NEW YORK — A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds is set to arrive Monday in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping the city’s hospitals. The USNS Comfort, which was sent to New York City after 9/11, will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was expected to greet the vessel when it reaches the harbor and docks at a Manhattan cruise ship terminal. In addition to the 1,000 beds, the Comfort has 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours.
New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths isn’t expected to be released until later Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state’s total fatalities was at least 1,026. The U.S. surpassed 125,000 cases, and about 43% of those are in New York state.
Health experts pointed to the size and density of the nation’s biggest city as a likely factor, as well as its status as an international business center and travel hub. The state likely saw infections before any other part of the country simply because the city draws more travelers from countries that had bad outbreaks earlier.