New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the U.S. Navy would be sending its 1,000-bed USNS Comfort floating hospital ship to New York in an effort to help deal with the state’s coronavirus outbreak.
“The president — I spoke to [him] this morning — he’s going to be making arraignments to send up this hospital ship,” Cuomo announced at a press conference to update the public on New York’s efforts. He added that the ship will be stationed in New York City harbor.
“It’s an extraordinary step, obviously, it’s literally a floating hospital, which will add capacity and the president said that he would dispatch that immediately,” Cuomo stated.
Trump’s decision comes after New York lawmakers sent a letter to the president asking him to deploy the Comfort — currently stationed in Norfolk, Va. — to assist New York.
“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,” Representative Max Rose, an Army veteran who represents Staten Island. Rose wrote the letter with Representatives Nydia Velazquez of Brooklyn, Jose Serrano of The Bronx, and Tom Suozzi of Long Island.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the Defense Secretary Mark Esper was mobilizing the Navy’s hospital ships to help with the country’s fight against the Wuhan coronavirus, with the extra hospital beds that could be used to handle non-coronavirus patients.
Cuomo also revealed Wednesday that the state has identified 1,000 new cases since the last time the state reported numbers. New York City accounted for a significant 1,339 new cases — an increase of 695 from Tuesday. “The numbers are going up,” Cuomo admitted. “Hence, the increased actions to reduce the spread.”
Later, Navy officials reportedly said that it would take the Comfort until mid-April to make it to New York.
Hospital ship Comfort based in Norfolk, Va. not able to arrive in New York harbor until mid-April for coronavirus relief: U.S. Navy officials
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) March 18, 2020