Pentagon warns of more outbreaks with Sailor in the ICU

USS Theodore Roosevelt.png
Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 20:25:45-04

WASHINGTON (KGTV)-- The Pentagon is working on an action plan for on-ship COVID outbreaks after a sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt ended up in the ICU. Military officials say what's happening on the San Diego-based aircraft carrier is likely not an isolated incident.

She's a magnificent, one-thousand-foot Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. But on the inside, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is a tight maze.

"Sailors, when they are coming towards one another, have to turn sideways to pass one another," former military reporter, Bob Lawrence said.

Lawrence said it's no surprise that the Coronavirus took over the ship so quickly. He said it is near impossible to practice social distancing. Of the 5,000 people aboard, more than 400 have tested positive. Early Thursday, the crew found one of their sailors unresponsive.

"We've had one hospitalized... one in the ICU," Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten said.

Hyten said we should not assume that his outbreak is an isolated event. He said the Coronavirus is likely to affect more Navy ships.

"It's not a good idea to think that Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue," General Hyten said.

In his first address, new Acting Navy Secretary Jim McPherson said the priorities in fighting the COVID-19 crisis are to:

"... protect our people, maintain warfighting readiness, and fully support the whole of government/whole of nation response to protect the American people."

Many argued that 'Protecting our people' was exactly what the now-fired USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain, Brett Crozier was trying to do, by notifying Navy leadership of their onboard crisis.

"Every Commanding Officer is charged protecting their crew. That's first and foremost: the safety of their crew," Lawrence said. "In this particular case, Captain Crozier was overly concerned and rightly concerned with the health and wellbeing of his crew on board."

Others believed Captain Crozier broke the chain of command. As the investigation into his actions continues, the Pentagon will construct a set of guidelines on how to deal with future outbreaks.

"We have to figure out how to plan for operations in these kinds of COVID environments," General Hyten said.

Wednesday, the French Defense Ministry ordered one of their aircraft carriers back to port, after around 40 sailors showed symptoms of COVID-19.