President Donald Trump announced Sunday that additional US National Guard forces would be activated in California, New York, and Washington state to assist in responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The president also said the federal government would provide desperately sought resources including tens of thousands of masks, gowns, and ventilators while also installing medical stations in the states.
The resource-related announcement comes after back-and-forth jabs between Trump and state governors, whom he previously urged to try to source supplies independently before the administration would step in.
President Donald Trump has announced that the US National Guard is being activated in California, New York, and Washington state as the federal government ramps up its response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said in a Sunday-evening press conference that federal authorities were prioritizing states that "have been hit the hardest."
Though nearly 5,500 Air and Army National Guard troops were deployed in 32 states one day earlier, Trump said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would fund the additional National Guard units sent to the states to provide additional resources to help state medical facilities address a rise in patients.
The administration stressed that the deployment of Guard members was not martial law and that the troops served as an additional resource that governors could assign depending on the needs of communities.
The president also said the federal government would provide desperately sought resources like tens of thousands of masks, gowns, and ventilators in addition to installing medical stations in the states, with four going to New York with 1,000 hospital beds; eight medical stations to California with 2,000 beds; and 1,000 beds in Washington.
Trump also said the White House was considering releasing elderly and nonviolent federal prisoners, given the risk of the virus spreading in prisons.
"We're going to take a look at it," Trump said. "It's a bit of a problem."
The resource-related announcement came after back-and-forth jabs between Trump and the governors in the hard-hit states, as he previously urged them to try to source supplies independently before the administration would step in, which the states criticized as unfair.
"Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves," Trump told the governors during a phone call, The New York Times reported last week. "We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Points of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself."
Later Sunday evening, the Senate failed to pass a $1.6 trillion emergency rescue package meant to provide support for workers and businesses. Senate Democrats denied it the 60 votes needed to progress, the failure of which signals mounting pressure on Congress to address the already sliding financial markets.
As of Sunday evening, the US had 33,420 confirmed cases of the virus, which has spread to all 50 states. Leaders around the world tightened restrictions to respond to the virus' progress over the weekend when it was marked as infecting more than 331,000 and killing more than 14,000.
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