Five Navy sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt tested positive for coronavirus after apparently recovering from COVID-19 – imposing further quarantine measures on the ship.
The men tested positive for the virus after the mother ship docked in Guam in March, but were allowed to return to the ship after a pair of negative tests spaced a day or two apart.
The seemingly mysterious revival of infection caught the interest of researchers who were trying to understand new viruses, including how immunity works.
The Navy said on Friday that sailors returned to duty and then reported the symptoms before they tested positive again.
“These five sailors experience symptoms of a disease such as influenza and do the right thing to report to the medical for evaluation,” the Navy said in a statement, reported by The Associated Press.
In South Korea, a recent study of 277 patients appeared to have contracted the virus a second time establish that false positive testing is responsible. The test identified a dead virus still in the human body, not a second active infection, the study found.
The viral outbreak on the Roosevelt ship allowed authorities a rare opportunity to study the contained population who were not free to leave federal custody. About 1,000 of the 4,800 crew members tested positive after the ship docked on Guam.
About a quarter of infected men have been cleaned to go back to work.
Roosevelt’s infection made national news when Captain Brett Crozier warned outside his chain of command about the plague. His message was leaked to the media, where he was fired from the command by navy’s temporary secretary Thomas Modly.
Modly in turn resigned after defending his Crozier’s dismissal to his beloved captain crew, saying he was “too naive or too stupid” to govern if he thought his warnings about the virus would not leak.
President Trump has repeatedly considered the issues of ship leadership, expressing sympathy to Crozier while saying he “does not have to be Ernest Hemingway” to circulate his concerns in writing.
In his e-mail, Crozier wrote: “We are not at war. Seamen don’t need to die. If we don’t act now, we fail to properly care for our most trusted asset – our Seafarers. “Modly told the sailors that they should project the power in” pulling down this virus the same way [we] will knock down China or North Korea or Russia. “
Crozier, who himself was reported positive for the virus, temporarily assigned for the work of the Navy staff in San Diego.