Captain of US aircraft carrier pleads for COVID-19 action
The captain of the Nimitz-class USS Theodore Roosevelt has written to US Navy leaders demanding extra resources and assistance to deal with an onboard outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The aircraft carrier is docked in Guam due to the outbreak.
In a four-page letter obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, Captain Brett Crozier warned that due to the limitations of space aboard the vessel, the 4,000-strong crew are not able to effectively socially isolate.
‘The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,’ Crozier wrote, adding: ‘Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed US nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure… This is a necessary risk.’
Initial reports that three crew members tested positive for the virus emerged on 24 March but it has since been revealed that the number has risen to at least 100.
In a TV interview with CNN, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly revealed on 31 March that most of the crew will be removed, while maintaining sufficient crew to continue onboard ‘critical functions’. He added: ‘It’s very methodical. We’re absolutely accelerating it as we go.’
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