Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

States Received Limited Ventilators; Parks And Convention Centers Turned Into Hospitals; Ford Ramping Up Production; More Than 160,300 Cases Of Coronavirus In United States Most Reported Deaths In A Single Day; Interview With Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D), New Orleans, About Her City As Being One Of The Latest Hot Spots Of Coronavirus Pandemic; On The Front Lines. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 30, 2020 - 22:00   ET




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a very unpleasant thing. And I've said it before and I'll say it again. I am very proud to be your president.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: He said the enemy is death. The enemy is not death. The enemy is disinformation, inaction, lies, division. These are all the things this virus is testing in our society, as much as it's testing our bodies.

It's going to test our ability to sacrifice, our ability to lead and our ability to follow.

The president did nail one point, though, he should be very proud to be President of the United States, and if he wants to talk aspiration and Easter being a perfect time, the message of rebirth and renewal may not apply to what's happening with this virus, but it should apply to him and for him.

This is a chance for him to show he doesn't have to lie, he doesn't have to divide, he can tell the truth and he can allow people to do their best for the rest of us. Will he? That will be the test and we will know that in due time.

Thank you for watching us. Our coverage continues tonight, of course, "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon, right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: How are you doing? Do you really want to have this conversation? Because you know when it comes out of my mouth this political. It's not political when it comes out of your mouth, for some reason.

But when I say the exact same words that you said, for some reason, it's political. And I have said I don't think you should really listen to what he says, you should listen to what the experts say. I'm not actually sure, if you want to be honest, that we should carry that live. I think we should run snippets. I think we should do it afterwards and get the pertinent points to the American people. Because he's never, ever going to tell you the truth.

And guess what he's going to do? If you ask a question that is a legitimate question, he -- and if he doesn't like the question he's going to say whether it's -- whether you're being mean or not or whatever he wants to call it, he is going to say that is a mean, nasty question. Why?

Because he wants his base to think that the media's being mean to him and they're attacking him. It is all a plot. It is all orchestrated, and if you can't see it, I don't know -- I don't know what you're looking at.

So, you know, I -- it's obvious, it's transparent to me. This has become -- those press briefings have become his new apprentice. They've become his new rallies, and he treats the press and the media as if he's talking to the people in his rallies. It's the same thing. It's no different. It's just that the audience is not there.

CUOMO: Well, look, I understand the frustration with his messaging. But you know what? Too many dead people.


CUOMO: And there's too much that we need information right now --


LEMON: I'm not frustrated -- don't get me wrong, Chris, I'm not frustrated. I'm just pointing out the obvious. I'm just saying pointing out the obvious --


CUOMO: I get it.

LEMON: -- especially as a journalist, is not being political. If we don't do that then we are not doing our duty as journalists to point that out.

CUOMO: I'm with you.

LEMON: That is part of our -- that is our job, to point that out. That's exactly what he's doing.


CUOMO: I'm with you. Look, I hear people saying -- you are not making something up. A lot of people are saying, don't cover it, don't cover when he says this, I don't believe in censorship.


LEMON: I'm not saying don't cover it. I'm not saying don't cover it, that's not what I'm saying at all. CUOMO: I don't -- no. I'm saying play all of it. No, I get you. I know what you're saying. I'm saying something different. I'm saying play all of it. I want to hear everything he has to say. I want it all to be out there and I want him to be held to account because this isn't B.S. politics right now. It's not about nicknames. It's not about what he can call another party. It's about living and dying and a lot of that is going to fall on what is done and not done by this government.

LEMON: OK, Chris --


CUOMO: And you have to get Fauci and Birx but he's got to be held to account.

LEMON: I get what you're saying.

CUOMO: This matters.

LEMON: I get what you're saying, it does matter. And that's -- OK, ask me a question. Any question. Just a legitimate question. Ask me a question.

CUOMO: How long you think this last?

LEMON: Why would you ask me that question, how long this last? Why don't you ask me another question, a legitimate question, a nice question? You should ask me a question to be -- you should be proud of this government. That is the stock answer. What does the American people get out of that? Not much. So --


CUOMO: I think context matters. I think you can get an answer as something --


LEMON: -- take it, run it, run it and put it in context. Run is afterwards.


