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Lockdown Restrictions Lifted in England; Tokyo Olympics Hit by Rising COVID Cases Before Opening; Rising Hospitalization and Deaths in the U.S. Due to Delta Variant; 189 Deaths in Belgium and Germany Due to Flooding; Israel Plans To Crack Down On COVID Rule Breakers; Israeli PM: Vaccine Alone Not Enough To Overcome Crisis. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 02:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I am Kim Brunhuber. Ahead on "CNN Newsroom," as the U.K. lifts COVID restrictions, the prime minister needs to self-isolate where in London where cases continue to surge.

Plus, one of the biggest names in tennis is out of the Tokyo Olympics. It comes as the COVID cloud over the games grows just four days before the opening ceremonies.

And from devastating floods in Europe, to the mass wildfires across the western U.S., the real world impact of the climate crisis. I'll discuss with my guest coming up.

England is starting a very risky experiment today. It's just lifted nearly every remaining social distancing restriction despite the fact that COVID cases are spiking yet again there. So that means mask wearing mandates are over, and shops, restaurants and sports venues can open at full capacity.

Now, there are a few exceptions. London's mayor says face coverings will still be required on public transport, but by and large, life could start to look a lot like it did before the pandemic. But this is all happening with infections surging in the U.K., about 50,000 new cases per day. So, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he is convinced the vaccine stopped enough serious disease to take the risk.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: If we don't do it now, we got to ask ourselves, when will we ever do it? So, this is the right moment, but we've got to do it cautiously. We've got to remember that this virus is sadly still out there, cases are rising. We can see the extreme contagiousness of the delta variant.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: CNN's Phil Black is in London for us. Phil, is there a celebratory mood there in the streets of London?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I wouldn't say so, Kim. There is still lots of caution here as people begin their first set commute to work under the conditions of the great English experiment, but I'm also seeing lots of people who are embracing quite readily the fact that they can move around freely in crowds without wearing masks now.

So, it is a mix and not everyone is being as cautious as perhaps the prime minister would like. This is the scenario that England now faces. We have variant, a highly transmissible variant that is running hot in the population. There is significant immunity, but not complete immunity in that population.

What happens now that the rules controlling the spread of the virus are taken away? And the truth is, no one knows for sure, but we're going to find out. As you heard there, the prime minister is persisting with this in the logic that says there is no ideal time so if not now, then when. Let's do it in summer when you've got the advantages of that and at a time when there is.

We just hit this mark of about two-thirds of full vaccination cover for the adult population in the U.K. Despite those advantages though, all the forecast suggests this is going to be a grim, difficult summer. Infections will surge.

The question is to what extent that then translates to people falling seriously ill and requiring hospital treatment. Even the most optimistic forecast suggest we're going to see many thousands of people experiencing severe illness. So this is not the enthusiastic triumph-less return to normal life in England that prime minister had hoped for. It is an experiment and one that could impact efforts to fight the pandemic all over the world.


BLACK (voice-over): The U.K.'s prime minister has long promised a vaccine field irreversible journey to an inevitable destination.

JOHNSON: We're now traveling on a one way road to freedom.

BLACK (voice-over): Newspapers enthusiastically gave that journey's end an obvious night, freedom day. Now it's here, but it doesn't feel very free.

JOHNSON: This pandemic is not over. This disease, coronavirus, continues to carry risks for you and your family.

BLACK (voice-over): The delta variant changed everything. After months of steeply declining cases, this highly transmissible mutation is now swamping the U.K. with an accelerating wave of infections. The government is lifting restrictions anyway.

CHRIS WITTY, ENGLAND'S CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: There is quite a strong view that by many people, including myself actually, that going in the summer has some advantages.


BLACK (voice-over): Advantages like reduced seasonal pressure on hospitals and with schools out, reduced spread among students. But the plan has many expert critics who use words like reckless and unethical.

DEEPTI GURDASANI, CLINICAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST, QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: All the models show that there will be millions of cases over the summer, and that there will be 1,000 to 2,000 daily hospitalizations over the summer.

