At least 840 sailors assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt had tested positive for the coronavirus, and the number could climb as a “small number” of results are still pending, the Navy announced Thursday.
The Navy had tested the entire 5,000-member crew of the Nimitz class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which made headlines when its former commander, Capt. Brett Crozier, was relieved of duty for issuing a plea for help for his crew that quickly became public.
Thursday’s number rose from the 777 cases the Navy reported Wednesday, when it said 99 percent of the crew had been tested, The Hill reported.
Of the positive cases, 88 sailors have since recovered, the Navy said. Four sailors remain in the hospital, down from six Wednesday, with none in intensive care.
One sailor from the Roosevelt died last week.
After the letter leaked to the media, Crozier was fired by then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, who later resigned after he gave a speech aboard the Roosevelt berating Crozier as “naive” or “stupid” for sending the letter.
Many crew members loudly rebuked Modly’s speech, and gave Crozier, who later tested positive for coronavirus, a standing ovation when he left the ship.
Crozier had asked for permission to let all but 10 percent of the ship’s crew get off in Guam for their protection.
As of Thursday, 4,234 sailors have moved ashore to Guam, where the Roosevelt is docked while the ship’s personnel contend with the outbreak of the pandemic.
The Navy is preparing to announce the findings of its probe into how the letter was leaked to the news media.
Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations and the service’s top officer, will announce investigation results as early as this week at the Pentagon, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
And Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence that the Navy would make the right decision.
“My understanding is the Navy completed its investigation last week. They’re coming to see me today, tomorrow, I believe, or the next day, and they will back brief me on their findings, their recommendations,” Esper told Fox News on Wednesday.
“I’m sure the Navy is going to make the right recommendations, and I will have to assess those, and we’ll move forward from there.”
President Trump initially ripped Crozier, and backed his firing, but later said he would “look into” it.
Meanwhile, Military.com reported that sailors on 26 Navy ships have coronavirus now and 14 other ships have had confirmed cases of illness, though crew members have since recovered.
All the vessels are in port and none of the 90 ships at sea have cases of the virus, according to a Navy official. The Navy has 297 warships in all.