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Don Lemon Tonight

Not a Good Time to Reopen U.S. Economy; Americans Are Encourage to Stay at Home; A.G. Bill Bar Says Experimenting Election Process is Not Appropriate; Seventeen Million Americans Now Out of Job. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired April 09, 2020 - 23:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

Eleven p.m. on the East Coast. And here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. There are over 1.6 million cases worldwide. And more than 95,000 deaths around the globe. Here in the U.S., there are now more than 465,000 confirmed cases and more than 16,000 deaths.

But tonight, the director of the CDC, Dr. Robert Rynfield (Ph) -- Redfield, I should say, tells CNN that the U.S. is nearing the peak of this virus. In New York, the death toll reached a new high of nearly 800 deaths. But there is also a sign of hope in the hardest hit state. The number of hospitalizations in New York State dropped from 600 to 200 in just one day.

The director of the CDC and the Vice President, Mike Pence credited American's vigilance, saying social distancing is working. As of tonight, though, 97 percent of the country is under stay-at-home orders.

Let's bring in now CNN White House correspondent John Hardwood, and our resident fact checker Daniel Dale. Gentlemen, good to see you this evening. Thank you so much.

John, President Trump keeps talking about opening up the economy. But there's clearly tension between his economic advisers and the medical community. Who do you think he's going to listen to?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, if you take the most recent case we have, which is what happened around the Easter date that the president was talking about before, you would say that he will ultimately listen to his health policy advisers.

In that case he indicated he wanted to get the country open. He wanted people to go back to church on Easter. But Tony Fauci and Deborah Birx went to him and said that's not going to be possible. We've got to sustain those social distancing guidelines. He extended them through the end of April.

He may walk right up to that line again when we get to the end of April. Flirt with the idea of trying to reopen the economy, either all at once or in stages and yield to the data at the end.

Vice President Pence was asked about that today. The president himself is not committed to May 1st and neither did Mike Pence. He said we're following the data. That's the way we can reopen the economy as to put the coronavirus behind us. And right now, the data suggest that they should not try to reopen the economy on May 1st.

LEMON: Daniel, Jim Acosta asked the president about the country getting back to normal earlier tonight. I want you to take a listen to this.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: How could the administration discuss the possibility of reopening the country when the administration does not have an adequate nationwide testing system for this virus? Don't you need a nationwide testing --


ACOSTA: -- system for the virus before you reopen --


TRUMP: No. We have a great testing system. We have the best, right now the best testing system in the world. But there are certain sections -- there are sections in the country that are in phenomenal shape already. Other sections are coming online. Other sections are going down.

And we, in addition to that, are giving out millions of tests. And every day we're doing it exponentially, we're picking up. And what we'll be doing in the very near future is going to certain areas of our country and do massive testing. It's not necessary but it would be a good thing to have.



LEMON: It's not necessary? What are the facts?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Don, to some extent, this is matter of opinion. But the president's opinion is at odds with the opinions of experts around the world. That includes Dr. Fauci, former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb and a whole bunch of others who say that the only way to responsibly safely reopen the economy is a massive system of what they call testing and tracing.

They say you need to be able to test at least everyone with symptoms. Ideally many more people than that. And see if they are positive, quickly isolate them, and then trace their contacts. Go to the people they had contact with. Quickly test those people, isolate them if necessary and avoid another wave of infection in that area and around the country. They say that if you don't have that testing in place what you do is

risk multiple waves where you keep opening, you keep closing and you can't get going economically the way that the president would like to.

LEMON: John, the Attorney General Bill Barr is now saying that he opposes changing election practices this year. Citing the Trump's opposition to increasing mail-in voting opportunities while we're in a pandemic. I want you to listen to this.


WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's not the right time to be experimenting with the way elections are conducted. That is through mail-in and other kinds of techniques. I think that by November we're going to be dealing with a different set of circumstances. But I think we can adapt our election practices at the polls to accommodate public health concerns.


