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Israel Warns Of Looming Rafah Ground Incursion If No Deal Reached; Podcaster Bobbi Althoff The Latest Target Of Explicit Deepfakes; Ex-Talk Show Host Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Aphasia And Dementia. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 22, 2024 - 15:30   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Thank you so much for being with us. You were obviously there in Gaza as a health care provider. I'm wondering what you witnessed in the hospital where you work that most stood out to you.

KARIN HUSTER, WENT TO RAFAH WITH DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: Yes, thank you for having me. I mean, Rafah has become a 1.5 million people in a hospital place that's completely jammed. There is absolutely no space for people to move.

People have been, you know, packing with shelters, plastic tents. Hospitals are few and far between. The only hospital in Rafah right now that is from the Ministry of Health is Al-Najjar Hospital. And it's at 300 percent of its normal capacity.

People are just struggling to be able to get any kind of care in Rafah right now. Because as you said, everybody in Gaza has been told to move south. And so it's a place that's completely overcrowded.

And unfortunately, the sanitation, the infrastructure that was there is not at all able to sustain over a million people living there. So the conditions from a sanitary standpoint, from a health standpoint, from an everything standpoint, is catastrophic already, you know, even before any invasion might happen.

SANCHEZ: So based on the situation that you described, what would you say was the level of care that patients were able to get at the hospital?

HUSTER: You know, you do what you can do. And I will say that the reason the health system hasn't completely collapsed today, it's because of our Palestinian colleagues, writ large, who despite conditions that are absolutely not conducive to any kind of care, remain and provide whatever care they can. So people are, you know, receiving care, wounds, war wounded are obviously the priority in receiving care.

But unfortunately, the supplies are not able to reach, the pain medications are few and far between. So the care that the people are receiving is what you and I would consider completely unacceptable. Women today who go and deliver, have to go back home after an hour or

four hours of having delivered a child and they will go back to, you know, a tent.

You will see more than likely surgeries that are probably of bigger consequence than normal. So for example, we may be able to see more amputations than necessary because people are unable to receive care on time. And so when they come, their wounds are very infected and you are left with no option, but to do surgery. So to do an amputation. So it's the kind of stuff that you see in Rafah today. Fortunately I -- go ahead.

SANCHEZ: You mentioned that supplies were very difficult to come by. We've reported extensively on the complications of getting aid to where it's needed most. I also understand that when you did receive some of the aid, much of it was useless. It didn't fit the context of what was most needed.

HUSTER: That's right. And I think it -- I don't think it continues today.

While I was there, I was surprised one day we were on our way to the hospital and I saw children dressed in PPE. I don't know if you remember, but the white suits that people had for COVID and the white suits that we have when we care of patients with Ebola. And I was just really surprised, you know, why -- why is this, why are they wearing this? And so as it turns out, you know, trucks with PPE were able to let go through.

But we're still waiting for anesthesia, medicine, pain medicine, medicine for people who have diabetes, hypertension, or cancer.


We're still waiting to this day for this, but, but, but, you know, the PPE has been able to make it. So it's ironic, but it's -- it's actually, I think it's very cynical.

SANCHEZ: Karin Huster, we have to leave the conversation there. We appreciate you giving us a window into what's happening on the ground in Rafah.

HUSTER: Thank you for having me.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Stay with CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We're back in just moments.


SANCHEZ: We are watching closely as president Biden on his tour of California is making an -- a previously unannounced stop. It appears the president is going to make some remarks after meeting with the family of Alexei Navalny, the Russian dissident that was discovered dead in a penal colony only a few days ago. Let's listen to the president. JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had the honor of meeting

with Alexei Navalny's wife and daughter. As you state the obvious, he was a man of incredible courage and it's amazing how his wife and daughter are emulating that. We're going to be announcing the sanctions against Putin, who is responsible for his death tomorrow.

