tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN August 16, 2020 2:00am-3:00am PDT
mourning a brother and best friend, president trump issues a heart felt statement after his younger brother robert dies in a new york hospital. also this hour, we bring you the very latest on the presidential election, democrats say they may recall the house early to deal with major controversies over mail-in voting. wildfires raging in the western u.s., where scorching temperatures are intensifying. the challenge to fight them. we're live from cnn world headquarters in atlanta. welcome to our viewers in the
united states and around the world. i'm natalie allen. "cnn newsroom" starts right now. 5:00 a.m. here on the east coast, thanks so much for joining us. and we begin with sad personal news for the u.s. president. word emerged late saturday that robert trump, the younger brother of president donald trump, has died. 71-year-old robert had been suffering from an undisclosed illness for some time. no details had been released about his funeral arrangements, but the president is planning to attend. mr. trump mentioned that his brother was ill while speaking with the news media earlier this week, and he visited him in the hospital on friday. cnn's kristen holmes has been traveling with the president in
bridgewater, new jersey. she's got more about it. >> reporter: president trump's younger brother robert trump passing away late saturday night, a night after president trump had gone on an impromptu visit to new york city. the press had known he was going to new jersey, at the last minute they told us he was going to a hospital in new york to visit his brother robert. we know that he had been seriously ill, but not clear what illness he had. he had been in and out of the hospital since the spring. the white house issued a statement on behalf of president trump, and it is clearly an emotional and sentimental statement here. it says, it is with a heavy heart i share my wonderful brother robert peacefully passed away tonight. he was not only my brother, he was my best friend. he'll be greatly missed but we will meet again. his memory will live on in my heart forever. robert, i love you, rest in peace, the president said. so clearly you can see the strength of their relationship. president trump said on numerous
occasions that robert trump supported his candidacy for president a thousand percent. it is unclear exactly what the illness is that robert trump passed from. we are waiting to hear more information from the white house. it is again his younger brother who had been ill since around the spring passed away late saturday night. kristen holmes, cnn, traveling with the president in bridgewater, new jersey. president trump's children are tweeting about their uncle robert's death. ivanka trump tweeted, uncle robert, we love you, you are in our hearts and prayers always. and her brother eric wrote, robert trump was an incredible man. strong, kind and loyal to the core, anyone who encountered him felt his warmth immediately. he will be deeply missed by our entire family. mr. trump has spoken about his brother publicly in recent days,
his illness has clearly been on the president's mind. >> i have a wonderful brother. we had a great relationship for a long time, since day one, a long time ago. and he's in the hospital right now. and hopefully he'll be all right, but he's pretty -- he's having a hard time. >> the president also spoke about his brother while attending an event in new jersey, where the new york police endorsed his candidacy for re-election. >> i just want to pay my respects to a really good guy that i love. it is my brother, he's very ill. and he would not have -- he just said, don't even think about it. so i really appreciate what he said, he's having a very tough time. but i really appreciate being with you today. he respected you as much as i do. i respected you like everybody, we all respect you.
>> robert trump was one of the president's four siblings. their older brother fred jr. died in 1981 when he was just 43 years old. while the president mourns the death of his brother, he still has a re-election campaign to run. and with mail-in voting under constant scrutiny, u.s. house leaders are considering calling lawmakers back from their summer recess. a critical issue, whether recent changes in the u.s. postal service may jeopardize the timely delivery of mail-in ballots. for more, here's cnn's sarah westwood in washington. >> reporter: president trump on saturday continued to cast doubt on the reliability of mail-in voting, despite experts repeatedly saying that widespread voter fraud in the u.s. is exceedingly rare. and many states have relied on the mail-in voting to varying degrees for years. though the post master general has made changes to the post office operations that critics
say will hamper its ability to deliver mail-in ballots at the volume expected in november, the president praised dejoy's efforts. he also sought to draw a distinction between absentee voting and mail-in voting. >> louis, he is working very hard, but as you know, the democrats aren't approving the proper funding for postal and they're not approving the proper funding for this ridiculous thing they want to do, all mail-in voting, universal, you could call it, mail-in. absentee voting is great, i'm a absentee voter, i requested, i got and sent in my vote. that works out very well. that's what we had. now they want to send in millions and millions of ballots and you see what's happening, they're being lost, they're being discarded, they're finding them in piles. it is going to be a catastrophe. >> the president recently requested his own absentee ballot, but the distinction between absentee voting and mail-in voting is not black and
white. in fact, the lines between them are pretty blurred. both are conducted in much the same way, the ballots are delivered through the mail, and only nine states in the district of columbia are doing what the president was warning about, which is mailing every voter a ballot, in most states people will still have to request a ballot in order to vote. the president's also exploiting the likelihood that the election result may not be entirely clear on election night because it does take longer to count mail-in votes. the president tweeted saturday morning, the democrats know the 2020 election will be a fraudulent mess. we'll maybe never know who won. and meanwhile, the postal service in late july warned 46 states and the district of columbia that their election laws are incompatible with the postal service operations. they said some of the deadlines that states have set for requesting and turning in their ballots just doesn't leave the postal service enough time to get the ballots delivered. sarah westwood, cnn, washington.
