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Florida Governor Fires Back At Biden: I'm Standing In Your Way; Florida Leads U.S. In Kids Hospitalized For COVID-19; "AGT" Star Leaves Show After Devastating Cancer Update. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired August 04, 2021 - 21:00   ET



RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I should say his new book, which I won't even tell you the name of, is now number one, on Amazon's bestseller list. And I've spoken with experts about this. And they say that that book, they've looked at it, is full of nonsense, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thanks.

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

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Appreciate it, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to the PRIME TIME COVID Command Center.

We have an exclusive tonight. It's not about COVID. But our guest, in her message, is as powerful as any remedy, I know.

"Nightbirde" is here with us tonight, for her first interview since announcing she's out of "America's Got Talent," so she can focus on her fight against cancer. We all need to hear what she says matters most to her, especially right now.

Now, of course, we're focused on COVID. And on that front, we do have news.

First, there is concern about a new variant. And we're going to get into it with our first guest in a moment. The word comes as we are getting all we can handle from the current variant, the Delta variant, which is now over 90 percent of all new cases in this country, nine out of 10.

It is now seen as a potential national security risk. How so? Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is expected to seek authorization to make vaccines mandatory for all active-duty troops, as soon as this week. That's more than a million service members. Why? Delta can tear through and take down so quickly, it could affect our defense capabilities.

Delta is already affecting our kids in a way that we have not seen before. I know the talk, just as you. "As long as you get the elderly vaccinated, you'll be fine." No. Not with Delta. Almost 72,000 kids and teens were infected last week. That's 84

percent more than the week before, and five times more than June. We have never seen it like this. Cases are worse. And this is not just about the elderly needing protection anymore, OK?

And yet, the reality is still being clouded by politics.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Joe Biden has taken to himself to try to single out Florida, over COVID. This is a guy, who ran for president, saying he was going to quote, "Shut down the virus." And what has he done? He's imported more virus from around the world, by having a wide open southern border.

We can either have a Free Society, or we can have a Biomedical Security State. And I can tell you, Florida, we're a Free State.

Joe Biden suggests that if you don't do lockdown policies, then you should quote, "Get out of the way." But let me tell you this. If you're coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way. I'm not going to let you get away with it.


DESANTIS: So, why don't you do your job?


DESANTIS: Why don't you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you.


CUOMO: Look, Biden did come after Florida's governor by name. But can't we just focus on the people who really matter? More than 11,000 are hospitalized in Florida right now. This is not about the undocumented. It's about the unvaccinated and bad messaging.

Messaging matters. Ask the Republican governor of Arkansas, who is now expressing regrets for saying what DeSantis is saying, for letting his state fall backwards, by approving a ban on mask mandates, earlier this year.

Listen to him.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Our cases were at a low point. Everything is changed now. And yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law.


CUOMO: Now, he was told that at the time. But at least he's trying to do it right now. Arkansas reporting a record low number of ICU beds available. They're in dire straits. We must snap out of this mindset that getting vaccinated means

relinquishing freedom. This is the "Land of the Free" because it is the "Home of the Brave." And bravery takes the courage to not capitulate to some BS political agenda, all right? Protection is what will make us free from this virus.

Anti-vaxxers got an earful from New Jersey's governor today.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): These folks back there have lost their mind.

You've lost your minds!


MURPHY: You are the ultimate knuckleheads! And because of what you are saying and standing for, people are losing their life.

Look in the mirror!


MURPHY: Look in the mirror!


CUOMO: It could applies to some, but not all. Look, we freely use the word COVIDiots here, right, and COVIDiocy, and we see plenty of it.

But now is the time to reward those doing the right thing. Don't have them buckle down, or have people stay away, just because they think they're getting punked, if they do something.

The good news? Delta has scared people straight. Vaccinations are at a daily pace that is the highest that we've seen since July 4th. But it ain't enough.


