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CNN NEWSROOM

Tokyo 2020 Summer Games in Final Hours; Delta Variant Puts Pressure on Florida Children's Hospitals; Protests against Europe's Health Passes; U.N. Warns of Potential Unparalleled "Catastrophe" in Afghanistan; Beirut Blast Anniversary; U.S. Senate Closer to Passage of Infrastructure Bill; California Wildfires; Interview with Britain's Tom Daley, Diving Gold Medalist. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 8, 2021 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00]

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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The United States locks up the lead in the Olympic gold medal count. We will show you the win that clinched it.

As COVID surges in the U.S., hundreds of thousands of bikers gather in North Dakota. Officials hope that this will not turn into another superspreader event.

Plus, showing their green: some Europeans, happy to show their vaccine status but others are hitting the streets to protest.

Live, from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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BRUNHUBER: The final competitions of the Summer Olympics, wrapping up, with the United States winning the most gold medals and medals overall. Only a few hours remain before the closing ceremony brings the games to an end. The USA clinched a win in overall medal counts.

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BRUNHUBER: Here in the U.S., the Delta variant is driving coronavirus case colors to the highest level since February.

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BRUNHUBER: According to Johns Hopkins University, it is more than 100,000 new cases per day. And it comes as just over 50 percent of the U.S. population, now, is fully vaccinated.

Florida, seeming to be getting the worst of it. The Sunshine State has the highest number of hospitalizations, per capita, nationwide, also reporting its highest weekly number of new COVID cases since the pandemic began. But despite raging coronavirus case numbers in his state, Florida

governor, Ron DeSantis, is holding firm, rejecting the idea of a mask mandate in schools. And he is using it is an issue to inflame his supporters in the COVID culture wars. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I have young kids, my wife and I will not do the masks with the kids. We never have. I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: But, DeSantis isn't going unchallenged. Two lawsuits have been filed against him over his executive order banning mask mandates. The governor's critics, saying, his appeal to the Republican base is playing politics with Floridians' health.

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MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: Governor DeSantis is following a political ideology, he is playing politics in the middle of a pandemic. And we know in Florida, we have hurricanes, we know how to get everyone together, get everyone on the same page. And it's important to do that.

But in this moment, DeSantis has done something that, I, think is pretty despicable. He has taken this health care crisis and trying to convert it to his own advantage, politically. He has divided our community. He has divided on community, so now, mask usage, even vaccines, just simply healthy practices have become political statements.

And, that never should've happened because, obviously, you want to save people's lives, not put them at risk in order to make a cheap political point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: Dr. Allison Messina is the chief of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. She joins me now from St. Petersburg, Florida.

Thank you so much for being with us. So Florida leads the nation in infections and hospitalization rates for adults and children.

What are you seeing in your hospital?

DR. ALLISON MESSINA, CHIEF, INFECTIOUS DISEASES, JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Glad you asked. It's been a very busy few weeks for us. After a nice little lull in June, we really picked up in July and August, it is probably going to be even worse, unfortunately. We are just so busy.

BRUNHUBER: Do you know why infections among kids are increasing so quickly in your state? MESSINA: I think it's a few things, actually. The first thing is the Delta variant is extremely contagious, far more contagious than the variants prior. I think that is a major driver.

The other factor, is too, I think why we have been seeing a lot of patients in our pediatric hospital, is because this is, largely, an epidemic right now of the unvaccinated and, a lot of children are not old enough to get the vaccine. So that is another reason why we're busy.

The other reason, too, is that a lot of the infection prevention strategies that we have been using, earlier in the pandemic, like masking and physical distancing, has gotten a little lax after a summer, where we, actually, saw cases drop.

So if we put all those things together you have a recipe for a very busy season. And even adults are probably not vaccinated to the rate that we would, like although we are getting better.

BRUNHUBER: You talk about getting busier, obviously. One of the biggest concerns is the rise of the Delta variant coinciding with the return to school. In many jurisdictions, elsewhere in the country, enforcing mask mandates in schools.

But Florida's governor has threatened to withhold funding from school districts that don't let parents decide whether or not to let the children wear a mask in school.

So from a medical standpoint, should all children be wearing masks in schools?

MESSINA: Certainly, if you think about it as an infectious disease doctor, you need to understand it is a contagious virus that does not play favorites. So the things that stop it is getting vaccinated if you can and wearing a mask.

