A sailor who served aboard the aircraft carrier that had become overrun with coronavirus cases has become the first active duty service member to die from COVID-19 complications, according to reports.
Politico reports that a sailor from the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) was admitted to intensive care last week and died by Monday morning.
The ship is currently docked in Guam, and the majority of the crew has been evacuated from the ship for testing and to prevent further spread. Only a small crew remains to maintain the nuclear reactor and other critical systems.
Four other sailors from the ship have been admitted to the hospital, but they are in stable condition.
The report does not provide identifying details of the sailor, but it does indicate he was an older member of the crew. COVID-19 presents risks to people of all ages, but it appears to be particularly dangerous for those who are older and have underlying conditions.
“The entire Department is deeply saddened by the loss of our first active duty member to COVID-19,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the family of the USS Theodore Roosevelt sailor who lost his battle with the virus today. We remain committed to protecting our personnel and their families while continuing to assist in defeating this outbreak.”
The Roosevelt has been in the news for the past couple of weeks after a controversy erupted that led to the firing of the carrier’s commanding officer and the resignation of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly last week.
Capt. Brett Crozier was the CO of the Roosevelt until he sent a letter outside of the Navy chain of command to multiple Navy leaders urging action after the virus began spreading aboard the ship, infecting dozens of crew members. Modly fired him for doing so. Crozier has since tested positive for the virus himself.
The controversial firing combined with a subsequent message to the ship’s crew in which he reportedly called Crozier “stupid” and “naive” led to Modly’s own resignation.
PHOTO: NAVAL BASE GUAM (April 10, 2020) Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1 and NMCB 5 coordinate transportation of Sailors assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) who have tested negative for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic from Naval Base Guam to government of Guam and military- approved commercial lodging. Sailors will be required to remain in quarantine in their assigned lodging for at least 14 days, in accordance with DoD directive and the Governor’s executive order. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Omar Powell/Released)