US coronavirus cases soar past 16,000 with at least 200 dead

One in 5 Americans has been ordered to stay at home, with lives changing in unimaginable ways to stop the spread.
6:48 | 03/21/20

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Transcript for US coronavirus cases soar past 16,000 with at least 200 dead
We made it through another week together. A truly historic week. This is something we have not seen in modern times. Life in this country really changing in unimaginable ways. Very likely for several weeks, if not months to come. Tonight, the number of coronavirus cases soared past 17,000. At least 200 dead. They think this is much higher this number of cases in this country. The testing still catching up and will likely reflect that number. Tonight president trump saying, quote, we will win this war, confirming he invoked the Korean war era law. Has he asked for supplies to be made? What he's saying tonight. The president also asked about a potential nationwide lockdown. The U.S. Tightening the border, imposing new restrictions on nonessential travel between the U.S. And Mexico. Those restrictions already in place with Canada. And states taking extraordinary action in this country. California's governor ordering 40 million people to stay home. Highways empty tonight. New York's governor issued something very similar, tightening workplace restrictions as well. Now ordering nonessential businesses to close and that public traipse only be used for an emergency. The governor calling ventilators what missiles were to World War II. The National Guard arriving before down to help set up one of New Jersey's first drive-through testing sites. Within hours, police returning people -- turning families away. Tonight, the data about who's most at risk. The warning from the world health organization for younger people. The difference between men and women and what could be driving that. We're going begin with ABC's chief national affairs correspondent, Tom llamas. Reporter: Tonight, a new phase in the war on the coronavirus, and it starts at home. This is the most drastic action we can take. Reporter: The governor of new York joining California, issuing new mandates. Beginning Sunday, all non-essential workers ordered to stay home. Even limiting new yorkers from using public transportation unless it's urgent and absolutely necessary. Nonstop New York quickly slowing down. This is grand central normally. But today at rush hour, grand central should be packed with people, nearly empty. The goal of the ramped up measures is simple -- stop the spread of the virus. With more than 8,500 infected, the cases in New York are the highest in the nation. The governor says the high number due to more testing. With 10,000 tests conducted in New York state alone overnight. Governor Cuomo asking businesses to help with the shortage of crucial medical equipment, offering to pay a premium. Ventilators are to this war what missiles were to World War II. Reporter: Today, president trump calling this battle against the virus a war. Announcing she's enacted the Korean war era defense production act, asking American companies that can, including auto makers to now manufacture masks, gloves, gowns and ventilators. So, we're invoking it to use the power of the federal government to help the states get things they need like the masks, like the ventilators. Can you name any of the companies that you've asked to start making these ventilators or face masks? I will be, but first I want to get the approval from the company, because I don't want to be doing that. I assume they'd like it. Did the federal government ask? I didn't -- I didn't speak to them about announcing it, but I'll announce it, I'm sure they wouldn't be but we have others also. Reporter: Authorities here in this country alarmed at the figures coming in from around the globe, especially Italy. From Italy we are seeing another concerning trend that the mortality in males seems to be twice in every age group of females. Reporter: Tonight, president trump still insisting he is not considering implementing stay-at-home measures this morning, almost 40 million californians waking up to a new normal. We direct a statewide order for people to stay at home. Reporter: Residents allowed out for essential trips only, including the grocery store and the pharmacy for medicine. Governor Newsom predicting if the virus is not contained, 56% of the state's population -- more than 25 million people -- will have the virus in the next eight weeks. Already you can see signs of the virtual lockdown. The famed Santa Monica pier, deserted. And tonight, more states are joining the effort, like Nevada and Illinois. I fully recognize that, in some cases, I am choosing between saving people's live S and saving people's livelihood. Now that California is on basically lock down, now we're really trying to limit our activities. Reporter: Tonight we're hearing from so many Americans across the country about how this crisis is affecting their families. I'm very nervous, just feeling like, when is this all going to end? How hard it is right now? Hard, and it's going to get harder. We were debating, should we come out to the park? We felt guilty, but we felt with the weather maybe it's the last opportunity to go. Kids are going crazy. We'll try. Reporter: For one New Jersey family, the virus taking an unimaginable toll. Four members of the tight-knit Fusco family dying within days of each other. Some still hospitalized. The second we start to grieve about one, the phone rings, and there is another person gone, taken from us forever. Just incredible what that family in New Jersey has gone through. Luckily that's been a rare case. I know there are prayers coming in from all over the country for them. We're with Tom llamas you no. He's live in New York. After the restrictions in California, we know the restrictions here in New York take effect Sunday evening. The health commissioner announced something else, that they have begun to use their crucial stockpile and we're still early in this fight. Reporter: That's exactly right, the health commissioner here in the state of New York acknowledged they already dipped into that stockpile they're going to hand out the medical supplies to hospitals across the state. They hope to resupply them. Another grim headline that nobody wants to hear -- New York City is now the epicenter of the crisis in the United States of America. One-third of all coronavirus cases are right here in New York City. S to Tom llamas with us tonight. We'll see you this weekend.

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

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