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USNS Comfort Deploys To New York Harbor To Aid In Coronavirus Fight

Gregory Bull
The USNS Mercy, a Navy hospital ship at Naval Base San Diego Wednesday. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has asked the Navy to prepare its two hospital ships, the USNS Mercy and the USNS Comfort in New York, to aid against the coronavirus outbreak.

The Pentagon is sending the hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York Harbor where it will provide an extra 1,000 beds to help with the expected wave of COVID-19 patients.  But, according to state projections, it’s unlikely to make a difference.

The Comfort has 80 intensive care beds. There are only 3,000 ICU beds in New York State. Governor Cuomo estimates the state may need as many as 37,000. Cuomo said he spoke with the president about building mobile hospitals.

“A mobile hospital with a capacity of 200-250 people. I told the president we would do everything possible to expedite siting of those facilities, and we’re talking about a couple of facilities now.”

Cuomo says the main capacity shortfall will be the number of available ventilators. New York, like other states and countries, are competing for a limited supply.

The Comfort is undergoing maintenance in Norfolk, Virginia, and will not arrive for several weeks.

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