White House promises to fast-track Covid-19 treatments

New CDC numbers show nearly 40% of U.S. patients hospitalized were aged of 20 to 54.
6:04 | 03/20/20

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Transcript for White House promises to fast-track Covid-19 treatments
Good evening and it's great to have you with us here on a Thursday night. And we really have so much to get to tonight. The economic toll on American families. Mothers and fathers losing their jobs. And of course, the staggering numbers on the coronavirus itself. The number of cases, more than 13,000 now, in the U.S. They know it's much higher, given the slow testing. But we just learned from new York City's major tonight that there are more than 3,600 cases in New York City alone. 22 deaths. Adding these ominous words tonight, saying there will be people who die who didn't need to die. Today, president trump saying his administration has, quote, slashed red tape. He says they are trying to fast-track vaccines and therapies and are testing whether existing drugs can help. Tonight, what we've learned about a drug used for malaria. The images of young people on spring break have been so alarming for days now. Especially given new numbers tonight from the CDC, that nearly 40% of the hospitalizations in this country are patients from 20 to 54. Tonight, miami-dade has now closed all of its beaches. Florida's governor saying, quote, the party's over. Doctors across this country sounding the alarm, saying they do not have enough supplies. This makeshift medical unit tonight going up outside Seattle. That's a soccer field. And so many still trying to be lines across the country tonight. This one in Houston. And this evening, you will hear from people unable to get those tests and the reasons why. A heartbreaking toll on one new Jersey family we're following we learned late today that now a fourth member of the same family has died. All from the same family among the dead, the matriarch who did not know some of her own children hate died before her. And from California's governor just moments ago, this prediction tonight, that 25 million people in California alone could have this coronavirus in eight weeks. Tonight, news on the checks being sent to American families, we have it all for you and we're going to begin this evening with ABC's whit Johnson, leading us off. Reporter: With the number of infections in the U.S. Soaring -- in New York alone by 3,000 in just the last 24 hours, the mayor telling new yorkers this warning -- There will be people who die who didn't need to die. Reporter: Adding, "This is going to be one of the most difficult moments in the city's history." This as the white house is making an ambitious promise, to fast-track medical treatments for patients with covid-19. It's shown very encouraging -- very, very encouraging -- early results. And we are going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. Reporter: President trump, touting the malaria drug chloroquine or hydroxy-chloroquine which doctors say have already delivered promising results in China, to alleviate symptoms. But right now, the fda is still studying the drug. I think it could be a game changer. And maybe not. And maybe now. But I think it could be based on what I see. Reporter: The white house says another therapy for ebola is already being tested on American with covid-19. But it's still unclear when any of these treatments will be widely available or if they're effective. This, as doctors and nurses have been sounding the alarm for days, saying they're running out of critical supplies. The CDC even recommending using homemade masks, like a bandana or scarf, as a last resort. Nurses are working with inadequate protections and that ranges from head coverings, respirators, eye shields, appropriate gowns. Reporter: But vice president pence claiming a company that makes those vital m-95 masks, is ramping up production to 35 million a month, adding that the fovt has now identified tens of thousands of ventilators, as well. Steven Anderson telling us they need ventilators in Auburn, Washington. We need ventilators. I have ventilators this morning, but the hospital up the street from me is out of ventilators at the moment. Reporter: The growing pandemic now revealing the risk for young people may be worse than previously thought. New numbers from the CDC showing nearly 40% of American patients hospitalized for covid-19 were between the ages of 20 and 54. Still, thousands of college students have been descending on Florida beaches. Not being worried about him, but we're living for ourselves right now. Reporter: But 29-year-old tarek soleiman wants young people to realize just how dangerous the virus is. He's sick with pneumonia, unable to breathe. I just want to say that it can come to anyone and it can also be severe for a lot of young people. Reporter: The governor of New York today leaning on his 22-year-old daughter. What is the one line I used to say? Risk/reward. Yeah. Reporter: To urge young people to heed the warnings. These videos of young people saying, this is my spring break. You know, I'm out to party. This is my time to party. This is so unintelligent and reckless. Reporter: In New York, governor Cuomo now tightening the restrictions on businesses, man dating that 75% of their workers must stay home. And nearby in freehold, New Jersey, an unimaginable loss for the Fusco family. Today, the fourth member of the tight-knit family dieing, all within days of each other. Three others hospitalized. Nearly 20 family members now on quarantine. Daughter Bridget telling "People magazine," "I am numb. I don't believe what is going on." When I first read about that story breaking late last night, whit, I just couldn't believe what I was reading. Four members now from the same family, a devastating loss. And some family members, you've learned, are still in the hospital tonight? Reporter: David, this is truly an unthinkable example of just how contagious this virus can be, especially in large groups. "The New York Times" is also reporting that matriarch died while on a ventilator, never knowing that her two oldest children had already passed. David? Just awful. Whit Johnson leading us off tonight. Whit, thank you.

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

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