According to the San Diego United Tribune in California, the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship Essex, which recently stayed at sea, had an epidemic.
Many sailors tested positive for the novel coronavirus and fell ill as a result. The U.S. Navy had to send a new team to replace them on board.
The news was revealed by a sailor on the Essex, who said that the outbreak occurred in the ship’s engineering department, and many sailors were infected.
Many of the sailors who took over the ship to replace the crew infected with the novel coronavirus came from another amphibious assault ship. The team on the Good Richard, who had a serious fire in July this year and had been planned to be scrapped, arrived on the Essex by board the LCAC hovercraft.
A naval official said that four of the sailors sent to Essex were from the Good Richard.
Naval Surface Forces Pacific, based in San Diego, confirmed some of the sailor’s claims, but declined to say how many sailors on Essex were affected by the epidemic.
Navy spokesman Nicole Swigman said in a statement: “Some of the personnel assigned to the Amphibious Command Group (ARG) of the Essex have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.” She also said that in order to meet staffing and training requirements, in the event of expected losses, sailors from reserve troops or higher priority troops will be allowed to carry out cross-deck operations.
Essex left San Diego in early December with a detachment from the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment at Pendleton Marine Corps Base for the annual “Iron Knight/Dawn Lightning” exercise.
Marine Division 1 official did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but a Marine officer who commented without authorization said only one in five Marines were affected by the pandemic.
It is reported that Essex has returned to San Diego on the 14th.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. military has not released the number of confirmed cases in specific areas, but sporadic reports of outbreaks on ships and garrisons indicate that the U.S. military’s ability to maintain normal operations is challenged as the number of confirmed cases in the community increases.
In a November letter sent to the Pacific Fleet, the U.S. Navy said that the infection rate among sailors was “usually the same as the local infection rate”.
The latest figures released by the U.S. Navy show that 1,281 sailors across the Navy have tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Nearly 7,700 sailors have tested positive for the coronavirus since the beginning of November, which is 40% of the Navy’s cumulative number of confirmed cases since the outbreak began.
According to a 2019 study, 1/6 of the Navy sailors in active service are stationed in San Diego.
Using this ratio and the cumulative number of confirmed cases in the U.S. Navy, it shows that about 500 San Diego sailors have tested positive for COVID-19.