Return to Transcripts main page


NY Governor, NYC Mayor Hold Press Conference on First Positive Case of Ebola in New York

Aired October 23, 2014 - 21:50   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And there is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on the left, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo for this press conference where we're going to learn the latest on Dr. Spencer and New York's reaction to how they are dealing with this, the first positive case of Ebola in the City of New York.

Let's listen in.

BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK'S MAYOR: Good evening (inaudible) I just want note we are joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo, by Health Commissioner Mary Bassett of city of New York, Health Commissioner Howard Zucker at the state of New York, the President of the Health and Hospitals Corporation of New York City, Dr. Ramanathan Raju, and on the phone Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Senators for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Frieden addresses afternoon remarks by the rest of us.

Today testing confirmed that a patient here in New York City had tested positive for Ebola. The patient is now here in Bellevue Hospital. We want to state at the outset there was no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed. Ebola is an extremely hard disease to contract. It's transmitted only through in contact with an effected person's blood or other bodily fluids, not through casual contact.

New Yorkers who have not been exposed to an effected person's bodily fluids are not at all at risk. And we want to emphasize that New York as world strongest public health system, the world's leading medical experts and the world's most advance medical equipment.

We've been preparing for months for the threat imposed by Ebola. We have clear and strong protocols which are being (inaudible) followed and were followed in this instance. And Bellevue Hospital is specially designed for isolation patient treatment of Ebola patients. Every hospital in the city is prepared in the even that other patients come forward.

The patient in question is a doctor who has worked for Ebola patients in West Africa and when his symptoms emerged he was taken to Bellevue by specially trained emergency medical service workers who followed all transport protocols.

The patient is now in isolation. The health department has a team, a disease detective who has been at work, tracing all of the patient's contacts and we are prepared to quarantine contacts as necessary. There have been reports about the patient's movement, again, these medical detectives are at work putting together the pieces of the timeline. But we emphasize again, Ebola is very difficult to contract being on the same subway car or leaving near a person with a Ebola who has not in itself but someone at risk.

We are working very closely with our state and federal partners to ensure that we protect the health of all New Yorkers. And people should rest assure of the extraordinary medical professionals of the city and this state are working to ensure that every protection is in place.

A moment of commentary in Spanish before it turn to Governor Cuomo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish).

DE BLASIO: With that I want to welcome comment by Governor Cuomo who has remained in closed communication with us here in the City over the last weeks. His team has been extraordinary in their preparation and coordination with us.

Welcome Governor Cuomo.

ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you Mayor.

As the mayor said the past few weeks, we've been preparing for just this circumstance. We were hoping that it didn't happen but we were also realistic. This is New York. People come to New York. They come to New York's airports. So we can't say that this is an expected circumstance. The -- we have had a full coordinated effort that is been working literally night and day coordinating city state and federal resources, coordinating in drilling from airports to transportations, to subway stations, to ambulances, to hospitals.

So we are ready as one could be for this circumstance. What happened in Dallas was actually the exact opposite. Dallas unfortunately was caught before they've could really prepared, before they really knew what they were dealing with in Dallas. And we had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience. Just the other day, in the long days, but I believe it was yesterday we had 5,000 health care workers in the Javits center who were being drilled on just this situation.

We also had a fortunate circumstance here that the effective person was a doctor, person, a doctor who worked on Doctors Without Borders so he was familiar with the possibility and the symptoms, et cetera and he handled himself accordingly.

Our best information is that for the relevant period of time, he was only exposed to a very few people, partially because he knew exactly what the illness was all about and he was taking precautions on his own.

As the mayor mentioned, I know the word Ebola right now can spread fear just by the sound of the word. Ebola is not an airborne illness. It is contracted when a person is extremely ill and symptomatic and it's basically contracted through the bodily fluids. Having a lot of time to prepare as we did, we have been fully coordinated all the day long.

I spoke with our new Ebola Czar what President Obama pointed, Ron Klain. They were immediate in sending CDC teams, so we were very well from the Federal Homeland Security Office, have been fully coordinated. They reviewed everything that we've been doing. We've been doing it with their advice and we are after having spoken with everyone doing everything that we need to be doing.