bill clinton is the latest former u.s. leader to criticize president trump's assault on mail-in ballots. he writes on twitter, we expect our elected officials to protect the right to vote and to ensure every vote is counted. this attack on the postal service, an institution as old as the republic itself and depended upon and trusted by millions of americans is designed to ensure that neither is done. if there was ever a time to protect this beautiful experiment we call a democracy, it's now. the white house's attempts to discredit mail-in ballots are getting negative reactions from both sides of the aisle. but democrats have been especially angry. democratic congressman james clyburn invoked his late colleague john lewis, the pillar of the civil rights movement, in blasting the current controversy. here he is. >> john lewis, that would be so
disappointed that he gave -- nearly gave his life to get the vote for people of color and to watch the complicity of the republicans in holding on to this kind of shenanigans is just beyond me. this, to me, i never thought that i would see this country allow this to happen. >> meantime, president trump's challengers are preparing for the democratic national convention next week. former vice president joe biden and his new running mate kamala harris are getting ready to accept the party's nomination. for now, harris is taking a step into the spotlight. jessica dean tells us more. >> reporter: newly minted vice presidential nominee kamala harris giving her first interview since that announcement was made earlier this week. and in that virtual interview,
harris praising her running mate joe biden for having the audacity to put a black woman on the ticket with him, going also into the policies they hope to put in place, but continuing to go back to joe biden really playing that traditional role as the vice presidential candidate, in elevating the person at the top of the ticket, in this case, that being joe biden. harris also continues to fuel an incredible fund-raising boost for the biden campaign, they announced they raised $48 million over the two days after her announcement, which is just a shocking number, considering that earlier in the campaign cycle, biden wasn't raising that in a whole quarter of fund-raising. they're raising that in 48 hours. we're told that both harris and biden will be delivering their nomination acceptance speeches right here in wilmington, delaware, when the democratic convention happens next week. but until then, it is a pretty quiet weekend here in delaware, as harris and biden prepare. jessica dean, cnn, wilmington,
delaware. let's talk politics with natasha lindstaedt, she joins us from colchester, england, to talk about when's going on a few months before the election. good morning to you. >> good morning. >> first up, i want to begin with the virtual democratic convention, which begins monday. what are you expecting from team biden and harris in these uncertain times in our country's history and can they generate excitement without an audience and do you think they'll be reaching out to disenchanted trump supporters? >> with the upcoming convention, it is about rising stars and energizing the party and making the case to the wider american public. i think this convention will be unusual in that it will be more about the latter two things, about really motivating and energizing the democratic base, but trying to make the case to the american public that the
u.s. cannot handle another four years under trump that the u.s. is facing imminent disaster and that it is really biden and harris that can pull the u.s. out of this mess. in particular, because of the incredibly high unemployment rates and the mass threat of the virus. they're going to be trying to make this case to the american public about what policies they're going to pursue in order to help americans and that they are the team that can do so. >> kamala harris choice as the vp candidate has generated much excitement from democrats. what does she bring to the ticket for joe biden? what will you be listening for from her? >> well, i think the choice was about trying to get energy to the campaign. she has definitely done that. we're seeing from early polls the most recent axios poll showed that she is helping biden. normally a vp pick doesn't help much, but it looks like she's doing well with both wings of the democratic party, with
hispanics, african-american voters, and even with independents. >> natasha lindstaedt with us. cnn will bring you full coverage. the democratic national convention kicks off tomorrow, the republican convention begins august 24th. coming up here, a harsh warning from the cdc director about the pandemic and president trump's response to what he had to say. also -- >> as parents, our number one task in life is to protect ur babies. and i really felt like i was dropping mine off at a death trap. >> with coronavirus cases rising here in the state of georgia, parents share their concerns about sending their children to school. here's another cleaning tip from mr. clean. cleaning tough bathroom and kitchen messes with sprays and wipes can be a struggle. there's an easier way.