At the rate we're going, which is accelerated, it's good, I'm saying it's good, it's still going to take until mid-February to reach all 90-million-plus, who are eligible with at least one dose. So, we got to do better. That's too long. We don't have that kind of time.

So, the tension is, while we do want people to do this, on their own, and for the right reasons, more and more parts of society are going to force the unvaccinated, so that they can't keep the vaccinated hostage.

Los Angeles is now considering mandating proof of vaccination to enter many indoor spaces, like restaurants and gyms, just like New York City is about to do.

So, let's discuss this. Let's bring in a better mind to take on the news of the day, Admiral Brett Giroir, the COVID Testing Czar, under President Trump.

Good to see you, Doc.


CUOMO: The new variant, do you believe? And what do you want people to know.

GIROIR: Well what I want people to know, is you can repeat this show, multiple times, in the future, if we don't get vaccinated, because the virus will evolve. There will be variants and variants and variants.

We're dealing with Delta now. It's almost 100 percent of the cases in the U.S. The next variant is just around the corner, if we do not all get vaccinated. We've been saying this for months, and for weeks.

And I just beg the American people to understand that, to defeat this virus, we have to get everybody's level of immunity up. And that's just the way it is, Chris.

CUOMO: How dangerous is the political pushback to that of "Hey, you're not going to tell parents, what's going to be done with their kids? We have a free society here, Brother. You don't tell us what to do."

GIROIR: Well, I do believe it's a conservative principle. And I believe in local control.

And I believe we should empower local communities, local school districts, parents, to decide on their own, what's best for the children. And if that's a mask mandate, in the local community, I think we should allow that to happen.

We know that masks aren't perfect. But we do know they are effective. And we do know, in relationship to schools, that when children do wear masks, in schools, whether you physically distance or not, they are safe. And we have to get children back in school.

And that seems to be the easiest way to do that, and to empower local communities, without mandates either way, I think local communities and parents will do the right thing, especially with Delta surging, and the tremendous increase in cases, in young children that you pointed out in this segment.

CUOMO: So now, as we're looking for information here, right, because we're dealing with misinformation, I frankly believe a lot of it's not just misinformation. I believe it's disinformation, Admiral. And the difference is obviously intent.

Mis- is "You got it wrong. Two plus two equals five." Dis-information is "I know it equals four, and I'm telling you five, for another reason." That's the criticism that we're seeing for the Florida governor.

And that's why the Arkansas governor saying "My banning mask mandates was a good political move at the time. But now in retrospect, it was bad," is it an important distinction?

GIROIR: I think it's an important distinction.

I think Governor Hutchinson, you know, we all need to revisit, we all need to have humility, and we all need to admit when we're wrong. But we also shouldn't crucify people, when they are legitimately wrong, and they're trying to admit it. Don't back them into a corner.

We all need to hold hands on this. I mean, my God, we have more cases, more hospitalizations now than we had, when I was in office last July. The only reason we don't have 1,500 deaths is we've done a good job with the elderly.

But we are at a pace to lose 75,000 additional Americans by Thanksgiving. That is a horrific thought, and one we cannot accept, when we have a way to avoid it all. Vaccination. We all need to hold hands and do this together.

CUOMO: Now, the idea of the FDA getting approval by next month, because "Now they know it's," what do you mean "Now they know?"

They've known all along that FDA approval wasn't just really important for any booster shots, right? Because you can't have an EUA, an Emergency Use Authorization, for a booster, because you're not going to have the test data.

And they knew all along that people who are hesitant, not resistant, put it being FDA-approved, at the top of the list. And that becomes acutely important when you're talking about vaccinating kids.

Why aren't they making it go even faster than that?

GIROIR: I agree with you, Chris. There are 18,000 individuals - people who work at the FDA.

And, in my mind, every single one of them needs to be reviewing the packet that was submitted by Pfizer, in the first week of May, and Moderna, in the first week of June. There's no new information coming. It's simply reviewing that.

