Coronavirus Cases in the US Military

Updated: October 12, 2022

Table of Contents

    Coronavirus Cases in the United States Military

    Updated: March 18, 2021

    There have been important developments in the Department of Defense’s war on COVID-19. Since our last report, the DoD has entered into new partnerships with civilian industry, has modified travel restriction guidance, and continues to fight coronavirus at home and abroad.

    The latest guidance includes mention that DoD installations, facilities, and locations that host more than 1,000 permanently assigned DoD personnel will “provide weekly assessments regarding the status of travel restrictions” to the DoD.

    On March 15, 2021, the Department of Defense issued new travel guidance for unrestricted travel between DoD facilities. That guidance included an acknowledgment that constant review of travel conditions continues to be necessary and despite progress on vaccinations and other coronavirus mitigation levels, the COVID-19 threat to DoD personnel, resources, and operations is still thought to be high.

    The new travel guidance includes a reminder that there are basic factors that play a part in DoD assessments for travel. Those factors are:

    • Removal of local travel restrictions by appropriate authorities.
    • Availability of essential services (e.g. , schools, childcare, and moving services); Quality control/assurance capability for household goods packing and moving.
    • Favorable Health Protection Conditions (installations operating below HPCON C).
    • If “any DoD installation, facility, or location meets all of the criteria above”, approving authorities may “determine that movement is permitted to or from the DoD installation, facility, or location”.

    In the meantime, DoD continues to partner with civilian companies to further the war on COVID-19. Many of these partnerships have been to help with vaccines, PPE manufacture, and other measures. But one of the most significant-to-the-military moves?

    The DoD’s $9.98 million arrangement with Hardwick Tactical Corporation “to sustain critical industrial base production of US Military dress uniforms” that is meant to continue having a “domestic supplier of Berry Amendment compliant dress uniforms”.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Feb. 17, 2021 included the following:

    • 259,116 total cases (up from 235,258 total cases)
    • 168,589 military (up from 150,910)
    • 47,574 civilians (up from 45,106)
    • 25,691 dependents (up from 24,189)
    • 17,262 DoD contractors (up from 15,053)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • Army: 59,048 (up from 53,030)
    • Air Force: 28,008 (up from 27,343)
    • Marine Corps: 20,170 (up from 18,783)
    • Navy: 35,040 (up from 31,326)
    • National Guard: 24,261 (up from 19,422)
    • DoD Agencies: 1,062 (up from 1,006)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 154,493 military (up from 105,714)
    • 23,765 dependents (up from 16,474)
    • 38,730 civilians (up from 27,966)
    • 14,737 contractors (up from 9,930)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 24 military deaths (up from 21)
    • 11 dependent deaths (up from 10)
    • 211 civilian deaths (up from 182)
    • 71 contractor deaths (up from 64)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 237,237 total cumulative cases (up from 220, 330 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 10,971 deaths (up from 9,909)

    Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    There have been important DoD updates related to the coronavirus by way of a Feb. 12 2021 Pentagon press briefing where Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced that a group of military teams had been approved to further augment FEMA vaccination efforts across the country.

    Some will deploy to support “mega vaccination sites” while others will support smaller vaccination operations. Some 20 teams in all were announced on Feb. 12, and the most recent announcement creates a total amount of 4700 or more active-duty personnel “supporting or preparing to support FEMA” according to the DoD.

    That is in addition to more than 26 thousand National Guard troops and some three thousand active duty military members supporting COVID-19 efforts in the last 12 months.

    Other developments in the DoD fight against the pandemic include partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to purchase an additional 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and in the month of February, 2021, Dod issued the following directive to wear masks in accordance with CDC guidelines “continuously while on military installations” with the following exceptions:

    • “When an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door”
    • “For brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines and instructions from commanders and supervisors”;
    • When the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes”;
    • “When necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with·a disability.”

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Feb. 12, 2020 included the following:

    • 235,258 total cases (up from 224,196 total cases)
    • 150,910 military (up from 142,061)
    • 45,106 civilians (up from 45,106)
    • 24,189 dependents (up from 22,854)
    • 15,053 DoD contractors (up from 14,175)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • Army: 53,030 (up from 50,229)
    • Air Force: 27,343 (up from 25,720)
    • Marine Corps: 18,783 (up from 17,788)
    • Navy: 31,326 (up from 29,757)
    • National Guard: 19,422 (up from 17,601)
    • DoD Agencies: 1,006 (up from 966)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 105,714 military (up from 94,510)
    • 16,474 dependents (up from 15,065)
    • 27,966 civilians (up from 25,091)
    • 9,930 contractors (up from 8,880)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 21 military deaths (up from 17)
    • 10 dependent deaths (up from 9)
    • 182 civilian deaths (up from 159)
    • 64 contractor deaths (up from 59)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 220, 330 total cumulative cases (up from 208,797 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 9,909 deaths (up from 9,081)

    Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    Since our previous report, COVID-19 numbers within the DoD and the world were troubling; as of Jan. 26, 2021 the DoD reported a Johns Hopkins University statistic that “Global COVID-19 related cases” had surpassed 100 million.

    And within the federal government, case numbers are just as disturbing; the official number reported by DoD officials at press time for total overall COVID-19 cases within the agency (including military, dependents, contractors, and employees) is just short of one quarter of a million cases as of 1 February 2021.

    The actions taken by the federal government since a new administration and Commander-in-Chief have been at work include a number of steps that directly affect how COVID-19 could be contained within military communities; while some at this stage still bemoan the fact that such steps should have already been taken by now, the most important issue now is that they ARE being taken. The latest measures include:

    • Memorandum to extend federal support to governors’ use of the National Guard “to respond to COVID-19 and to increase reimbursement and other assistance provided to states”;
    • An Executive Order on ensuring a data-driven response to COVID-19 and “future high-consequence public health threats”;
    • Announcing the United States intends to remain a member of the World Health Organization;
    • An Executive Order creating a Coordinator of COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President
    • An Executive Order on “protecting the Federal workforce and requiring mask-wearing”.
    • An Executive Order on establishing a COVID-19 pandemic testing board and “ensuring a sustainable public health workforce for COVID-19 and other biological threats”;
    • A National Security Directive on United States global leadership to strengthen the international COVID-19 response and to advance global health security and biological preparedness.
    • An Executive Order on protecting worker health and safety.
    • An Executive Order on a sustainable public health supply chain.

    As this information is disseminated, and as the plans are put into place, both the DoD and civilian authorities are sounding alarms about new variants of COVID-19 which are starting to manifest themselves around the country.

    A Jan. 17, 2021 update on the DoD official site for pandemic response notes, “California public health officials announce that a Coronavirus variant (L452R), which has previously been detected in other countries and states, is increasingly being identified in multiple counties across the state.”

    Time will tell what role these variants might play in future spikes of infection; the real question some in the DoD and civilian healthcare sectors is whether the variants complicate vaccination efforts and if so, by how much?

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Feb. 01, 2020 included the following:

    • 224,196 total cases (up from 196,598 total cases)
    • 142,061 military (up from 126,437)
    • 45,106 civilians (up from 37,016)
    • 22,854 dependents (up from 20,683)
    • 14,175 DoD contractors (up from 12,462)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 50,229 Army: (up from 45,480)
    • 25,720 Air Force: (up from 22,962)
    • 17,788 Marine Corps: (up from 15,490)
    • 29,757 Navy: (up from 26,178)
    • 17,601 National Guard
    • 966 DoD Agencies

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 94,510 military (up from 80,387)
    • 15,065 dependents (up from 12,672)
    • 25,091 civilians (up from 20,355)
    • 8,880 contractors (up from 7,306)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 17 military deaths (up from 15)
    • 9 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 159 civilian deaths (up from 139)
    • 59 contractor deaths (up from 47)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 208,797 total cumulative cases (up from 191,807 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 9,081 deaths (up from 7,919)

    As of this report, 24 million Americans have been affected by COVID-19; approximately 400 thousand Americans have died since the start of the pandemic.

