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One of the active carriers of the United States Navy , known as USS Theodore Roosevelt, has been stranded in the port of the US island Guam after reporting more than 100 positive cases of COVID-19, for more than a week.
The commander-in-command has requested urgent help to be able to treat the infected marines, and prevent the spread of the coronavirus within the ship, but US Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he is not yet “at the point” of prioritizing evacuate crew members.
“We are bringing supplies and assistance to the aircraft carrier in Guam,” Esper said during an interview on CBS Evening News on Tuesday, referring to the USS Theodore Roosevelt and its crew of more than 4,000 US service members.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle was also reporting the same day that the ship’s commander, US Navy Captain Brett Crozier, has written a 4-page letter to the Department of the Navy warning that the ” spread of the disease is ongoing and accelerates. “
Crozier insists that he needs a “political solution” and that the Navy must take “immediate and decisive action” amid an outbreak of coronavirus on the ship in which dozens of service members have been infected – a number that rises to between 150 and 200 Marines infected by statements from a senior officer aboard the ship to The Chronicle .
“We are not at war. Marines do not have to die, ” writes Crozier. ” If we don’t act now, we are not taking proper care of our most trusted asset: our Marines.”
Crozier has requested quarantine rooms in Guam, where the ship is currently anchored, in addition to moving most of its crew and isolating them for 2 weeks. However, he stressed in his letter that he understood that it was an extraordinary request, but that not doing so would be “an unnecessary risk and breaks the faith of those Marines entrusted to our care. “
Esper, who claims not to have had “the opportunity to read the letter in detail,” clarified to CBS News that none of the Marines was “seriously ill . “
“Right now, we are trying to make sure that we contain the virus, that we distribute the test kits , and that we have a good assessment of how many of the crew’s soldiers are infected,” Esper explains. “And then, of course, take other steps to make sure we can get the wearer to sit up and be ready again to continue his mission.”
In addition, he added that he would “trust the Navy chain of command to assess the situation.”
The main civilian leader of the Navy has recognized that there are internal difficulties in evacuating thousands of sailors from the ship. Likewise, the acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, has insisted that the service should adopt a “methodical” criterion so that the sailors “can perform all the essential functions of the ship.”
As of Tuesday, the Defense Department has reported 1,259 workers infected with COVID-19 – of whom 4 have died , including an officer from the New Jersey Army National Guard, United States.
Source: Business Insider