The U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) has more than 100 positive cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the San Fransisco Chronicle reported.
Theodore Roosevelt is currently docked in Guam following the COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of around 5,000 less than a week ago. The carrier was underway in the Pacific Ocean but was ordered to pull into Guam and remain pierside.
According to the SF Chronicle report, the captain of the aircraft carrier, Capt. Brett Crozier, has requested the Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote in a four-page letter to senior military officials, obtained exclusively by The Chronicle. “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.”
According to Crozier, only a small number of infected sailors have been off-boarded with most of the crew remaining aboard the ship. He said that it is impossible to follow official guidelines for 14-day quarantines and social distancing on an aircraft carrier due to inherent limitations of space.
“The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating”, Capt. Crozier added.
According to the report, none of the infected sailors has shown serious symptoms, but the number of positive cases has jumped exponentially since the Navy reported infections in three crew members on March 24. This was the first time COVID-19 infections had been detected on a U.S. Navy ship at sea.