Navy hospital ship arrives in NYC to back up health systems

Coronavirus

The nearly 900-foot-long USNS Comfort is a floating trauma hospital designed to care for service members who’ve been in combat

NEW YORK (AP) — A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds arrived Monday in New York City as officials pressed for more federal help. Mayor Bill de Blasio said President Donald Trump’s suggestion that thousands of medical masks are disappearing from New York City hospitals is “insulting” to front-line medical workers.

The latest coronavirus developments in New York:

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HOSPITAL SHIP

A Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds arrived Monday morning in New York City to help relieve the coronavirus crisis gripping the city’s hospitals.

The USNS Comfort, which was sent to New York City after 9/11, will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients while hospitals treat people with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.ADVERTISEMENT

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the hospital ship will relieve stress on city hospitals as the massive vessel pulled into a cruise ship terminal off Manhattan. In addition to the 1,000 beds, the Comfort has 12 operating rooms that could be up and running within 24 hours.

The ship’s arrival comes as New York state’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed Sunday above 1,000, less than a month after the first known infection in the state.

Most of those deaths have occurred in just the past few days.

New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported Sunday that its toll had risen to 776. The total number of statewide deaths isn’t expected to be released until Monday, but with at least 250 additional deaths recorded outside the city as of Sunday morning, the state’s total fatalities was at least 1,026.

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MEDICAL MASKS

De Blasio and others criticized Trump for suggesting with no clear evidence that thousands of medical masks are disappearing from New York City hospitals.

At a Sunday briefing, the president told reporters they should be asking, “Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door?”

Those remarks are “insulting” to hospital workers on the front lines of the city’s coronavirus crisis, de Blasio said Monday.

“It’s incredibly insensitive to people right now who are giving their all,” he said. “I don’t know what the president is talking about.”

Hospitals had warned staff early on during the outbreak to not take masks home with them, but no evidence has emerged of large-scale looting of supplies.

Kenneth Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, said in a statement that the workers “deserve better than their president suggesting that protective equipment is ‘going out the back door’ of New York hospitals.”

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