14 Apr 2020

USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor dies of Covid-19

6:12 am on 14 April 2020

A sailor who was serving aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier has become the first on the ship to die from Covid-19, the US Navy announced.

The sailor was moved to an isolation house on Guam after testing positive, where he was found unresponsive on 9 April and died on 13 April.

Over 500 sailors on the USS Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus.

The ship's captain was fired this month - to the crew's displeasure - after his letter pleading for help with the outbreak was leaked to US media.

US Aircraft prepare for flight operations on the USS Theodore Roosevelt

US Aircraft prepare for flight operations on the USS Theodore Roosevelt Photo: AFP

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is currently stationed in Guam, with sailors quarantining ashore.

According to a statement by the Navy, the sailor tested positive for the virus on 30 March and was isolated at the naval base with four others.

He received twice-daily medical checks and was found unresponsive on Thursday morning. Fellow sailors administered CPR and the sailor was transferred to the navy hospital.

The Navy reports that 92% of the crew have tested for Covid-19, with 585 positive cases and 3,724 negative. Nearly 4,000 sailors have been moved off the vessel.

On 30 March, the vessel's captain, Brett Crozier, sent a letter to defence officials begging for assistance with the outbreak on board, saying the spread was "accelerating" and it was impossible to contain in the ship's cramped quarters.

US Navy Captain Brett Crozier

US Navy Captain Brett Crozier Photo: AFP PHOTO / MCS 3RD CLASS SEAN LYNCH / US NAVY

His subsequent firing provoked a public outcry and led to the resignation of acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly.

Mr Modly said he removed Captain Crozier for allegedly leaking the letter and creating "the impression the Navy was not responding", claiming that the captain's actions were "naive" and "stupid".

He apologised before resigning.


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