive again, at the end of May.

Why? Look, testing is not 100 percent, and there's something called viral load. Even though you may feel one way, you may have a certain amount of virus in the system that can trigger the testing.

As we approach September, Shelby continues to live with everything, from loss of smell, to lack of feeling in her legs. She joins me tonight along with Dr. William Li, OK? Now, I met William Li, through another friend, who's dealing with

long-haul, and he has been studying people, like Shelby and me, to figure out what's going on, and he sees something that's not being discussed.

First, Shelby, good to see you. Thank you so much for reaching out and keeping me in the loop with stuff that is not exactly comfortable to talk about. But what do you want people to know about your experience?

SHELBY HEDGECOCK, TESTED POSITIVE TWICE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Thank you for having me again, Chris, and I hate that you're still dealing with it as well. I mean, I'm going on month five, and I'm still dealing with neurological issues, cognitive issues.

I was back in the hospital, about three weeks ago, and I had to wear a heart monitor for two weeks because my pulse skyrocketed to about 150 beats per minute. It stayed that way for about 45 minutes, and I've been having weird shortness of breath since then, chest pain.

And guys, I mean people are having real serious issues, very, very serious issues. I mean I was a personal trainer, before this, and I can't even do gentle yoga without being in bed with horrible body aches and pains for days after. And it's debilitating.

We're seeing very severe issues. I mean every organ system is affected. And it's very, very scary.

CUOMO: So Shelby, Dr. Li is listening. You can't see him.



CUOMO: You can't see Dr. Li, but he's listening to you, and he's nodding his head, "Yes, yes."

Because in talking with him, I guess we take, in other word, commiserate people, you know, misery loves company. It is good to know that you're not alone, but it's sad for everybody who's dealing with it, of course.


CUOMO: Now, Dr. Li, when I spoke to you, and I was telling you the kinds of symptoms I was hearing about, you said "Yes."

And part of the reason that the scientific community is surprised, as you have deduced, to this point, is that it was seen as just a lung virus. But now you see it as something else that is starting to make more sense to you, in terms of what you're hearing from people, like Shelby.


DR. WILLIAM LI, PRESIDENT & MEDICAL DIRECTOR, THE ANGIOGENESIS FOUNDATION: Well when the pandemic hit, and we started to take notice of the lung aspects of the Coronavirus, everybody was focused, just on the breathing.

But one of the things we started to notice that was really curious is the COVID toe, the brain syndrome, the strokes, the heart attack like syndromes that turned out not to be a heart attack.

And so, one of the things that now needs to be discussed, because we're seeing it far beyond the acute COVID syndrome is the long-term syndromes that are surfacing everywhere, and this is the conversation that needs to be had in the medical and the research community, and not just in the sufferers, who are actually dealing with it.

And one of the things that we did, in my group is, we started to take a deep dive to find out what was happening that could connect all these apparently unconnected symptoms and syndromes. And it turns out it may be blood vessels that the Coronavirus is infecting, which then of course connect to everywhere in the body.

CUOMO: So, what does a Shelby do about this, because everybody who goes to the doctor is told "Time."

LI: Well, this is clearly not sort of the average post-viral syndrome. And there's a lot we don't understand about it.

So, I think what's really humbling to those of us in medical research and, in clinical care, is when we confront something we just don't know enough about, but we need to take it seriously, and we need to have the humility to recognize that we're just starting to observe and collect the data right now.

Now, what I'm trying to do is to connect the dots, because we've actually seen, seen, the virus infecting the lining of the blood vessels, the endothelial cells, then cells getting inflamed, and then actually carrying that into blood clots that can rage across the body, from the lungs to the heart, and elsewhere.

So, we think that this long-term damage may in part be due to vascular damage. It's kind of a footprint, kind of, that the virus leaves, even when it's gone from the body.

Now, what's interesting about the heart, is that just a couple of weeks ago, there were two studies out of Frankfurt, Germany, one of which looked at 100 patients with COVID, recovered, including people that weren't even in a hospital.

And they all had chest pain, and they actually had cardiac imaging done, to look at their heart, because these patients had fluttering, as you said, Shelby.

And what we found was that - what they found was really amazing. 78 percent actually had some evidence of long-term heart impact, so that would be a depressed pumping ability. It could be fluid around the heart.

And so, one of the things we started to realize is that we really - this is real. And it's we can't write it off. And even in the brain, we're beginning to sort of conceptualize that the blood vessels may also play a role there.

CUOMO: Well look, Shelby's listening to you, and she's like, "Yes, great!"


CUOMO: Listen, it's "Could be," Shelby, it's "Could be." And a lot of this is attitude right now. Shelby was teasing with me. She was like "Don't give me short shrift on this segment. I had my hair done for you."

At least we can have the - you've seen the pictures of people sending you all their hair, right, Shelby, from all this hair loss, especially women?


CUOMO: And look, God forbid, the worst thing that happens to you is that you lose some hair, and it comes back. You got lucky. But you've noticed there's a whole community out there, Shelby, right?

HEDGECOCK: Right, right. And I'm a part of a couple different groups. I mean we have the "Long Haul COVID Fighters." We have "Survivor Corps."

And with "Survivor Corps," I mean we're really doing a lot of research. We're actually doing, conducting a survey, right now, that is actually looking into the longevity of symptoms.

And I mean, it's - we're just now seeing some of the numbers come in, and it is - I mean it's terrifying. And, as you were saying, I mean this is a conversation that just is not happening.

