Mark Esper described the impact of coronavirus on U.S. combat readiness

The coronavirus pandemic could affect on the preparedness of U.S. forces, said Pentagon Chief Mark Esper on Monday, March 23.

“If this pandemic continues on the scale some have predicted for a long time, its impact on preparedness will be visible,” he said at a news conference.

A number of exercises are already being cancelled because of the pandemic, which will have a major impact on the effectiveness of the country’s army, the military chief said.

Earlier in the day it became known that a U.S. secret service employee was diagnosed with coronavirus.

The day before, the U.S. government and the U.S. Department of Energy, together with IBM, announced their intention to create a vaccine against coronavirus using supercomputers’ computing resources. Members of the consortium will include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, MIT, NASA and other organizations.

Earlier that day, U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the use of the National Guard to help fight the pandemic in New York, California and Washington States.

On March 20, it was reported that 67 cases of coronavirus infection were found among members of the U.S. military.

According to Johns Hopkins University on March 23, the U.S. recorded 33,276 cases of infection with COVID-19 and 417 deaths. 178 patients cured of pneumonia have been discharged from hospitals. The United States is the third most affected country in the world.