This is so critically important. It's important on so many reasons. None of us want to mandate, at least I don't want to mandate, vaccines for the Military that are authorized. It goes against principles that we've had for decades. But the way to solve this is to get it FDA- approved.


And I would say, and I urge President Biden, the FDA is a faceless bureaucracy, to most people right now.

It's really critical that he nominate a person of his choice, and have, the Senate confirm, that person, so that American people know that in a bipartisan way, we believe in the FDA Director.

That Commissioner could have leadership and be the face of this. And I think that's very, very important. We shouldn't overlook that.

CUOMO: I mean, we know. We have to get new numbers, because this wave of people getting vaccinated for the first time is a good thing.

But it may change our metrics, in terms of how the people, who still haven't gotten vaccinated feel. As of the last count, a few weeks ago, over 50 percent said, "If it were FDA-approved, I'd feel differently."

Now, I have a question for you. This may be too in the weeds, so help me with it.

The CDC puts out the mask change. People lie and say it's about the India study. It wasn't about any India study. It was about what they saw on Cape Cod. But they don't put out any adjoining data as to why they are worried.

Then we look back and see, on May 1st, the CDC put out that "We're not counting breakthrough cases anymore. Only if they occur as hospitalizations or deaths, those matter most." But that was what the Alpha variant.

Given how the Delta variant spreads, should that be revisited, and should they be counting cases, not just hospitalizations?

GIROIR: Well, let me just give you the best illustration of why they should.

In the CDC PowerPoint that was published by "The Washington Post," and I read in detail, the CDC was quoting data from Canada, the United Kingdom, and Israel, because we don't have any of our own. That is a crying shame.

We absolutely need to collect data on breakthrough cases that are not hospitalized because now we're trying to wonder if those - if those breakthrough cases can actually be contagious.

CUOMO: Right.

GIROIR: So, number one, we have to do that.

Number two, we have to understand whether cases in vaccinated actually transmit to other people. We're inferring that because of the viral load.

But some of the Israeli data that's just coming out is saying that vaccinated people don't really transmit it, even though they have high viral loads. In fact, only 10 percent transmit to one person. That would be great news.

I support the vaccine recommend - the mask recommendation now of the CDC. But it would be great, if we were able to say "Wow, even though we're doing this carefully now, vaccinated people are really low risk of transmitting it," even more of a reason to get a vaccine.

CUOMO: Admiral Brett Giroir, thank you. You helped me get that out of the weeds for people. That's why I need you. And that's why I'm going to ask you back, on a regular basis, because

this is not about Right and Left. It's got to be about reasonable, and giving people the right information, and the right guidance.

So, thank you, sir, for doing that tonight. I hope you and your family stay healthy.

GIROIR: Yes, sir.

CUOMO: All right, be well. See you again soon.

All right, so younger Americans, OK, absolutely. And we never said any differently on this show.

It was never even across the board. It was always that "Yes, it's the elderly. Yes, it's comorbidity. And yes, the young don't seem to get it as badly. But there are some aberrant cases we have to be careful about."

It's not true anymore, OK? They used to be the least at risk. Now they're among the most. You don't have to believe the suggestion. But you don't get to have your own facts.

Wizard of Odds is coming on here, and showing the changes, in demographics of risk, in this pandemic, and what it means, next.









CUOMO: Can people in the media hype things? Of course! But that's not what's happening here. I know. I read it. I see it on social media. You guys reach out to me and say, "Come on. It's not that bad." Yes, it is.

And it's not just the numbers. It's who is being affected, OK? Young people, children. The CDC now says people aged 18 to 49 are most likely to wind up in the hospital with infections.

Again, 18 to 49. That's what the government says. It's not me. It's not one guest. It's not one hospital. OK? Even the youngest Americans are experiencing worse than we've seen.

