President Donald Trump spoke at the Naval Station Norfolk on Saturday to see off the naval hospital ship, USNS Comfort. After Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked about the vessel, which has 12 operating rooms and 1,000 hospital beds, Trump took the podium to describe the country’s battle against coronavirus.
“As we gather today, our country is at war with an invisible enemy,” he said.
“We are marshaling the full power of the American nation — economic, scientific, medical, and military — to vanquish the virus. And we will do that.”
Trump expressed his “profound gratitude” to the “dedicated service members” who are heading to New York City to help the thousands of “amazing doctors, nurses, and medical professionals” fighting COVID-19 amid the pandemic.
Trump called the ship a “70,000-ton message of hope and solidarity” to Americans in New York, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The president called the state — which is home to Queens, the borough he was born in — a place he loves and “knows very well.”
“You have the unwavering support of the entire nation, the entire government, and the entire American people.”
As reported by USA Today, the USNS Comfort will treat some coronavirus patients aboard the ship to help New York’s medical system, which has been struggling to keep up with the number of patients affected by COVID-19. The ship was not scheduled to leave for New York Harbor for another three weeks because of planned maintenance but is now scheduled to arrive on Monday due to the rapid spread of the disease.
Trump said Saturday that he is considering a two-week quarantine of New York, as well as parts of Connecticut and New Jersey, to get a grip on the spread of the highly infectious virus.
“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot,” Trump said before he departed for Norfolk.
The president also revealed plans to speak to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who he has frequently clashed with, later in the day.
As reported by CTV News, more than one-third of the coronavirus cases in the United States are in New York, which is currently in partial lockdown. With the reported spikes in the number of cases observed in many states, the publication said that New York may still be weeks away from hitting its peak.
“The rate of new cases may be slowing in New York, but the governor says it may take 21 days for the state to hit its peak and begins going down,” the report reads.
After New York, state officials warn that Los Angeles County will be the next hot spot for coronavirus.