This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, January 22. 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 rose over the past week, with the 7-day average increasing by 17 percent to 1,628 new cases on January 29. This gradual increase follows last week’s sharp drop in new cases, indicating that while DoD new cases did rise, they do not appear to be climbing to the previous heights reached in mid-January. Deaths rose by 14 this past week, reaching 239 as of this Friday, January 29.
- January 22: Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Hyten said that the release of the Joint Warfighting Concept, part of All Domain Operations, has been delayed due to Covid-19. Large war games involving all of the services are needed to test the concept, and so far, the military has not been able to perform as many of them as required due to restrictions related to the pandemic.
- January 22: Reportedly hundreds of National Guard members who were stationed in the Capitol following the January 6th attack have tested positive for Covid-19. While the exact numbers have not been released, which is in keeping with the general DoD practice of not releasing exact numbers in specific locations, there are concerns that the deployment of numerous troops in tight quarters may have contributed to a superspreader event.
- January 25: Max Rose has been named the Pentagon’s Covid-19 coordinator in a new post, “Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense — Senior Advisor, COVID.” Rose is an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and a former U.S. House Representative (D-N.Y.). While serving in Congress he was called up for National Guard duty last March to assist in New York City’s efforts to fight the pandemic.
- January 28: 80 medical military personnel, coming from the Army, Navy, and Air Force are being deployed to three different hospitals in Texas to support their efforts to combat the pandemic.
- January 29: Twelve sailors aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Chafee have tested positive for Covid-19. The ship recently arrived in San Diego from Hawaii and all crew members will be tested, according to an announcement from the Third Fleet, which also stated that the ship “remains ready to meet its mission.”
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)