LEMON: So, I mean, this administration doesn't want vote by mail to happen. It's not an experiment. I mean, many people do it and they have been doing it. The president has done it.

HARWOOD: The country has been adapting toward early voting, mail-in voting, no excuse absentee voting for decades, Don. This sounds like a very partisan statement from Bill Barr who seems to think that changing the way we do elections is somehow a threat to Republicans.

This is something that President Trump has uttered as well. Saying you can have levels of voting that no Republican could survive.

Look, more than 30 states have either all mail-in voting or no excuse absentees. And really, what I think we're talking about in this election is ramping up that process that already exists to make absentee ballots more readily available.

Now there are another 18 or 19 states that don't permit no excuse absentees. And the question there would be, do you move from no excuse -- from an excuse required like explaining why you're going to be away from your polling place on election day to make it more broadly available. And --


LEMON: Can't you just write in there is a pandemic? There is a pandemic, I would rather vote by mail. Isn't that an excuse? Can't you just write on?

HARWOOD: Well, you would think. Yes. I mean, that could be the answer. It could be simple as that. I'm afraid to go to my polling place. But that's what we're talking about. We're talking something for which procedures already exist, they're already in very widespread use.

LEMON: That seems like a pretty legitimate excuse to me. A worldwide pandemic -- (CROSSTALK)

HARWOOD: Yes, it does. You're right.

LEMON: -- that could be harmful to my health. Here is my ballot. And sign it.


LEMON: OK, thank you both. I appreciate your time.

Dr. Anthony Fauci responding today to studies that indicate New York coronavirus cases came from Europe saying that he's not surprised given travel from Italy.

Joining me now is Dr. Harm van Bakel, a co-author of one of those studies. Thank you, doctor. I appreciate you joining us. So, your research is --



LEMON: Absolutely. Your research is fascinating. You said that 87 percent of the viruses that you have studied in New York City are similar to European cases and they came not just from one place but many countries?

VAN BAKEL: Yes. So, essentially, what we did is we had a pathogen surveillance program in place here at Mount Sinai already for quite some time. So normally, we apply this program to studying seasonal flu, to studying pathogens like MERSA. And we basically leverage those resources to start looking at coronavirus cases.

In the initial study that we've done we sequence and we look at the genomes of the coronavirus for about 84 patients and by comparing deaths to a large repository of other coronavirus, you know, that have been generated by research groups all over the world in different countries looking at the cases that they saw there, that basically tells us by looking at those cases and comparing them to ours is that the genomes of the viruses that we here in New York are very similar to the genomes that we see from cases that are present in Europe.


The cases that we see here in New York group with cases from multiple countries in Europe. And that sort of indicates that there are, you know, multiple origins of the virus coming from Europe. It also shows that the path of the virus as it, sort of, left Asia, start spreading around the world, didn't go directly to New York but it actually took a detour through Europe.

And then from Europe the cases that we saw there through travel and this could be people returning from travel to Europe into New York, but also people visiting New York they brought the virus into the city.

LEMON: OK. So, your team thinks that the virus has been circulating in New York City since January. How are we able to determine that?

VAN BAKEL: So, what we can do is we can look at the diversity of the viruses that we see here in New York. So as the virus spreads, as the viruses passed between people and sort of replicating itself, it accumulates small errors. And those small errors they function as sort of a molecular clock. And the diversity that arises in the virus population can tell us something about the length of time that the virus has been circulating in a population.

And what we saw here for the cases that we identified and examined in New York, we can see that in the weeks prior to that, there has been on track spread of the virus. Meaning that we do not have sort of the virus that are present at the moment. But because of the diversity of the viruses that we see now, we can say that the virus has been already circulating for several weeks prior to our study.

LEMON: OK. Speaking of circulating. I found it interesting that your team found a New York coronavirus that was identical to one of the viruses found in Washington State by a different team. Does that suggest that the coronavirus was traversing across the United States or just that they had the same original origin point in China?

