Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: December 4-December 11

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, December 4. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.

New Department of Defense (DoD) cases of Covid-19 declined slightly over the past week, with the 7-day average decreasing by 3 percent to 1,532 new cases. Deaths rose by 15 over the past week to reach 151 as of this Friday, December 11.

Major Updates

  • December 2: In congressional testimony on readiness, The Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps did not attribute any degradation of readiness to the pandemic. The Chief of Naval Operations testified that operational tempo did not decline and that personnel billets had been filled to the highest point in six years. He did attribute some delays in maintenance to the effects of the pandemic on the industrial base. The Commandant of the Marine Corps noted that there was budget uncertainty introduced by the pandemic.
  • December 4: The Marine Corps suspended running of its combat fitness test because of the pandemic.
  • December 8: Biden stated that the DoD will have a major role in distributing the Covid-19 vaccines as part of an op-ed in The Atlantic explaining his selection of General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense.
  • December 10: The U.S. commander in Korea apologized for troops attending mask-less dance parties on base.

Military Cases of Covid-19

How DoD cases have been trending over time is broken down below, by new cases; total cases; active cases in the DoD; and across the military services.

Methodological note: 1) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday totals are divided across the intervening days and weekends since DoD Covid-19 updates are only released during the work week on a M-W-F basis. 2) Adjustments were made on April 9 and April 15 when new cases where negative. These days were totaled and divided by the previous day to account for the correction. 3) DoD appeared to change the way cases were reported between April 15-Aprilt 16. A resulting spike in cases on April 16 was divided over the two prior days to account for this methodological shift.

This weekly update is made possible by the International Security Program at CSIS.

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)