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autumn in the u.s. could be one of the worst in american history, unless more people start following health safety guidelines. the president, however, disputed that claim saturday, he invoked the spanish flu epidemic, but before we play his comment, remember that epidemic started in 1918 and experts estimate about 50 million people died. not the much larger number the president mentions here. >> no, i mean, you can't compare it to 1917. that was incredible. that was -- that was the worst ever by far. that was -- you look, they lost possibly 100 million people. i don't agree with that. but if you look at these numbers, they're coming down very substantially. >> the cdc updated guidance for pediatricians treating children with coronavirus on friday, the agency says the rate of infection among those under 18 is now over 7%, up from 2%
initially and nearly half of all child cases may be asymptomatic. it certainly gives parents even more to think and worry about, cristina alesci has more on the new guidance and how the virus is impacting children. >> reporter: that's right. new cdc guidelines that parents might want to consider as they weigh whether or not to send their children back to school this fall. the cdc now acknowledging that children do transmit the virus in places like homes and summer camps, the cdc noting that the number of cases among children is rising. now, 7.3% of all covid cases are among children. that is up considerably since cdc's last guidance, which was at 2% for children with covid. also the cdc noting that the lower rates in children could be attributable to school closures in the early part of the
pandemic. and that's why it was lower for children. now, given the new guidance, it is entirely appropriate to be questioning public officials, including governor and mayors who have put forth plans to reopen schools or allow them to reopen. and in new york, particularly, the governor last week announced the fact that schools can reopen here. we reached out to the governor here to see if these new cdc guidelines factor into the decision or change the plan at all. we have not heard back from them. but educators here in new york city's largest school district in the country now expressing a lot of unease about schools opening here and whether they have the right precautions and right equipment to deal with the large influx of students who would be coming back to school here. but for now, at least as far as new york is concerned, it looks like full speed ahead on school reopenings. back to you. >> the republican governor here in georgia is finally letting cities in the state impose mask
mandates. the policy reversal by brian kemp comes as georgia is hit hard by the virus. but his executive order does have exceptions. it says the mandates cannot be enforced on private property or at polling places and it sets fines at no mar than $50. just days ago, kemp withdrew a lawsuit against atlanta's democratic mayor keisha lance bottoms. that lawsuit tried to block restrictions that she had put in place to fight covid-19, including requiring masks. with the latest moves by kemp may be too little too late. cnn's natasha chen has more on the grim outlook facing this state. >> reporter: georgia is not doing enough to prevent the spread of covid-19. that's according to white house coronavirus task force recommendations from august 9th, a document obtained by the atlanta journal institution. it reads, there is widespread and expanding community viral
spread, and there is no significant improvement in the atlanta metro area, with continued high levels of new cases at a plateau. mitigation efforts must increase. governor brian kemp's office fired back sending cnn a list of its ongoing efforts to combat the spread of the virus, saying in part, quote, the dph lab has been working around the clock with multiple shifts since early summer. and that governor kemp continues to rely on data, science and the public health advice of the state's public health director. >> georgia should roll back and i definitely think georgia should roll back. >> reporter: in a state seeing at least 3,000 new cases every day over the last month, the atlanta mayor says it is too soon for students to be in classrooms. >> and we -- we're seeing it already in our state. schools have reopened, kids are getting infected and it is -- in my opinion, this is my opinion as a parent, it is more disruptive to think you're sending your child to a situation and then have to hold
