Thursday, April 2, 2020

'Sailors do not need to die': Captain of aircraft carrier asks for help with onboard COVID-19 outbreak

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which recently docked at Guam due to an onboard COVID-19 outbreak, is shown here in 2018 as it arrives in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
(Image: © Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

By Stephanie Pappas

The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier docked near Guam has written a letter begging the Navy for help as at least 100 Sailors have become ill with COVID-19.

The San Francisco Chronicle acquired the letter, which was written Monday by Capt. Brett Crozier aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. Within the letter, Crozier outlines the impossibility of social distancing aboard an aircraft carrier, with its shared bathroom facilities, berths and dining facilities.

"The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating," he wrote. Noting the urgency of the situation, Crozier also 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."

Four thousand crew members are aboard the ship, and only a handful of ill individuals have been evacuated to Guam, the Chronicle reported. To stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent deaths, Crozier wrote, it is necessary to evacuate all but a skeleton crew from the ship and to find safe, isolated places for potentially exposed Sailors to quarantine.  Read more >>