CDC warns virus 'has entered a phase of high-level transmission' in US

COVID-19 cases have reached an all-time high and hospitalizations are on the rise in 40 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
4:08 | 12/05/20

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Transcript for CDC warns virus 'has entered a phase of high-level transmission' in US
Here in the U.S. Concerns over rising cases in the nation's two largest cities. The mayor of Los Angeles calling coronavirus the greatest threat to life in the city saying, at the current rate, hospitals there will be out of beds in two to four weeks. ABC's Trevor Ault is outside a New York City hospital with the latest. Good morning to you, Trevor. Reporter: Well, good morning, Eva. We continue to shatter coronavirus records nationwide. As one report says this week, covid-19 became the leading cause of death in the united States, and that's as many health experts warn that Thanksgiving surge we're expecting has not even arrived yet. This morning, the United States reeling from coronavirus as the CDC report warns covid has entered a phase of high-level transmission. 120 Americans testing positive every minute. The agency reiterating masks need to be worn indoors everywhere except your home because the consequences could be life or death. It's very hard to see someone's loved one trying to breathe and seeing them suffocating trying to gasp for we know that once you go to icu your chances are minimal. Reporter: Southern California and six bay area jurisdictions including San Francisco are now enacting regional stay-at-home orders, shutting down restaurant dining and hair salons and reducing retail to 20% capacity. But across the country some of the hardest hit areas right now are rural towns. When we started planning months ago for worst case scenario, we're now living it. Reporter: In Reno county, Kansas the positivity rate soared to 50%, while in Ohio, it topped 10,000 new cases fr health officials are pleading with residents to only leave home if it's absolutely necessary. More than one out of every two patients in the two rural regions of our zone that are in the icu have covid. That's not sustainable. Reporter: As New Mexico records a record high daily death count, doctors with the navajo nation say their hospitals are at a point of crisis. This projection says that this virus will be worse, four to five times more than what we faced in may. Reporter: Heading into that anticipated surge, hospital staffing is already a significant nationwide concern because of demand, burnout and health risks. Texas Dr. Carlos Araujo battled covid on the frontlines, only to succumb to the virus himself. He said, I'm not going to not go to work because I'm afraid. I'm going to go to work because I need to help other people who Reporter: On Friday ten states hit record high hospitalizations with New Jersey recording numbers they haven't seen since may. Governor Phil Murphy reacting to video showing a New York young Republicans event in Jersey wheropople appeared to violate social distancing and mask rules. The governor saying law enforcement is investigating calling the apparent guest of honor, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, a fool. I hope you're watching, Matt. You are not welcome in new Jersey, and I don't want you back in the state. Reporter: Congressman Gaetz firing back, Murphy will regret this tweet when he moves to Florida like the rest of new Jersey. For the health care workers enduring this historic fight, the victories are carrying them forward. Dr. Joseph Varon hugging a lonely covid patient in a viral photo from Thanksgiving says that man is finally heading home. He's doing fantastic. He was discharged yesterday morning to the care of his wife and he is doing quite well. Finally he has his wish of being with his wife. Reporter: And here in new York, the positivity rate has climbed above 5%. Though governor Andrew Cuomo has shifted his messaging a bit. He says he is no longer so concerned about the positivity rate and more focused on how much the hospitals fill up. Now, here in New York they do have ample space in their hospitals right now, but like the rest of the country health care workers are bracing for some difficult weeks ahead. Eva? Trevor Ault for us, thank you.

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

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