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Florida Braces for Possible Hurricane amid Pandemic; Florida Hospitals Prepare for Big Storm amid Pandemic; Negotiators Still Far Apart on New U.S. Stimulus Package; Los Angeles Church Gives Food to Thousands in Need; 99th Hurricane on Record to Track through Bahamas; Phase 3 Trial Begins in U.S. Hopes of Vaccine; "Operation LeGend" Brings Federal Agents into Chicago. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired August 2, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. And we want to take you right now to the breaking news that we are following.
One of the states hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic is bracing for a second emergency. Tropical storm Isaias is closing in on Florida. When it gets there, it could be a full-fledged hurricane again.
Of course the storm could compound troubles in Florida, already fighting one of the worst outbreaks in the country. And we're talking about coronavirus.
And this is what it looked like as the storm hit the Bahamas on Saturday as a hurricane. And there's the waves there, South Florida on Saturday night, as the storm gets ever closer.
Shelters there are opening up. Some officials worry, having people together, though, could lead to a rash of new infections. Hurricane season could put a further strain on hospitals filled with coronavirus patients as well. The state's reported more than 480,000 COVID-19 cases, more than 7,000 people dead.
Now the storm is expected to get stronger in the hours ahead.
HOLMES: Now the tropical storm already being felt in South Florida. Last hour I talked with the administrator of Palm Beach County and asked what she is experiencing there.
VERDENIA BAKER, PALM BEACH ADMINISTRATOR: Right now, we are looking at tropical force winds we are having bands roll in. We are also working, looking and monitoring, to ensure we have everything battened down. The wind is getting higher.
BAKER: We are expecting tropical force winds to hit us very shortly.
HOLMES: What sort of preparations are in place?
I know Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, so what sort of things are in place now?
BAKER: Right now, we've opened roughly about 4 shelters and our special needs shelter. This is to accommodate residents who live in mobile homes. We have quite a few mobile home parks in Palm Beach County. The tropical force winds could definitely have dangerous repercussions for individuals living there.
Also, we opened them to address the needs of our residents that have comparable (ph) housing, so if their roofs are not anchored properly or windows and they do not feel safe, then we have accomplished setting up shelter for them as well.
As you know, we are in the midst of a pandemic here and so we had to open more shelters in order to accommodate a smaller number of people than normal. We have to do the safe distancing, we will also require people to wear face masks in the shelter.
HOLMES: I was just about to ask that.
With Florida facing a hurricane but also the epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States, has it been difficult to accommodate that?
There is all sorts of predictions of what could happen in terms of spread with people put together in places.
What have you done to accomplish that?
BAKER: We are checking temperatures, if you have a temperature, we isolate those individuals in separate areas. We require the face mask at all times, unless you are under 2 years of age. Other than that, we pass out gloves, gowns, shields and definitely distance people. They need to be at least 6 feet apart. We ensure that they are not moving around a lot.
HOLMES: Now the storm already starting to be felt in Miami, the center of the state's coronavirus outbreak. Miami's mayor told CNN, Isaias could have a big impact on cases and also testing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: We shut down our testing states. They will be shut down probably until Monday at the earliest. That could also create a surge in testing and a surge in cases. We've been very fortunate over the last 2 days, our new cases have
diminished a little bit. Our percent positive, we had a day under 15, which we haven't had in a long time and today at 16. Our 14-day average is that 18 percent, which is still a positive for us.
It's possible that once we resume testing, we may have another surge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Dr. David De La Zerda is in the epicenter of the virus' as lead intensive care physician at a hospital in Miami.
Really appreciate you taking the time.
With this potential hurricane on approach, what does it mean when it comes to capacity and capability, where you are, considering the numbers in ICUs?
DR. DAVID DE LA ZERDA, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Hi, how are you, thank you for having me.
We prepare our ICUs in different ways for hurricanes. We emptied one of the ICUs. We are using that if we have any issues during the hurricane. We have prepared for the hurricane, of course. We've had plenty of COVID cases and this is some extra stress for us but we are ready if needed.
HOLMES: I'm curious about the storm shelters being open, which is, of course, necessary for many people. There will be an issue with social distancing in a state that is still a center of the pandemic.
There is a tool from Georgia Tech that estimates spread in crowds, there is a 95 percent chance if you have 100 people in the crowd that someone will be infected with COVID.