them all back out. >> reporter: courtney smith pulled her daughters out of public school in atlanta suburbs altogether, when they told her they saw 30 to 40 students in each classroom with few people wearing masks. >> as parents, our number one task in life is to protect our babies and i really felt like i was dropping mine off at a death trap on monday. so there were a lot of tears shed by me and shed by my children last week. >> reporter: after two days in their cherokee county schools, smith transferred them it a charter school, which she says has far fewer students in class and more of them wearing masks. on friday, cherokee county's public school district confirmed 80 new cases of covid-19 for the week, nearly triple the previous week's count. two high schools in the district had to temporarily pause in person learning. >> if you want your kids in school, your schools have to stay open. for the school to stay open, you have to contain your numbers of covid cases. and the best way that we know of to contain those cases is to implement masks and to also
implement a hyperprogram where you reduce the number of students in school at one time. >> reporter: north paulding high school also had to temporarily stop in person classes, due to students and staff testing positive. starting monday, that school will use a hybrid schedule with both in person and digital learning. >> there is definitely going to be issues when you open anything. we saw that when we opened businesses. we're seeing that when we open schools, we have given them guidance, we worked with them to really give them the tools that they need to open. >> reporter: those tools include shipments of masks that aren't required by the state. though kemp once sued atlanta's mayor for mandating masks, he says local school officials are best positioned to make the best rules for their communities. natasha chen, cnn, atlanta. i'm joined by dr. peter drobak, infectious disease and
global health expert at the university of oxford. nice to see you, peter. >> good morning. >> we have been talking for months now about the cases, globally, so many cases still on the rise. here in the united states as well. i want to begin, though, since this is mid-august, to talk about schools. now, bringing children back into the classroom. we know cases among children are rising, some schools have already had to pull back, what are you expecting and what are your concerns as we head into the school season? >> well, natalie, as we have been talking about now for some time, it is just really difficult to imagine how we'll be able to safely open our schools in settings of high transmission, which unfortunately still covers most of the u.s. right now. schools do not exist in a vacuum, they exist within communities. high transmission of those communities, that's going to affect schools. we already have started to see this in some schools that tried to open early in many cases they had to close because, you know,
some kids and teachers were found to be positive. there is a lot that we should have been doing for a long time to get ready for this. but, again, the number one thing we need to do is get a hold of this epidemic and bring transmission rates down. otherwise, i really fear schools open over next couple of weeks, it is just not going to last, we're putting kids at risk and teachers at risk and unfortunately it will be a very difficult situation as schools then quickly start to close back down. >> we are also seeing clusters in college dorms now, notre dame is one, university of north carolina, chapel hill, what is the challenge for colleges to limit the spread and also there is a threat to college towns as well. >> universities are actually really a special problem. we saw very early on in the outbreak that there were these big clusters of cases in the cruise ships, remember seeing cruise ships stranded, off the coast of the u.s. and things like that. universities in some ways are a little bit similar. you have young people from lots of different places, all coming
into one concentrated area, staying in congregate settings like dormitories all at once. >> well, more than half of the country's largest school districts are expected to start the year with full online teaching in a bid it avoid the kind of possible transmission peter was speaking about there. infectious disease expert peter drobak joining me from the university of oxford. weeks after tough lockdown restrictions eased in france, cases are on the rise once again. police now enforcing mask mandates in some cities. we'll go live to paris with more about that one. plus, the mental health challenges many people face because of the pandemic. we'll have a report from new delhi straight ahead here on "cnn newsroom."
