The USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York Harbor on Monday morning to aid in the coronavirus fight.
Dispatched Saturday by President Trump from Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the craft arrived at Manhattan’s Pier 90 at 10:42 a.m., as helicopters hovered above and a few dozen onlookers braved social-distancing regulations to catch a glimpse.
The vessel has a capacity of 1,000 beds, sorely needed as the contagion continues to strain the capacities of brick-and-mortar facilities.
“#NYPD Harbor and Aviation escort the @USNavy USNS Comfort as it enters New York Harbor,” the department’s Special Operations division wrote in a tweet, along with a video of the mammoth hospital ship cutting through an overcast Monday morning.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also heralded the arrival of reinforcements, tweeting a video shot from aboard a New York State Police boat escorting the 70,000-ton Comfort.
“The Comfort brings 1,000 much-needed hospital beds & 1,200 personnel to New York,” tweeted Cuomo, who noted that he would receive a briefing upon its arrival at Manhattan’s Pier 90.
A converted supertanker, the Comfort was also deployed to New York in the dark days after 9/11, and is equipped with 12 operating rooms and a full staff of doctors, nurses and medical specialists.
Rather than take on victims of the pandemic, it’s expected that the Comfort will treat patients with other injuries and ailments, freeing up city hospital beds for those who need them most.
Cuomo has said that the Empire State will require at least 140,000 hospital beds before the coronavirus has run its course — more than double its standing capacity of 53,000.
To make ends meet, the governor has ordered hospitals statewide to increase their capacities by a minimum of 50-percent, while the federal government has set up makeshift hospitals in the Javits Center, with eyes towards other venues.
An evangelical Christian relief organization, meanwhile, erected on Sunday the first of an eventual 14 hospital tents on Central Park’s East Meadow.