Coronavirus Spreads Rapidly in the U.S. Navy

Coronavirus Spreads Rapidly in the U.S. Navy 1 April, 2020

More than 70 crews of the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt were detected to have coronavirus. A week ago the Pentagon confirmed three sailors on the Roosevelt had tested positive and that number had risen to 25 two days later. While the rapidly spreading virus is known to affect more than 70 personnel, the commander of the US Pacific Fleet refused to announce the full number.

"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," Capt. Brett Crozier wrote in a memo to the Navy's Pacific Fleet. "Decisive action is required. Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure," he wrote in the memo. "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. 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."

"Well, I have not had a chance to read that letter, read it in detail. Again I'm going to rely on the Navy chain of command to go out there to assess the situation and make sure they provide the captain and the crew all the support they need to get the sailors healthy and the ship back at sea." US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said.

Esper held a press conference on March 17, shared his virus strategy with journalists: “Protecting our troops, their families, and our personnel; second, safeguarding our national security missions; and third, supporting the administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing this national health emergency”.

The U.S. Marine Corps has identified COVID-19 as a threat to the health and well-being of Marine Corps. In addition to processes such as the expiration of duty, rotation, different deployments, damage to the ship or severe malfunctions, taking the platform out of service, as well as in an epidemic, personnel can be evacuated while the ship is out of service.

Coronavirus Spreads Rapidly in the U.S. Navy

Issue 86