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Rudy Giuliani's Daughter Endorses Joe Biden; Trump: "I Know Nothing About QAnon"; U.S. Reaches 8 Million Covid-19 Cases, As The Pace Of New Infections Signals A Tough Winter; Hundreds Of Thousands More Watch Biden Townhall Than Trump's; Pres. Trump Attacks Looks On NBC Town Hall Moderator Savannah Guthrie. Aired on 8-9p ET

Aired October 16, 2020 - 20:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening.

It would be one thing to say this is a busy Friday night, except busy really doesn't begin to cover it. Virtually nothing in the headlines tonight is remotely normal, or even to be expected, in any ordinary presidential campaign so close to election day.

In the last 24 hours or so, we've seen the president of the United States declined to repudiate a conspiracy group that believes Hollywood celebrities, and Democratic leaders drink the blood of children, and worship Satan.

We've seen the president get duped by a satirical site into tweeting that Twitter shut down the entire service to block a favorite news story of his. A story we learned from two sources late today that authorities are actually investigating for potential ties to a Russian disinformation campaign.

We also learned that a prominent Republican governor, Maryland's Larry Hogan, has cast his ballot for Ronald Reagan. Deceased, former president, not the living, breathing, leader of his own party.

We watched another leading Republican, an adviser no less to the president, Chris Christie, single out what he calls the White House's cavalier attitude toward coronavirus. We saw the president today hold a mass gathering of some of the most vulnerable people to the virus, seniors.

And late today, we learned this from new reporting by CNN's Jake Tapper. The president's former chief of staff, General John Kelly, has told friends Donald Trump is, quote, the most flawed person, unquote, he's ever met. The account is part of a new CNN special airing Sunday night.

Here is the rest of what General Kelly said. Quote: The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, transactional nature of every relationship, though it's pathetic more than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.

That is just part of the picture tonight. Dominating all of it, the fact that now more than 8 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus and the death toll is quickly approaching 220,000. What's worse, unlike the last surges, this one is not limited to any one single region. It's nationwide.

Today in Florida, however, speaking to seniors, here's what the president said.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message to America's seniors today is one of optimism, confidence, and hope. Your sacrifice has not been in vain. The light at the end of the tunnel is near.

We are rounding the turn. I say that all the time. Some of the media doesn't like hearing it but I say it all the time. We're rounding that turn.

We are prevailing and we are. It's amazing what's happening, if you look at what's been going on. It's been really, very amazing.


COOPER: Well, he's right about that. It is very amazing what's going on. Perhaps stunning would be a better word.

Florida is now averaging nearly 2,800 new cases a day. That's up from 2,400 just a week ago.

North Carolina where the president spoke to maskless crowds yesterday set a new record for cases today.

And Wisconsin, where he visits tomorrow, they now have a positivity rate of more than 26 percent.

Potentially, one in four people at his rally in Jamesville, Wisconsin, tomorrow, could be carrying the virus.

This is what the president calls really, very amazing. His surgeon general, today, called it something else.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I want you all to be aware that Wisconsin is currently one of our red states. Meaning, your positivity rates are over 10 percent and going in the wrong direction. Cases are in the red, going in the wrong direction.

It is critical that we actually understand where this virus is circulating, so that we can get cases under control and reverse positivity.


COOPER: Well, this afternoon, the president said, and I am quoting now. And my plan is very simple. We're going to crush the virus and go back to exactly where we were. Sadly, he could be right about the second party again, not the way he

meant it. America's already in a position, like it has never seen, before. Not since the so-called Spanish flu pandemic.

As always, mask wearing was not a priority for the crowd or social distancing, with Florida's positivity rate close to 12 percent.

This morning, as we mentioned, former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, went on ABC's "Good Morning America", called on the president to do more.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I think we need to be honest with the American people and just say directly to them we don't know everything we need to know about this disease, at this point, George. But what we do know is that masks can, certainly, help.

Do they prevent everything? Of course, there is nothing that prevents everything. But we should be very affirmative.

Leaders all across the politics, sports, the media, should be saying to people, put your masks on and be safe until we get a vaccine that can help to protect us.


COOPER: Governor Christie, as you know, came down with COVID. He attended that super spreader event for Amy Coney Barrett at the White House. He also prepped the president for his debate in Cleveland.

Oh, and, by the way, he said that no one from the White House did any contact tracing with him, and said he regrets not wearing a mask when he was there.


CHRISTIE: It was a mistake. You know, I -- I was led to believe that, you know, all the people that I was interacting with at the White House had been tested.


And it gave you a false sense of security. And it was a mistake.


