Rapid increase in cornavirus cases aboard US aircraft carrier


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Earlier in the day, acting Marine Secretary Thomas Modly had said there were "several" more cases on board the ship, but did not give a specific number.

"We are in the process of testing 100% of the crew on that ship to ensure we are able to contain the spread that may have occurred," Modly told reporters at the Pentagon on a briefing Thursday morning. There are approximately 5000 personnel on board the carrier.

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Roosevelt is moving into Guam, according to Modly. "No one on the crew will be allowed to leave anywhere for Guam, other than on the brew side," he said.

The ship was last in port in Vietnam more than two weeks ago. It is not clear where the sailors originally infected the virus. The Navy is now flying all personnel of the ship.

Wall Street Journal first reported increase.

The nearly eight-fold increase in the positive number of two days on board the ship is the latest red flag for how the pandemic affects the US military. There are now a total of 280 officials who tested positive for the new coronavirus as of Thursday morning, an increase of 53 from 227 reported on Wednesday. And there are almost 600 positive cases across the Department of Defense, which include civilians, dependents and contractors. According to Modly, 133 of these are in the Navy.

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On Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper had ordered a 60-day freeze on all foreign US troop movements, affecting 90,000 planned deployments, in one of the latest measures to combat the spread of the virus. The order excludes, among other things, patients on board Roosevelt.

Esper also raised the health protection status of all defense installations around the world, limiting access and encouraging telephone work across the department.

Despite social distance measures being taken throughout the department as they are across the country, Joint Staff Surgeon Brig has. General Paul Friedrichs told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday, "We believe we will continue to see this – no surprise – continue to grow" over the next three weeks, as long as they can model.

President Donald Trump has said he wants the economy reopened by Easter.

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"We think the best way to curb growth or slow growth is the measures we've talked about," Friedrichs said. "I don't think there's much value in speculating on a particular date."

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