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Almost 600 Theodore Roosevelt sailors have COVID-19, 4 hospitalized, Navy says

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) during an airpower demonstration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chris Brown/Released)

Four sailors on the San-Diego based aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt are in the hospital with COVID-19, the Navy said Tuesday. One is in intensive care.

The hospital admissions come the day after a member of the crew died of complications of the virus after four days in the ICU. The Defense department has not released the name of the sailor.

The Navy also said Tuesday that 589 of the Roosevelt’s crew have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. More than 4,000 of the crew have moved moved off the ship into housing on Guam, either in private homes or hotels.

The San Diego-based carrier has a total crew of roughly 4,845 service members, including its embarked air wing and command staff.

The Roosevelt pulled into Guam March 26 after several sailors on board tested positive for COVID-19.

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A letter written by the ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Brett Crozier, asking the Navy for more assistance for its sailors was leaked and broadly publicized, resulting in Crozier’s firing on April 2.

Days later, then-acting Navy secretary Thomas Modly flew to the western Pacific island and, in a profanity-laced speech over the Roosevelt’s public address system, said Crozier was naive and stupid if he believed his letter wouldn’t be leaked.

Modly resigned April 7, a day after audio of that speech also leaked and was broadly publicized.

The situation on the Roosevelt is indicative of the challenges of containing the virus on Navy ships, where crews work, eat and sleep in extremely close quarters.

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© 2020 The San Diego Union-Tribune