A U.S. Navy ship with a fully vaccinated crew is stuck at the pier at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Cuba after some of the sailors tested positive for COVID. As reported by the U.S. Navy’s 4th Fleet, the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) a Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, departed Mayport Naval Station its regularly scheduled deployment to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations.
Though the crew is reported to be 100% immunized which should mean greatly reduced symptoms, COVID positive sailors have been placed in isolation and quarantine aboard the ship which means they are confined to one compartment(SOFREP has been told this can include the brig on larger vessels) and are not permitted to leave except to use the head. Meals are brought to them. Depending on the test being used these sailors could continue to test positive for months after exposure.
This seems to contradict the Navy Administrative Policy Directives issued in June, 2021 which stated,
“CLOSE CONTACTS WHO HAVE BEEN FULLY VACCINATED AND INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE TESTED POSITIVE IN THE PAST THREE MONTHS DO NOT NEED TO QUARANTINE.”
The report states that “A portion of those infected have exhibited mild symptoms.” which suggests that the COVID tests were done on all sailors returning from liberty ashore in Guantanamo rather than sailors who came forward reporting they felt ill.
It goes on to say the specific variant of COVID is unknown and that CDC guidelines are being followed to include contract tracing and testing.
Placing vaccinated Sailors in quarantine/isolation appears to be the same policy the Navy had prior to the availability of vaccinations when a COVID outbreak aboard the carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt in March of 2021. In that case, the aircraft carrier was stuck at the pier in Guam while more than four thousand sailors were evacuated from the ship. Eleven-hundred and fifty-six members of the crew tested positive, three required hospitalization,s and one died. The Roosevelt did not return to sea until May 21st leaving eighteen-hundred of her crew on Guam still in quarantine.
As late as September, the Navy was saying that mandatory vaccinations were needed to ensure operational readiness in the fleet, presumably to assure navy vessels would be able to deploy and fully complete their missions. In a story by DCmiliary.com Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, U.S Navy Surgeon General, Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery was quoted as saying,
“The DoD’s mandatory vaccination policy is the proven way to ensure the readiness and the safety of our naval force, DoD civilian workforce, and the American people and our allies and partners. Vaccinating every eligible service member improves readiness and ensures our Sailors and Marines are equipped with the biological body armor needed to protect ourselves from biological threats,”
While the basic treatment for COVID infection mirrors the same medications used to treat ordinary influenza, there are emergency use authorizations for Monoclonal antibodies and the anti-viral drug Veklury (remdesivir) which should be moving the COVID pandemic away from the prevention stage to the treatment stage. These medications are approved for those in the highest risk categories for serious complications which would not generally include those serving in the military because of their relative young age and health screenings upon enlistment that make the force much healthier than the general population. The COVID fatality rate in the military was in the area of .0004% versus the overall rate of 5% in the general population. The military did have a higher rate of hospitalization, but this was most likely due to the higher number of beds available in military hospitals, much lower admission criteria, and a 100% rate of health care insurance. The CDC is saying that being vaccinated reduces an already low risk of hospitalization by a further 89%.
So it is mystifying to see the Navy, which strictly enforced the COVID vaccine mandate to prevent ships being stuck in port with COVID sick crews continue to confine its ships to ports with crews that are 100% vaccinated when a few test positive for COVID exposure and even fewer are reporting anything but mild symptoms.
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