The COVID-19 crisis has shaken the world to its very core. There is no proper vaccine for this virus and a lack of effective treatment as well. It has a high number of fatalities and has caused various countries to close their borders. Non-essential work has come to a halt and businesses have switched to work from home. The whole situation has brought the medical world to its knees and the US Navy has dispatched a hospital ship known as USNS Comfort for relieving New York hospitals.
USNS Comfort docked in New York on March 30, 2020, and commenced treatment of patients on April 1, 2020. This is not the first time that USNS Comfort has been used – it has been deployed previously as well to provide aid during a crisis. It was formerly an oil tanker but was transformed into the 2nd US Navy Mercy class ship in 1987. The ship has been, since then, deployed more than 10 times all over the world and on the United States shores.
It was deployed for the first time in the Persian Gulf War. It was also deployed during the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the September 11, 2001 tragedy. The USNS Comfort features 1,000 beds and 12 operating rooms. It is a complete medical facility in itself and can accommodate 2,000 people including staff and patients. As of right now, the ship has a crew of more than 1,200. It has 500 beds for low-risk patients and 400 beds for patients that require a higher level of care. 80 beds have been set aside for intensive care patients and 20 for patients who are recovering from surgical procedures.
It comes equipped with dental facilities, radiation equipment, physical therapy, medical imaging, burn cure ward, a pharmacy, an optometrist unit, a water distillery, and oxygen-producing plant, and reception areas for casualties. It is about ten stories high (32 meters) and displaced around 70,000 tons of water. The floating hospital measures in at a length of 272 meters, and is capable of traveling at speeds of up to 17.5 knots.
USNS Comfort will not be used for treating coronavirus patients because of the risk of the virus spreading onboard. The purpose of deploying it is to provide aid to the medical systems. Check out the following video of USNS Comfort.