I know it's a frightening situation. I know when it watched it on the news and it was about Dallas, it was frightening that it's here New York, it is more frightening. New York is a dense place. A lot of people on top of each other, but the more facts you know the less frightening this situation is.

We were already acted very, very quickly and identified about four of the people who we believe -- we believe there are four people who he came in and contact with during the relevant period and we are already in contact with all four people. So we feel good about the way we are handling the situation. Obviously, we wished the best for the doctor and we hope for a recovery for the doctor but from the public health point of view, I feel confident that we're doing everything that we should be doing and we have this situation under control.

And I want to applaud the mayor and the mayor's team and also like as a personal point of privilege I thank my team for the good work. This has been weeks and weeks of preparation in getting a lot of agencies to work together but the purpose in the putting in today it worth well. So congratulations to them.

DE BLASIO: Thank you very much governor. Now I would like to turn to our New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett who has been in charge of all the preparations here in the city and particularly working closely with Bellevue as the lead institution that we have designate for handling this cases. Dr. Bassett.

MARY TRAVIS BASSETT, NEW YORK CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Thank you Mr. Mayor. And good evening everyone. As you all know, for the last couple of months now, we've been working closely with our city hospital system, with our state partners and our federal partners to prepare for the possibility of a diagnosis of the patient with Ebola in New York City. Today we have the fist patients with a presumptive positive Ebola test.

This test was completed at our public health lab and will be confirmed at the CDC labs. We expect within the next 24 hours. Let me go over with you what we know about this patient at this time. This is of course an evolving situation in which information will continue to come forward but I want to share with you what we know at this time. As you all have already heard the patient is presently hospitalized in isolation at this hospital.

The patient is a 33 year old doctor working with the same human services organization, Doctors Without Borders and that (inaudible) in Guinea. He completed his work in Guinea on the 12 of October and left Guinea on the 14th of October via Europe where he arrived in United States at JFK Airport on the 17th of October. During at the time that he departed Guinea through out his journey home to the United States he was well with no symptoms. When he arrived in United States, he was also well with no symptoms. And he being a medical doctor undertook to check his temperature twice a day, which he has done since he departed from Guinea.

On the 21st, he began feeling somewhat tired but the actual symptoms that the patient displayed more today sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 this morning he experienced a fever and contacted MSF who rapidly contacted the health department and the process of bringing this patient to Bellevue Hospital as a first and considered at high risk for Ebola began.

We know that during the time that the patient was home before he became sick that he did his leave apartment his. He -- We are aware that he went on a three-mile jog, sign that he was feeling quite well. And he also took the subway system. We know that has ridden on a train, the number one train, the L-train.

We're still getting more information about this but we know that yesterday that he went to a bowling alley in Williamsburg. He was feeling well at that time and except for his feeling of fatigue. And once again his first symptom of fever occurred today and that was the beginning of his assessment.

We are aware that he has been in close contact with his fiancee and with two friends. Both of -- all three of these contacts are healthy and are being quarantined. The governor mentioned an additional person. This person was a driver of an Uber car with whom the patient had no direct physical contact and is considered not to be at risk.

On -- today, he -- when he reported fever, he contacted the Health Department. We contacted EMS and he was brought to Bellevue Hospital. The test for Ebola was conducted on blood drawn here at Bellevue Hospital, and conducted at our public health lab.

I think that I should turn over to Dr. Zucker to talk about the process of his transfer. We really are confident that all of the protocols that we have worked so hard to put in place for communications with all levels of our public health system, with our emergency medical system, with our public health system has worked as well as we expected them to work and we're glad that the patient is safely here at Bellevue Hospital.

Over to you, Dr. Zucker.

DR. HOWARD ZUCKER, ACTING NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH: Thank you. Thank you, Dr. Bassett and thank you, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio.

Firstly, our wishes and prayers go out to this doctor, his family and friends for a speedy recovery.

As you have heard the timeline of what we have heard about this patient, I think it's important to mention that, as Bellevue has been preparing for this and we as a state and a city have been preparing for this for awhile, all of the processes involved in making sure that he is being monitored, taken care of here at the hospital -- I will mention in a moment -- but, most importantly, him getting into the hospital.