COOPER: Rudy Giuliani, also, helped with debate prep. He did not contract COVID, thankfully.

But new CNN reporting says that federal authorities want to know whether he's been spreading something else, namely, Russian disinformation. According to an official, as well as a congressional source briefed on the matter, federal authorities are investigating whether e-mails purporting to detail the business dealings of Joe Biden's son in Ukraine and China are connected to an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign.

They were published in stories by "The New York Post" CNN has not been able to verify. "The Post" says it got them through two Trump confidants. His former chief strategist and now-indicted alleged felon Steve Bannon, and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Our next guest tonight is filmmaker Caroline Giuliani. She's just written a piece for "Vanity Fair". The title: Rudy Giuliani is my father. Please, everyone, vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

In it, she writes, quote: If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president's personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with yes-men and women, the cronies who create an echo chamber of lies and subservience to maintain their proximity to power.

And Caroline Giuliani joins me now.

Thanks very much for being with us.

What made you want to speak out? Because it's not an easy thing to do what you're doing.

CAROLINE ROSE GIULIANI, RUDY GIULIANI'S DAUGHTER: First of all, thank you for having me. I really respect your work, and it's an honor to be here.

I -- I chose to speak out now -- well, this has actually been boiling up in me for a very long time, and I think our country has been in crisis for four years, if not more, and it just felt like the time because I wanted to make sure that I didn't get to November 3rd, and regret not having said more to get people out there to vote.

COOPER: But you are -- I mean, you're somebody who has worked very hard to make a name for yourself, to -- you're a filmmaker, and to -- you know, to live a life on your own terms. To then enter into this arena, pointing out that you are the child of someone well-known, it's -- it's just a brave thing to do, given that it's completely antithetical to kind of how you've lived your life.

GIULIANI: Yes, thank you.

I -- that was definitely a difficult part of the decision, because I didn't particularly want to identify myself that way. But I felt that because of my experience growing up in politics, and feeling so overwhelmed by them, and the difficult nature of them, I was just seeing that around me, that everyone else was now feeling what I've been feeling my whole life. And I just wanted to make sure that people didn't, you know, turn around and climb in a hole, that they, instead, dive -- dive into it and vote. That's the only way to change this.

COOPER: Yes. In the piece you write, and I'm quoting: I may not be able to change my father's mind, but together, we can vote this toxic administration out of office.

Is -- have you talked to your father since this was published? Did he know you're going to do this?

GIULIANI: I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was thinking about writing a little something. I haven't spoken to him since -- since it was published, but, if it were me, I'd be very proud of my daughter.

COOPER: I mean, for any family, you know, all families have differences in opinion, and political differences, and, you know, this is -- maybe on a different scale. But how do you normally deal with it? Is it something you just choose not to talk about politics with, you know, he is your dad after all? Or do you -- I mean, in the article, you talk about, at times, you feel like there -- you have no other choice but to address certain issues.

GIULIANI: Yes, I think those things boil up and at a certain point, you can't -- at least I couldn't repress them. But it was definitely give-and-take throughout my whole life. I just think that now, we come to such at a point of crisis that I've just had no choice but to say something. I -- there's toxic and -- environment of bullying and vicious sniping, needs to be turned around, and I really think that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can do that.

I absolutely love Kamala Harris. I --


COOPER: Joe Biden was not your first choice?

GIULIANI: Not initially, but I was keeping my options open, and seeing what people had to say, and I was a huge fan of kamala.

And when Joe Biden picked Kamala, I got so excited because it just -- I feel like it reflected that he's willing to have people who challenge him around him, and that is the way to break up the echo chamber of yes-men and -- which I think is a huge problem right now.

COOPER: You end the piece by saying: We are hanging by a single, slipping finger on the cliff's edge, and the fall will be fatal. If we remove ourselves from the fight, our country will be in freefall. Alternatively, we can hang on, elect a compassionate and decent president, and claw our way back onto the ledge. If I, after decades of despair over politics can engage in our democracy to make this critical moment, I know you can too.


When you see "The Washington Post" report that, you know, the White House was warned that your dad, you know, was, quote, being used to feed Russian disinformation to the president, just seeing that in the news, what goes through your mind as -- I can't imagine it.

GIULIANI: No, I choose to focus on what we can do to fix this problem. I think that that's where we all need to be focusing our energy. I think that that is by making sure that everyone votes, and chooses to elect someone who has empathy, and will start to turn this country around.

COOPER: Do you -- are you campaigning for Biden? Or, is this -- is this kind of it?

GIULIANI: I'm open to continuing to speak out for him. I'll probably go in a few podcasts. But, yes, I'm definitely on Team Biden, and happy to help however I can.