LEMON: Put it in context. That's all I'm saying.

CUOMO: But they get the context.

LEMON: Maybe I'm wrong.

CUOMO: Listen, to me -- to me, look, I see it in the same way that my brother Andrew is being covered, OK? My brother Andrew has been the exact same governor for 12 years. He's been the exact same person --


CUOMO: -- for 60-plus years. LEMON: Right.

CUOMO: Now he's being covered differently, why? One is contrast with the president.

LEMON: He's telling the truth.

CUOMO: Because the time calls for a specific skill set that he happens to have. Same with this president. He is overwhelmed by this task. He lied to the American people about it. He's playing catch-up. He's starting to learn. They're seeing it all in real time. People are living and diving on the basis of this response.

LEMON: Exactly.

CUOMO: Ands it the best test for leadership that we could have. I want people to see it all. We will question it all. We will show it all and then they will decide how they've come through it, and they're going to be deciding soon.

LEMON: I don't like wasting people's time and I don't like people being bamboozled. That's it. I know I'm going to get criticized for it. But so be it. I just want people to know the truth.


CUOMO: Well, first of all, who cares if you get criticized?

LEMON: I don't.

CUOMO: What he said today was all truthful. You know?


CUOMO: He said 100,000. We got to do this. It's just that a month ago he was saying it was a hoax. And you got to hold him up to that. He doesn't like it. It's an inconvenient truth.


But if we don't keep stepping on him about what he did in the past --


CUOMO: -- I'm telling you, they'll repeat it come election time.


LEMON: Listen --

CUOMO: They'll repeat it because he wants things to look good.

LEMON: Everybody is watching this and I know that this part this handoff is usually among the highest rated of the network throughout the day. So, people are listening. I want you to read this piece in The Guardian that talks about the six weeks that we missed, the four to six weeks that we missed going into this whole thing.

We missed as far as preparedness, as far as testing, and why we are so far behind, especially South Korea, who got the message immediately and started doing testing, and started coming up with a new test to figure this out.

Read that piece and you will understand why we are so far behind and why that curve has not flattened. I don't know -- I don't know, but we could have been beyond this now. Maybe not over, but we could have been further into this and maybe still not sitting, everybody sitting at home right now if we had gotten to it sooner and it had not been a hoax.

If the president had not set the table for the American people, if he had told the American people earlier on, hey, this is serious. You need to take precautions. We may have to shut some things down. You may not be able to travel the way you want to.

There are some things you may not be able to do, instead of saying it is a political hoax by the Democrats and the media. We would not be at this point, perhaps, right now. I'm just saying.

CUOMO: And look, I still think at the end of the days --


LEMON: We're seven minutes in. I got to go, though. But go on.

CUOMO: Well, I'm just saying, at the end of the day, this will be the measure of whether or not he gets re-elected.


CUOMO: Whether the American people think that on balance he did what he needed to do to get them through this. This will be the test.


CUOMO: It's not an October surprise. It's going to be the whole election surprise, and we'll see.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, whether he gets re-elected, that's not on me. That's to get people can vote for whoever they want as their president. But as a journalist, it's -- I want to make sure that they're getting the right information, their time is not being wasted and that the administration is not using our airwaves to have the president come on and promote things that aren't necessarily true. That's it.

CUOMO: So, give them the facts, Don. I'll be watching.

LEMON: Thank you, "Wayne's World," in your basement. I'll see you.

This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

Here is our breaking news. New numbers as this coronavirus spreads. More than 160,000 cases in the United States. Over 2,980 deaths. And we've reached another tragic milestone today. The most reported coronavirus deaths in a single day. Well over 500.

This is our new reality right now. It is absolutely staggering where we find ourselves tonight. More than three quarters of Americans are under stay-at-home orders tonight. Most likely you are one of them watching right now. Most likely you don't recognize what has happened to life in America in just a few short weeks. Just a matter of days.

And now that staggering number of cases, over 160,000, it was only just a little over a month ago that the president said that there were only 15 cases in this country, predicting the number would soon be close to zero.


TRUMP: And, again, when you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done.