Our Wizard of Odds is here, Harry Enten, to put it in context. Let's test the theory. Let's look at COVID hospitalizations, ages zero to 17.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: See, hospitalizations are so important because that is an indication of severe illness, right?

Look at this. On a seven-day average of new hospitalizations, up to 182, from July 27 to August 7, look at that weekly change. It's up 45 percent.

And what's so unbelievable to me is we're starting to near the peak that we saw in early January, nationwide, when it was 217, on the seven-day average in new hospitalizations.

So, what we're seeing is that even amongst the youngest, in the population, those zero-year-olds to 17-year-olds, they're making up a larger share of the hospitalizations, compared to everybody else than they used to, certainly at the peak.

CUOMO: Two quick pushbacks. One "Ah, it's not as bad as it was in January." And two, "Ah, they're lower than everybody else."

ENTEN: Here are two things I'll point out.

Number one, look at the rate of change, right? Who knows where we're going to be next week, right, when you're seeing upward change of 45 percent a week?

And second, yes that may be true. But we also know that the youngest are starting to make up a larger share of the hospitalizations than they did at the peak. So, that's the other big difference. They're not only nearing where they were at the peak, but in terms of the total hospitalizations, they are making up a larger share.

CUOMO: Where?


ENTEN: Southeast United States. That is where they're making up their largest share.

Take a look here, 116 on the seven-day average, age zero to 17. And guess what? That's up 63 percent from last week. And guess what else, Christopher? That is their highest number, their highest number of the entire pandemic. They are blowing past their January peak, in the Southeast.

So, in the Southeast United States, we're seeing the most number of cases overall, that's translating the hospitalizations, and that's translating the hospitalizations, even amongst the youngest of us.

CUOMO: You got to remember, zero to 12 still not eligible for the vaccine. We're going to talk to a doctor from Florida. They are leading the nation currently, in children hospitalized with COVID.

ENTEN: Yes. This, to me, why is the Southeast, leading?

Look at this, on the seven-day average, age zero to 17. 42. That's a change. That's up 56 percent from just last week. And look at this, the change from the January peak. It's up about 68 percent.

We're blowing past it in Florida, not just on cases, but on hospitalizations. And amongst the folks that supposedly we were told, a year ago, "Oh, the youngest are not really that affected," well now they really are getting affected.

And yes, you could say that's low. But on a seven-day average, that's pretty high. And I would dare you to say it's low to the parents of those children, who are in the hospital right now.

CUOMO: Fair point. How many of the eligible kids have been vaccinated?

ENTEN: Yes. So, this to me is very interesting, right?

What we spoke about a few nights ago, is how fear can drive vaccinations. If you look at the proportion of vaccinations that are aged 12 to 17, nationwide, overall, it was - it's just 6 percent.

But if you look at the vaccinations, taken in the last two weeks, look at that, a tripling of their proportion, 19 percent of all the vaccinations taken.

So, what I think what's happening here is parents are seeing these rising rates, and they're deciding, "You know what? Maybe my kids should in fact get vaccinated," which if you look at the numbers, doesn't look to be such a bad idea. It's probably actually a very good one.

CUOMO: Remember, what's the big obstacle for parents, when it comes to the vaccine? FDA approval!

ENTEN: Oh, there you go!

CUOMO: FDA approval!

And look, I'm not saying to short the process, to cheat the process, to abridge the process. Just throw more bodies at it. That's all I'm saying. Just get it done. If it's just about crunching data, get it done.

I'm not saying "Change the job." I'm saying "Accelerate the job." It can be done. Anything can be done.

ENTEN: Let me just say this, Chris.


ENTEN: This is a pandemic. We should have all bodies on deck in the situation, because anything that can save a good number of lives, we should be doing.

And the polling data shows that, if we can get that, full authorization, that can in fact save lives, that can get people off the fence, that can get parents off the fence, to get their children vaccinated. And I'm for anything that does that. And I think the full authorization can do exactly that, based on the polling. CUOMO: Wizard of Odds, Harry Enten, thank you.

