‘Choppy waters’ await Navy as coro­n­avirus strikes air­craft car­rier

Times Standard (Eureka) - - NEWS - By Lolita C. Bal­dor and Robert Burns

out across a labyrinth of decks linked by steep ladder-like stairs and nar­row cor­ri­dors. En­listed sailors and of­fi­cers have sep­a­rate liv­ing quar­ters, but they rou­tinely grab their food from crowded buf­fet lines and eat at ta­bles joined end-to-end.

Stavridis fears that berthing com­part­ments, or sleep­ing quar­ters where a dozen sailors are of­ten packed into spa­ces not much larger than an av­er­age kitchen, will be­come “birthing com­part­ments” for the virus.

Although the Navy is much smaller than the Army, it ac­counts for at least one-third of all re­ported COVID-19 cases in the mil­i­tary. None has been re­ported among Navy sub­ma­rine crews, which are widely de­ployed and in­clude subs armed with long-range nu­clear mis­siles on con­stant pa­trol.

The U.S. Pa­cific Fleet com­man­der, Adm. John Aquilino, said in an As­so­ci­ated Press interview late Thurs­day that it’s not clear how long the Roo­sevelt will be kept in Guam and that its sched­ule will be ad­justed “as needed.” He said no in­fected sailor is a “crit­i­cal health risk” but some have been hos­pi­tal­ized.

The Roo­sevelt had been in the South China Sea, and its most re­cent port visit had been at Viet­nam’s pop­u­lar coastal city of Da Nang ear­lier this month. The car­rier was en­gaged in an ex­er­cise with an­other U.S. war­ship in the Philip­pine Sea when it first de­tected a COVID-19 in­fec­tion aboard, other of­fi­cials said.

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