The EMS system brought him in with the proper protective gear. He was immediately brought to the isolation area that Bellevue Hospital has established for patients who could have Ebola. He has been taken care of by an excellent team.

And all of his medical problems are being addressed. As you know, Ebola patients can have a lot of different problems and these are all being watched for closely. I think it's also important to just reiterate that you can only get Ebola by being exposed to bodily fluids.

And that's a very important point to make. He has been in the hospital, as we know. His symptoms began with -- he had a fever. That symptom began this morning, and some of the other symptoms as well this morning.

I think that it's important to just reiterate that the management of all the issues that come forth with Ebola have come together nicely with this patient, and we look forward to a quick recovery for him. Thank you.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Once again, we'd like to thank our federal partners, who have really been extraordinary, the new Ebola czar who just started the job, Ron Klain, Sylvia Burwell, who is the head of Health and Human Services, and head of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, who is with us tonight by telephone.

And we will turn it over to Dr. Frieden now.

Doctor, can you hear us?

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: Yes, I can. Can you hear me?

CUOMO: Yes, very well.


Well, thank you very much, Governor. Thank you to the mayor.

And first and foremost, our thoughts and focus are with the doctor, the patient in New York City. When it comes to his care, the federal government has and will continue to provide whatever assistance is necessary to ensure that he is treated safely and effectively.

I think, as has been said, it's very important that people understand how Ebola spreads and what the risk is. When someone gets Ebola, they become -- they're not infectious initially, but they become increasingly infectious the sicker they get.

Right now, the concern is with the health care workers who are caring for him at Bellevue. Fortunately, Bellevue has been preparing for this and drilling this. CDC has been in come close communication with hospital authorities. In fact, by coincidence or because of good preparations, we already had a team on the ground that had spent several days reviewing all of Bellevue's preparations, even before this patient became ill.

They of course reviewed the preparations and had observed the hospital working. We will -- we are also sending an additional CDC Ebola response team, which is in transit now with individuals who have extensive experience treating Ebola, so that we can work in partnership with Bellevue to ensure that the patient gets as safe and effective care as possible.

We're also encouraged by the transport process that was used that would eliminate or minimize any risk of transmission during that process. As has been said, there are several individuals who had contact with the patient before he developed a fever and before he was isolated, and those individuals will be monitored for 21 days.

I remind people that, for the case of Mr. Duncan, Dallas, even his household contacts were with him for several days after he became ill, did not develop Ebola. Ebola is a scary disease. And it's fearsome because of how severe the illness is, but it does not spread easily, does not spread like the flu or the common cold or measles. It only spreads by direct contact with body fluids of someone who is ill.

I will say that as a former commissioner of the city Health Department, it is a fantastic health department and at CDC we're delighted to work in partnership, and we will do everything to ensure that coordination at the federal, local and state levels is seamless and provides for all of the needs, so that the care of the patient, the isolation and the contact tracing will all be done in a way that absolutely minimizes risk.

And I would encourage anyone who wants more information to check our Web site at And we look forward to continuing to work closely with New York City.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you very much, Dr. Frieden.

And Dr. Frieden will stay with us during the question-and-answer period. And with that, we'd like to turn to questions from the media.


DE BLASIO: Can you speak a little louder?


BASSETT: Yes, I will give you as much information as I have.

As I said at the outset, this is an evolving situation in which we are still interviewing people, including talking to the patient. And I will echo what everyone else has said, that we are all -- our main focus, of course, is on the recovery of that patient.

That bowling alley was called in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. It's called the Gutter bowling alley. The patient went there with friends there, and he did bowl while he was there, according to our understanding of events.

The patient was not feeling -- you know, although he reported fatigue, he was not symptomatic. He had no fever. And as Dr. Frieden has explained, we are very clear that people become contagious as they become sick.

So his first fever, in fact, was today earlier this -- in the late morning today. And he did have a fever for or did not have a fever for the whole time he left Guinea until this morning. My understanding is that out of an abundance of caution that the bowling alley has closed. And we, of course, will be sending Health Department staff on site tomorrow to look at the bowling alley.

