Only THREE patients on 1,000-bed medical ship in NYC as city’s hospitals are overrun with coronavirus cases – The Sun

A NAVY medical ship docked in Manhattan has just three patients even though New York hospitals have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak.

The 1,000 beds of the USNS Comfort have mostly remained empty since the vessel arrived in the Big Apple on Monday.

The large crew has been left with little to do even though makeshift hospitals have been set up all over the embattled city, including in Central Park.

“If I’m blunt about it, it’s a joke,” Michael Dowling, the head of Northwell Health, the state's largest hospital system, told The New York Times.

“Everyone can say, ‘Thank you for putting up these wonderful places and opening up these cavernous halls.’

"But we’re in a crisis here, we’re in a battlefield.”

There have been more than 50,000 coronavirus cases in New York City, and about 1,000 more people are being hospitalized every day.

More temporary hospitals are expected to be set up at college dorms, a cruise ship terminal and pro tennis courts, among other locations.

New York State as a whole is attempting to triple its hospital capacity.

The Comfort is supposed to be accepting patients not infected with the coronavirus to remove some of the burden from hospitals.

So far it has three patients.

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” Dowling told The Times.

“If you’re not going to help us with the people we need help with, what’s the purpose?”

The commanding officer of the Comfort's medical team said his orders were to accept non-coronavirus patients – for now.

“If our mission shifts, we do what we can to meet that mission,” Capt. Patrick Amersbach told reporters.

The situation is so dire that New York City is preparing to turn all its 20,000 permanent hospital beds into intensive care ones, while trying to add 65,000 temporary beds.

Some overstressed New York City facilities have moved patients around the city and sometimes as far away as the Albany area.

The Javits Center in Manhattan was also designated for patients who don’t have the virus, but President Trump said Thursday night that it would switch to caring for coronavirus patients.

"You’re only going to help if you take the patients that we need help with, which is COVID patients,” Dowling said before the announcement.

A hospital ship on the West Coast has also been underutilized.

The USNS Mercy, docked in Los Angeles, has just 15 patients in coronavirus-filled California, according to The Times.

The need for hospital space grows more urgent as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

There have now been more than one million people infected with the virus, officials said Thursday.

It is believed that more than 200,000 people could die in the US.

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