US President Donald Trump has expanded the role of the US Army in the fight against deadly coronavirus, saying that no one is better prepared to fight the current situation which is like a war. US till Friday reported 7,380 deaths and at least 276,500 infections due to the deadly coronavirus, the highest for any country in the world.
"We are expanding the role of the Armed Forces in our response effort because no one is better prepared to win a war of the United States military, and we are in a war. Invisible enemy, Trump told reporters during a press briefing as he described New York as the hotspot of this war.
On Friday, the number of those infected by coronavirus (COVID-19) in the New York state alone crossed 100,000 and the deaths touched 3,000. It's neighbouring New Jersey followed up with nearly 30,000 infections and 646 deaths.
Members of the White House task force on coronavirus expect the deadly disease to peak in the next 10 days. Various models have predicted between 100,000 to 200,000 deaths in the next few months, during which a large number of people are likely to be infected.
As such, the administration would require thousands of new hospital beds and thousands of ventilators along with face masks and other medical supplies. Overall, the US on Friday in a single day added more than 33,000 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total to 276,500.
In just one day more than 1,550 Americans lost their lives taking the fatalities to over 7,380. More than 90 per cent of the country's 330 million population are under strict stay-in-home order and major disaster declaration has been announced for over three dozen States.
"Our hearts go out to the people of New York as they bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic in America. That seems to be the hot spot right now, but you have some others as you know that are very, very bad," Trump said during the briefing at the White House.
"Louisiana is getting hit very hard. Parts of Michigan are getting hit very, very dark. New Jersey is surprisingly it's much greater than anybody would have thought they are doing a really good job, he said.
The Javits Convention Center in New York that has been converted overnight into a 2,500 beds hospital by the army would now be manned by the armed forces as well, he said.
"Over 9,000 retired army medical personnel have answered their nation's call and are now supporting field hospitals and medical facilities all across the country, he said. The Army Corps of Engineers has assessed more than 100 facilities in all 50 states, he said.
They are rapidly building temporary hospitals and alternative care sites in many states in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Ohio, Trump added.
He said the National Guard members have been activated to hold states build new treatment centers and assist in the seamless distribution of medical supplies.
"The National Guard is assisting very strongly because the states were, in many cases, unable to have the delivery capability from warehouses and other places that they put the supplies," he said.
In addition to ensure that healthcare workers in New York have the protective equipment the need the federal government, the Department of Defense is providing about 8.1 million respirators.
The Department of Health and Human Services is working with the Department of Justice and has taken the custody of nearly 200,000 N95 respirators, 130,000 surgical masks, 600,000 gloves as well as many bottles and disinfectant sprays.