NY National Guard tasked with cleaning and providing food

Jack Murphy
March 13, 2020 - 10:01 am
National Guard deployment

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Today, National Guard soldiers deployed inside New Rochelle's coronavirus containment zone will receive their operations order, issuing further instructors on how to proceed in the coming days. 

Currently, National Guard Military Police and other support units are inside the containment zone providing food and assisting with cleaning public areas inside the zone.

On Tuesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced a one-mile containment zone around the Young Israel of New Rochelle synagogue in New Rochelle where there has been a cluster of COVID-19 cases.  

Local residents have expressed skepticism about the so-called containment in interviews with journalists, seeing it as more of a political maneuver rather than a measure that will actually stop the spread of the virus.

On the charts created by Johns Hopkins University and the Wolfram data repository, the virus has had a hockey stick effect in recent days, with the numbers of infected increasing to 1,214 and 36 killed, as of Thursday. 

The community was not placed under martial law or total lockdown by any means, but Gov. Cuomo said there would be, "no large gatherings because the large gatherings are where it spreads."

The reality of the so-called containment is, "kind of like just putting up signs saying this is bad, stay away but it is a particularly odd situation where they have a lot of cases," Dr. Warner Farr, a professor of pathology and retired Special Forces Warrant Officer told Connecting Vets.

A source within the New York National Guard told Connecting Vets the National Guard unit deployed is from the 69th Infantry Regiment. The unit would have marched in New York City's Saint Patrick's Day parade had it not been canceled due to concerns about spreading COVID-19.

This domestic deployment is taking place under Joint Task Force Empire Shield which was established after the 9/11 attacks. As Task Force members, these National Guardsmen will also decontaminate areas outside the containment zone as well. The entire operation's headquarters is out of Camp Smith, which is located just down the road from West Point Military Academy.

Connecting Vets reached out to the New York National Guard's office for comment but did not hear back by the time of publication.

1,000 residents remain under quarantine in New Rochelle. 

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Reach Jack Murphy: jack@connectingvets.com or @JackMurphyRGR.