American aircraft carrier USS "Theodore Roosevelt" CVN-71 ("Theodore Roosevelt") has actually lost its combat effectiveness. And this is not due to an enemy torpedo, not the latest hypersonic anti-ship missile of Russia, not an insidious bottom mine installed somewhere in the Persian Gulf, but the very coronavirus COVID-19, whose pandemic swept a significant part of the world. The huge, over-protected warship, which the military of various "rogue states" only dream of disabling, was hit by a small virus and ordinary human carelessness, and it is not yet clear how soon he can recover from this strike ...
Presumably, the coronavirus fell aboard the ship in the Vietnamese port of Danang, where Theodore Roosevelt visited. Of course, many sailors went ashore, where by that time cases of the disease with the COVID-19 virus had already been noted. After some time, namely in the twentieth of March, the first cases of infection were already recorded on board the aircraft carrier. On March 26, they were officially registered 15. But this despite the fact that not all sailors passed the test, but only those who had any symptoms of the disease or those with whom they contacted by the nature of their activity.
The seriousness of the threat can be judged even by the fact that the crew of the aircraft carrier (together with the wing) is about four thousand people. Enclosed in the cramped space of the ship, unable to at least distance themselves from each other, people become easy victims of the virus. Now, after about two weeks from the moment the first cases appeared, on board there are, according to various sources, from 100 to 200 infected with a confirmed diagnosis. And you can only guess how many there will be in a week or two ...
The ship's captain, Brett Crozier, was forced to turn to the US Navy command with a request to evacuate the crew and transfer it to quarantine. In his opinion, the situation on board was steadily worsening, and in order to prevent the worst course of events, it was necessary to isolate the crew of the ship, provide him with the greatest possible medical care and thus eliminate fatalities among sick sailors.
“ We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not take the necessary measures now, then we will not take care of our most reliable asset - our sailors ”- Brett Crozier, captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
The leadership of the United States Navy initially accepted this appeal without much enthusiasm. On the one hand, the fulfillment of the captain's requirements meant the incapacitation of one of the most powerful and most efficient ships of the US Navy. Theodore Roosevelt took an active part in Operation Desert Storm, where more than two thousand tons of ammunition were "shipped" to Baghdad from its side (more than from any other ship). He also showed himself so actively in the operation against Yugoslavia, having worked literally at the forefront of the conflict (as far as this phrase is generally applicable to an aircraft carrier), in the Adriatic. Then, on board the aircraft carrier, 4270 sorties of American aviation were completed, which is very, very serious.
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated verbatim the following: “It is impossible to close the armed forces. We have a mission - to protect the United States and its citizens, and we are fulfilling it. ” In his opinion, the situation on the aircraft carrier has not yet gone out of control, severe cases of the course of the disease have not been registered, and so far it is not the time to take any decisions that could affect the US military power.
On the other hand, the Apra base of the US Navy on the island of Guam, where this ship is now located, is in principle not adapted to quarantine four thousand people at once. More precisely, it is not adapted for one military base in the world, but this is compounded by the fact that the island of Guam is relatively small, not very populated, and there are simply not enough suitable medical facilities there. That is, there are no simple options for placing sailors in quarantine in principle - either you need to organize a literally rescue operation with the transfer of thousands of potentially infected military personnel to the United States, or you will have to use a mobilization option using ordinary tourist hotels for hospitals and hospitals, which are more than less than enough.
However, further developments showed that Washington underestimated the threat. And according to recent reports, the placement of sailors from Theodore Roosevelt to quarantine is still planned. And most likely, the second option will be chosen for this. In any case, the governor of Guam, Lou Leon Guerrero, has already announced the need to temporarily transfer a certain number of hotels to the needs of the military. True, this applies only to those whose tests showed a negative result for coronavirus. In addition, a number of doctors and auxiliary medical personnel are planned to be transferred to the island.
It should be noted that the evacuation of sailors will not be complete. About 10% of the crew should remain on board to service the reactor, life support systems, aircraft, weapons, and so on. Perhaps these sailors will be quarantined directly on board the ship, which seems logical. Moreover, it will be much easier to do this: after all, five hundred people are not four thousand, somehow it will probably be possible to somehow ensure their relative isolation from each other.