    On Jan. 18, 2021, the acting Defense Secretary issued a press release about Operation Warp Speed, which the U.S. military and the Defense Department have been participating in to help speed the rollout of coronavirus vaccines.

    “On behalf of Operation Warp Speed, I am proud to report that today, 816,900 additional vaccines were distributed to the American people. Today’s great work brings the total number of vaccine doses distributed to 30,303,375.”

    But Operation Warp Speed didn’t really live up to the expectations implied by its name, with multiple sources reporting only about a third of the available vaccines having been distributed out of the total number.

    Politico.com published a critique of Operation Warp Speed on Jan. 17, 2021, noting that the nation’s Covid-19 response was already “careening off the rails in March and April 2020”.

    The report observed that by the time vaccines under Operation Warp Speed actually became available, “the officials who expected to be taking a victory lap on distributing tens of millions of vaccine doses are instead being pressed to explain why the initiative appears to be limping to the finish”.

    The Hill reported the Trump White House a missed opportunity to purchase more Pfizer vaccines; add to that the fact that governors across all 50 states were blindsided by a revelation in mid-January 2021 that vaccine stocks that were supposed to be held in reserve are already gone.

    Some, who have already questioned the federal response to COVID-19, are now calling for accountability and answers to why the government’s lack of decisive action continues to be an issue even as cases skyrocket in the military, in the private sector, and even among elected officials.

    Ever-increasing case numbers and a prolonged silence from the Commander-in-Chief about the issue go a long way toward justifying blame at the highest levels of lame-duck government. Blame for a massive failure to appropriately challenge the United States’ current level of suffering under a pandemic on track to affect a whopping 200 thousand Department of Defense troops, civilians, contractors, and dependents.

    Coronavirus cases in the United States military have continued to rise–the Army alone at press time was approaching 50 thousand cases even as the vaccine rollouts continue.

    As part of Operation Warp Speed, the Defense Logistics Agency Distribution was tasked to begin distribution operations, providing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Defense Department employees outside the United States including to troops serving on board the Navy fleet as well as “a limited number of locations” in the USA.

    DLA Distribution is responsible for half a dozen U.S.-based distribution centers plus an additional four located overseas.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Jan. 18, 2021 included the following:

    • 196,598 total cases (up from 159,288 total cases)
    • 126,437 military (up from 104,010)
    • 37,016 civilians (up from 28,693)
    • 20,683 dependents (up from 16,658)
    • 12,462 DoD contractors (up from 9,927)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • Army: 45,480 (up from 37,229)
    • Air Force: 22,962 (up from 19,263)
    • Marine Corps: 15,490 (up from 12,488)
    • Navy: 26,178 (up from 21,634)
    • National Guard and “other elements”: 16,327 (up from 13,396)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 80,387 military (up from 64,265)
    • 12,672 dependents (up from 10,051)
    • 20,355 civilians (up from 14,899)
    • 7,306 contractors (up from 5,626)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 15 military deaths (up from 14)
    • 9 dependent deaths (up from 9)
    • 139 civilian deaths (up from 111)
    • 47 contractor deaths (up from 41)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 191,807 total cumulative cases (up from 149,165 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 7,919 deaths (up from 6,510)

    Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    The FDA approval of multiple COVID-19 vaccines at the end of 2020 was a decisive step forward in the American response to the coronavirus pandemic; a DoD press release added some good news thanks to an announcement that the Department of Defense in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services intend to purchase an additional 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer.

    That drug was approved on Dec. 11, and on Dec. 23, 2020 the announcement of the 100 million dose procurement was made; the DoD press release states that the vaccine is “being provided at no cost to Americans.”

    Does that include those who get healthcare from private sector sources? Who pays for the private vaccinations? These funding issues were a major issue in the eyes of some; the DoD reminded Americans that vaccine administration costs for private-sector administration partners “are covered by healthcare payers: private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, and HHS’s program to cover COVID-19 costs for the uninsured”.

    Pfizer agreed to distribute the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, BNT162b2, to locations to be determined by the federal government; Pfizer was contracted to provide a minimum of 70 million doses by June 30, 2021. The remaining doses must be delivered by the end of July 2021.

    On Dec. 27, 2020, the President and Commander-In-Chief signed House Resolution 133, which serves as a “consolidated appropriations” bill for the coming fiscal year as well as authorizing coronavirus relief measures.

    In the meantime, the DoD COVID-19 numbers shot up dramatically; Dec. 10, we reported more than 131 total COVID-19 cases within the DoD including contractors, civilian employees, and dependents.

    The numbers at press time were in excess of 159 thousand cases–some 28 thousand higher than the previous report (see below). Numbers amongst currently serving military members crossed the 100 thousand mark; our previous report (below) had cases among members of the uniformed services at just over 87 thousand.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Dec. 29, 2020 included the following:

    • 159,288 total cases (up from 131,894 total cases)
    • 104,010 military (up from 87,488)
    • 28,693 civilians (up from 22,938)
    • 16,658 dependents (up from 13,484 )
    • 9,927DoD contractors (up from 7,984 )

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 37,229 Army: (up from 31,486)
    • 19,263 Air Force: (up from 16,084)
    • 12,488 Marine Corps: (up from 10,619)
    • 21,634 Navy: (up from 18,492)
    • 13,396 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 10,807)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 64,265 military (up from 53,073)
    • 10,051 dependents (up from 8,102)
    • 14,899 civilians (up from 11,855)
    • 5,626 contractors (up from 4,725)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 14 military deaths (up from 13)
    • 9 dependent deaths (up from 8)
    • 111 civilian deaths (up from 89)
    • 41 contractor deaths (up from 33)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 149,165 total cumulative cases (up from 127,323 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 6,510 deaths (up from 5,493)

    Since the start of the American response to COVID-19, the United States military has been active in a variety of sectors including research, alternative testing and healthcare facility construction, and much more. Since our previous report, some 14 thousand additional cases were reported within the Department of Defense including military members, civilians, contractors, and dependents.

    The DoD announced an extension of the authorization of the use of National Guard resources “for COVID-19 assistance”. Some 44 states were scheduled to receive Guard help at a 75% cost share arrangement; Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands are included in this development while Florida and Texas will have a 100% cost share until the end of 2020.

    On 1 January 2021, these states benefit from a 75% cost share. In all cases, the authorization expires at the end of March 2021.

    But the most significant news at press time was the Dec. 9, 2020 announcement that the Department of Defense created a plan to distribute the first FDA-approved vaccine doses earmarked for those in the DoD considered at the head of the line for vaccinations.

    Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery discussed the the plan at a press briefing in the Pentagon, saying “In the coming days we expect the department to receive its first allotment of the vaccine,” McCaffery said, adding that roughly 44,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed within the DoD “for immediate use” according to a Pentagon press release.

    Who would receive the first DoD vaccinations? According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention health care providers first, then to those in “DOD long-term care facilities, to high-risk populations, those in critical national capability positions and finally, healthy populations”. Delivery is scheduled for 16 locations in the United States and to select overseas bases.

    DoD officials express confidence that once FDA authorization is obtained, vaccinations will begin as soon as 48 hours after.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Dec. 10, 2020 included the following:

    • 131,894 total cases (up from 117,736 total cases)
    • 87,488 military (up from 79,020)
    • 22,938 civilians (up from 19,770)
    • 13,484 dependents (up from 11,721)
    • 7,984 DoD contractors (up from 7,225 )

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 31,486 Army: (up from 28,555)
    • 16,084 Air Force: (up from 14,382)
    • 10,619 Marine Corps: (up from 9,449)
    • 18,492 Navy: (up from 16,620 )
    • 10,807 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 10,014)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 53,073 military (up from 48,615 )
    • 8,102 dependents (up from 7,243)
    • 11,855 civilians (up from 10,637 )
    • 4,725 contractors (up from 4,395)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 13 military deaths (up from 12)
    • 8 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 89 civilian deaths (up from 78)
    • 33 contractor deaths (up from 31)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 127,323 total cumulative cases (up from 110,066 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 5,493 deaths (up from 4,910)

    Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    On Nov. 18, 2020 the DoD reported total COVID-19 cases within the agency (including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, etc.) in excess of one hundred thousand. A day later on Nov. 19th,  the DoD official site announced that COVID-19 related deaths in America surpassed 250 thousand.

