Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: July 10–July 17

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, July 10. 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 are continuing to rise at a steady rate. The 7-day average of new cases rose this Friday to 1,013, up from 785 last Friday. This 29 percent increase, up from last week’s 26 percent increase, is particularly troubling as the average new daily cases crossed the 1,000 threshold for the first time. Deaths continue to rise slowly, with 46 total reported as of this Thursday and are mostly among DoD civilians and contractors.

One notable development this week is that DoD is again deploying medical personnel at the request of FEMA to support local hospitals. These deployments in California and Texas echo previous efforts this spring to provide assistance to places like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. A difference this time is that the deployments appear to be focused on sending medical personnel to existing hospitals, rather than constructing additional alternative care facilities or deploying hospital ships. These deployments again highlight the military’s continued engagement in combating Covid-19.

Major Updates:

  • July 13: The DoD is requesting $10 billion in order to cover defense contractors’ Covid-19 related expenses.
  • July 13: After more than 60 Marines stationed in Okinawa tested positive for the coronavirus, the island’s governor demanded the US military increase prevention measures.
  • July 14: The Pentagon was criticized for proposed cuts of $5.7 billion from chemical and biological defense programs in fiscal year 2021, amid the ongoing pandemic, and despite the heightened risk of future disease outbreaks for US personnel.
  • July 14: 740 DoD medical personnel deployed to Texas and California after the FEMA requested Pentagon assistance to support Covid-19 relief efforts.
  • July 14: In a plan proposed by a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers, National Guardsmen currently deployed on coronavirus relief missions could see their military benefits extended after those missions end.

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)

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Mark Cancian, Adam Saxton and Nidal Morrison, "Covid-19 Response Update: July 10–July 17," Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 17, 2020, last modified July 17, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-july-10-july-17/.