US Navy hospital ship arrives in NY with medical supplies, staff

Specialist 1st Class Joshua D. Sheppard

NY welcomed the arrival of a gleaming 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospital ship on Monday as a beacon of hope for the city's desperate fight against the coronavirus pandemic, while officials said the disease was gaining traction in California.

Its arrival came as Virginia, Maryland and the capital Washington became the latest areas to restrict citizens' movements, meaning nearly three-quarters of Americans are now living, or about to live, under various phases of lockdown.

On Sunday, Trump cancelled his plans to re-open a lot of the US by Easter - April 12 - and prolonged social distancing pointers till the tip of April after his prime scientists confronted him with information on the rising coronavirus deaths.

Trump said on Sunday America's death rate was likely to increase for two weeks, describing as "horrible" a prediction by senior scientist Anthony Fauci that Covid-19 could claim up to 200,000 lives.

"I'm sad to be locked inside, but I think it's for the best", said Mia Siracusa, 24, a data manager ordered to work out of her apartment in Brooklyn, whose live-in boyfriend is from Italy and whose mother is a New York City hospital nurse.

More than 1,000 people in NY have died from the virus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday from the Javits Center, the Manhattan convention center that is now being used as a field hospital.

'Don't fight today's fight.

"The hospital capacity we add now will save lives", the governor wrote.

The Comfort will care for New Yorkers requiring intensive care unrelated to the coronavirus, easing the burden on a hospital network overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 patients.

"High quality and safe patient care is the top priority for our professionals, and we are ready to go to work", said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the Military Treatment Facility aboard Comfort.

In a grim new milestones marking the spread of the virus, total deaths across the United States hit 3,017, including at least 540 on Monday, and the reported cases climbed to more than 163,000, according to a Reuters tally.

Worst-affected NY is ramping up hospital capability and taking supply of desperately wanted medical provides as it races towards time.

It is spreading to other areas, notably New Jersey, Louisiana, Illinois and Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday he did not want passengers from the cruise ship Zaandam suspected of having the virus "dumped" in his state.

The ship's arrival comes as NY state's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak climbed Sunday above 1,000, less than a month after the first known infection in the state.

Meanwhile, a field hospital was being constructed in Central Park next to Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which was expected to start accepting patients on Tuesday.

Authorities in New Orleans were setting up a field hospital at the Ernest N Morial Convention Center - the same site where thousands of Hurricane Katrina refugees suffered in 2005 - to handle the expected overflow of patients.

"It's a wartime atmosphere and we all have to pull together", said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was among the dignitaries to greet the ship's arrival at the Midtown Manhattan pier.

The flights, part of "Project Airbridge", are delivering millions of masks, gowns and thermometers.

Fauci, who leads research into infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die from 'millions of cases'.

"That would be a day of celebration. And we simply need to do it proper", stated Trump, who earlier stated he anticipated the nation to "be properly on our approach to restoration" by June 1.

"It was a pretty clear picture", Fauci told CNN on Monday.



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