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Federal Disaster Team In Louisiana To Help With Influx Of COVID Patients In Hospital; U.S. Vaccination Rate Hits The Highest Pace In Weeks; Third Officer Who Responded To Capitol Riot Dies By Suicide. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 02, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: This, after her withdrawing, from the women's team finals, last week, citing, mental health concerns. Biles also withdrew from four individual finals, in this year's games.

The 24-year-old is one of the most celebrated American Olympians, in recent years. And we certainly wish her well, tomorrow.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: I mean, listen? I got to be - you got to be a little worried about it, though, right, Coop? I mean, she's gotten a lot of pressure on her. There has been some real beautiful understanding about that health is health, pain is pain.

I just hope that she's doing this on her own terms and that everything's OK, you know?

COOPER: Yes. And the pressure's just got to be so intense.

CUOMO: Yes, but this is not any other sport, you know? I've learned a lot about gymnastics. As you know, we got the little one, does gymnastics. A friend of mine owns gyms on Long Island.

You can't be spinning around and doing all the things that they do, and not be locked in 100 percent. You know what I mean?


CUOMO: It's not like just being another football player or a player. This is - this is about as deadly as it gets.


CUOMO: So, we'll see what happens. It's good news for us! I hope it's good news for her. Anderson, have a great night, brother.

COOPER: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to the PRIME TIME COVID Command Center. We're going to be tracking this variant, and our movements all the way

through, better or worse. And we start the week with good news. There's been a steady rise, in the pace of vaccinations recently, take a look at your screen, especially in states that had been lagging the most.

Now, that's the best part of it, OK? The states lagging most are stepping it up the most. Great! Seven-day daily average of new people getting vaccinated is over 400,000, in the last week.

But we're paying the price for waiting so long. Deaths have increased more than 25 percent, in the last seven days. That's not going to stop anytime soon. The average daily count, of new cases, up 44 percent. Not going to stop.

The one to watch? Hospitalizations, OK? Remember, capacity. Do we have the capacity? It's going to be a big theme tonight. A lot of people in the health care sector are very worried with this 41 percent rise, week-over-week, because they don't have the beds.

The five states faring the worst, with the most new cases per capita, all in the southeast, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana.

Louisiana expects to reach its highest level of hospitalizations in the pandemic, tomorrow, OK? They are up 189 percent, in the last two weeks, 11,000 new cases over the weekend, almost 2,000, hospitalized. That's their biggest concern.

We have the governor coming up.

One in five new cases, in America, however, 20 percent, in Florida, last time I checked, not 20 percent of the population. So, they are outgrowing, in terms of cases, why?

Florida broke 21,000 new cases on Friday, the state's highest one-day total, since the start of the pandemic. Think about that! All three variants are competing in Florida. That state is the first to see four strains of the virus thrive. Again, why?

Take a look at the reality.


CUOMO: Miami Beach, this morning, a year and a half into the pandemic. You know what that is? A line to get tested. They're waiting to get tested, because they're freaking out.

There are cases all over the place. Hospitals in South Florida are filling up with a record-breaking number of patients. This is August 2021. We should not be here. We shouldn't have been there the first time. We certainly shouldn't be there again.

And also every, look, every state is going to be an examination of leadership, when you have bad numbers. The big name leaders aren't exactly owning the situation there.

You got Republican governor Ron DeSantis. He's the one who started the "Don't Fauci Florida" campaign. Now, you got this pop in cases? You're going to be held to account, all right? You needed people to get vaccinated. You made a mockery of the man behind the vaccine. Now here you are.

Then he barred schools, in his state, from mandating that children wear masks. Will that be seen as a smart move, by the people there?

And as things go the wrong way, he's been on his way, out of state, fundraising. It's time to stay home, especially when you have guys like this. Not DeSantis. He's the governor.

This guy, filling the void, the top RNC official in Florida, this guy has been comparing the Biden administration's vaccine efforts to Nazi- era "Brown Shirts." I mean, come on with this crap!

Our friends in KFILE found this. Peter Feaman is the guy's name. On his blog, the other week, he wrote, stupidly, "The Biden Brown Shirts are beginning to show up at private homes questioning vaccine papers." Look, not only is it not true. I mean, when are they going to stop with this type of just ugliness?

