Sailors onboard the Navy’s USS Essex were hit by the coronavirus, forcing the service to assign replacement personnel to fill in for those sick.
An unidentified sailor of the USS Essex said in an interview to The San Diego Union-Tribune that the four replacement sailors were from USS Bonhomie Richard devastated by a five-day fire in July and scrapped by the Navy recently. It is not known how many of the Essex crew were infected by the virus.
“Personnel assigned to the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ARG)/5th Marine Regiment have tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” said Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a Navy spokeswoman, in a statement. “Sometimes, in order to meet manning and training requirements, we cross deck Sailors, operationally hold prospective losses, utilize reservists, or divert prospective gain Sailors to higher priority units.”
The amphibious assault ship left San Diego in early December with a contingent of Marines for an exercise, and returned on Monday.
Citing the U.S. Navy, the report said 1,281 sailors tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Almost 7,700 sailors have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of November, which is about 40% of the Navy’s total number of cases since the start of the pandemic.