Photo Credit: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi
Navy Seaman onboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, June 4, 2020.

The US Navy revealed on Monday that 60% of the sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier tested positive for the coronavirus, meaning they had the antibodies for the disease in their bloodstream.

According to Reuters, the Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began serology tests in April, looking for the antibodies created by the immune system to combat the Covid-19 virus, and back then, 1,100 individuals tested positive, which was less than 25% of the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew of about 4,800.

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Later, an antibody study of 400 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier found that more than 60% of them tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

One sailor from the carrier died from the coronavirus and a few others were hospitalized, but the vast majority of the sailors, who are by definition younger and healthier than the general population, showed no symptoms of the disease. Nevertheless, the ship’s captain was relieved of his command, not over the spread of the virus on his watch, but because a letter he wrote asking the Navy brass for help protect his crew was leaked.

There has been another outbreak of the coronavirus, aboard the destroyer USS Kidd, and the Navy has already issued new guidelines for ships at sea as well as ships heading out to sea. Sailors must wear masks and maintain social distancing during their deployment – which, as many civilians would tell you, is easier said than done. Also, a ship’s crew must be tested and quarantined for 14 days before boarding a ship preparing to head out to sea.

Also, as was to be expected, most sailors will remain onboard during port visits, except for stops at the Navy bases in Guam and Okinawa in the Pacific, which have been turned into safe havens for recreation. Similar safe havens in the Middle East and the Mediterranean are yet to be picked.

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