It remains only to add that the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan, which is now located in the port of Yokosuka, Japan, also recorded cases of infection of sailors with the COVID-19 virus. True, there is little reliable information from there, but it can be assumed that the situation there will develop in approximately the same scenario as at Roosevelt.
All of the above is an excellent reason to think. Moreover, not only to Americans, but also to us. The reason is all the more significant since on April 1 another conscription began in the Russian army. And the problems that we can observe in the American army may seem like babble in comparison with what we ultimately can get.
The case with the American aircraft carrier is also indicative of the fact that this combat unit is relatively self-sufficient in terms of ensuring the medical needs of its crew and the wing attached to it. The ship’s medical service is designed to provide emergency medical assistance during hostilities, including in case of damage to an aircraft carrier by enemy aircraft or ships, with a large number of casualties and injuries, as well as during fires (which could be worse than a mine blast), or abnormal situations with airplanes. On board there are doctors, paramedical personnel, helicopters for emergency operations to evacuate the victims, many crew members are professionally trained to provide emergency medical care and so on. That is, the infirmary of the ship, although it will not replace a normal hospital, will be able to accommodate a hundred victims of a fire or explosion and prepare them for evacuation.
But in this case, this floating “clinic” turned out to be practically powerless. Which is largely logical: the virus spreads by airborne droplets, the infectiousness is almost at the level of ordinary flu, practically no one has immunity from it. So there is nothing surprising in such a surrender of an entire aircraft carrier to the virus, in general, no.
But now imagine what happens if the virus enters a closed military unit somewhere in the depths of Russia, where the infirmary itself is a place of increased risk, and even with dozens or hundreds of patients it will look like a branch of hell. Given the fact that they are treated there mainly with brilliant green and aspirin, and in any serious cases they try to transfer the sick military to the hospital (which, strictly speaking, is absolutely correct), there is somehow no great hope that all patients will receive effective medical care .
The arguments of our military are quite expected: yes, they say, the virus is bad, but we will provide testing, we will quarantine all the new recruits, and everything will be fine. But a blow to the combat readiness of the army is unacceptable, and they prevent it by their persistence. In addition, much is said about the youth of recruits, that they usually get sick in a mild form, and so on.
As for ensuring the combat readiness of the army, this argument is, of course, important. True, judging by the development of events in the United States, if the situation gets out of control, the combat effectiveness of the army suffers in any case. And it is probably better to take some preventive measures and sharply react to all cases of infection of the military, than to pay later with the first rank warships that got up on the joke. Will our defenses remain at the same level if several of our SSBNs (Strategic Missile Submarine Cruisers) come to the joke? Or if quarantine suddenly leaves a whole division of strategic missile forces?
In addition, reasoning that young people are ill with COVID-19 in a mild form seems rather naive. So, but they carry the infection just fine. And if they only cause the deaths of several tens (or hundreds, thousands) of Russian middle and senior officers, will this be an acceptable payment for our complacency? No, really, the conscripts themselves didn’t die, why worry ...
As for the general testing and quarantine, I really want to believe, really. But for some reason I can’t believe it ... More than 130 thousand draftees should be drafted during the spring draft this year. Does anyone believe that everyone will be equally thoroughly tested? Someone will agree that 18-year-olds can be safely kept in quarantine?
Moreover, one must not forget that the virus is not yet very well understood. We only assume that the incubation period is no more than 14 days. But at least one serious physician dares to subscribe to such a statement? It is unlikely ... In addition, there are some doubts about the effectiveness of the tests, which should determine COVID-19. Of course, their developers tried hard, and we do not even try to question their professionalism. But everything was done in an emergency, this time. Two or more times we recall that the virus has not been fully studied, therefore, its absolute detection, in principle, is called into question.
It is clear that the military has its own reasons. But this is probably just the case when “war cannot be trusted only by generals”. And along with rather decisive steps for self-isolation, non-working days and months, it would still be worth considering, if not stopping, then at least postponing draft measures.
At least until COVID-19 comes up with at least one effective specialized tool, and people around the world will not stop thousands from dying from the virus. Thousands a day ...