The USNS Comfort, one of the Navy’s hospital ships that has often been called on to deliver humanitarian aid, has arrived in New York City to help ease the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship entered New York Harbor on Monday morning, passing the Statue of Liberty on its way to Pier 88 in Manhattan.
The ship will be used to treat patients who do not have the coronavirus disease – but who urgently need other care. Those patients could otherwise face long delays as the city’s health infrastructure struggles to cope with an outbreak that has killed more than 775 people and infected more than 60,000 in New York state.
Similar to the Comfort’s mission on the East Coast, the USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles on Friday. The ship accepted its first patients on Sunday, receiving referrals from local hospitals, the Pentagon says.
USNS Comfort has roughly 1,000 beds and a dozen operating rooms, enabling it to take pressure off of New York’s health care system.
The hospital ships’ mission ranges from supporting military operations to performing humanitarian missions and aiding Americans during national emergencies such as the one currently gripping the U.S.
The Comfort departed Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday, after a sendoff attended by President Trump — who called it “a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the people of New York.”