New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the U.S. Navy will dispatch a hospital ship to the New York City Harbor to provide more capacity for people who need care due to complications from the coronavirus.
Cuomo has repeatedly warned that amid a spike in CCP virus cases, it will put more strain on state hospitals. He said New York only has around 53,000 beds.
The Epoch Times refers to the COVID-19 coronavirus as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
President Donald Trump “will dispatch it immediately,” Cuomo told reporters during a news conference and added that it will stay in the New York City Harbor. The reason why is because of New York City’s population density and its propensity to spread the virus.
“We must increase the current hospital capacity,” he said. “The state can’t do this on its own,” Cuomo elaborated. “We can’t build new hospitals in 45 days.”
Following the news conference, the governor confirmed the move on Twitter.
UPDATE: The federal government is sending a hospital ship to New York, the USNS Comfort.
The Comfort, which has about 1,000 rooms on it, will be moored in New York Harbor.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 18, 2020
“The federal government is sending a hospital ship to New York, the USNS Comfort,” Cuomo wrote. “The Comfort, which has about 1,000 rooms on it, will be moored in New York Harbor. Hospital beds are what we need.”
New York has the most confirmed cases in the country, with more than 2,400 and 16 virus-related deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins researchers.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News that the military is ready and willing to provide support amid the pandemic, adding that hospital ships could be used for relief.
But he stressed in the interview that hospital ships are more “focused on trauma” rather than infectious diseases.
“Whether it’s our field hospitals or our hospital ships, they are focused on trauma. They do not have necessarily the space, the segregated space, to deal with infectious disease,” Esper said. “We don’t have any 500-bed hospitals designed for infectious disease. That does not exist in the inventory.”
On Wednesday, the Navy stated that hospital ships can’t treat people infected with the CCP virus.
“The Comfort and Mercy will not deploy to treat COVID patients, but will be made available to assist with treatment of other patients in coastal locations where local health professionals are necessarily focused on a large number of COVID cases,” the Navy said in a statement to Fox.
The Navy has sent the Comfort to previous disaster areas, including to the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017.
It’s not clear when the ship will arrive in New York City.