Speaking in front of the ship on Saturday in Norfolk, Va., President Donald Trump said:
“In a few moments the crew of the navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, which is really something, will embark for New York City where they will join the ranks of tens of thousands of amazing doctors, nurses and medical professionals who are battling to save American lives."
“This great ship behind me is a 70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity to the incredible people of New York. A place I know very well, a place I love."
USNS Comfort will be used to treat patients not infected with Coronavirus in order to free up hospital space for infected patients in NYC. By serving the "emergency patients away from the hospitals, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected."
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio have warned that the hospitals will soon reach capacity. Efforts have already been made to build makeshift hospitals at locations like Jacob Javits Center, a large convention hall on Manhattan's west side.
The vessel is expected to dock nearby at Pier 90 on Monday, March 30, and will begin seeing patients on Tuesday. The Comfort had been undergoing maintenance in Norfolk, which The Pentagon initially said would take weeks to complete.
USNS Comfort is one of a couple of Navy ships that have been dispatched to help fight the virus. USNS Mercy arrived in Los Angeles on Friday and will also see non-COVID-19 patients.
Both ships are expected to hold nearly 1,000 hospital beds and will have the capacity to conduct surgeries and critical care. They are about 3 football fields long and 10 stories high.
For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.