Are you frightened by that possibility for something else on the side of the storm?
DE LA ZERDA: Yes, we are concerned that we have another hurricane season coming and we are having to deal with COVID. We are worried that we will see an increase of COVID cases as we see people shelter together, not just in shelters but at home. People stay home and families will shelter together, so, yes it is a big concern.
HOLMES: You are the lead ICU physician there.
I'm just wondering, what is your day like?
You are at work, by the look of it.
What has it been like for you there at the epicenter?
DE LA ZERDA: We have been dealing with this for almost six months. It's nonstop. It's been a little bit worse lately, very long hours. [01:10:00]
DE LA ZERDA: We work weekends, as you can see right now. So yes, very long days. We don't see our families as much. There is at least three times more work for both physicians and nurses.
HOLMES: Have you seen any improvement over the last few days or weeks?
DE LA ZERDA: I think, yes. In the last 2 or 3 days, we have seen less patients being admitted. The ICU is pretty busy and at least for the next 2 weeks, it will probably be busy. But yes, we do see less cases coming in.
HOLMES: You are in Florida, the president was in your state yesterday with supporters, virtually no masks, no social distancing and the president later said, I think we are doing really well in Florida. That was a direct quote from him. This was on the same day of a record number of deaths in the state.
What do you make of the messaging, given what you are seeing on the front line?
DE LA ZERDA: What we see is an increasing amount of positive cases. We have plenty of clients in the hospital. We still have a long way to go. It is very easy for us to look at the reality but there is still plenty of work to do.
HOLMES: Do you worry about that messaging, that if the nation's leadership doesn't wear masks and doesn't have social distancing and saying, things are looking good?
Is that the wrong message to be putting out?
DE LA ZERDA: I think people need to understand we are in this together. We need our leaders to understand we need to work as a group. Our local mayor, our local governor, are making progress. We live in Miami and they are enforcing the use of masks. So at least here, locally, we are doing a better job.
HOLMES: The WHO says that governments and individuals need to put sustained pressure on COVID to reduce transmission and exposure. They used an analogy that it is like a spring. Put the pressure on, it's suppressed; you release the spring and it bounces back.
Do you feel the spring is being suppressed enough?
DE LA ZERDA: I do not think so. I do agree with that, however. I do think people need to learn that when we start opening the economy again, it is our responsibility, as citizens, to wear masks, to socially distance ourselves.
We cannot go back to having parties and live our regular lives or it's going to stay for months to come and we need to be together in this, even if cases decrease. COVID is very much alive. In New York, they still see positive cases. New Jersey, you still see positive cases. So COVID is still alive in our communities.
HOLMES: It must be difficult.
How are you?
How are you doing in the midst of all of this?
Do you have hope?
It must be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.
DE LA ZERDA: Yes, it's hard. I think the burnout in our physicians and nurses is very high. We do our job every single day, that is why we are here. But it is still challenging. We don't see our families, we don't see our kids. So our personal life is on pause so we can help everyone else.
So we would like to see others doing their part. Yes, the light in the tunnel is far away from us, not even at the end of the year. I think we will be living with COVID for an entire year to come.
HOLMES: We are grateful for the work that you and everyone there at the hospital are doing and we appreciate you taking the time, Dr. David De La Zerda, thank you so much.
DE LA ZERDA: Thank you very much for having me, thank you.
HOLMES: Stimulus talks stall in the U.S. as both sides cite progress but just can't seem to seal the deal. We'll have the latest on where negotiations stand on Capitol Hill.
Also when we come back, while those lawmakers negotiate, many workers are without jobs and they are struggling. We'll tell you how the pandemic has dealt a devastating blow to Latino workers in America. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
This is the first week that millions of Americans will be going without the jobless benefits they've come to rely on during this pandemic. A new coronavirus relief package is supposedly in the works on Capitol Hill. But both sides are still too far apart to reach a deal. Jeremy Diamond with the details.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Those supplemental unemployment benefits have expired and there is still no deal in sight between the White House and Capitol Hill as far as this phase 4 coronavirus stimulus bill is concerned.
