Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: July 17-July 24

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Thursday, July 17. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.

New DoD cases of Covid-19 grew at a slower rate this week, although there are still over 600 new cases a day. The 7-day average as of Friday rose to 778, up from 744 last Friday. This roughly 5 percent increase is a much slower rate than recent weeks, which have been rising by an average of 32 percent for each of the past three weeks. Deaths are still low, with 54 cumulative deaths as of this Friday, but have risen by an average of 8 percent for each of the past three weeks.

Assistance from DoD continues to flow in support of civilian hospitals, with Air Force and Navy medical personnel heading to California and Texas respectively. The focus continues to be on sending DoD medical personnel to assist in hospitals, rather than setting up separate alternative care facilities. This underscores the need for hospital staff rather than additional bed capacity.

Major Updates:

  • July 20: About 100 Air Force doctors, nurses, and other medical providers were deployed to California to assist hospitals experiencing severe staff shortages amid a steep increase in Covid-19 cases.
  • July 21: Responding to criticism from Japan’s Defense Minister regarding its response to outbreaks on military installations, US Forces Japan lifted a ban on reporting Covid-19 case numbers at US bases.
  • July 21: Dozens of sailors arrived in Texas to support Covid-19 relief efforts in civilian hospitals.
  • July 22: Boeing and Lockheed Martin have received roughly half of $2.3 billion in promised funding meant to offset disruptions from Covid-19.

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)

Post updated 7/30 to adjust numbers and percentages in the opening paragraphs to match the data displayed in the charts. The data was updated 7/29 to more accurately represent DoD reported case numbers.


Cite this Page

Mark Cancian, Adam Saxton and Nidal Morrison, "Covid-19 Response Update: July 17-July 24," Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 24, 2020, last modified July 24, 2020,