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San Diego sailor has one of the worst cases of COVID in the Navy

One local sailor is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with COVID-19. KPBS Military Reporter Steve Walsh says it is one of the Navy’s worst cases.

One San Diego sailor is fighting for his life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Petty Officer First Class Ryan Denny is on life support in San Diego after testing positive for Covid-19 in late December. His wife Tammy says he deteriorated quickly and is now in a medically induced coma.

“I call it a tornado,” she said. “I feel like the analogy is pretty fitting. It just picks somebody up. It just takes one house off the block and leaves the others and nobody knows why.”


COVID-19 has plagued the Navy. The disease spreads rapidly in the close confines onboard ships.

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Though, of the roughly 11,000 current cases among active duty sailors, only 5 of them are hospitalized. Denny is among the most serious. The 29-year-old avionics technician was stationed at Naval Base Coronado. He has a two year old daughter.

“As soon as he was placed on the ventilator, she had a really hard time,” she said. “She would just ask me to call him and I had to explain that we can’t. She’s two years old, going on twenty though, so she’s smart. She’ll tell you daddy is at the doctors. He’s sleeping and getting better.”

His sister Brittanie Odien says he was vaccinated but he had not received a booster.


The family was in the middle of transferring to Tinker Air Force Base outside Oklahoma City, Kansas where Denny was assigned to attend school. The families’ furniture is already packed.

Tammy Denny is staying with family and commuting back to the hospital in San Diego from 100 miles away. At the moment she cannot see him in person.

“We just want prayers and even if this brings just one more prayer, I know he would appreciate it and so would our family,” she said.

Denny was stationed on shore when he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Other members of his family were also diagnosed, but all of them recovered without being hospitalized, according to his wife.