And if we look at one in three people that are having these long-term complications, I mean, 6 million people have Coronavirus in the United States. That's 2 million people. That isn't even account for the people that didn't get a positive COVID test.


So, this is going to be a public health debacle that's going to last for decades to come. And it needs to be a conversation that keeps on - keeps on happening. So, we just need to keep talking about it. And I greatly appreciate your time today, Doctor, bringing that up.

CUOMO: Right.

HEDGECOCK: That definitely gives us some insight. I know a lot of long-haulers are watching, so.

CUOMO: Right. And, unfortunately, there's too many - there're too many of them. And, look, of course--

HEDGECOCK: If that--

CUOMO: --for the long-haulers, they have the best thing in me you can ask for with the media, which is joint purpose. Sometimes we cover things too much, then we move away, and we don't care anymore or - not that we don't care, but the audience gets compassion fatigue, and we move on.

I can't have that happen, Dr. Li, because I support the work--

LI: That's right.

CUOMO: --that you're doing. I know it's going to lead somewhere good for people, and it's going to be on the back of people like Shelby Hedgecock, who was being honest with you, and talking about what's going on, and living it, in real-time.

Because I just know I'm one of the lucky ones, and I am nowhere near where I was before I had this. I'm lucky I'm here. But Doctor?

LI: I mean, Chris--

CUOMO: Go ahead, last word to you.

LI: Yes, yes. This is one of the things that I think that having this conversation tonight is the beginning of actually being able to solve this crisis. And you're somebody who has such reserve and capacity to be able to communicate.

I think one of the things that you need to be able to do is to be absolutely candid with your audience and listeners and to encourage people not to hold back, but to really put it out there, and so that everybody will start to listen. I mean, this is - this is really how it starts to solve problems.

CUOMO: I agree with you. This is tricky. And Shelby has said the same thing.

But I have to tell you, this is what I have learned. Turns out that when you say that you have brain fog, and depression that doesn't go away, it doesn't exactly excite your audience, and a lot of people weaponize it, and say, "I knew he was crazy," because we have all these stigmas about mental health, and everything else.

And if I told people, "Hey, my elbow is swollen," which is true, just out of nowhere, my elbow is swollen, they'd be like "Oh, wow! That sucks that COVID, that's scary."

But if you tell them I got brain fog or my emotions aren't monitoring the way they usually do, now, it's "Well there's something weird about you."

So, we're working through it. I will err on the side of candor, as always. Shelby, you know I'll be in touch. Keep me in the loop. Let the community know. I can be a conduit for what's going on.

And, Dr. Li, as always, if there's anything I can do to help. Thank you for helping us.

LI: Thank you, Chris. CUOMO: All right, God bless you both. I'll be talking to both of you.

HEDGECOCK: Thank you.

CUOMO: Now, listen, I know I'm a little early on this. But trust me I'm not getting to something that nobody else is going to discover. There is no Eureka. Doctors know. People all over the country are seeing this.

Our politicians are aware. And that's why I get so pissed about politicians ignoring the pandemic. That's why I wanted the Republicans to say more about the pandemic or anything really at their Convention.

They also appear to have ignored a law to keep politics out of government. Now, I wasn't big on telling you about what should have been obvious.

You're not supposed to use the White House as a political backdrop. There's a Hatch Act. Now, you will say, "Oh, yes, yes, sure, when Trump does it." Nobody else has done it.

And I'm going to use the words of Trump's main man in the Senate, about what this law means, in terms of what we saw in the Convention, and what we're seeing every day, not from me, from Trump's main man, next.









CUOMO: Many of you were watching the Republican Convention. You saw "The People's House," your house, transformed, at your expense, into a political prop.

Donald Trump got exactly what he wanted. He got to talk that he cared about COVID, but he took that message to a largely maskless crowd. He got the chants and cheers, in front of that ultimate power position.

And there was predictable Lefty outrage, right? But not from Republicans. Republicans loved it.

What a great built-in home-field advantage! Incumbents have advantages. But to be in front of the White House, man, that's powerful. And they know it. And they actually didn't like it, until now. Why?

Because the silence from Republicans amplifies a sham that we saw when people like Mitch McConnell fought against changes that would have loosened the restrictions between the work of government and politics.

So, we teamed up with CNN's KFILE. You got to follow these guys. They find things that you will not find otherwise. And we discovered this, or they discovered this, from 1993. Please listen.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): These are provisions, if enacted into law, would in fact present the opportunity for federal employees to be heavily involved in the political process, heavily involved.

Now, what does that do to the confidence of the American people that they have a non-partisan civil service, not involved in the political process?

It is indeed frightening to think of the federal workforce out involved in the political process.


CUOMO: It's frightening to have people who are working in government as part of the political process. That's Senator Mitch McConnell.

But it's OK to have the Secretary of State in Jerusalem pumping for the President. It's OK to have all these staffers pumping for the President, during a political convention, in front of the White House.

The confidence of the American people is what was at stake, according to the Senator. Now, of course, he's talking about 1993, Hatch Act, right? And it's a mess. Why?

Big name presidential appointees get a pass, while your average civil servants can and do lose their jobs over doing the same thing. You know who used to know this? McConnell. You just heard him.

Republicans had a high ground on this. They said "Keep it separate." They tried repeatingly - repeatedly during the Obama Administration, to ratchet up punishments for violating this law.