The coronavirus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt is expected to return to sea later this week with a pared-down crew.
The anticipated return comes nearly two months after the aircraft carrier was sidelined in Guam with a rapidly spreading COVID-19 outbreak aboard the 5,000-person ship.
Navy Capt. Carlos Sardiello told Military.com Monday that the ship will sail with a roughly 3,000-person crew, leaving about 1,800 crew members on shore to remain in quarantine — including 14 sailors who recently tested positive for COVID-19 after being cleared.
“We’re at the time where [we] expect the unexpected and deal with it. There’s no good news. There’s no bad news. It’s COVID and we don’t understand it completely,” Capt. Sardiello said. “We’re executing according to plan to return to sea, and fighting through the virus is a part of that.”
More than 1,000 service members who were stationed on the Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus, including ousted Captain Brett Crozier, who was relieved of command after writing a letter to Navy leaders pleading for help and warning that the situation on his vessel was dire, and that sailors would likely die without a stronger response.
Officials told the publication that the Theodore Roosevelt is expected to depart within the next several days, and will conduct naval operations in the Pacific before returning to its home port in San Diego.
As of Friday, the Navy has at least 2,205 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Pentagon figures. The next highest branch is the Army, with 1,172 cases.
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