As coronavirus cases have more than doubled in the past week, so too has the rate of troops testing positive for COVID-19, according to Defense Department data released Monday.
So far more than 1,435 service members are confirmed, up from 569 a week ago and 978 on Friday. It’s a similar story in the U.S. at large, when the total hit more than 300,000 on Sunday afternoon, more than twice the number a week earlier.
The current numbers put the military’s infection rate at 683-per-million, compared to the general U.S. rate of 932 per million. Of those 1,435 troops, 119 have recovered, while 37 are hospitalized.
“[There] seems to be this belief that the best way for the Department of Defense to defeat COVID-19 is for us to stand down and stop operations around the world,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters Friday, in the face of some criticism that the Pentagon wasn’t doing enough to stem the spread of coronavirus. “One, that’s not going to happen. Two, we don’t believe that’s necessary.”
The death toll still stands at six after the weekend, though the numbers have changed somewhat.
It was determined that one of the reported contractors, as well as the Joint Base Langley-Eustis Army spouse who died in late March, were not positive for COVID-19, Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed to Military Times.
On Friday, DoD had reported two civilians, one dependent and two contractors dead. While the count still stands at one service member, a New Jersey National Guardsmen, the new total includes four civilians and one contractor.
The department issued further guidance to its social distancing policy Sunday, requiring anyone on any military installation or DoD property to wear a mask covering their nose and mouth if they could not maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times, except within on-base residences.
The Navy is reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases to date, a week after an outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt forced the ship into evacuate most of its sailors last week.
So far, in the active duty and Reserves, 431 sailors have been diagnosed, as well as 334 soldiers, 281 airmen and 86 Marines. The National Guard, both Army and Air, has reported 303 cases.
Overall, DoD reports 2,528 cases, including 398 civilians, 336 dependents and 177 contractors. Of those, 44 civilians are hospitalized and 23 have recovered; 14 dependents are hospitalized and 26 have recovered; and 15 contractors are hospitalized, and eight have recovered.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.