LEMON: Now just about a month later there are more than 10,000 times, 10,000 times as many cases, 10,000 times. Tonight, the president in his coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden saying that it will get better from here. That every American who needs a ventilator will have access to one in the next few weeks.

Governors across the country are begging for more. We will talk tonight to one of the executives at Ford about just how they're going to be a part of that effort.

The president also announcing that over one million Americans have been tested for the coronavirus, but the United States lags behind South Korea on a per capita basis, and Dr. Anthony Fauci says even if the virus fades over the summer, it is likely to return in the fall.

There are serious questions about our readiness and our response. And we will be bringing you the facts tonight about where things stand in this country and how we got here.

CNN's Jim Acosta read the president's own words back to him.


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

TRUMP: Here we go.

ACOSTA: -- this crisis over the last couple of months? We have it very much under control in this country. The coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. It's going to disappear. It's like a miracle. It will disappear.

March 4th, we have a very small number of people in this country infected. March 10th, we're prepared, we're doing a great job with it, it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away. What do you say --


TRUMP: Well, it will go away.

ACOSTA: -- to Americans who believe you got this wrong.

TRUMP: And I do want them to stay calm and we are doing a great job. If you look at those individual statements, they're all true.


Stay calm. It will go away. You know it -- you know it is going away and it will go away and we're going to have a great victory.


LEMON: Well, tonight's story is the story of America's coronavirus crisis. And the headlines run from coast to coast. Field hospitals and testing centers in places like the Maryland stadium that's home to the Washington Redskins and Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center.

The L.A. Convention Center to be used as a hospital, too, and the epicenter, New York, with more than 66,000 cases, we're seeing things that we have never seen before. A temporary hospital built almost overnight in Central Park surrounded by some of the city's most expensive real estate.

Look at that. Look at the picture on your screen. The tent hospital expected to be up and running in a matter of hours with beds from 68 coronavirus patients.

And as a new -- as a New Yorker, I can just tell you this, that we have never seen anything like this before. Tents in the park that we think of as our backyards. Tents that will soon be full of coronavirus patients.

The U.S. Navy hospital ship comfort in New York harbor, and the Javits Center also providing hospital beds, but they're not for coronavirus patients, they're meant to free up beds in other hospitals. A second ship deployed to Los Angeles.

And speaking of the comfort, that hospital ship, I want you to take a look at this. This was the scene today as New Yorkers crowded the streets to watch the ship arrive. What's wrong with this picture? Whatever happened to social distancing?

There are tens of thousands of cases of coronavirus in this city. More than 1,200 deaths. That number rising every day. People, don't be crowding the streets. Don't give our doctors and nurses and health care workers more patients to try to save.

Take a look at this. It's in a suburb of Pittsburgh. A mile-long line of cars hours before the local food bank was scheduled to open. WKDA is reporting that there were so many cars that police were directing traffic. Workers loading boxes of food directly into the trunks of cars to maintain social distancing.

That as hospitals are under siege in this country. You see it inside this Brooklyn hospital. Patients everywhere. Beds in the hallways. One doctor putting it this way. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a war zone. It's a medical war zone. We're trying to keep our head above water and not drown.


LEMON: And Dr. (Inaudible) had this advice for the rest of us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay the f-home. Exactly. Exactly.


LEMON: A lot more to talk about. I want to bring in now CNN White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins and our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thank you both so much for joining me this evening. I appreciate it.

Kaitlan, I'm going to start with you. The deadliest day yet here in the United States since the pandemic outbreak and the president got tough questions about accountability. How is he responding?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Don, as you've noticed at these press conferences, that the president has increasingly been leading -- initially he left to the Vice President Mike Pence. You've seen how sensitive the president is to negative coverage, to skeptical coverage, anything that scrutinizes and his administration, of course, he has handled the coronavirus response so far.

And this is always been something that the president has paid close attention to, his own coverage. But aides say even more so, that they feel like it's a heightened sense of that right now inside the West Wing.

So that is why the president responds like that when people ask questions about how he initially responded to this. And how he was downplaying it, telling people it wasn't something to be worried about, that it was going to go away soon, it wasn't going to spread as much in the United States.

