US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks at a press conference in the briefing room of the Pentagon on March 5, 2020. (AFP photo)
The US Defense Department has warned that the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak in the US could continue for months and that the American military would continue to support efforts to counter the COVID-19 crisis.
The highly contagious disease could last for "a period of months," US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday when asked how long the outbreak may last and how long the military would continue the support efforts to counter it.
"I think we need to plan for this to be a few months long at least and weíre taking all precautionary measures to do that," the Pentagon chief added.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 720 people and infected over 50,000 in the United States.
US health experts have sharply rebuked President Donald Trumpís administration for initially downplaying the crisis and lagging behind in testing efforts.
On Monday, Esper announced more security restrictions on those entering the Pentagon. He said that Defense Department employees teleworking should expect to continue to do so for "weeks for sure, maybe months."
Separately, US General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the outbreak could last into July, citing models from the experience of other countries.
"If it does apply, youíre looking at probably late May, June, something in that range, could be as late as July," Milley said.
Three sailors on board US aircraft carrier have coronavirus
A US Navy officials said Tuesday three American sailors on board the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean have tested positive for the coronavirus, underscoring the impact the virus was having on the US military.
US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told a news conference at the Pentagon that the three had been quarantined and were being flown off the ship.
Trump, New York state governor clash over federal response to virus
New York State has become the US epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, overwhelming hospitals after suffering another quick and brutal rise in the number of cases on Tuesday, as California said it could be facing the next major wave of the disease.
Trump and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have attacked each other over the federal response to the coronavirus crisis in the hard-hit state.
Speaking on Tuesday at his daily news conference, Cuomo expressed frustration that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was sending his state 400 ventilators from a national reserve when he needed 30,000 to treat the rising number of coronavirus victims.
"You want a pat on the back for sending 400? We need 30,000," said Cuomo. "The rate of new infections is doubling every three days" in New York and threatening to overwhelm hospitals, he added.
Trump, who like Cuomo was born and raised in New York City, dismissed Cuomoís complaints.
The president said during a Fox News Channel town hall that Cuomo "should have ordered the ventilators" in previous years before the outbreak, and added that the federal government is taking steps to help New Yorkm including building temporary hospitals.
SOURCE: PRESS TV