VAN BAKEL: So, it is -- it is -- so both are essentially possible. We think it is probably an indication that it may have been local spread within the United States as well. So, what we need to do to confirm that is sequence additional cases here in New York. But what we also need to do is fill in some of the blanks in the math that we're currently having.

So, you know, other cities, other states then start sequencing more cases across the country so we that can identify some of these missing links that maybe in the transmission.

LEMON: Harm van Bakel, thank you so much. I appreciate that.

VAN BAKEL: Thank you.

LEMON: At least 1,800 coronavirus deaths were reported in this country in just the last 24 hours.

Erica Hill has the story of what states are doing to get the death toll down.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: Empty streets, shuttered businesses, lives on hold. Signs of a long road ahead.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The flattening of the curve last night happened because of what we did yesterday. If we stop acting the way we're acting you will see the numbers go up.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HILL: California's early efforts gaining praise for slowing the

spread. As one northern county says sports are likely on hold through Thanksgiving.

In Chicago, more than 400 cases are linked to the Cook County jail. Making it one the county's largest sources of infection as the city opens up a 66,000 square foot refrigerated warehouse to ease overcrowding at morgues.

Positive cases now confirmed aboard three aircraft carriers. And the National Guard deployed to two New Jersey veterans' homes with dozens of positive cases and at least 12 deaths.

Meantime, the city of Philadelphia pushing back on claims it's a potential new hotspot.


THOMAS FARLEY, PHILADELPHIA HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We're not or by any means. And I'm hopeful that the social distancing steps we put in place few weeks ago are showing some signs of working.


HILL: New Jersey tightening statewide measures. Face coverings for all customers and employees at essential businesses like grocery stores and pharmacies. Strict limits on capacity and gatherings. Nevada limiting the size of religious gatherings as Louisiana doubles down.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): There was no Easter exemption from the stay-at-home order. There was no Easter exemption from the 10-person limit.


HILL: The Kansas governor tried to do the same by executive order, only to be overruled by the state's legislative coordinating council which claimed it went too far by, quote, "singling out one entity and limiting the free exercise of religion."


MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're calling on every American in every state, first to listen to your state and local authorities. But right after that, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. And know that in so doing we'll hasten the day. We'll hasten the day that we put the coronavirus in the past and we reopen our country.



HILL: The White House task force already working on a plan for that reopening, possibly in matter of weeks as experts and those on the frontlines urge caution.


WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: I'm concerned that we're setting dates and not listening to the virus. The virus is going to tell us when it's safe to open up again.

SIMONE HANNAH-CLARK, ICU NURSE, MT. SINAI HOSPITAL: Everyone has to stay home and treat themselves like they are positive for COVID-19.


HILL: Don, we talk so much about the Javits Center behind me. Those 2,500 beds available for COVID-19 patients. Just over a hundred or so are being used at this point. But the city needs help in other areas.

And so, we learned today that at least 75 of the military medical personnel who've been deployed here have actually been sent to help relieve the strain on medical personnel at hospitals around the city here in New York. Don?

LEMON: Erica, thank you very much.

Nearly 17 million people filing for unemployment over the past three weeks. A huge economic toll coronavirus is taking. Next.



LEMON: Unemployment claims surging along with the coronavirus pandemic. Another 6.6 million people filing for unemployment benefits last week according to new data from the Department of Labor.

So, when you combine that with data from the previous two weeks that 16.8 million people filing. Think about that. There are now almost 17 million Americans who are now out of work in just a few weeks.

Joining me now is Robert Reich, he's a former secretary of labor and the author of "The System: Who Rigged it, How We Fix it." Good evening, sir. I appreciate you joining us.


LEMON: What a mess. What a mess. Another 5.6 million Americans filing for unemployment. We're now looking at 11 percent of the labor force out of work. You were labor secretary. How would you describe how big of an emergency this is?

REICH: Well, this is unprecedented. Certainly, unprecedented in anyone's lifetime today. And I worry that there's no let up here. We're hemorrhaging jobs. Small businesses are closing at a very, very rapid rate. We could easily see about 30 percent of the entire American workforce out of work at this rate.