And now, of course, we have hit a very different part of that that health experts have been warning about that it actually was going to spread in the United States and can prove quite deadly.

So I think that is part of the reason you've seen the president be so sensitive to those kinds of statements from those reminders of what he said in the past, what his past actions had been in all that and he's tried to reframe it, in a sense, on several occasions. LEMON: Dr. Gupta, I want to bring you in. The president says over the

next 48 hours they're delivering more than 1,000 ventilators including 400 to Michigan, 300 to New Jersey, 150 to Illinois, 150 Louisiana and 50 to Connecticut. It's doesn't seem like nearly enough, it's something but it doesn't seem like a lot.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I mean, you take a look at any one of those states. Take Louisiana, for example, the projections that they're putting forth, that they're going to need some 14,000 ventilators, Don.

So, obviously this is not enough. I'm sure these states are appreciative for what they're getting right now, but they know what's coming. They already have got a sense from looking around this country, looking around the world at how many patients are likely to become infected and out of those patients how many are likely to need a breathing machine, a ventilator.


So, you know, these are -- these are -- it's a tough time I think within these hospitals. I mean, they're bracing for this. There is a lot of ingenuity. Trying to refurbish old machines. Trying to split ventilators.

Look, I'm always amazed at American ingenuity. But many of the things that are now being discussed are things that have never been tried because that's what we're left with.

And Don, you know, I'll just say it, you and I and many -- Kaitlan and many others have been talking about this for a couple of months now. The modeling in terms of the amount of ventilators that were going to be necessary, those are the government's own modelling numbers, and yet we're not close to it. And you know, that's obviously a huge problem.

LEMON: Yes. Kaitlan, listen, the president is saying that ventilators are going to be sent over to Italy, Spain and France. And he's already told Italy that the U.S. is sending $100 million worth of surgical, medical and hospital things. That's a quote from him. As the president puts it.

How does that work? Because all we're hearing from state and local officials and medical professionals is about the lack of supplies here?

COLLINS: Yes, that was kind of a striking thing the president said in the Rose Garden today when he said once we have enough ventilators here, we're going to send others over to Europe, because we know we're nowhere close right now. And hospitals have made that quite clear.

And though the president has directed obviously, General Motors to make them, they announced that Ford is also going to be making ventilators. G.M. said just yesterday they are not making them yet because it's a very complicated process. They have to retool their factories. It's not something they just can do and flip a switch and make 10,000 ventilators overnight.

So, the question is, how long is it going to take to get the ventilators and will people get them in the time that they need? States like New York obviously say that they're going to be needing them sooner rather than later over the next two weeks when they expect to hit their peak in New York.

And so that's the question here, as you know, exactly how they're handling the response to this. And while behind the scenes aides have been scrambling to get enough of that personal protective equipment because the president has promised that the federal government will back up states if they cannot get their hands on what they need, and that is about to become a test for this administration on whether or not they can actually meet what these states are saying that they need so desperately.

LEMON: Dr. Gupta, can you please explain this to me? Because I've been wanting to talk to you about this. You know, this also follows the Trump administration announcing on February 7th that it was sending nearly 18 tons of donated medical supplies, including masks, gowns, respirators and other materials to China, and that's after we already had confirmed cases here in the United States.

Do we have enough PPE here to be sending some of it overseas? What happened here? What's going on?

GUPTA: Well, we don't have enough. I mean, clearly, you know, I mean when you talk about the number of masks that are needed and, again, these are the federal government's own projections for a modern pandemic. You're talking about billions of masks.

Just quickly, Don, as you know, that's because every time you see a patient in the hospital now, you have to assume that they may have the coronavirus. Even if they come in for something completely unrelated.

So, every time I'm seeing patients, medical students, residents, whoever I'm with, we all have to wear personal protective equipment because of that. So that's why it's requiring a lot of PPE.

I think that back when they started donating this type of equipment to other countries, I think there was this mistaken belief still that this wasn't really going to affect people here in the United States. That was -- that was incorrect. And people in the public health world knew that it was incorrect. It's a virus. It doesn't respect borders or boundaries.