But there were negotiations on Saturday, the longest negotiations to date, a three-hour meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and, on the White House end, you had the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
And both sides emerged at least with the same message and that is that, while there is still no deal in sight yet, there is no deal within grasp, the talks were indeed productive and there was progress that was made. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: This was the longest meeting we had. And it was more productive than the other meetings. There are many issues that are still very much outstanding where we're apart. But we had a serious discussion and we went down piece by piece and so where each side is at.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We have to get rid of this virus, so that we can open our economy, safely open our schools and to do so in a way that does not give a cut in benefits to America's workers.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: There's clearly a subset of issues where we both agree on very much. We're very interested in extending on enhanced unemployment insurance. We're very interested in schools. We're very interested in jobs.
I think, as you know, as the leader McConnell has said several times, liability insurance is very important to us. So there's definitely the PPP. There's a lot of bipartisan support.
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC), HOUSE FREEDOM CAUCUS: It was a productive day. I think both Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi would agree with that.
We're still a long ways apart. And I don't want to suggest that a deal is imminent because it is not. But like with any deal, as you make progress, I think it's important to recognize that you're making progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: So you can see there both sides describing this as the best discussions that they have had so far but it doesn't appear that they have been able as of yet to break that logjam.
Now today those negotiations are going to continue at a staff level between the White House and Democrats on Capitol Hill. And then tomorrow, we are expecting to see those principal players, Pelosi, Schumer on the Democratic side, Mnuchin and Meadows on the White House's side, gather once again to continue those negotiations.
And you have to keep in mind here that these two sides are still very far apart and not just on this issue of unemployment benefits. Of course, the White House has been blaming Democrats, arguing that they should have taken this short-term extension of the unemployment benefits that the White House offered while they continued to hash out a deal.
But Democrats have been adamant that they still want to work on a more comprehensive deal because, keep in mind, beyond the unemployment benefits, you also have in here funding for testing, funding for schools, funding for contact tracing. These are all the things that Democrats want to include in this bill.
And, of course, Democrats and Republicans find themselves still very far apart in terms of actually getting to a comprehensive deal. But those negotiations, at least, still continuing. And it is at least a good sign, when you hear both sides at least offering a similar message.
HOLMES: While lawmakers negotiate, millions of Americans are struggling financially, really struggling. In Los Angeles on Saturday a church was giving away boxes of food. Thousands turned out. Dwindling or non-existent incomes, no doubt, driving so many to stand in line in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
HOLMES: As CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago shows us, minority workers are among the hardest hit.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lourdes Dobarganes hasn't paid the rest here for four months. She now owes $12,000 in rent. As a caretaker and a housekeeper in San Francisco, she has lost all of her clients at the hands of COVID-19 and she's not just worried about the virus.
LOURDES DOBARGANES, CALIFORNIA DOMESTIC WORKER: (Speaking Spanish).
SANTIAGO (voice-over): She tells us she also worries about ending up on the streets, not having something to eat or a place like this to live.
Making matters more difficult for her, Lourdes is caring for her 23- year-old son that has a brain injury. With so much at stake, she fears losing it all in a state where the economy has taken a substantial hit.
The way she sees it, she's a fundamental part of that economy.
DOBARGANES: (Speaking Spanish).
SANTIAGO (voice-over): We make it possible for others to work, she tells us. We take care of the child so that the doctor can go to work.
Lourdes is one of more than 1.8 million Hispanic women out of work in the United States. The unemployment rate for Latinas now stands at a staggering 15 percent, partly because Latinas are more likely to work in leisure and hospitality services.
JESS MORALES ROCKETTO, NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE: We heard from people just like Lourdes, who told us that they are not able to come back even to some of their oldest clients, just because people are really worried about safety.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Jess Morales Rocketto is the civic engagement director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, whose members are largely Latina.
SANTIAGO: Do you see this getting better or worse for Latina women?
ROCKETTO: I think it's possible that it gets worse. Those that have gone back to work are working fewer hours and many are getting paid less than they ever have.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): At George Washington University, a new study examining the factors behind COVID-10 risks for Latino communities highlighted housing and frontline jobs like domestic workers.
CARLOS RODRIGUEZ-DIAZ, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: The risks for women were different in -- for some, because they were at the frontlines and they were exposed to the virus very early. And for others that had to assume different roles and perhaps different risks based on their job experience.
SANTIAGO (voice-over): Risks that people like Lourdes know all too well. Latina women, she says, should not be ignored. Rather --
DOBARGANES: (Speaking Spanish).
SANTIAGO (voice-over): -- valued and listened to by the government and the people. She wants both to take into account that it is women like her, among the hard-hit essential workers, that the U.S. is depending on during the pandemic for the well-being of the country's economy.
