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Politics Trump considers mobilizing National Guard for coronavirus response

23:25  17 march  2020
23:25  17 march  2020 Source:   politico.com

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National Guard troops stand by as people wait to be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 13, 2020, at the state's first drive through COVID-19 All 50 states have issued emergency declarations, a critical step before mobilizing National Guard resources. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has

President Trump declares a national emergency to deal with the health and political fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday which he said "will open up access to up to billion" to fight the novel coronavirus .

The administration is considering mobilizing the National Guard and Reserve at the federal level to help combat the coronavirus, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday, while also preparing hospital ships to treat patients.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Defense Secretary Mark Esper briefed the Trump administration's coronavirus task force on Monday on ways the Defense Department can help deal with the coronavirus crisis. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Defense Secretary Mark Esper briefed the Trump administration's coronavirus task force on Monday on ways the Defense Department can help deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Esper briefed Vice President Mike Pence and other members of the coronavirus task force on Monday on ways the Defense Department can help deal with the crisis, he told reporters. One of the options the leaders discussed was deploying the National Guard and Reserve to assist states with planning, logistics and medical support, he said.

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Trump , Cuomo spar over coronavirus response . After a Monday morning press conference in which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded for the federal government to increasingly help states battle the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump tweeted that he should "do more."

Trump grades himself on coronavirus response . He also mobilized the New Jersey National Guard "to assist in our efforts in any way necessary." Murphy told CNN Monday night that the National Guard could be used to deliver food to children in need, help coordinate drive-through

At the state level, 18 governors have already activated more than 1,500 guardsmen to assist with the U.S. response to the virus, Esper said. These forces are helping operate drive-thru virus testing facilities, staff emergency operations centers, clean public spaces and transport health care workers.

By federalizing the force, guardsmen would be put under control of the president, rather than their respective governors, and could deploy outside their state. In addition, the deployment would be funded by the federal government, rather than the states.

The department is also preparing the Navy's two hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy, for a potential deployment to hotspots to help support patients who aren't suffering from COVID-19, relieving civilian hospitals dealing with the virus, Esper said.

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Biden lambasts Trump over coronavirus response . Trump declares ' national emergency' weeks into coronavirus . Bernie Sanders also delivered a speech on Thursday criticizing the Trump administration's response and urging solidarity among Americans in dealing with the pandemic.

The National Guard has mobilized to help state governments respond to COVID-19, according to the guard . On Friday, 400 Air and Army National Guard Thirty-three states have declared emergencies in response to the spread of coronavirus . The National Guard response includes identifying and

"Our capabilities are focused on trauma ... they don't have necessarily the segregated spaces that you need to deal with infectious diseases," Esper said, adding that building field hospitals or deploying the hospital ships could "take the pressure off of civilian hospitals when it comes to trauma cases to open up civilian hospital rooms for infectious diseases."

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In other measures, the Pentagon will make available up to 5 million N95 respirator masks and other personal protective equipment from its own reserves and distribute up to 2,000 deployable ventilators to the Department of Health and Human Services, Esper said. In addition, the department has made its 14 certified coronavirus testing labs available to test non-DoD personnel, and will soon add two more labs for that purpose.

Esper also addressed the suggestion by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that the department make the Army Corps of Engineers available to build field hospitals and provide other support, noting that it might be quicker to take on such projects at a state or local level.

Trump says won't allow long-lasting damage to economy from virus .
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