And when will DeSantis, because this is his state, but Republicans, in general, and leadership, not just say, "I don't agree with that," not just say "That's wrong," say "He shouldn't say it. Shut up, Feaman!" That's what they should be saying. We need to hear it.


Now, and it's not one and done with this guy either. In May, he called vaccines a "Mark of the Beast." And it wasn't a throwaway. He was making a reference to a symbol from the biblical Book of Revelations, showing allegiance to Satan.

"How do you know?" Thursday, he attacked the CDC for its new mask guidance, for the vaccinated. And here was his language. Quote, "The wolves want control and power. As for me and my house - we will fight them."

Look, on one level, there is no cure for what ails this guy. But some of the misinformation is opportunistic. And that opportunity was provided by the CDC. Now, listen to me for a second, all right?

We need data, so there is less room for toxic spin. You say we're changing masks, and you don't tell people why, you're opening yourself up to this opportunistic spin. Not this "Brown Shirt" BS that this guy was saying, but just people questioning it, OK?

Now that we're all worried about the vaccinated, getting the variant, what the new word, in our vocabulary, right, breakthrough cases, we need to know the numbers. They should have come out with the numbers right away, if they have them. That's part of the problem.

Is there a pure count nationwide have the number of breakthrough cases, vaccinated who gets sick? I don't think so.

But the CDC does say more than 99.99 percent of the fully-vaccinated have not had a breakthrough case, resulting in hospitalization or death. OK, that's what the vaccines' supposed to do, keep you from dying, if you get this virus.

But hospitalization and death isn't everything. Cases matter too. And it must matter to the CDC, right? Because they jumped on the Cape Cod cluster. There are only a few severe cases. But there was a lot of sickness. They changed their guidance after that. So clearly, cases matter, no matter the severity. Give us the numbers.

According to new research, from Kaiser Family Foundation, January to July, the rate of breakthrough cases, again, vaccinated, who gets sick, of any kind, reported to states is below 1 percent.

Raises a question for me, maybe for you, is the reporting sufficient? How does it work? How many people are getting these viruses, don't know they have it? And yet, the information that matters most is the messaging that removes hesitancy about the vaxx.

Now, distinguish between hesitancy and resistance, right? Too much of the resistance is either being an anti-vaxxer, "Forget it," or "I'm not doing it because it's a show of strength." That's going to be tough to fix also.

Hesitancy, you can. And we have a new boldface name making the pitch, Senator Lindsey Graham. He announced today he has a breakthrough COVID case.

He says he started having flu-like symptoms, on Saturday. But he added, quote, "I'm very glad I was vaccinated, because without the vaccination, I'm certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms will be far worse."

And he's right. That's what the science says. That is the key. Good for him for reminding Americans that. Wish him well. Good for him, for taking the chance to push getting protected.

So, where do things go from here? Let's bring in a better mind, Louisiana governor, Edwards.

Governor, thank you so much. I laid out for people that you're dealing with a quick and severe hit down there. Hospitalizations, 2,000, taking up the beds, right now. What is the urgency from your perspective, Governor?

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Well, first of all, thank you very much, Chris.

The urgency is, is that we have the highest case growth rate, in the country. And the second-place status is quite a ways behind us. That's not a distinction that we're proud of.

And the percent positivity is above 13 percent, of all tests coming back positive. And that seems to be increasing, which means we have not reached the peak. And we don't know how much further this is going to go.

You alluded in your opening that today, we reported 11,000 cases. Now, that's Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Almost 2,100 of those cases were kids under 17.


BEL EDWARDS: Our hospitalizations today were right at 2,000. And tomorrow, they would be right at 2,100, the most we've had in hospital, at any point in the pandemic.

And yes, this is largely, but not exclusively, a surge among the unvaccinated. About 90 percent of the people in the hospital with COVID today, in Louisiana, are unvaccinated. And so, we've got a lot of work to do. We've got to get more people vaccinated. There is good news on that front.

We've actually had about a five-fold increase, over the last couple of weeks, in the number of shots being administered, every day. Of course, we have a long way to go, because only 37 percent, 38 percent, of the State of Louisiana, has actually been fully vaccinated.