COOPER: It's also interesting, because so many people focus on the president and his, you know, lies and the choices he makes, but you -- you talk about the yes-men and women, the people around who enable all of this, who make it possible.

GIULIANI: Yes. As a filmmaker, you know, I think plenty about what causes people to do what they do.

So, I've spent my whole life kind of examining the psychology behind fame and power, and I find that very interesting and compelling, and also revealing. And I think that, yes, no one -- no one becomes as tyrannical as Trump has without a bunch of people telling him -- supporting him.

COOPER: This may be too personal a question. If it is, you know, don't (ph) answer, obviously. But what do you think led your down -- your dad down this path? Because, obviously, there are a lot of people -- I don't know your dad personally at all -- there's a lot of people who, you know, did know who him, who say that he seems different than he was, than the person they knew many years ago.

GIULIANI: Yes. I don't know that I can really speak to that, but what I do feel is that Trump has created an environment. And I think that a lot of people's behavior is symptomatic of this toxic environment that he's created. And it's gotten worse every year since he's been elected.

COOPER: You hear -- when you hear people saying things now that they seem to feel emboldened to say things that maybe previously, they would have kept to themselves. And it's often coming from the kind of most core part of the brain, or like the deepest set of unattractive parts of our human nature.

GIULIANI: Yes. I mean, I find it really sad that he's encouraged that type of discriminatory behavior, and it's more than sad, it's outrageous. And I think that we need to start correcting that, by electing Joe Biden, and I just really hope that everybody gets excited about him, because I really think that he can turn this thing around.

COOPER: Caroline Giuliani, it's really a pleasure to talk to you and I wish you the best.

GIULIANI: You too. Thank you for having me.

COOPER: Take care.

Coming up next, the president's refusal to disavow QAnon and what his supporters think of this bizarre conspiracy cult.

And later, with the president holding one or more super-spreader events today, what the latest modeling says about the virus, the surge of the virus, and how many lives mask wearing could save in the months ahead.



COOPER: The president is in Macon, Georgia, tonight. Earlier in Florida, he called last night's television town hall, quote, another evening in paradise.

Ahead tonight, a full discussion of how it stacked up against Joe Biden's competing town hall.

But right now, one more aspect about it, how he answered questioning from NBC's Savannah Guthrie about the cult known as QAnon.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Let me ask you about QAnon. It is this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring, and that you are the savior of that. Now, can you just, once and for all, state that that is completely not true? And disavow QAnon, in its entirety?

TRUMP: I know nothing about QAnon.

GUTHRIE: I just told you.

TRUMP: I know very little. You told me but what you tell me doesn't, necessarily, make it fact. I hate to say that.

I know nothing about it. I do know, they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard. But I know nothing about it.

GUTHRIE: They believe it is a Satanic cult run by the DNC.

TRUMP: Stunning subject. I tell you what I do know about. I know about Antifa and I know about the radical left and I know how violent they are and how vicious they are. And I know had how they are burning down cities run by Democrats, not Republicans.

GUTHRIE: Republican Senator Ben Sasse said, quote, QAnon is nuts and real leaders call conspiracy theories, conspiracy theories.

Why not just say it's crazy and not true?

TRUMP: He may be right. Can I be honest? He may be right. I just don't know about QAnon.

Why aren't you asking Joe Biden questions about why doesn't he condemn Antifa?

GUTHRIE: Because you're here.

TRUMP: Ha, ha, so cute.


COOPER: Just a reminder. QAnon is not all about stopping pedophilia. It's all about falsely accusing people of pedophilia.

That, and accusing Democrats and well-known actors and artists of being Satan worshippers who drink the blood of children, together, they all get together, have parties where they do that apparently, according to QAnon.

There is crossover between QAnon followers and the president, Savannah Guthrie pointed out because according to the cult fantasy, President Trump is secretly working to arrest the global cabal of blood-drinking pedophiles. They used to say he was working with Robert Mueller and the Mueller team, but then the Mueller report came out and they just made up another lie.

Our Gary Tuchman is in Macon tonight, spoke with some rallygoers about the cult.

Gary, what are they saying to you?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, President Trump has been speaking for about one hour now in this airport tarmac in Macon, Georgia. Like we've seen before, most people are not wearing masks. They're also not socially distancing. It looks like a mosh pit at a concert.

He's been talking about locking up the Biden family, locking up Hillary Clinton. No mention, no surprisingly about QAnon. But as you said, he had a chance last night to condemn QAnon, he did not do it.

