A Navy investigation into the spread of Covid-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt has reportedly revealed that about 60 percent of the sailors tested had antibodies for the virus. The findings suggest a far higher infection rate than previously known and once again could start a debate on how carelessly things were handled during the early days of the pandemic that risked the lives of hundreds of sailors.
The revelations come days before the USS Roosevelt gears up to return to the sea. The San Diego-based aircraft carrier, which became the center of the Navy's biggest Covid-19 outbreak, will return to the sea after more than two months.
Fresh Tests Shocking
An antibody study of around 400 sailors who were aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt revealed that more than 60 percent of them have had antibodies of Covid-19, according to two U.S. officials. The test, which required blood samples, suggests a far higher rate of infection than previously known. However, the test matches earlier data that revealed most sailors who tested positive for coronavirus were asymptomatic.
The highly anticipated joint study was conducted by the U.S. Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the results of which are expected Tuesday. The study initially sought 1,000 volunteers but even this result will provide researchers with enough valuable data on how Covid-19 affects young adults.
USS Theodore Roosevelt was docked on March 27 after the then captain of the ship Brett Crozier almost pleaded with the Navy to rescue the sailors who were infected with the virus. Around 1,200 sailors onboard were infected with coronavirus, with the majority of them asymptomatic or showing only mild symptoms. Of them, around 10 had to be hospitalized.
USS Theodore Roosevelt Set to Sail Again
Although the Navy responded to Crozier's pleading and docked the ship, he was fired after his memo got leaked to the press. The crew, however, cheered Crozier's decision and gave him a grand send-off. Since then the iconic aircraft carrier remains docked at Guam. That said, USS Theodore Roosevelt will finally take to the sea this week after being in quarantine for 10 weeks.
The vessel, which left Guam last week, has been cleaned and disinfected and is once again ready to sail in the western Pacific Ocean under the leadership of Captain Carlos Sardiello. The carrier, however, will be sailing with a binder of new procedures that need to be followed. Although the carrier won't be testing the entire crew for Covid-19, sailors will be in masks and follow a range of other guidelines.