So there's a tremendous sense of urgency, which is why we're trying to slow the transmission, so that we don't lose our capacity, to deliver life-saving health care, and not just to the COVID patients. It doesn't matter why you need a hospital. It could be a stroke, or a motor vehicle accident, could be a heart attack, could be COVID.

We reinstituted today the mask mandate, when you are indoors, in public spaces, whether you are vaccinated, or unvaccinated.

That was the CDC recommendation, fully supported by the guidance that came out Friday, you were just alluding to it, that while vaccinations do protect against severe disease and death, people are becoming infected, and they were infectious.

And so, we put the mask mandate back in place. We are very hopeful that that's going to give us some breathing room, to get this pandemic back under control.

CUOMO: If people follow it, Governor, right? I mean, that's your problem that you've had with vaccinations. You've been putting out the message. They just haven't been following.

You said 38 percent vaccination rate puts you 40, 50 in the United States. You do have 43 percent with at least one shot. The good news is, over the past week, your state is number one in new vaccinations per capita.

So hopefully, you got a 14 percent jump, from the lottery. The vaccine rate is now double what it was, two weeks ago, which shows fear may be better, than even a wish and a dream, on improving your finances.

But you said something that I haven't heard before. You believe 10 percent of the hospitalizations are breakthrough cases?

BEL EDWARDS: Yes well, in Louisiana--


BEL EDWARDS: --90 percent, of the people, in the hospital, with COVID, are unvaccinated. And so--

CUOMO: So, that means 10 percent are vaccinated?

BEL EDWARDS: Yes. That's right. And--

CUOMO: That's hot.

BEL EDWARDS: It is hot. But I will tell you, a lot of that, I believe, has to do with the prevalence of comorbid health conditions, here in Louisiana--


BEL EDWARDS: --that may be a little more pronounced than elsewhere.

But it is true though, that if you are - if you are fully vaccinated, you're eight times less likely, to get COVID, you're 25 times less likely, to end up in the hospital, or dead, from COVID. So, the vaccinations work.

And a lot of people are confusing the fact that we were having breakthrough cases with whether the vaccines were efficacious.

If you will remember, back when Moderna, and Pfizer, and so forth, came out, with the vaccines, and they were talking about efficacy, it was protecting people against severe disease, hospitalizations, and death. And that's still - that's still the case.

CUOMO: True.

BEL EDWARDS: But it never said that it would keep you from getting infected or becoming infectious. And the Delta variant has been a game-changer.


BEL EDWARDS: In that respect.

CUOMO: Just in terms of how hard you're being hit, on the infrastructure side, in terms of your health care capacity, one, you got to deal with your health care workers getting vaccinated also.

We've learned something here, just because you work in the hospital doesn't mean you're not susceptible to mis- or dis-information, or being vaccine-hesitant. And that's a problem for you also.

You have a 33-member Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team on site to help "Our Lady of the Lake," in Baton Rouge hospital. And how bad are you - well, not how bad, but how worried are you about capacity considerations, in the hospitals?

BEL EDWARDS: Well we're extremely worried. And it's not so much a bed capacity. And we have PPE, and we have ventilators, unlike a year and a half ago. What we don't have is enough staff. We're short, nurses in Louisiana, period, for example.

And right now, we have nurses that are out, because they too have contracted COVID, and other staff members out, maybe respiratory therapists and so forth. And this really is causing a tremendous problem, across our state.

We do welcome the help of Health and Human Services. They're on the ground in Louisiana. We're looking to execute on contracts that we have with vendors, around the country, for staffing.

But this is a problem across the country. And when - and when the whole country is surging, at once, it's very hard to access new staff, to come to our state, here in Louisiana. But we're working this just as quickly as we can. And we believe we're going to be able to provide some help.

Chris, I want you to know how acute the problem is. Last week, I had a conference call, a Zoom call, with all of the medical directors, of the largest hospitals, in every region of our state.

And following that call, we had 40-something hospitals that made request to us for additional staffing. At most, we're going to be able to help five or six of those. And we're trying to triage that, to use a medical term of art.

CUOMO: Governor John Bel Edwards, as you said, you're still at about 13 percent positivity.


These variant curves, they see, are somewhere between four weeks, and six weeks to eight weeks. You're a couple of weeks in now, and seeing this ramp-up of numbers. So, you're only halfway through the forest, maybe at this point.