LEMON: Wow. Thirty percent. So, OK, then how -- how are these weekly jobless reports even capturing the whole picture of what is happening then? Because they're going to have to be revisions if you're saying that we're going to see 30 percent of people out of work.

REICH: Well, they don't capture everyone. Many people are not eligible for unemployment insurance. A lot of people can't even get through because the phone lines are jammed. There are long lines. The web sites in many states are crashing.

But beyond that, we are seeing more and more businesses closing. And especially small businesses. Small businesses really are the employers of the most of our hourly workers. And I'm talking about restaurants, retail establishments, hotels, huge numbers of relatively low wage workers are losing their jobs at an astounding rate.

LEMON: So, Robert, if this is unprecedented and you're saying it's going to be 30 percent of the -- you said 30 percent of the workforce? Right? Is that what you're saying?


LEMON: Right? How do we even -- how do we quantify this? I mean, how do you -- how do you put this into perspective? Do we -- is there even a way to do it? What does this mean for us? What does this mean for the economy?

REICH: Well, to point in some perspective. In the worst area -- the worst times in the Great Depression of the 1930s. twenty-five percent of the workforce was unemployed. But it's important to understand that this is not your typical recession or depression. This is a pandemic. This is brought on by a public health crisis.

And the most important thing we can do is have people stay home. And the way to stay home for most people is either losing their jobs or getting furloughed. And the problem is that it's a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because obviously the more people who are scared, justifiably about this pandemic, the less shopping they're going to do, the less willing they are to get out there. Their own incomes are jeopardized.

And you can see how the interlocking relationship of the public health crisis with an economic crisis makes everything worse and worse. We're not going to be able to do anything about the job problem right now, Don. And we have a public health problem that takes precedence. But it's vitally important that we get money to people so they can pay their bills, so they can buy food, so they can keep a roof over their heads.

LEMON: OK. So, this new round of economic funding, so to speak, this new rescue package that Congress is working on, what do they need to do then? What should be in it?

REICH: Well, both the Democrats and Republicans seem to agree that there needs to be more small business funding. And one of the problems for small businesses is that the funding has taken even with the funding that's there and available is still not actually out the door. It requires the banks get involved and it's very hard to get the banks involved.


REICH: And so -- again, Don, are you still there?

LEMON: Yes. We're having trouble with your signals. And it seems like someone is calling for you. On that note, though, we'll take a break. And we'll let you go. And we'll see you next time. Robert Reich, thank you so much.

REICH: OK. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: We appreciate it.


LEMON: Officials saying today reopening the country won't be a one- size-fits-all solution. We're going to dig into the different scenarios. That's next.



LEMON: Breaking news tonight. A top scientific advisory panel warning the White House that coronavirus tests aren't perfect. A letter sent by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences saying that the current tests for coronavirus infection sometimes miss, they miss positive cases.

Let's get right to it with Richard Quest, CNN business -- CNN's business editor-at-large, and Dr. Brian Williams, the co-director of the surgical intensive care unit at the University of the Chicago. Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much.

I want to start with you, doctor. And I just want to run this by you. Because in the letter that the academy cited one study of 51 coronavirus patients found that the test missed 16 of the cases. Do we have our doctor? Doctor, are you there?


Don't have it. OK. Well, we'll ask about that -- we'll ask about that when we get the doctor back. So Richard, let's talk about -- listen, it is not a surprise to see that there are -- sometimes there are false positives and sometimes there are false negatives. This seems to be a particularly high rate with 16 out of 51. When we get the doctor back, we will talk to him about that.

So Richard, let's talk to you about the people who are out of work and the unemployment and numbers, so on and so forth. Almost 17 million Americans filed for unemployment over the past three weeks. The economic damage done by the virus has been unlike anything that we have ever seen. How long do you think it will take for the economy to get going again after things reopen? Do we even really know the answer to this? RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, we don't, is the short answer, because as what (INAUDIBLE) said, we are in unprecedented times. We do know that it's not just like flicking a switch on and off. It was relatively easy. Painful and deeply disturbing when the governors announced they were closing restaurants, bars, and nonessential businesses.

