New York no longer needs USNS Comfort hospital ship

Sailors aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort treat patients in the ship's intensive care unit, New York, N.Y., April 15, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo)

A Navy hospital ship deployed to New York City to help fight the coronavirus outbreak is no longer needed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, expressing confidence that stresses on the hospital system are easing. 

Cuomo told MSNBC after meeting with President Donald Trump that the USNS Comfort was helpful, but could now be sent elsewhere after being docked for weeks off of Manhattan. 

"It did give us comfort, but we don't need it anymore," Cuomo said. "So if they need to deploy that somewhere else, they should take it."

Trump said at his Tuesday briefing that he asked Cuomo if "we could bring the Comfort back to its base in Virginia so that we could have it in other locations." Trump said they would bring the ship back soon.

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The Navy ship arrived March 30 as state and city officials scrambled to add hospital beds to prepare for a potentially catastrophic surge in COVID-19 cases. 

But hospitalization levels appeared to have peaked recently amid strict stay-at home restrictions. Total statewide hospitalizations have slowly dropped to about 16,000, more than 2,000 below a week ago. 

As of April 15, the Comfort had treated 127 patients.

USNS Comfort, escorted by Coast Guard, NYPD and FDNY boats, arrives in New York City, March 30, 2020. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

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