US Captain Fighting Outbreak Pleads With Navy to Evacuate

USS Roosevelt, docked in Guam, has at least 100 infections among crew
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2020 9:05 PM CDT
Updated Apr 1, 2020 5:05 AM CDT
In Outbreak, US Captain Pleads: 'Sailors Do Not Need to Die'
The USS Theodore Roosevelt, shown in 2018, is battling a coronavirus outbreak.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

With at least 100 sailors having tested positive for the coronavirus, the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt is pleading with his Navy bosses to let him evacuate the crew onto land. The ship has a crew of more than 4,000. "We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die," Capt. Brett Crozier wrote to senior military officials. "If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset—our Sailors." The nuclear aircraft carrier has been docked in Guam since the outbreak began less than a week ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Navy has said it plans to administer coronavirus tests to the entire crew, per the Washington Post, but Crozier said that won't do much good because there isn't room to isolate or even separate infected people on the ship.

The captain wants to take 90% of his crew off the Roosevelt. "The problem is that Guam doesn't have enough beds right now," the acting Navy secretary said, "and so we’re having to talk to the government there to see if we can get some hotel space or create some tent-like facilities there." An admiral said, "We want to make sure we understand exactly what the leader on the ground needs," per CNN. Crew members' families have been upset that the Navy hasn't provided more information about the Roosevelt's situation, and were relieved to learn of Crozier's letter, per the Wall Street Journal. "When you are home on land, you can check in and see your child," said a relative of a sailor on the carrier. "But we have no way to get to them, so the only way we know anything is when we hear from them." (More coronavirus stories.)

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