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welcome back to our viewers here in the u.s. and around the world, i'm natalie allen. you're watching "cnn newsroom." public attractions and theme parks reopened in brazil saturday, including the towering christ the redeemer statue above rio de janeiro. fewer visitors are allowed and precautions like temperature checks are in place. brazil ranked second in the world in total coronavirus cases. south africa also easing restrictions as their case numbers are falling. more travel will be allowed and bans on alcohol and tobacco will be lifted. restaurants and bars can reopen with strict hygiene protocols required. and to france now, paris police were out enforcing a mandatory mask rule saturday after the city was declared a zone of active circulation.
let's talk about what that is with our senior international correspondent jim bittermann joining me now from paris. hello to you, jim. what is causing this situation in france? >> reporter: well, i think, natalie, it is the rapid growth of the number of cases here in france. we had 3,310 more new cases overnight, in the last 24 hours. and what is more, the growth rate seems to be expanding exponentially from one day to the next. four days in a rosette new records, and these are records that -- numbers we haven't seen since back in early may, when the lockdown procedures here began to ease up. so i think what the authorities are seeing is something that is going the wrong direction. so they are now working to solve that by going in the other direction with these lockdowns, in paris, large -- in paris, half of the city, i would say, are now zones where you have to wear a mask if you're out in
public. and that includes pedestrians and people jogging. bicyclists, they're about the only ones, you're facing a fine in you're caught in violation of the rules. they blocked off expanded areas of marseille in the same way and marching a quarter of the malls, like the states in france, a quarter are being watched very closely for what they believe are growing clusters of cases. so it is a worrying situation, no doubt about it. >> here in the united states, jim, mask wearing became a political thing. it seems that with the growing number of cases people -- more people are coming around to wearing a mask. what is the situation there? did people seem to be in compliance, are they understanding? >> reporter: it is hard to say really. i think they are in compliance to a large degree.
it is very warying, you know. i think a lot of people are getting tired. they like the idea of the relaxed rules that have come about in the last few months, but now it looks like it is going the other way. i don't think anybody wants to go back to the bad old days when in fact you had restrictions on travel, you had to have a certificate to go out and move about. and you couldn't go much further than a kilometer from your house and that sort of thing. you had to have a special authorization. i think people look at that and say we don't want to go back to that. we got to wear our mask, okay, we have to wear a mask. it is going to impose some new rules on a number of different people, for example, the labor minister saying that they're talking to the labor unions and she says that they're going to ask them to consider the idea of wearing masks in the workplace, a quarter of the new cases they say are coming from the workplaces, so they're going to ask that workers in conference rooms and moving around the
offices and that sort of thing, wear masks, even in private settings like that. natalie? >> hope it succeeds for france there. jim bittermann, always appreciate you, thank you. japan has been battling a disturbing rise in coronavirus since mid-july. saturday marked the third straight day of more than 1,000 new cases. toky tokyo's government is urging bars and restaurants to close voluntarily at 10:00 p.m. some are complying, but not all. the pandemic is taking a toll on the mental well-being of people all around the world. many who have recovered from the virus find they cannot really leave the experience behind. cnn's vetica asued reports from new delhi for us. >> reporter: this say 39-year-old it professional back to regular therapy sessions. after india announced the
lockdown in march, he sensed an increase in stress and anxiety levels. he asked to be call ed by the pseudonym pronounce. he said as soon as the lockdown started, work around the home became very stressful, managing both was difficult and added to the pressure. a therapist who spent 27 years in the mental health domain says she has seen a significant increase in clients ever since covid-19. people are struggling to deal with their emotions. >> i think the lockdown has put all of us -- created fear because of the uncertainty. and when we are are experiencing fear, we have an emotional brain which gets activated. >> reporter: 32-year-old lata whose name has been changed is a school teacher who has been struggling ever since she started working from home.
