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Day 227: Coronavirus and the military response – Part 2

USS Theodore Roosevelt

Sometimes I hate it when I’m right. The military is as consistent as ever and we have some unfortunate updates today regarding the crew of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt. It is about what I expected, even with the public looking in and I think we can break down the response and I’ll go ahead and make my prediction for what’s going to happen next, spoiler, it won’t be pretty.

Yesterday I broke down several reasons why the government would rather have an entire crew of a ship (+5,000 people fyi) die. At the end of the day it’s just a number and as long as the ship remains intact, no one higher up gives a shit because they are just a number on a screen. I mean, I just said there are over 5,000 people on that ship, did it make you feel as strongly about them as if I said your brother, sister, uncle, etc had contracted the coronavirus? It’s okay to admit that a number on a screen doesn’t carry a lot of emotional weight. It’s only a problem when you’re the one in charge of those 5,000 people and don’t particularly care if they survive.

The government’s response to the news that the ship has suffered an outbreak was exactly as I predicted. It isn’t that bad they suggest, they are going to remove ~100 people from the ship and quarantine them in hotels in Guam, which is where the ship is docked at the moment. Yes, this is bad for the people of Guam I will admit. They should have brought the ship back to the US for a lot of very obvious reasons, but it’s all numbers on a screen so what’s a few more?

The scary part is two-fold. One they are exposing the entire population of Guam to the coronavirus, which is not smart. Second they are only quarantining about 2% of the crew. Specifically the 2% that are showing the worst symptoms. That is monumentally stupid, you can be exposed and not show symptoms for 7-10 days. The entire crew, every single one of them, needs to be quarantined and monitored. This isn’t something that will just end, it’s something that just started.

Here is what’s going to happen and in two weeks if it doesn’t well then good, if it does then I can say once again the military is as predictable as ever. Obviously Guam has already had 3 deaths related to the coronavirus so it’s already there, there is nothing that can be done about that. However, adding more infected to the population is so incredibly reckless that I’m honestly not surprised. It will get out, as these things always do, and we’re going to see a spike in cases in Guam. That isn’t the worst of it though.

Others aboard that ship are infected, this isn’t a question it’s a statement of fact. Those that aren’t already infected will be soon, again statement of fact. Ships are tight quarters, you cannot social distance on a ship, even one that size. What will happen next is one of two things, either the ship will debark and head somewhere else, or they will remain in Guam. Either option will be catastrophic as they will eventually need to make port and deal with the rest of the infected crew, which at this point will be roughly 5,000 people.

Next, the government will downplay the severity of it. This assumes we even get an update about the ship and what is happening, we may not and that should be the scariest part of this entire prediction. It’s not that bad, blah, blah, blah, we will probably see our first death from the group. If the death rate for coronavirus is ~2% (a moderate estimation) even if only half are infected, we will see about 50 sailors die from the incompetence of the people in charge. Again, the message will be it was unfortunate, but luckily they intervened and it could’ve been worse.

Here’s where it gets frustrating. Ships that size need a LOT of people to maintain it. There is a nuclear reactor that needs constant maintenance, weapons, aircraft, etc. All of these things the government will not allow to fall in disrepair. In a few weeks once every crewmember is showing symptoms unless they quarantine everyone, disinfect the ship, and completely replace the crew (highly unlikely, but one can hope) they will instead take off the sickest of crew, or even the ones showing symptoms and replace them. Yes, they will add fresh susceptible people to this microenvironment with others who were exposed and not showing symptoms. I don’t think I need to explain how bad that would be.

Will any of it come to pass? I don’t know, if I could accurately predict the future I would be the most powerful man on the planet. I will say that the government is predictable and while this doesn’t have to happen, and I hope it does not happen, there is a good chance that this will play out like I say. In any case, we will know about the first half in a few weeks once the rest of the crew starts showing symptoms. What happens after is hard to predict, but if I were a betting kind of guy, I would go with the rest of my prediction. We’ll do a part three in a few weeks if/when we know more. In the meantime, I hope I’m wrong.

But enough about us, what about you?

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