As the Defense Department’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, so too have the numbers of service members making a recovery.
Per DoD’s latest data, 990 troops are considered recovered, out of 3,496 reported cases since the first soldier tested positive in South Korea in late February.
Numbers for both populations could be much higher, however, as the military grapples with estimated rates of asymptomatic infection. Testing the entire crew of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt revealed that more than half of the coronavirus-positive sailors didn’t feel sick at all, forcing DoD to get serious about testing more than just those who feel unwell.
“Again, it’s only 5,000 people, but it is 5,000 people of a certain demographic,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Friday. “And that’s a very important data point to understand, because that is our data point as a military.”
The infection rate among troops now stands at 1,664-per-million, or 0.16 percent percent. In the U.S. population, those numbers are 2,283-per-million, or 0.22 percent. But the military’s generally young and healthy demographics put its death rate so low that it’s barely above zero statistically, while the U.S. rate has climbed to 5 percent.
For DoD overall, which also tracks civilians, dependents and contractors, the 22 COVID-19 fatalities means the death rate is 0.4 percent.
New diagnoses have slowed in the past two days, down to 79 on Sunday and 88 on Monday, compared to hundreds a day throughout the most of the month of April.
As of Tuesday there have been 5,575 cases overall, with 245 hospitalizations and 1,483 recoveries to date. Of 22 deaths, two have been service members, 10 civilians, three dependents and seven contractors.
Cases among troops rose less than 2 percent from Monday to Tuesday, from 3,438 to 3,496. So far, 79 have been hospitalized and 990 have recovered.
With 95-percent of TR sailors tested, the Navy’s total cases sit at 1,252, with more than 700 assigned to the carrier. The Army reported 841 cases, followed by the Air Force at 338, the Marine Corps at 253 and the National Guard at 682.
The civilian cases rose 8 percent, from 837 to 902, with 76 hospitalized and 212 recovered.
So far, 757 dependents have contracted coronavirus, up 8 percent since Monday, from 702 to 757, with 32 hospitalized and 201 recovered.
And among contractors, cases are at 420, with the biggest jump so far this week: 72 new cases since Monday, or a 23-percent jump, while 58 have been hospitalized and 80 have recovered.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.