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Statement from the Press Secretary on the President’s Travel to Norfolk, Virginia

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President Donald J. Trump announced today that he will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday, March 28 to bid bon voyage to the hospital ship USNS COMFORT (T-AH-20) as it leaves for New York City to the frontlines of the COVID-19 virus response.  The USNS COMFORT will sail well ahead of its originally scheduled departure time to answer America’s call to battle against the global pandemic here at home.

At the President’s direction, the Administration announced last week that the USNS COMFORT would be activated and sail to the metropolitan New York area to ease the burden of area hospitals tasked with responding to the coronavirus.  Over 1200 medical personnel and critical supplies will be onboard the vessel.  They will bring to bear the skills, care, and compassion needed to wage this fight against an invisible enemy.  These doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, x-ray technicians, orderlies, and other medical staff will augment and support New York City’s medical community and conserve hospital capacity by treating some non-COVID-19 patients aboard the USNS COMFORT.

Deployment of the USNS COMFORT follows deployment of the USNS MERCY (T-AH-19) earlier this week.  USNS MERCY sailed to Los Angeles from Naval Station San Diego, California.  Both vessels have a long record of accomplishment in humanitarian responses throughout the western hemisphere, providing aid to our sister republics as well as these great United States.

As the USNS COMFORT weighs anchor and leaves Norfolk Naval Station, home to the most powerful fleet in the world, she does so to embark on one of the most important assignments of her storied career—serving the American people in this great hour of need.

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