California asks Trump to send Mercy to Port of LA

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for the immediate deployment of the hospital ship USNS Mercy to the Port of Los Angeles.

Newsom asked that the hospital ship remain at the port until Sept. 1 “to help decompress” the state’s health care delivery system in Los Angeles in response to the spread of COVID-19.

Newsom said the state’s health care system has been significantly impacted by the rapid increase in confirmed coronavirus cases.

“We project that roughly 56% of our population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period,” he said.

Newsom said the Mercy would “help decompress the health care delivery system to allow the Los Angeles region to ensure that it has the ability to address critical acute needs, such as heart attacks and strokes or vehicle accidents, in addition to the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the president was deploying the USNS Comfort to New York Harbor

The Comfort, with 12 operating rooms and 1,000 hospital beds, is being refitted at its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia. The Mercy is berthed in San Diego. 

Trump said Wednesday a West Coast destination for the Mercy had not yet been determined. He also did not give a date of deployment or arrival to assist during the coronavirus crisis, only saying the hospital ships would be “launched in the next week or so.”