In an effort to secure the services of the U.S. Navy Mercy Hospital Ship, California governor Gavin Newsom penned a letter to Donald Trump Wednesday stressing that the state’s health care delivery system will not be able to handle the projected influx of coronavirus patients over the next eight weeks. 

“In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase,” Newsom wrote. “In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days. Moreover, we have community acquired transmission in 23 counties with an increase of 44 community acquired infections in 24 hours.”

These statistics were used to determine the extreme projection from Newsom that “roughly 56 percent” of the state population, or 25.5 million people, will be infected with COVID-19 in two months. 

Newsom’s request may have been inspired by the announcement from Trump on Wednesday that one of two hospital ships—Mercy and Comfort—could be headed to New York. He specifically requested the Mercy ship because it is already located in California’s coast. 

Neither the Comfort or Mercy can be used to help treat coronavirus patients. Instead, the ships can be used to address other medical issues as the state’s hospitals deal with those infected with COVID-19. 

In the meantime, Newsom has issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

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