Pentagon expects coronavirus to hit more Navy ships after first outbreak

Pentagon expects coronavirus to hit more Navy ships after first outbreak
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The Pentagon is expecting the novel coronavirus to hit more Navy ships after the outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a top general said Thursday.

Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Navy is anticipating the coronavirus to strike more ships like the Roosevelt, where 416 crew members became infected and 1,164 tests are pending.

One crew member was hospitalized Thursday on Guam, where the ship has been docked for more than a week.

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“It’s not a good idea to think that the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue,” Hyten told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. “We have too many ships at sea. ... To think that it will never happen again is not a good way to plan.”

Adm. Mike Gilday, the Navy’s top officer, said the branch is struggling to test enough people quickly, including sailors on the USS Nimitz — the next aircraft carrier scheduled to depart the U.S., The Associated Press reported

The Nimitz’s crew will have their movements restricted for two weeks before the ship’s departure, he said. One sailor was removed from the Nimitz after showing symptoms but the test was inconclusive. 

“The challenge that we have now, is having that type of capability where we can test in volume and at speed,” Gilday told reporters Thursday, according to the AP. “I really don’t have a good estimate right now on when that testing capability might be available in the kinds of quantities we would like to see.”

His comments follow a shakeup in leadership related to the coronavirus outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Former acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly resigned after removing the ship’s commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, for writing a letter – later leaked in the media – asking Navy officials for quick action for the outbreak on the ship  

Modly stepped down Tuesday after facing backlash for speaking to the Roosevelt’s crew and calling Crozier “naive” or “stupid.”

Updated: 2:40 p.m.