From field hospitals to respirators: the Pentagon is engaged in the fight against coronavirus

The Ministry of Defense will provide doctors with 5 million respirators, 2000 artificial respiration devices and 2 floating hospitals.

Pentagon leaders told reporters about how the us military will support medics in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which is rapidly spreading across the US.

Defense officials warned that while the Pentagon is ready to provide assistance, most of the Defense Department’s medical units specialize in providing assistance for injuries, not infectious diseases.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that he is considering using the National Guard and reserve military units to monitor the situation in the country, but the implementation of these plans may take several weeks.

However, Esper, like other representatives of the Ministry of Defense stressed that the military’s capabilities are quite limited.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Esper warned that while he was willing to send the Army corps of Engineers to help set up field hospitals, the military would have to go through a strict contract process before doing so, and it was much faster to sign contracts at the state or municipal level.

Earlier on Tuesday, the White House said that the administration is in talks with the Pentagon about involving the military in creating field hospitals in States with a particularly high number of cases of coronavirus infection.

“The engineering corps of the Armed forces is ready, willing and able [to participate]. We should give them the go-ahead if we think it will be necessary,” President Donald Trump said.
Esper also said that he ordered the Navy to prepare to deploy two floating hospitals that medics may need to reduce the burden on hospitals dealing with the virus. However, he added that doctors who currently work in hospitals should service these ships.

The Pentagon will provide up to 5 million respiratory masks and protective equipment from its strategic reserves to the US government. Esper said the Pentagon will also be ready to provide up to 2,000 CPR units.

He added that US military laboratories are ready to start conducting tests for coronavirus for the civilian population, which will increase the scale of testing in the US.

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