Santiago Felipe / Getty ImagesNew York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, pictured in a 2018 file photo. (Santiago Felipe / Getty Images)
The speaker of New York City’s Common Council is demanding that Samaritan’s Purse be booted out of New York City immediately and abandon the field hospital it set up in New York City’s Central Park to help treat COVID-19 victims.
Corey Johnson, a Democrat who opposed the group’s arrival in the days when the city was desperate for any form of help to address the disease, issued his demand in a string of tweets, citing the fact that the Rev. Franklin Graham’s ministry supports traditional marriage as grounds to throw Samaritan’s Purse out of the city.
“It is time for Samaritan’s Purse to leave NYC. This group, led by the notoriously bigoted, hate-spewing Franklin Graham, came at a time when our city couldn’t in good conscience turn away any offer of help. That time has passed,” Johnson, who is both openly gay and HIV-positive, according to The New York Times, wrote in the first of his series of attacks on Samaritan’s Purse.
“Their continued presence here is an affront to our values of inclusion, and is painful for all New Yorkers who care deeply about the LGBTQ community,” he wrote.
He called upon Mount Sinai Hospital, which was working with Samaritan’s Purse, to stop working with the group.
“Mount Sinai must sever its relationship with Samaritan’s Purse,” he wrote.
Many pushed back against Johnson on Twitter.
The field hospital will close in about two weeks, Mount Sinai and Samaritan’s Purse announced Saturday, but only because new admissions are declining, according to the Gothamist. An emergency COVID-19 facility set up at the city’s Javits Center has closed, and the USS Comfort hospital ship has left New York City as well due to the drop in new cases.
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“Since April 1st, this partnership has resulted in high-quality medical care for 315 patients infected with the virus. We are grateful for this opportunity to work together to save lives and reduce suffering,” Samaritan’s Purse and Mount Sinai announced in a joint statement, Gothamist reported. “Now that the surge in COVID hospital admissions is reaching manageable levels, we will stop admitting new patients to the Central Park field hospital as of May 4.”
The statement estimated “it will take approximately two weeks to treat these last patients and subsequently decontaminate and remove the tents.”
The statement included a positive note.
“While this crisis is far from over, this marks a significant turning point in the coronavirus outbreak in New York that gives us assurance that we are returning towards normalcy,” it stated.
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