A possible new clue in coronavirus transmission

Sweeping testing of the entire crew of the USS Theodore Roosevelt may have revealed an important clue about the pandemic: A majority of the sailors who tested positive for COVID-19 showed no symptoms.

The Navy found that out of the 48-hundred member crew - about 600 were positive for the virus. 60 percent of those were asymptotic.

The figure is higher than the 25% to 50% range offered by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert on President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force.

Late last month the Roosevelt's commander, Captain Brett Crozier, called on Navy leadership to evacuate the vast majority of the crew and to disinfect the ship in a letter that leaked to the media - embarrassing the Navy.

The letter set in motion a series of events that led to Crozier's firing and the resignation last week of acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.

Still, the data from the Theodore Roosevelt offers a case study for researchers about how the virus may spread in a mostly stealthy mode among a population of largely young, healthy people showing no symptoms - and could have major implications for policy makers who are trying to figure out how and when to reopen the economy.

It also renews questions about the extent to which U.S. testing of just the people suspected of being infected is actually capturing the spread of the virus in the United States and around the world.

Earlier this week - One sailor from the Roosevelt died - the first active member of the military to succumb to the virus. Five other members of the crew remain hospitalized.