    These are milestones nobody wanted and unfortunately the news did not get better; a mere two days after announcing the DoD’s 100K COVID-19 cases, the Department of Defense published additional updates for the Pentagon which changed to Health Protection Condition Bravo-Plus effective Nov. 26, 2020.

    At the time of this writing, the Department of Defense surpassed one hundred and seventeen thousand COVD-19 cases total. 14 more within the DoD died (dependents are the only category that no new deaths were currently reported in). In previous updates the numbers of COVID-19 cases have increased by roughly three to five thousand per update.

    However, since our last update on Nov. 18, 2020 the case count within the DoD rose by more than 17 thousand cases, and that increase happened over 12 days. The update before the one issued on Nov. 18 increased by roughly 22 thousand cases between Oct. 27, 2020 and Nov. 18, 2020.

    Compare that to the comparatively lower five thousand new cases in the DoD reported between Oct. 19, 2020 and Oct. 27, 2020 and it’s easy to see that the winter spike in COVID-19 cases predicted earlier in the year is definitely a problem within the DoD.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Nov. 30, 2020 include the following:

    • 117,736 total cases (up from 102,666 total cases)
    • 79,020 military (up from 69,390)
    • 19,770 civilians (up from 16,582 )
    • 11,721 dependents (up from 10,350)
    • 7,225 DoD contractors (up from 6,344)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 28,555 Army: (up from 25,281)
    • 14,382 Air Force: (up from 12,099 )
    • 9,449 Marine Corps: (up from 8,449)
    • 16,620 Navy: (up from 14,769)
    • 10,014 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 8,792)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 48,615 military (up from 44,390)
    • 7,243 dependents (up from 6,579)
    • 10,637 civilians (up from 9,709)
    • 4,395 contractors (up from 4,087)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 12 military deaths (up from 10)
    • 8 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 78 civilian deaths (up from 70)
    • 31 contractor deaths (up from 26)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    • 110,066 total cumulative cases (up from 92,279 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 4,910 deaths (up from 4,428)

    Some recent developments within the DoD related to COVID-19  included ongoing partnerships and defense contracts with civilian agencies for the manufacture of PPE, COVID-19 tests, and other measures to help the fight against the coronavirus.

    Significantly, the Department of Defense started on-site “rapid COVID-19 testing” for passengers flying on the Patriot Express from Baltimore Washington International Airport and Seattle Tacoma Airport on official business to overseas locations.

    A DoD announcement included the following; “Currently, all Patriot Express travelers are screened for COVID-19 symptoms or history of close contact with persons positive for COVID-19”. At the start of rapid testing, Dod sources report roughly 10 to 15 percent of those screened “who are not exhibiting symptoms will be subject to a rapid, on-site laboratory test prior to travel.”

    A Nov. 8 Johns Hopkins University update published on the DoD official site notes that worldwide confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 50 million and the United States alone is responsible for a whopping ten million of those cases.

    But the real news on this update is the milestone the Department of Defense passed as of Nov. 18, 2020 when the DoD reported total COVID-19 cases within the agency (including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, etc.) in excess of 100 thousand.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs has experienced a significant uptick in cases and deaths–since our last report the VA reported an increase of a whopping 19 thousand cases-plus, with more than 500 additional deaths.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Nov. 18, 2020 include the following:

    • 102,666 total cases (up from 80,100 total cases)
    • 69,390 military (up from 54,681)
    • 16,582 civilians (up from 12,606)
    • 10,350 dependents (up from 7,723)
    • 6,344 DoD contractors (up from 5,090)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 25,281 Army: (up from 20,509)
    • 12,099 Air Force: (up from 8,656 )
    • 8,449 Marine Corps: (up from 6,754)
    • 14,769 Navy: (up from 12,006)
    • 8,792 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 6,756)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 44,390 military (up from 36,868)
    • 6,579 dependents (up from 5,394)
    • 9,709 civilians (up from 7,993)
    • 4,087 contractors (up from 3,412 )

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 10 military deaths (up from 8)
    • 8 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 70 civilian deaths (up from 64)
    • 26 contractor deaths (up from24)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 92,279 total cumulative cases (up from 72,939 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 4,428 deaths (up from 3,901)

    The Department of Defense announced on Oct. 26, 2020 that in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, DoD has awarded a $33 million dollar contract to a company called Tecan, “to establish U.S. based industrial production capacity of disposable pipette tips for COVID-19 testing.”

    Another DoD announcement from Oct. 16, 2020, touted a $6.98M contract action to Teel Plastics, LLC, intended “to increase domestic production capacity of swabsticks used for COVID-19 testing swabs”.

    This information came even as the Commander-in-Chief, Donald J. Trump, at 7:46 AM on Oct. 26, 2020, made the following statement on Twitter:

    “Cases up because we TEST, TEST, TEST. A Fake News Media Conspiracy. Many young people who heal very fast. 99.9%. Corrupt Media conspiracy at all time high. On Nov. 4th., topic will totally change. VOTE!”

    That, coupled with an Oct. 26, 2020 CNBC Headline reading, “Trump claims the worsening U.S. coronavirus outbreak is a ‘Fake News Media Conspiracy’ even as hospitalizations rise”, leaves some observers bewildered as they watch the Department of Defense basically contradicting the Commander-In-Chief by its contracts to increase testing capacities.

    However, the families of the eight military COVID-19 deaths, the eight dependent COVID-19 deaths, the 64 DoD civilian deaths, and the 24 contractor deaths would beg to differ about the “fake news” aspect of the Commander-in-Chief’s statements. These deaths are very real news indeed.

    The Department of Defense official site noted a grim statistic in the war on COVID-19; the DoD reposted a Johns Hopkins University notification that global COVID-19 cases surpass 40 million. And that number is unfortunately supplemented by another sad milestone–the Department of Defense itself has surpassed 80 thousand coronavirus cases within the agency.

    This information came following a news story issued from the Department of Defense stating that, “U.S. military personnel won’t be administering any COVID-19 vaccines to the American people once the vaccines are approved for use.” Instead, the military offered logistical support, “to ensure the vaccine is available across the nation” according to Paul Mango, the deputy chief of staff for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services who was quoted in the DoD news release.

    With respect to the Commander-in-Chief’s statements about who is getting the virus, their recovery times, and other information (see the quote above), the following numbers may provide a dose of reality for those concerned about how COVID-19 is affecting the Department of Defense as well as the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, etc.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Oct. 27, 2020 include the following:

    • 80,100 total cases (up from 75,049 total cases)
    • 54,681 military (up from 51,437)
    • 12,606 civilians (up from 11,775)
    • 7,723 dependents (up from 7,037)
    • 5,090 DoD contractors (up from 4,800)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 20,509 Army: (up from 19,290 )
    • 8,656 Air Force: (up from 8,057)
    • 6,754 Marine Corps: (up from 6,403)
    • 12,006 Navy: (up from 11,367)
    • 6,756 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 6,320)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 36,868 military (up from 35,260)
    • 5,394 dependents (up from 5,077)
    • 7,993 civilians (up from 7,710)
    • 3,412 contractors (up from 3, 303)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 8 dependent deaths (up from 7)
    • 64 civilian deaths (up from 62)
    • 24 contractor deaths (up from 23)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 72,939 total cumulative cases (up from 68, 339 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3,901 deaths (up from 3,720)

    The USS Theodore Roosevelt, an early hotspot in the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in some one thousand sailors contracting COVID-19, returned to news headlines as two sailors have tested positive and were evacuated

    The Wall Street Journal reported that the USS Roosevelt, which was participating in military exercises near California, was put through a round of contact tracing; the Navy issued a statement indicating an aggressive approach to COVID-19 mitigation measures to “…identify and eliminate any of the virus’s potential vectors.”

