US Navy Captain Says COVID-19 Is Spreading Through His Aircraft Carrier So Rapidly
By Staff, Agencies
With the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] sweeping through the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the only effective way to stop the disease would be to move most of the ship’s crew of roughly 4,000 sailors ashore and quarantine them for two weeks, the ship’s captain wrote in a letter to the Navy Department.
It was San Francisco Chronicle reporters who first revealed on Tuesday that the carrier’s commanding officer had asked the Navy Department for permission to move most of the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew off the ship.
At least 100 sailors on the carrier have reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. The ship is currently at port in Guam.
“We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors," Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier wrote in the letter.
If a war breaks out, the Roosevelt will respond and fight both the enemy and COVID-19, Crozier wrote. But since the United States is not at war right now, the Navy "cannot allow a single sailor to perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily.”
“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure. This is a necessary risk."
"It will enable the carrier and air wing to get back underway as quickly as possible while ensuring the health and safety of our sailors," he added. "Keeping over 4,000 young men and women aboard the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those sailors entrusted to our care."