Today, at this rally just before it started, we talked with supporters who are strong favor QAnon, others who know little about it. But none of them, none of the people we talked to wanted to condemn President Trump's strategy for dealing with it.



TUCHMAN: You have the QAnon shirt and one of the things believes in is there's a conspiracy theory, satanic pedophilia. Do you believe in that?



TUCHMAN: Trump has not criticized the conspiracy QAnon. You say you believe in theories like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes, sir, 100 percent.

TUCHMAN: You think he has your back by not criticizing it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I really do. Yes.

TUCHMAN: You think he should denounce QAnon?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because why should he?

TUCHMAN: Because they believe in crazy stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what you guys try to make us believe crazy stuff.

TUCHMAN: But do you believe there are Democrats and celebrities who are in a pedophile ring?


TUCHMAN: Where does that come from, that belief?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where does that come from? Why don't you ask little kids?

TUCHMAN: No, pedophilia is terrible, but everyone, of course, in the world is against the pedophilia. But to say that Hillary Clinton and Democrats (INAUDIBLE), there is no evidence of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me ask you, who do you work for? ABC or CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not talking to CNN.

TUCHMAN: It's crazy. It's ludicrous. Does that bother you that he wouldn't say it's wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it didn't because I think he wants to put everything out there so that you can judge for yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard it before.

TUCHMAN: Yes, you heard it, with all due respect, ma'am, hearing it does not mean it's true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just believe whatever is wrong he's gong to fix right.

TUCHMAN: Donald Trump?


TUCHMAN: And do you think the president should have denounced QAnon?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I don't think he has enough information to denounce QAnon, at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He can tweet anything he wants because we love him. We trust him.


TUCHMAN: Now, traditionally, at presidential campaign rallies, particularly in the final month, it is easy to find people undecided or who are curious. You want to go to a rally to decide they should vote for a candidate.

At Donald Trump's rallies, finding an undecided voter is like finding a polar bear in Georgia. You do not find any of them. These people are committed and that's why we hear absolutely no complaints about what Donald Trump does or what Donald Trump says -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Gary Tuchman, Gary, thanks very much.

Perspective now from "New York Times" technology columnist Kevin Roose, whose column "Shift" examines the intersection of tech, business and culture.

So, Kevin, president could have easily disavowed QAnon. He -- he chose the most, kind of, ridiculous tact of all which is I just don't know anything about it, which is what he always says about Michael Cohen. I don't know who he is. We're not close at all.

The reason he is not saying he disavows it is because he knows that QAnon supports him. He is at the core of their fantasy, that he is, single-handedly, battling the deep state and this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who are drinking children's blood. Above all else, the group supports the president, he will almost never criticize it.

Did it -- did it surprise you, last night, at all? Did anything he said last night surprise you?

KEVIN ROOSE, NEW YORK TIMES TECHNOLOGY COLUMNIST: No, it didn't surprise me because one thing we know about this president is that he is extremely reluctant to criticize anyone who likes him. We've seen that with, you know, authoritarians. We have seen that with white supremacists and other fringe groups.

And we have seen that, now, several times with QAnon. I mean, this is not the first time he has been presented with the opportunity to disavow QAnon, and has declined to do so. And as you said, I mean, his -- his remark about sort of not knowing anything about it is pretty implausible given the amount of time that he spends on Twitter and watching cable news. It -- it's exceedingly unlikely that he's never heard a basic explanation of what this movement believes about, you know, him or the global cabal or this pedophile ring.

So it struck me as particularly galling that he said it was about pedophilia and stopping pedophilia. QAnon -- saying that QAnon is about stopping pedophilia is a little by like saying the moon landing conspiracy theory was about astrophysics. Like it's just not the point.

COOPER: Right.

ROOSE: The point is to call your enemies pedophiles and to get revenge against them as part of this conspiracy theory.

COOPER: Right.

ROOSE: It's not -- it has very little to do with actually helping children.

COOPER: Right. This is not the center for missing and exploited children. This is -- this bunch of people, online, following directions from a completely unknown poster who, you know, they believe is, you know, a high-level intelligence official or somebody in the -- in the Trump White House, when, in fact, I mean, this person has been wrong for months, now. And, you know, made up stuff that just doesn't come to pass.

Robert Mueller was supposedly at the core working with Trump against, you know, Hillary Clinton and Hillary Clinton was going to get arrested. I mean, it's all just this fantasy. It's amazing to me how, also, it traffics in, you know, just anti-Semitic tropes, that have been around for centuries, anti-Catholic tropes as well.

