Sailors aboard the Theodore Roosevelt when it had a significant COVID-19 outbreak were less likely to be infected if they followed safety recommendations such as social distancing and covering their faces, according to new CDC analysis.

“This finding may give us an early glimpse into actual immune protection against COVID-19 in young adults having intense viral exposure,” the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Daniel Payne, said Tuesday. “They could be indicators of some degree of immunity.”

Navy officials confirmed Tuesday that 1,273 sailors of the approximately 5,000-member crew – more than 25 percent – tested positive for COVID-19, Navy Times reported.

Almost 400 of the carrier’s service members voluntarily participated in the CDC study to determine how the virus impacts people who are younger and have few underlying health conditions.

Those who reported regularly wearing face masks and avoiding crowded spaces were less likely to have been infected. Study participants who shared berthing with infected sailors were more likely to contract the virus.

About 60% of the study’s participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies. Within that group, about 20% never experienced the common COVID-19 symptoms.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kaylianna Genier