© Reuters. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and British Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace have shared the news
By Idrees Ali
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading Pentagon leaders said Tuesday that the rapidly spreading outbreak of the coronavirus that has hit the United States could continue for months and that the military would support efforts to address it as long as necessary.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 660 people and infected more than 50,000 in the United States.
President Donald Trump said Monday that he is considering how the US economy can be reopened when a 15-day shutdown ends next week, despite the spread of the highly contagious corona virus and hospitals preparing for a wave of virus-related deaths.
"I think we need to plan for this to take at least a few months, and we are taking all precautions to achieve this," said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper when asked how long the outbreak could take and how long it would take Military would take the support efforts to counter this.
"I am completely confident that we will be able to do this in a few months' time at the end of the day," Esper said during a virtual city hall.
At the same time, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General of the Army, Mark Milley, said that while it is unclear how long the outbreak would take, models based on the experience of other countries – which may or may not apply to the United States – are used The outbreak could last until July.
"If it is, you will probably see in late May, June, something in this area could still be in July," said Milley.
On Monday, Esper announced additional security restrictions for those entering the Pentagon. The building has seen a decrease in the number of people, many of whom are teleworking, since the outbreak measures began.
Esper said this teleworking should expect to continue for "weeks safe, maybe months".
As a sign of the impact of the virus on the U.S. military, the Navy announced that three sailors on board Theodore Roosevelt, the first known case of the virus on board a U.S. military ship at sea, had tested positive for the corona virus.
The airline, which was located in the Pacific, was last in the port of Vietnam about 15 days ago, naval officials said.
The Pentagon also said that, with some exceptions, election operations in military treatment facilities would be postponed from March 31.
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