USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor dies from COVID-19 complications

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier was sent to port on Guam last month due to an outbreak

A crew member of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier taken out of rotation this month due to an outbreak of coronavirus onboard, has died.

The sailor, whose name will be released after family is informed, died Monday, April 13 of COVID-19 complications after having been previously admitted to the intensive care unit at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam, the Navy said.

The crew member was found unresponsive on Thursday and received CPR before being delivered to the hospital.

The incident marks the first COVID-19 death from the USS Teddy Roosevelt’s crew. The ship was ordered to port in Guam late last month after an outbreak onboard threatened to disable the crew.

The ship’s captain, U.S. Navy Captain Brett Crozier, was dramatically fired by then-Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly after a letter Crozier wrote to the Navy pleading permission to evacuate his sailors on the island was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Modly was later forced to apologize after a recorded message to the ship’s sailors included him calling Crozier either “too naive or too stupid.” He then resigned.

The Roosevelt is the only U.S. aircraft carrier so far to be taken out of a scheduled deployment due to coronavirus. More than 90% of the ship’s crew has now been tested resulting in 585 confirmed cases, the Navy said Sunday.

Three other aircraft carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan in Japan and the USS Nimitz and USS Carl Vinson, both in Washington state, have reportedly had positive cases among crew.

Air Force General John Hyten, the military’s second-highest ranking official, said Friday there were a “very small number of breakouts” among the Nimitz’s crew and that suspected cases had been isolated.

A spokesperson later said one sailor had tested positive while out of state and not onboard the ship, and another crew member onboard was tested for the virus but the result was inconclusive.

The USS Nimitz, the lead carrier in its class, is scheduled to deploy to the Pacific, despite the Pentagon’s concerns about the possibility of an outbreak on the ship.

Navy Surgeon General Admiral Bruce Gillingham told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that extensive precautions are being taken, including group isolation onboard and regular disinfecting.

“We’re going to have to learn to operate with the virus,” Gillingham said. “Stealth … is this adversary’s secret power.”

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