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19 Mar, 2020 09:05

Going down? 2nd coronavirus case confirmed aboard US Navy warship despite ‘aggressive mitigation strategy’

Going down? 2nd coronavirus case confirmed aboard US Navy warship despite ‘aggressive mitigation strategy’

The USS Boxer is now the first ship in the US Navy with more than one sailor infected with Covid-19. A new case was confirmed on Wednesday.

The first positive test for the disease was recorded among the amphibious assault ship’s crew on Friday.

The second infected seaman wasn’t in contact with the first one, the Navy said, adding that “the Sailors work in two different departments.” 

The two sailors are currently isolated at their homes in accordance with protocol. People who came into contact with them have also been quarantined.  

The commanders of the ship, which is now stationed in San Diego, California, introduced what they call an “aggressive mitigation strategy” in order to stop the spread of the virus, which has already killed more than 8,700 people around the globe, including at least 151 in the US.

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Medics screen everyone who comes aboard; the sailors deep clean the ship with bleach two times a day, with the practice of social distancing also being implementing.

Other measures include closing the gyms, placing antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer throughout the massive 257-meter-long vessel, and assigning personnel beds that are at least six feet (1.8m) apart.

Containing the coronavirus is a tough challenge for the Navy as the ships and submarines have large crews that have to work in close quarters, often during months-long missions.

The USS Boxer, which can host up to 1,200 sailors and transport over 1,000 Marines, has reported problems with self-distancing – which, ironically, happened during a meeting to promote self-distancing after the first Covid-19 case, with around 80 people crowded in a small room for 30 minutes.   

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Coronavirus cases have been confirmed on several other US Navy ships as well. The Department of Defense said on Wednesday that 49 service members, 14 military civilians, 19 dependents, and seven contractors have so far tested positive.

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