That was the painful but easy bit relative to starting this whole thing up again because people have to be taken back onto work forces again. You have to re-establish supply chain. You have got to physically make sure your premises can open again. It won't be very long but it is going to have to be done slowly.

And at the back of everybody's mind, Don, is this, you can't do it too quickly in case the virus resurges, in case there's a second wave. So anybody who thinks that on August 12th or June 14th or whatever date it might be, we'll all be back to the races, I'm sorry, that is not the way it is going to be. It will be slow, it will be painful, and for businesses it will be bit by bit.

LEMON: And it would make our economic situation worse to reopen and then have this virus flare up again, correct? OK --

QUEST: Don, let's be clear about this. For us to in some shape or form not continue this stringent social distancing that the governor of New York talks about would be calamitous. If we open too soon and the virus gets another foothold, the economic pain will last into autumn and possibly beyond. No doubt about this. The short-term economic calamity gets us over having a long-term economic catastrophe.

LEMON: Yeah. Dr. Williams, you're with us now. I understand.


LEMON: Great. OK. So, you heard what -- 16 out of 51 gave a false negative when it was actually positive. What do you make of this testing situation?

WILLIAMS: Well, you have the false negative test that is concerning because these patients may think that they're actually negative when they're actually positive. And by being positive, I mean, they are still infectious and can infect other patients, which is important with what Mr. Quest said about this turning light switch on and off.

We start reopening the country. Knowing that these tests may be suspect, we'll need to have a more robust testing program. Therefore, as you open the country, as we are getting back to this what we call a new normal, not the old normal, then we need to be able to track who is actually infected and who their close contacts are, so that there's not another outbreak. So the term he's using for the financial calamity are actually translatable to what can happen as far as public health.

LEMON: Yeah. So how can you trust to open the country back up when you can't trust the test that they're use as a model to open the country and the economy back up, doctor?

WILLIAMS: That's what our public health experts are saying.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: We need to be very careful and mindful of how we open up the country.

LEMON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Like we said, it's not like flipping a switch on. We do this gradually and keep a close eye and monitor for testing with the broader population. And since the tests right now are suspects, that will require an even more robust monitoring system as we open up the country.

LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate it. My next guest says that death has never felt so close and so far away in the same breath. He is a doctor who now recovered from coronavirus. He's going to tell us his story.




LEMON: Americans are being advised that they should wear masks outside to protect themselves and others. But with masks desperately needed by health care workers, how can you make your own at home? CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how.


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm going to show you how to make a mask here. Take a bandana like this and you fold it. Make sure you fold it properly. Remember that you don't want to take a hospital workers' mask, and so I'm showing you this.

Remember that you should wear the mask if you go in public, only if you feel like you can't social distance. You don't need to wear this if you're just going for a walk, for example, by yourself. You also remember that you're doing this to try and prevent yourself from putting the virus into the air. Everyone has to behave like they have the virus. This is not necessarily to protect you. It's to protect others from you.


GUPTA: So for the bandana, here is a pro tip. Don't use smaller hairbands like this, but fine and big hairbands. Put one on either end, over here. Do this. And this is going to be a key move right here. Put it like this. Fold one end and really tuck it inside the other. Put in there like this.

This is not going to be a fashion statement. There you go. There's my bandana. It does the job. It keeps me from spreading the virus. If you take it off, it is like this. Pretend that the bandana is contaminated. Put it in the laundry.

If you have a mask like this, this is what my daughter made me, you have to learn how to tie it behind your head like surgeons do or get someone to do this for you. Preferably, do everything yourself. Again, I'm taking it off. Don't touch the front of the mask. Take it off, throw it in the laundry.