BLACK (voice-over): The government is also aware of another ominous warning, from its own scientific advisers that points to the possibility of dire consequences for the whole world. The combination of high prevalence and high levels of vaccination creates the conditions in which an immune escape variant is most likely to emerge. The likelihood of this happening is unknown. They're talking about a variant that's better at beating vaccines.

RAVI GUPTA, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE: Considering high levels of infections are only going to drive further mutation of the virus and potential further problems down the line. In other words, even less vaccine efficacy against mutated versions of the virus. We know that there is a significant risk of this happening from what we've seen the last six months.

BLACK (voice-over): The government hopes most people will follow its new message. Yes, the rules are going away, but please, don't change your behavior. One of its own advisers on behavioral science says that's messy and inconsistent.

SUSAN MICHIE, DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR BEHAVIOUR CHANGE, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: This kind of mixed messaging is really damaging. We had it previously in the pandemic, and people want clear guidance. They want leadership and they want to clear, concise, and coherent messages.

BLACK (voice-over): This is an unprecedented experiment, a desperate bid for freedom. Its success or failure will be measured in lives and suffering.


BLACK (on camera): Now, Kim, the government's own scientific advisers say they don't know precisely how this is going to turn out because it will ultimately come down to the people and how cautiously they now choose to behave now that there are no rules and laws enforcing that behavior. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much, Phil Black in London. With just days to go until the opening ceremonies, the number of COVID-19 cases linked to the 2020 Olympic Games has risen to 58. Coronavirus cases are rising in Japan raising fears the games, which start Friday, could turn into a global superspreader event. CNN's Blake Essig joins us from Tokyo. Blake, with the growing number

of case, Olympic organizers must be scrambling to deal with the fallout. What's the latest?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kim, not an ideal situation. Just last week though, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said that the risk of COVID-19 spreading because of the Olympics is zero. But a growing number of cases are increasingly testing Olympic organizers promise that they'll be able to keep the games safe and secure not only for the people of Japan but also for the athletes staying at the Olympic Village. Take a listen.


MASA TAKAYA, TOKYO 2020 SPOKESPERSON: We cannot say there'll be no positive cases within the Olympic community given the situation that we have a massive numbers of people are, you know, engaged within this project. But there is no significant bumps compared to the in terms of the positivity rate, compared to the same number found in any other presses. So, what I have to tell you is there will be, of course, certain number with positive cases to be found in the lead up to the games. But once again, the most important thing is the response.


ESSIG: And Kim, we've already seen positive cases as a result of these games. So far, 58 people involved with the games have tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan with the first cases being reported over the weekend from inside the Olympic Village that included two players and a video analyst from South Africa's football team.

Now, there's also a growing list of athletes in Olympic-related personnel who have been forced into isolation after being considered close contacts with people who tested positive. The most recent includes at least 21 people who are close contacts with those members of the South African football team. And six athletes, two staff members from the British Olympic team, who came into contact with someone who tested positive on their flight into Japan. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. Now, Blake, so you're back in Tokyo now, but you spent the last few days in Fukushima where a couple of events including baseball and softball will be held. So what are people outside of Tokyo saying about the Olympics?


ESSIG: Yes, Kim, you know, after spending a couple of days in Fukushima and having the chance to talk to a number of people during my stay, you know, the sentiment that there is, you know, as far as what you experience here, there is the concern for the health and safety of the Japanese people. That sentiment is felt, you know, all around Japan in particular in Fukushima where cases are steadily increasing.

But unlike here in Tokyo where really, that health and safety is the primary focus, there is a lot of disappointment especially in Fukushima amongst the people who are really hopeful that this would be a big boom for the economy.

They were expecting, you know, thousands, tens of thousands of people to come in for the baseball and softball events and help really showcase what Fukushima has become after 10 -- after a decade since that nuclear fallout from that earthquake and tsunami, March 11, 2011 that just devastated the area. A lot of recovery has taken place, still a long way to go, but the people in Fukushima were looking forward to being able to highlight what has been done since.

BRUNHUBER: All right. Thank so much, Blake Essig, in Tokyo.

