New dire warnings of COVID-19 surge after Christmas

Across the country, a record 115,000 people are hospitalized with the virus, and in California, there were more than 32,000 new infections in the past day.
2:58 | 12/23/20

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Transcript for New dire warnings of COVID-19 surge after Christmas
And with Christmas almost here, travel here in the U.S. Is now the busiest we've seen since the start of this pandemic. The TSA now reporting that screening has happened for more than 4 million passenger oefrs just the last four days. Tonight, authorities are now fearing a surge worse than what we saw after Thanksgiving and the hospitals, as you're about to see, are already crushed across this country. The front line doctors and nurses and what they're seeing and the tens of thousands of patients they're trying to save. Here's Kaylee Hartung. Reporter: Tonight, a shocking look inside this California hospital, bursting at the sales with the sick, amid dire new warnings that a post Christmas covid surge could cripple the system. Patients filling the hallways and they just keep coming. I think it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Reporter: Doctors and nurses running from room to room. St. Mary medical center this horrifying video taken by "The Washington post." Across the country, a record 115,000 people battling the virus in the hospital. What we saw after Thanksgiving, we're probably going to see worse after Christmas. Reporter: In California, more than 32,000 new infections today alone. They're preparing for the worst here at uc Irvine medical center, building out a massive field hospital to care for the crush of patients. We're building that so if the time is needed, we can have up to 50 patients out here. As soon as maybe the end of the year, if we are on schedule. Reporter: And with Christmas just days away, California health officials begging people to avoid large gatherings. We will get through this. Each individual decision we make is a lifesaver. Reporter: Holiday travel already setting records. More than 4 million people flying since Friday and tonight, officials confirming the man who collapsed on this flight from Orlando to Los Angeles and later died, had covid-19. This video obtained by TMZ. The CDC now contacting passengers who may have been exposed. In Tennessee, Cindy and Rick Lucas won't be able to spend the holidays together. He's been fighting for his life in the hospital for the last five months. Every person that we hear that dies, that's not just a number. It is a person. And it is a family. And it is grandchildren. And it is employees and friends. It's not just a number. We agree with her and we try to say that every night, behind every one of these numbers is a family forever changed. Kaylee is with us in Orange, California. And health officials were saying small intimate gatherings also appear to be driving the spread of this virus and they are now pleading with Americans to stay home for the holidays. Reporter: That's right, David. Here and across the country, so many hospitals are already at or near capacity. That's why this surge tent is being built. So, now officials in California are saying, over the next ten days, let's all make choices that we will never regret. David? And that's incredible. Those are not tents or campers, that's a hospital they're setting up in Orange, California, tonight. Kaylee, thank you.

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

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