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CNN10 2020-08-20

CNN 10

Mail-In Voting Controversy; Heat Wave in California; Coronavirus Science

Aired August 20, 2020 - 04:00 聽 ET

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

CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: This August 20th, 2020, we're thankful to have you watching CNN 10. We're thankful to have you watching anytime. I'm Carl Azuz and the first story we're explaining today is a controversy concerning mail-in voting in America. Here's a down the middle look at what's going on. Every U.S. state has someway for American's to vote without actually appearing at a polling location. Because of concerns over the spread of corona virus, interest has exploded in mail-in voting. CNN 10 contributor Kelly Manno has info on how exactly that works. Kelly.

KELLY MANNO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks Carl. Now let's take a look at what mail-in or absentee voting means. Traditionally, the majority of voters show up in person to cast their ballots for primary and general elections. Vote by mail's when voters opt out of showing up in person so then cast their ballot through the mail . This process depending on the state usually starts whenever they request their ballot through the mail. Then election officials send the official ballot to the voter who fills it out and sends it back to be counted. At least 34 states now allow voters to request an absentee ballot without the need of an excuse.

Currently, seven states requiring excuse to vote by mail, places like New York and Texas, still that may change. Other places like California and Nevada have decided to send a ballot to every registered voter even those who didn't apply for the mail option. Carl, the question now remains, with the pandemic creating a once in a lifetime challenge for elections. What impact will this have on the general election in the fall?

AZUZ: Thanks Kelly. That question is at the root of a blooming controversy. The Trump Administration is planning to sue Nevada and at least one other state for their plans to mail a ballot to every voter. Many Republicans and critics of mail-in voting say it increases the risk of fraud in part because election officials like poll workers, won't be there in person to make sure the votes are cast freely and fairly. Many Democrats and supporters of mail-in voting say it's already been shown to work in several states and that it opens up the opportunity to vote to more people.

A number of experts on this issue say it's not clear if mail-in voting benefits one party over the other but there's no guarantee that either Democrats or Republicans would have an advantage with mail-in ballots. But an American infectious disease specialist says, as long as people follow social distancing guidelines. There's no reason why they can't vote in person this fall. So how all this plays out remains to be seen.

Another layer to this controversy concerns the U.S. Postal Service. This year the agency had planned to limit the overtime hours employees could work and remove some mail sorting machines and public mailboxes. The postal service has been losing money for years and the Post Master General says it's plans were meant to cut costs. But critics, including many Democrats, say the changes were made under pressure from the Trump Administration which they accuse of trying to intentionally slow down service in anticipation for more mailed in votes.

The Post Master General denies that and says any further changes will be delayed until after the election. Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives plan to hold a vote this weekend on billions of additional funding for the agency. Experts in the post office itself say it handles far more mail over Christmas than it would through mail-in ballots and that it would have no problem processing them.

Next story, heat, fires, power outages, three challenges plaguing California right now. First, there's been a brutal heat wave over the American West. California isn't the only state that's been affected but it has seen at least seven records broken this week with temperatures of 109 degrees recorded in Burbank and 111 in Paso Robles.

That along with low humidity and high winds has fueled wildfires. There are dozens of them burning in Northern California. The governor has declared a state wide emergency to speed up help to those who need it.

And whether or not they're directly affected by the fires, millions of Californians had been directly affected by power outages. Electrical grids have been struggling to keep up with demand under the excessive heat and cooling centers where people can go to get relief have limited capacity because of coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED: Coronavirus does not impact everyone equally. The disease COVID can cause few or even no symptoms in a significant percentage of people. For others it may lead to severe illness, hospitalization or even death.

There are all sort of different factors that come into play. Your age, your race, whether or not you have pre-existing medical conditions. And what is your access to medical care? Nearly 80 percent of all coronavirus death in the United States have incurred in people over the age of 65 while only about 3 percent of deaths occurred in people under the age of 40.

But this coronavirus can more severely impact people of any age if they have certain underlying conditions. According to the CDC, hospitalizations are six times higher and deaths are 12 times higher for people with underlying conditions.

About 41 percent of adults in the United States have at least one underlying medical condition that may put them at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. These underlying conditions include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and lung or kidney disease.

And the medical community is still learning when it comes to these underlying conditions. How race is another factor that can increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

This is often due to underlying causes including social conditions and social inequalities. We know COVID-19 disproportionately affects black America with mortality rates for black Americans being 2.3 times higher than that of white Americans.

Just over 13 percent of the total U.S. population is black. But keep in mind, approximately 25 percent of COVID-19 death in the United States are now among the black population. The virus does appear to effect men and women differently with men having more severe outcomes.

And even when people do recover from COVID-19, there can still be long term implications for their overall health. We're still learning a lot about that. Now if you do fall into one of these vulnerable populations, chances are you're still going to recover from this disease. The statics are still on your side.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Hong Kong. New Zealand is deploying hundreds of Army troops to guard isolation hotels where patients with COVID-19 are being kept in isolation along with their family members and close contacts.

This as the nation continues to test tens of thousands of people per day. On Wednesday they only identified six new cases. That is the lowest number this week, a sign that the social distancing measures, including a lockdown of New Zealand's largest city of Auckland seem to be working.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City. At a World Health Organization briefing, officials once again highlighted how dire the situation is right now in the Americas. This region, which makes up North, Central, and South America only accounts for about 13 percent of the world's population but 64 percent of all the officially reported deaths due to this virus have come in this part of the world.

Meanwhile, some good news here in Mexico as officials say that newly confirmed cases each day are going down. This though as newly confirmed deaths each day remain among the highest of any country in the world.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris. Here in Europe governments announcing day after day fresh measures to try and bring those alarming coronavirus figures under control. The most impacted countries by that recent surge in the number of new cases; France, Spain, Greece,

Croatia; all of those countries the Europeans have been heading to for their summer break.

The question now is what happens when people come back to work. Cities like Paris hit hard by new coronavirus rise. With the government announcing now that people are going to have to wear masks inside their open plan offices, that delicate balance between the infringement on civil liberties and the need to bring this outbreak under control, clearly not for the time being result here.

AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Which of these animals is not extinct? Elephant shrew, desert bandicoot, Galapagos giant rat, or Stellar's sea cow? The only one of these animals that's still on the scene is the elephant shrew.

Scientist thought the elephant shrew had been extinct for 50 years, thankfully they were wrong. Why thankfully? Because it's cute. It's related to an elephant but tiny like a mouse. The last time scientist saw one was in the 1970s but in the African nation of Djibouti where the elephant shrew was recently rediscovered, local residents had said they'd seen them.

These little mammals can run over 18 miles per hour, faster than some elephants. Maybe they didn't want to be found so they just ashrewed (ph)

scientists. It's not like you're going to see one in a trunk (ph) show unlike their thundering relatives, these animals are as quite as a mouse and they're hard to catch even on camera because they're so shrewd.

I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10. This show goes out to the International School of Helsingborg, it's in the European country of Sweden.

END