Fate of virus-hit US aircraft carrier worsened by Cold War mentality

By Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/1 18:58:40

A US FA-18 Hornet fighter jet flies past fighter jets and E-2C Hawkeyes during a routine training aboard US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the South China Sea. File photo: AFP


With the spread of the novel coronavirus accelerating on US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, the warship faces a fate much worse than the Diamond Princess cruise ship as most of the crew members remain in close quarters on the carrier to maintain its combat readiness. Chinese experts said on Wednesday that the US should shift focus to epidemic control, because no one would attack the US even if the carrier goes out of action. 

Only a small number of infected sailors have been off-loaded and most of the crew members remain aboard the ship, which has limitations of space, making following quarantine guidelines impossible, according to a letter Brett Crozier, captain of the Theodore Roosevelt, sent to senior US military officials, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday.

Crozier asked for more quarantine rooms on land in Guam, where the carrier stays, for his entire crew as soon as possible. He also said the Theodore Roosevelt is facing a much worse situation than the Diamond Princess cruise ship, even under best-case results, given the current environment.  

In response to Crozier's letter, US acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly told CNN on Tuesday that crew members were needed to stay on the carrier because it has armaments and aircraft on it.

"If that ship had to sail today for combat it's ready to sail right now if it was needed," said Jeff Taliaferro, the vice director for operations for the Joint Staff of the US, on Monday, CNN reported.

The US is putting the lives of its sailors under the unnecessary threat of the coronavirus due to an outdated Cold War mentality, and there is no need to maintain the carrier's combat readiness, Chinese experts said.

The Theodore Roosevelt was in the South China Sea to carry out  provoking military actions in mid-March, but these actions were not necessary to the US' national security, and no one would launch an attack on the US in the first place, Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"The US is not facing the threat of war, but it is seeking enemies everywhere it goes with a Cold War mentality, looking for unnecessary trouble," Zhang said.

"Even if all crew members on the aircraft carrier disembark and go into quarantine, no other country will wage war on the US," Zhang said.

Since the first three confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified on March 24, the aircraft carrier — with more than 4,000 people aboard — now has 150 to 200 infected sailors, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a senior officer on board the warship.

Another US aircraft carrier, the Japan-based Ronald Reagan, is also facing a "handful" of positive COVID-19 cases, CNN reported on Wednesday.


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