    The USS Roosevelt is not the only Navy vessel to experience COVID-19 infections over the course of the pandemic. The USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Kidd have also experienced outbreaks, but none reported at the same time as new cases reported aboard the Roosevelt.

    On Oct. 16, the DoD announced progress on the coronavirus front in South Korea, with USFK lowering its’ Force Health Protection Condition Level from Charlie to Bravo, effective for the entire peninsula starting Oct. 19, 2020 “based on the continued low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Seoul area, and the Republic of Korea lowering their social distancing to level 1” according to the Department of Defense official site.

    Since our last report on COVID-19 numbers, there were more than three thousand additional coronavirus infections reported within the Department of Defense–given that our last update was only five days ago, some will undoubtedly conclude that in spite of repeated insistence from some public officials including the Commander-In-Chief, that the virus is diminishing.

    The Associated Press reported that on Oct. 17, 2020 the President claimed, ““The light at the end of the tunnel is near. We are rounding the turn,” adding that his followers should not listen to “cynics” or “angry partisans and pessimists.”

    But with more than 3,700 coronavirus-related deaths within the Department of Veterans Affairs alone, new outbreaks on board the Roosevelt, and the three thousand-plus new cases reported within the DoD, many were baffled by the Commander-In-Chief’s continued statements on where the global pandemic is heading. Not to mention the widespread reports of increasing cases across multiple states.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Oct. 19, 2020 include the following:

    • 75,049 total cases (up from 71,909 total cases)
    • 51,437 military (up from 49,331)
    • 11,775 civilians (up from 11,209)
    • 7,037 dependents (up from 6,710)
    • 4,800 DoD contractors (up from 4,659)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 19,290 Army: (up from 18,423)
    • 8,057 Air Force: (up from 7,745)
    • 6,403 Marine Corps: (up from 6,143)
    • 11,367 Navy: (up from 10,888)
    • 6,320 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 6,132)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 35,260 military (up from 34,187)
    • 5,077 dependents (up from 4,884)
    • 7,710 civilians (up from 7,400)
    • 3, 303 contractors (up from 3,236)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 62 civilian deaths (up from 61)
    • 23 contractor deaths (unchanged)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 68, 339 total cumulative cases (up from 66,233 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3,720 deaths (up from 3, 667)

    Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    At the end of September, 2020, it was announced that global COVID-19 deaths surpassed one million. That was in stark contrast to claims from public officials that the virus was “disappearing” or fading away.

    Also in stark contrast to the myth that coronavirus is going to “disappear like magic” were the announcements by the Department of Defense and the Department of Health and Human Services of multi-million dollar contracts such as the $481 million agreement with Cue Health “to expand U.S. production capacity of point-of-care COVID-19 tests” according to the DoD official site.

    For a pandemic that is, according to the words of the Commander-in-Chief, disappearing or diminishing, the agreement to have Cue Health manufacture some 100 thousand COVID-19 test kits per day by March 2021 shines a distinctively bright light on the reality of the coronavirus pandemic in America and where U.S. troops are serving overseas. The pandemic is not going away.

    Another agreement between the DoD and the private sector; a $20 million contract with On Demand Pharmaceuticals “to develop domestic production of critical active pharmaceutical ingredients” according to the DoD official site. That contract was issued with the intent of increasing “onshore production” of medicines or elements of those medicines used to treat “critically ill U.S. service members and COVID-19 patients.”

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Oct. 14, 2020 include the following:

    • 71,909 total cases (up from 69,267 total cases)
    • 49,331 military (up from 47,658)
    • 11,209 civilians (up from 10,751)
    • 6,710 dependents (up from 6,377)
    • 4,659 DoD contractors (up from 4,481)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 18,423 Army: (up from 17,803)
    • 7,745 Air Force: (up from 7,407)
    • 6,143 Marine Corps: (up from 5,942)
    • 10,888 Navy: (up from 10,585)
    • 6,132National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 5,921)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 34,187military (up from 32,545)
    • 4,884 dependents (up from 4,537)
    • 7,400 civilians (up from 7,015)
    • 3,236 contractors (up from 3,082)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 61 civilian deaths (up from 60)
    • 23 contractor deaths (unchanged)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 66,233 total cumulative cases (up from 63,656 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3, 667deaths (up from 3,528)

    The Commander-in-Chief, President Donald J. Trump, was diagnosed with COVID-19, hospitalized, and released. In the wake of that diagnosis it was revealed that a number of people with daily business at the White House (and elsewhere within the federal government) were also tested and found to be COVID-19 positive.

    That required a variety of acts including contact tracing but news of such efforts is spotty–it is unclear how much contact tracing has actually been carried out in the aftermath of what is being described as a “super spreader event” at the White House last week.

    Joint Chiefs Of Staff Quarantined

    But the presence of COVID-19 in the White House also resulted in “most members” of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff quarantining at home following an announcement that Vice Admiral Charles Ray, Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard tested positive for COVID. While Admiral Ray is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was in attendance in Pentagon meetings with those who are members.

    National Public Radio reports that while it’s not certain how Ray contracted the virus, he was an attendee at a White House ceremony on Sept. 27, just one day after the “superspreader event” held at the White House on the 26th.

    Military Readiness Unaffected?

    A press statement issued by the DoD on Oct. 6, 2020 announced no changes to “the operational readiness or mission capability of the U.S. Armed Forces”, adding that those in quarantine “are able to remain fully mission capable and perform their duties from an alternative work location”. The official Department of Defense position is to follow CDC guidelines with respect to social distancing, mask use, testing, and other issues.

    There has been plenty of discussion about COVID-19 and its effects on America, the American government, and the readiness of the U.S. military. The hospitalization of the President of the United States as well as the quarantine of members of the Joint Chiefs is a stark reminder of the dangers of politicizing the virus, ignoring the science of infectious diseases, and disregarding CDC guidelines for coronavirus containment measures.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Oct. 7, 2020 include the following:

    • 69,267 total cases (up from 66,375 total cases)
    • 47,658 military (up from 45,759)
    • 10,751 civilians (up from 10,210)
    • 6,377 dependents (up from 6,092 )
    • 4,481DoD contractors (up from 4,314)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 17,803 Army: (up from 17,032 )
    • 7,407 Air Force: (up from 7,136)
    • 5,942 Marine Corps: (up from 5,742)
    • 10,585Navy: (up from 10,260)
    • 5,921 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 5,589)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 32,545 military (up from 30,756)
    • 4,537 dependents (up from 4,245)
    • 7,015 civilians (up from 6,639)
    • 3,082 contractors (up from 2,936 )

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 60 civilian deaths (up from 59)
    • 23 contractor deaths (up from 22)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 63,656 total cumulative cases (up from 61,683 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3,528 deaths (up from 3, 459)

    The DoD official site reported on Sept. 28, 2020 the number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide exceeded one million. But the biggest news within the DoD wouldn’t come til a few days later on Oct. 2nd, 2020 when the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military, President Donald J. Trump, tested positive for COVID-19 and was taken out of the White House via Marine One and hospitalized at Walter Reed Medical Center.

    The Commander-in-Chief has had a troubled relationship with the scientific realities of COVID-19. An Associated Press “Fact Check” piece includes a few quotes from earlier in the pandemic in March, when POTUS claimed the virus was under control and that cases were not rising.

    Another strained moment came when the Commander-in-Chief described the coronavirus as a hoax, only to try walking back that comment later by claiming he was referring to criticism of how he managed the outbreak up to that point.

    The President also claimed the coronavirus would “disappear like magic”. Following the first debate between presidential candidate Joe Biden and Donald Trump, CNN posted a headline stating, “Trump makes fun of Biden’s mask-wearing habits”. But such disregard for precautions has come home to roost at the White House.

    The revelation at the end of the first week in October that the President and the First Lady both tested positive for COVID-19 is a sobering reminder that the science of infectious diseases must be respected or consequences will result.