And the one thing I made -- that was made clear to me is that Yolanda (ph) is going to -- she's going to continue to, the fight he had underway. So not letting up. Thank you.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: You were listening to president Biden there in San Francisco, who has just met with the wife and daughter of Alexei Navalny. Interesting to hear his words, very clearly chosen sanctions against Russia, Putin, who is clearly responsible for Navalny's death, tying Putin directly to Navalny's death, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The president there also talking about the courage. He described the incredible courage of Alexei Navalny's wife and daughter. He said that this is a fight that they are not letting up and making it clear that the United States is with them in seeking justice for Navalny.

Again, those sanctions are expected to come from the White House tomorrow. CNN NEWS CENTRAL returns in just a few minutes. Stay with us.



DEAN: Now to the disturbing new trend of deep fakes. A computer generated explicit video went viral yesterday using the popular American podcaster Bobbi Althoff. The 26-year-old influencer and mom said she was shocked to find out this was trending, saying it was so graphic she had to cover her own eyes when she saw it.

SANCHEZ: This incident comes just weeks after fake images of Taylor Swift also spread on X, and they sparked outrage from fans and politicians alike.

Joining us now to discuss is tech journalist and CEO of Mostly Human Media, Laurie Segall. Laurie, great to see you. Walk us through the process of how these images and videos are actually made. Who makes them? How are they made? Is this an easy thing to do?

LAURIE SEGALL, TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST: Yes, it's a good question. And I think the short answer is it's absolutely an easy thing to do.

And now it's easier than ever because of advances in artificial intelligence. So we're back, I would say, like three, four, five years ago, you'd probably have to be pretty tech savvy to do this. Now there are apps that enable you to digitally undress somebody and to create deepfakes within a couple of clicks.

And so that's a huge problem. And I don't think, honestly, we're talking about it enough. And when we look at deepfakes, there's a stat that says something like 96 percent of deepfakes are sexually explicit and 99 percent of those are targeting women.

DEAN: And that takes me to my next question, Laurie, which is we've seen this with celebrities, Bobbi Althoff, Taylor Swift, which is totally unacceptable. But it could also happen to just ordinary people. I'm thinking kids even as well.

What if somebody got mad at somebody at school, that sort of thing?

SEGALL: Yes, I mean, I actually think -- I think the biggest mistake we can make right now is to look at this and think that this is reserved for celebrities. I mean, this is already happening in high schools near us. Like there have been well-documented cases of this.

And so I think one of the things we have to think about is with this type of technology, we're creating a whole new generation of victims, but we're also creating a whole new generation of abusers. And what's happened is this used to happen on these kind of behind-the-scenes forums.

But because we don't have the correct moderation, content moderation, they're beginning to go viral in places like X, which is why you saw what happened with Taylor Swift with these images. It's terrible that they were made. It's almost even more terrible that they could go viral at the extent they could without the tech companies picking up on them, specifically X. The same thing happened with Bobbi Althoff.

SANCHEZ: Yes, to that point, X says it has clear rules against these AI fakes, but when it was posted online in just nine hours, it was reportedly seen more than 4 million times. What kind of responsibility or even legal liability could these platforms have for spreading this kind of media?


SEGALL: I mean, the irony here, Boris, is that years ago, Twitter slash X was one of the first to actually create content policies against this type of thing.

But then what happened, just to kind of go back and look at the history of it, Elon Musk has come in. He's a tech leader who's been incredibly vocal about his disdain for content moderation. Also, in the process of him coming in, they laid off thousands of employees, including dissolving their Trust and Safety Council that specifically had folks on there that looked at this type of behavior.

So the tech companies, I would say, need to do a much better job. And there actually is a pretty clear solution from a tech standpoint of technology to fight technology. We have technology to detect spam.

They've just got to do a much better job of having AI fight AI to some degree.

From a legal standpoint, I mean, we've got to have more laws that protect folks against this type of abuse. And the laws haven't caught up. I mean, we have a handful of state laws that go against non-consensual

sexually explicit deepfakes. There is no federal law, although there's one on the table at this moment. So I think it's really that plus education.

You know, to Jessica's great point earlier, this isn't just happening with celebrities. This is also happening in high schools near you.

