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Hospital Ship Arrives in N.Y. to Help in Coronavirus Fight: Live Updates


A Navy hospital ship that docked in Manhattan this morning is expected to provide relief to the city’s overwhelmed hospitals by freeing up beds so that they can treat more coronavirus patients.

The 1,000-bed ship, the Comfort, with 12 operating rooms, a medical laboratory and more than 1,000 Navy officers, arrived at Pier 90 off West 50th Street in Manhattan just before 11 a.m., and Mayor Bill de Blasio said that 750 of its beds will be put to use “immediately.”

The Comfort will treat patients who do not have the virus. The city’s hospitals are now so full that paramedics in the field are being forced to make on-the-spot judgments about who gets to go to the hospital and who is left behind, perhaps to die.

“This is like adding another hospital here in New York City,” Mayor de Blasio said. “It’s such a boost to see the military arrive to help us out.”

Still, he acknowledged that the city’s health care system would need far more support.

“We started with around 20,000 working beds in New York City,” Mr. de Blasio said. “We have to get over 60,000 by the beginning of May according to what we know now — like adding 40 U.S. Comforts. And that’s the magnitude of what we’re talking about.”

Along the Hudson, people gathered in bunches to watch the ship arrive — in apparent violation of social distancing rules.

The Comfort, a converted supertanker, was used as a floating base for rescue workers in New York after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

In sending the ship, Navy officials acknowledge that they have taken a risk. They insist that they are doing everything short of Saran-wrapping the ship to try to keep it virus-free, aware that all it would take is one positive case to turn the Comfort from rescue ship to floating petri dish.

“We will establish a bubble around this ship to make sure we’re doing everything to keep it out,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, commodore of the military’s Task Force New York City.

Separately, officials have been transforming the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan into a 1,000-bed hospital. Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers have said the hospital should be ready to open today.

Private jets donated by Warren Buffett’s company. Special approvals from two governments. And a frenzied trip to China.

That’s how far the Mount Sinai Health System had to go last week to obtain N95 respirators, the heavy-duty face masks that are most effective at blocking particles carrying coronavirus.

The effort, which was not publicly disclosed, illustrates the scarcity of protective equipment for health care workers in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak.

It began last Monday, when Mount Sinai got a call from Taikang Nanjing International Medical Center saying that the hospital had hundreds of thousands of extra masks and other supplies because the outbreak in China had peaked. Mount Sinai could have them if it picked them up.

After China said it did not have room for the cargo plane Mount Sinai wanted to send, the health system got a Goldman Sachs executive to convince a Buffett-owned company called NetJets to send two small 13-seat jets.

At a landing strip in Nanjing, a city of 8 million northwest of Shanghai, the pilots squeezed 5.5 tons of N95 masks — about 130,000 masks in all — into the jets.

The gambit required special approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Food and Drug Administration and the Chinese government. But it worked. At 3 a.m. Friday, the jets landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and workers began taking masks to Mount Sinai’s eight hospitals.

The supplies will alleviate shortages for now — and more masks will be coming next week, the hospital said. But for some, the fact that even a wealthy private institution like Mount Sinai had to go through this ordeal showed how unprepared the U.S. was for the pandemic. “The masks coming in from China is welcome but is not nearly enough,” said Pat Kane of the New York State Nurses Association.

“I don’t think there’s any way to look at those numbers without seeing thousands of people pass away,” he said. By Sunday night, the statewide death toll topped 1,000, according to figures from the city and state, and county-level data compiled by The New York Times.

Mr. Cuomo’s bleak message came as Mayor de Blasio warned that New York City had only about a week’s worth of medical supplies.

“We have enough supplies to get to a week from today, with the exception of ventilators — we’re going to need at least several hundred more ventilators very quickly,” Mr. de Blasio said on CNN.

The mayor said the city also faced a critical shortage of medical personnel and asked President Trump to send more military and civilian doctors and nurses from around the country.

“Our front line health care workers,”…



Source Website Hospital Ship Arrives in N.Y. to Help in Coronavirus Fight: Live Updates

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