COVID case numbers in nearly every U.S. state are soaring due to the highly infectious delta variant. So, just have a look here at this map. It shows the increases week over week. Now, the dark red shows states where case numbers are up at least 50 percent. New cases are up 300 percent since early July in California's Los Angeles County and county officials are re-imposing indoor mask requirements.

The delta variant is hospitalizing the unvaccinated particularly young and previously healthy people, and the CDC says only 48.6 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated so far. U.S. surgeon general told CNN he's concerned about those who haven't received a vaccine yet.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: And I am worried about what is to come because we are seeing increasing cases among the unvaccinated in particular. And while if you are vaccinated, you are very well- protected against hospitalization and death. Unfortunately, that is not true if you are not vaccinated. We are seeing 99.5 percent of deaths right now from COVID-19 in our country are happening among the unvaccinated.


BRUNHUBER: Dr. Abraar Karan is a physician at Stanford Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine and joins me now from Stanford, California. Thanks so much for being with us. So you're in the bay area where the counties have strongly recommended wearing masks indoors, but aren't requiring it at least for now, right?

So, many jurisdictions are looking at what L.A. County is doing and its mandate to wear masks with interests as cases increase across the country. This is the number one complaint I get from my friends in Los Angeles. They say I was responsible, I got vaccinated as soon as I could. Why am I being punished and forced to go back to wearing a mask in order to protect all those people out there who don't want to get vaccinated?

ABRAAR KARAN, STANFORD DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES & GEOGRAPHIC MEDICINE: Yes, I totally hear you. I've been hearing the same questions from my own friends as well. And I think the most important thing to remember with any sort of epidemic response is that the collective action of the group is what makes the biggest difference. As an infectious disease doctor, I still see COVID patients. We've been seeing them throughout the year. Even when things start to get a little bit better, we see some of the more complicated cases. It's important to remember that we need to think about the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Not everybody yet has had access to get the vaccine. There are a lot of people that still have questions about the vaccines who don't have as easy access to doctors or the information they need. Some people can't get paid time off work to go get vaccinated.

There are some people in whom the vaccines don't work quite as well, who are immunocompromised. Others who are elderly as we see in other countries now data showing that there may be a need for a third shot, a booster shot.

And so there is a lot of reasons that people are concerned. Beyond that, there is really no way to know who is and is not vaccinated. As you can imagine, it's a very complex problem. And so when you have large groups of unvaccinated people in public spaces especially with a more transmissible variant like delta, the concern is that it can spread rapidly.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Although, I mean, as you know, most of the cases at least in hospital are, you know, 99 percent among people who haven't been vaccinated. And there are issues of access of course, but most of the polls suggest the people most adults who want the vaccine have already got one.

I want to ask you sort of winding it out a bit. Many people say they are already confused about the contradictory advice that we're getting from the CDC, from L.A. County and so on. I feel there was an implicit promise in getting vaccinated, that they'd finally be free.


Is there a greater danger here that the faith in the experts maybe eroded with all of this back and forth, that even though, you know, as you point out, in absolute terms, it may be beneficial to have everyone to mask up? The damage to credibility might have a longer term consequence.

KARAN: Well, I hear that and I think that that is something that's really important. It comes down to communication, right? So there's a lot of unknowns with new novel infections. It's hard to know how our immune system will respond overtime. It's hard to know the longevity of vaccine generated (ph) immunity especially when it comes to new variants that are constantly mutating.

There are so many unknowns here and I think that one of the toughest parts for people this whole year has been that they want answers to questions, right? They want to return back to a life as it was pre- pandemic. And as a doctor, I can say that we are used to uncertainty. A lot of the things that we treat in the hospital are very, very complicated. We don't always have perfect answers for a lot of them. A lot of what we do takes time. And so what we know now is so much more than what we knew earlier in the pandemic and what we'll know. Six months from now, we'll also be far more. What we know right now is that cases are going up quickly. Hospitalizations are going up as well. Deaths have started to go up in the last couple of weeks.

