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FDA Authorizes Third COVID-19 Vaccine For Emergency Use; George Takei On Rise Of Attacks Of Asian Americans; CPAC Becomes Base For Trump Reboot With His Speech Tomorrow; U.S. Intel: Saudi Crown Prince Approved Operation That Killed Jamal Khashoggi; New Government Study Targets COVID Long-Haul Symptoms; NYT Reports Governor Cuomo Accused Of Sexual Harassment By A Second Former Aide. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 27, 2021 - 19:00   ET




PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Well, tonight, we remember a very special victim of the Coronavirus Sir Tom Moore was 100-years-old when he died earlier this month soon after testing positive for COVID-19. More captured the hearts of the world when he walked 100 laps in his backyard to raise money for Britain's National Health Service.

Well, he was set out to raise about $1300 but ended up raising almost $45 million. Captain Tom Moore's funeral was today in Bedfordshire, England, where he was honored by a Royal Air Force flyby, which is usually reserved for royalty or heads of state, our deepest condolences to his family.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. It's shaping up to be a busy Saturday night. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are here live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Breaking News Tonight a third COVID-19 vaccine is one step closer to reality tonight, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine.

I want to get straight to CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard who is going to break down the next steps for us. So what do we need to know Jacqueline?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Pamela, you're right. There are some next steps. So now that the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization for this vaccine. We're next going to hear from the CDC. Here's the timeline of what's going to happen.

Tomorrow, an Advisory Committee to the CDC is going to meet and discuss how the vaccine can be used? Are there certain groups that should be prioritized for access? What should the distribution or storage look like that will all be discussed and then the Advisory Committee on immunization practices is going to vote on their recommendations. And that vote is going to go to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. It's then going to be up to Dr. Walensky to sign off on the recommendations. And only then Pamela can sharp shots start going into arms?

BROWN: That is the big question. I mean, when is that going to happen? When will the public start getting the first Johnson & Johnson shots?

HOWARD: We could see that within a few days. Once the CDC makes its recommendation, we could see that began to happen early in the week. Now here's what the rollout will look like. We do know that there are 3.9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine ready to be shipped out immediately according to Johnson and Johnson.

Within those 3.9 million, here's how they will be allocated about 2.8 million will go to states 800,000 to retail pharmacies, 90,000 to federally qualified health centers, and then 70,000 to community vaccine centers. And Pamela it's really interesting that 3.9 million, it's almost 4 million doses.

That represents about 25 percent of the current capacity we have per week for vaccinations. So this rollout could drastically increase how many vaccine doses we have available to get into arms.

BROWN: Right. And we know that Johnson & Johnson is going to be ramping up the manufacturing of these vaccines. So there will be more available. But the big question too is how safe is the J&J vaccine?

HOWARD: That is a big question. And it's interesting Pamela in the FDA announcement that just came out regarding this emergency use authorization Dr. Peter Marks the Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. He says this "After a thorough analysis of the data that FDA scientists and physicians have determined that the FDA - that the vaccine excuse me, meets the FDA expectations for safety and effectiveness"

So he's basically saying here that this authorization does give the FDA's a sign off that this is a safe vaccine. Now in the Johnson & Johnson trials what has been found is that here is some of the common side effects pain at the injection site headache, fatigue, muscle pain, and serious adverse events were in frequent there was one incident of anaphylactic reaction, Pamela.

BROWN: OK. Thank you so much, Jacqueline Howard. We appreciate it. And by the way, we're waiting for a statement from the White House about this emergency authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Wilmington, Delaware, where the President and First Lady are spending the remainder of the weekend.

So Arlette the Biden Administration is already on track. It already is exceeding its goal of 100 million shots in 100 days. What does the addition of this new third vaccine mean?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, we actually just heard moments ago from President Biden praising this new announcement as really this Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just another tool in the country's toolbox in defeating this pandemic.


