Report: Navy Captain Pleads for Help with Coronavirus-Infected Aircraft Carrier

AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File

A Navy captain commanding the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is reportedly asking his commanders to allow his sailors off the ship to self-quarantine while docked in Guam.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Capt. Brett Crozier wrote in a memo to superiors dated March 30 that the crew is “unable to comply” with Centers for Disease Control protocols or previous Navy guidance to quarantine or social distance for 14 days.

The Chronicle reported that more than 150 sailors from the carrier are infected, though none have been hospitalized yet. According to the captain’s memo, a small contingent have been off-boarded, but most of the ship’s more than 4,000 sailors remain aboard.

“Due to a warship’s inherent limitation of space, we are not doing this. The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating,” he reportedly wrote.

The memo allegedly criticized an “inappropriate focus on testing” in response to Navy leaders’ push to test everyone aboard the ship. “Testing has no direct influence on the spread of the COVI19 virus. It merely confirms the presence of the virus,” he wrote.

“Testing will only be useful as the ship returns to work after isolation or quarantine to confirm the effectiveness of the quarantine period,” he wrote.

He wrote of the first 33 sailors who tested positive, seven of those were negative on a first test, then began feeling symptoms one to three days later. He said based on that, approximately 21 percent of those who may test negative on the Roosevelt could be going on to infect others.

Crozier also wrote that current off-ship quarantine areas are also inappropriate and not in compliance with Navy guidance:

Of the off ship locations currently available, only one complies with the NAVADMIN guidance. Infected Sailor reside in these off ship locations. Two Sailors have already tested positive in an open bay gymnasium equipped with cots. Although marginally better than a warship, group quarantine sites are not a solution and are not in accordance with current guidance.

He wrote both the CDC and Navy guidance recommends against group quarantine. Despite that, he said both aboard and ashore, large amounts of sailors are in a confined space; they share open berthing, restroom facilities, workspaces and computers, eating areas, and food is cooked or provided by exposed personnel.

He wrote there are also mandatory tasks demanding consistent close contact, and movement aboard the ship requires close contact with other exposed individuals.

He wrote the current strategy is to move some sailors off the ship, increase the frequency of cleaning the ship, and attempted social distancing. It will “only slow the spread,” he wrote.

“The current plan in execution on TR will not achieve virus eradication on any timeline,” he wrote.

He wrote that there are “two end states” for the Roosevelt. “Maximize warfighting readiness and capacity to as quickly as possible. No timeline necessary. We go to war with the force we have and fight sick. We never achieve a COVID-free TR. There will be losses to the virus.”

Or, he wrote: “Achieve a COVID-free TR. Requires strict adherence to CDC guidelines and a methodical approach to achieve a clean ship. This requires immediate and decisive action. It will take time and money.”

Crozier wrote that since a “war is not imminent, we recommend pursuing the peace time end state.”

Every Sailor onbaord must be guaranteed virus-free and the ship environment must be disinfected. One infected Sailor introduced to the ship will spread the virus. Off ship lodging in compliance with CDC and NAVADMIN guidance is required for over 4,000 Sailors to achieve a clean ship and crew.

He recommended leaving 10 percent of the crew onboard to run the reactor plant, sanitize the ship, ensure security, and provide contingency response for emergencies.

“Removing the majority of personnel from a deployed U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier and isolating them for two weeks may seem like an extraordinary measure,” he wrote. “This is a necessary risk.”

“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,” he noted.

Breitbart News reached out to the Navy for a statement but did not receive an immediate response.

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