We will stay on it. We are always a platform to put information out. And you let us know what you need. God bless you down there.

BEL EDWARDS: Thank you, Chris. Appreciate it.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

All right, so should the fully-vaccinated mask up? You're in Louisiana. Yes, 10 percent of the cases are, in the hospitalization category, are vaccinated people.

So, how worried should we be about breakthrough cases? You got questions? The Good Doctor, Sanjay Gupta, has the answers. Is he as surprised by that 10 percent number as I was?

Better mind, next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)







CUOMO: Now, here's where it gets a little tricky.

Yes, the screen has 70 percent, big number, right, three-quarters of the screen, adults now, at least partially vaccinated against COVID. We're about a month late, in reaching what was Joe Biden's goal.


This is a made-up number though, OK? It's not a - you know what I'm saying? It's not science. 70 percent doesn't equal herd immunity. It's just a really good ratio of how many people you have.

Clearly, even though we're at 70 percent, it is not a magic number, because we got all we can handle, right now, because the Delta variant has taken hold, and we're seeing cases explode. More importantly, we're seeing hospitals fill up, again. And we didn't increase capacity for the last time. And we didn't make more staff.

We've got Chief Doctor, Sanjay Gupta, here to help us figure out where this leaves us.

I mean, that's the concern, right, is that these variant cases seem to be a little bit more severe. So, you're having more hospitalizations. You got staff that isn't fully vaccinated. And you're understaffed, in a lot of places. And that's where we see Louisiana struggle.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And this variant is much less forgiving, more unforgiving, if you will.

So, people who kind of got away with this, thought this was, in the rearview mirror, "I didn't get affected by COVID," they're not getting away with it anymore. So, that's part of why the numbers are going up.

As far as, "Is this more severe? Does this Delta variant cause more severe illness, just one-to-one, apples-to-apples?" I don't know yet. I don't know if that data is clear yet. But it's unforgiving.

And, as a result, just like you said, you're correct, in the hospitalizations ends up being the key metric, because everything revolves around that. Hospitals start to fill up, people start to say, "Look, we can't take care of any more patients," and then, mitigation measures are no longer an option. They're absolutely a necessity. CUOMO: Why Florida? Politics aside, they have everything they need down there. It is a travel hub. But so is California, so is Texas, so is New York, you know? And they're all big population states.

Why have they had the most cases ever? Like since the beginning of the pandemic, they had their biggest one day, why?

GUPTA: Well, I think part of it is that they certainly, like the timing, of when they actually, leaned into some of these mitigation measures was slow, inconsistent.

I mean, at times, I ask myself, "Why aren't they hit worse?" because, you would listen to Governor DeSantis, and he wasn't advocating for some of the things that we knew to be effective.

And you came to find out that some of the largest counties were sort of acting on their own, right? So, you say "Florida." But Florida is made up of all these different places. And in different places, they're doing different things. You do have a lot of transient people.

Typically, the warmer weather is the best time for people, and the worst time for the virus. But, in Florida, it's super-hot, so people are actually going indoors, during the very hot weather. So, you may have these ups, and downs, even as you go into the cooler, drier weather, of September, October, November. But we'll see.

I think, you know, we know the virus is contagious. We know what works. It's worked in places around this country, and around the world. Florida hasn't implemented it, as consistently.

CUOMO: But now we're hearing about breakthrough infections. You hear John Bel Edwards, the Governor from Louisiana--


CUOMO: --said 10 percent of his cases, are fully-vaccinated people. That sounds really high to me. Now, or - 10 percent of the hospitalizations, he says, are fully-vaccinated people. But then he said, "Don't forget comorbidity."

Help us make sense of it.

GUPTA: Well, if you even go back and look at the initial data, on the vaccines, what did they say? They were successful because it said, "95 percent protective against severe disease, hospitalization and death, 95 percent." That was with that variant, at that time.

As we say, Delta may be a little less forgiving. You have a population of people, who are vulnerable, who may have been more likely to get vaccinated. So, they make up a larger percentage, of the overall vaccinated, in Louisiana, and they are the more vulnerable. So, it could be a confluence of things. It doesn't surprise me that much.

What I think people need to remember is that, across the board, if you just again, do an apples-to-apples comparison, and say, if you are vaccinated versus unvaccinated, what are the chances that a vaccinated person will end up dying of this disease, at this time? And it's 0.001 percent.

