In a stunning development, the commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is desperately seeking help from the U.S. Navy. His entire crew of roughly 5,000 sailors need to be isolated after up to 200 onboard have tested positive for coronavirus, Fox News reported.
Three sailors on board the aircraft carrier tested positive last week, the first time the outbreak infected a deployed U.S. warship at sea.
The letter from Captain Brett Crozier to top Navy brass was first obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Fox News reported Sunday there were 38 positive cases aboard the massive warship, a number that has now significantly increased.
The spike in cases on board the aircraft carrier represents up to 30 percent of the U.S. military’s total number of cases worldwide.
A senior U.S. Navy official confirmed the letter contained in the exclusive report by the S.F. Chronicle, the hometown newspaper of the ship’s commanding officer, the paper says.
Last Friday, the “Big Stick” — as the carrier is called — pulled into port in Guam. It was days ahead of schedule in order to disinfect the ship, transport infected sailors to a local hospital and order more bulk testing of the crew.
Like cruise ships, it’s nearly impossible to isolate sailors at sea or practice social distancing while launching F/A-18 Super Hornets from the flight deck or standing watch on the Nimitz-class carrier’s two nuclear reactors.
Making the required quarantine difficult, “there aren’t staterooms for all 5,000 sailors,” one Navy official reminded listeners.