Nearly 100 sailors from the US Navy destroyer USS Kidd have tested positive for coronavirus, two US defense officials told CNN Friday.
The ship, which is currently in port in San Diego, was the second US warship to be struck by an outbreak of the pandemic after the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
The officials said that there are more than 95 cases currently aboard the ship, meaning that almost 30% of the crew has been infected, surpassing the infection rate for the USS Theodore Roosevelt which has seen approximately 24% of its crew infected.
The handing of the outbreak aboard the aircraft carrier led to the firing of the ship’s commanding officer, and the resignation of the acting Navy Secretary. It has been the subject of a Navy investigation which is due to be completed on May 27 following an initial preliminary inquiry that officials tell CNN recommended that the aircraft carrier’s former captain, Capt. Brett Crozier, be reinstated.
The Navy on Friday stopped providing official daily figures about the number of cases on the Kidd and Theodore Roosevelt, saying that it “will only report significant changes on these vessels and new cases on any other deployed vessels.”
On Thursday night, a Navy statement said that official number of active coronavirus cases on the Kidd was 78.
The 20% increase in positive coronavirus cases does not appear to have met the Navy’s definition of “significant” information.
The statement Thursday said that the USS Theodore Roosevelt had 1,102 active cases in addition to 53 sailors who have recovered from coronavirus after completing at least 14 days in isolation and two successful negative tests. Three sailors from the ship are being treated in US Naval Hospital Guam for coronavirus symptoms. None of those sailors are in the ICU.
Asked about the new policy, chief Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman told reporters at the Pentagon “we wanted to get out of the pattern of providing a daily tracker of minor changes.”
“We’ve now reached a point with both of those ships, particularly with the (Theodore Roosevelt), where we’ve gone through, the entire crew’s been off, the entire crew’s been tested, we have the results, the ship has been cleaned, the crew is now returning to the ship. So we believe that we have moved past a point where the daily updates are providing useful information for a public conversation about it,” Hoffman said.
“If there was unfortunately an additional outbreak, we would provide information. But we wanted to get out of the pattern of providing a daily tracker of minor changes in this. And I think that’s a reasonable place to be,” Hoffman added.