You know, the idea of this global cabal, the Rothschilds, and one -- one of the candidate -- congressional candidates has talked about Rothschilds, and Saudi Arabia and Soros and they are running this global cabal.


I mean, it's insane.

ROOSE: Yes. It's a very unoriginal conspiracy theory in that it ties together basically every popular conspiracy of the past hundred years. And as you mentioned, this is not the Center for Missing Children.

This -- the actual groups that actually do work on behalf of, you know, victims of child exploitation are begging QAnon believers to stop. They're sort of being inundated with false claims, with fake reports. Their hotlines are being overwhelmed.

And they are saying we don't want your support. You are not in this, for the same reasons that we are.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, it -- it's -- it's extraordinary, though, that the president, who, you know, has retweeted QAnon followers' stuff dozens of times, and has been asked about QAnon before. If he wanted to, he obviously knows all about it.

But the idea that he doesn't know anything, the idea that some aide of his would not take him aside and say, here's the deal with QAnon, as if he didn't know, because he's going to be asked about it. I mean, that would just be, like, political malpractice for him not to have been fully briefed on who these people are and what they want.

ROOSE: Yes. And interestingly, this seems to have changed in the last few months. I went to a Trump rally last year, where there were people at the door being turned away for having QAnon posters and signs. The Secret Service was not letting those people into the rally, presumably, because someone on the campaign was reluctant to have that appear on camera, was -- was sort of embarrassed and didn't want that to be associated with the campaign.

Now, we see the president not just sort of declining to disavow them, but seeming to embrace QAnon. And so, it seems like this is being embraced as an opportunity for the president to keep a hyper-loyal, hyper-engaged group of supporters at his side.

And it's not just the president. I mean, you don't see any Republicans, at all, denouncing QAnon. In part, I think because they are one of the -- one of the Republicans' most loyal and devoted and energetic fan bases.

COOPER: Yes. And you have written about this extensively and I appreciate it.

Kevin Roose, good talking to you. Thank you.

ROOSE: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: With President Trump's campaign schedule showing no signs of slowing down, we're going to take a look at just how vulnerable are some of the people, without masks, at his rallies.

We have CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to check the data. His report, next.



COOPER: You're looking at tonight's Trump rally in Macon, Georgia. His third one today has been pretty much on the road all week and his campaign aides say he even wants to do more. All before crowds were most not all are not wearing masks and breaking numbers now. Breaking news, I should say the number of use cases of coronavirus has topped 8 million so far.

Today, Johns Hopkins University is reporting more than 61,000 new cases and nearly 800 deaths. Tomorrow as we reported the president scheduled to be at a rally in Janesville, Wisconsin State facing a surge in cases. All of which begs the question just how vulnerable are those supporters who chose not to wear masks at these rallies? Here's our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.



SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For President Trump's supporters, these rallies have come to represent a show of force against fear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a 99.9 percent survival rate. And I am going to continue to live my life. I hope everybody else does too.

GUPTA (voice-over): For a lot of public health experts though, these rallies also have the elements of a contagion, few masks, lots of people closely clustered together for more than 15 minutes at a time.

(on-camera): You can't see the virus but what is happening during a super spreading event.

ERIN BROMAGE, BIOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIV. OF MASSACHUSETTS: You know, it's a very rough analogy. But if we think of a campfire, and you've got just a gentle breeze that night, not everybody's sitting around that campfire is equal in regards to the amount of virus or smoke that they're actually getting into their face.

GUPTA (voice-over): It is true that outdoors can be up to 20 to 30 times safer than indoors, the virus just more likely to disperse into the air, but it is still not completely safe. Again, think of that campfire smoke, it drifts and lingers and then travels wherever the wind may carry it. But here's the problem, definitively linking a gathering like this, or this to a later spike in new infections can be challenging, especially with 50,000 people becoming infected every day.

So, to better understand the impact, CNN took a look at data from large rally several weeks ago to see what happened to a relevant and related measure of the viruses damage. Hospitalizations. Now as you watch this, remember, after someone is exposed, it typically takes about four weeks before they might become sick enough to require hospitalization.

June 20th, Tulsa Oklahoma an indoor rally. Here was the situation going into that weekend in Tulsa. On that particular day, there were 197 hospitalizations in the state. On July 8th, two and a half weeks later, the Tulsa Department of Health held the press conference.

BRUCE DART, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TULSA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: A few days we've had almost 500 cases and we knew we had we had several large events over a little over two weeks ago, which is about right. So, I guess we just connect the dots.

GUPTA (voice-over): And then five weeks after the rally, the number of hospitalizations is at 625 more than triple what it was on June 20th.


