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US Navy hospital ship going to NYC to help coronavirus efforts

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. (Christopher Merian/U.S. Air Force)
March 18, 2020

The U.S. Navy will be deploying hospital ship USNS Comfort to New York City in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the upcoming deployment in a press conference on Wednesday, adding that he spoke with President Trump about the ship’s deployment, in addition to the deployment of mobile hospitals.

“This will be an extraordinary step, obviously,” Cuomo said. “It’s literally a floating hospital, which will add capacity.”

New York currently has 53,000 hospital beds, though Cuomo said the state could need double that amount when the coronavirus reaches its peak in an estimated 45 days. The state also has just 3,000 intensive care beds, but could need over 37,000.

“The President and I agreed we’re fighting the same war. This is a war, we’re in the trenches. We’re going to do everything we can do to help the State of New York,” Cuomo said, adding that the president is taking the situation seriously.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York has risen to 2,383, Cuomo said.

“Hospital beds are what we need,” Cuomo said in a tweet after the press conference.

New York lawmakers had urged Trump to deploy the hospital ship to the state. The ship has been deployed to hurricane-ravaged states, as well as to other nations for humanitarian crises.

“We need the full force of government working together to combat the coronavirus, particularly here in New York City where we’re in the heart of the storm. We need thousands of new beds and deploying the Navy’s floating hospital would be a huge help,” said Staten Island Rep. Max Rose, who is also an Army veteran who deployed Afghanistan, as the New York Post reported.