Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: January 29-February 5

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, January 29. 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 4 percent to 1,564 new cases as of February 5. This gradual decrease indicates that DoD new cases levels are mostly holding steady and continue to stay below the previous heights reached in mid-January. Deaths rose by 17 this past week, reaching 256 as of this Friday, February 5.  

Major Updates

  • January 29: The Department of Veterans Affairs reports that it has administered at least one dose of vaccines to roughly 500,000 veterans so far.
  • February 1: The full crew of the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Chafee is being quarantined after at least 12 sailors tested positive for Covid-19 last week.
  • February 3: U.S. European Command is proceeding with holding its annual Defender Europe exercise this spring, with up to 31,000 personnel involved. Last year’s exercise, which was set to be the largest exercise in Europe since the end of the Cold War, was significantly curtailed due to the pandemic.
  • February 4: Senior U.S. leaders, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, made an appeal to U.S. servicemembers to participate in the voluntary vaccination program. DoD has also issued new mask requirements on all military bases. This comes as there have been reports that some military personnel are resisting getting vaccines, which is voluntary since the vaccine has only received emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • February 5: 1,100 active-duty military personnel have been approved to assist vaccination centers with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some of these personnel will begin operations in California on February 15, and more missions are to follow.

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)