ENTEN: Shalom, my friend.

CUOMO: The numbers on kids is scary. Nobody wants to see that, especially where we are right now. Because sure, here in the Northeast, we're just getting ready to go back to school, right, September? But a lot of places are already going back.

Florida is one of them. No mask mandate, a state that leads the nation in hospitalized kids? And again, like Harry said, 42. So what? Tell it to the families. And you think it's going to end there? And what happens when those kids are concentrated around each other in classes?

We have a top pediatrician from Florida here. What is she hearing from parents? And what does she think we need to keep in mind? Next.









CUOMO: We showed you the numbers. Pediatric hospitals in the Florida area, the Florida - the State of Florida, are admitting more children, infected with COVID, than anywhere else in the country. I said it slowly, so it's easy to absorb, OK?

It is bad. It is bad enough that this week, County School Superintendent flipped on mask mandates. Used to oppose them. Now he's pleading for one, from Governor DeSantis. Here's what he writes.

"Governor, over the past two weeks, it has become clear that the Delta variant and its effect on school-age kids is very different than the original Alpha version of the virus.

Over the last 60 days, I have stood firm in my belief that a mask mandate was a wrong course of action.

At this time, we would like to implement a temporary mask requirement in grades Pre-K-8."

DeSantis has banned school districts from mandating masks, why? "Resistance is strength. No one tells us what to do. That's freedom."

Again, this is the "Land of the Free," because we are the "Home of the Brave." And bravery is having the courage to overcome political appetites.

So, what about parents? What are their best options to protect their kids? Because remember, you can be all strong, and say "No masks for me!" What about my kid? What about the ones who are too young to get the vaccine?

Let's discuss with a pediatrician, and Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, in St. Petersburg, Dr. Allison Messina.

Doc, appreciate you.


CUOMO: So, what matters?

MESSINA: So, I think that what we really need to pay attention to is that we're all in this together. This is a very contagious and very scary virus. And it really needs to be sort of an all-hands-on-deck approach.

We need to be - we need to get more vaccines out there, for the people who are eligible. And we need to really start reconsidering masking indoors, for everybody really, in order to slow this down.

CUOMO: What do you think about the idea of "Let the parents decide if their kids wear masks?"

MESSINA: Well, I'm not a political person. I'm an infectious diseases doctor. And, to me, it's all about us against the virus.


And when I think with my "Infectious Diseases Doctor" cap on, all I'm really thinking about is things that I can do, and protections that I can layer, to get kids to stay healthy, to get all of us to stay healthy. So, what that looks like to me is just not giving this virus a fighting chance.

And, I think that once parents realize, I think that they're doing this not only for their children, but for their community, I hope that that will be something that we can gather all of us around, and get behind that message.

CUOMO: What do you think about why COVID-19 infections among kids under 12 are increasing the way they are in Florida?

MESSINA: Well, I think the number one thing that is causing that to happen is just the nature of this nasty virus itself, and this nasty variant. It is very, very contagious, and more contagious than the original. So, I think that that's the major driving force.

The next thing is that we don't have the herd immunity that we had hoped for, at this point. People are still a little bit on the fence about getting vaccinated sometimes. And I think the more people that we have vaccinated, the more protection we'll have against it, but we're not quite there yet.

And then lastly, I think that we've relaxed a lot of the infectious - infection prevention precautions that we had earlier in the pandemic.

And I think those three things are sort of driving this wave.

CUOMO: The surge is worse for kids 12 and up. They are eligible for the vaccine.

I can't blame parents for being concerned about giving their kids a non-FDA-approved vaccine. In your practice, how important would it be to the parents that you come across to have it be FDA-approved?

MESSINA: Well, I think for a lot of people, they are sort of looking for that FDA seal of approval, for this vaccine. To me, I think it's important to realize that the important work has already been done.

