The Pentagon is sending a navy hospital ship to New York to help the state deal with the expected shortage of medical facilities in wake of the surge in novel coronavirus cases that are nearing 2,500.
US President Donald Trump announced at his news briefing on Wednesday that the ship, USNS Comfort, with about 1,000 rooms will be deployed to New York City.
The city of 8.7 million has recorded 1,339 confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon, an increase of 524 from Tuesday, and the entire state 2,382 had, about 800 more than Tuesday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
He said most of the increase in cases was because more people were being tested as test kits and facilities became available.
There could be several times more cases that are not confirmed because the symptoms are mild or patients could not get tested.
That is the reason for restrictions like the closure of restaurants, bars and entertainment spots, and the 50 percent limit on onsite employees. They limit contacts between people in close proximity to avoid disease spread.
Issuing a grim warning about the spread of Covid-19 and stressing the need for strict action to contain it, Cuomo said, “You are at a point of deciding: How many people are going to live, how many people are going to die?”
He said that he was ordering all businesses in the state to reduce by half the number of people who can work onsite.
Businesses considered essential like food stores and pharmacies were exempt from the order and there were no restrictions on how many can telecommute from home.
Cuomo said that sending the navy ship at his request “will be, it’s an extraordinary step obviously, it’s literally a floating hospital which will add capacity, and the president said he would dispatch that immediately.”
Another navy hospital ship is to be deployed to a place on the West Coast.
However, both ships are undergoing maintenance and, according to the Pentagon, the ships will be deployed as soon as possible.
The ships are a complete hospital with operating rooms and medical staff. They are deployed to places hit by natural disasters and also undertake mercy missions to places around the world in need of medical care.