Yes, you're right, primarily amongst unvaccinated. And so the most important thing we can do right now is to push forward and get more people vaccinated. I totally agree with that. And I think the communications is going to be most important to let people know that we are not going back on what was said.

The vaccine still works. They're excellent. They have shown efficacy against variants as well. And so they should know that they are protected if they have been vaccinated. But public health is about the community not just the individual. And so this is why public health localities like L.A. Count had made the decisions they had made.

BRUNHUBER: So, an excellent point there. I want to pivot now to the Olympics. The games haven't started yet and already we are seeing more and more athletes having to drop out because they've tested positive for COVID either before arrival or maybe more worryingly after they've landed in Japan. Are you surprised that the extent to which COVID is already affecting the games and how confident are you that they can go ahead without becoming a superspreader event as some have (inaudible)?

KARAN: I'm not surprised. You know, anytime you have large numbers of people flying in or congregating at all, you are going to have some spread because we don't 100 percent of people that are vaccinated. There are people that are not vaccinated. As mentioned, there are in some people despite being vaccinated, you can still get cases and you can still get transmission.

One thing to remember, a lot of people focus on deaths. A lot of people focus on hospitalizations, but there is a lot that we're still trying to understand about some of the longer terms symptoms that occur in patients who have just mild disease or may not even have symptoms initially. And this is especially scary for people that are athletes or whom even a mild reduction in their lung capacity or a nuance of fatigue that is lasting for a long time can really impact them when they're competing at such a high-level.

And so I'm not surprised that we started to have cases. Now, remember, in the NBA when we had the bubble, they actually were able to get through the season last year without any case because it was very, very strict in terms of everything that they were doing. I think it would be a little harder to implement that here.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, especially as you say, with people from all around the world congregating. That's all the time we have. Dr. Abraar Karan, thank you so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

KARAN: Thank you so much.

BRUNHUBER: German officials are under scrutiny after days of deadly flooding. We'll explain why one mayor says they couldn't have predicted what was coming.

Plus, cleanup operations are underway in neighboring Belgium, but there is a major roadblock on the way. We'll have details ahead. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has toured one of her country's worst hit areas after historic flooding. At least 189 people are confirmed dead in Belgium and Germany. Merkel is promising swift aid and so she wants action on climate change. Atika Shubert has more from Schuld, Germany.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These farmhouses have stood for more than a century. Now, all but destroyed. Extreme rainfall is what turned this river into a raging torrent engulfing the small village of Schuld.

Now, farmyard backhoes operate next to armored vehicles to clear away the rubble. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been quick to blame the climate crisis for this catastrophe. On Sunday, she met with survivors, promising to release more financial aid as soon as possible.

ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translation): I have to say, it is a surreal situation, it is shocking, she said. I can almost say that the German language does not have the words for this kind of devastation.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Flood warning systems are also coming under scrutiny, but no one could have predicted the scale and speed of this disaster says Schuld's mayor.

I think the flood protection systems would not have helped, he said, because you cannot have calculated this. What happens to the Ahr River was such masses of water. Residents here are now fearful of more floods.

If it is climate change, I will never built near the water, says Dana Kursten (ph). I know that now and I'm afraid that this could happen again and that I will find more dead bodies.

As they struggle to save what's left of their homes, many here are worried that this could happen again. Atika Shubert for CNN in Schuld, Germany.


BRUNHUBER: In neighboring Belgium, officials said Sunday the death toll had reach to 31, 163 people were reported as missing. Chris Burns is live in the Belgium city of Verviers. Chris, I know you've been speaking with some survivors to this catastrophe as they struggled to recover. What is the latest there?

CHRIS BURNS, JOURNALIST: Yes, Kim, that search goes on. In fact, yesterday we were nearby in (inaudible) where they were searching for possible bodies, but gas leaks are also a concern.


That stopped -- we were evacuated as they were -- had to stop the search and figure out the gas leak. But let me talk also about one of the people who has survived this and she lives just across the river over here. We'll show you where she lives. And I talked to her yesterday and she talked about the terrifying experience she had on that night, Thursday night, when the water was coming up to her window. Take a listen.


