Taxpayers Can Take Little “Comfort” From The “Comfort”

It’s unsurprisingly easy to find lots of statistics about the Comfort (pictured above), one of the Navy’s two hospital ships (the other is the Mercy, below).Mercy ship

It’s unsurprisingly difficult to find out what it cost us taxpayers for the Comfort to sit in New York’s harbor for a month, doing…

Not much.

As the Comfort sailed away from New York on April 30, the Navy was – to say the least – tight-lipped about the cost of the excursion.  According to a USA Today outlet:

“The Defense Department said it did not have information on how much the Comfort’s mission to New York cost.”

That, of course, is a lie.

Why not just say, “The Comfort’s mission to New York cost $X,XXX,XXX”?

Perhaps because after its March 28 HUGE sendoff from its Norfolk, VA home, during its 30 days in New York…

Only 182 people were treated on the 1,000-bed Comfort.

Backstory:  When the Comfort was deployed to New York, according to this article:

Market (2) fixed

“The Comfort was supposed to take in patients not infected by the coronavirus, so that hospital staff could focus on the pandemic.  However, this plan was shortsighted and poorly implemented.  The procedure used to determine who was and wasn’t infected was inefficient and time-consuming, making it hard even for qualifying patients to be admitted.

“To make matters worse, even if a patient did not have the coronavirus infection, there was still a list of 49 other medical conditions that would exclude him or her from receiving the aid on board the Comfort.”

Eventually the Comfort crew did start caring for coronavirus patients, and 11 people that were treated on the ship died from it, the Defense Department said.  Several ship personnel came down with the coronavirus while deployed to New York.

And then the Comfort went home.

Since the Defense Department wasn’t telling us taxpayers what this cost, I headed for google and searched for “cost of Comfort deployment to New York.”  Silly me – I thought I’d found an answer on the Navy’s website, but when I clicked the link and got this:

Navy (2)

“File not currently available.”

Imagine that.

So I kept looking – and looking – and eventually encountered this 2018 article:

Mercy (2)

According to the article, referring to both the Comfort and the Mercy:

“In its 2019 fiscal year budget proposal, the Navy asked for just over $120 million to sustain both ships and their on-board facilities.”

Ah!  Now we’re getting somewhere.dollar plus cropped

So, $60 million per hospital ship for one year.

$60 million divided by 365 days is $164,383 per day.

$164,383 per day times 30 days is $4,931,490.

So, about $5 million for the Comfort’s 30 days in New York harbor.dollar plus cropped

Let’s not overlook the six or so days the Comfort spent sailing to and from New York:

Six days at $164,383 per day, add about another $1 million.

And what did we taxpayers get for that?

True, the Comfort’s crew treated 182 people, and of course we’re grateful for that.

But I think what we were actually paying for was this:

Trump photo ops:

2020 Campaign Rally, Norfolk Naval Base, March 28, 2020:

trump norfolk_01 smaller

“We will stop at nothing to protect the health of New Yorkers and the health of the people of our country in their hour of need.”  [Except providing testing for everyone]

trump at Norfolk_02 smaller

“This legislation delivers job retention loans for small businesses to help them keep workers on payroll…” [like the Los Angeles Lakers]

trump at Norfolk

“We’re now the number one tester anywhere in the world, by far.”  [And as of May 3, we’re also number one in the world for confirmed cases and deaths]

Unsurprisingly, on April 30 Trump was not at the pier in New York for another campaign rally and additional photos ops when the Comfort departed.

Probably because, as the Comfort sailed away, these headlines were trailing behind it:

Salon (2)

USA (2) (2)

6 cropped

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