Pandemic declared as coronavirus reaches over 100 countries

Thousands have been killed on six continents, while on Capitol Hill, the nation's leading infectious disease expert issued a dire warning.
5:32 | 03/12/20

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Transcript for Pandemic declared as coronavirus reaches over 100 countries
The other news. Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years in prison to cheers in the courtroom. And a major night for Joe Biden. Several victories. And today, the unexpected message from Bernie Sanders. Good evening. It's great to have you with us on this Wednesday night. We begin with the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. And around the world. The world health organization declaring it a global pandemic. Citing the alarming levels of spread and also the alarming levels of inaction. The death toll rising in the U.S. To 36, 3 more just today. 1,100 cases reported. 18 states declaring states of emergency. Dr. Anthony Fauci warning that the coronavirus is ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu. And that we're vulnerable to shortages. Tonight, the National Guard moving in. That first containment zone outside of New York City, cleaning crews moving in with them. In Boston, the number of cases tied to the one conference growing. At least 77 cases now testing positive. And news coming in tonight, among the major events cancelled or changed, the NCAA tournament to be played without fans. And the president addressing the nation tonight. Whit Johnson leads us off again tonight. Reporter: Tonight, for the first time in more than a decade, the world health organization is declaring a global pandemic. Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. Reporter: With thousands killed in more than 100 countries, on 6 continents, the novel coronavirus now meeting that grim definition. Sustained worldwide spread of a new disease, person to person, impacting large numbers of people. We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. Reporter: On capitol hill today, the nation's leading infectious disease expert issuing this dire warning. It is ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu. I think that's something that people can get their arms around and understand. Reporter: Dr. Anthony Fauci telling lawmakers that the virus will continue to spread. But how bad it gets will depend on how governments respond. We will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now. Bottom line, it's going to get worse. Reporter: It got worse fast for clay Bentley, a retired officer from Rome, Georgia, who was sent home from an urgent care after a flu test came back negative. Over the next four days, I got really bad. Reporter: He called the hospital back and finally got tested for the virus. Positive for covid-19. He's now worried about his family getting it. I just assumed I had the flu. No energy, hard time breathing, aching all over. Cold chills, fevers. I have had the flu before but I have never felt this bad. Reporter: Across the country, drastic measures. In New York, where the number of cases now tops 200, the national Guard preparing for deployment in that so-called containment zone. A one-mile radius in new Rochelle, north of Manhattan, that cluster, home to the state's biggest outbreak, linked back to that new Rochelle attorney, still in critical condition. Today community groups prepping food for families, especially those with kids stuck at home. We're definitely hearing from some families that it is a hardship, we're providing some meals today. Reporter: Nationwide, the virus has prompted more than 1,200 schools to close, impacting 1 million students. In the Seattle area where the most Americans have died from the virus, officials shutting down schools for 53,000 students and banning all events with 250 or more people. San Francisco with a similar rule for any gathering over 1,000 people. The golden state warriors will play the Brooklyn nets in an empty stadium tomorrow night. If that means not having any people in the audience where the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has large crowds is something that would give a risk to spread. Reporter: And late today the NCAA announcing that the public will not be able to attend this year's March Madness basketball tournament. And discussions currently under way about whether the city's beloved St. Patrick's day parade, which draws roughly 2 million people each year, will be called off. And whit is back with us tonight from new Rochelle. Dr. Fauci was asked if the U.S. Was facing shortages of medical supplies. I believe if we have a major outbreak, we're definitely vulnerable to shortages. The white house acknowledging that late today. We're hearing from health officials around the country

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

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