And even with the Emergency Use Authorization, this vaccine had to be studied very carefully, in a lot of people. And those safety signals, and those advocacy studies, are great, and they haven't really changed.

So, I think that for some, that FDA seal of approval is going to be what it takes to get them, their kids vaccinated. And if that's true, then great, let's do it.

But I think that for a lot of us, who are sort of in the field, we realize that we already know it's safe, and we already know it's effective. So, but anything that we can do to get more people vaccinated is great by me.

CUOMO: We often hear that when it comes to hospitalizations, but even specifically deaths, which thank God is not a big issue with kids, right now, comorbidity, pre-existing conditions are often part of the untold story, and they can make it seem less scary.

With kids, who are being hospitalized, are we seeing that that they had something else going on? Or is this just the virus?

MESSINA: Sort of yes or no. I mean, I think that it is true that when you look at severity, it's our older kids and our kids that have comorbidities that just like in the adult population have a tougher time with this virus.

But we do see kids with no comorbidities, and who are younger also have a hard time with it as well.

And I also want to make the point too that when a child gets sick with COVID, a lot of times that means that someone else in that child's family also got sick with COVID. And that takes a toll on them too.

If you're a child, and your mom's really sick, or your dad's in the hospital, or your grandparents pass away, those kinds of things are really traumatic for children too. It's not just the virus in them. It's what the virus does to everyone around them too.

CUOMO: Dr. Allison Messina, thank you for the work you do. And thank you for helping people understand a little bit better, here tonight.

MESSINA: It's really great to be here. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, be well.

OK, now, you're ready? Thank you for dealing with the tough stuff, so now we can get to something that really, I hope hits home tonight.

I have an update on one of my favorite guests on this program. Why? Because of what she's about. She's a powerful lesson for all of us, not on what she is fighting against, but for how she's living while she's fighting. To me, she is an inspiration, because of how she lives, but the talent that this kid has.

The breakout star on "America's Got Talent" "Nightbirde."



JANE "NIGHTBIRDE" MARCZEWSKI, MUSICAL ARTIST, CONTESTANT ON "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT," WON SIMON COWELL'S GOLDEN BUZZER ON "AMERICA'S GOT TALENT," FIGHTING METASTATIC CANCER: I moved to California in the summer time. I changed my name thinking that it would change my mind. I thought that all my problems they would stay behind. I was a stick of dynamite and it was just a matter of time, yes. All day, all night, now I can't hide



CUOMO: I've heard this song 100 times! Her words, her life, her truth, her feeling, even Simon Cowell couldn't contain himself.

Now, she's not going to sing on that stage anymore. She had to make a hard decision.



MARCZEWSKI: Said I knew myself but I guess I lied. It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost, we're all a little lost and it's alright.


CUOMO: And she wants to tell you why it's OK, and what matters to her, and what should matter to us, next.


MARCZEWSKI: It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost, we're all a little lost and it's alright.









CUOMO: All right, we got a special guest. Nothing to do with COVID, per se. But, right now, we all need soul-food. We all need to remind the need for common concern, and collective will, and what really matters, in terms of valuing life.


An Ameri-CAN, who goes by the name "Nightbirde," once again reminding us all, how fragile life is, and what we should really care about.

In news, we lead with the latest, right, the "New" in News? But this time, I want to start at the moment that's been watched more than 30 million times, on YouTube.


MARCZEWSKI: Last time I checked, I had some cancer in my lungs, my spine, and my liver.


MARCZEWSKI: It's important that everyone knows I'm so much more than the bad things that happened to me.





COWELL: All right. Sing for us.

(JANE "NIGHTBIRDE" MARCZEWSKI SINGS "IT'S OK") MARCZEWSKI: It's OK, it's OK, it's OK, it's OK. If you're lost, we're all a little lost and it's alright.

