WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s role in responding to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States began to rapidly expand Wednesday as officials announced that two Navy hospital ships and two Army field hospitals were preparing to deploy to help overburdened regions.The latest moves are aimed at taking the pressure off local hospitals so that they can free up rooms and staff to deal with virus patients. Military hospital ships and field units are geared toward treating trauma cases.The military moves, however, face limits. It will take as long as two weeks for the USS Comfort hospital ship to get to New York City, where the governor has been pressing for medical help.And there are logistical and legal concerns about expanding the military’s role in civilian affairs, such as tasking it with enforcing quarantines. Defense officials also want to be careful not to do anything to weaken its ability to defend the nation.A look at the military’s role in the crisis:WHAT THE MILITARY IS DOINGThe hospital ships are not on their way but are gathering staff and preparing to go.The USS Mercy hospital ship, which is based on the West Coast, will be ready to move out “in days,” according to


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