The USNS Comfort arrived in New York City Monday to help relieve hospital crowding in the nation’s largest city, despite assertions from some in the media that the ship’s quick deployment was not realistic.
President Trump announced on March 18 he was ordering the deployment of two Navy hospital ships, the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy, to New York and Los Angeles to assist efforts in combating the coronavirus. Trump said they would be deployed ” in the next week or so.”
During a White House task force briefing two days later, NBC reporter Peter Alexander pressed Trump on his predicted timetable for the ship deployments, asking if he was worried about giving Americans “a false sense of hope.”
MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow, who has called for Trump’s daily briefings on the virus to be censored because of what she characterized as the president’s tendency to push false or misleading ideas, said there was no way the two ships could arrive within the timeline Trump had given.
“There is no sign that they’ll be anywhere in the country helping out for weeks yet,” Maddow said. “That’s nonsense. It will not be there next week.”
The Comfort will be used to treat patients not infected with the coronavirus, freeing up beds for those with the virus.
“It’s stocked to the brim with equipment and medicines and everything that you can think of,” Trump said Saturday. “It is fully loaded with 12 operating rooms, and they are fully equipped: 1,000 hospital beds, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, digital radiology, a CAT scan, two oxygen-producing plants, and a helicopter deck.”
The Trump campaign celebrated the ship’s arrival ahead of schedule.
“Democrats and the media saw this as another opportunity to attack the President,” the campaign said in a statement. “His decisive action to fully mobilize the federal government and private sector in the war against the coronavirus is saving lives.”