Captain Brett Crozier of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is pleading with senior military officials for help as over 100 sailors on his ship of more than 4,000 have tested positive for COVID-19. The vessel was docked in Guam last week.
He is asking for resources to allow for isolation of his entire crew and to avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.
In a four-page letter to officials, Crozier says that only a small number of his infected crew have been off-boarded. Most of the crew remains on board where social distancing and quarantines is impossible. He is asking for “compliant quarantine rooms” on shore in Guam for his entire crew as soon as possible.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “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.”
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly spoke with CNN Tuesday morning.
“I heard about the letter from Capt. Crozier (Tuesday) morning, I know that our command organization has been aware of this for about 24 hours and we have been working actually the last seven days to move those sailors off the ship and get them into accommodations in Guam. The problem is that Guam doesn’t have enough beds right now and we’re having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space, create tent-type facilities,” Modly said.
So far, none of the infected sailors has shown serious symptoms, but the number of those who have tested positive has jumped exponentially since the Navy reported infections in three crew members on March 24, the first time COVID-19 infections had been detected on a naval vessel at sea.
See more at the San Francisco Chronicle.