The Pentagon is activating Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) as part of the Defense Department’s domestic response to the spreading COVID-19 virus, USNI News has learned.
“We’ve already given orders to the Navy… to lean forward in terms of getting them ready to deploy,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters Tuesday.
The White House is in talks with the Pentagon about how the military can be deployed to deal with the fast-moving coronavirus, US officials said Tuesday, including setting up field hospitals in states with a surge in cases.
Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at a news conference at the White House that the Army Corp could deploy field hospitals, known as “MASH” units or help renovate or expand existing hospitals.
Such units can be deployed very quickly at governors’ requests, VP Pence said, adding that he has been in talks with Washington state Governor Jay Inslee.
“The Army Corp of Engineers is ready, willing and able. We have to give them the go-ahead if we find that it’s going to be necessary,” President Donald Trump said during that briefing.
“We believe we can have quite a few units up very rapidly,” he said, adding that he would work with the Governors of New York and California.
Have a healthy day.
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