SAENZ: I want to read you a little bit of what the President had to say. He said this is exciting news for all Americans, and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring an end to the crisis. He went on to thank the scientists and those involved in developing this vaccine and add it at the end that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

But we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable. We must continue to remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That is how we are going to reach that light together. But the President here really honing in on the importance of these vaccinations in getting the pandemic under control.

And as you heard Jacqueline, talking about the administration has been working on a rollout plan for when this vaccine was approved as there is now a third vaccine that Americans will have access to. You heard the White House COVID Coordinator, Jeff Zients earlier in the week saying that they would be ready to ship out about 3 to 4 million doses of this vaccine.

And yesterday in Houston as the president was promoting vaccinations, he talked about how they will focus on ramping up manufacturing of this vaccine as well as they're trying to get the shots out to Americans as quickly as possible.

BROWN: All right, Arlette Saenz, live for us from Wilmington. Thanks so much Arlette. In just a moment I'll speak to a COVID long hauler about his year of hell fighting the effects of this illness, hear his story and hear his advice for others who need help. That's later this hour.

And the Conservative Political Action Conference is looking very much like a Trump reunion tour. This weekend all teed up the main event tomorrow, when the twice impeach former president tries to make a triumphant return to the public eye.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today defended the administration's so called America first policies while lashing out at the new president.


MIKE POMPEO, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: President Biden saying America is back, back to what so? Back to pallet - back two pallets of cash to the Ayatollah so we can build missiles that threaten us. Back to apologizing when Iranians tell our soldiers and sailors to take to their knees at gunpoint? You all know these four years are going to test us I'll be with you in the fight.


BROWN: Pompeo made no reference to the airstrike that President Biden ordered this week against Iranian backed militia sites in Syria. For the hardcore Trump faithful this will be the first real chance for them to root him on in person since January 6th, the riots.

Donie O'Sullivan is in Orlando. And Donie the president is coming off his second impeachment after losing the White House. But the supporters they're at CPAC you have spoken to that they don't see that as an issue at all.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Not at all Pamela. They are extremely excited to see President Trump here tomorrow. They are very, very excited to hear from him. And we spoke to some of his supporters outside of CPAC earlier today. Have a listen.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): What are you hoping to hear from Trump tomorrow?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It'll just be good to hear and see him in person out in public again. I think we all need it. The energy that we feed off each other, he feeds off our energy, we feed off his energy.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): But what do you think of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all need to go every single one of them.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Who's going to replace him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. But there's got to be people that are behind this movement that are for America for America. This is not even about Trump anymore. This is about saving our country.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: America first agenda has hijacked the Republican Party. We don't want to speak against America go against.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): What do you think of Republicans like Liz Cheney right now?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a looser. She spoke against the party, we don't want her.


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): What is it that you guys want to hear from Trump tomorrow?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want to hear from him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know we're waiting to hear the next step. We're all looking for guidance. (END VIDEO CLIP)

O'SULLIVAN: And there you have it, you hear you know, some of the most politically active people in the United States, people who spend their Saturdays gathering outside events like CPAC waiting until tomorrow to get their marching orders from the person that they view as their leader, President Trump.

And so will we're likely to hear from the president, of course, tomorrow, continuing to perpetuate that conspiracy theory that he didn't actually lose the election. But very, very important is how he sets the narrative.

In terms of what conspiracy theories he chooses to continue to focus on what elements of us and what he is deciding to do about his own political future?

BROWN: Yes, and as we've seen, he's been fundraising off the election lie the big election lie and it appears he will continue to do so. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you for coming on and breaking down that report for us.


BROWN: And meantime, we are seeing a troubling rise of attacks on Asian Americans across the country. I'll talk to Actor and Activist George Takei. As a child during World War II he spent time in internment camps right here in the United States. And I'm going to ask him about this recent spike of attacks.

Plus Jamal Khashoggi's fiance says she is more devastated than ever after a U.S. Intel report directly blamed his murder on the Saudi Crown Prince. Now President Biden finds himself navigating a broad relationship with Saudi Arabia.


BROWN: Well tonight two big tests for each of the major political parties. Can the GOP start its long comeback by embracing rather than shunning Donald Trump and will Democrats stay united as a key part of the massive COVID bill passed overnight is about to get stripped away and the Senate for the minimum wage increase?


