A US Navy sailor serving aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has died after contracting COVID-19 while aboard the 4000-crew vessel.
A spokesperson for the US Navy confirmed that the male had ‘died of complications related to COVID-19’.
On the 30th March, the sailor was tested for coronavirus and was taken ashore before being placed in ‘isolation housing’ on the island of Guam along with four other crew members who had also tested positive.
On the 9th April, US Navy personnel found the male unresponsive. He was taken into critical care but died on 13th April.
The sailor has become the US’ first active-duty military member to die after contracting COVID-19. The USN has not released the name of the sailor.
Two weeks ago, the Captain of the aircraft carrier was fired after he raised concerns about the enough had not done enough to protect his 4000-strong crew from the deadly virus.
Talking about the death, Admiral Mike Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, said:
“My deepest sympathy goes out to the family and we pledge our full support to the ship and crew as they continue their fight against the coronavirus.”
James McPherson, Acting Secretary of the Navy, said his “thoughts, prayers, and eternal gratitude” were with the sailor’s family.
Over the weekend, another four crew members were admitted to shoreside hospitals after their condition deteriorated.
As of Monday, just under 600 crew members have tested positive for COVID-19.
Most of the ship’s company have now been moved off of the ship with just a skeleton crew left on board to monitor and maintain the ships vital systems – including its nuclear reactor.
On 2nd April, Thomas Modly, who was Acting Navy Secretary at the time, caused widespread controversy in the military community after he fired the ship’s caption after he wrote an email calling for help and assistance.
Captain Brett Crozier could see the potential outcome from the crisis as it unfolded aboard his ship as more crew members started to fall ill.
Trying to justify his decision to fire the decorated Captain, Mr Modly said that Capt Brett Crozier ‘had copied too many people into the email’ and that ‘he should have gone directly to his immediate commanders’.
Five days after firing Captain Crozier, in a bizarre move, Mr Modly flew to the ship to address the crew. In a haphazard speech, Modly said that Capt Crozier was either “too naive or too stupid” to be in charge of the vessel.
Modely later apologised for his comments directed at the highly respected Captain and he resigned from his position having only been in office for five months.
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