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Rapid increase in coronavirus cases aboard US aircraft carrier

CNN's Barbara Starr reports.

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 12:47 PM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 7:30 PM


There are now 25 sailors who have tested positive for the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, just two days after the Pentagon announced that three sailors aboard the ship had tested positive for the virus, a Navy official has confirmed to CNN.

The Navy says they expect there to be additional positive tests among the crew, with one official telling CNN there could possibly be 'dozens' of new cases that emerge. A second official said that were there to be a large number of additional cases, the Defense Department would be unlikely to publicly specify how many of the Navy's overall cases are amongst members of the crew of the Roosevelt, due to concerns that adversaries such as China or North Korea could see the ship as vulnerable.

Despite the outbreak, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said in a statement, 'we are confident that our aggressive response will keep USS Theodore Roosevelt able to respond to any crisis in the region.'

Earlier in the day, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly had said there were 'several' more cases onboard the ship, but did not give a specific number.

'We are in the process now of testing 100% of the crew of that ship to ensure that we're able to contain whatever spread might've occurred,' Modly told reporters at the Pentagon at a briefing Thursday morning. There are approximately 5,000 personnel on board the carrier.

The Roosevelt is in the process of pulling into Guam, according to Modly. 'No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere into Guam, other than on pier side,' he said.

The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago. It is not clear where the sailors initially contracted the virus. The Navy is now in the process of flying all personnel off the ship.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the increase.

The more than eightfold spike in the number of positive cases in two days aboard the ship is the latest red flag of how the pandemic is affecting the US military. There is now at least 280 servicemembers who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus as of Thursday morning, an increase of at least 53 from the 227 reported on Wednesday. And there are nearly 600 positive cases across the Defense Department, which includes civilians, dependents, and contractors. According to Modly, 133 of those are in the Navy.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed that Defense Secretary Mark Esper had ordered a 60-day freeze on all overseas US troop movements, affecting 90,000 scheduled deployments, in one of the latest measures to fight the spread of the virus. The order exempts patients such as those aboard the Roosevelt, among others.

Esper also raised the health protection status for all defense installations worldwide, limiting access and encouraging telework across the department.

Despite social distance measures being taken across the department, as they are across the nation, Joint Staff Surgeon Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday, 'we think that we're going to continue to see this -- no surprise -- continue to grow' in the next three weeks, the farthest out they are able to model.

President Donald Trump has said he wants to have the economy opened back up by Easter.

'We think the best way to limit that growth or to mitigate that growth are the measures that we've been talking about,' said Friedrichs. 'I don't think there's a great deal of value in speculating on a particular date.'

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 448268

Reported Deaths: 6013
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin931011480
Ramsey40016739
Dakota33072340
Anoka30999364
Washington20164228
Stearns17871187
St. Louis13690241
Scott1195496
Wright11614104
Olmsted1048475
Sherburne821365
Carver694836
Clay653280
Rice606868
Kandiyohi554371
Blue Earth541033
Crow Wing482774
Otter Tail457167
Chisago452732
Benton420186
Winona389646
Douglas374166
Nobles370846
Mower365529
Goodhue347958
Polk328658
McLeod325345
Morrison311744
Beltrami310347
Lyon302236
Becker284939
Itasca284543
Isanti282841
Carlton280043
Steele27379
Pine266713
Freeborn245321
Todd231730
Nicollet224636
Brown215134
Mille Lacs214246
Le Sueur210015
Cass207623
Meeker199733
Waseca189316
Wabasha17083
Martin170026
Roseau165416
Hubbard149338
Redwood139727
Renville137539
Houston135913
Dodge13474
Chippewa131332
Cottonwood127218
Fillmore12355
Wadena120116
Rock110212
Sibley10857
Aitkin108433
Watonwan10668
Faribault105916
Pennington99215
Kanabec97818
Pipestone94423
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85610
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70215
Stevens7018
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63715
Wilkin6259
Koochiching59610
Lincoln4841
Big Stone4573
Unassigned43768
Grant4298
Norman4248
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3174
Traverse2503
Lake of the Woods1951
Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 305606

Reported Deaths: 4278
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45754449
Linn17795275
Scott15444163
Black Hawk13773236
Woodbury13016175
Johnson1211749
Dubuque11387150
Pottawattamie8992112
Dallas888671
Story869434
Webster469771
Cerro Gordo466768
Sioux455157
Clinton450361
Warren443938
Marshall427761
Buena Vista393429
Muscatine390477
Des Moines381841
Plymouth350368
Wapello344198
Jasper321959
Lee317130
Marion304952
Jones271349
Henry264330
Carroll255434
Bremer245048
Crawford231022
Boone218417
Washington217632
Benton209444
Mahaska193136
Jackson192031
Tama187757
Dickinson186026
Delaware173736
Kossuth173644
Clay168820
Wright164824
Fayette162322
Hamilton160029
Buchanan159923
Winneshiek155719
Harrison155162
Hardin154729
Cedar153219
Clayton151448
Butler148224
Page144715
Floyd139636
Cherokee139027
Mills136416
Lyon135332
Poweshiek132724
Hancock130224
Allamakee127928
Iowa125422
Calhoun12279
Grundy121226
Jefferson120724
Madison12039
Winnebago119429
Mitchell116234
Louisa115030
Cass113341
Chickasaw111612
Sac111215
Emmet110831
Appanoose110538
Union108822
Humboldt105519
Guthrie103024
Shelby102926
Franklin102418
Unassigned9310
Palo Alto9079
Montgomery85622
Keokuk85026
Howard84219
Monroe81218
Clarke7957
Pocahontas77611
Ida74630
Greene6927
Davis69121
Adair68820
Lucas6508
Monona64016
Osceola6409
Worth6113
Taylor5949
Fremont5126
Van Buren49712
Decatur4894
Ringgold4389
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2963
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