A sailor on the USS Theodore Roosevelt who tested positive for COVID-19 has died due to complications from the disease, the U.S. Navy said Monday.
The Navy has not released the sailor’s name, but it said the sailor tested positive for COVID-19 on March 30 and was placed in isolation on the naval base in Guam, where the ship is currently docked. The sailor was found unresponsive during a medical check and later died in an intensive care unit, the Navy said.
The ship’s former captain, Capt. Brett Crozier, was ousted April 2 after a memo he wrote, in which he pleaded with his superiors for more help combatting the coronavirus, was released publicly. There were 100 reported cases of COVID-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt at the time.
In his memo, Crozier essentially begged his superiors to allow people to leave the crowded ship and let some sailors self-quarantine in compliance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”
The Navy reported Sunday that there are at least 585 cases of COVID-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
President Donald Trump publicly mocked and berated Crozier after he was removed from his position.
“I thought it was terrible what he did, to write a letter,” Trump said at the time. “This isn’t a class on literature.”
Trump said Crozier’s memo asking for help “raised alarm bells unnecessarily.”
The Trump administration has tried to cobble together a belated response to the pandemic after the president initially downplayed the virus’ impact and suggested concerns about it were part of a “hoax.” The president has also chafed at anyone drawing attention to federal institutions’ failures in responding to the crisis.
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