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Such were the expectations for the Navy hospital ship U.S.N.S. Comfort that when it chugged into New York Harbor this week, throngs of people, momentarily forgetting the strictures of social distancing, crammed together along Manhattan’s west side to catch a glimpse.On Thursday, though, the huge white vessel, which officials had promised would bring succor to a city on the brink, sat mostly empty, infuriating executives at local hospitals. The ship’s 1,000 beds are largely unused, its 1,200-member crew mostly idle.

美国海军医疗舰“安慰号”本周驶入纽约港时,人们对它饱含期望:成群结队的人暂时忘记了社交距离的限制,挤在曼哈顿西区,只为看一眼这艘医疗舰。然而,周四,这个巨大的白色医疗舰却几乎空无一人,这激怒了当地医院的管理人员。官员们曾承诺,这艘医疗舰将为一个濒临崩溃的城市带来援助。然而这艘船的1000个床位基本上没有使用,1200名船员大多闲着。



On top of its strict rules preventing people infected with the virus from coming on board, the Navy is also refusing to treat a host of other conditions. Guidelines disseminated to hospitals included a list of 49 medical conditions that would exclude a patient from admittance to the ship.Ambulances cannot take patients directly to the Comfort; they must first deliver patients to a city hospital for a lengthy uation — including a test for the virus — and then pick them up again for transport to the ship.

除了严格规定防止感染冠状病毒的人上船外,海军还拒绝治疗许多其他疾病。医疗舰向医院发布的准则包括一份包含49种疾病的清单,不允许患有这些疾病的病人上船。救护车不能直接把病人送到安慰号医疗舰。他们必须先把病人送到城市医院进行长时间的评估——包括病毒测试——然后再把他们接上船。

At a morning briefing on Thursday, officials said three patients had been moved to the Comfort. After The New York Times published an article with that number, Elizabeth Baker, a spokeswoman for the Navy, said the number had increased to 20 by late in the day. “We’re bringing them on as fast as we can bring them on,” she said.
Hospital leaders said they were exasperated by the delays.Mr. Dowling said he has had to tear his hospitals apart, retrofitting any unused space, including lobbies and conference rooms, into hospital wards. His facilities now house 2,800 so-called Covid patients, up from 100 on March 20, he said. About 25 percent of those are in serious conditions in intensive care units.

在周四的早间新闻发布会上,官员们表示,三名患者已被转移到安慰号。在《纽约时报》发表了一篇指责这一数据的文章后,海军发言人伊丽莎白·贝克说,到当天晚些时候,这个数字已经增加到了20人。她说:“我们正以最快的速度接收病患。”医院领导说他们对这些拖延感到很恼火。道林说,他不得不把自己的医院拆了,把大堂和会议室等所有未使用的空间改造成病房。他说,他的医疗机构现在接纳了2800名感染冠状病毒病人”,而3月20日时只有100人。其中约25%的病人病情严重被转移到重症监护病房。

Across the city, hospitals are overrun. Patients have died in hallways before they could even be hooked up to one of the few available ventilators in New York. Doctors and nurses, who have had to use the same protective gear again and again, are getting sick. So many people are dying that the city is running low on body bags.At the same time, there is not a high volume of noncoronavirus patients. Because most New Yorkers have isolated themselves in their homes, there are fewer injuries from car accidents, gun shots and construction accidents that would require an emergency room visit.

整个城市的医院都人满为患。在纽约,病人甚至还没来得及用上为数不多的呼吸机,就已经在走廊里死去了。医生和护士不得不一次又一次地重复使用同一套防护装备,他们正在生病。死亡人数如此之多,以至于这个城市的尸袋越来越不够。与此同时,却没有一个能大量容纳非冠状病毒患者得设施。由于大多数纽约人都把自己隔离在家中,因此需要去急诊室急救的车祸、枪击和建筑事故造成的受伤人数较少。

Ultimately, Mr. Dowling and others said, if the Comfort refuses to take Covid patients, there are few patients to send. And given the pernicious spread of the disease in New York City, where nearly 50,000 were infected as of Thursday, dividing patients into those who have it and those who do not is pointless, he said.The solution, he and others said, was to open the Comfort to patients with Covid-19.

道林等人说,最终,如果安慰号拒绝接收感染冠状病毒的病人,就没有什么病人可以送了。他说,鉴于这种疾病在纽约市的恶性传播,把患者分为感染这种病的人和没有感染这种病的人是毫无意义的。截至周四,纽约市已有近5万人感染了这种疾病。他和其他人说,解决办法是向感染Covid-19的患者敞开安慰号的大门。

“It’s pretty ridiculous,” he said. “If you’re not going to help us with the people we need help with, what’s the purpose?”Asked about Mr. Dowling’s criticisms, the Defense Department referred to Mr. Trump’s statements about the Comfort at his daily briefing. The president said only that the ship was not accepting patients with the coronavirus.Late Thursday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York reached an agreement with Mr. Trump to bring Covid patients to the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, another alternative site operated by the military, with 2,500 hospital beds.

“这太荒谬了,”他说。“如果你不去帮助解决需要帮助的人,那医疗舰来的目的是什么?”在新闻发布会上,当被问及怎么看道林的批评时,国防部指出特朗普总统说安慰号不接受冠状病毒患者。周四晚些时候,纽约州州长安德鲁科莫与特朗普达成了一项协议,把感染冠状病毒的病人送到有2500张病床的由军方接管的曼哈顿贾维茨会议中心。

“I asked President Trump this morning to consider the request and the urgency of the matter, and the President has just informed me that he granted New York’s request,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement.There was no word about doing the same with the U.S.N.S. Comfort.Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the commanding officer of the medical personnel aboard the Comfort, said at a news conference that, for now, his orders were to accept only patients who had tested negative for the virus. If ordered to accept coronavirus patients, he said, the ship could be reconfigured to make that happen.“If our mission shifts, we do what we can to meet that mission,” he said.

纽约州州长科莫在一份声明中说,“我今天上午要求特朗普总统考虑这一请求和此事的紧迫性,总统刚刚通知我,他批准了纽约州的请求。”声明中并没有提到美国海军医疗舰安慰号。“安慰号”上医务人员的指挥官帕特里克·阿莫斯巴赫在新闻发布会上说,目前,他接到的命令是只接收经检测呈阴性的患者。他说,如果接到接收冠状病毒患者的命令,这艘船可以重新配置以实现这一目标。他说:“如果我们的使命改变了,我们将尽我们所能来完成这个使命。”



A military physician who had previously served on the Navy’s hospital ships said in an interview that conditions on board were suitable for soldiers, but, with its narrow bunked cots instead of modern hospital beds, it was not ideal for treating civilians.Though military physicians are accustomed to battlefield situations, they are well-trained, and should be able to handle strains of the pandemic if ordered to treat patients with the coronavirus, he said.“As military doctors,” he said, “they would absolutely do their best.”

一名曾在海军医疗船上服役的军医在接受采访时说,船上的条件适合士兵,但由于船上狭窄的帆布床代替了现代化的医院病床,对治疗平民来说并不理想。他说,虽然军医已经习惯了战场上的情况,但他们受过良好的训练,如果下令治疗冠状病毒患者,他们应该有能力应对新冠病毒。他说:“作为军医,他们绝对会竭尽全力。”