AURELIE GARALF, BELGIUM FLOOD SURVIVOR (through translation): I was sleeping. It was my neighbor who tapped on my window to warn me because the water was up to my window. So after that, I took the initiative. I warned my other neighbors and took refuge with my neighbor on the second floor that night.

BURNS: How did he feel? He must have been terrified looking out the window and the water rising, how did he feel?

GARALF (through translation): I was all confused. I didn't know what to do. My priority was to save my neighbor, like my neighbor saved me. I had to save my neighbor on the floor above too.


BURNS: So, Aurelie and the others are at the moment now trying to put back their lives, trying to clean things out. It's a matter of cleaning out also basements where there are a lot of electrical circuits, trying to bring their power back here in Verviers. That's going to take time. Only about 40 percent of the homes have electricity.

Water, gas, that's also a concern, and the trains. They are starting to run in other parts of Wallonia, but not here in Verviers. The train company here says it's not going to be until the end of next month that they can expect to have train service. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Yes. Long road ahead. Chris Burns, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

BURNS: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Desperate times call for desperate measures in Israel. Just ahead, how the government plans to crack down on COVID rule breakers. Stay with us.


[02:30:00] BRUNHUBER: Welcome back. You're watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You're watching CNN newsroom. Israel plans to start cracking down on COVID Rule Breakers that will include criminal indictments against COVID patients who knowingly violate quarantine rules.

They'll also use mobile phone tracking to find people under isolation orders. Israel reported more than 1100 new infections on Friday. Now this is the first time since March the new daily cases have topped 1000. CNN's Hadas Gold joins us now from Jerusalem.

Hadas, Israel reimposing restrictions in sharp contrast to the reopening we're seeing in England a very different way to deal with the growing Delta variant. So take us through the reason behind Israel's strict approach here.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ken. Well, listen, officials are incredibly concerned about these rising numbers that they're seeing. As you noted on Friday, Israel notched more than 1100 new positive coronavirus cases, the highest they have seen in four months. There is a glimmer of good news, though in those numbers.

And that's that the hospitalization rates for serious cases are lower than what they were at a similar stage in a previous - in a previous wave. It's about 1.6 percent right now of hospitalization rates for serious cases compared to 4 percent during the similar place in a previous wave.

But Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is warning that it's clear the vaccines alone are not enough to conquer this new Delta variant. He is saying that the vaccines are showing to be a significantly less effective against Delta than they had hoped. And so now there are concerns about whether they need to be offering a third dose of the vaccine something that Israel is actually already offering to people here who have compromised immune systems such as people who have had organ transplants.

Now the experts are still trying to ascertain whether the decrease in effectiveness of the vaccine is because of the time elapsed since receiving the first two doses that would support the idea of getting a third dose or whether because this new Delta mutation is so new, that it requires a new type of vaccine.

But as of right now, there are new restrictions in place the masks are back on indoors, there are travel restrictions, essentially it's very hard for a non-citizen to enter Israel. The Prime Minister wants to flood the country, he said with easy home testing kits. And as you noted, a new thing here is that they're going to plan to criminally indict people who are - that test positive for coronavirus, are under quarantine rules but break those quarantine rules.

One of the ways they're looking into doing this is digitally tracking people using their cell phones. One of the theories of how they could do this is essentially sending somebody a text message asking them to click on a link that would allow the police to track their GPS so they can know exactly where they are and if they don't respond, then the police could come visit them.

The Prime Minister also said that in general, the police will be stepping up enforcement of coronavirus restrictions, everything from the indoor mask mandate to making sure that people who are supposed to be under quarantine, stay under quarantine. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Can't imagine the government doing that here in the U.S. Hadas Gold there in Jerusalem. Thanks so much, appreciate it. All right, coming up on CNN Newsroom. One of the most important rituals in Islam is scaled back for a second straight year because of COVID. We'll look at how the pandemic is changing this year's Hajj. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: Tens of thousands of Muslim pilgrims gathered in Mecca this weekend for the second Hajj of the pandemic era. Only 60,000 Saudi residents are allowed to take part in this year's pilgrimage, and they must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Before the pandemic, more than 2 million Muslims from around the world attended each year. The annual pilgrimage is one of Islam's most important traditions. And it concludes with Eid-Al-Adha which start on Tuesday.