CUOMO: Very low. You know, I?

GUPTA: So, the vaccine works really well for that.

CUOMO: Yes, you've put it out that 0.001 percent fully-vaccinated die, 0.004 percent experienced a breakthrough case, resulting in hospitalization.

Here's my problem. I believe that data. But I don't think it's complete. I want to know how many cases there are, because you're asking people to mask-up. And mask-up is really about, "So you don't get sick." Period!

And I haven't seen any data. And I don't even know that they measure it. I saw the Kaiser Foundation data that they say cases reported. But is our reporting system good?

GUPTA: No, I think this is a really critical point. And it's funny, because we were talking about the inadequacy of testing, last year, most of the summer, and we're having some of those same conversations.


Vaccinated people largely aren't getting tested. CDC said you didn't need to get tested, if you're vaccinated, even if you had a known exposure. So, do we really know how many people out there, who are vaccinated, maybe also carrying the virus, in their nose, in their mouth?

Many of the people, who are makers of the vaccines, people who worked on it, they don't like the term "Breakthrough infection." They call it a "Post-vaccination infection," because they were kind of expected.

The vaccines were to prevent you from getting ill. But the idea that you could still test positive, because the virus is making its way into your nose and mouth, was always possible.

What the data that you're quoting, and the data most people quote, then is, of those breakthrough infections, how many of those are severe? And that's where the number, the 6,600 severe cases, out of 160 million roughly, that have been vaccinated, that's where that data comes from.

So it's really, again, really good at protecting you. But will people get sick? Yes. Will people test positive? Yes, but not likely to get severely ill requiring hospitalization or death. That's what it's sort of always been about.

CUOMO: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you for making something confusing, clear. Appreciate you, brother.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

CUOMO: Be well. Stay healthy. All right, so the COVID emergency is widening. For how long? I don't know. If you look around the world, you look at Scotland, you look at Netherlands, the Delta variant, it seems to be a more compressed period than we dealt with, with the earlier variants. But that's not a guarantee.

The Wizard of Odds, let's look inside the numbers, about where this fight could be headed, in terms of getting us, as safe as we can be. Next.









CUOMO: All right, we talked about the "What," all right, which are the cases. Now we have to get down to the "Why?" Why are more people getting vaccinated? It's good news. But the experts say we're going to need a lot more to get vaccinated to catch-up.

So, what is motivating the new people to get the vaccine? That's the "Why." And how can we use that information to build on removing hesitancy, where we can?

Let's bring in the Wizard of Odds.

So, Harry Enten, what do we know, about the new people getting vaccinated? Where are they? Let's start with that.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Where are they? I think that gives you the "Why." And fear is the reason why people are getting vaccinated.

Look at the states right now that have the worst number of new cases, right? Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama. All of those states, with the exception of Florida, were states that had below-average vaccination rates, overall.

But look in the last week, first, third, second, seventh, fourth--

CUOMO: Good!

ENTEN: --all of these states, where there are a lot of new cases, that's the places that have a disproportionate number of new vaccinations. So, I say fear, fear of getting sick, is driving these folks, to get vaccinated.

CUOMO: And just to make your point about fear, just show slide two, real quick, and you'll see how you had a reversal on concerned and unconcerned.

ENTEN: Yes, this is exactly right. Look here. "Are you concerned that someone in your family will get ill from the Coronavirus?" This is a new Monmouth University poll. We see the concern jumped 11 points nationally, from June to July, 42 percent to 53 percent. We now have a majority.

And if we could just quickly jump to slide three here, this will give you a real understanding of how this concern plays a role, right?

So, "Likely to get vaccinated, among the unvaccinated, by concern of the virus?" If you are at least somewhat concerned about the virus, you are now 35 percent of those folks are likely to get vaccinated, versus just 10 percent of those, who have little to no concern.

So again, this is what I'm talking about here. When you have the fear that you might get sick, or someone in your family might get sick, that is what drives you to get vaccinated.

It's the number one thing, as I look at all the data, out there, fear. Fear of getting the virus is the number one driver, in terms of wanting to go, get vaccinated, when you hadn't gotten vaccinated before.