They knew it was going to come. They knew it was going to spread. They knew it was very contiguous and they knew it was very lethal. So, I think when they did that, it was just -- look, it was just lack of planning, you know? Which, you know, is unfortunate. We're paying for it now.

LEMON: Yes. Kaitlan, I saw you shaking your head on that. If you -- if as the president said, I think it was a week ago, that all along he knew this was a pandemic and it was going to be terrible, then why was he sending PPE, as he says, that we were woefully unprepared because of the former administration and administrations before.

Why then was he giving away material that we would need for a pandemic in this country that he supposedly knew was a pandemic before everyone else? What?

COLLINS: Yes, he keeps saying the stockpile was essentially empty when he took office. Though, of course, even people close to the president acknowledge he's been in office for over three years now. This was a real problem that had been flagged to the president and he was concerned about it, they could have addressed it at that time. And that didn't happen.

And we do know that advisers warned about this. Those warnings clearly weren't heeded given the state that we're in right now.


But they warned about something as specific as a pandemic in that worldwide global threat assessment that we saw come out just last fall, 2019, from this administration warned the United States and other parts around the world were not prepared for some kind of flu- like pandemic to break out, and exactly basically what we're seeing sadly right now happen.

So though excuses, you know, don't really fit with reality about that. But the question, of course, is about the gear, the protective gear now. Of course, now there are questions about whether or not they're going to make recommendations for the general population in the United States to wear masks.

And that seems to be something that the president said today they're considering. And the question is, you know, do we have enough masks for that? Because we don't even seem to have enough for the health care workers right now, the nurses and the doctors, and, of course, the surgeon general himself was telling people they did not need to go out and buy masks just several weeks ago.

So that is going to be another question that they're facing as they're preparing for what officials say is going to be a really challenging month ahead of them.

LEMON: Yes. And why they announced on February 7th they were sending nearly 18 tons of donated medical supplies including masks, gowns, respirators and other medical equipment to China. Mind-boggling.

Thank you both. I appreciate it.

help is on the way for hospitals begging for ventilators. Ford says it will make 50,000 in 100 days. How will they get it done? Because they are racing the clock right now. I'm going to ask the executive in charge of making it happen.



LEMON: Ford announcing today that it will produce 50,000 ventilators within 100 days and then planning to make 30,000 per month after that.

I want to bring in now Jim Baumbick, Ford vice president for enterprise product line management. I want to thank you so much for coming on. I want to thank you for what you're doing. It is very important to the country, so kudos to you and Ford. Still called Ford Motor Company or just Ford now? I'm not sure. But anyway, thanks for what you're doing.

So, Jim, listen, 50,000 ventilators within 100 days and then 30,000 per month after that. How soon can you get those first ventilators off the line and then into the hands of the folks who really need them?

JIM BAUMBICK, VICE PRESIDENT, ENTERPRISE PRODUCT LINE MANAGEMENT, STRATEGY, AND PLANNING, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: Well, we know the need is incredible, so we're focusing in the short run of taking -- working with our partners at G.E. and actually increasing the throughput of their existing machines.

So, we think we're -- in a very short period of time we've been able to get up to 40 percent. That's getting more units out to the people who need them the most. This incremental ventilator that we're working on, we think we're going to start to build at the end of April and build that in quantity running into May and June.

The need is very clear and it's a surge demand in April, May, June that we got to make sure we get it out as soon as we began, given the importance of this.

LEMON: So sometime within that -- within that time you should have -- you should be getting them out to the public, you think, correct?

BAUMBICK: Absolutely. Yes, we would start --


BAUMBICK: Like I said, we're shipping actually more units now today and then this additional ventilator we're putting online we'll start shipping in April. Actually, more of the units start out probably next week, but the ramp-up or the high volume will really start at the end of April. Very heavy into May as we bring on three crews of our amazing partners at UAW to produce that run rate of up to 30,000, if needed.

LEMON: OK, let me ask you then. Because people think that what happens is, maybe it is, is you take an auto assembly line and then you retrofit it to do ventilators. I don't think that's the process, but can you -- do you -- how do you convert a Ford facility that manufactures car components to manufacture ventilators?