June 23rd, Phoenix, Arizona. Just days after that stop in Tulsa, President Trump held another indoor event, this time Phoenix. When he visited around 2,000 people were being hospitalized daily in Arizona, though the number was already rising, fast forward 10 days and that number shoots up to more than 3,000 cases daily, and that's maintained over the next three weeks.

August 17th, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, take a look at what happened after the President visited Oshkosh on August 17th. This time outside, five weeks later, the number of hospitalizations rising by nearly 20 percent and continues its upward climb. Now, as far as the recent rallies go, Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Well, they've all been within the last few weeks. So we may not have seen the impact on hospitalizations as of yet. BROMAGE: There's no doubt that there has been transmission at the protests, the political rallies, it's just the fact that the virus doesn't discriminate it will find a new host in a crowd that's there. If you're gathering together in a large group of people, there has almost certainly been transmission. It is impossible, very difficult to visualize that transmission or document that transmission when there is so many people attending these events, and then they scatter it back out into the communities.

GUPTA (voice-over): On Saturday, the President's heading to Janesville, Wisconsin, but an hour away from where this 530 bed field hospital was erected earlier this week, a foreshadowing of what may be to come.


COOPER: And Sanjay joins me now I also want to bring Dr. Chris Murray, the Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the University of Washington, his institute's computer modeling has often been cited and has been a mainstay of our broadcast helping explain what may lie ahead.

Sanjay, considering how many rallies and events they're like this. Why haven't we heard of more cases then connected to them?

GUPTA: Well, it's just very hard to do the contact tracing here, Anderson. As you know, I mean, we've talked about this, you get 50,000 newly infected diagnose people in any given day, I mean, it's an entire sector of society really, to do that much contact tracing, people may not want to participate. It's just very challenging. And, you know, I don't think we're giving it a lot of focus in this country, in part because of those numbers.

To give you some context, in New Zealand, the contact tracing there is so sophisticated. There was a report recently one of the medical journals about the fact that they were able to contact trace people getting infected from a particular garbage can lid, they are actually showing this garbage can lid as a potential source of infection. They are using CCTV cameras, tracing people's whereabouts, and coming to that sort of conclusion. That's how sophisticated you can get we're obviously nowhere close to that here. Anderson.

COOPER: Dr. Murray, an indoor event to protect seniors in Fort Myers, Florida today, the President said that we are, quote, rounding the turn and will be soon ending the pandemic. Can you just talk about what your most recent model finds in terms of deaths in the U.S. is -- I mean, are we rounding a turn?

CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, DIRECTOR, IHME UNIV. OF WASHINGTON: No Anderson, we're not running the turn. If you look at the map in the U.S., what's happening is exactly what we expected as the whole northern half of the U.S. transmission is on the upswing. You look across all the northern countries in Europe, they're already well into the fall winter surge. And that's what's heading our way. We expect that the death toll unfortunately, unless we change our behavior is going to reach 390,000 deaths by February 1st. COOPER: That's almost double what it is now.

MURRAY: Absolutely. Yes. Well, it's not over. The worst is still the common unfortunately.

COOPER: I mean, that's extraordinary that in from between now and February 1st as another, almost 200,000 people according the model will die.

MURRAY: Absolutely. And we're going to, you know, see these upticks just, you know, gradually get or steadily get worse and worse, as we roll into November and December. And I think it's at that point, that it's not just people are going to die. But many states are going to have to put back on some of those mandates if they want to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed. And then there's all the economic hit that comes with that as well.

COOPER: And just to be clear, because you and I've talked about this before, if right now, I think you said around 45 percent of the country wears mask regularly. If 95 percent of the country wore masks regularly, the number of deaths could be cut by some 40,000. If I'm not wrong, is that correct still?

MURRAY: No. The number of deaths could be cut quite a bit more. It's more in our latest estimates from this week. We could cut deaths between now and February 1st by increased mask use by 74,000. So it's a really big dumbbell.



MURRAY: And, you know, that the future is not cast in stone. It's really in our control in terms of whether we're careful and wear a mask.

COOPER: Right.

MURRAY: What's going to happen in each state.

COOPER: And Sanjay to the point that Dr. Murray also just made, which is I think, is really important to talk about. If people were wearing masks now and distancing, then the shutdowns that Dr. Murray says, are probably inevitable in some states, because of the numbers will rise so much. Those shutdowns could actually -- might not take place if more people wore masks now, so that wouldn't reach the levels of deaths that we're talking about.

