Doctor shares look inside hospital during pandemic

He showed images from the ER where rooms were filled and many patients were immediately put on oxygen.
7:23 | 04/02/20

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Transcript for Doctor shares look inside hospital during pandemic
Good evening. It's great to have you with us this Wednesday night. The numbers tell the story of a growing crisis in the U.S. The president has said prepare for a painful few weeks. Tonight, the vice president making news as well with what he said just today. We saw what played out in Italy, it's still playing out there. The vice president saying the white house modeling suggests Italy may be the most comparable area to the United States. In just two weeks' time, we've gone from 7,700 cases to 206,000. One month ago, there was one reported death. Tonight, it's 4,600. At least 45 states imposing stay at home restrictions. Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, just today. Here in New York City, video provided by mt. Sinai, queens. The field hospital in central park up and running. And Andrew Cuomo saying the peak of it in New York won't likely come until the end of April. And that as many as 16,000 new yorkers could die. Just before we came on the air tonight, we've learned of the grim guidelines given to first responders in the New York City area. And there are also the two cruise ships held off the coast of Florida. Hundreds of sick passengers and crew onboard. Four have died, including an American. Authorities don't want them to dock in Florida. Field hospitals going up across the country. And as we do every night, we'll get to it all and carefully. The president saying difficult days are ahead. A few days from now will be horrific. We begin with whit Johnson tonight. Reporter: Tonight, a doctor taking us inside New York's mt. Sinai queens hospital, now pushed to the brink. This is our E.D. You can see all the rooms are filled. Usually these halls are very neat and empty. And now you can see there's patients everywhere because of this. Makes it very hard to work and we're trying our best to treat everyone that we can. Reporter: Many of the patients immediately put on oxygen. All these pients here sitting out in the hallways because we are full. Reporter: Health care workers on the front lines, making painful sacrifices. I said good-bye to my wife and to my daughter for who knows how long. It's going to be several weeks probably before I see them again. It's frustrating that you want people to get better. Everyone in the hospital is working overtime, putting their hearts into trying to save these people's lives. And, you know, it takes a toll because you're both physically and mentally exhausted. Reporter: And tonight, news on Dr. Colleen Smith, who shared these images from one of the first hard-hit E.R.S in queens. All of the patients here have covid. Reporter: Now confirming she's tested positive herself for covid-19. Hospitals so overwhelmed, iconic public spaces, now used to treat patients. This is really an extraordinary moment. You can see that ambulance pulling in with the very first covid-19 patient to brought here and treated at this field hospital in the middle of central park. This facility has 68 beds. Medical teams and volunteers from samaritan's purse stepping up to meet the need. Some will be transferring who are already ventilated so we will then transfer to our ventilators to take care of them. Reporter: The death toll in New York state, about 2,000, surging by nearly 400 overnight. One projection showing 16,000 new yorkers could die. And tonight, word of a 6-week-old baby passing away from complications from the virus in Connecticut. What we're looking at now is the apex, the top of the curve, roughly at the end of April, which means another month of this. Reporter: The governor shutting down playgrounds, calling on the NYPD to enforce the rules. How reckless and irresponsible and selfish for people not to do it on their own. What else do you have to know? What else do you have to hear? Reporter: The white house coronavirus task force with that grim projection, that even if Americans follow the restrictions, 100,000 to 240,000 people could die in the U.S. At least 45 states now with stay at home orders. But tonight, growing pressure on the rest. In Florida, the governor reversing course, now issuing a statewide stay at home order for its 21 million residents. The governor abandoning his county by county approach after consulting with the white house. I'm gonna be doing an executive order today directing all floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home. Reporter: In Louisiana, a jump in cases. Nearly a third of hospitalized patients are on ventilators. Those numbers are staggering. And it looks like there's no end in sight. If these numbers continue, we will be maxed out at hospitals and ventilators by the end of the weekend. Reporter: Just last night congregants flocking to this church, defying bans on social gatherings. But the vice president today telling our Byron Pitts he had a message for the faithful. We really believe this is a time when people should avoid gatherings of more than ten people. And so we continue to urge churches around America to heed to that. Reporter: Across the country, field hospitals going up from Massachusetts to Illinois, where cases now top 5,000. And in Seattle, this exhibition hall soon to be a 250-bed hospital complete with two operating rooms. Tonight, the mounting loss of life is taking its toll. 34-year-old Scott blanks from Whittier, California, who was initially sent home from the hospital, only to return days later with pneumonia. A ventilator unable to save him. He never had any complications or never was hospitalized. Nothing. It's kind of unreal right now because we weren't even allowed to go see him. Just awful. Whit is back with us live from New York tonight. I wanted to get back to the new guidelines for first responders in the New York area. They have new orders about how to handle cardiac patients. It would seem it's a tacit acknowledgment that some patients won't be able to be saved? Reporter: The new orders obtained by ABC news outline specific guidelines on how to respond to cardiac emergencies. Telling ems crews if they can't get a pulse on their own, they should not take that patient to the hospital. These orders also reflect concerns about cpr itself spreading coronavirus. A sign of just how thin stretched the emergency rooms are. Whit, thank you. We stay on the need for ventilators tonight.

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

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