To take a closer look, we're joined by CNN Senior International Correspondent, Arwa Damon in Istanbul, Turkey. Arwa, so take us through the various ways the Hajj will be different again this year.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's very little about it, Kim that will be reminiscent of years past bar last year where only 1000 pilgrims were permitted to carry out the Hajj ritual. Now on any other given year in 2019, as you mentioned, there are more than 2 million pilgrims traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj.

This is one of the most critical Pillars of Islam and obligation on every Muslim who is physically and financially able to carry it out. But during normal times to refer to them, as such Hajj is so crowded Kim that during some of the rituals bodies are so closely packed together that people's feet don't even touch the ground. That is how crowded, that is what a mass of humanity that ends up influxing on these various different religious holy sites.

And that is obviously something that the Saudi authorities do not want to see right now, especially because of the rise in cases, globally speaking of this highly contagious Delta variant. The Saudis are saying that this is out of an abundance of caution also to you know, try to tamp down on the spread of COVID-19, especially this delta variant.

Now it's also worth noting, Kim that the World Health Organization specifically in reference to the Middle East and North Africa has warned that some countries are being pushed towards a critical point. Tunisia, for example, just last week was recording its highest mortality rates to date. Iraq is in a very tough position. Iran is as well.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much Arwa Damon in Istanbul, appreciate it. One of Formula One's most heart stopping and controversial moments of the season on Sunday. Red Bull driver Max Verstappen and four time defending champion Lewis Hamilton were involved in a crash just a few turns after the start of the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton's tire cut Verstappen and sent him spilling - spinning into the wall. Verstappen was taken to hospital but later released with no injuries. Rescuers found Hamilton at fault giving him a 10 second penalty, but the Red Bull team says it wasn't enough.


CHRISTIAN HORNER, RED BULL TEAM PRINCIPAL: It shouldn't be like that, to be honest with you. I mean, Max has incurred a 51G accident. Lewis Hamilton is an eight time world champion, you know that? He shouldn't be making maneuvers like that. It's unacceptable. You know, he's put a driver, thank goodness the biggest result for us today is that he was uninjured.

You know, he's having to go to hospital for precautionary checks after you know, a 51G accident. So yes, I hope - hope Lewis is very happy with himself.



BRUNHUBER: That didn't seem to throw Hamilton too much. Even with the penalty, he took the lead with two laps remaining eventually winning record eighth British Grand Prix.


LEWIS HAMILTON, F1 DRIVER FOR MERCEDES: Always try to be measured in how I approach, particularly with Max, you know, he's very aggressive. And then today I mean, I was fully alongside him, and I didn't have any space so. But regardless of whether I agree with a penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working.

I was like, I'm not going to let anything get in the way of the crowds' enjoyment of the weekend, and the National Anthem and the British flag.


BRUNHUBER: Tadej Pogacar has won the Tour de France for the second time in a row, the 22-year old Slovenian Powerhouse one by five minutes and 20 seconds. Last year, he became the youngest winner of the famous three-week race since 1904 and the first Slovenian to wear yellow jersey, cycling's most coveted prize. I'm Kim Brunhuber. For our international viewers, World Sport is next. For everyone else, I'll be right back with more CNN Newsroom. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Three people were injured in a shooting outside the Nationals Park during a baseball game in Washington on Saturday. It caused some frightening moments for fans and players inside the major league stadium. People fled their seats and sought shelter after hearing gunfire during the middle of the sixth inning. Here's how one sportscaster described the chaos.


SAM FEIST, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ATTENDED GAME: In between innings, fans started for the exits and for the concourse out of their seats. No rain is going on there. No lightning, no nothing but people are running. And it's a real scary situation right now to be honest.