BROWN: With me now our CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein. He's also a Senior Editor at "The Atlantic", also CNN Political Commentator, Margaret Hoover. She's also the host of "Firing Line" on PBS. So much ground to cover so I'm going to jump right into Iran, I want you to hear something from CPAC that may be very telling.

This is Indiana Congressman Jim Banks sitting next to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is working to patch things up with Trump after their shouting match, during the riot and McCarthy blame Trump for the attack. Let's listen.


REP. JIM BANKS (R-IN): The most popular Republican figure in Congress today is Kevin McCarthy. Let me tell you who the least popular Republicans in the party are today. There are those few very few men--

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's deterring there's deterring out there, I just want you to notice.

BANKS: --very few Republicans the least popular in our party are the ones who want to erase Donald Trump and Donald Trump's supporters from our party. If that happens, we will win back the majority in 2022.


BROWN: So Ron isn't really Trump or bust for the GOP moving forward?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think so. I mean, I think this narrative of a GOP civil war is way overrated. If there was an impulse toward resisting Trump, it has been crushed, like Hungary in 1956 with tanks rolling over.

You look at the polling three quarters of Republican voters say they want Trump to maintain a dominant role in the party going forward. You look at the states, in state after state Republican legislators are voting in lockstep for the greatest wave of voter suppression probably since the Jim Crow South, all resting on the unfounded claims of voter fraud from the president.

You have Mitch McConnell, basically waving the white flag and saying, If Donald Trump is the nominee in 2024, he will, he will support him. I think the only issue that is really on the table is we do know that somewhere between one fifth and one quarter of Republican traditionally Republican voters are uneasy with the way Trump is defining the party in this kind of nativist authoritarian mold.

And the question is do they accept a subordinate role in the party? Do they do they in effect, surrender to the dominant Trump wing? Or do they begin to kind of drift where the Democrats will look for other ways to express their political views?

BROWN: So once again, Margaret, you're seeing Trump defy the norms being typically a president who would lose the White House wouldn't be center stage, like this, like Trump is with so much support? What do you make of that and what Ron laid out there?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I got to push back on the conclusion Ron drew? Well, he is right at this moment in time, the snapshot is that Donald Trump still owns the party. Nobody can question that. All of Ron's statistics are correct.

Look at CPAC; look at even the massive about face that Mitch McConnell made after having made a speech placing the blame of the Capitol riots at his feet said that he would support him as the nominee of the party in 2024. So it's true. Donald Trump owns this moment.

But it is a snapshot and it is not a fait accompli that this will carry forth to 2022 or 2024. There is a lot of time between now and then there's a lot that could happen. New York State now has Donald Trump's tax returns, criminal investigations will continue at the state and federal level.

And so - people like Liz Cheney, and Ben Sasse and brave, courageous Republicans who are not just 25 percent who are uneasy, but actually don't believe that Trump has a role in the future of the party haven't had their moment to flex their muscle and see if they can influence the direction of the party.

So this is none. And well, Trump owns the moment. He does not own the future of the party, according to still at least a quarter of the same Republicans and I'll at least point to the Senate.

BROWN: So but what we are seeing is those Republicans who have flex their muscles who have gone against Trump are being punished by their party back in their home state we just saw today with Ben Sasse. I mean, that is the dynamic at play here.

And you know, you brought up an important part point, Margaret and that is what if I mean, there's lots going on legally for Donald Trump, right? I mean, he is facing Ron about a dozen possible legal landmines. But do Republicans actually care?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, I'm going to offer a friendly amendment to Margaret because I agree, actually, in part and, and still differ and others. I agree that it - I don't think it's necessarily for a day that Donald Trump personally is going to be the Republican nominee in 2024.

You know, he's going to be 78 years old. As she said, a lot can happen. He's facing legal exposure on a variety of fronts. But what I do think the challenge Republicans face is that he is reconfigured the party and it was already being reconstructed.


