Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

USNS Comfort providing little comfort

A United States Coast Guard Helicopter escorts the USNS Comfort into Pier 90, March 30, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

Controversy has arisen over the volume of medical treatment happening aboard the USNS Comfort since its arrival on Monday. The USNS Comfort was said to have 750 beds ready to relieve New York’s healthcare system now overwhelmed and under-resourced in the fight against COVID-19. But as of Thursday, only 20 patients were aboard the 1000-bed hospital ship receiving care. ⁣

“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” Micheal Dowling, head of Northwell Health, told The New York Times in an article published yesterday.⁣

The ship was set to treat non-corona virus-related medical patients upon arrival, but 49 other restrictions on treatable aliments aboard the ship, as outlined by the United States Navy, is limiting who can get care. ⁣

This is a stark contrast from the initial claims that the ship would begin shuttling in and treating patients within 24 hours of its arrival. ⁣

A spokeswoman for the Navy told the New York Times yesterday that, “We are bringing them on as fast as fast as we can bring them on.” 

 


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