There are a lot of questions about gaiters. People have this. They can be effective, but here's the problem. A lot of people continuously adjust them. So be careful if you use one of these. Most of all is stay home as much as possible. Go out only if you have to. Wear a mask if you're going to be in a place where you can't socially distance. Stay safe, everybody.


LEMON: Coronavirus cases still rising in the U.S. Thousands of Americans are losing their lives. But we're also hearing stories of recovery. Some of them are harrowing. Dr. Charles Schleien is chair of the Pediatrics at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He spent weeks battling coronavirus. Doctor, thank you. I'm so glad that you recovered and you're doing well. Thank you so much for joining us.

You described what you went through in New York Times op-ed today writing this. You say, "For 12 days, I lived with burning lungs, malaise, no appetite and little gusto for life. One night, my oxygen saturation dipped. The next morning, I called colleagues for help." You were in the hospital for several days. Talk to me about your recovery.

CHARLES SCHLEIEN, CHAIR OF PEDIATRICS AT ZUCKER SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, HOFSTRA/NORTHWELL: You know, it was -- this has been obviously the strangest disease I have ever had. And, you know, it actually -- Don, it actually started off where I called friends after two days and said, nah, I feel like I had the flu, I'm pretty good, maybe we could play golf on Thursday or Friday.

About four or five days went by and that's what you describe that burning sensation just kept building up, building up, and that feeling of malaise. You know, you have heard that before. You just don't want to do anything. You don't want to get off the couch.

I had great friends and relatives that live right near me. They were bringing food, you know, couple times a day, leaving it on my step. I got to the point where I didn't even want to warm it up. So, then I had problems after that.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

SCHLEIEN: And I had been -- myself. I'm a physician. I had a pulse oximeter here, which was my wife's, who passed away a few months ago. I have been monitoring myself, you know, temperature and oxygen saturation, the oxygen sats. I told a lot of people, go out and buy this because it makes you feel great. You go to sleep and as sick as you are, you know you're stable and you know that your oxygen levels are fine. And then what happened, it's a Friday night, I put it on and rather than reading high 90s on -- I'm in the mid-low 90s, 92, 93. So I fell asleep, slept through the night, woke up. First thing I did was put the oximeter on. Now, it is reading 88, 87. I knew I was in trouble.

LEMON: Yeah.

SCHLEIEN: I know a lot. I actually have done intensive care on the pediatric side for my entire career.

LEMON: When did you go to the hospital? When did you decide that you need to go to the hospital because you knew you were in trouble?

SCHLEIEN: That moment. And I called my place and my colleagues. And I said, guys, you got to get an ambulance for me, I'm going down. That's really when fear started because, you know, I had been talking to people about everything that had been going on. I'm pretty well versed in the disease. The thought of, you know, proceeding to a ventilator obviously was scaring the wits out of me.

And I'm in the ambulance thinking, well, this could be the last time I see my house potentially. I mean, these were the things that were going through my head and given everything that has happened to me and my family over the last six, seven months, I didn't have a lot of faith that it wasn't going that route.


SCHLEIEN: I got to the emergency department and my saturation -- you know, they had me on oxygen for the whole ambulance ride. Saturation had come up with oxygen. The physicians came in, basically to start to talk to me about the potential for clinical trials, you know. I knew the drugs. You know, I originally had titled the article in the Times, you know, when you know too much, and -- you know, because that's my life, right?

LEMON: Yeah. Look, I got to -- I have been letting you go on because you have such a fascinating story. You lost your wife of 37 years to cancer. You said it's been -- it has taken a toll on you and your two sons. You know a lot about it. You have -- you talked about the dignity, trying to maintain your dignity. The health care workers, what they did about the testing. You wrote so much about it in this New York Times article.

I just want to give you the last word here on what you want to talk about most, if you can, in the short time that we have left. Health care workers or people getting through this or whatever you want to say, doctor.