    It should be noted that in spite of the Commander-in-Chief’s disregard for mask-wearing, social distancing, and other measures, the DoD itself has aggressively pursued masks, distancing, and other containment measures up to and including travel restrictions.

    But even with such measures, the American military and the Department of Defense have been hard hit by the coronavirus; new cases continue to be reported from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and while the first week of October saw no COVID deaths within the Department of Defense, numbers continue to climb. The Department of Veterans Affairs was not so fortunate, with 35 new COVID-19 deaths reported within the VA since our last report.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Oct. 2, 2020 included the following:

    • 66,375 total cases (up from 65,657 total cases)
    • 45,759 military (up from 45,246)
    • 10,210 civilians (up from 10,109)
    • 6,092 dependents (up from 6,034)
    • 4,314 DoD contractors (up from 4,268)

    By service, COVID-19 cases included:

    • 17,032 Army: (up from 16,742)
    • 7,136 Air Force: (up from 7,066)
    • 5,742 Marine Corps: (up from 5,675)
    • 10,260 Navy: (up from 10,174)
    • 5,589 National Guard and “other elements”: (unchanged from 5,589)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 30,756 military (up from 30,450)
    • 4,245 dependents (up from 4,200)
    • 6,639 civilians (up from 6,568)
    • 2,936 contractors (up from 2,906)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 59 civilian deaths (unchanged)
    • 22 contractor deaths (unchanged)

    There were also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 61,683 total cumulative cases (up from 60,618 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3, 459 deaths (up from 3,424)

    On Sept. 25, 2020, the Associated Press published a report including quotes from the Commander-in-Chief, President Donald J. Trump from a campaign event in Ohio where the President claimed “virtually nobody” under the age of 18 was affected by COVID-19. According to the AP article, the President, “sought to frame the pandemic as largely impacting older Americans, as he argued for school districts to resume in-person learning.”

    The AP also quoted the President saying, “Now we know it affects elderly people with heart problems and other problems,” Trump said. “If they have other problems, that’s what it really affects. That’s it.”

    However, according to official figures released by the Department of Defense, “virtually nobody” included 65 thousand Department of Defense civilians, contractors, military members, and dependents at the press time at the end of September.

    “Virtually nobody” also included 96 deaths from COVID-19 within the Department of Defense.

    And “virtually nobody” also applied to over five thousand reservists; on a larger scale, “virtually nobody” numbers totaled seven million confirmed COVID-19 cases within the United States as a whole.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Sept. 29, 2020 included the following:

    • 65,657 total cases (up from 60,818 total cases)
    • 45,246 military (up from 41,959)
    • 10,109 civilians (up from 9,334)
    • 6,034 dependents (up from 5,571)
    • 4,268 DoD contractors (up from 3,954)

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • 16,742 Army: (up from 15,192)
    • 7,066 Air Force: (up from 6,602)
    • 5,675 Marine Corps: (up from 5,239)
    • 10,174 Navy: (up from 9,631)
    • 5,589 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 5,295)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 30,450 military (up from 26,828)
    • 4,200 dependents (up from 3,726)
    • 6,568 civilians (up from 5,799)
    • 2,906 contractors (up from 2,549)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 8 military deaths (up from 7)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged from 7)
    • 59 civilian deaths (up from 57)
    • 22 contractor deaths (up from 21)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 60618 total cumulative cases (up from 56,389 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3, 424 deaths (up from 3,218)

    The coronavirus case numbers among military members, dependents, DoD civilians, and contractors did not stop increasing during the month of September, 2020.

    As you will see from the numbers below, cases continued to increase but the number of COVID-19 related deaths among these groups is not going up for troops or their dependent family members–the death rate for these individuals was unchanged from our previous report.

    That unfortunately cannot be said for DoD civilian employees and contractors; since our last report seven DoD civilians died of COVID-19 as well as the death of a civilian contractor for a total of eight coronavirus fatalities within the DoD since we last tallied those numbers.

    Of the total VA cases reported in this update, veterans had the majority of coronavirus cases within the VA healthcare system, with much smaller numbers from employees and veteran employees. The total VA employee case count for coronavirus was at 156 total compared to 2,241 veterans at the time of publication.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Sept. 16, 2020 include the following:

    • 60,818 total cases (up from 55,705 total cases)
    • 41,959 military (up from 38,424)
    • 9,334 civilians (up from 8,509)
    • 5,571 dependents (up from 5,133)
    • 3,954 DoD contractors (up from 3,639 )

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • 15,192 Army: (up from 13,701 )
    • 6,602 Air Force: (up from 5,966 )
    • 5,239 Marine Corps: (up from 4,796)
    • 9,631 Navy: (up from 8,914 )
    • 5,295 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 5,047)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 26,828 military (up from 23,011)
    • 3,726 dependents (up from 3,147 )
    • 5,799 civilians (up from 4,883)
    • 2,549 contractors (up from 2,092)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 7 military deaths (unchanged)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 57 civilian deaths (up from 50 )
    • 21 contractor deaths (up from 20)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 56,389 total cases (up from 52,858 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 3,218 deaths (up from 2978)

    More Past COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    On Aug. 31, 2020, Johns Hopkins University reported the United States COVID-19 case count at more than six million, with global cases exceeding 25 million. In the same month, FEMA was directed to fund a certain portion of costs associated with using the National Guard to help in the coronavirus containment effort. At the end of August 2020, roughly 45% of all military bases lifted prior DoD-enforced travel restrictions.

    All the while coronavirus cases continue to rise within the Department of Defense. Numbers from the previous report to what is listed above included 6,637 new total cases DoD-wide, with 84 COVID-19 related deaths within the DoD total.

    COVID-19 cases continued to rise in the Department of Defense, but the increase noted in the statistics below isn’t quite as dramatic as the previous week’s report. This seems to (anecdotally) coincide with a reduced number of cases reported in hotspots like California and Florida–the number of cases in these areas continues to be high, but has backed away from the some 10 thousand new infections per day reported at certain points in recent weeks.

    Such observations are not scientific–they are observations from afar and should be considered purely anecdotal. But the hope in some circles is that these “improvements” might point the way to reduced risk at some stage.

    The Department of Defense continued to monitor, advise, and contain where necessary. DoD efforts during this time involved a great deal of funding–which included a $750k award to the company Plasma Technologies LLC, intended for “manufacturing of convalescent plasma products using a novel process in support of the U.S. COVID-19 response” according to a DoD press release.

    Another partnership under the Defense Production Act saw the DoD agreeing to more than three million dollars in funds to a company called BioFire Defense LLC designed to expand certain types of “molecular diagnostic testing”.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Sept. 2, 2020 include the following:

    • 55,705 total cases (up from 49,068 total cases)
    • 38,424 military (up from 34,090 )
    • 8,509 civilians (up from 7,306 )
    • 5,133 dependents (up from 4,289)
    • 3,639 DoD contractors (up from 3,129 )

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • 13,701 Army: (up from 11,836)
    • 5,966 Air Force: (up from 5,317 )
    • 4,796 Marine Corps: (up from 4,245 )
    • 8,914 Navy: (up from 7,991 )
    • 5,047 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 4,701)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 23,011 military (up from 18,907 )
    • 3,147 dependents (up from 2,582 )
    • 4,883 civilians (up from 3,630)
    • 2,092 contractors (up from 1,555 )

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 7 military deaths (up from 4)
    • 7 dependent deaths (unchanged)
    • 50 civilian deaths (up from 47 )
    • 20 contractor deaths (up from 16)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Sept. 1, 2020 the VA reports:

    • 52,858 total cases (up from 46,908 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 2978 deaths (up from 2,493 )

    Previous COVID-19 Cases in the United States Military

    On July 20, 2020, the DoD official site for its response to the coronavirus pandemic made a grim announcement. U.S. COVID-19 related deaths in the USA  exceeded 150 thousand human lives.

