President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks at Naval Air Station Norfolk Pier 8, Saturday, March 28, 2020, prior to the departure of the USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Earlier this week, two US Navy ships, the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, were deployed to New York and Los Angeles, respectively. These are highly capable and highly expensive hospital ships. The Mercy is staffed by 800 medical personnel and support staff, the Comfort has over 1,000. The concept was that because all the models predicted hospitals in California and New York would be overflowing, that run-of-the-mill hospital patients, like car accidents, etc., would be sent aboard the hospital ships which have 1,000 beds each, this would free up regular hospitals to care for Wuhan virus patients.
So how’s that working out?
The USNS hospital ships Mercy and Comfort have treated fewer than 20 patients combined since the ships arrived in Los Angeles and New York City, respectively, according to the commanding officers of the vessels.
That means the majority of the hospital ships’ vast spaces remain vacant — each can accommodate 1,000 hospital beds.
According to the Mercy’s commanding officer Capt. John Rotruck, the hospital ship has treated a total of 15 patients — five of which have been discharged already — since the Mercy arrived in Los Angeles on Friday. Meanwhile, the Comfort arrived in New York City on Monday and has since treated three patients, the Comfort’s commanding officer Capt. Patrick Amersbach said.
This experience is not alone. The US Army hospital deployed to Washington has had even less traffic.
The Army's 10th Field Hospital, 627th Hospital Center arrived in Seattle last Friday, mayor's office said
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) April 2, 2020
Read that again. Nearly 1,800 medical and medical support personnel have been pulled out of their regular duties of treating patients, put aboard a ship, and sent to where there is no identifiable need for them. As I’ve posted previously, New York has approximately 18,000 unused hospital beds at any given time. California has about 27,000 empty beds. The crying for more resources is a direct result of relying upon models that produce results literally no sane person believed. The primary model used is one developed by a team led by Dr. Christopher Murray of the Bill and Melinda Gates funded Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Here is Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, talking about the centrality of the so-called Murray Model on Meet the Press:
Let’s look at these for a second:
Here are 3 of the biggest targets for #COVID19. Washington was first out of gates. Murray predicts that YESTERDAY WA should have needed nearly 2000 beds for these sick patients.
They only have 254 in the hospital.
Murray: 50K beds
CA: 4100 vs. 1100 pic.twitter.com/C1d5zOJvsA
— Justin Hart (@justin_hart) April 2, 2020
The important thing to keep in mind is that these are aggregate hospitalizations since the onset of the pandemic, they do not reflect patients released to home care. There are only 8,000 people, nationwide, in serious to critical condition due to Wuhan virus right now.
The nexus of bad science and self-absorbed and irresponsible governors who insist on laying claim to a maximum number of resources for what can only be deemed political reasons (and alternative explanation, of course, is that they are in a state of panic) is not merely a harmless spectacle. Businesses are being bankrupted. People will be made homeless. Life savings will be exhausted. Medical personnel who could be treating trauma cases in the rural South are on a ship in New York harbor studiously keeping 6-feet from their colleagues.
This is shameful all the way around. When this is over, those who fed this hysteria, both the academics who created bullsh**t models that drove elected officials to a state of panic and the politicians who decided is was easier to go along with the herd than obey commonsense must be called out, held to account, and shamed forever from the public life of the nation.