BROWNSTEIN: But he has accelerated the kind of the transformation of its coalition in a way that as pushed out some of those white collar economically conservative culturally and racially moderate voters, who would be the basis for kind of a counter attack on Trumpism in the party from Sasse or Cheney or anyone else.

And he's left the party even more dependent on the voters who are the most uneasy with the way America is changing those non urban non college and evangelical whites and you know, if you look at the polling, two thirds of Republicans now say discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against minorities.

Three fifths agree that immigrants are invading that word, our country and replacing our culture. If that is the GOP coalition, the structural problem is that even if it's not Trump - 2024 it's going to be hard for someone who kind of rejects those core principles of Trumpism, I think, to be the winner in the ultimate battle for the nomination.

BROWN: Right. Because, again, you make a really important point, if it's not Trump, there are so many others. There's Donald Trump Jr. There are so many others in his world now in Trump world that we're seeing speak on the stage at CPAC Margaret? I mean, so what do you say to that? So you're saying--

HOOVER: --amendment for Ron's statement, which is that you know Ron's right? What he - how he characterizes Republicans, especially based on the polling and their sensibilities right now is correct. It's just that the pool of Republicans is getting smaller and smaller.

I mean, you saw thousands of Republicans deregister in Colorado and across the country in the wake of Donald Trump's loss and the Capitol interaction and the loss of Republican in the Senate. So if the pie continues to get smaller, what the Republican Party ought to do is follow the bold and courageous truth tellers in the party.

And the ones who have been successful in blue states, the three most popular Governors in this country are Republican Governors in blue states. We have to follow up that playbook build out from the center when African - historically large numbers of African Americans voted for Larry Hogan in Maryland, you know, so there is a playbook for this. It's just not one that can win with the basis where the tango.

BROWN: I wish--

BROWNSTEIN: Can I tell one quick point, Brown just real quick.

BROWN: Go ahead.

BROWNSTEIN: Rather than trying to expand what are we seeing since the election? We are seeing the most towering wave of voter suppression laws moving forward in states like Georgia, Arizona, Texas, others, Iowa, Florida, potentially, where Republicans are basically saying rather than trying to speak to this changing America.

They are imposing really; I think the most severe restrictions rolling back mail balloting, rolling back automatic voter registration, reducing the days of early voting in Georgia trying to at one point to completely eliminate Sunday voting back souls to the polls.

BROWN: Sunday voting, right.

BROWNSTEIN: So rather than trying - the vision, I think the Trumpian vision in the GOP is that they can win, they can win majority power without majority support by changing the rules of the game. And that's why this vote this week on HR1, the Democratic bill that would establish kind of a nationwide baseline of voting rights may be the most significant thing that happens in the Congress other than COVID relief.

Whether Democrats can ultimately get that through the Senate, which would require in almost all likelihood, convincing Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and the filibuster, at least for these laws relating directly to how the rules of the road to how American elections are run?

Because otherwise, Republicans, I think, are on a path where they believe they can maintain majority control, even without majority support by reading the rules of the game.

BROWN: Well, there are so many Republican majority legislators now across the country, and we're seeing them uses the big election lie as an excuse to crack down on voting. So we're actually going to be covering that we're going to do a whole segment on that on the show next week.

And I'm glad you brought that up Ron Brownstein. Margaret Hoover, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Great to see you both lively but civil discussion I appreciate it guys.

Well, President Biden is under fire for talking tough but failing to punish all those responsible for the brutal murder of a Saudi journalist. Now we hear the White House plans a big announcement on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. We'll be right back with more after this break.



BROWN: In October of 2018 Washington Post Columnist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork for his upcoming marriage. He was never seen again. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has long been suspected of ordering Khashoggi's killing.

On Friday, President Biden released the declassified intelligence report confirming it. CNN's Nic Robertson has the timeline of a cold blooded hit and subsequent cover up.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It was October of 2018 when Jamal Khashoggi took these fateful steps into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. A Saudi hit team had arrived a few hours ahead of him.