    Coronavirus cases continued to climb both in many parts of America but also in the United States military. No surprise, with the numbers below in mind, that the DoD awarded a major defense contract (some $42 million) to Curative,Inc. for the purpose of obtaining a quarter of a million test kits to military treatment centers, “thus expanding the department’s COVID-19 testing capability” according to a Department of Defense press release.

    The volume and accuracy of COVID-19 testing continued–in spite of past remarks from Washington D.C. that contradict the critical need for testing–to play a key part of DoD strategy to prevent coronavirus issues from hampering military readiness.

    Prior mixed messages on testing haven’t deterred the Department of Defense from issuing more defense contracts to companies responsible for developing test equipment, swabs, etc.

    Another recent DoD contract, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services awarded a contract worth more than $51 million to Puritan Medical Products Company, intended to “increase domestic production capacity of flock tip testing swabs” according to a DoD press release.

    At press time, COVID-19 continues to be a major problem for both civilian authorities and the military; the difference being that DoD efforts to contain the virus and prevent its spread are unified, targeted, and have clear leadership planning; this not necessarily so in some states where COVID-19 cases have exploded in recent weeks.

    Some believe it remains to be seen whether an aggressive approach to this disease will prove to be the more effective; others point to the recent surge in cases following aggressive reopening pushes as an indicator that the DoD approach as an indicator of how individual states could formulate appropriate responses to the pandemic.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Aug. 17, 2020 include the following:

    • 49,068 total cases (previous numbers at 46,332 total cases)
    • 34,090 (up from 32,299) military
    • 7,306 (up from 6,824) civilians
    • 4,543 dependents (up from 4,289)
    • 3,129 DoD contractors (up from 2,920)

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • 11,836 Army: (up from 11,140 )
    • 5,317 Air Force: (up from 5,073)
    • 4,245 Marine Corps: (up from 3,991)
    • 7,991 Navy: (up from 7,568 )
    • 4,701 National Guard and “other elements”: (up from 4527)

    At the time of this writing, the Army leads all branches of service for COVID-19 cases, with the Navy just behind the Army, but Navy stats have not breached the 10,000 mark at press time.

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 18,907 military (up from 17,276)
    • 2,582 dependents (up from 2,376)
    • 3,630 civilians (up from 3,188)
    • 1,555 contractors (up from 1,400 )

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 4 Military (unchanged)
    • 7 dependents (unchanged)
    • 47 civilians (up from 46 )
    • 16 Contractors (unchanged)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Aug. 17, 2020, the VA reports:

    • 46,908 total cases (up from 44,091 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 2,493 deaths (up from 2349)

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Aug. 12, 2020 include the following:

    • 46,332 total cases (previous numbers at 41,361 total cases)
    • 32,299 (up from 28,769 ) military
    • 6,824 (up from 6,092) civilians
    • 4,289 dependents (up from 3,896)
    • 2,920 DoD contractors (up from 2,604)

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • Army: 11,140 (up from 9,697)
    • Air Force: 5,073 (up from 4,595)
    • Marine Corps: 3,991 (up from 3,445)
    • Navy: 7,568 (up from 6,888 )
    • National Guard and “other elements”: 4527 (up from 4144)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 17,276 military (up from 14,557)
    • 2,376 dependents (up from 2,041)
    • 3,188 civilians (up from 2,594)
    • 1,400 contractors (up from 1,146 )

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 4 Military (unchanged)
    • 7 dependents (unchanged)
    • 46 civilians (up from 43)
    • 16 Contractors (up from 14)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Aug. 3, 2020, the VA reports:

    • 44,091 total cases (up 33203 from total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 2349 deaths (up from 2182)

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of Aug. 3, 2020 include the following:

    • 41,361 total cases (previous numbers at 31, 418 total cases)
    • 28,769 (up from 21,909) military
    • 6,092 (up from 4,563) civilians
    • 3,896 dependents (up from 2,925)
    • 2,604 DoD contractors (up from 2,021)

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • Army: 9,697 (up from 7,282)
    • Air Force:4,595 (up from 3,263)
    • Marine Corps: 3,445 (up from 2,470)
    • Navy: 6,888 (up from 5,629)
    • National Guard and “other elements”: 4144 (up from 3,265)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 14,557military (up from 9,033 on 1 July 2020)
    • 2,041 dependents (up from 1,259)
    • 2,594 civilians (up from 1,680)
    • 1,146 contractors (up from 756)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD:

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 4 Military (up from 3)
    • 7 dependents (unchanged)
    • 43 civilians (up from 27)
    • 14 Contractors (up from 9)

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of Aug. 3, 2020, the VA reports:

    • 33203 total cases (up 33118 from total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 2182 deaths (up from 1927)

    Other COVID-19 Case News

    June headlines sparked worry among host nation leaders in Japan following reports of some 60-plus U.S. Marines testing positive for COVID-19 in Okinawa.

    A July 17, 2020 CBS News report includes mention of some 140 infections being “confirmed at American bases on the island since cases started to surge almost two weeks ago.

    A number of U.S. military bases returned to earlier travel restrictions (see below) after Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s revised travel restriction guidelines were issued to allow PCS, TDY, and other movement as long as local conditions permitted and area commanders were confident such moves are safe.

    However, Esper’s directive allows for local commanders to return to restricted movement where warranted. At press time, some of the following bases are among those have returned to some form of travel ban, stop-movement, or other requirements as related to travel and COVID-19:

    • Fort McCoy, Wisconsin
    • Naval Air Station Corpus Christi,
    • Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia
    • Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
    • Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada
    • Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa

    Others may be added to this list as conditions warrant.

    Older COVID-19 Issues In the U.S. Military: May 2020 And Prior

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the U.S. military also battles cases of COVID-19 among the ranks even as it is tasked with helping the nation fight the disease at home and abroad.

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of July 20, 2020 include the following:

    • 31,418 total cases (compared to 1 July, 2020 numbers at 18,071 total cases)
    • 21,909 (up from 12,521) military
    • 4,563 (up from 2,644) civilians
    • 2,925 dependents (up from 1,740)
    • 2,021 DoD contractors (up from 1,166)

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • Army: 7,282 (up from 3,836 as of 1 July 2020)
    • Air Force: 3,263 (up from 1,550)
    • Marine Corps: 2,470 (up from 1,259)
    • Navy: 5,629 (up from 3,662)
    • National Guard and “other elements”: 3,265(up from 2214)

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 9,033 military (up from 6,028 on 1 July 2020)
    • 1,259 dependents (up from 904)
    • 1,680 civilians (up from 1,223)
    • 756 contractors (up from 528)

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD

    DoD-connected personnel who have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 3 military
    • 7 dependents (up from 5 as of 1 July, 2020)
    • 27 civilians (up from 21)
    • 9 contractors

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of July 1, 2020, the VA reports:

    • 33118 total cases (up from 23,359 total positive cases among veterans and VA employees)
    • 1927 deaths (up from 1,643)

    DoD COVID-19 numbers as of July 1, 2020 include the following:

    • 18,071 total cases
    • 12,521 military
    • 2,644 civilians
    • 1,740 dependents
    • 1,166 DoD contractors

    By service, COVID-19 cases include:

    • Army: 3,836
    • Air Force: 1,550
    • Marine Corps: 1,259
    • Navy: 3,662
    • National Guard and “other elements”: 2214

    COVID-19 Recoveries in the DoD:

    • 6,028 military
    • 904 dependents
    • 1,223 civilians
    • 528 contractors

    COVID-19 Deaths In The DoD

    A total of 28 DoD-connected personnel have died from COVID-19 at press time:

    • 3 military
    • 5 dependents
    • 21 civilians
    • 9 contractors

    There are also COVID-19 updates for cases involving the Department of Veterans Affairs. As of July 1, 2020, the VA reports:

    • 23,359 total positive cases (veterans and VA employees)
    • 1,643 known deaths

    There was a large outbreak in a veterans home located in Massachusetts; roughly 70 residents have died at the state-operated Holyoke Soldiers’ Home and a federal investigation was announced to determine if veterans were denied “proper medical care”; the state prosecutor was reported as considering legal action against the home.