BRUNHUBER: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has more from the night of the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please. The action is outside of the stadium. At this time we ask you to remain in the stadium.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Gunfire sending fans and players scrambling during a game at Nationals Park Stadium in Washington DC. A fan, one of the three wounded in a shooting near the park Saturday night according to DC Metro Police.

CNN journalists inside the stadium reported hearing multiple loud bangs.

FEIST: And we were not on the lower level. We were just in the in the middle section so we could look down and we saw people beginning to duck and then run for the gates. And we had heard, we had heard thunder during the night so we weren't sure if it was thunder or now we know that it was actually gunshots. But what we saw was a crowd that was in full panic.

On the first base line, that's the national side, people ran over the fence onto the field into the dugout because they were trying to escape whatever they thought might be out there and they ran into the tunnel to get away. On the third base side, that's where the gunshots were heard from. That was the San Diego Padre - Padre side. People went both out the gate. This gate that we are at right now, the central - the Center Field gate and also in and around the Padres dugout the same way.

MALVEAUX: The Nationals were playing the San Diego Padres when the shooting began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apparently the news report that was coming out through the security guards is that there was a - there was a victim that was shot outside the stadium. She ran into the stadium covered in blood, which freaked out a lot of individuals which caused a lot of the chaos and the panic and people would rush back into their seats because they didn't know what was happening.

MALVEAUX: Play was interrupted in the bottom of the sixth inning. A message on the scoreboard initially told fans to remain inside the baseball park but it was updated later to say it is safe for fans to leave the stadium. At a press conference Saturday night, officials try to reassure the public.

CHRIS GELDART, DEPUTY MAYOR FOR PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE, WASHINGTON DC: Well, we believe this was an isolated incident. Again had nothing to do with the game itself tonight and that it is safe to come down here and folks can come down to tomorrow night's game.

MALVEAUX: Police have recovered one of the vehicles but the others remained at large. The two other people wounded in a shooting war associated with the recovered vehicle and are now in the hospital being questioned by police. It's unclear what their exact involvement was in the incident, and officials said those individuals were known to law enforcement.

The fan who was shot, a female is expected to recover. San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. thanked everyone that helped after the shooting outside Nationals Park. Tatis said on Twitter, "Hope everyone is safe. Just keep the prayers up. Thank you everyone that helped on the front line. God bless."

The Nationals were able to complete game two and go on to game three against the Padres. We talked to many folks who said that they were enthusiastic, excited to be back, they were not going to let a one off shooting here interrupt in their good times but at the same time realizing this may be after post pandemic year in isolation, the new normal.

In the meantime DC police have increased their presence. Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, in Washington.


BRUNHUBER: So we have the drought conditions in the western U.S. raising the risks of larger and more frequent wildfires. At least 80 are burning across the region right now, consuming more than a million acres. The bulk of them are in Montana with 18 active fires. But Oregon has seen the most land charred by far, thanks in part to the large fire in the U.S. this year.

The Bootleg fire is spreading at an average rate of 1000 acres per hour and it's only 25 percent contained. Joining me now is meteorologist, Karen Maginnis. Karen, what's the latest on these fires?


KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Firefighters have really had their hands full this fire season in 11 western states. Now every season is very traumatic, and a lot of firefighters involved with this. Also a lot of personnel, but the fires across the west are being aided by a couple of things. And that is it is exceptionally dry in most areas.

Just about every state is seeing extreme drought conditions like we haven't seen in many years. But also we're looking at low relative humidity, there's very little chance of rain, there's this heat dome across the west, and that is suppressing any kind of moisture.

When you look at these loops of the satellite imagery of the plumes of smoke, you can see just how dramatic these are. The Bootleg fire, here's the state of Oregon, Bootleg fire lies just to the east of Klamath. This is a gorgeous area. It's very pristine, but it has a huge fire. We have in excess of 300,000 acres on fire.

For our international audience so 122,000 hectares. 80 active large fires across the West. Now Montana, numerous fires, but by far the largest one is in Oregon. But that doesn't mean the impacts are felt just in these isolated areas. Overall, we look at the entire country. It's at level four as far as fire-fighting is concerned. This is the highest level we've seen in over 10 years.