Oh-oh-oh-oh, it's alright. To be lost sometimes.



VERGARA: It was powerful. It was heartfelt. And I think you're amazing.


KLUM: It gave me chills. I mean, your voice is so beautiful to listen to.


KLUM: It was beautiful all the way around.

MARCZEWSKI: You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.

COWELL: I'm not going to give you a "Yes."


COWELL: I'm going to give you something else.





CUOMO: It gets me every time!

I don't even care about the show - the show, to be honest. I didn't even know what the "Golden Buzzer" was. That's what Simon Cowell gave her - gives you that complete pass.

Why? Why this kid? We've told you stories about people who are up against it. But there's just a combination of the strength in adversity, her making music, her making her words into song, and her emotions, into this kind of transmissible quality that is just so nourishing. And there's just something about her that makes you feel better.

And that line, "You don't get to wait for life to be better before you decide to be happy," wow, does that hit? Doesn't it hit? Ah, especially these days, right? We're all so overwhelmed by the suck. We're all so up against it. We're all victimized.

Her numbers are really simple. She has a 2 percent chance of survival. And the next thought in her head, when she says it is, "Hey, it's better than zero!" How many of us can do that in our lives?

Now, even after the Instagram update, saying that her health has taken a turn for the worse and that she won't be able to continue with this season of the show, there is still hope. And that's why I want her to come on. She says she's not - she's planning her future. She's not planning her legacy.

I want her to come on to tell us what's going on with her, and why she made the decision that she did. I may have to come after her about it. I want to talk to her about the course that her life is on, and what matters to her, and what matters - what should matter to all of us.

There she is! There's the kid!


CUOMO: We'll get to her right after the break.









CUOMO: Jane Marczewski. Ordinarily, somebody says "No, call me this nickname," I don't do it.

But this kid is "Nightbirde," because it is the persona that broke through to us, but it was because of the person behind it. She's beautiful. She's proof that pain and purpose and hope can all coexist.

The GoFundMe page for "Nightbirde" is "One Last Push to #SeeJaneWin." "One Last Push to #SeeJaneWin." But I got to tell you, I think she's won already.

Nightbirde, look at you!

MARCZEWSKI: Hi, it's good to see you. Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: How you're doing kid?

MARCZEWSKI: Well, to tell you the truth, I have been curled up in a ball, like a little cocktail shrimp, having an A-plus pity party for myself. Because it's just been it's been a bad, bad month. It's been really pretty devastating.

CUOMO: Metastatic cancer moving around your body, you were told you needed to take the treatment 100 percent seriously. What did that mean to you, as a trade-off, for your dream of performing?

MARCZEWSKI: You know what? I am not a quitter. So, it was really, really hard for me to, to say that I couldn't finish the show.

I got shocking news, less than a week ago about cancer regrowth that's taken over my lungs and liver. So, my liver right now is mostly cancer, more cancer than liver in there right now.

But, like I said, like I said, I'm planning my future and not my legacy. And some people would call that "Blind denial." But I prefer to call it "Rebellious hope." And I'm - I'm not stopping anytime soon.

CUOMO: No perspective is right. Life is perspective. What you decide it is, is what it is.



CUOMO: And I think that's part of your magic. Are you still writing music?

MARCZEWSKI: Yes, yes, I am. I have so much beautiful stuff that I'm so excited to share. And I know that I will. I know that I will.

CUOMO: What are some of the ideas of the music? I don't want to jump you in the moment. But the - give me a little of the lyrical quality of where you're going with some of the stuff? What's some of the stuff that you like?

MARCZEWSKI: Well, there's a song that I've been working on right now. And I wrote a little bit of it, in my caption, when I had to share this bad news. And it's "Pretty beat up, but I still got dreams."

And the course of the song goes, "I still got some magic in me. I don't feel it. But I still believe. The music stopped. But I can still sing. I'm pretty beat up, but I still got dreams." And that's a song that means a lot to me.