So that's -- you know, I can only reiterate what we have been saying for weeks, that the way people contract Ebola is by being in touch with a person who is sick with Ebola and being in touch with their body fluids. And, of course, the doctor was a doctor who was working in an Ebola treatment center in Guinea.

And that presumably was how he became infected. The -- at the time that he was at the bowling alley, he had had no fever.


BASSETT: The -- suddenly, I'm being truly miked.

The -- we obviously want to protect people's privacy. But the -- these are individuals who will be permitted to opt to -- for a home quarantine. The patient, of course, is in the hospital. One of the patients is in the hospital today, one of the other patients -- one of the other contacts.

So there are three contacts, one of whom is in the hospital today. Yes.


BASSETT: So you're asking about the health workers here at this hospital.

The health workers, of course, are using full protective gear. They were ready because we knew that this patient was being transported. He had a very orderly removal from his home, and with emergency workers who were in full protective gear. He came here and had a very smooth transfer up to the isolation ward, where he's been looked after by experienced, seasoned health workers who all have been training for this purpose over the last months, training, drilling and so on.

These workers are working on this unit exclusively. And as far as having anybody who has opted out of that, I would actually turn to Dr. Raju. I'm not aware that any have.


BASSETT: No. That's what's so important about the work that Bellevue has done to prepare for this day, something that they began months ago, in August.

There is a long-standing isolation unit here, one that dates back to the 1990s and the days of the AIDS epidemic, when multi-resistant T.B. was a real scourge in this city. This unit is -- has been converted for the care of patients with Ebola.

There's a small, dedicated laboratory on this unit, so that it is really a self-contained space. So I really want to applaud the preparations of Bellevue Hospital. They worked really hard to put in place all of the systems that were needed, so that means not only having all of the stuff.

They also have all the stuff and they have all the systems, the processes in place, and everything today worked as we hoped it would.

CUOMO: If I can add...

DE BLASIO: Just one second.

CUOMO: If I can add, for one second here, I think one of the advantages is the health care workers feel prepared and they feel equipped.

The upside of all the rigor and all the drills and all the meetings is they know they were prepared just for this moment. And we learned from Dallas that way. And, as I said yesterday, the mayor and I were with a session. There must have been 5,000 health care workers. We have an abundance of equipment, abundance of training, abundance of experienced professionals. And I think that's brought their confidence in the entire system up.

DE BLASIO: And, further, I just want to clarify these folks at EMS, for example, not only have been training for weeks and weeks, but are first-responders. Their job is to protect other people. They take if very seriously. It's a matter of honor they take on a difficult role.

Equally, Bellevue is legendary for having taken on a host of challenges over the years. The professionals here at Bellevue are the finest. They are the most battle-tested. So anyone who is working as part of a team helping this patient knows exactly why they're doing it and what they're doing as part of their sense of mission. Yes.


BASSETT: Well, the patient today developed a fever and had some gastrointestinal symptoms as well.

So these are the symptoms that let us know that this patient was -- had a clinical picture that was really fully consistent with Ebola.

QUESTION: Is fatigue a symptom? BALDWIN: Fatigue can be a symptom of many things. I think that the

thing to make clear is that the first time that this patient had fever was today. And it's -- and fever is the typical sign of a person developing contagious Ebola.

DE BLASIO: And over here for one more then we will come to this side. Yes.


BASSETT: What I can say is that his friend said that he -- that they felt he seemed well. But the and the patient, as I have said, did not report any fever, and although he did report that he felt tired.


BASSETT: Well, he did -- really, he did attempt to self-isolate. And we're still getting clear the amount of time that he spent outside of his apartment.

But our impression is that he spent most of his time in his apartment and he was taking his temperature twice a day. He was being mindful about contact with people. He's a medical doctor, as you're well -- as we have all said, so he was very alert to the to signs and symptoms of Ebola, coming from a place where Ebola is truly ravaging the population.


BASSETT: The waste?

We have contracts in place for the removal of medical waste.