HOLMES: Millions of Americans in desperate situation. That was CNN's Leyla Santiago reporting there.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, first, surging coronavirus cases. Now a tropical storm headed to Florida. And it could make efforts to fight the virus that much worse. We'll have more on our top story when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We've got more now on our top story for you, the tropical storm moving toward Florida's coast.
Isaias is expected to strengthen back into a hurricane by the time it arrives. It lashed the Bahamas as a category 1 hurricane before weakening. Isaias could spell more trouble for a state that is, of course, already overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic. It's already forcing some COVID testing sites to close.
And the mayor of hardhit Miami predicts a surge in cases when it's all over.
HOLMES: Well, the storm battered the Bahamas already with wind and rain, damaging roofs and knocking down trees as it made landfall on Saturday morning. Many people there still recovering, of course, after Hurricane Dorian slammed into Abaco and Grand Bahama in September last year, killing dozens of people.
For more on this, let's go to Royston Jones, joining us from Nassau.
Have people been able to get a sense of what the impact has been there in the Bahamas?
ROYSTON JONES, JOURNALIST: I just had a chance recently to call the emergency operations center. They said that so far the northwest islands, which include Grand Bahama, Andros and Abaco have fared well. Of course on those islands, especially in central Andros, there are downed power lines, downed trees, debris in the road and some roads are blocked as they experience moderate flooding there.
We won't get the full assessment of how that island has fared until we're able to get on the ground and see what the extent of the damage is. But it seems to be faring a little better than expected.
The concern, however, when I spoke to the emergency operations center, was the storm which passed over Bimini around 10:00 or 11:00 pm and hit it with some very strong tropical winds, they have not been able to be in communication with the island of Bimini at this time.
It could very well be there are telecommunication challenges. The tower could have gone down. We have not heard from them as yet. And that's where the concern is currently on what's happening on that island.
HOLMES: Well, yes. I'm curious too. You've got a hurricane and a pandemic.
What complications did that bring? JONES: Absolutely. If you imagine in the northwest, synonymous to last year, when Grand Bahama had major challenges again. But this year with the pandemic going on and affecting the world, Grand Bahama has seen the majority of the cases on the island. So one island has just over -- or just nearly 300 cases. Half the cases of the total country.
So Grand Bahama as of last week was placed on a two-week lockdown, expected to come out of that as of August 7th because of the surge of cases there. However, because of the storm, the prime minister and competent authority had to ease those restrictions to allow Grand Bahamians to prepare for the storm.
Of course it has a doubling effect when, in one effort you're preparing but in another effort you're having more people gather in these areas that could cause a further resurgence of the virus, which we won't yet know until maybe a couple of weeks, when you can assess testing.
Testing is one of the things that has stopped at this time due to the storm. So we won't have any idea how bad it is until a few weeks after.
HOLMES: Exactly. Royston, appreciate your reporting there. Royston Jones in the Bahamas for us.
JONES: Thank you.
HOLMES: Well, hundreds of firefighters in southern California are battling an out-of-control wildfire in scorching heat. Want to show you video about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.
This is Riverside County. Fire officials say the Apple Fire, as it is called, started on Friday and then, on Saturday, just exploded in size. The fire has now burned some 12,000 acres. Thousands of people have been evacuated.
Well, the race for a coronavirus vaccine has entered a critical stage in the United States. Coming up, we look at how soon the vaccine might be available and what health officials are saying. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
The race to get a coronavirus vaccine developed and approved hit a milestone this past week in the U.S., real people, rolling up their sleeves and getting an injection that researchers have worked on so furiously. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with more now on Operation Warp Speed. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I sat down for an exclusive interview with Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, the multibillion-dollar effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. What he told me is he thinks this vaccine is going to be very effective.
MONCEF SLAOUI, CORONAVIRUS VACCINE CZAR: It's very hard to predict, of course. That's why we're doing the trial. My personal opinion, based on my experience and the biology of this virus, I think this vaccine's going to be highly efficacious. I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the 90 percent.
COHEN: Some experts have lower expectations for the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Slaoui also went over a timeline for what he expects to happen. He said he expects by December of this year or January of next that we could have tens of millions of doses of COVID- 19 vaccine.
