The country's war over the virus

With more than 46,000 cases across the country, New York has the highest and fastest rate of infection, but New Orleans is quickly becoming the next hot spot.
7:40 | 03/24/20

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Transcript for The country's war over the virus
It's great to have you with us on a Tuesday night. This is yet another heavy night of news. President trump with conflicting messaging on the coronavirus. After pushing social distancing, the president signaled he wants the country open by Easter. It left medical experts to answer questions about whether they would offer that same guidance. Tonight, the number of cases in America now more than 53,000. Nearly ten times more than just a week ago. More than 670 are now dead. At least 22 states imposing stay at home restrictions. Four more states in the past 24 hours. Empty streets from Boston to Detroit to Dallas, to California's pacific coast highway. The most cases nationwide now in New York state. The number doubling every three days. The vast majority in New York City. These are the lines outside a hospital in queens. 400 ventilators arriving in new York, New York's governor asking the white house, do you want a pat on the back? We need 30,000, pointing to the nation's stockpile. Begging the federal government for more help. Saying what happens here will happen across the country. And the images that caused service reduced in New York City. And the crowded subway car at 5:30 A.M. This morning. New concern in many parts of the country, including Louisiana, just weeks after celebrating mardi gras. The governor saying its medical resources will be overwhelmed in a matter of days. Calling for a major disaster declaration. Tonight, the Pentagon sending two army field hospitals to new York, another to Washington and Dr. Jen Ashton with your questions. News on the possible test that could show if you have already had coronavirus, if you have any immunity to it. We begin with Tom llamas, who interviewed New York's governor just today. Reporter: Tonight, as the coronavirus spreads through the country, president trump warning the restrictions may infect the economy to a point of no return. The president now saying he wants the U.S. Open for business by Easter. That's in 20 days. I will tell you that right now. I would love to have that. It's such an important day for other reasons, but I will make it an important day for this. I would love to have the country opened up, and they are just raring to go, by Easter. Reporter: Later adding he'd like to see churches full. I would love to aim it right at Easter Sunday so we are open for church service and services generally on Easter Sunday would be a beautiful thing. Reporter: President trump comparing the more deadly coronavirus to the seasonal flu. We lose thousands and thousands of people a year to the flu. We don't turn the country off, I mean, every year. Reporter: The president's own team pressed whether the country should be easing social distancing within weeks, not months. I think the question is really, can we be laser focused rather than generic across the country? In other words, can we use our data in a laser focused, granular way to look at what's happening on the ground and adjust our public health messages based on what is needed by the number of cases. Reporter: Right now in New York, people are dying from covid-19. The country's hot zone. The infection rate doubling every three days. One of the forecasters said to me, we were looking at a freight train coming across the country, we're now looking at a bullet train. Reporter: A frustrated governor Andrew Cuomo predicting the virus' peak in New York will be faster and higher than expected. 140,000 hospital beds and 30,000 ventilators needed now. Calling on the federal government to help get it done. When we went to war, we didn't say, anybody want to build a battleship. Anybody want to do that? The president said it's a war. It is a war. Reporter: FEMA setting up this field hospital in New York. These are some of the supplies cots, beds, gloves, and the ventilators. Today I asked the governor about the president's push to reopen the country. To president trump, what would your message be about balancing the economy versus making sure this no longer spreads? We have to be smarter about it. You can't sacrifice human life to get the stock market up. I don't -- that is a repugnant concept. There is no dollar figure on human life in this country, and there never should be. Reporter: In New York and across the country, doctors telling us tonight what it's like. We are soldiers very much in the bunker fighting this invisible virus. And we enter the trenches every day when we go into the hospital, whether it's in our emergency rooms, whether it's in our intensive care units. Right now, it feels like I'm fighting a fire with blindfolds on. Reporter: We're now learning two health care workers from Georgia have died from covid-19 infections. Gabriel Najarro, a physician's assistant in Atlanta, fears exposing his family to the virus. It's been tough not trying to be as close with my sons because I'm worried about getting them sick. Reporter: In Oregon, a field hospital going up. In Wisconsin, a rush to donate masks. And Ford now starting to manufacture medical face shields. The virus infecting people from all walks of life. He was coughing up blood and his oxygen levels were dangerously low. He's been there for a few days. Reporter: Senator Amy klobuchar, who just ran for president, telling us how her husband is now hospitalized and on oxygen. I would rather be there with him right now. And I can't do that. All you can do is call and email and text and try to reach the caretakers who are taking care of him, I've never even met them, to get updates. The senator talking about the situation so many families face when their loved ones are taken to the hospital. And then they have to hope and pray from a distance. Tom llamas, back with us tonight. We heard from the president, who reiterated his hope to open the country by Easter. But he said he would be guided by Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. And Dr. Fauci weighed in on this. Reporter: That's right. Dr. Fauci was very, very clear about this. The president may want to reopen the government on Easter, but he said he told him in the oval office, they have to be flexible. They will look at it and see if it's even feasible. Pointing to New York, saying Easter Sunday does not look feasible. Quickly, Tom, Dr. Birx also weighing in, saying those who have recently been to New York City should self-quarantine for 14 days as they return home elsewhere around the country? Reporter: Yes, if you live in New York City and you left because of the crisis here, you need to self-isolate for at least 14 days, regardless if you went to Florida, North Carolina, or Long Island. You need to self-isolate for 14 Tom, thank you. This evening, we have new reporting on the toll across this country. In New Orleans, the number of

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