GUPTA: That's right. I mean, you know, if you even if you look at the CDC model, and sort of, you know, dive deeper into those numbers, wearing masks, the physical distancing, that the hand hygiene, all the things that we've been talking about, you could start to see the bending of the curve. I mean, it varies when I looked at those models in terms of how long that would take. But yes, I mean, if there was sort of widely adopted, you know, sort of application of those basic models, five weeks or so I think he could really start to see the curve start to flatten and then bend downward.

COOPER: Sanjay I know you of course --

GUPTA: I'm curious as well, if I can ask for a second. Yes, you know, Dr. Murray, so I look at these numbers very carefully. And so, the last model is you mentioned 390,000, people projected sadly to die by February 1st, it's actually down a little bit 6,000 I think, from what you had projected -- of what the model had projected earlier. And yet, we know the virus is likely to spread more during this period as well, according to the model. So, more spread and yet the death rate came down a little bit. And I'm just curious. Well, I know it's a small amount of change. But why would that be?

MURRAY: Well, it's mostly California. And what's happening in California is that deaths have been coming down really pretty steadily. And even though cases are now slowing, and are actually sort of flattening out in California, we're still seeing deaths come down faster than we sort of expected to see. So that change in our numbers is really driven by California. And the uptick all across the northern states is sort of exactly as we predicted. So, no, no change there.

COOPER: Dr. Chris Murray, appreciate it. Sanjay, as well. Thank you so much.

Still to come, the ratings are in for last night's dueling town halls, we'll talk about who came out on top of that and how the different approaches by the two candidates may have played out with voters.



COOPER: For a president who cares an awful lot about ratings and the size of his campaign events. This one may hurt. The average viewership for Joe Biden's town hall in ABC last night was about 4.1 million. For President Trump's Town Hall. 13.5 million. That number is the sum total viewers who watch Trump on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC. Now, we'll be the first to point out that TV ratings are generally not a proxy for votes or polls. And I'll say it again, TV ratings are not a proxy for votes or polls. But it's fair to point out these numbers come after widely pan first debate for the president, an undisciplined campaign full of conspiracy theories. And a president who hasn't really articulated what his second term agenda would be, and real questions about the viability of the President's campaign and its effect on down ballot candidates.

Perspective now from two former White House advisers, David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Obama and a CNN senior political commentator. And David Gergen, former advisor to presidents Nixon, for Reagan and Clinton, and a CNN senior political analyst.

David Axelrod, do you think -- I mean, does anything? Can you extrapolate anything from the fact that more people tuned in to watch Vice President Biden than President Trump? I mean, it was on three different networks for NBC. I don't know if that would have made a difference. DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, no, look, I was sort of shocked by that number. Because, you know, the one thing that I assumed was that even if people didn't like Trump, it's like a gators block. You know, they want to show up to see what exactly happens. And I think, you know, Anderson, the person who does assign greater importance to this is Donald Trump. How many times has he tweeted over the years about ratings, he judges everything by rating system must have been a terrible blow. But honestly, given what happened last night, he may be better off if fewer people have had watched it because he just doubled down on crazy. You know, the virus is we're turning the corner on the virus. You just heard from the experts that we're not turning the corner on the virus, you know, the conspiracy theories, QAnon defending this retweet of a conspiracy theory that the Navy Seals were killed, who were allegedly involved in this Bin Laden raid, because the Bin Laden raid was fake.

I mean, this is the President of the United States. And these are the kinds of things that have placed him in the hole he's in. There are 18 days left, and he didn't do anything last night to change the dynamic.

COOPER: David Gergen, I mean if you were someone at home last night, flipping back and forth between the two town halls, essentially, you're going back and forth between two different worlds.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. The irony, Anderson is that Trump reportedly believed that if he went head to head town hall to town hall at the same hour, he would come out so far had vastly had that he could humiliate Biden. And just the opposite occurred, humiliate Trump. And there's something I think there's something larger going on. We haven't quite figured out yet. But after a period of time, we wish Republicans seem to be doing better than Democrats approaching this election. They got more people registered than to Democrats and in the intervening years. But now the Democrats are coming on very strong. We've had this avalanche of people went out to vote early. Plus, the kind of -- the people are now coming out, almost as if they're retching. They're so angry with it like John Kelly, you know, saying he was the most flawed human being he'd ever met. And Rudy Giuliani's daughter who's on tonight along with John Kelly.

And with all of that going on, there is something going on in the electorate that we haven't quite captured yet. But there is no question there is an enthusiasm and anger, desire to get to get this done with. And get this out and get this problem behind us and it's really, really interesting to watch.


COOPER: David Axelrod, do you agree that there's something going on out there? I mean, is that -- you know, I always question whether there's danger of Democrats looking at national polls and getting complacent thinking, oh, well, you know, there's 10 points ahead nationally, or whatever it may be.