And he said those will go to high-risk individuals; for example, the elderly or people with underlying medical conditions. He said by the end of 2021, he expects there to be enough vaccine for all Americans.
COHEN (voice-over): Although ideally he hopes to have enough for all Americans by the middle, not the end of next year.
HOLMES: Elizabeth Cohen reporting there.
Now I spoke about the race for a vaccine earlier with Shane Crotty. He's a professor at the Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. I asked for his read on the timeframe for the vaccine.
SHANE CROTTY, LA JOLLA INSTITUTE FOR IMMUNOLOGY: Any way you look at it, there's been a lot of actually really good vaccine news just in the past two weeks. Actually, it's been kind of a tidal wave of data.
And what looks good is that there are multiple vaccine candidates that have passed all the tests they've been asked to test so far. So really safety tests and that they generate an immune response in people and that they have activity in monkeys. So those are all really good things.
And one of the things that we did in La Jolla was try to answer the question of how much immunity does a person need to have because that's one of the things that affects -- how good is a vaccine going to have to be to stop COVID-19, right?
So one way to do that is to ask, well, what's an immune response look like in an average person who caught COVID-19?
Because usually what you'd like is for a vaccine to generate an immune response that's at least as good as what you'd see in an infected person.
So we did that. And actually, that's the scientific paper Tony Fauci was waving in Congress yesterday, was our work on that because we showed people make a decent response. And it's a reasonable response but it's not a huge response.
So it kind of comes down to, how much immunity do you need to have?
Do you need to have like a whole brick wall of immunity to stop this virus or do you really just kind of need one brick, you know, that you can throw at it?
And so far the indications are it might not be that hard to stop the virus. So that's mostly the -- that's the glass half-full look. And that they are going into clinical trials starting now. And those clinical trials will have results before the end of the year.
HOLMES: Right. I guess a lot of faith is being put on a vaccine. There was a WHO official, who said having a vaccine available to everyone is going to be a couple of years away. But even when one comes along it won't solve overnight the risk.
Is there a risk in looking at a vaccine as the end of this, the end of COVID?
CROTTY: To some extent that would depend on how good the vaccine actually is at stopping the virus. I mean, if you look at really successful vaccines in the past, like measles and polio and smallpox, right, I mean, those have essentially ended the worries about those viruses once people took the vaccines.
And I think what some of the managing expectations part of this is, the first vaccines out might not be 100 percent effective. And certainly it will take some amount of time to make enough doses of vaccine to give to everybody, right?
And people do have to then take the vaccine. The vaccine only works if you take it.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly. The term the administration uses is Warp Speed. And that's all well and good. But speak to the need for scientific rigor when it comes to vaccines.
CROTTY: Yes. You're exactly on the right topic. That's been a big concern really because of the verbiage, the language that's being used. So -- and Tony Fauci's been trying to speak to this as well, that safety's always essential for a vaccine.
So actually, what's being sped up currently, both in clinical vaccine testing in the U.S. and vaccine testing outside the U.S., is to solve the problems that money can solve. So usually in vaccine development, people wait for the first clinical
trial result before deciding are they going to go on to the second clinical trial and are they going to start -- and then they wait till the end of that one, because that one's expensive, before they would start manufacturing.
But instead now they're doing a whole bunch of manufacturing at risk. People are putting many millions of dollars into manufacturing vaccines that might not work and hope that at least one of them will so that it would be ready as soon as the clinical trials are done.
So that's the speed part that money can solve. The safety trials have taken the same amount of time and effort that they always take. So something like six of the vaccines have already been through those safety trials. And they succeeded great.
And then now the big clinical trials that are starting are the ones they call phase 3 trials, to see if people are actually protected.
CROTTY: And given that there are quite a few cases in the U.S., those trials will go pretty quickly. But they're going to enroll like 30,000 people per trial. So those are enormous studies that are going to give outstanding additional safety data because we know, so far, you know, in the trials that were done, safety-wise people got sort of the regular problems of a headache or a sore arm.
So these look quite safe. But then there's going to be additional data in 15,000-plus people over a couple months.
HOLMES: You mentioned something which is interesting. There is an anti-vaccination movement. We've all heard of it, the anti-vaxers. Even if a vaccine is proven safe and effective, as you were saying, you've got to convince a sizable portion of the population to take it for it to have effect in a national or global sense.
Are you confident looking down the road?
