Providing Comfort and Mercy during the coronavirus outbreak

USNS Comfort
Photo credit Department of Defense
By Connecting Vets

USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy are being called up to help fight the coronavirus outbreak that's currently sweeping across the United States and around the world. Patients diagnosed with coronavirus will not be treated aboard the ships. Instead, non-coronavirus patients will be treated on the Comfort and Mercy, freeing up hospital space for those battling the virus.

Navy to send hospital ship, USNS Comfort, to New York City

We all know these floating hospitals save lives, but here are some interesting facts about these angel ships of the sea.

1.  The ships are massive, with 1.000 beds and plenty of space for health care workers and medical supplies. They each have 12 fully equipped operating rooms, digital radiological services, labs, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, a CAT scanner and an oxygen-producing plant. 

2. When they are fully manned, each ship has a crew of 71 and 1,200 doctors, nurses and medical staff.

USNS Mercy

3. The Comfort is 900 feet long. That's the length of two football fields.

4. Both ships are normally docked and have crews for only routine maintenance. The Mercy is homeported in San Diego, California and the Comfort is docked in Norfolk, Virginia.

5. Both ships are listed as auxiliaries by the Navy, meaning they are non-combat vessels.

6.  The crews do not carry any weapons. Firing upon the Mercy or Comfort would be considered a war crime

7. Both were originally used as oil tankers before being converted into hospital ships in the mid-1980s.

8.  And, both have been sent on humanitarian medical missions around the world.

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