Navy Hospital Ship Prepares to Leave New York City

April 23, 2020 Updated: April 23, 2020

The Navy’s hospital ship USNS Comfort is preparing to set sail for Virginia after a three-week deployment in New York City to help with health care efforts amid the pandemic.

The ship, equipped with 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms, was docked on the west side of Manhattan for the duration of its deployment, during which time it was not needed as much as was initially feared.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said at a White House briefing Wednesday, “So, you remember a couple of weeks ago when we talked about the fact that we were going to have a really bad week because the deaths, particularly driven by the situation in New York, were going to get worse and worse.”

“But yet, as that was happening, we were starting to see some turnaround, some flattening, and some coming down,” he said.

“The New York metro area, New Jersey, Connecticut all appear to be past their peak,” Vice President Mike Pence said at Wednesday’s briefing.

President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo met Tuesday and their discussion included the Comfort. They agreed the ship could be deployed somewhere else.

“I’ve asked Andrew if we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we can have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” Trump said at a briefing Tuesday.

“We’ll be bringing the ship back at the earliest time,” Trump continued. “And we’ll get it ready for its next mission, which will, I’m sure, be a very important one also. But it was—it was an honor.”

Epoch Times Photo
The USNS Comfort medical ship moves up the Hudson River as it arrives on March 30, 2020 in New York as seen from Weehawken, New Jersey. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images)

Comfort was sent to New York to help offset the number of patients in city hospitals amid the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.

Following his meeting with Trump, Cuomo told MSNBC that while he appreciated having the Comfort to handle an overflow of patients, the state no longer needed it due to a decline in hospitalizations due to the virus.

“The president sent up a Navy ship, the Comfort, which is a hospital ship, which by the way was very good to have in case we had overflow. But I said we don’t really need the Comfort anymore. It did give us comfort, but we don’t need it anymore. So if they need to deploy it somewhere else, they should take it,” Cuomo told the outlet.

According to ABC News, 178 patients had been treated on the ship as of Tuesday.

Epoch Times Photo
The USNS Comfort navy hospital ship is docked at Pier 90, New York City, on April 3, 2020. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

Trump, at Wednesday’s briefing, said that the number of new cases of COVID-19 was falling nationwide and that he expects more states will soon be able to gradually and safely reopen.

“Recent hotspots appear to be stabilizing,” Trump said, adding, “Cases in the Boston area are now declining. The Chicago curve appears to have flattened, which is terrific. And Detroit is past its peak.”

“These trends demonstrate that our aggressive strategy to battle the virus is working,” Trump added.

“It got us to where we are today,” Fauci said of the administration’s mitigation efforts. “It is a successful formula. It is the basis for our being able to say that we can now think seriously about reopening America.”

As of Thursday at the time of reporting, there were 263,460 confirmed cases of the CCP virus in the state of New York, including 145,855 in New York City. More than 15,740 people with COVID-19 have died in the state.

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