New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after his meeting with President Trump to discuss the coronavirus crisis, said on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” that he told the president New York no longer needs the USNS Comfort, the Navy hospital ship ceremoniously deployed to New York City to fight the pandemic.
“The president sent up a Navy ship, the Comfort. A hospital ship which was very good to have if we need overflow,” Cuomo told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace. “It did give us comfort, but we don’t need it anymore. If they need to deploy it somewhere else, they should take it.”
Trump in his daily briefing Tuesday confirmed the ship would return to its home base in Virginia so that it could be put to other uses. “We will be bringing the ship back at the earliest time and we’ll get it ready for its next mission, which will, I’m sure it will be a very important one also. It was an honor,” the president said.
Trump bid bon voyage to the Navy hospital ship “stocked up” with supplies and medical personnel in late March, calling it a “70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity.”
The ship has 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, a helicopter deck and more, Trump said. It contained 1,000 beds and 1,200 personnel.
The ship originally was sent to treat patients not infected with COVID-19 to ease the overflow burden on New York City hospitals, but quickly began to care for coronavirus patients, halving its 1,000-bed capacity. But as of Friday, only 71 of the ship’s 500 beds were being put to use.
According to The New York Times’ reporting, a “tangle of military protocols and bureaucratic hurdles has prevented the Comfort from accepting many patients at all.” A large number of conditions could not be treated aboard the ship, and ambulances could not take patients directly to the Comfort; first, they had to be transported to a hospital for an evaluation and coronavirus test, then transported to the ship.
President Trump said in a briefing Friday the lack of patients on the ship showed that New York City is healing.
“They didn’t need it, that’s a good thing. That’s such a good thing. I think that shows that New York’s making progress,” Trump said.
Monday was New York state’s eighth straight day with a net drop in hospitalizations, which are new hospitalizations minus discharges or deaths. It was the second straight day where the daily number of deaths was under 500, after spiking to 799 on April 8.
Also on MSNBC’s “Deadline,” Cuomo said he and the president discussed testing capacity, and how the White House could help New York double its testing from about 25,000 per day to over 40,000.
Wallace asked Cuomo if President Trump had complained about his press coverage in their meeting. “No. We talked about the issues,” Cuomo said.
“He wanted to know what was working in New York, what was not working in New York, what our challenges ahead were, what we needed from the federal government, how we could see the state and federal government working together,” Cuomo continued.
“Did you feel any sense that he wanted you to open faster than you think you’re going to be able to?” Wallace asked Cuomo.
“No. Not that he communicated. He was inquisitive on what we were doing. Didn’t have a timeline,” Cuomo said.
Author: Morgan Phillips
Source: Fox News: Cuomo says NY no longer needs USNS Comfort in coronavirus crisis