SCHLEIEN: Yeah. I think what I wanted to say and I was so grateful you had me on because I just want to let people out there know, here I am, I am speaking. I am off oxygen. I have been off oxygen for a day. I'm feeling better and better every day. I'm already working by conference calls from home. I can be a little breathless at times but I know I'm going back to myself. I feel it. And I just want to give hope to everyone out there in the hospitals, people going into hospitals. And look, we know there's a lot of death around us and a lot of hardship. But, you know, I just want to give some hope to everybody who is teetering to say just keep fighting. Just keep fighting it. Stay awake. Just say to yourself I'm going to make it and I got to get through this. And, you know, some of us do. You know, it's not a death warrant necessarily.

LEMON: Thank you so much. We appreciate it. And you continue to get better. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

SCHLEIEN: Thanks so much.

LEMON: All right.

SCHLEIEN: I appreciate you having me. Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.




LEMON: Tonight, we're remembering Charlotte Figi. Sanjay Gupta has more on her life.


GUPTA (voice-over): For the last 20 years, I have straddled the world of medicine and journalism. And in both professions, I'm always reminded to stay objective, do your best work, but don't get too close. But with little Charlotte Figi, that was impossible. She just had this way about her. That smile, that giggle that just got you and captured your heart.

(On camera): Remember me?

(Voice-over): That was June 2019, the last time I saw charlotte, and she was doing great.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't imagine back then, imagine she would be 12 years old, and seeing her at 12 years old and what that would look like. She was dying.

GUPTA (voice-over): When I first met Charlotte, it was 2013, for our first film on medical marijuana called "Weed."

(On camera): Pitter-pat, tip toe. Creep-crawls in the cave.

(Voice-over): We had heard about this amazing 6-year-old from Colorado who had a rare form of epilepsy. She had a seizure every 30 minutes, every one potentially fatal. No treatment had worked. And then one day, desperate, her parents gave her a non-psychoactive ingredient from the cannabis plant called cannabidiol or CBD.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Charlotte's Web.

She didn't have a seizure that day. And then she didn't have a seizure that night. Yeah, I thought this is crazy.

GUPTA (voice-over): And it was at that moment people started to see that marijuana, which had been considered dangerous, could also be a therapy. She changed my mind and opened my eyes to the possibility that this was a legitimate medicine. And in the process, she changed the world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably the most important thing I'll ever do was to help my own child and then share that information to help others.

GUPTA (voice-over): Charlotte Figi was the entire CBD movement wrapped up into a sweet little girl with a big smile and an even bigger heart. Her story changed policy about cannabis. States were inspired by the story of Charlotte Figi and made CBD more accessible around the United States to treat epilepsy. And in turn, scientists around the world wanted to study Charlotte's special CBD oil, research that before Charlotte, no one really seemed that interested in doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was begging researchers and physicians to work with us and help us understand the phenomenon that we were seeing, and they absolutely wouldn't even talk to us. We were laughed out of rooms. Now, they beg to research our product.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's happy being outside.


GUPTA (voice-over): Charlotte lived her short life to the fullest. And while she was almost this mythical miracle, she was also just a little girl, who loved to go tandem biking with her mom.


GUPTA (voice-over): And while the last month was not easy, she had symptoms of COVID-19 while never testing positive, she eventually developed pneumonia, which once again unleashed her seizures. Her mother, Paige, says Charlotte was still smiling and happy until the very end when a seizure became more than her fragile little body could handle.

Charlotte's life ended just as it began, in her mother's arms, surrounded by family who loved her, cherished her, and protected her, all forever changed by this little girl, who forever changed the world and everyone like me, who were caught in her glorious orbit. Please rest in peace, Charlotte.


GUPTA: You know, Don, I was speaking to this reverend today, Reverend Jen Bailey, and she was reminding me that grief is always part of the journey and that if you don't shy away from grief, it allows you to actually feel more deeply for people, feel more deeply for Charlotte.

And that's what putting together this piece, I think, actually did for me. It allowed me to really fully experience that grief. And I'll always be thankful. I'm going to miss Charlotte. I'll always be thankful to both Charlotte and her mom for letting me be a part of their life. Don?

LEMON: Thank you, Sanjay. And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.