And when we're going through stuff like this, where really the pain is too much to bear, sometimes it makes no sense at all. If we can hold on to a dream, for the future, sometimes that's all we need to get through. And I believe in dreams for all of our lives that originated in the imagination of God.

And just think about, like, don't you want to see what happens if you don't give up? Like, don't you want to - don't you want to see what happens? And that's what I keep saying to myself. And that's what I say to everyone watching tonight.

Don't you want to see what happens, if you don't give up?

CUOMO: Have you always been like this?

MARCZEWSKI: I don't know. I don't know.

I think when you're faced with so many blows, to the gut, in a row, like I have, over the past several years, you find out what you're made of, in a sense. And you're given the opportunity to choose what you want to become.

So no, I don't think I was always this - I don't think I was always this way.

CUOMO: "Why me?" What's your answer?

MARCZEWSKI: You know what? I try not to occupy myself with questions that are too big for myself to answer. It's a waste of time.

Just because it's a mystery, doesn't mean it's the absence of meaning. Sometimes, the mystery means there's more meaning there than we can even understand. And so, I accept that. And I let go of the questions because it's too heavy.

CUOMO: That's too heavy? Man, you breeze! You breeze through things, and you take things on that would cripple the rest of us! But it is good to see that you can capture the enormity of something also.

So how do you capture the enormity of your impact? I mean, your voice is awesome.

Look, I told you last time, I got a singer at home. That's why I know not to jump you and ask you to sing in the moment. I don't want to. I know, I know, you got to get ready.

But your voice is amazing. And the way that you put your pain to purpose with your lyrics is always going to be tough to beat. Talent and motivation are tough to beat.

But there's something transcendent that has just wowed people. "I am not special." And people have told me this, from all over the world, about you. What does that mean?

MARCZEWSKI: I think the magic of it is that I try to show up as real as I possibly can. We talked about this last time. I'm not denying the pain of today, and not denying the hope of tomorrow.

And when you go through something that is so devastating, makes no sense, there's no - there's no answers, you kind of have the choice, like am I going to become bitter? Or am I not?

You do have a choice, you know? You do get to decide what becomes of you, in a sense. And I've decided, in my - in my most painful moments, to keep my eyes open, because it's easier.

It's easier to close your eyes and to give up and forget it. But there's so much beauty and poetry, to be seen in the world, if you are willing to sign-off on the pain that it takes to stay awake, in the middle of something that hurts so bad. And that's all this is. Anybody can do it.

CUOMO: Anybody can, but very few do. And I think that's part of the magic of you.


Until the next time, what is the first big goal, let's call it, for you, in the future that you're architecting? What's your next big thing that you need to happen?

MARCZEWSKI: Well, this cancer has got to go, so that's number one, which I really believe is going to happen soon. I really do.

And after that, I'm going to write the most amazing record you've ever heard in your life. And I'll see you on the road.

CUOMO: Well, I'll tell you what. Any way that we can help, you know we're a call away.

Anything you ever want to play for people, I'm happy to play it. As you know, it's not what my show is about. But you are worth deviation, because I believe you're exactly who we need to be.

We all got to get a little bit of "Nightbirde," in ourselves, and remember how to live our lives. That's what I believe you've taught me that we got to remember how to live our lives.

MARCZEWSKI: That means the world to me!

And I also I just want to - can't let you go without saying thank you for sharing the GoFundMe.

When I got this bad news this last week, money was not a thought. I just - any treatment that works for me, I can afford, because of - because of you, and because of America, and everyone that's given. And I can't - I can't express how much that means to me.

CUOMO: Listen? Nobody expresses things any better than you do. And just your gratitude will be your recovery, all right?

"Nightbirde," be well.


CUOMO: I'll talk to you soon.

MARCZEWSKI: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right.

MARCZEWSKI: Thank you.

CUOMO: We'll be right back with the handoff.