So certainly, we are advocating that everybody who goes not only to school but any indoor space right now, whether you've been vaccinated or not, we're really recommending that everyone mask up for this variant, which is surprisingly contagious.

BRUNHUBER: We have seen plenty of resistance to that idea. You see these heated community and school board meetings and so on.

What would you tell parents who are skeptical, to try and convince them of what you are saying there?

MESSINA: I really think we need to stick to the science. The science is very clear, that masks make a difference.

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MESSINA: Vaccines make a difference. And, if you layer that approach, you really have the best shot of keeping healthy. So it comes back to looking at the science. BRUNHUBER: You touched there on the key here, vaccinations. As you

said earlier, Florida has been fairly lax. I think some 8 million people in Florida who were eligible for the vaccine haven't been fully vaccinated.

Of that number, I think the lowest vaccination rate of any group, is kids aged 12 to 19 so how do you go about reaching them or more importantly, their parents?

MESSINA: I think education is key. A lot of parents are hesitant about giving a new vaccine to their child. And as we know, even though this is a very contagious and very dangerous virus, it does tend to spare children the worst of its effects.

So if you are a parent, you say, well, maybe my kid won't get as sick, so why would I expose this person to this new vaccine?

That is understandable. But I think what parents need to understand is, at this point, you have two choices. It is so contagious, you are either choosing to vaccinate your child or the chance that they will get the actual virus is very high.

So you are really choosing between getting the virus and getting the vaccine. I think if you look at the risk/benefit of both, really, you will see that the vaccine is, by far, the safer option.

BRUNHUBER: Vital potential, lifesaving advice there. We will leave it on that note Dr. Allison Messina, from Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in Florida, thank you so much for being with us.

MESSINA: Absolutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: The U.S. is, again, fighting to balance the dangers of the pandemic with the hopes of returning to normal. Despite the Delta variant causing a massive surge nationwide, hundreds of thousands of bikers are gathering in Sturgis, South Dakota, for an annual motorcycle rally.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is there, where many are throwing caution to the wind.

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ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Monday, South Dakota's governor will hop on a bike and participate in a charity ride. She is among an estimated 700,000 people who will show up to the world's largest motorcycle rally here in Sturgis. Longtime business owners, tell me thanks to the governor's support events like this can still go on during the pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Honestly, more than a dozen of people just ask me to put their hands together like they are praying and oh, god, thank you so much for giving us a place to go and be halfway normal and get away from the hellhole our city became. And we like your governor, we love her.

BROADDUS: Do you think this event will be a superspreader?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's highly likely. You can see in the instances in other states, where there have been large gatherings; most recently, the Milwaukee Bucks, where they had 100,000 folks and you had some significant spread. We're talking 700,000 people. And I wouldn't be surprised if we have a superspreader event there.

BROADDUS: You're worried about COVID or the Delta variant?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I got both my shots, I guess I'm OK.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope.

BROADDUS: What about you?

Are you worried about COVID at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: COVID?

I got my shots. Not at all, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had it, fine, not concerned at all. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here.

BROADDUS: One rider told me, he still keeps a mask in his pocket. He said he didn't show up last year and he's still a little worried this year. The big concern among health officials is when participants step inside, for example, crowded bars or tattoo parlors.

That is where there is an increased risk for transmission -- Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Sturgis, South Dakota.

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BRUNHUBER: As the daily caseload grows in the U.S., anger is growing in Europe over new COVID health passes. They're essentially proof that someone is vaccinated or had a recent negative COVID test. Some governments are making them mandatory to go to many public places. Joining us from Rome, Barbie Nadeau.

Let's start in France. This is the fourth weekend of protests and it looked like these were the biggest so far.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, 237,000 people, taking to the streets of France. There were multiple arrests but they didn't see the violence they've seen in the weeks past.

When you look at an image of these people though and protesting vaccinations, most are not wearing masks. This is happening alongside France battling a fourth wave of the pandemic. They are seeing caseloads of 20,000 new cases, per day there. So it's worrying to the health authorities, as they get closer to

instituting the green pass, which takes effect on Monday. People are just concerned about their civil liberties. What they are probably doing, is actually, creating superspreader events, by protesting, those, Kim.

Let's turn to where you are, Italy.

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BRUNHUBER: Protesters as well, demonstrators using some very controversial and disturbing imagery to try to make their point.

NADEAU: That's right. In Milan, we saw lots of protesters wearing Holocaust victim badges, a Star of David badge, in which they wrote across not vaccinated. In those cases as well, you have people just protesting what they say is becoming a vaccine mandate, by requiring these green passes to go inside of restaurants and inside of other venues, like cultural venues and museums and things like that.