BAUMBICK: I think it depends on the complexity of the machine you're trying to scale. In the case of what we're focusing on, this model A.E. ventilator that we're going to scale to this level of production, the unit is a very straightforward unit. It requires space.

So, we've effectively broken down the entire unit. We're reverse engineering it and identifying the space required. Taking all full precautions for our UAW workers to make sure they're following all the protocols to keep them safe, and then we'll use that space in the plant to actually lay out the production steps and then start to crank up the speed of the assembly line to get to the run rate that we need to start producing and hit that 50,000 target.

LEMON: Yes. Well, Jim, listen, we have a lot of news, as you know. Lots going on. But we wanted to get you on to find out how you were doing it and when you were going to get it out. And I just wanted to tell you thank you for doing this for the country. I'm sure the country really appreciates it. Thank you so much. And thanks for appearing here on CNN.

BAUMBICK: Thanks so much. We're here to help.

LEMON: Absolutely. Thank you. And we can definitely see that.

New Orleans facing nearly 1,500 cases of coronavirus right now, and with that number growing exponentially, are they getting the help they need? I'm going to ask the mayor next.



LEMON: So, if you watch this program, you saw we had the governor of Louisiana on last Sunday. And we've been talking about the issue in Louisiana, especially New Orleans. New Orleans is one of the latest hot spots as the corona pandemic -- coronavirus pandemic spreads throughout the country. More than 4,000 cases in the state of Louisiana. At least 1,480 of them are in the city and 86 people have already died from the virus.

Governor John Bel Edwards saying today that after requesting 5,000 ventilators from the strategic national stockpile, Louisiana has received 150. Let's discuss now, the Mayor of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell. Thank you. I know it's a busy time for you. I wanted to have you on to get the word out and to hear your concerns in what's going on.


LEMON: Cases in your city are soaring. The president said that he will send 150 ventilators. Do you have enough for the critically ill patients that need them right now?

CANTRELL: Oh, no, Don, thank you so much for having me and I'm glad you mentioned that. You know, they were requested. We were told that they would be on the way. The governor requested over 5,000. We were told today to expect 150.

In no way that's enough. Very grateful, right, to the 150, and -- but the need is still great here. Our men and women, our health care professionals are on the front line tirelessly 24/7, who are in need still of PPE, and we have to make sure that we protect those who we expect and who are working tirelessly to protect others.

LEMON: What about other medical supplies, mayor? What are -- what are your biggest needs right now?

CANTRELL: Well, the biggest needs, it goes back to the PPE, the masks, of course, gloves, gowns, all the protective gear so that our public health professionals feel that they're safeguarded, that they're protected to render the care and the services that we expect them to do. And on the front lines, again, daily, and we owe it to them. Our country. To give them the tools and the resources that they need to help -- to help our people.


LEMON: What about --

CANTRELL: That's what really matters.

LEMON: It does really matter. What about all your health care workers on the frontlines of this battle? I know that you need PPE and all that. What are they telling you, mayor? What are they saying?

CANTRELL: Well, what are they saying is that they need to be protected. You know, that they're going out being -- taking in all of the challenges that they're faced with on a daily basis to provide care and to save lives, and what they're saying is that they desperately need to be protected. And they deserve that.

I mean, again, these are people that we depend on 24/7 to render care. And to ensure that they are protected. And it goes beyond not just those who are working in the hospitals, but it is our public first responders, our police officers, our EMS, our technicians, our fire departments, it's now those who render death care, our coroners, our, you know, our nursing homes even. And even our mortuaries. They are in need of protective gear.

We're at 1,480 cases in the city of New Orleans. Of course leading the state of Louisiana. We have 86 deaths. We anticipate being on a stay home mandate for the next four to six weeks. When we analyze the data, we see that for every 100 cases, five people are dying, and so we're anticipating more deaths, which speaks to the need for PPE across the -- across the span that I mentioned just previously.

LEMON: So, that's what you need, but I just have to ask you about this and getting the message to people, mayor, and I'm up against the clock. I know that this is very important and I've been covering it because I'm from Louisiana. Police issued this arrest warrant yesterday in New Orleans for a man who organized a funeral second line on Saturday where over 100 people participated, including a band.

