A 1,000-bed US Navy hospital ship is deploying to New York to brace for coronavirus - see inside the USNS Comfort
- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that the USNS Comfort will be deployed to New York harbor amid the coronavirus pandemic.
- The USNS Comfort is a 1,000-bed hospital ship that has provided humanitarian relief and been deployed to war zones around the world.
- The ship also has 12 operating rooms, a pharmacy, a medical laboratory, and a CAT scan, to name a few features.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the USNS Comfort - the US Navy's 1,000-bed hospital ship with decades of providing aid around the world - will be deployed to New York amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There are currently 2,382 confirmed cases in New York State, and the USNS Comfort ship is expected to arrive in April.
"The deployment of the USNS Comfort to New York is an extraordinary but necessary step to help ensure our state has the capacity to handle an influx of patients with COVID-19 and continue our efforts to contain the virus," Cuomo said in a statement.
New York has 50,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds, but a "Wuhan-style" outbreak could "overwhelm the city," former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday. The 1,000-bed ship will also have 12 operating rooms, therefore hopefully mitigating New York's concern over the decreasing number of available hospital beds.
The USNS Comfort has had a long history of being at the forefront of health crises around the world. Keep scrolling to learn about the ship that will soon be seen in New York:
The Comfort has been docked in Norfolk, Virginia since 2013, according to the US Navy.
Most of its medical staff is based in Virginia’s Portsmouth Naval Medical Center.
Along with hospital beds and operating rooms, the USNS Comfort has several features that can also be found in hospitals.
This includes digital radiological services, a medical lab, a pharmacy…
...an optometry area, a computed tomography — or CAT — scan, and two "oxygen producing plants," according to the US Navy.
There's also a helicopter deck for air ambulances to land.
The ship has a total crew of 71 civilians and at most, 1,200 Navy personnel from the medical and communications teams.
The ship is 894 feet long and 106 feet at its widest point, according to the US Navy.
The Comfort can reach speeds of up to 17.5 knots, about 20.13 mph.
The ship was originally a San Clemente-class super oil tanker before it was converted to what is now the USNS Comfort in 1987.
The USNS Comfort has been deployed for a wide range of purposes throughout its life.
For example, in 2010, the USNS Comfort was sent to Haiti following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ravaged the country.
In 2015, the ship was also deployed for 180 days for "Continuing Promise."
Continuing Promise led the USNS Comfort to 11 countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean on a "humanitarian and civil assistance mission" for six months," according to the US Navy.
It was also deployed in 2017 to Puerto Rico to aid in post-Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
The Comfort was docked in Puerto Rico for almost two months. During that time, its medical team aboard the ship saw 1,899 patients and performed 191 surgeries. The ship also supplied 76,000 liters of oxygen and provided 10 tons of food and water.
In 2018, the Comfort was again deployed to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Honduras for "Enduring Promise," according to the US Department of Defense.
The USNS Comfort's Enduring Promise tour lasted from October 11, 2018, to December 20, 2018, allowing the US to provide medical assistance to each of the nations.
The ship saw around 750 patients per day in Colombia.
In 2019, the Comfort embarked on a five-month humanitarian trip to 12 countries, providing surgeries, dental care, and optometry, and medicine to almost 69,000 patients, according to Navy Live.
However, the USNS Comfort has seen more than just civilian humanitarian aid trips.
In August 1990, President Bush ordered 200,000 troops and the USNS Comfort to deploy in Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait, according to the US Naval History and Heritage Command.
The USNS Comfort then played a role throughout Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm from August 1990 to April 1991.
The Comfort's sister hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, will also be deployed. However, it will be docked in San Diego, according to the US Naval Institute News.
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