Italy also instituting this pass on Friday and they made it mandatory for all teachers to be vaccinated before school starts. That causes a little controversy as well. Italy has seen the caseloads growing, nothing like in France. But it's still growing here and people are concerned.

No one wants to do another lockdown. No one wants to go through another round of these heavy, heavy restrictions. And, many businesses say, the green pass is the only way to do it. But they are the ones, the restaurant owners especially, are the ones having to mandate it, sort of playing police officer, looking at the pass and making sure they match.

It's a controversial step but many people, health authorities especially, say it's the only way out of this. So they continue with the green passes in both France and Italy. We will probably see that right across New York as well.

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. We will watch for that, Barbie Nadeau reporting from Rome, thank you so much.

The Tokyo games are winding down after two weeks of Olympic action, so we will give you an action on the latest ahead of the closing ceremony.

And Afghanistan's central government may have been handed another major loss. The latest on what may be a third provincial capital, lost to the Taliban. More on that ahead, stay with us.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) BRUNHUBER: We are tracking a major development in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have taken over most of Kunduz city. A local official said, the majority of the city has fallen but not the airport. If the city falls, it will be Afghanistan's third provincial capital lost to the militants.

The Taliban says they've taken the entire city, its central, prison along with weapons, armored vehicles, military gear. CNN cannot independently confirm those claims. CNN's Clarissa Ward filing this earlier report from Kabul as the government keeps losing territory.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly unraveling, which is why you saw the U.S. embassy come out and urge all Americans to leave the country.

This comes on the heels of the Taliban taking control of two provincial capitals. This is a big deal. They are the first but by no means, unfortunately probably the last. At least three other cities are under imminent threat.

We spoke to ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the helped the hospital in Kandahar, who said that in the first six months of this year alone, they saw more than 2,300 weapon-wounded patients.

That's more than double the amount that they saw in the first six months of last year. We also heard from the new U.N. envoy to Afghanistan. She warned that if the international community does not act soon, Afghanistan could be a potential catastrophe with few if any parallels this century.

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BRUNHUBER: Now my colleague, Michael Holmes, spoke earlier about Afghanistan with Ashley Jackson and she is co-director of the Center for the Study of Armed Groups, at the Overseas Development Institute.

She is also the author of a book about life under the Taliban, "Negotiating Survival: Civilian Insurgent Relations in Afghanistan."

He asked her if people in Afghanistan actually support the Taliban or if they're being forced to support their rule or die. Here was her response.

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ASHLEY JACKSON, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF ARMED GROUPS, OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE: I think, as you do in any civil war, it's two Afghanistans. You have people who are predominantly in the cities, who benefited from the international intervention and who have jobs and school. And all the international aid reached them.

You also have people in the countryside who, with all the warlords we empowered after 9/11, went after them. They gave the Taliban an excuse to come back. And it's those people, in the rural areas, that the Taliban now controls, who really, I think, have borne the brunt of the conflict, not only the Taliban violence but U.S.-led airstrikes, night raids.

And they're absolutely exhausted. They have no -- they don't support anyone, they just want a break, they just want peace.

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BRUNHUBER: That was Ashley Jackson at the Overseas Development Institute.

Lebanon is just marking one year since the deadly explosion at Beirut's port. The official probe stalled and no one has been held accountable yet. People expressed their anger and frustration at the government.

Clashes between protesters and security forces leaving more than 50 people injured, according to the Lebanese Red Cross. People are demanding justice for the blast, which killed more than 200, injured thousands and changed the lives of many others.

CNN's Ben Wedeman, reporting from Beirut. We warn you, his report does contain graphic images.

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BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nurse Pamela Zaynoun (ph) was on the phone with her mother. At 8 minutes past 6:00 in the evening, Beirut's nightmare began.

Pamela, in the ward for premature babies, didn't hesitate.

PAMELA ZAYNOUN (PH), NURSE: I was very focused to save the babies.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): With three babies in her arms, she worked walk for an hour ad a half to find an incubator. While Pamela was walking, the injured flocked to her severely damaged hospital, the St. George, where the explosion had killed four nurses.

On that awful evening, more than 6,000 people were wounded, more than 200 killed. A city that, over the decades, has been through wars, car bombs and terrorism had never seen anything on this scale.