her sudden and unexplained outburst made her reach out to a psychologist. she says she's constantly crying, is extremely nervous and mentally exhausted. what worries her, she says, is the fear of losing her job and dealing with mental stress along with an uncertain future. what is equally disturbing is how covid-19 patients and front line healthcare workers in india are not only dealing with the stress of being infected, but stigma as well. >> healthcare workers, those who suffer the illness and those who just tested positive, they have twofold issue, one is they are dealt with like social pariahs and they're also going through the illness themselves, along with the fear. >> reporter: the indian government says covid-19 has thrown an unprecedented challenge for mental health across the country. according to a study by the w.h.o. in 2016, india has
just .3 psychiatrists and .3 psychologists per 10,000 people. much lower than the u.s. according to medical experts, mental illness could be the next pandemic not only to grip india, but the world. in 2017, according to the lancet medical journal, one in seven indians was affected by mental disorders of varying severity. while india attempts to cap its rising covid-19 infections and deaths, its struggle with mental illness continues. cnn, new delhi. a picturesque reef in the indian ocean is now covered with tons of oil. a leaking cargo ship has broken apart not far from a protected wildlife habitat. the environmental emergency in mauritius next, we'll have a live report about it. also, the embattled
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authorities in mauritius declared a major oil spill in the indian ocean a forbidden zone after a cargo ship split in two saturday. take a look, and you can see the damage in these beautiful waters there. greenpeace africa says volunteers working on the cleanup have been asked to stop over safety concerns. the japanese-owned ship was on its way from china to brazil when it ran aground on a reef in late july. you can see right there what has happened since. kaori enjoji joins me from tokyo
with more about it. >> this is an ecological disaster for mauritius and the surrounding sea life there and some of the marshlands and the ecological reserves they have around the island. it has been three weeks since this ship ran aground on the shallow waters near the reef off mauritius, yet we still don't have answers to the basic question as to what it was doing so close to the shore to begin with. even though it has been three weeks since that incident. we had a dramatic turn of events over this weekend, with the hull cracking even further and literally splitting the ship into two. there was a very, very difficult salvage operation over the last couple of weeks to try to get the oil pumped out of the ship. originally carrying 4,000 tons of oil. about a thousand of that, a thousand tons, has already seeped into the waters into the -- around the surrounding
island. and 3,000 remained was literally pumped out, using helicopters, volunteers around the island, literally scooping the oil out of the sea. and so this was a salvage operation, but as you can imagine, as the ship split into two, there was some remaining oil in the ship and as you can see in some pictures, it turned the waters black. there are going to be questions about responsibility. and as you pointed out, there are two japanese companies involved. one is the owner of the ship, very small company called nagashiki shipping. legally according to what is known technically as the bunker roll, they are responsible for paying all of that. but when you consider the operator of the ship which is another japanese company, a very large shipping company, they're technically not liable to pay for any of the cleanup costs. but conservationists are saying is it going to be enough to make just an apology when you have
all of this environmental damage, not to mention, of course, this is a particularly difficult year for mauritius because tourism has dried up with the kracoronavirus and the travel restrictions, and you have a fishing industry that really is the livelihood for many of the residents on mauritius. this is an ongoing disaster, it could be months before the ship is moved out of the reef and towed away. this also could be a multimillion dollar liability issue as well. one lawyer i spoke to said the cost could be anywhere between 2 and 7 billion japanese yen. so a lot of unresolved issues. and the main question, what it was doing there to begin with. >> absolutely beautiful waters, covered now in oil. thank you so much for that report, kaori enjoji for us. thank you. now we turn to belarus, president alexander lukashenko doesn't want foreign mediation to calm the protests in his country saying he, quote, won't
give up the country to anyone. but he has reached out to someone, russian president vladimir putin. belarus has been rocked by protests for the past week after a highly contested presidential election. lukashenko's party says he won 80% of the vote. protesters say the vote was rigged. tens of thousands of people, you're seeing many of them here, have risked arrest, violence and even alleged torture to demand lukashenko step down. our fred pleitgen is in the belarusian capital minsk, covering the protests and what the government's reaction is to it. hello to you, fred. >> reporter: hi there, natalie. certainly this could be another desis ev dcisive day here for te of belarus, they have called for pro government demonstrations and some things we have been seeing on social media as apparently they are busing a
large number of people here into the belarusian capital of minsk to take part in the pro government demonstrations. they're set to begin right about now, actually, with those demonstrations starting in the center of minsk, otherwise has been completely locked off. the folks you see here, anti-government protesters, will have a harder time doing their own demonstrations. they called for demonstrations to happen today, certainly we can see that people are gathering for that. they're going to start a little bit later. but you can see that there is certainly a very charged up atmosphere here in the capital. in fact, a couple of minutes ago, we were standing right here at this pushkin square, which has been a place where people have been coming to, have been gathering and have been doing that honking that you can hear throughout the protests as they have been unfolding and then two buses came, which apparently had people in them being bussed to the pro government democrat strag demonstrations and you hear them
to try to get them to not go to the demonstration, something in the end that did not happen. you feel the atmosphere here is very charged up, you can feel that, especially the folk on the opposition they feel this is a decisive time and alexander lukashenko for himself, very much saying he's not going to give up. he's not going to step down. still contesting he won the election. he had that phone call with vladimir putin just yesterday, where the results of that phone call, he sort of made more of that than the russian president wanted him to make of that. there was a bit of confusion as to what exactly the two leaders spoke about and what exactly russia plans to do next. but you can feel that alexander lukashenko understand he's embattled. he understands he's possibly on the ropes and certainly he's trying to bring out his supporters today and his supporters are being bused in to the capital of minsk from other places, natalie. >> all right, we will continue to follow it. we know you'll be there for us. fred pleitgen, thank you, fred.