The hit team included Intelligence Officer Maha Abdulaziz Mutreb in charge, Forensic Dr. Salim Mohammed Al - and more than a dozen others, including Mustafa Al Madani the body double, who dressed in Khashoggi, his clothes left by the back door laying a false trail.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): In reality, Khashoggi had been killed minutes after entering the building. His last words after being attacked, "I can't breathe. I can't breathe," before he was dismembered by Dr. Tubaigy's bone saw.

His remains were believed to be driven off in black van shortly after, from the consulate to the nearby Consul General's residence. His girlfriend waiting outside, raise the alarm.

Turkish authorities listened to audio recordings from the consulate then rushed to the airport, questioning members of the hit team about to leave on private jets and searching some of their baggage, but found nothing and let them leave. In the following days, the Saudi government denied killing Khashoggi.

The Consul General even taking reporters on a hooky tour of the consulate.

Eventually, 16 days later, Saudi authorities finally gave Turkish investigators permission to search the consulate and the Consul General's house. There was evidence of a cover up, but no body.

In the coming weeks, local farms were searched. A consular vehicle recovered from an underground carpark, but still no leads.

All questions led back to Saudi where the hit team fled.

Finally, after more than two and a half weeks, Saudi authorities admitted Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials.

ADEL AL JUBEIR, SAUDI MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: He was killed in the consulate. We don't know in terms of details how. We don't know where the body is.

ROBERTSON (voice over): They called it a rendition gone wrong, an accident, saying local collaborators had the body although they never provided the names or evidence.

Months later, a U.N. investigation finds credible evidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could bear responsibility in the killing.

The C.I.A. concludes, he personally ordered it. Both accusations the Saudis flatly deny. In December 2019, Saudi authorities said they've investigated 11 suspects in the murder, eight are found guilty in a closed door trial.

Ultimately, they are sentenced to time in prison. But the most high profile defendants see their charges dismissed. Among them, two close confidants of Mohammed bin Salman, further distancing Saudis top royal from the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

Nic Robertson, CNN.


BROWN: And during a heartbreaking interview with our Christiane Amanpour yesterday, Jamal Khashoggi's fiancee reacted to the release of the Intelligence report.


HATICE CENGIZ, FIANCEE OF JAMAL KHASHOGGI: I am -- I am devastated than ever before. No, no, I -- I believe he will never come back.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: You tweeted "Justice for Jamal" in one of those beautiful pictures that you put out.

CENGIZ: Yes, I took it, in our house. I took it, yes, and the most, most beautiful teacher of Jamal. So I would like to see the world leaders, to take an action for justice for Jamal. I can say that just now.


BROWN: Well, she will have to keep waiting for justice. Yesterday, President Biden chose not to punish Mohammed bin Salman.

The administration rolled out new visa restrictions and some new sanctions for those close to the Crown Prince, but no punishment for the one person we now know was behind Khashoggi's murder.

For the record, Biden previously criticized Trump's tepid response to the case. And during the campaign, he promised harsh punishment.


QUESTION: Should there be consequences?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Absolutely, positively. This was a permanent American resident. I just don't know why we -- this administration seems to feel the need to coddle autocrats and dictators.

I would make it very clear, we were not going to in fact, sell more weapons to them. We were going to in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they are.

There's very little social redeeming value of -- in the present government in Saudi Arabia.

They have to be held accountable.


BROWN: But instead of direct action from the administration against MBS, we're getting a bunch of qualifiers.


BIDEN: We are going to hold them accountable for human rights abuses, and we're going to make sure that they in fact, if they want to deal with us, they have to deal with it in a way that a human rights abusers are dealt with.

QUESTION: President Biden, are you going to punish the Crown Prince?

BIDEN: You'll see the -- there'll be an announcement on Monday about what we're going to be doing with Saudi Arabia generally.



BROWN: We don't expect that announcement though to be directly targeting MBS, but we should note that under Trump, the C.I.A. concluded the Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi's killing, Trump turned a blind eye as we know, as our Kaitlan Collins points out, "Regarding whether MBS knew, Trump said in a statement at the time, maybe he did, and maybe he didn't," even though the C.I.A. was assessing that he in fact did and that was leaked out to a reporter from "The New York Times."

