President Donald Trump said he was sending a “70,000-ton message of hope” to New York on Saturday during a send-off for the USNF Comfort.
“Our country is at war with an invisible enemy,” Trump said. “We are marshaling the full power of the American nation – economic, scientific, medical, and military – to vanquish the virus.”
The 1,000-bed hospital ship left Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday. It is set to arrive in Manhattan on Monday, three weeks ahead of schedule, and begin treating patients on Tuesday, Trump said.
“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,” the president said. “We’re here for you, we’re fighting for you and we are with you all the way. And we always will be.”
The USNS Comfort, stocked with needed medical supplies including ventilators, will serve emergency patients to free up beds at other New York hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.
“By serving these emergency patients away from the hospital, beds will be opened up all over the city for those who are infected,” Trump said.The president lauded the USNF Comfort’s crew of 1,200.”We’re one family bound together by love and loyalty, the eternal traits so perfectly embodied by the extraordinary men and woman aboard this ship,” Trump said.The president said the Defense Production Act would be used to convert factories to produce needed medical equipment and supplies, including ventilators, which are in demand worldwide amid the pandemic. A ventilator is a machine used to support people with respiratory conditions that affect the lungs, such as pneumonia.”In the next 100 days, America will make or acquire three times more ventilators than we do in an entire year,” Trump said.He said any excess ventilator could be distributed to other countries, including the United Kingdom.”We will win this war and we will win this war quickly with as little death as possible,” Trump said.Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been criticized as slow and disorganized by some, including Democratic governors from several states.