President Donald Trump declared New York State a major disaster area Friday as coronavirus cases skyrocket.
Donald Trump confirmed that last night he approved a major disaster declaration for New York. He said he worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo. He called it an “unprecedented” federal response.
Mark Esper, the US defense secretary, said earlier this week that authorities were “considering activating national guard and reserve units to assist states with planning, logistics and medical support as needed”.
Currently, the U.S. Army entering New York and working on plans to take over hotels, college dormitories and sports arenas and turn them into ICU-like medical facilities.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has plans to take over as many as 10,000 hotel rooms, college dormitories and other spaces in New York for medical services as the number of coronavirus hospitalizations rises exponentially, the Wall Street Journal reported.
With hotels practically empty — the 1,878-room Hilton Midtown is completely shut down — the city’s hospitality business has been hammered by the virus-driven halt in tourism, events and conventions. The drop-off for hotels is worse than after 9/11 or during the 2008 financial crisis, operators say.
The Army Corps would contract with any hotels, colleges and possibly even empty sports arenas, Army Corps Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite said at a briefing.
“We would then take the building over in a period of an exceptionally short amount of days, and we would go in and turn this into an ICU-like facility,” he said.