It is a good thing that Biden is being direct about who is responsible in stark contrast to Trump, but that transparency doesn't matter if the outcome is the same.

Mohammed bin Salman is facing zero consequences for orchestrating the execution of a journalist.

Meantime, the coronavirus affects everyone differently as we know. For some, it may never go away completely.

My next guest has been battling the virus for what he calls a year of hell, and he is afraid it may stay with him for the rest of his life. We'll be back.



BROWN: More than 28 million people in America have been infected with coronavirus, and a new study found up to 30 percent of them feel the effects up to nine months later, with symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.

This week, the National Institutes of Health announced a plan to study the mysterious COVID long-haul syndrome. Here's Dr. Anthony Fauci explaining the urgency.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: It is extremely important to take a look at these individuals not only the scope of this, and not only you know the depth and breadth of the symptoms, but also to try and have some correlate that actually is the pathophysiological correlate.

Once we get that, an important part of this as I mentioned would be to design therapeutic approaches, hopefully, by medications that we already have. We just need to know how to use them.


BROWN: Yahoo News senior editor, Ed Hornick share details of his treacherous year-long battle with COVID's after effects writing, "I'm at the center of a medical mystery that has stumped experts and left me with agonizing chronic pain, relentless fatigue, terrifying brain fog and an underlying fear that I may never get better. What if this is as good as it gets for me? I'm only 40 years old."

Ed Hornick joins me now. Ed, thank you for coming on. What a year it has been for you. Your initial bout with coronavirus was more than a year ago. If you would walk us through some of the symptoms you're still dealing with now. ED HORNICK, YAHOO NEWS SENIOR EDITOR: Sure. Thanks for having me. It's

been quite a journey. I still wake up every day with fatigue that never seems to go away.

The brain fog, which I've had, since I would say May 1st has gotten a lot better, but it still is there. It is up to me to sort of do some brain exercises for my own self, but for the most part, the fatigue is there. I get daily debilitating migraine headaches.

And there's just a general sense that, you know, I'm struggling to sort of maintain a normalcy in my life to do regular things like, you know, do work, you know, go out to get medicine, things like that. And it's made doing regular things that much more difficult.

BROWN: I imagine when you wake up in the morning, you're thinking okay, could I feel better today? Or am I going to have another really tough day where I'm just logging through?

You know, I can't imagine what that's like every day waking up going through this day after day. But have some of the effects lessened over time? Or has it just been constant?

HORNICK: It's definitely been constant for me, and that's been, I think, the hardest part is waking up every day, it's like Groundhog Day. It's one of those things where you're like, okay, is this going to be over now?

Because a lot of times early on in this, my doctors would say okay, well, you know, this is to be expected, a post viral syndrome is to be expected after something as big as coronavirus.

And so I said, okay, okay, it's two weeks, and then two weeks became two months, and then two months became 10 months, and then now it's going on almost a year of having the post COVID syndrome.

And I'm starting to wonder, you know, am I in this for the long haul? Or is this really, you know, something that will go away magically overnight? And that is something a lot of long haulers like myself are grappling with. Are we permanently disabled? Or are we, you know, going to wake up one day and find out we have all this energy?

BROWN: Right.

HORNICK: And that is something that is really just remarkable.

BROWN: And what makes it so difficult, though, is that you can't really pinpoint something specific. It's not like a rash or something that you can see and say, oh, look at this. It's all a little bit nebulous. It's brain fog and fatigue.

And I know doctors have questioned you, have you ever questioned whether this is all in your head?

HORNICK: Sure. I was just saying to one of my friends the other day that, you know, sometimes I think I'm going a little crazy, because all the diagnostic tests will say, oh, you're normal. Or, you know, your doctor will say, well, we've done every test.

And then, you know, I turn to the online support groups that I'm part of, and I talk to other people and they say, you know, I've had the same experience, and no, you're not going crazy. This is actually something that I, too, have experienced and I think when you find your community and you start to see that hundreds of thousands of people are all saying the same thing, it can't just be all in your head, it can't just be hysteria.

