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Second US Navy hospital ship deploys for COVID-19 support

USNS Comfort
USNS Comfort at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. March 27, 2020. Photo: US Navy

The US Navy’s second hospital ship, USNS Comfort, got underway from Norfolk, Virginia, on March 28, en route to New York City where it will join the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comfort deployed days after the lead ship, USNS Mercy, headed for Los Angeles with the same task.

The Comfort left for New York fully equipped with 12 operating rooms, with hospital beds, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, digital radiology, a CAT scan, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck, the president noted.

“The Comfort will join the tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and medical professionals who are battling to save American lives,” US president Donald Trump said. “This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York.”

The ship will arrive in New York on March 30, and will begin treating patients the next day. It will handle trauma cases and other emergencies, allowing civilian hospitals to devote more resources to COVID-19 patients.

Comfort was rushed out of maintenance as it was supposed to be ready in four weeks, yet it was ready in four days, the president added.