US Northern Command Deploys 1,000 Medical Personnel to New York

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
April 6, 2020Updated: April 6, 2020

U.S. Northern Command (USNC), which supervises the nation’s military operations in North America, will be deploying some 1,000 medical personnel to the New York City area to assist in fighting the CCP virus pandemic.

The USNC on April 5 announced in a statement that over the next three days, it would deploy 1,000 Air Force and Navy medical personnel to the region at the epicenter of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak in the United States.

“Approximately 300 of these uniformed medical providers will work from the Javits Center and the rest will deploy to other area locations to expand local medical capabilities in the war against COVID-19,” the release said.

The Javits Convention Center in New York has been transformed into a makeshift hospital to treat non-CCP virus patients, freeing up hospitals to care for those with the virus as the city grapples with a flood of patients. President Donald Trump on April 3 announced the temporary hospital, which has a 2,500-bed capacity, and will be operated by U.S. military and federal personnel.

Other personnel will work at other hospitals throughout New York City that lack medical staff, the USNC said.

Vice President Mike Pence said April 5 the personnel will “supplement and provide relief to healthcare workers” at the epicenter of the pandemic in the New York City area.

“By this Tuesday, we will have another 840 military medical personnel arriving in New York City,” Pence said at a White House CCP virus briefing.

It comes after Trump activated the National Guard earlier this month in New York, Washington, and California state to assist with efforts to tackle the pandemic.

“We’re taking people now out of our military. We’ve been doing it, but now we’re doing it on a larger basis,” Trump said at the White House on April 4. “They’re going into war. They’re going into a battle that they’ve never really trained for.”

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told CNN he discussed the effort with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“What we plan on doing now is deploying over 1,100 additional doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to New York,” Esper said April 5. “The bulk of them will go to the Javits Center and then as of late yesterday, we agreed to deploy a few hundred of them to 11 New York City hospitals that are also seeing a deficiency when it comes to medical staff.”

New York—the hardest-hit state—has become the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic with more than 3,000 virus deaths in New York City alone, according to a tracking map by Johns Hopkins University, which collates official government data.

New York City alone accounted for more than a quarter of the U.S. CCP virus deaths tallied by Johns Hopkins. Hospitals and morgues in the city are struggling to treat the desperately ill and bury the dead.

White House medical experts have forecast that between 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could be killed in the pandemic, even if sweeping orders to stay home are followed.

Reuters contributed to this report.