A year later, and most of the rubble has been cleared; some of the damage has been repaired, yet deep scars remain.

ZAYNOUN (PH): I know a lot of my colleagues, they are still on medications, they are still having a very hard time sleeping or eating.

[03:25:00]

ZAYNOUN (PH): And they still are remembering what happened. So it's really tough.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Paul and Tracy Naggear lost their 3 year old daughter, Alexandra (ph), in the blast. Like many here, they blame the disaster on Lebanon's political elite.

TRACY NAGGEAR, MOTHER OF BLAST VICTIM: Last year after the blast, we decided to leave, which is a normal decision, you know. They killed our daughter, they almost killed us, they destroyed our house.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): They are still here. Paul was recently elected to the Order of Engineers and has become a vocal advocate for change and accountability -- accountability, that until now, remains elusive.

Elias Maloof (ph) lost his 32 year old son, George, who is in the port when the blast happened. He regularly joins vigils with other relatives of the dead, demanding justice.

"Every day, his mother cries and cries," Elias (ph) tells me.

She asks, "Why doesn't George come over for coffee?

"Why doesn't he come over for the weekend?"

The port blast is just one catastrophe visited upon Lebanon, which, in the last two years, has seen unrest, political paralysis, financial and economic collapse and the COVID pandemic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this and the explosion happened, was full of rubble.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Hani (ph) and Kiana (ph) have come back to their old flat overlooking the port.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) most of the injuries were on his right side and he crashed through like this. So that's why (INAUDIBLE).

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Both were wounded by flying glass, scarred and traumatized. Hani (ph) and Kiana (ph) are leaving Lebanon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we would see an immediate future, then we wouldn't leave.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Lebanon's future is dark. The jarring images of a year ago seared into the memories of everyone who lived through it. The nightmare isn't over -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Many people, in Japan, opposed holding the Olympic Games during the pandemic. Now with the closing ceremony hours away, we go live to Tokyo with a preview and see if public attitudes towards the games have changed.

Plus, scenes of destruction as the Dixie Fire rages out of control in California. We have a look at the progress fire crews are making, just ahead. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Holding the Summer Olympics in the midst of a global pandemic was not the most popular idea. But Tokyo forged ahead and now the Olympic Games are about to come to an end. We go to Blake Essig in Tokyo, where the closing ceremony is just a few hours away.

I know organizers are playing things close to the vest but can you tell us a little about the closing ceremonies?

What will happen?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim, I've been standing outside for hours and I can tell you, there is plenty of commotion going on inside of the national stadium, as organizers continue to rehearse for the event, starting in just a few hours.

There has been plenty of commotion outside of the stadium too, as people gathered to take one last picture with the stadium, before the lights go out on Tokyo 2020.

For now, we don't really know much about the closing ceremony. It is still very shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that the theme for this closing ceremony, is The World We Share. Organizers believe the idea saying, even if we can't be together, we can all share the moment and open the door to a brighter future.

So as we take a step back and look at these past two weeks, these Olympic Games have been anything but normal; virtually no spectators allowed to attend events and strict COVID-19 countermeasures put in place, seeming to dampen the festival like atmosphere, typically, accompanying the Olympics.

Despite how incredibly unpopular these games were in the days and weeks coming up to the opening ceremony, once they started, there was a clear shift and mood and on the ground, they could sense of curiosity and the desire to experience the Olympic Games in any way that people could.

Right now, there are people out and about, streaming just to take a picture of the stadium, behind me. Earlier in the day, we saw that with the opening ceremony. For some people, the Olympic experience, it is a matter of coming and taking a picture, hang out outside of the venue, while many people spend time watching the games on TV.

According to the IOC, 9 out of 10, people in Japan, watch the Olympics on TV, at some point during the games. But it is important to say that the shift in mood, really wasn't a shift in support of the Olympic movement.

The vast majority of people, saying this games shouldn't have taken place, because of health and safety concerns, instead it was more of a support for the men and women competing. Over and over again, throughout these Olympic Games, the desire to support athletes, who have worked so hard to be, here and sacrifice so much, supporting that excitement.

And really, it has been generated. When we look back at Tokyo 2020, decades for now, the legacy of these games will be defined by the global health crisis. It is an event that many feel was held against their will.

BRUNHUBER: In terms of excitement, I suppose it didn't hurt that Japan did so well on the medal count as well. Blake Essig, in Tokyo, thank you so much.

