76K US cases mark highest 1-day total

More than 40,000 people are currently hospitalized, pushing hospitals to convert into viral triage centers as the FDA approved remdesivir for COVID treatment to shorten the duration of symptoms.
3:04 | 10/23/20

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Transcript for 76K US cases mark highest 1-day total
Thank you, George. The pandemic took center stage at the debate. 76,000 new cases reported in the U.S. It's one of the highest one-day totals since the pandemic began, more than 40,000 people are currently hospitalized but now there's some new hope for a treatment. Our chief national correspondent Matt Gutman joins us now from hard hit Billings, Montana. Good morning, Matt. Reporter: Hey, good morning, Michael. This was a former dialysis center but because hospitals like this are bursting at the seams it's been converted into a temporary viral triage unit. That's what makes the approval of the fda treatment remdesivir so important. The faster patients can recover the more quickly hospitals like this can turn over beds. This morning, the fda providing a golden seal of approval for the covid treatment remdesivir. Recognizing that the agency believes the drug which will be the first fda approved treatment to fight virus is relatively safe to use and can shorten the duration of symptoms. You're all done. Reporter: Movement on the vaccine front as well. Pfizer becoming the first company to test its vaccine on children and enrolling its youngest volunteer, a 12-year-old and his father also participating in the trial for adults supply think that it's like pretty cool to participate in the study. I was nervous but mostly for the blood test. Reporter: That as patients piling up in the nation's heartland. Four to a room at the icu at the university medical center in el Paso where daily covid cases have increased 450% in the past three weeks. Nearly half of the hospitals' entire capacity is filled with covid patients. Some turned on their stomachs to help them to breathe. The mayor begging people to stay It's serious, ladies and gentlemen. It's imperative we do what we need to do and change our behaviors. Reporter: Montana also notching a record number of cases, shipments of beds going to hospital, the er at the Billings clinic hospital, one of the busiest in the nation. At one point on Thursday, patients stacked in the corridors. What does it mean when you have ten or a dozen people wait forego a room. It just puts additional stress on staff. Reporter: Er manager Brad's daily battle against the virus is deeply personal. In July his sister, his stepfather and then his mother became infected. Three weeks later she passed away. She was brought into the hospital, admitted. As a family we decided -- to bring her home. Let her die with dignity. Yes, the way she wanted to go. That's so heartbreaking. We spent the week in some 69 nation's biggest covid hot spots, El Paso, Texas and here in Billings, Montana, as different as could be but the one common denominator is low mask compliance. That's what's so frustrating to frontline medical workers. They say countless lives could have been saved if people had only worn these. The science is there to back that up. Thank you so much. We turn to the wildfires

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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