BASSETT: The patient really only displayed symptoms today, and I see no reason for the tenets in the apartment building to be concerned. We have -- the apartment is isolated. No one is going in the apartment.

We have ensured that nobody will enter. The super will not let anybody in. There's no housekeepers expected to arrive. The apartment is locked and not accessible.

CUOMO: Dr. Zucker had a point?

ZUCKER: I was just going to make the other point he left his key in his apartment and locked the door. He's a very meticulous individual and recognized that if the key was floating around, somebody may pick it up with that interest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Bassett just wanted to add?

BASSETT: I just wanted to add also then to point out that the state Health Department, Dr. Zucker, announced just last week that eight hospitals in this state would be designated as settings where Ebola patients could be cared for.

We are the first state to identify a limited number of hospitals, of which this hospital is one. Bellevue Hospital is one of the five hospitals in New York City. And as you have all been hearing, they have been working. They were ready. Today, they showed how ready they were to accept a patient who...


CUOMO: Just to clarify, all -- there are about 200 hospitals in the state. They are all prepared if someone walks into the hospital and presents themselves and suggests that they might have illness.

But to get all 200 hospitals ready for intensive treatment, obviously, would have been very difficult, so the decision was made to take eight hospitals, one of them is Bellevue, and really focus and concentrate intensive efforts. And that turns out that was a wise and prudent course of conduct.


ZUCKER: May I add also that we -- the Department of Health issue -- commissioned orders to look at these hospitals and all the hospitals across the state.

And Bellevue was one of the hospitals we already came in and looked at to be sure they were prepared for a patient like the patient that you have seen today. So we're already one step ahead.




ZUCKER: At this point, this would be based on the clinical decision based on the team that is taking care of him right now. So we will see how his progress goes. But they are prepared here to take care of him, like any other location.



BASSETT: Well, we know that he left his apartment and so that he -- self-quarantine would have meant he never left his apartment, but he did self-isolate in the sense that he...



BASSETT: He limited his contact with people and saw friends.

He did leave his apartment, so I don't want to give the impression that he was in his apartment the entire time. And... QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BASSETT: He was -- during the time that he was leaving the apartment, he had had no fever.

He was monitoring his temperature on -- twice a day, as has been recommended, and he had no fever. I don't want to give the impression that he was self-quarantining or -- because he was leaving his apartment.

DE BLASIO: But let's be clear. The second he had that fever, he did...

BASSETT: He contact -- yes.

DE BLASIO: ... report immediately and cooperated fully in getting in here in the right way, but also communicating his previous movements, people he had been in contact, and very, very informative to help -- and we call the medical detectives -- traced the other pieces...


DE BLASIO: Dr. Zucker.

ZUCKER: And may I add that also that your contagiousness is related to how sick you are. And so he came in very early in his illness.


CUOMO: That is a very important point in this case, that he was a doctor, he was familiar with the illness. He was taking his temperature twice a day.

Yes, he had fatigue. He also went for a three-mile jog, right, so he couldn't have been that fatigued. And when he started to sense that he had a fever, he came in right away. And that's when you're contagious is when you're really extremely ill, and he presented himself this morning.


DE BLASIO: Let us have Dr. Bassett and Dr. Zucker speak about the fact that -- again, I just want to preface, this is a very difficult disease to contact. It is not an airborne disease. It takes rather intimate with someone to contract the disease. I will let them take it from there.

BASSETT: That is right.

So, there are two parts to your question. What do we know about his whereabouts. We know that he went to a place called The Gutter, a bowling alley in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, that to get there he took the A Train and L Train. That was yesterday.

We also know that some time that day, he also went to the High Line, may have stopped and gotten -- gone to a restaurant along the way. So we're just -- we're going to be getting more information about this. We -- he's fully cooperating with us. We have his Metro card, and we are going to have the chance to talk with him -- remember, he is a hospitalized patient in intensive care -- about all of -- to line up to everything from his Metro card travel and where he was.

But let me turn to your question about the subway. Once again, we all have been saying to all of you for weeks now that people with Ebola are contagious when they're sick. And what's contagious about them are their body fluids. At the time the doctor was on the subway, he had not had fever. He had no problem with his body fluids, in the sense that he had no diarrhea, no vomiting, no blood loss, all of these symptoms that occur when people become much sicker.