DEAN: Yes, and it is abuse. You called it exactly right. Laurie Segall, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Coming up, reps for former radio and talk show host Wendy Williams reveal a devastating diagnosis. We'll have details after this.



DEAN: Just into CNN now. Distressing video out of Valencia, Spain, where you see there a large apartment building engulfed in flames. At this point, not a single floor appears to have been spared. We know at least 13 people are injured. That number could grow as multiple videos show people out on their balconies trying to escape the flames. We, of course, keep you updated. Again, that's in Valencia, Spain -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: We have some shocking health news to report about legendary former talk show host Wendy Williams.

Her representatives revealed today that she's been diagnosed with progressive aphasia and dementia. Aphasia is the same disorder suffered by actor Bruce Willis. Williams' diagnosis comes just days before a controversial documentary about her life and career is set to air this weekend on Lifetime. Here's a preview.

It doesn't look like we have that preview, but we do have CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard with more insight on this condition. Jacqueline, Wendy has publicly shared some of her other health challenges, Graves' disease being one of them. What do these new diagnoses mean for her?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Yes, Boris. Well, we know that aphasia, it's a condition that impacts your speech. It can impact the way you write, and it can also even impact the way that you understand other people's speech and writing.

So someone like Wendy, I mean, she was a legendary talk show host. This can impact the way that she communicates. And sometimes aphasia can be a symptom of something else.

It can be the symptom of a stroke or a brain tumor. And sometimes we see it associated with some types of neurodegenerative brain diseases, which takes us to Wendy's other diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.

Now, frontotemporal dementia, according to Mayo Clinic, it can be a blanket term to refer to brain disease and changes in the brain that we see in the frontal lobe and temporal lobe. Those changes can be, we can see shrinking in the area or the buildup of substances in the area. And we know that, according to one expert who I spoke with, said that these two things can sometimes be related. He said patients with Wendy's condition sometimes can first develop progressive aphasia and then later develop other cognitive impairments.

With time, frontotemporal in patients can turn into what we see as dementia later in age. Now, it's interesting, when you think of Wendy, she's in her 50s. I believe she's age 59. So you might think, well, how did she, you know, come to this diagnosis?

Frontotemporal often begins between the ages of 40 and 65. So that's what we know about aphasia and frontotemporal dementia when it comes to Wendy Williams' health -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: And Jacqueline, are there any specific risk factors for this kind of dementia?

HOWARD: We know that family history of dementia can be a risk factor. But other than that, there are no other known risk factors. There's also no cure. But some of the impacts on your speech, you can address that with speech therapy, for instance. And, you know, with physical therapy as well.

And Wendy's team, they said that they were sharing her diagnosis. She was diagnosed last year, but they're sharing the diagnosis today because, quote, they want correct -- they want to correct inaccurate and hurtful rumors about her health.

So this really helps our understanding of what she's going through, but also it raises awareness around aphasia and frontotemporal dementia as well -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, absolutely. Wendy, as you said, is a legend. She actually had some very flattering things to say about me on her show a few years ago. So I just want to take a moment to say that we're saddened to hear this diagnosis, but I hope that she's in good spirits and we obviously wish her the very best.

HOWARD: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much.

Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: So what would you do if NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal sent you a box full of shoes and clothes from his own closet? That's what happened to a 16-year-old from the Kansas City area who desperately needed a size 23 shoe.

Jor'el Bolden's family had been struggling to find a pair that fit him, saying that companies don't make his size and that he'd need a custom pair that would cost a whopping $1,500.

DEAN: Oh, that's when his mom started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money. And when Shaq got word of it, he sent the teenager 20 pairs of shoes, new clothes, and several items from his own closet.

Here's Jor'el talking about his appreciation.



JOR'EL BOLDEN, WEARS SIZE 23 SHOE: Thank you for taking the time and the money that you have earned to give it to me when I needed it. So I would like to thank you for all the things that will come from it and will have.


DEAN: And check out the comparison on the left, a size 22 from Shaq. On the right, a woman's sneaker. How about that?

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.