The USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship docked in New York on Monday and mirrors its sister the USNS Mercy now located in Los Angeles. The U.S. Navy operates two hospital ships and both of them are currently located at America’s two largest cities. These floating hospitals are usually deployed to war zones in the Middle East or locations of natural disasters but for now they’re focused on fighting the Chinavirus (COVID-19).
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo greeted the Comfort upon its arrival in New York Harbor. Both politicians mentioned the “wartime atmosphere” the city and the nation are experiencing in response to the Chinavirus pandemic. Nothing says “wartime” quite like having a war hospital pull up to an NYC dock located next to a makeshift 1,000-bed hospital located in the Javits Center. Yesterday the first 3 patients were brought onto the Mercy, but they were not suffering from Chinavirus. There is no information on who the patients are or what their ailments are.
The DOD claims that the Comfort and the Mercy will be helping sick people with illness outside of Chinavirus and thereby open up hospital beds at established facilities who can treat the disease. New York State has over 200 hospitals with a significant share of those facilities are located in the New York metro area. The Island of Manhattan alone has 20 hospitals, but many of the outer boroughs are overrun at Chinese population centers. For example, the Elmhurst Hospital Center that has been mentioned by President Trump is located in a Queens, NY neighborhood with a 50% Chinese population. The New York Health Department will not release the patients’ names, addresses or time spent in the city so who, exactly, is getting sick remains an unknown metric.
Last Friday Gov. Cuomo announced that federal government will build four additional temporary hospitals in New York City, one in each borough, to handle a swell in Chinavirus victims. These locations include the New York Expo Center in the Bronx and the 182,000-square-foot Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. These hospitals will, presumably, be managed by the federal government and, like the Comfort and Mercy, take direction from Washington DC.