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Trump Sends USNS Comfort on Critical COVID-19 Relief Mission in New York

03-28-2020
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Image source: AP photo
Image source: AP photo

President Trump arrived in Norfolk, VA on Saturday to see off the USNS Comfort hospital ship as it heads to New York to aid in the COVID-19 crisis.

The president referred to the COVID-19 pandemic as "the invisible enemy," that has brought global "hardships and much death."

The medical personnel onboard the USNS Comfort includes more than 1,200 doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, and orderlies - all heading to the metropolitan area of New York to assist hospitals responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The ship arrived in New York on Monday and will not be used for people with the virus but simply to ease the burden placed on local hospitals.

As the hospital ship arrived in New York harbor, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) made an urgent plea for medical volunteers. 

“Please come help us in New York now. We need relief,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded as the number of dead in New York State climbed past 1,200.

Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the USNS Comfort told CBN News that prior to the ship's deployment to New York, medical personnel was notified to report to the ship for their next mission.

"Our first responsibility is to notify our headquarters to start supplying the medical professionals and others that we need onboard to carry out the mission," Amersbach said. "The order went out and we started receiving those professionals over the last couple of days. We went from 100 onboard the ship to over 1,100 and the ship was activated."

Capt. Amersbach said the Comfort is capable of serving patients with various medical needs.

"When we get to New York, we will be taking care of non-COVID-19 patients to relieve some of the strain on the local healthcare system. Patients will be screened before they come to us and we'll take care of them," he said. "We do have ICU capability, we have ventilators, a CT scan and operating rooms onboard the ship, a full laboratory and pharmacy services."

Saturday morning, Trump tweeted "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing "hot spots,” New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.”

The president briefly discussed the $2.2 economic aid package that he signed into law Friday. The aid comes as the US now leads the world in more than 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in over 1,500 deaths.

Also, the president said that a second hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, arrived in Los Angeles, California on Friday with a similar mission for the local people.

He added that millions of much-need supplies have been ordered and will be available to support the American people. Nearly 12 million N95 masks and 26 million surgical masks have been ordered. And, more than 4 million surgical gowns and 8,100 ventilators will be available.

"We are spending a tremendous amount of money on medical supplies. The energy and speed that these items are being delivered is remarkable," Trump said.

"With the grace of God, we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible. We are going to have a level of preparedness in case something like this should happen again," he said. "We are now the number one tester in the world. We've learned a lot and I cannot be more thankful for the American people. I am very proud to be your president," he concluded.

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