Letters to the Editor • Opinion
The coronavirus pandemic is not over
Letters to the Editor • Opinion
We already know how to prevent pandemics
Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, seen in the Philippine Sea on March 22, 2020. All 5,000 personnel aboard the carrier will be tested for the coronavirus. (U.S. Navy/Reuters)

The Navy plans to test thousands of sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt for the coronavirus after a spate of confirmed cases and will pause the aircraft carrier’s operations at sea, officials said Thursday.

Acting Navy secretary Thomas B. Modly said that eight sailors had tested positive for the virus and that the ship was pulling into Guam, where it would remain pierside. About 5,000 sailors are aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered ship.

“We are in the process now of testing 100 percent of the crew of that ship to ensure that we were able to contain whatever spread might have occurred there on the ship,” Modly said in a briefing at the Pentagon. “But I also want to emphasize that the ship is operationally capable and can do its mission if required to do so.”

Modly said the infected sailors, who were flown off the ship and were under quarantine in Guam, had mild symptoms that had not required hospitalization so far. The remainder of the crew would not be permitted to disembark in Guam “other than on pier-side,” he said.

It is the first such measure taken aboard one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers since the crisis began.

In the last month, the carrier and its strike group have pulled into Vietnam and conducted operations in the South China Sea.

The Navy decision comes as the military scrambles to assist civilian authorities with the U.S. coronavirus response while seeking to confront the threat of widespread contagion in its own ranks — without disrupting its regular overseas missions.

Pentagon leaders have implemented a host of new restrictions, including a crackdown on military movements globally, but many troops continue to live, work and drill in proximity to each other.

As of Thursday morning, the Pentagon had confirmed 280 coronavirus cases among uniformed personnel, 134 among its civilian employees and 62 among contractors.

The Navy accounts for 133 of the Defense Department cases, including 104 active-duty military members, the largest share among the services. Modly declined to speculate about why that might be.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

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