The hospital ship USNS Comfort on Monday arrived in New York Harbor, amid the growing outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus in the city.
Medical personnel on the ship will treat patients not infected with coronavirus, in order to free up hospital space within the city to treat coronavirus patients.
Mike Seegers took this shot for Reuters… I think it’s my favorite of all the ones I’ve seen so far of the arrival of USNS Comfort! pic.twitter.com/KB02TIq1rg
— Lou Paskalis 🆘 (@LouPas) March 30, 2020
“We will establish a bubble around this ship to make sure we’re doing everything to keep [coronavirus] out,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, commodore of the military’s New York Task Force, in comments to the New York Times.
“We knew from the outset that expanded hospital capacity was critical. We asked and the federal government answered,” New York governor Andrew Cuomo wrote on Twitter. “This ship is a step forward in our fight against Coronavirus.”
Welcome to New York, @USNSComfort.
We knew from the outset that expanded hospital capacity was critical.
We asked and the federal government answered.
This ship is a step forward in our fight against Coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/r6Hj8NL9JH
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 30, 2020
“This is like adding another hospital here in New York City,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of the ship. “It’s such a boost to see the military arrive to help us out.” The Comfort, which last docked in New York following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, holds 1,000 beds, more than most individual city hospitals.
The ship arrives as New York City medical personnel face a deluge of coronavirus patients. Dispatchers have seen record numbers of 911 calls, with over 7,000 calls last Thursday and similar levels throughout the week.
New York City has confirmed 33,768 cases of coronavirus with 776 deaths as of Monday, according to the Times.