New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said President Donald Trump is sending a floating hospital to help the state manage an onslaught of coronavirus cases expected to surge in the next 45 days.Â
“Right now, in New York specifically, the rate of the curve suggests that in 45 days we could have up to an input of people who need 110,000 beds that compares to our current capacity of 53,000 beds, 37,000 ICU units, ventilators, which compares to a capacity currently of 3,000 ventilators. That’s our main issue,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Wednesday.
The Comfort, a vessel transformed from a hulking oil tanker into a 1,000-bed hospital ship, is one of the military’s two floating lifesavers. The Comfort is homeported at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. military would provide up to 5 million respirator masks and other items of personal protective equipment to safeguard front-line responders, as well as up to 2,000 specialized ventilators.
The USNS Comfort and her west coast twin the USNS Mercy, are nearly three football fields long and 10 stories high, making them indisputably the largest hospital ships in the world.
The threat of COVID-19 comes at an already busy time for most U.S. hospitals. Another serious respiratory illness, the seasonal flu, is at its peak in the United States,Â with more thanÂ 36 million casesÂ and many hospitals stretched thin. Earlier in the outbreak, doctors warned that a larger outbreak of the new coronavirus across the U.S. could overwhelm emergency rooms and quickly cause supply shortages of some crucial medical supplies.
The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced Monday they have agreed to a common set of rules to reduce density throughout the region, closing movie theaters, most restaurants and bars and limiting public gatherings to fewer than 50 people.
Earlier in the day, Cuomo told the New York Times that he wouldn’t approve of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s request for aÂ “shelter-in-place” order, saying the state wouldn’t approve it.Â
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