CANTRELL: Absolutely.

LEMON: I know it's a tradition in New Orleans, but how do you get people to understand that you can't, you just can't?

CANTRELL: You know, it's very difficult, I have to say, not only with our culture, but even with the beautiful weather, you know, that we've been experiencing.


CANTRELL: And with the city that expresses love, right? And even through our second lines. But I'll tell you, I heard from the family. They reached out yesterday. They sent their apologies. That it will never happen again. And it has really sent a message to our community throughout. Our musician community, our cultural bearers have stepped up and said, hey, no more in the city of New Orleans. This is -- this is very serious here.


CANTRELL: And our people are dying. And even as it relates to the majority of the cases, it's people with chronic illness. Which reflect a large population in the city, and an African-American population as well, but every death matters and we're wanting to make sure that our first responders, our public health professionals have the resources that they need. And at the end of the day, even the residents so that they can continue to live.


CANTRELL: Our gig workers. You know, needing the individual assistance that's necessary for basic quality of life.

LEMON: Well, I know its tough mayor, when you -- when you -- having come from there. When you get the fish fries, the craw fish boils, the barbecues, the picnics.

CANTRELL: The love.

LEMON: That's how we -- that's how we were late, but you can't do that in these times. I certainly understand you. Yes. Mayor, thank you. Best of luck. If you need anything, you know where to get us. If you need to get the word out, we're here for you. Thank you very much.

CANTRELL: Thank you so much.

LEMON: OK. Thank you. The president has been sending mixed messages about coronavirus since the beginning of this crisis. How is it affecting the fight against the virus? I'm going to ask the former vice president, Al Gore what he thinks. There he is. He's next.



LEMON: Governors and hospitals across the country saying that they are in urgent need of supplies to combat the coronavirus. Medical officials now taking an all hands on deck approach to come up with ways to cope with an increasingly stressed health care system. Joining me now is a former vice president of the United States, Al Gore. Thank you, Mr. Vice president. Indeed, an honor to have you here and we appreciate your time. You have been speaking --

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDEN OF UNITED STATES: Well, thank you for having me on, Don. LEMON: Absolutely. You've been speaking with people in the medical

community. What are they telling you about how we're going to defeat this virus?

GORE: Well, there's a lot of optimism that the biotechnology scientists and professionals are going to find a therapeutic that will consist of an effective treatment. You know, the whole biotech community is linked worldwide now and they're using these supercomputers and artificial intelligence and they're telling me that we're likely to be pleasantly surprised at the speed with which they will be able to come up with a therapeutic that helps those who have been infected.

But we can't count on that. And, of course, we have to have the physical distancing and really we ought to be doing that nationwide because that's the most effective thing we have now until they get this quick return test that needs to be out there everywhere as fast as possible.

LEMON: All right. A couple of questions then. I want to talk to you about the nationwide thing, but let's do that after this because you're talking about this technology as a solution. Do you have any examples? And if you do, can you -- can you give me some or --


GORE: Yes, absolutely. Some very clever computer scientists have figured out a way to let people donate their home computer processing power, and they've linked together so many thousands of computers to come up with a -- the most powerful supercomputer ever built. It's just linked together with all of these other computers.

We're seeing 3-D printing of some of these parts for ventilators and respiratory therapies, and that's making a big difference, too. But, Don, you know, the technology revolution is likely to bring us some great solutions and hopefully they'll bring us better, quicker testing real fast.

But a lot of the most effective solutions are not really in the technology realm. They involve representative democracy and our ability to work collectively to have the kind of physical distancing and the other changes that the doctors tell us are essential right now.

LEMON: All right. Well, let's talk more. This is the second part of the question that I promised to ask. So, Mr. Vice President, President Trump extending the social distancing guidelines until April 30th. And then says he's going to look at it after that. He initially downplayed this coronavirus. What is the result of this lack of response, in your view?

