US Army Soldiers Deploy to New York as State Fights COVID-19

March 26, 2020 Updated: March 26, 2020

Hundreds of U.S. Army soldiers are deploying to New York to help the state in its response to the CCP virus.

New York has been the hardest-hit state in the nation, with 30,811 COVID-19 cases as of March 25, including 17,856 in New York City.

Hundreds of people in the state have died from the illness.

More than 200 medical personnel from the Army’s 531st Hospital Center in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were deployed on March 26 to New York, as well as personnel from the 9th Hospital in Fort Hood, Texas.

Advance parties are already on the ground, and the main body will set up at the Javits Center in the Manhattan borough of New York City over the weekend, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told reporters in Washington.

“They will be operational for non-COVID patients beginning Monday,” he said.

Epoch Times Photo
Members of the National Guard listen to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as he speaks to the media at the Javits Convention Center, which is being turned into a hospital in New York City on March 24, 2020. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Other Deployments

The 627th Hospital from Fort Carson, Colorado, is deploying to Seattle. Its advance team was already on the ground. The team was looking at the CenturyLink Field and a state fairground as possible locations but hadn’t finalized a decision.

“Army health care professionals are adequately equipped with first-rate training, equipment, and technology in order to deal with emergent health issues,” Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a statement. “Protecting the health of the force and the American people are our top priorities.”

The field hospitals can have as many as 250 beds each and include an array of items, such as operating rooms and an emergency department, which gives them a capacity similar to that of a regular hospital.

The hospitals would probably be sent to New York City and Seattle first, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said earlier in the week, before other areas receive them, because of the surge in cases in both areas.

New York will become the “standard-setter” for how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will respond to the CCP virus outbreak, said Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, commanding general of the corps.

Most of the governors are saying their peak of confirmed cases is projected to be “sometime in the middle of April,” Semonite told reporters in Washington. “This is not ‘take all the time in the world’ to do it.”

The process will see local leaders locate available buildings and prioritize the order of conversion before the state leases the buildings and the corps takes over and hires contractors to convert them to hospitals.

More than 10,000 National Guard troops are in communities across the nation, helping distribute meals to people, providing support to testing facilities, transporting health care workers, and performing other tasks, McConville said. In New York City, they helped to build a makeshift morgue outside Bellevue Hospital, with guidance from U.S. Air Force members.

Epoch Times Photo
Basketball courts are empty due to the spread of the CCP virus in New York City on March 24, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

Situation in NYC

The deployment came after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned residents on March 25 that the situation will likely get worse in April and could devolve further in May.

One of every two New Yorkers could get COVID-19, he told reporters.

“It’s a fair bet to say that half of all New Yorkers, and maybe more than half, will end up contracting this disease,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “And that’s worrisome, very deeply worrisome, for all of us, but we have to start with the truth.”

Oxiris Barbot, the city’s health commissioner, said the number of infected could be even higher.

New York City has 8.6 million residents.

Most of those infected are aged 18 to 64, but 74 percent of those who have died have been 65 or older. The majority of those requiring hospital care after getting infected are 75 or older.

The city has taken a number of measures to try to stem the spread of the virus, including closing two miles of roads to car traffic during the day; advising people to avoid crowds, stay at least six feet from others, and stay home while sick; and releasing some inmates to try to prevent an outbreak in city jails.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber