USS Theodore Roosevelt now has over 400 confirmed coronavirus cases

A sailor from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt was admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) in Guam after testing positive for the coronavirus last month, the U.S. navy said on Thursday, as the number of coronavirus cases on the ship jumped to over 400.

The case comes after Thomas Modly resigned as acting navy secretary on Tuesday, following a mounting backlash over his firing and ridiculing of the commander of the Theodore Roosevelt, who pleaded for help stemming a coronavirus outbreak on board.

In a statement, the U.S. navy said the sailor was in a 14-day isolation period when admitted to the U.S. Naval Hospital Guam on Thursday.

The number of positive cases on the ship is now 416, up from the 286 positive cases the navy reported on Wednesday.

Stars and Stripes, a military newspaper, reported that the 286 figure represented about 10 per cent of the ship’s crew. About 2,329 sailors from the Roosevelt had moved ashore as of Wednesday, the paper reported.

During speech, Modly said Crozier either ‘stupid’ or ‘naive’

Modly’s resignation highlighted the U.S. military’s struggle to meet increasingly competing priorities: maintaining readiness for conflict and safeguarding service members as the virus spreads globally.

Modly resigned only after mounting pressure from Congress and a backlash from the Theodore Roosevelt’s crew.

Capt. Brett Crozier, who Modly relieved of command last week, urged more dramatic steps to safeguard his sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt in a four-page letter that leaked to the public last week.

Capt. Brett Crozier is shown on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in November. His firing has led to a barrage of criticism and the resignation of the acting navy secretary. (Nicholas Huynh/U.S. navy/The Associated Press)

Modly’s controversial trip to Guam over the weekend during which he ridiculed the commander of the aircraft carrier cost taxpayers at least $243,000 US.

During the trip, Modly questioned Crozier’s character, saying at one point he was either “stupid” or “naive.”

After audio of his speech leaked, including expletives, Modly initially stood by his remarks. But he later apologized at U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s request.

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