Aircraft Carrier Commander Warns of Rapidly Spreading Coronavirus On Ship
The commander of a US Navy aircraft carrier is requesting urgent guidance from the Pentagon as an outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus spreads among its crew.
Captain Brett Crozier stated that “the spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating” in a letter to the Secretary of the Navy on Monday. Reports indicate that more than 50 sailors assigned to the ship have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, presenting a serious danger for those currently on board.
Crozier described an urgent situation in his letter to the Pentagon.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do.” Crozier was calling for means to quarantine the entire crew of his ship away from the vessel. “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.”
“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.”
The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is currently docked at a naval base at the Pacific island of Guam. The crew of the ship is quarantined to the vessel on account of the outbreak, although five service members in serious medical conditions were taken to shore.
It’s extremely difficult to practice social distancing aboard the innately close-quarters environment of a naval vessel. The coronavirus has already proven capable of spreading with devastating effect aboard cruise ships, vessels that afford far more personal space to their inhabitants than aircraft carriers.
As of Tuesday night, the Navy is reported to be seeking a solution to quarantine the ship’s four-thousand strong crew at a location away from the Theodore Roosevelt. Sailors may be removed away from the ship in increments, returning after 14-day isolation periods after which they test negative for the disease.