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US Navy Evacuating Aircraft Carrier Infected by COVID19

PortandTerminal.com, April 1, 2020

Hotels in Guam will be used to house sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt following COVID19 outbreak during a port visit to Vietnam. So far, the navy has tested 24% of personnel – 93 positive (86 have shown symptoms 7 have not) 593 negative.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy says it will remove the majority of USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew so the aircraft carrier can be disinfected, one day after its commanding officer sent an urgent message asking for help controlling a COVID-19 outbreak.

UPDATE: About one-fifth of the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s 4,865 sailors are off the COVID19-stricken aircraft carrier and into isolation on Guam, with about 2,700 more expected to evacuate in the next few days, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Wednesday

“The key is to make sure that we can get a set of crew members that can man all those critical functions on the ship, make sure they’re clean, then get them back on while we clean the ship and get the other crew members off,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said in a Tuesday interview with CNN. “And that’s the process we’re going through. It’s very methodical. We’re absolutely accelerating it as we go.”

Modly also during his interview with CNN that about 1,000 sailors have been taken off the ship and that approximately 2,700 will eventually be taken off the ship in coming days.

He also said there are no plans to take all of the crew members off the ship as a number of them must remain aboard to deal with essentials like running the nuclear reactor and ensuring the safety of the weapons aboard.

Adm. Mike Gilday, the chief of naval operations, told reporters that about 1,000 sailors need to remain aboard the carrier to ensure those functions.

The 1,100-foot Theodore Roosevelt tied up in Guam on Friday after several sailors were discovered to be infected.

On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier sent an extraordinary four-page letter asking for Navy help.

The carrier’s captain’s desperation could be made out through the words in his letter, in which he said that the virus is spreading out of control on his ship. His warship has no space to give infected patients a separate berthing space and bathroom, so he asked for assistance finding rooms ashore.

READ: ‘Sailors do not need to die,’ warns captain of virus-hit U.S. aircraft carrier

“The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,” Crozier wrote in the March 30 letter, which was obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. “Decisive action is required.”

Crozier recommended isolating or quarantining more than 4,000 sailors for two weeks to ensure that no one carries the virus back aboard. Meanwhile, about 10% of the crew would be needed to run the ship in port and disinfect it, he wrote. 

“Keeping over 4,000 young men and women on board the TR is an unnecessary risk and breaks faith with those Sailors entrusted to our care,” the captain wrote.

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