That means the manpower, the resources, everything that is involved to fight these fires is put into place because the danger is so high right now, this fire, the Bootleg fire as I mentioned, just to the east of Klamath is the sixth largest fire. Now I took a look at what the largest fire was. It had almost a million acres, but that was back in the 1800s. Our firefighting measures are much more intense now.

The eastern edge of this Bootleg fire is 200 miles long, Kim. That's a lot of manpower to take care of these fires, and they are now saying it's about 25 percent contained. But they've got a long way to go. Back to you.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. We'll be keeping an eye on - on that situation. Karen Maginnis, thank you so much, appreciate it. Nicholas Pinter is a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. And he joins me now from Davis, California. Thanks so much for being here with us.

I've heard arguments from climate skeptics who say, you know, well, did climate change cause the drought? Or did it cause the floods? Pick one, you can't have it both ways. So how would you explain it to them?

NICHOLAS PINTER, PROFESSOR, UC DAVIS DEPARTMENT OF EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCES: So what you'll hear from anyone is that no one event is proof of climate change. But they are all - everything we're seeing is consistent with the predictions of what climate change is giving us. It's that the extreme events are getting more extreme and more frequent.

BRUNHUBER: So when we talk about, you know, global warming, and then you know, we go through a cold snap, for example, experts are quick to say it's hard to - to tie any one specific weather event to climate change. So how do you make that direct link in this case? PINTER: Right. So what's happening is that climate change is altering

the rules of the game, it's waiting the dice. So that these kinds of events, double sixes, if you will, are coming up more and more frequently. And that's definitely at the hot end. It's at the dry end. It's wetter in some places, like right now in Europe and drier and other places like California.

BRUNHUBER: So that, you know, double sixes analogy, I mean, the way I heard it explained is you know, this is like rolling a die, for example, that climate change is kind of loading the die and sort of pre determining what's going to happen. I want I want to look at the devastation in Western Europe, I saw some articles blaming experts for not giving people enough advanced warning.

I mean that that may be true in a sort of a hyper specific meteorological sense. But as you said, from the outset there, the outcry from climatologists was deafening because they said they've been predicting this sort of effect for years. So how do you translate the general warnings of increased risk into a better warning and evacuation infrastructure to cope with these growing number of extreme weather events.

PINTER: So unfortunately, if you're living on a floodplain in Germany, or Belgium or the Netherlands, you should be aware of this risk, the chance of flooding is increasing over time. The probability of those boxcars, double sixes coming up is increasing as the years go by. But their call for warning systems is fair enough that you hope that in a Western European country or in the U.S. that when you have this massive rainstorm that someone's letting you know that that wall of water is coming down the valley.

BRUNHUBER: We'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us. Nicholas Pinter, really appreciate it.

PINTER: My pleasure.


BRUNHUBER: Officials in India say at least 31 people have been killed by landslides during heavy rain in the Mumbai area. The landslides hit houses in two suburbs of the city. India's National Disaster Response Force says the recovery effort has now been called off. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered his condolences and announced that aid will be provided for the victims.

On Tuesday, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is hoping to join the ranks of billionaire astronauts. He's scheduled to rocket to the edge of space and back with his company Blue Origin. Also on board will be his brother Mark Bezos as well as 18 year old Oliver Daemen and 82 year old aviator, Wally Funk. They'll be the youngest and oldest people ever to have traveled into space. The Dutch team was added after the seat's original owner took a raincheck due to scheduling conflict.

OLIVER DAEMEN, YOUNGEST ASTRONAUT TO BE: I have been dreaming about this all my life. Now I'll become the youngest astronaut ever because I'm 18 years old. I am super excited to experience synergy and see the world from above. Thank you so much for the people of Blue Origin, for making this happen and making New Shephard. Thank you.


BRUNHUBER: This trip just comes just nine days after Richard Branson became the first billionaire to travel to space in his own company's spacecraft. Lift-off is targeted for 9am U.S. Eastern time. That wraps this hour of CNN Newsroom. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in just a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.