coronavirus outbreak

Navy Ship Didn't Enforce Social Distancing, Letting COVID Spread: Pentagon Watchdog

More than a quarter of the 4,800-member crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for coronavirus during a shipboard outbreak last year

In this June 4, 2020, photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) departs Apra Harbor in Guam. The carrier has returned to sea and is conducting military operations in the Pacific region 10 weeks after a massive coronavirus outbreak sidelined the Navy warship.
Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier/U.S. Navy via AP

Commanders of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier failed to enforce social distancing and withdrew sailors too early from quarantine last year, aggravating an outbreak of COVID-19 among the ship's crew, according to a report from a Pentagon watchdog, NBC News reports.

The Roosevelt leadership also "allowed social gathering areas to remain open" and continued to conduct urine tests for illegal drugs despite the threat posed by the novel coronavirus and procedures outlined by the Navy, the Defense Department's inspector general said in a report released Monday.

The inspector general found that the Navy had appropriate plans in place to counter a potential outbreak of an infectious disease, but the leadership of the Roosevelt did not fully implement the required measures.

The Roosevelt had just completed a port call in Da Nang, Vietnam, when it reported the ship's first Covid case on March 24 last year. Over the course of the outbreak, 1,271 sailors, or about 27 percent of the 4,800-member crew, tested positive for Covid, according to previous statements by the Defense Department. One crew member died.

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