National Guard activated to combat coronavirus in 3 hardest-hit U.S. states: Trump

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-23 11:27:22|Editor: yhy
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WASHINGTON, March 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump has activated the National Guard in three states that are hit the hardest by the coronavirus outbreak to combat infections, he said Sunday.

The governors of the states of New York, California and Washington "will be in command" of the missions, and the costs will be covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Trump said at a White House press conference.

FEMA has been directed to deliver four federal medical stations with 1,000 beds to New York, eight federal medical stations with 2,000 beds to California, and three federal medical stations and three smaller medical stations with 1,000 beds to Washington, according to the president.

The supplies will arrive in New York and California within 48 hours, with two navy hospital ships expected to be put into operation on the West Coast and East Coast, respectively, Trump added.

The president has also invoked the Defense Production Act to boost production of masks and public health items that have become critical amid the pandemic, but he has yet to actually move on that front despite mounting calls for him to take action.

Washington state reported the first confirmed cases and deaths during the early days of the spread of the coronavirus in the United States. It was later surpassed by New York state, which has now become the epicenter of the outbreak in the country.

California, the nation's most populous state, has ordered all of its residents to stay at home so as to slow the spread of the contagious disease.

Confirmed cases and fatalities both continued to surge nationwide, reaching 33,276 and 417, respectively, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University updated Sunday at 6:43 p.m. ET (2243 GMT).