. several wildfires are raging in the west right now and it could get worse as an intense heat wave sears much of the area. almost 100 million americans are under some form of heat advisory from texas, california, into the rockies and up the west coast to washington state. two of the most threatening wildfires in colorado have grown in size over the past 24 hours. and derek van dam is following these developments for us. there is a lot to look out here with these fires, not just in california, but spreading out. >> yeah, colorado to oregon, all the way to california. the lake fire that we have been monitoring for the past three days or so, this is just incredible. came across the statistic at one point, right at the beginning of the explosive fire growth, 66
acres per minute, equivalent to a football field being burned every 1.2 seconds. that's how explosive the nature of the wildfires can be. if you just look at the little or the lack of rain that southern california and into arizona has received over the past 120 days, it is a telltale sign of why we have such bad fire conditions with the triple digit heat commencing across the region. let me take you it the lake fire. this is impressive. we have seen fire whirls, often mislabeled as a firenado or fire tornado. what you're looking at on the screen there, turbulent wind conditions with intense heat that rises up and a little vortex of flames. that can get up to 2,000 degrees fahrenheit. it sucks debris, ash into that vortex of fire, it can last a minute to two minutes, up to 20 minutes depending on the severity of the fire whirl and it can have winds stronger than a hurricane, hurricane force, i should say, that could easily
uproot trees and also knock over power lines. that's why it is so dangerous to have these conditions across the area. so take a look at the formation of a fire whirl and you can better understand what is happening. there are differences in temperatures. the ambient temperature, the temperature of the actual forest fire taking place, and that intense air that rises so quickly creates that converging air that rotates and eventually causes that fire whirl. not much containment going on, over 17,000 acres there, that has already been burnt across the lake fire region, that's 40 miles north of los angeles. check the watches and warnings, heat advisories across the area, over 80 million americans under some sort of heat alert at the moment. that's the latest figure. triple digit temperatures for the afternoon today, with potential natalie for over 100 record high temperatures to be broken today. i find it fascinating that these intense wildfires can create their own weather phenomenon. isn't that mazin amazing.
>> that absolutely is. the whole country is orange now. it is august, isn't it? thanks so much. we'll see you soon. thanks, derek. at least five people have been killed in shark attacks in australia this year. but a man in new south wales was not going to let his girlfriend become the next victim. police say the pair was surfing yesterday, when a juvenile -- still got to be a big shark -- great white clamped its jaws on her leg. the man went into attack mode himself, pounding on the predator until it let go. the shark got away and now area beaches are closed as authorities try to track it down. the girlfriend, she's in serious but stable condition, in a hospital, with bites on her calf and thigh. she's going to recover and we proclaim her boyfriend a real catch. good job there. thanks for watching this three hours of "cnn newsroom." i'm natalie allen of t.
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has suffered a great personal loss. >> president trump's younger brother robert trump passing away late saturday night. >> have a wonderful brother. we've had a great relationship for a long time, since day one. >> the fda has approved the use of the new sal eva test that the nba funded. >> that is a possible real breakthrough. better testing has to happen to know where we are in this marathon. democrats are considering cutting short the august recess to deal with the postal service funding standoff. >> we could easily