The Navy's Hospital Ship Is Coming to New York City to Help Treat Coronavirus Patients

The USNS Comfort has about 1,000 rooms on it, including operating rooms.
March 18, 2020, 4:15pm
U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is anchored off Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, as military doctors offer free treatment to Haitians. The visit of the hospital ship comes as violent demonstrations and street barricades have led several h

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The Navy’s 894-foot hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, is headed to New York Harbor, where it will help accommodate the soaring numbers of COVID-19 patients in New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the move in a press conference Wednesday morning and said that the USNS Comfort has about 1,000 rooms on it, including operating rooms. He also praised President Donald Trump for his partnership.

“The president and I agreed yesterday, look, we are fighting the same war — and this is a war — and we are in the same trench,” Cuomo said. “I have your back, you have my back, and we will do everything we can do for the people of the state of New York.”

The governor also said that he planned to meet with the Army Corps of Engineers later Wednesday. He’s been repeatedly calling on the president to dispatch the group to New York to help set up temporary medical centers and retrofit buildings like college dorms with ventilators and hospital beds to accommodate overflow from hospitals.

A temporary hospital is also being built on Staten Island, according to Cuomo. Construction is already underway.

In the last week, New York has become the epicenter of the virus outbreak, and as of Wednesday morning, the state had 2,389 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,339 of them in New York City, a 65% increase in just one day. There’s a possible cluster of about 100 cases within an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.

Cuomo has repeatedly stressed that the state medical system is at risk of being overwhelmed by the rate of COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization.

“You’ve seen the curve,” said Cuomo. “We can’t handle the number of cases in the healthcare system at that current spread.”

Cover: U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort is anchored off Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, as military doctors offer free treatment to Haitians. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)