‘Choppy waters’ await Navy as coronavirus strikes aircraft carrier
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.