USNS Comfort to return to Virginia after Trump, Cuomo agree it’s no longer needed in NY

TheHill reports a Naval hospital ship that was dispatched to New York City to assist with a surge in coronavirus patients will return to Virginia soon so it can be routed elsewhere, President Trump said Tuesday.

Trump met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, where the two discussed testing and funding for states. Trump said he also asked Cuomo about reallocating the USNS Comfort to another area of need.

“I’ve asked Andrew if we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we could have it for other locations, and he said we would be able to do that,” Trump said at a press briefing.

The president said converting the Javits Center convention space to a makeshift hospital has made the ship less necessary.

“We’ll be bringing the ship back at the earliest time, and we’ll get it ready for its next mission, which will, I’m sure, be a very important one also,” he said.

Cuomo told MSNBC in an interview after the meeting with Trump that he appreciated having the Comfort to handle overflow patients but that the state no longer needed it.

Trump traveled to Virginia last month to bid the Comfort farewell as it departed to take critical supplies and medical professionals to New York.

The ship was initially expected to be used to treat patients who were not infected with the coronavirus to create additional hospital space in the city. But it was sparsely used under those circumstances and later started accepting patients with the virus.

New York City has been the epicenter of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for roughly 1 in 8 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. But state officials believe the number of cases may be flattening.