We want to take a closer look at one of the record-breaking athletes to come out of these games. Allyson Felix is now the most decorated U.S. track and field star in Olympics history. She won her 11th career medal in the women's 4x400 meter relay event Saturday.

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[03:35:00]

BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Senate, inching closer to passing the massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, after furious negotiations, 18 Republican senators joined the Democrats to break filibuster and shut down debate on the bill.

Senators are confident it will pass but when is still unclear. CNN's Lauren Fox has the latest from Capitol Hill.

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LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senators are back in Washington over the weekend and they hoped that they would be able to finish this bipartisan infrastructure bill over the weekend.

But we are now seeing senator Bill Hagerty, Republican from the state of Tennessee, is digging in his heels, not allowing this bill to move any faster through the U.S. Senate. He said that he is going to require the Senate to exhaust the entire amount of debate time.

What that means for people back home is that instead of getting this bill passed over the weekend, this debate is going into early next week. That is if they can't get some kind of consensus and convince Hagerty to pull back on his threat. So at this point, this expectation is this bipartisan infrastructure bill will pass.

[03:40:00]

FOX: It's a matter of when it passes not if. But it'll take a little bit more times. And after that, Democrats are hoping to move forward with their Democratic-only budget bill. Then, they will have a vote on voting rights legislation.

And then they will depart for the August recess. A lot of moving parts right now but the bipartisan infrastructure bill is going to get pushed off to just a few more days -- on Capitol Hill for CNN, I am Lauren Fox.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: It's a race against the clock as crews battle the massive Dixie fire, tearing through California. We take a look at where things stand right now, after the break. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: It's a devastating scene in northern California, after the massive Dixie fire leveled the town of Greenville. The fire, now the third largest in state history, burning through almost 700 square miles.

Now to give you a sense of scale, that is more than twice the size of New York City. So right now, the Dixie fire is only 21 percent contained and it is still growing. That means it is a race against time for crews battling the flames. CNN's Camila Bernal is there.

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CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is dry and it is hot. And the fire is spreading so quickly, in many cases, it is impossible to stop. Firefighters with 20 or 30 years of experience said they've never seen a fire like this one.

They describe the Dixie Fire as having frightening behavior. Over the weekend, the focus is to find people who are still unaccounted for.

Law enforcement saying that they have already found some but they will continue to search over the next couple of days. Firefighters are working around the clock to contain the Dixie fire, which already has destroyed around 200 structures. They say, around 14,000 others are still at risk.

The River Fire, which is around 100 miles from where I am at the moment.

[03:45:00]

BERNAL: Also destroying about 100 structures. So a lot of work still to be done in this area.

These two fires, essentially surrounding the town of Paradise, which was destroyed in 2018, by the Camp Fire. We spoke to Franci Lamb, who owned a home in Paradise and lost everything she had. She says, she understands what people are going, through right, now who have lost everything.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANCI LAMB, FORMER PARADISE RESIDENT: I would take them in in a heartbeat. They need a place to shower. They need a place to get some food. They need a place to sleep. And they need to be hugged. They need to be held and told that it will get better. It Will get better. It did get better for us but it took a long time, a long time.

BERNAL: And after the Camp Fire, Franci Lamb bought an RV. It is full of food, supplies and she is ready to go, in case she has to evacuate one more time.

In the meantime, however, she is dealing with the smoke, as are many other people in this area. Some of the counties here even telling people to not go outside, because the air quality is unhealthy. That smoke, affecting not just people in this state but other states, that are nowhere near this fire -- Camila Bernal, CNN, Chico, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Dozens of wildfires, burning right now, in Greece. Officials say that firefighters are waging, a quote, "very big battle," especially with this huge fire, on the island of Evia. All of the residents there have been evacuated to the coast. And, fires in Athens have already caused massive devastation.

Elinda Labropoulou joins me now from a town, just outside of the capital city.

Just looking behind you there, the scene tells its own story. They have been trying to contain these fires for some 6 days now.

Have they managed to make much progress?

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: The news from Athens is much better today, fortunately. It seems that firefighters have managed to contain the large fire but, as you can, see the devastation behind me is just immense.

Everywhere you look, it's just charred trees. And residents here are talking about the lungs of Athens being destroyed. The biggest fires, at the moment are as you said on the island of Evia, where they still have mass evacuations of populations of people, who have gathered on the beaches there.

And, they are waiting to be transferred if they need to. Large fires are also burning in the Peloponnese, the temperatures have fortunately dropped a little but at the same time strong winds continue to blow in Greece. So the firefighters are going to have a very tough time, today containing these large blazes that, are still, burning.

