Aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt sees new COVID-19 cases

  • The USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier crippled by COVID-19 earlier this year, has new cases.
  • Two sailors tested positive and were evacuated from the ship, The New York Times reported. Everyone they came in contact with was placed in quarantine.
  • Earlier this year, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier suffered a serious COVID-19 outbreak that saw hundreds of sailors test positive, a number hospitalized, and one die.
  • The outbreak also caused a political storm within the Navy that saw the carrier’s captain fired and the acting secretary of the Navy resign.
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The US Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which suffered a serious COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, is again seeing sailors test positive for the virus.

Two sailors aboard the carrier, currently at sea near San Diego, tested positive for the virus and had to be evacuated, and all those individuals who came in contact with them during that time were placed in quarantine, The New York Times first reported.

Cmdr. Zach Harrell, a spokesman for Naval Air Forces Pacific, told The Times that after the sailors reported they were experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they were provided immediate medical care and taken off the ship.

The Times reported that the new positive tests worried crew members that they might again face the kind of disastrous situation they saw this past spring.

Toward the end of March, three sailors — two members of the air wing and one from the reactor team — tested positive for COVID-19. In a matter of days, the number of infected jumped from three to a several dozen. The carrier was forced into port in Guam, where it was sidelined by the coronavirus for almost two months.

As more and more Theodore Roosevelt sailors fell ill, a political storm hit after the leak of a letter written by Capt. Brett Crozier, then the ship’s commanding officer, calling on the Navy to quickly take action and evacuate most of the crew. Thomas Modly, at that time the acting secretary of the Navy, fired Crozier days later.

A week later, Modly resigned amid mounting pressure following an inappropriate, profanity-laced speech delivered to the disheartened crew of the Theodore Roosevelt, the final act in a series of critical missteps to address the crisis aboard the carrier.

Modly’s questionable actions aside, a Navy investigation still found fault in Crozier’s behavior, leadership, and handling of the outbreak, so he was not reinstated, despite earlier recommendations by leadership that his firing be reversed.

The Navy battled the coronavirus outbreak aboard the ship for months and was forced to evacuate the majority of the crew as around 1,200 sailors fell ill. A number of sailors were hospitalized as a result, and one sailor died. The USS Theodore Roosevelt finally returned to sea toward the end of May, and the ill-fated deployment ended in July.

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