CUOMO: So, fear can mean "I'm going to get sick," but also fear can be, "I'm going to be excluded, if I'm not vaccinated." How is that playing?

ENTEN: Right. So, we talk about fear of getting sick. But what about fear of the fact that you might lose your job, or you might not be able to go to school, or you might be excluded from other activities?

So, look at this. If you need the vaccine for work, school or other activities, among unvaccinated, non-self-employed workers, look at this? 48 percent of them now say that they will in fact get vaccinated versus just 52 percent who say they won't. It's basically a split down the middle.

So again, we're talking about fear. So yes, it is true, fear of getting sick is one thing, and that can get you to drive to get vaccinated. But fear of being excluded from activities? That can also drive you to get vaccinated.

So, we're saying all this stuff earlier on, "Oh, we should give incentives." The incentives work to the degree that they might have worked, right? "We'll give - you'll get a lottery. We'll give you $100."

But if you all of a sudden threaten folks to take away something, from them, whether that be their safety, or whether that might be their job, that may work actually the best. CUOMO: That's why you got to get FDA approval, also. There are a lot of those people in the hesitancy category. I think, over 50 percent of them have said "If it were FDA approved, it'd make a difference."

Let me ask you something on live TV?


CUOMO: Is there any reason to be suspicious as to whether or not the CDC is not giving us the data, on breakthrough infections, because it will have a chilling effect on people getting vaccinated?


CUOMO: Why don't we know? Where do we get this number, 6,500 cases of breakthrough? How do they know?

ENTEN: Look, they - it's very hard to track this stuff, Chris. There's a limited number of staff that's able to do it.

They wanted to get the most important statistic out there. And that is actually getting very, very sick, sick enough to be in the hospital, sick enough to die. That's really the most important thing.

CUOMO: But you're asking people to wear masks. That's so you don't get sick and give it to somebody else. It's not, hospitalization and die. That's not the message. So, you got to put some numbers to that, if you want people to do it again. And I'm not seeing the numbers.


ENTEN: Look, the CDC has its own numbers. You shared the Kaiser numbers, earlier on, right? A lot of the states are tracking that. And they are tracking it. And we do know that they make up a very low percentage.

There also have been some studies out there, right, which we know is that you're eight times more likely, through the studies, to get sick, if you're unvaccinated.

CUOMO: Right.

ENTEN: That is just a symptomatic case. So, we do have the numbers out there. We know what the truth is.

We know that the vaccinations work, regardless of whether or not the CDC is tracking the exact number. OK, sure, whatever. But in terms of the actual numbers that matter, we know that the vaccines work, no matter what study you look at.

CUOMO: Because you get that 99.999 percent thing. But then you hear John Bel Edwards, the Governor in Louisiana, say, he thinks 10 percent of his cases in the hospital, are vaccinated people.

ENTEN: Look?

CUOMO: Yes, you have comorbidity. But I'm saying that's a lot higher than 99.99 percent.

ENTEN: Let me just say this much. In the research studies, in which you're able to control, for a lot of different things, we know that there's a 25-fold reduction chance--


ENTEN: --of getting sick enough, to be put in the hospital, or dying, if you get the vaccination. So, that's more along the lines of 96.4 percent--


ENTEN: --and 95.5 percent. The John Bel Edwards', the governor's, stats match up with that, especially with the comorbidities.

So, no matter what way you look at, is it exactly 99 percent, 95 percent, 90 percent? This is real-world data. It's messy. But we know that the vaccines are tremendously effective.

So, if there's one thing I can get through with the audience, our smart audience that's listening here, get vaccinated, if you haven't, because we know it can in fact, save your life, and certainly save you from a severe illness.

CUOMO: There is no data we've seen that suggests anything else other than you have an advantage, if you're vaccinated, up against this Delta variant, or any of the other ones, we've seen. Especially, if you're in Florida, they have four in competition down there, right now.

But when you hide data, or if you don't give enough data--

ENTEN: Yes, that's--

CUOMO: --you create opportunity for BS. That's all I'm saying.

ENTEN: Right. Let's--

CUOMO: All right, I got to jump.

ENTEN: It's not hiding data. It's not hiding data. It's just they haven't collected it.

CUOMO: Right. I'll give you that.