He was not symptomatic in -- at that time. He had no fever. And so he did not have a stage of disease that creates a risk of contagiousness on the subway. We consider that it is extremely unlikely, the probability being close to nil, that there would be any problem related to his taking the subway system.

DE BLASIO: Dr. Zucker.

ZUCKER: I just want to echo the words of Dr. Frieden.

Remember, the patient in Dallas had -- was -- many people were exposed to him, and, in the end, only very, very few people got sick. And that's an important point. And regarding the subway, I would get on the subway tomorrow and ride the subway.


BASSETT: This is the only place he's come.

ZUCKER: Right. When he had the fever, he contacted his employer, MSF, and then that set the chain into the correct motion.

CUOMO: Just one or two few more.

DE BLASIO: Yes. We will take a few more.



BASSETT: I think -- let's not talk about that right now.


DE BLASIO: Again, I'm -- respectfully, I want to say we're talking about the immediate situation. We're talking about a patient who is a medical doctor who handled the communication with the city Health Department properly.

He's here in the right facility. Let's stay where we are on that.

CUOMO: And it's bad karma.






BASSETT: All of the contacts, the three -- two friends and his fiancee, are well, and they are all going -- are all in the process of being quarantined.

ZUCKER: And they...


ZUCKER: ... tested at this point.

DE BLASIO: Last question. Right there.

BASSETT: They would not be tested. There's -- they are not symptomatic. There would be no reason to test them.

ZUCKER: Symptoms.

BASSETT: Unless they develop symptoms.






BASSETT: He was and he was wearing full protective gear and is aware of no breach.


BASSETT: I'm sorry. I didn't hear you.

ZUCKER: He has been home -- he has been home since his return.

DE BLASIO: All right. We're going to conclude it.

I just want to thank all of my colleagues and especially thank the staff here at Bellevue that are doing extraordinary work at this moment. We will, of course, have additional updates as information is available.

Thank you, everyone.

BASSETT: Thank you.

COOPER: You're listening to a press conference, New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, also New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, as well as health officials. You also heard the director of the CDC, Dr. Frieden, basically try to allay concerns as much as possible about Ebola in New York City, trying to give as much information about Dr. Spencer, who is the person in New York City to test positive for the Ebola virus.

He's now in isolation in Bellevue. His girlfriend is also under observation in isolation, though not under quarantine. We're not sure her exact whereabouts. Clearly, health officials trying to allay concerns as much as possible.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is standing by.

Sanjay, anything really stand to you from the interview? It clearly seems like they have traced as much as possible the movements of Dr. Spencer since he returned from Guinea.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly sounds like it, Anderson.

And they spent a lot of time, as you heard, Anderson, trying to obviously convey this scientific fact that until someone becomes quite sick, they are not going to transmit the virus. I think it's important to be very clear that -- you know, I was a little surprised that -- when you heard the health commissioner in the initial remarks saying, well, he was sort of self-quarantining, but not really because he was on a subway. He was at a restaurant. He was bowling.

He did not self-quarantine. And I think that that needs to be very clear here. Now, from a scientific perspective, one can make the argument -- and I think many have -- that there really is no scientific merit to quarantining somebody, because the reason that it is done to prevent a threat to the general public. If he was not sick, he should not be a threat to the general public.

But, Anderson, this is going to be the issue I think that is going to come up again and again. Should health care workers who have taken care of patients with Ebola in West Africa in this situation, should they go and undergo an observation period for 21 days or so before they are able to come in contact with people again?

It's not a settled issue. Right now, there is no mandatory quarantine. You have heard Elizabeth talk about this. You have heard me talk about the fact that we were in West Africa and we were not given any specific instructions like that. This is going to be an area that the public health community is going to have to focus on and figure out what kind of guidance they are going to provide.

COOPER: Right.

Sanjay, I know our coverage is going to continue.

That does it for me. I appreciate you watching over this last two- and-a-half-hours.

Our coverage, though, continues on this and a number of other topics with Don Lemon and CNN TONIGHT right now.