Strained hospitals in North Dakota call in Air Force to help

In El Paso, Texas, the National Guard is helping with overwhelmed morgues, and in New York City, a COVID-19 patient was transferred into the newly reopened field hospital.
4:31 | 11/25/20

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Transcript for Strained hospitals in North Dakota call in Air Force to help
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Tuesday night. And we begin with the coronavirus meteorologist and the new numbers just in tonight, with Thanksgiving just two days away. An alarming surge in new cases and millions of Americans on the move for the holiday, and what Dr. Fauci said today about what that could bring. The intense outbreak seen across the nation in red there on the map. Authorities this evening now reporting 170,000 new cases in just the pas 24 hours. More than 259,000 lives lost now, more than 1,080 more lives in just the last day. Tonight, we mark 14 straight days of record hospitalizations more than 85,000 patients in hospitals across this country. Air force nurses arriving in bismarck, North Dakota. The National Guard helping elsewhere tonight. A field hospital reopening on Staten Island here in New York, taking in its first patients. And millions waiting for hours for tests. Some waiting five hours or more today. Authorities warning against a false sense of security from those tests. And we learned today that 4 million passengers have already to travel for the holiday and that tomorrow is now expected to be the busiest day yet. ABC's Tom llamas leads us off right here in New York tonight. Reporter: Tonight, an all-out battle against a surging virus. Teams of air force nurses deployed to overwhelmed hospitals in North Dakota. In El Paso, the National Guard helping out in morgues runni out of space. And in New York City, the original epicenter of this pandemicfirst patient transferred into this reopened field hospital on Staten Island where cases have tripled. So your field hospital is up and running and the first patient with covid has just gone in? Yes, we're actually in the process. We're on our way, our first patient is on their way now and we'll be taking well over a dozen patients today. Reporter: And tonight, with millions on the move, Thanksgiving threatening a nation already facing a dire prognosis. If in fact you're in a situation when you do the things that are increasing the risk, the travel, the congregate setting, not wearing masks, the chances are that you will see a surge superimposed upon a surge. Rr: For the last 14 days, a record number of Americans hospitalized. And this week, a death reported every minute in this country. And despite the CDC warn avoid travel and gatherings, testing lines from California to Florida to North Carolina only growing as Americans hit the road and pack airports. This is the first time that I've traveled during covid, so I wattle anxious. In front of us, the guy coughed in front of us, and we was like, "Oh, my god!" Reporter: And still, every day, teams on the front lines witnessing unthinkable loss. You have someone who is dying, actively dying and you have to set up a facetime to hopefully get people involved in the dyingcess -- there are nurses every day that cry because of it. Reporter: Today we met 57-year-old Carl werde, a contractor from South Carolina. He survived covid but it ravaged his lungs. That's one of his lungs on the left. You can see how deformed it appears next to a healthy lung. They actually had to crack my rib cage open. Reporter: Doctors at Brigham and women's hospital were able to save his life with a double lung transplant. Carl, you got a second chance. What do you think every time you take a breath now? I'm thankful every day, every day, I'm thankful. Thankful for my family, they're always there with me. But yeah, people need to pay attention, it's not a joke. The message from that patient in that bed tonight. And Tom llamas now outside that field hospital on Staten Island. And Tom, we are learning the CDC is considering shortening the recommended quarantine for people who have been exposed to someone with the virus, we know that stands at 14 days now. Any indication as to what they're going to change that to? Reporter: David, that's absolutely right. These comments were just made by the testing czar. Basically what they're looking at, and still investigating this, is changing the potential quarantine time from 14 days, as you just mentioned, to 10 days, accompanied by a negative test. That negative test is key. But again, the guidelines haven't changed this is something they've actively studying right now, David. Tom llamas, thank you.

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

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