AXELROD: Well, look, there's always that danger. But, you know, what we've been seeing this, from the day after the inauguration when all those women took to the streets to protest. And what you saw on the streets that day was not anger so much as resolved. And that played out in the 2018 midterm elections when there was a really enormous turnout. It's the thing that tilted the House of Representatives, back to the Democrats. I think that has continued and we're seeing it in the early voting patterns.

Sure, I think it would be wise for Democrats to be vigilant. There are those registration numbers that that David mentioned. But 10 points is a substantial margin, 18 days before the election. Hillary Clinton, two weeks out, had an average lead of 3.5 points nationally and she finished 2.5 points ahead. If Joe Biden were to win by 10 points nationally, he is more likely to achieve a electoral college landslide than anything else. I think one analysts -- one analytics pros may have been Nate Silver said 99 percent chance you win the electoral college if you win by more than seven points.

So, there is a lot here. I mean there are plenty other things I could say to you that would point to a by victory. And on top of all of that, there's a huge spending disparity. I was looking at the television numbers today. And to the extent that there's anybody who hasn't made up their mind. You know, there's like -- Biden as like a four to one advantage in some of these key battleground states. So, all the indications are positive, but everybody has, you know, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from the last election. So, I imagine we're going to see a lot of anxiety between now and when these votes are counted, and there's going to be some worry about how they're counted.

COOPER: Yes. David Gergen, I think was in the beginning this week, you know, we were talking about the President holding these large campaign rallies, people aren't wearing masks, no social distancing, and going from state to state and you said, going from obscenity to obscenity. I've been thinking a lot about that. I thought it was very striking and disturbing, you know, reality. Is there -- the President was playing defense. I mean, is there any other way to explain why he's campaigning in Georgia today? Historically, red state he wanted by five points in 2016.

GERGEN: No, he said he's obviously panicked about him is falling out of his world. I think he's become much more erratic. But these rallies really are obscene. We are, as I said, staggering from one obscenity to the next as a people. This will end eventually. And right now, it's very tough for a lot of people. And I think increasingly, people think that we have a president who is emotionally as well as intellectually unhinged at the moment, and that causes a lot of anguish. You know, we don't know his health situation yet. They haven't been honest with us about it.

But I think most of all, it's just so merely (ph), incomprehensible as well as merely, you know, merely accountable for people who are coming down with it because they come to his rallies, as we've seen now, the evidence is starting to come in from past rallies that how many people have gotten sick. And we the third wave, the third peak approaching? Yes, we've got to be going just the person will be talking to Chris Christie on a call. If he's rallies, talk to Chris Christie, go home and get do his real job, which that have been president and get the stimulus package passed. Then he would deserve some praise. COOPER: Yes, I mean, David Axelrod -- yes, go ahead David.

AXELROD: I just want to make one point that because we talked a lot about what Trump did in his town hall. Biden was quite good in his, he was calm, he was detailed. He was confident he related well, to people and he inspired a sense of confidence and the Trump campaign put out a statement deriding him as Mr. Rogers. Well, you know, what, Mr. Rogers was pretty darn popular for a reason. And in contrast to Donald Trump, Mr. Rogers seems like quite a relief. So, I don't know if they even have a grasp on what is going on here. Or they wouldn't send out a statement like that.

COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, David Gergen, thank you.

Programming note, President Trump and Joe Biden are scheduled to face- off one final time before Election Day. Debate will air on CNN next Thursday night. Our special live coverage on that night will start at 7:00 p.m.

Just ahead tonight, President Trump on the attack what he said just moments ago at his rally about NBC's Savannah Guthrie, the moderator of the town hall last night.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: -- Virginia, he was known for a mess. If you look at --



COOPER: Probably replayed for you some of the more notorious comments President Trump made during last night's town hall. We want to play what he said just a short time ago in Macon, Georgia about the town hall moderators, NBC Savannah Guthrie. Again, President Trump attacking a woman by focusing on her looks.


TRUMP: And then Savannah It was like her face to the anger the craziness. I made a craziness last night and I said goodbye. I said great job Savannah, you did wonderfully. Good job.


COOPER: President of United States right there. Apparently unhappy with the criticism of his own performance. And so he goes after the looks of the woman who asked him very reasonable questions and had the audacity to actually fact check him. She did a great job.

The news continues, want to hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME". Chris? CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Agreed and thank you, Anderson. Have a good week.


I'm Chris Cuomo. Welcome to "Primetime". We need to pay very close attention to what's happening with the coronavirus.