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.

Confirmed Cases: 95659

Reported Deaths: 2056
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin26960930
Ramsey10911320
Dakota7524126
Anoka6092133
Stearns401024
Washington379955
Scott257433
Olmsted244628
Nobles197116
Blue Earth16996
Wright16327
St. Louis160241
Carver14197
Clay138940
Rice13358
Mower13285
Sherburne115014
Kandiyohi10112
Winona88718
Lyon6954
Waseca6698
Benton5523
Steele5472
Freeborn5424
Nicollet54016
Watonwan5284
Crow Wing51618
Todd4952
Chisago4941
McLeod4882
Le Sueur4674
Otter Tail4414
Beltrami4215
Martin40810
Goodhue3659
Itasca32814
Pine3280
Douglas3102
Polk3054
Isanti2971
Becker2802
Carlton2701
Morrison2492
Dodge2390
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Pipestone22510
Chippewa2141
Meeker2022
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Sibley1923
Brown1912
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Cass1804
Rock1730
Unassigned17052
Redwood1673
Mille Lacs1643
Murray1642
Renville1518
Jackson1481
Faribault1450
Swift1381
Houston1280
Kanabec1258
Roseau1230
Koochiching1223
Fillmore1200
Pennington1191
Lincoln1110
Hubbard1031
Stevens1031
Pope940
Big Stone820
Aitkin801
Wadena690
Wilkin653
Grant614
Lake590
Lac qui Parle581
Norman540
Marshall521
Mahnomen481
Red Lake451
Traverse310
Clearwater270
Lake of the Woods221
Kittson120
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 85533

Reported Deaths: 1305
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk15872262
Woodbury544764
Johnson512627
Black Hawk448990
Linn4010111
Story344417
Dubuque325741
Scott301128
Dallas278538
Pottawattamie211338
Buena Vista199112
Marshall178434
Sioux16183
Wapello133357
Webster125514
Plymouth114121
Clinton112121
Muscatine110855
Crawford10885
Cerro Gordo105721
Warren9566
Jasper83832
Des Moines7848
Marion7637
Henry7434
Tama71331
Carroll6625
Lee6377
Wright5811
Dickinson5276
Boone5078
Bremer4927
Washington45911
Louisa42915
Mahaska41219
Delaware4023
Floyd3493
Jackson3493
Franklin34818
Winneshiek3356
Clay3264
Lyon3264
Hamilton3223
Benton3101
Winnebago30313
Hardin2991
Poweshiek2958
Buchanan2791
Jones2743
Butler2702
Kossuth2700
Shelby2671
Clarke2653
Emmet26510
Allamakee2616
Clayton2523
Chickasaw2500
Sac2500
Cherokee2492
Cedar2461
Guthrie2456
Fayette2222
Harrison2223
Grundy2203
Madison2192
Iowa2091
Palo Alto2020
Humboldt1903
Mitchell1900
Howard1886
Hancock1842
Calhoun1833
Mills1801
Page1700
Cass1682
Osceola1610
Monroe15911
Pocahontas1592
Lucas1566
Monona1531
Jefferson1381
Appanoose1363
Union1353
Taylor1301
Davis1244
Ida1221
Fremont1180
Van Buren1141
Keokuk1091
Worth1080
Greene1010
Montgomery965
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Unassigned170
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