BRUNHUBER: Thank you so much, Elinda Labropoulou in Greece.

An Olympic champion in the pool and a master with wool. We speak with British diver, Tom Daley, about his time at the Tokyo games. Stick with us.

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BRUNHUBER: A German humanitarian ship, arriving in Italy on Saturday, after rescuing hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. It was one of two rescue ships, pulling nearly 400 people from a dangerously overcrowded wooden boat, last week.

After docking, the migrants were tested for COVID-19, before being transferred on to a quarantine ship. The migrant boat departures from Libya and Tunisia to Italy and other parts of Europe have increased in recent months as weather has improved.

One U.N. affiliated group, estimating that more than 1,100 people have died on the journeys this year.

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BRUNHUBER: Let's take a check of the Olympic medal board, as the last few events wrap up in Tokyo. The U.S. ending the games in the top spot, winning both most gold medals and most medals overall.

Next is China, with Japan with the third highest gold haul.

British diver, Tom Daley, taking home two medals from the Tokyo games, a gold and a bronze. But perhaps his most talked about moments have come outside of the pool. He was frequently spotted knitting, when not in competition, much to the delight of those on social media. The diver shared his Olympic experiences with our Will Ripley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM DALEY, BRITISH OLYMPIC DIVER: I'm someone who really struggles to sit still. I'm always a fidgeter. I'm someone that has like a -- feels like I -- if I wanted -- it's like a cupboard or something that needs to be sorted through, I have to be doing that. I can't just sit, still and do nothing.

So it was great for me to be able to find something where I could just sit back, relax, knit and have something to stay calm, stay focused, mindful. But yes, I knit and I crochet and I basically do it everywhere.

This morning, I made a little cozy for my medals to stop it getting scratched.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you going to make another like little thing for that medal?

DALEY: I mean, I've been asked if I will make another medal pouch. But I've already done that. So I was thinking, maybe just a hat --

(LAUGHTER)

DALEY: -- or a little scarf, I don't know. It does get cold in London.

RIPLEY: You talk about mindfulness, you talked about visualizing your dives ahead of time. And I thought that was so fascinating and important, because mental health has been at the forefront of the conversation this Olympics.

What did you learn from Rio that you put into practice here, that has led to you winning your gold and your bronze?

DALEY: I mean, in Rio, I was completely heartbroken with how the whole event went. I came away with a bronze medal but then in the individual event, I was completely heartbroken. And it was afterwards that my husband said to me that maybe it wasn't to be -- the reason why I didn't win an Olympic gold medal at that Olympics was because our future child was meant to see me win an Olympic gold medal.

And the fact that my son got to watch me win an Olympic gold medal is something that's so special to me. And I cannot wait to be able to tell him more stories as he gets older.

RIPLEY: What did you think when you saw that video of your husband?

And it was your mom, right?

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

DALEY: That was amazing.

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DALEY: Yes, I mean my -- I mean, Lance was screaming very loud, bless him (ph). But --

(CROSSTALK)

RIPLEY: Have you ever seen him scream like that before?

DALEY: Yes, on roller coasters. He screams quite a lot like that. But, you know, it's just -- I think (INAUDIBLE) because behind these medals, it's not just me.

[03:55:00]

DALEY: It is my coaches, my support team that are around me.

But then most importantly, my husband, my mom, who were there, too, love me and supported me through this whole thing and have allowed me to fly higher than I ever thought I might. And you know, I have a lot to thank them for.

RIPLEY: So you are now a television personality, gold medalist, husband and father.

DALEY: Yes. RIPLEY: How is that going?

DALEY: I mean, being a parent is the best thing in the whole world. And I have loved every second of it. I mean, there's a lot of sleepless nights at the beginning. But he's just the best. I mean, he inspires me every single day. He gets me excited about the world again and what the future might hold

RIPLEY: You are still so young but you speak with the wisdom of somebody who is older.

Where did that come from?

DALEY: I think I've had to grow up pretty quickly. I was 14 at my first Olympic Games, then I started to travel on my own to Australia, without my parents, when I was 10. So you have to grow up quickly.

Also, losing a parent when I was 17 years old, suddenly, I needed to take on quite a lot of responsibilities. But I don't know. I think I've always kind of been a little bit of an older soul.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber and I'll be back in just a moment with more CNN NEWSROOM. Really, do stay with us.