CUOMO: I'm not saying that they're hiding. I was just a little suspicious. But when you don't have data, people will fill in the blank. And that doesn't always go well in our politics. That's how we got "Don't Fauci Florida."

Harry Enten?

ENTEN: We're filling in the blanks right here with you and me, right here.

CUOMO: I appreciate it.

ENTEN: Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: The Vixen of Vaccines!

ENTEN: Oh God!

CUOMO: That's what we agreed on! I'll talk to you later.

ENTEN: Goodbye.

CUOMO: We can't forget about the people on the frontlines of this pandemic.

And I don't mean to suggest that they're only a problem, you know? "Oh, people in hospitals aren't vaccinated either." Listen? That's one aspect of the humanity. They're also there doing a job that's keeping people alive, all over this country, in ways that they never could have anticipated.

We have a nurse from Tennessee, who became known, across social media, for showing us the physical impact, of a 12-hour shift, at the height of this fight. Unfortunately, she is still struggling through that hell, and all the anger that comes with feeling that nothing is making a difference.

She wants to join to tell you what the reality is, in a hard-hit state, next.









CUOMO: An ICU nurse, who captured the internet's attention, back last fall, is back, to bring the reality home again. And, get this? She wants you to know this time, it's worse.

You may have seen this post from last November. Nurse Kathryn Ivey Sherman, she graduated in the middle of the pandemic, and shared these photos of how she looked before COVID, and then during the fight in that hospital, to keep people alive.

But now Kathryn says things are getting even worse than last year.

Her recent thread has also been shared, quote, "It is so much worse, this time. We all have so much less to give. We are all still bearing the fresh and heavy grief of the last year and trying to find somewhere to put all this anger. But the patients don't stop coming. And the anger doesn't stop coming."

Kathryn joins us now.

Thank you for what you're doing. And thank you for joining us.

KATHRYN IVEY SHERMAN, ICU NURSE: Thank you for having me.

CUOMO: Angry, why?

IVEY SHERMAN: Why not? We're a year into this. And people still are making the same mistakes over and over again.

And it was bad enough the first time around, when it was all still new. And you can at least give people the excuse of ignorance. But that excuse has long since passed, and we're still fighting the same battle.

CUOMO: Do you have the experience where you work, of people, who are nurses, staff, doctors even, who don't get vaccinated?


CUOMO: How do you explain that, given all you know and see?

IVEY SHERMAN: I have no explanation for it, honestly.

I got the vaccine, as soon as I could. Different people have different reasons. And unfortunately, health care workers are not immune to the same sort of misinformation that the general population is seeing, day in and day out.

So, I don't have an answer for you. If I had an answer, then I would have been able to convince a lot more people to get it.

CUOMO: How could it be worse? Let's test the case. "Oh, it's just starting. We're just starting to see cases. This is just the variant. It can't be worse." How's it worse?

IVEY SHERMAN: It's worse because the patients are younger, partially. They're a lot younger this time.

It's worse because even more so than last time, there is a way to prevent this. There is a vaccine, which would have kept most of these people out of the hospital.

It's worse because it got better. For like a brief shining moment, there was a light, at the end of the tunnel, and it was getting better. And the nurses like me, who became nurses, during all of this, were starting to see what it was like to be a nurse, in normal times. And then, the numbers started picking back up, and the units opened

back up, and the respirators came back out. And it's like thinking you walked out of a war, and being told you have to go back in. It just wears you down.


CUOMO: Are the symptoms the same that you saw the last time?

IVEY SHERMAN: Primarily yes. They are just awful. In every variant, every variation, the things COVID does to your body, are just horrible. And I can't make anybody understand unless they've seen it.

CUOMO: You made an important point. You guys aren't coming at this fresh. You were already on one knee.

A lot of people I know, in that not really business, but the calling of, being a healer, which you, are, people have taken time off. They've needed, for their health, for their mind, body, spirit. They just can't handle it. It's been too much suck for too long.

And now, you're not at 100 percent. You're being asked to go 110 percent. How hard is that for you and the team?

IVEY SHERMAN: It's very hard. We're all individually running on a lot less steam than we had, at the beginning.

We are also running with a lot less staff, because as you said, people had needed time off. A lot of nurses have left the profession entirely, because they just can't do it anymore.

So, we are being asked to give even more, when we have much less of ourselves, much less to pull on. And we also don't have people that are waiting in the wings. It's just us. There's nobody else coming in to save us.