CROTTY: No. It's a big worry. I mean, people -- there's been so much misinformation put out there. I mean, all the licensed vaccines are incredibly safe. And yet there's all this misinformation that's put out there.
So there is vaccine hesitancy. That's a real thing. And a COVID vaccine's only going to work if people take it, if lots of people take it. I do think it's a very good sign that there's been the first opportunity for people to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines now, now that these phase 3 trials are starting.
And they said 250,000 people signed up within the first couple days or something of sign-up. So that's a very good sign.
HOLMES: Hopefully more than take the flu vaccine because they've got to be talked into that as well. Fingers are crossed. Professor Shane Crotty, thanks very much. Appreciate it. CROTTY: Thanks for having me.
HOLMES: And some breaking news coming in to us at CNN. Officials in Australia have just declared a state of disaster in Victoria. Now this comes after the country's second most populous state reported 671 new cases of coronavirus Saturday. That is a big jump.
Additional lockdown measures are going to be implemented in Melbourne, the state's capital. It includes a night curfew and the end of all recreational activities. You can go out for an hour or so to shop and go to work. That's about it. A real crackdown there in Victoria.
Well, what to do about the violence in Chicago. The U.S. government taking action. But not everyone thinks it's the best approach. Stay with us for that story and more after the break.
HOLMES: Chicago police say murders in July jumped nearly 140 percent over last year. And many of the victims have been children.
While officials across the political spectrum can agree that this, obviously, is a serious problem, there is disagreement about the cause and what to do about it. Now federal law enforcement is stepping in. Ryan Young, with this exclusive.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A battle of words about Chicago as violence in the city explodes.
TRUMP: Chicago is a disaster. People are dying in Chicago and other cities and we can solve the problem.
MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D-IL), CHICAGO: I've drawn a very hard line. We'll not allow federal troops in our city.
YOUNG: More than 100 federal agents are surging into the city as part of Operation LeGend.
Do you think this operation will make a difference?
JOHN LAUSCH, U.S. ATTORNEY, NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS: Yes, I do. I do. I think adding more federal resources to help on this, it can only help.
YOUNG: John Lausch, the United States attorney for the norther district, is leading the federal effort to cut violence in the city. He understands people's concern about the influx of agents.
LAUSCH: The people coming in for Operation LeGend, they will not be doing patrol. They are not out there in uniforms like the Chicago police officers. But they will certainly be there in the background. They'll be working with the police officers in the background to help on various kinds of cases, whether they're gun cases or drug cases.
YOUNG: Agents have brought in cutting-edge technology to help process critical evidence faster.
KRISTEN DE TINEO, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, ATF CHICAGO FIELD DIVISION: The vehicle that you see behind us, this is a crime intelligence mobile command vehicle, mobile command center. It is the only one of its type.
YOUNG: And inside, agents show me guns pulled off the streets just days ago. One of the guns, agents tell me, has been illegally modified making it fully automatic with just a switch. Inside this mobile lab unit, you can see a gun taken from the streets, fired and then examined within hours.
DE TINEO: Each firearm leaves a unique imprint on the casing. So, like fingerprints, it takes an expert to take a look at that and match those.
YOUNG: Any bit of evidence helps to connect crimes and maybe even offenders. In Chicago, law enforcement is dealing with the staggering amount of violence.
LAUSCH: So far this year in July of 2020 we have more murders in the city of Chicago than we had in all of 2014. It's just staggering.
YOUNG: Over the last 28 days, murders in Chicago are up 152 percent and shootings are up 62 percent in Chicago compared to last year. The gun violence here cruel.
Through July 26th, 212 of these shooting victims have been kids, 36 kids have lost their lives to violence. Federal agents working with the Chicago police have made several arrests so far, but each day the stakes seem to be getting higher.
LAUSCH: Well, there's never going to be a mission accomplished as long as there are people who are being killed in the streets of Chicago.
YOUNG: In that piece, we said 36 kids have been killed in the streets of Chicago. That number, now, sadly, is 37, with this latest shooting that happened on the streets of Chicago. So many people are asking for more resources, they are hoping the federal authorities send more to help clean up the streets -- Ryan Young, CNN, Chicago.
HOLMES: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. Spending part of your day with me. I am Michael Holmes, our breaking news coverage of the tropical storm headed for Florida continues with Natalie Allen, right after this short break. I'll see you tomorrow.