That it's actually something that's actually physically happening. And it's something that we can turn to, to the other communities that have faced this in history, people with chronic fatigue syndrome, people with lupus, people who have had these syndromes that when they first came out, people, you know, really derided it as being in their head.

And then with further research, they found out actually it's a lot more physical and it actually is a syndrome.


BROWN: Well, Ed Hornick, I hope that this ends soon for you, that you wake up one morning and you feel great and have even more energy than you did before. I hope that for you and all the other long haulers who are dealing with this right now. Thank you so much for coming on.

HORNICK: Thank you. Thank you.

BROWN: And we have some more breaking news coming into the CNN NEWSROOM right now.

"The New York Times" is reporting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is now being accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide.

We'll have more on that as soon as we come back.



BROWN: Breaking news just in, "The New York Times" is reporting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is being accused of sexual harassment by a second former aide.

This woman tells "The New York Times" that Governor Cuomo harassed her late last spring. The former executive assistant and health policy adviser for Cuomo claims when she was alone in the office with him, he asked her if she, quote, "had ever been with an older man." She left the job in November.

In a statement to "The New York Times" today, Cuomo denied making advances toward the accuser and adds quote, "Nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate."

Notably Cuomo has now called for an independent review of this matter, and earlier this week, Cuomo denied allegations recently made by a separate former aide who accused him of sexually harassing her in 2018.

Joining me now CNN political commentator, and political anchor for "Spectrum News," Errol Louis.

Errol has covered New York politics for many years now. So on that note, what is your reaction to the second accuser now coming out against Governor Cuomo, Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The reaction I think is going to be universal throughout the political class in New York, which is uh-oh, you know, one accusation is a problem, two is a real problem. And the credibility of course of both accusers is assumed upfront, that's kind of the way the mood, I think, in New York is these days that women need to be believed.

And that past instances in the Capitol where they weren't taken seriously, they've taken a lot of steps to try and change that. So in this new environment, you take them seriously, and the governor has a real problem.

BROWN: And this comes as we are learning about the scandal, the nursing home deaths, and so forth. This is piling up. How do you think, though, that this investigation into himself will actually play out? As I said earlier, he is calling for an investigation into these accusations.

LOUIS: Yes. But you know, the problem in New York, it's probably true in other states as well is that, it's not clear what is the appropriate forum, where's the place that has the jurisdiction to try and mount a truly independent investigation? The Governor tonight is calling for a retired Federal Judge, someone of impeccable qualities and reputation to look into it. That's a good first start.

But it's -- you know, we hope that it'll be quick. We hope that it'll be honest, we hope that it will be truly independent and we hope that we'll get some resolution on this.

Now, if other accusers begin to come forward as well. It becomes unclear how broad the investigation would have to be whether or not staff would have to be allocated to it, how much this would cost?

You know, and all this is happening, Pamela, right before an election year. The Governor is up for re-election next year and so it's a very tricky time. It's a very difficult time as we're fighting the pandemic to be facing these kinds of accusations.

BROWN: Just to think about where he was a year ago when this pandemic was just starting, he was holding those daily press conferences and where things are now for him.

All right, Errol Louis, thanks so much for coming on breaking that down for us.

And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Still ahead on this Saturday night, tears of joy and a moment of sheer happiness, a young student gets the news that she has been waiting for since nearly the start of the pandemic.


BROWN: You'll see what happened right before that emotional moment when we come back.


BROWN: Well, as we have all experienced, so much has been put on hold because of the pandemic. Careers, education, for so many, just life in general. But take a minute and think what this means to children.

A video just posted online shows a mom breaking the news to her young daughter that a bit of her life will be returning soon. Watch, but have some tissues ready.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three hundred and fifty-eight days. Long time, right? A lot has happened since March 2020. School got canceled on the third of -- the 13th of 2020.

But we have some news.

Guess what?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are getting a dog?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is 03/03/2021?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This year on the third of March.