Sailor aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt dies of coronavirus


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The Navy did not disclose the name of the sailor, who was admitted to the intensive care unit of a US Navy hospital on Thursday. CNN previously reported a sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt who tested positive for the virus March 30 was found unresponsive and placed in the intensive care unit.

In addition, a US defense official told CNN that four sailors from the ship have been transferred to hospital.

“Over the weekend, four additional Theodore Roosevelt Sailors were admitted to the hospital for monitoring. All are in stable condition, none are in ICU or on ventilators,” the official said.

Nearly 600 sailors on the Roosevelt have tested positive for Covid-19, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that 92% of the Roosevelt’s crew members have been tested for the virus.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Roosevelt was at the center of a controversy that led to the resignation last week of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who had dismissed the aircraft carrier’s captain Brett Crozier after the leak of a memo in which he implored Navy officials to urgently evacuate the ship to protect the health of its sailors. Crozier also flagged his concerns about challenges of trying to contain the virus aboard the ship and requested that sailors be allowed to quarantine on land.

“We are not at war. 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,” he wrote in the memo that three US defense officials confirmed to CNN.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten told reporters Thursday the US military needed to plan for similar outbreaks in the future as the Defense Department works to cope with the virus’ impacts.

“I think it’s not a good idea to think the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue. We have too many ships at sea, we have too many deployed capabilities. There’s 5,000 sailors on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. To think it will never happen again is not a good way to plan. What we have to do is figure out how to plan in these kind of Covid environments,” Hyten said.

Nearly 3,000 US service members have tested positive for coronavirus, two service members have died.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

CNN’s Chandelis Duster contributed to this report.

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