Shortly after arriving from its home port in Norfolk, Virginia, the army’s floating lifeboat was adjusted to accommodate coronavirus patients, cutting its capacity by 1,000 beds by half. As of Friday, 71 of the USNS Comfort’s 500 beds were occupied.
President Donald Trump said in a briefing at the White House on Friday that the lack of patients on the ship showed that New York was healing.
“They didn’t need it, it’s a good thing. It’s such a good thing. I think it shows that New York is progressing, “said Trump.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that his state was still struggling to contain the coronavirus epidemic, citing nearly 2,000 hospitalizations per day.
Meanwhile, Cuomo and other governors across the country are desperate to loosen restrictions and reopen closed businesses to help curb the epidemic that has killed more than 33,300 people in the United States.
After initially declaring that the USNS Comfort would begin receiving patients from the greater Philadelphia area, the Pentagon recalled its press release on Thursday and issued a statement saying that “the information was incorrect and should not have been included “
The Pentagon deployed USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy in March to help resolve the growing coronavirus cases.
The twin ships, which have been transformed from towering tankers into 1000-bed floating lifeguards, have nearly three long, 10-story football fields, making them arguably the largest hospital ships in the world.
Both ships have side ports to accommodate patients at sea as well as helicopter decks for air transportation. The ships are so massive that each would be the fourth largest hospital in the United States.
The vessels are equipped with 12 operating rooms, a blood bank, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry laboratory and a scanner. Each has 15 patient rooms, 80 ICU beds and 10 elevators for transferring patients between platforms.