    COVID-19 On Board U.S. Navy Ships

    Some of the most high-visibility coronavirus cases in the U.S. military were on board the USS Theordore Roosevelt, but another Navy outbreak on board the USS Kidd turned that ship around to head back to port to handle the more than 60 coronavirus cases on board, remove the rest of the crew, and decontaminate the ship.

    The outbreak on board the Kidd marks the second instance of a COVID-19 situation on a ship that is underway; at the time of this writing some sources report that the first instance on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt resulted in more than 900 positive cases. The Kidd’s return to port is an obvious effort to prevent a repeat of such numbers.

    The Roosevelt made headlines in April 2020 when the Captain of the ship was relieved of command for requesting help fighting an outbreak of COVID-19 on board the Roosevelt.

    Captain Brett Crozier was relieved of duty, the acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly then flew out to the Roosevelt, which was underway at the time, insulted Crozier, and subsequently resigned.

    An investigation of the matter found the Navy standing by its decision to relieve Crozier of Command; Captain Brett Crozier is assigned other duties and, according to certain Navy officials, will never be recommended for command again.

    Relieved Of Command, But Not Retired

    Some of the most high-visibility coronavirus cases in the U.S. military were on board the USS Theordore Roosevelt, but another Navy outbreak on board the USS Kidd turned that ship around to head back to port to handle the more than 60 coronavirus cases on board, remove the rest of the crew, and decontaminate the ship.

    The outbreak on board the Kidd marks the second instance of a COVID-19 situation on a ship that is underway; some sources report that the first instance on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt resulted in more than 900 positive cases. The Kidd’s return to port was an effort to prevent a repeat of such numbers.

    Since the days of the outbreak on board these ships, the military-oriented news outlet Stars and Stripes reports the “caretaker crew” responsible for decontaminating the USS Kidd has departed and turned operations over to a crew of roughly 90 sailors deemed to be virus-free. An Associated Press report from earlier in the outbreak reported that nearly 80 sailors on board the USS Kidd (out of 330) were positive for COVID-19.

    The USS Theodore Roosevelt has made headlines the week of May 20, 2020 as it was ordered back on duty after a prolonged amount of downtime due to roughly 1000 of its sailors testing positive for COVID-19. It’s a major announcement for the ship, which was the center of controversy in April due to coronavirus-related issues.

    The USS Roosevelt is said to be the location of largest outbreak of COVID-19 in the DoD and makes up a very large percentage of Navy cases; Roosevelt contains roughly 20% of all cases among U.S. troops according to DoD sources.

    Captain Brett Crozier himself tested positive for COVID-19 after being relieved of duty. And unfortunately things don’t end there; a total of four sailors aboard the Roosevelt have tested positive for COVID-19 and one sailor from that number has died.

    DoD Workplace Safety And Social Distancing Rules

    On April 13, 2020, the Department of Defense updated its guidelines for coronavirus containment measures; Force Health Protection Guidance Supplement 8 includes guidelines for restricted workplace access including the following:

    “Components will restrict access to DoD-controlled workplaces by individuals whom the CDC recommends not go to work to the fullest extent practical consistent with mission needs” and that applies to both uniformed service members, contractors, and employees. What does Supplement 8 advise? Who should stay home?

    According to the latest guidance, “Personnel who have symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, or shortness of breath) should notify their supervisor and stay home”.

    There are further requirements for those who are symptomatic: DoD policy under Supplement 8 states that in general terms, you should not return to work until you have self-isolated for 14 days, and in cases where workers are asymptomatic but who have been exposed to infected people, the 14 day requirement also applies.

    Supplement 8 advises, “the workplace supervisor, in consultation with the appropriate Component medical authority, must determine the individual does not present a threat to the safety of the workforce” before allowing military or civilian personnel back into the physical workspace.

    Mission-Essential Exceptions

    Where mission-essential duty is required, asymptomatic personnel may be granted an exception to continue to work “provided they remain asymptomatic”. These troops must comply with “daily pre-screening with temperature checks, self­ monitoring with employer supervision, wearing a face covering, and not sharing headsets or other objects used near the face; continuing to social distance as much as possible”.

    Such exceptions may be granted by your chain of command at the senior level. Specifically, DoD states exceptions are granted only by “the first General/Flag Officer or member of the Senior Executive Service (or equivalent) in the chain of command”.

    Living And Working Under Shelter-In-Place Orders

    Supplement 8 states that in regions with shelter-in-place orders, “DoD Service members and civilian employees are to report to work only as directed to do so” by the chain of command but in general, “DoD Components will continue to maximize use of telework” to meet mission requirements where possible.

    Prior Updates

    The Department of Defense has other Force Health Protection Guidance policies to include current policies on treatment of COVID-19 patents as well as first-responder monitoring.

    Specifically, the new guidance includes instructions for first-responders, transportation crews, other patients, and ”post-transport management of contaminated vehicles”. DoD is recommending treatment in place wherever possible. According to the guidelines:

    “The movement of patients with COVID-19 should be limited…” but also advising, “…patient movement…may be necessary when local resources are overwhelmed, a higher level of medical care is required, or if mission requirements dictate.”

    But there’s more. An addendum to the guidance provides DoD policy for air travel and transport of COVID-19 patients. This information, contained in a document called Guidance on Air Medical Transport for COVID-19 Patients and/or COVID-19 Exposed Patients is not only extremely helpful for those responding to the virus, but also for those who may have worries about air travel. Why?

    DoD provides updated guidelines for “air movement of COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 exposed persons, on DoD aircraft, decontamination procedures, and post-mission crew monitoring”. One of the most significant areas of this policy addresses concerns about air flow in DoD pressurized aircraft where presumably, the risk of infection may be elevated due to the nature of cabin pressurization.

    What does the DoD tell its’ first responder air transport crews in this area? There are several protective measures, but this one is most telling:

    “Aircraft with forward-to-aft cabin air flow and a separate cockpit cabin are strongly preferred for transport of COVID-19 patients. Aft-to-forward cabin air flow will increase the risk of airborne exposure of cabin and flight deck personnel”.

    Furthermore, Dod policy advises that aircraft that re-circulates cabin air and flight deck air “without HEP A filtration are not desirable for COVID-19 patient transport”.

    Such advisories aren’t necessarily intended to help troops and their families understand why there is limited medical evacuation available for military COVID-19 patients, but it does help explain treatment-in-place policies and certain restrictions on family members accompanying or visiting military or DoD loved ones currently being treated.

    As of March 31st, 2020, National Guard units have been utilized in all 50 states; American troops around the globe are affected by or participating in coronavirus containment measures.

    COVID-19 and the coronavirus present a unique challenge to the military because unlike the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, 9/11, or even Hurricane Katrina, the military’s role in the coronavirus crisis is complicated by the potential virus threat to the responders.

    Are there cases of COVID-19 and coronavirus outbreak problems within the military? If the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard are considered to be miniature representations of American society in general, it should not be surprising to learn that yes, there ARE cases within the ranks.

    But how many cases exactly? Until March 31, 2020, reports were coming in on a daily basis describing soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines affected by COVID-19 in one form or another. But going forward, the numbers are not published on a by-unit, by-command, or by MAJCOM basis; a DoD directive orders commanders and other officials from releasing specific information that would detail how coronavirus is affecting unit-level, base-level, command-level, or MAJOCOM-level operations.

    DoD has pledged to release coronavirus numbers that represent the whole of the agencies under its’ jurisdiction but the general public will not be told that individual bases have specific numbers of active cases.

    The numbers you see in this article (read below) are taken from the information available before the lockdown on releasing new numbers and does not necessarily reflect the current state of containment efforts or their effectiveness within DoD.

    There Is No Coronavirus Conspiracy To Worry About

    No sooner did the Pentagon issue the order to stop discussing specific case numbers (except as described above) outside the DoD than the conspiracy theories begin. But most of today’s social media conspiracy theory types forget the one important reason why the U.S. military embargoes this information; operational security.

