WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. military is rapidly ramping up its efforts to support the federal, and state governments in their fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus.
A temporary hospital erected by the U.S. Army in New York has opened its doors and can accommodate nearly 3,000 patients.
While the military has its own problems, with its first service member having lost his life to the deadly disease, and another 80 sailors diagnosed with the virus on board the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt berthed at Guam, at home military units are deploying in states and cities, making significant contributions to the country's bid to flatten the curve.
The Army Corps of Engineers alternate care facility, constructed at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, is now fully operational. The temporary hospital can hold up to 2,910 beds, relieving some of the demand placed on local hospitals.
Also, the hospital ship USNS Comfort docked in New York City on Monday and began taking patients on Tuesday.
The ship's medical team will be providing a broad spectrum of medical care, allowing local hospitals to concentrate their efforts on COVID-19 patients.
The hospital ship USNS Mercy is docked in Los Angeles; the medical team began seeing its first patients on Sunday.
The ship's personnel care for trauma and acute care patients and can also perform surgeries, freeing local hospitals to focus on COVID-19 patients.
Also in Los Angeles, National Guardsmen are setting up a medical shelter at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Guard has set up two other medical shelters elsewhere in the state.
District of Columbia National Guard members mobilized on March 24 to support multiple civilian agencies, including Mayor Muriel Bowser's office, the D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Metropolitan Police Department.
The Guard is currently manning street closure checkpoints and will provide support for medical screening, transportation, logistics and other duties, as needed.
The Connecticut National Guard is providing logistical support for the state's health care system by assisting in distribution of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and medical equipment.
The Guard is also erecting shelters with electricity that will be used for COVID-19 patients.
South Carolina National Guardsmen are transporting personal protective equipment and other supplies to the 46 counties in the state to support the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Members of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 111th Attack Wing are supporting the Pennsylvania National Guard in a variety of missions including providing a Montgomery County community-based testing site with medical staff. They are also providing logistics support for the creation of the 250 non-acute-patient Federal Emergency Management Agency medical station at the Glen Mills School, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
Texas and Michigan
The Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday began the initial planning and assessment for the possible conversion of existing buildings into alternate care sites throughout the two states. These actions, which are under the direction of FEMA, are part of eight mission-critical assignments to address possible medical facility shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conversion projects are expected to cost $1.1 billion.
Across the United States and U.S. Military Abroad
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is helping to deliver 3 million COVID-19 test kit swabs in support of U.S. medical professionals stateside, and military members in Europe.
The Defense Logistics Agency will spend $84.4 million to buy 8,000 ventilators with an initial delivery of 1,400 by early May.
As indicated earlier, the U.S. military has lost its first serving member to the coronavirus. A New Jersey Army National Guardsman died on Saturday. He had been hospitalized since March 21.
"Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member active, reserve or Guard to Coronavirus," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Tuesday. "This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of Covid-19."