Sailors wearing face masks unload meals ready to eat from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam. Navy photo

A Navy investigation into the spread of COVID-19 aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt found that about 60 percent of sailors tested had antibodies for the disease, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that about 400 volunteers participated in the serology tests, which required blood samples. The number was lower than the 1,000 volunteers that were sought.

The finding suggests a far higher infection rate than previously known.

Last Thursday the San Diego-based aircraft carrier returned to deployment after 10 weeks of quarantine at Guam.

The ship docked on March 27 after its former captain, Brett Crozier, pleaded with the Navy for help with the outbreak. Crozier was fired when his memo was leaked to the press, but cheered by the crew as he departed. His case is under review.

While docked at Guam, the Navy quarantined crew members in hotels, cleaned all surfaces in the giant ship, and tested every crew member multiple times. Over 1,000 sailors contracted the disease, many were hospitalized, and one died.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.