President Trump will travel to Norfolk, Virginia Saturday for the departure of the USNS Comfort hospital ship on its mission to support New York City hospitals as part of the nation’s battle with the COVID-19 Chinese coronavirus. The Comfort is departing ahead of schedule, according to a White House statement. The Comfort is scheduled to arrive in New York on Monday.
President Trump, with Vice President Pence watching, speaks at the daily White House coronavirus briefing, March 26, screen image via NBC.
The Comfort will be used to take care of non-COVID-19 patients, thereby freeing up hospital beds and staff at city hospitals for infected patients. New York City is the hardest hit part of the country. As of Thursday evening there are a reported 23,112 cases. 4720 of those have required hospitalization. The city has a reported 365 COVID-19 deaths.
The White House tweeted Thursday afternoon, “President @realDonaldTrump will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, this Saturday to bid bon voyage to the hospital ship USNS COMFORT as it leaves for New York City to the frontlines of the COVID-19 virus response…The #USNSComfort will sail well ahead of its originally scheduled departure time to answer America’s call to battle against the #COVID19 global pandemic here at home.”
President @realDonaldTrump will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, this Saturday to bid bon voyage to the hospital ship USNS COMFORT as it leaves for New York City to the frontlines of the COVID-19 virus response.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 26, 2020
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 26, 2020
President Trump spoke about his visit to see off the Comfort at Thursday’s coronavirus task force briefing.
President Trump said he’s “going to go out and kiss” the USNS Comfort goodbye on Saturday as it heads from Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia to New York City. https://t.co/sOA0Dx4bn4 pic.twitter.com/hm4vKqjG13
— ABC News (@ABC) March 26, 2020
Trump said the Comfort would dock at Pier 90.
The USNI News reported on the Comfort’s mission:
…The hospital ship, a converted San Clemente-class super tanker that has provided global medical support under the Military Sealift Command for 33 years, was undergoing maintenance work in Norfolk when Trump announced the ship would be deployed to support New York’s COVID-19 outbreak. Comfort will not take on infected patients but will rather care for patients with other needs – emergency surgeries, trauma care and more – to free up beds and doctors at New York hospitals so they can deal with the virus.
USNI News reported that major maintenance actions were accelerated and other minor work was deferred to allow for the ship to be buttoned up, staffed and supplied in time for this weekend’s deployment…
To help put the size of the Navy’s hospital ships into perspective, this is a photo of USNS Mercy alongside the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort were activated earlier this week as part of the DoD response to the spreading COVID-19 virus. pic.twitter.com/ZgQmywMfwC
— U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute) March 21, 2020
President Donald J. Trump announced today that he will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, March 28 to bid bon voyage to the hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH-20) as it leaves for New York City to the frontlines of the COVID-19 virus response. The USNS COMFORT will sail well ahead of its originally scheduled departure time to answer America’s call to battle against the global pandemic here at home.
At the President’s direction, the Administration announced last week that the USNS COMFORT would be activated and sail to the metropolitan New York area to ease the burden of area hospitals tasked with responding to the coronavirus. Over 1200 medical personnel and critical supplies will be onboard the vessel. They will bring to bear the skills, care, and compassion needed to wage this fight against an invisible enemy. These doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, orderlies, and other medical staff will augment and support New York City’s medical community and conserve hospital capacity by treating some non-COVID-19 patients aboard the USNS COMFORT.
Deployment of the USNS COMFORT follows deployment of the USNS MERCY (T-AH-19) earlier this week. USNS MERCY sailed to Los Angeles from Naval Station San Diego, California. Both vessels have a long record of accomplishment in humanitarian responses throughout the western hemisphere, providing aid to our sister republics as well as these great United States.
As the USNS COMFORT weighs anchor and leaves Norfolk Naval Station, home to the most powerful fleet in the world, she does so to embark on one of the most important assignments of her storied career—serving the American people in this great hour of need.