Coronavirus outbreak hits second US Navy ship at sea

USS Kidd is heading back to port from the eastern Pacific

A U.S. Navy destroyer deployed off Mexico’s western coast is the second American warship at sea to suffer an outbreak of coronavirus onboard, the Pentagon confirmed on Friday, April 24.

Eighteen sailors onboard the USS Kidd have tested positive for the virus, the Navy said Friday.

The outbreak aboard the USS Kidd, first reported by Reuters, was detected after a sailor exhibiting symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 and was later evacuated off the ship, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said.

The USS Kidd is heading back to port “quickly” after an eight-person Navy medical team boarded the ship in an attempt to help contain the virus’ spread, Hoffman told reporters.

The Kidd is in the same carrier strike group as the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier pulled from rotation in the Pacific and ordered to port in Guam in March due to a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

So far 840 sailors from the Teddy Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus and one sailor has died, according to the Pentagon. Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned earlier in April after upbraiding the ship’s former captain, Brett Crozier. Captain Crozier was relieved of his command when his urgent request to the Navy to evacuate his crew on Guam leaked to the media.

Hoffman did not specify where the USS Kidd had most recently been in port, nor where it is headed. The Kidd visited Guam in February during deployment with the USS Teddy Roosevelt, according to the Navy. It has since been ordered to a counter-narcotics deployment in the eastern Pacific.

“Within 24 hours of the first person who was symptomatic on the ship, they had a medical team on that ship doing a detailed analysis and contact tracing of members of the crew,” Hoffman told reporters.

Once in port, the Kidd will undergo disinfection and may offload crew members to isolate the outbreak.

“Fingers crossed. The Navy’s doing everything they can right now,” Hoffman said, adding, “This is a learning environment, this is not something we’ve had to deal with.”

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