    Known as OPSEC in military circles, best-practices for protecting troops include embargoing a wide range of discussions on social media, to reporters, even to family members. Prior to deployments, troops are instructed not to share their activities on social media. They are also advised not to send emails discussing troop movement, preparations, deployment training, or planning.

    The embargo on stats related to the coronavirus makes a great deal of sense in this context as continued revelations about overseas and domestic military bases under siege by the coronavirus gives a potential terrorist plenty of intel in which to use to plan an attack. Terrorists and enemy commanders in more conventional warfare both gather data from a wide variety of sources to identify weaknesses and security holes.

    And that is why there is a restriction on releasing certain specific coronavirus / COVID-19 stats from the DoD. With that in mind, the numbers from the following sections below are still important; it’s hard to get a good idea of the virus and its destructive potential without seeing how the numbers specifically multiply on an exponential or near-exponential level when unchecked.

    When you read the information below, keep that notion in mind, practice good social isolation measures, and do not give in to the temptation to believe in unfounded theories about why the military is taking the actions it must in these trying times.

    This page will see future updates as circumstances warrant, but those updates will reflect the general numbers of coronavirus cases across the Defense Department.

    Past Actual Cases, Presumptive Cases, And Quarantine

    A report issued on March 20, 2020, announced that more than 120 cases were evident within the Department of Defense as a whole. These early cases included:

    • 67 military members
    • 26 dependents
    • 16 DoD contractors
    • 15 civilians

    Cases Spread Quickly

    Three days later, news outlets were reporting DoD new stats:

    • 243 total cases of COVID-19 within the Department of Defense
    • 133 military
    • 35 dependents
    • 44 civilians
    • 31 Defense Department contractors.

    The DoD announced the first military-connected coronavirus death (a DoD contractor) announced March 22, 2020.The Defense Department announced the first military-connected coronavirus death March 22: a DoD contractor based in Falls Church, Virginia who worked for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. The first coronavirus-related death of a military dependent occurred on March 26, 2020 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

    One reason for the sense of urgency to initiate COVID-19 isolation procedures?

    In spite of early claims by some in the public eye that coronavirus issues were “a hoax” or “blown out of proportion and not serious”?

    Careful observers of the March 23rd updates will note that the number of cases among military members roughly doubled, ditto for Defense Department contractors. And the March 27, 2020 numbers are more than doubled from 133 on March 23 to 309 on the 27th.

    Coronavirus cases within the Department of Defense as of March 27, 2020:

    • 652 total cases of COVID-19 in the DoD
    • 309 military
    • 108 dependents
    • 134 civilians
    • 62 Defense Department contractors.

    The approximate doubling of the numbers is definitely a factor to respect in terms of whether you should participate in social distancing, isolation, etc.

    An exponential or-near-exponential spread of the virus is possible and it’s important to note the gravity of the increasing number of cases. New York City is an excellent example of what happens when coronavirus spreads to a densely packed population.

    Rising cases are only part of the equation; “flattening the wave” of simultaneous cases flooding the military and civilian hospital systems means identifying at what point the number of multiplying cases breaks and the “wave” starts to roll back.

    Conflicting Messages?

    Published reports from the New York Times point to an order from the Defense Secretary, warning U.S. commanders in overseas locations, “…not to make any decisions related to the coronavirus that might surprise the White House or run afoul of Mr. Trump’s messaging on the growing health challenge”.

    In spite of that order, Pentagon officials estimate the coronavirus crisis could last months longer than the “hopefully by Easter” messaging from the White House. Defense Secertary Mark Esper is on record stating, “I think we need to plan for this to be a few months long, at least, and we’re taking all precautionary measures to do that,”

    Also chiming in? Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, who says the crisis could run as far into the summer as July.

    Milestones: First Coronavirus Reports From U.S. Navy Ships At Sea, Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan

    The Pentagon announced three positive coronavirus cases aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier which has been deployed and is currently at sea. Published reports state the USS Roosevelt (with a ship’s crew of roughly five thousand) made a stop in a port during a visit to Vietnam 15 days prior. DoD officials did not go on the record claiming that the exposure to coronavirus happened there.

    Multiple aircraft landings on the carrier while underway could be viewed as a possible source of exposure.

    The first coronavirus case at Guantanamo Bay has also been reported; a sailor there has tested positive and is currently in isolation/quarantine. The coronavirus outbreak has also spread to American-led forces in Afghanistan with four service members in the U.S. / NATO coalition. It is not safe at press time to presume these are American troops; no nationalities have been released at the time of this writing.

    How Coronavirus Affects The Department of Veterans Affairs

    There are also reports of coronavirus infections among those served by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Details on VA staff members reporting coronavirus symptoms was not available at press time, but on March 14th the VA issued the announcement of the first VA-connected death associated with coronavirus.

    At press time, the VA was tracking roughly 130 “total positive cases” among the veteran population but was no longer identifying who was actually infected versus presumptive cases.


    Military Efforts To Combat The Coronavirus

    The United States Army provides an excellent example of the efforts within the DoD to find a treatment for symptoms as well as a vaccine that could be used to prevent the spread of the infection at a later point.

    Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says work between the Army, other government agencies, and private sector companies is headed toward human trials (after animal testing had taken place).

    U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research have also been tasked to test coronavirus vaccines. These agencies are coordinating their efforts with the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.

    Army efforts also include helping out with the thousands of COVID-19 screening tests that need to be processed; a March 20, 2020 Defense.gov report says the Army and its testing partners were testing just over 800 COVID-19 screening kits, but the end goal is to ramp up production to handle a significantly higher number; as many as 16,000 each day.

    The U.S. Army alone has nine facilities with clinical laboratories which have been certified to process the test kits.

    On the ground, U.S. Navy Hospital Ships have been sent to New York and California to help in healthcare efforts there; Guard and Reserve units are being activated in the wake of an Executive Order issued by the President authorizing use of Individual Ready Reserve troops and Selected Reserve members to assist in fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

    Are U.S. Troops Vulnerable To The Coronavirus?

    U.S. troops are at risk for coronavirus the same as any other American citizen, but depending on career fields, mission conditions, and other variables, some troops are more at risk than others. Healthcare workers, force protection jobs, and other specialties that bring troops into contact with potentially infected people are an obvious risk.

    The U.S. Department of Labor advises that coronavirus exposure risk is “elevated for workers who interact with potentially infected individuals” in the following fields:

    • Deathcare
    • Laboratories
    • Airport/flightline operations
    • Border protection
    • Solid waste and wastewater management
    • Travel to affected areas

    It’s not just those stationed at overseas military bases or stateside assignments who have to worry; look at these U.S. Navy coronavirus outbreak incidents reported since the beginning of March:

    • One military member tests positive aboard the guided-missile destroyer Ralph Johnson;
    • Multiple coronavirus positives on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt,
    • A sailor aboard the littoral combat ship Coronado tested positive for coronavirus;
    • A staff member with U.S. 2nd Fleet (Norfolk, Virginia) tested positive for coronavirus;

    Some might have assumed being on board a Navy ship currently underway might offer a layer of protection, but like cruise ships, a Navy vessel is a closed environment and chances of spreading the virus in such conditions is elevated.


    Vaccines For COVID-19 And Coronavirus Reporting Procedures

    Those who experience symptoms are urged to call their healthcare provider (call FIRST) before attempting to report in person for screening. Symptoms include:

    • Shortness of breath
    • Fever
    • Cough

    Active duty troops should first obey any self-reporting or self-quarantine guidelines established by your unit, squadron, or base command. That may or may not involve immediate self-quarantine, testing, etc. If you are not sure what your unit’s coronavirus policies are, contact your command support staff, First Sergeant, Command Sergeant Major, or unit orderly room.

    Civilians, dependents, contractors, and others who may experience symptoms should call their healthcare provider first, follow all instructions by the provider, the command, or the VA–whichever is most applicable to you as a non-active duty coronavirus concern.


    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News


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