New York becomes center of crisis as virus spread continues

At least 13 people died in a 24-hour period at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and New York state accounts for roughly half of all coronavirus cases in the U.S.
5:40 | 03/26/20

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Transcript for New York becomes center of crisis as virus spread continues
Here's what we know right now. Worldwide, cases have grown to more than 470 thousand thousand. At least 21,000 people have died. Spain, the highest total behind Italy, but ahead of China. More encouraging news there. Still no new cases in Wuhan where it all began. Here in the U.S., now more than 60,000 cases. The death toll has climbed over 1,000, and New York City now the hottest spot, more than 20,000 cases here. Across the country, at least 28 states have closed nonessential businesses, and now the city of Miami is implementing the toughest restrictions. A 10:00 P.M. Curfew will be put in place starting tomorrow As businesses close throughout this country, new unemployment figures are due out this morning, and they're expected to be at an all-time high. More on that this morning as the senate finally passes that $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes direct payments to most Americans. The house now expected to vote tomorrow. We are going to continue now on the front lines. That hospital in queens, new York. The burr Rogge with the most coronavirus cases in the city. Whit Johnson there for us. Good morning, whit. Reporter: Robin, good morning to you. Take a look behind me. You can see people already lined up, wearing masks waiting to get inside this hospital. One doctor telling ABC news that this is ground zero for the crisis in America. They are treating hundreds of coronavirus patients here, and desperate for more supplies. The frustrating thing about all of this is it really just feels like it's too little, too late. Like, we knew. We knew it was coming. Reporter: This morning, a look inside one of the hard-hit hospitals in New York. What officials say has become the center of the crisis in America. All the patients of this room, all the people you see, they all have covid, and this is only one of the several rooms. Reporter: Here at elmhurst hospital in queens, at least 13 people have died in just 24 hours. There's no clear end to this. The status quo is not good enough, and that's what I'm worried about. Reporter: Dr. Colleen Smith sharing her story with ABC news and "The New York Times," including this moment they finally get their hands on a shipment of much-needed ventilators, but only five could be obtained. The concern is that these -- all these ventilators that we're told are coming, but haven't really started to materialize in large numbers, are they really coming? Will we really get them? I have never seen the increase in volume as fast as it has. Reporter: The state accounting for roughly half of all cases across the country. These grim images of teams setting up a makeshift morgue outside bellvue hospital, something they did during 9/11 and hurricane sandy. However, a small sign of hope. Governor Andrew Cuomo saying over the past three days, the rate of hospitalizations is slowing, but quickly cautioning that the peak of the crisis could still be 20 days away. The evidence suggests that the density control measures may be working. Reporter: The governor saying while only 15% of cases so far have required hospitalization, the state is anticipating 140,000 people will be hospitalized, warning he still doesn't have enough beds or life-saving ventilators. The pandemic pummeling America with nearly 70,000 cases in the U.S. Alone. Patients like 25-year-old jack Aller, a lacrosse player from New Jersey now on a ventilator in a coma. He took his health very seriously. He's an athlete. Reporter: Jermaine Miller, dying last weekdays before his 45th birthday. His wife, Erika, heartbroken. I got this call, and the only thing I remember the doctor saying to me. Hello, Erika. I said, yes? He said, I'm sorry. I dropped the phone and ran upstairs, and I had to break the news to the family. Reporter: In Missouri, five members of the same family all testing positive for covid-19. Jason winehouse, his brother and sister-in-law recovering at his mother and father still in the hospital. And overnight, ABC news learning a member of mount sinai's nursing staff passed away from covid-19 saying in a statement, today we lost another here's, a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver. President trump standing firm saying the country wants to get back to work. The sooner we can eventually get people back to work, back to school and back to normal, and there are large sections of our country that can go back sooner than other sections. I would by Easter we we have the recommendation. Reporter: But the president's only health experts recommend not committing to a certain date. Dr. Fauci also warning that the U.S. Needs to prepare for another cycle of coronavirus. You've got to understand that you don't make the timeline. The virus makes the timeline. Reporter: Back here in queens, a spokesperson for the hospital behind me says they have transferred at least 30 patients to other facilities in the area to try to alleviate the challenges here, but again, new York state is preparing for this problem to get worse before it gets better. Robin? Being prepared. All right, whit. Thank you.

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

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