UPDATED 11:03 AM PT — Thursday, March 26, 2020
The Department of Defense is working to find where the military fits in to the fight against the coronavirus. The Pentagon has continued to take a restrained approach to the current pandemic, while officials try to determine what course of action to take.
Troops overseas have been ordered to stop movement for 60-days, recruitment offices have been closed and exercises are being reduced or canceled.
State and local officials have been calling for additional military aid, however, defense officials are concerned about protecting service members and ensuring readiness.
.@USNavy sailors aboard the #USNSMercy prepare the vessel for patients. Mercy is deploying in support of the nation’s whole-of-government #COVID19 response effort. The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-coronavirus patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. pic.twitter.com/WdvVq39EQX
— Department of Defense 🇺🇸 (@DeptofDefense) March 25, 2020
“It’s a balancing act because at the end of the day, we we have to balance both the health and protection of our service members with our responsibility to this nation, to continue to defend it,” stated Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, Air Force Joint Staff Surgeon.
The military will reportedly be limiting minor changes to positive case counts in order to protect medical information from adversaries.
Meanwhile, the National Guard has sent more than 9,000 troops to help disinfect public spaces, administer drive-through tests and deliver food. New York and Seattle are also expecting Army field hospitals.