State of emergency declared in New York City over coronavirus

Following the lead of other affected states, New York cracks down on crowds in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
6:11 | 03/12/20

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Transcript for State of emergency declared in New York City over coronavirus
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Thursday night. And it was a another day of fast-moving developments in this coronavirus emergency and we will carefully get through it all right here with you tonight. We're going to begin with the states of emergency across this country, and now here in new York City, a state of emergency declared, as well. Tonight, more than 1,300 people sickened in the U.S. At least 39 have died in this country. At least 45 states now and the district of Columbia reporting cases. Additional school districs shutting down. 4.9 million children at home. That first containment zone now in effect. The National Guard on the scene in new roselle, New York. And in New York, a ban on crowds of 500 or more, Broadway dark, concert halls and museums set to close. And that state of emergency here in New York City, the mayor reporting a major jump in cases today, 95 confirmed cases, saying there could be 1,000 in just a week. The NCAA tournament canceled. The NBA season suspended. And that chaos across much of Europe tonight. Americans are rushing to get home, after president trump announced overnight that 30-day travel ban from Europe to the U.S. It caused a lot of con tension and we'll explain tonight. Passengers right there in Barcelona, lining up for a flight back home. While on capitol hill today, Dr. Anthony Fauci from the national institutions of health acknowledges after they were asked about testing in this country, he said, the system is not really geared for what we need right now, saying, quote, it is a failing. And word tonight from Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson who have tested positive, they describe their symptoms and when they knew they needed to be tested. We begin here with ABC's chief national affairs correspondent Tom llamas tonight. Reporter: Tonight, preparing for life in the pandemic. In New York, National Guard troops tasked with delivering an estimated 400,000 pounds of food. The first shipments sent directly to that hot zone outside of Manhattan. We were there as the food arrived. Here in new Rochelle, the National Guard has been activated. They're bringing in bags and bags of food. These are mostly non-perishables. They also have lunches prepared for children, breakfast, as well. There's a lot of uncertainty in this area, but one thing is for certain, they want to make sure families don't go hungry. So many here told to stay home. Living in the nation's first containment zone. This warning outside a reported testing facility. "Keep all windows closed." More than 100 cases in new Rochelle. And New York City, with 42 new cases today, the mayor declaring a state of emergency. I think we have to fully understand, this is the shape of things to come. Reporter: This as New York bans all gatherings of 500 people. Starting tonight, the lights will go out on Broadway. The great white way told to shut down, along with performances at Carnegie hall and Lincoln center. We're going to take dramatic actions in that regard to reduce the number of people in contagious environment. Reporter: New York following the lead of states like California, Oregon and Washington, all cracking down on crowds because of the coronavirus. More than 2,100 school closures nationwide, affecting an estimated 1.3 million schoolchildren. Scores of colleges and universities also canceling classes. From San Jose to Salt Lake to Boston, so-called surge tents popping up. E.R. Rooms preparing for potential patient overflow. As doctors across the country are sounding the alarm on the need from more testing. Right now, we're really limited and the demand for testing far outweighs what the state's capacity is. Reporter: Today, federal officials were pressed on who was in charge of making sure people who needed to be tested, including health care workers, are. There's not one person that can ensure that these test can be administered. Yes or no? My colleague is looking at me to answer that. Here we go. Reporter: The country's top infectious disease doctor making this admission. The system does not -- is not really geared to what we need right now. What you are asking for. That is a failing. A failing. It is a failing. Let's admit it. Reporter: As doctors scramble, so are Americans stuck overseas. To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. Reporter: The president's surprise travel ban on most flights from Europe, leading to chaos at some airport. Honestly, it's just pandemonium. No one knows what's happening. I don't know if this ban currently applies to U.S. Citizens but I'm not going to risk it, because I do not want to be stuck in Barcelona for 30 days. Reporter: The white house later clarifying the ban will only apply to foreign nationals, not citizens or green card holders. But travel could get worse. The president not ruling out imposing domestic travel bans. Are you looking to impose travel restrictions within the United States states, such as Washington state or California -- We haven't discussed that yet. Is it a possibility? Yes. If somebody gets a little bit out of control. If an area gets too hot. Reporter: And overnight, a scare in the air for passengers aboard a jet blue flight from New York's JFK to west palm beach. Officials say a passenger alerted the crew upon landing he received a notification he tested positive for the coronavirus. An individual on this flight got a text that he tested positive for the coronavirus. Reporter: The plane and both airports sterilized. Passengers, released, told to monitor their health over the next few days. So, let's get to Tom llamas from New York. And I know here in New York City, with those new rules, they limit crowd sizes. Right now, still no plans to shut down mass transit, but the bigger picture tonight, and you tried to clarify there in your report, because there was so much confusion after the president spoke last night, Americans will still be allowed to travel home from around the world and Europe, even during this 30-day ban? Reporter: That's right, David. To be absolutely clear, foreign nationals from certain parts of Europe right now are affected by that new travel ban. As you mentioned, here in new York, there is a state of emergency in the city. Cases have spiked, but the mayor making it clear that mass transit will not be shut down, though transit officials, David, say ridership is down.

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

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