Bebeto Matthews / AP
USNS Comfort, one of the Navy’s hospital ships that has been frequently asked to provide humanitarian aid, has arrived in New York City to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship entered New York Harbor on Monday morning and passed the Statue of Liberty on its way to Pier 88 in Manhattan.
The ship is used to treat patients who do not suffer from coronavirus disease but who urgently need other care. These patients could otherwise face long delays as the city’s health infrastructure struggles with an outbreak that has killed more than 775 people and infected more than 60,000 in New York State.
Similar to the Comfort mission on the east coast, USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles on Friday. The ship took on its first patients on Sunday and received referrals from local hospitals, the Pentagon says.
USNS Comfort has around 1,000 beds and a dozen operating theaters, which can relieve the burden on the New York health system.
The hospital ship mission ranges from supporting military operations to conducting humanitarian missions to assisting Americans in national emergencies such as the one currently affecting the United States.
The Comfort left Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday after a farewell attended by President Trump – who called it “a 70,000 ton message of hope and solidarity for the people of New York”.