(TMU) — The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) are preparing for a possible coronavirus pandemic response.
For the past six weeks, defense leaders have been meeting to plan for any possible scenario with the virus that first surfaced in China.
“We’ve issued a variety of [memoranda] and directives advising the force on how to deal with coronavirus,” Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said in a DOD press release.
Esper emphasized that commanders at all levels have the authority and guidance they need to operate.
“(U.S. Northern Command) remains the global integrator for all DOD efforts and entities,” Esper said. “My number one priority remains to protect our forces and their families; second is to safeguard our mission capabilities and third [is] to support the interagency whole-of-government’s approach. We will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure that our people are safe and able to continue their very important mission.”
Commanders are taking all necessary precautions because the virus is unique to every situation and every location. “We’re relying on them to make good judgments,” Esper said
Meanwhile, FEMA is also making preparations amid the possibility that President Donald Trump makes an emergency declaration to bring in extra funds and personnel to assist the administration’s coronavirus response, NBC reported.
According to NBC, documents show that the agency is actively planning to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments, as well as federal assistance.
“To me this is another indication that the president and the White House are finally aware of the gravity of the situation,” said Michael Coen, who was FEMA chief of staff during the Obama administration. “They need to consider all tools available to them and have contingencies for action.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also recently upgraded the global death rate of the virus stating it is now 3.4 percent—an increase from the previous 2 percent.
“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. In comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1 percent of those infected, he said.
TMU sifted through over 100 articles to bring you the six most important headlines that you need to know about the current viral outbreak. You can read those stories here.
Also, check out TMU’s essential guide to emergency preparedness and stay prepared for—not scared of—the coronavirus.
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