- "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset our Sailors," Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's CO, wrote in the letter exclusively obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle.
- He called on the Navy to find rooms off-ship to isolate almost the entire crew, a drastic measure the captain feels is necessary to achieve a clean ship.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
The commanding officer of a deployed aircraft carrier hit by a coronavirus outbreak is pleading with the US Navy for help, pushing the service to isolate all crew members off of the ship, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
The Navy reported three coronavirus cases aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt last Tuesday. The number of cases spiked to more than 30 by Friday, Fox News reported at the time. The Chronicle reports that there are now over 100 cases aboard the carrier.
The coronavirus forced the ship into port in Guam, where the Navy is testing the entire crew for the virus. The Navy has repeatedly insisted that the ship remains operationally capable.
"The spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerating," Capt. Brett Crozier, the carrier's commanding officer, wrote in a letter to the Navy exclusively obtained by The Chronicle.
The outlet, citing an anonymous source aboard the ship, said that as many as 150 to 200 sailors have the coronavirus.
There are two possible end states for the Roosevelt, the captain wrote in his letter.
The TR can "maximize warfighting readiness and capacity as quickly as possible," he wrote. "We go to war with the force we have and fight sick. We never achieve a COVID-free TR. There will be losses to the virus."
Or, he said, the Navy can take "immediate and decisive action" to achieve a clean ship. "We are not at war," Crozier told the Navy. "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset our Sailors."
Crozier called for isolating most of the carrier's nearly 5,000 crew members off-ship, acknowledging that doing so might be considered an "extraordinary measure."
The captain said that the current strategy, which involves removing only a small number of sailors, "will only slow the spread," adding that the plan presently being executed aboard the Roosevelt "will not achieve virus eradication on any timeline."
He argued that the Navy's focus on testing over proper quarantine is inappropriate.
He said that he is requesting "all available resources to find NAVADMIN and CDC compliant quarantine rooms for my entire crew as soon as possible."
A Navy official told Insider that the TR's commanding officer "alerted leadership in the Pacific Fleet" of "continuing challenges in isolating the virus."
"The ship's commanding officer advocated for housing more members of the crew in facilities that allow for better isolation. Navy leadership is moving quickly to take all necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the crew of USS Theodore Roosevelt, and is pursuing options to address the concerns raised by the commanding officer," the official said.
- There's been a coronavirus outbreak aboard a deployed US Navy aircraft carrier, and at least 25 sailors have it
- US Navy rushing to test all 5,000 sailors on deployed aircraft carrier hit by serious coronavirus outbreak
- As the fleet grapples with coronavirus, the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier hit a major operational milestone