GORE: Well, one problem we have now, and a lot of the doctors are telling us this, is that it's not nationwide. And we are a nation. People travel from one state to another and one county to another. And you can't set up police cordons on the state borders. We need -- we need to deal with this as a nation. And we need

leadership that doesn't have governors competing with each other to buy the ventilators and masks, that doesn't have governors and mayors fighting with each other over what the policy ought to be.

We need a nationwide policy. You know, I feel so deeply for the victims and the -- those who have lost loved ones, Don, and these doctors and nurses who are such heroes. They deserve better from us. They deserve a consistent nationwide effective policy. We should have started it a long time ago, but let's don't beat people up on what was mistaken in the past. Let's look forward.

LEMON: OK, having said that --

GORE: Get this right and stop talking about polls and things like that.

LEMON: OK. Having said that, do you hold the president accountable for any of that, that you just said?

GORE: Well, of course. And I was one of many who when he said I accept no responsibility for it, I kind of shook my head, remembering Harry Truman saying the buck stops here. But here's why I don't want to dwell on that, Don. I feel especially badly for those who really follow President Trump and believe in him, and, you know, there are quite a few people in our country that do.


GORE: I don't agree with his policies, but those who follow him, I'm afraid many of them have been misled into thinking that some of his earlier statements about using the word hoax and used it in a specialized way, but saying it was going to disappear, those kinds of things, I feel badly for those who believe that stuff and have not been protecting themselves.

And we still have states that have not adopted the kind of policies that Dr. Fauci and the real experts have advised, partly because they -- they've made it kind of a political, partisan kind of issue. Now, I think the president, to his credit, has been moving away from that.

I think he's learned that you can't gaslight a virus. You've really got to pay attention to what the scientific facts are. And by the way, we need to do that where the climate crisis is concerned, too, because it's exactly the same thing.


GORE: So, I don't want to get into political pot shots at him. I want to encourage him to continue the kind of change we've seen in the last 24 hours.

LEMON: I think your message is right on, and that's what I said at the beginning of the show when I was talking to Chris Cuomo about how the president had -- how the president set the table for the response and for the nation's response and for the way people felt about this virus. And had he done it differently, we may be in a different place and people would have a different mind-set.

While I have you here, before we go, I want to know, what is your final message having been the vice president of this country, what is your final message to the people of this country?

GORE: We're going to get through this. It is going to be a tough passage. We're going to have to really hang together on this, and I hope that we can tamp down the partisanship, which, you know, the president's fed that a little bit and others have to.


But we need to be unified as a nation. This is going to be extremely difficult in the weeks immediately ahead. We need to listen to the doctors. We need to honor these doctors and nurses and others who are putting their lives on the line. The courage is just so inspiring, but we need to be worthy of the kind of courage they're demonstrating and do our part as citizens and come together and listen to what the doctors are telling us we have to do.

LEMON: Vice President Al Gore, thank you, sir. I appreciate it.

GORE: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: We'll be right back.



LEMON: Doctors in New York are inundated with a flood of patients, a flood of people. People who are sick and in need. And I want to take time to share a story that one doctor posted on Facebook. OK, listen to this.

Merck Ergol (ph), is an emergency physician in Brooklyn, and here's what he had to say about one of his patients. So today in the middle of all of the madness there was a 100-year-old Hasidic lady with Covid pneumonia and I was desperate to send her home so she wouldn't die in the hospital. But she dropped her blood pressure and we had to keep her. And then for an hour her son kept calling me to find out how she was, and I finally told him, look, she's 100 years old with pneumonia in both lungs, she's not good, she's not going to do well.

And then he wanted to talk to her and I said you can't, I'm too busy and he called back 10 minutes later and I said, listen, sir, your mother is not conscience anymore. And he said that's OK it's very important that I do a prayer for her, could you hold the speaker to her ear? I had 10 other pressing things to do, but I stopped what I was doing out of respect for this 100-year-old woman and put the cellphone on speakerphone and told him to talk.

He started the prayer of the dead and he began to cry and could barely get the words out, and I saw she had numbers tattooed on her arm. He was crying for his mother and praying the Shema, the verses of unity and it woke up some emotion in me that I had forgotten about. Time slowed down and I felt restored to myself. When he was done he thanked me and blessed me and I said thank you to him. We'll be right back.