CUOMO: Well, look, you know, I have you on here, to just tell us how it is. And I wish there was something I could do, to tell you that would make it better. But I just don't know.

All I know is what I hear from people, all the time, about people like you, which is you are the best of us. I know some of you don't get vaccinated. So what? You're still doing your job. And your job is more important now than it ever has been, for generations that came before you.

What you're dealing with, we haven't seen in a long time, Kathryn. And if it weren't for people, like you, who want to stick it out, and help others, even when they don't deserve it, we would not be where we are today.

And getting through it will be more on your shoulders than it ever will be, for anybody like me, or in any of the other professions that are around this. You're in it. And you're making the difference. So, thank you.


CUOMO: I'll check back with you.

IVEY SHERMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: I know it sucks. And I know that you know that it's going to suck for a while to come. And I feel for you. And I appreciate you doing the job.

We'll have you back on, so you can keep us motivated, to understand the realities, where you are in Tennessee, all right?

IVEY SHERMAN: I'd be happy to do that.

CUOMO: Stay healthy. Stay strong. And God bless. Thank you.

IVEY SHERMAN: Thank you.

CUOMO: Boy, oh boy, I got to tell you. She's young. I could be her dad, right?

Imagine all the families, who are either doing that job, or given their loved ones to the job, and they know that all these people don't want to get vaccinated, and they're getting sick, and they're going in there, and then these people have to keep them alive, they get sick themselves?

It's amazing how selfish we have been in this situation, when you think about it, the denial of how we've made ourselves sick, and the selfishness, just in the simple statement of "Yes, I'm not getting it because I'm good. I don't want to deal with it. I don't like it. I don't believe it."

What about everybody else? What about everybody you affect? What about people like that? When did the "We" mean nothing, in this country, and it all became "Me?" And as my kids said to me, the other day, "You know? "Me" is "We." You just turn some - the "W" upside down."

Yes, you turn everything upside down. You make it the opposite of what we're supposed to be. And that's how we get where we are, deep denial and selfishness. That's how we got here. It is shameful. And I just hope to God that we can find our way out of it, by doing the simple things we could have done all along.

Now, another tragedy for us to deal with, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, it's just a month away. Never forget. How about January 6th? Where is that going to fit in? Doesn't belong in the same sentence, I don't think it does.

But January 6th is a reminder of our fragility, of our weaknesses, of the people, and our inability to see pain, when it's obvious. And we have a new reason for that, next.








CUOMO: D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Gunther Hashida, may he rest in peace. We need to see his life and death for what it is. Know his name, Hashida. Same for Capitol Officer Howard Liebengood, and D.C. Metro Officer Jeffrey Smith, why? All three died by suicide, after the January 6th attack. Hashida's death last week was announced today.

They had 45 years of experience among them. Yet, the same people, who claimed "Blue Lives Matter," mocked, laughed, disparaged, the wounds inflicted on these men. Wounds of that day are going to go far beyond the 140 officers beaten with flagpole, stabbed with metal fence stakes, smashed over their head, with fire extinguishers, and more.

The survivors told you the extent themselves, last week.


OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I've been left with the psychological trauma and the emotional anxiety of having survived such a horrific event.


CUOMO: Are you someone, who rolls your eyes when you hear that? Just think about it. That's got to stop.

Now, Congress did something good here. They approved more than $70 million for the Capitol Police Department, including money for mental health spending. Remember, I look forward to the day, when there is no "Mental health." There's only "Health," and we see it as holistic as it is.


The Department spent months, ramping up a health program, for the emotional effects on officers. That program is going to be named after Liebengood now, one of the officers, lost to suicide.

We'll never know if the programs would have made a difference, for Hashida, or any of his colleagues. But we know we got to do more. And if we learn that lesson, from the infamy of January 6th, it'll be something.

Listen to this.


HARRY DUNN, POLICE OFFICER, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: I want to take this moment, to speak to my fellow officers, about the emotions, they are continuing to experience, from the events of January 6th.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling. What we went through that day was traumatic. And if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.


CUOMO: The helpline is on your screen. We have to learn the truth. Health is health. Pain is pain. It doesn't matter, if you can't see it. People will feel it.

We'll be right back.