24 Pictures From Inside The Hospital Ships Fighting The Coronavirus Pandemic

The USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy were designed for mass casualty events and are currently docked in Los Angeles and New York City.

Sign up for the BuzzFeed News newsletter JPG for behind-the-scenes exclusives from renowned photographers and our hard-hitting photo stories.


On Monday, the USNS Comfort docked in New York City to aid in the area's response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Comfort, along with the USNS Mercy, which docked last Friday in Los Angeles, are 70,000-ton hospital ships that were built from converted oil tankers during the Cold War. Each ship has the capacity of 1,000 beds and a medical staff of up to 1,200. In addition to 12 fully equipped operating rooms, both the Comfort and the Mercy also offer radiology and dentistry services, medical and optometry labs, a pharmacy, and two oxygen-producing plants.

Since 1986, the Mercy and the Comfort have offered relief following both domestic and international disasters, including to New York City after 9/11, Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, and Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. While docked in New York City, the Comfort will house patients not infected with COVID-19 to help alleviate the pressure on area hospitals hit hardest by the pandemic. As of Monday morning, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more than 36,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York City and more than 1,200 have died.

These pictures capture the scale and readiness of the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy in their humanitarian efforts around the globe.

Topics in this article