Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: July 24-July 31

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Thursday, July 24. 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 are slowly beginning to decline this week, after sharply rising for most of July. The 7-day average as of Friday fell to 729, down from 778 last week, a 6 percent decrease. Deaths remain low but did rise to 66 as of Friday, about a 22 percent increase over the past week, mostly among civilians and contractors.

A brief note on total case numbers. CSIS has adjusted how it interprets DoD daily released total numbers, correcting for an error that originated with an ambiguous DoD methodology shift back in April. The error was clarified this past week. While the scale of DoD case numbers shifted as a result of the change, the overall trend remains largely the same: the second wave of DoD cases is still present and much higher than previous April highs.

Major Updates:

  • July 24: Newly arrived personnel in Japan must test negative for the novel coronavirus before exiting a mandatory two-week quarantine.
  • July 27: As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Air Force is conducting its mission to essential cyber training online, relying on Microsoft Teams and WebEx to train students.
  • July 28: Soldiers participating in the annual Saber Junction exercise in Germany will be required to carry hand sanitizer and wear masks in order to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
  • July 28: Eight Thai soldiers who recently participated in exercise Lightning Forge in Hawaii have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • July 28: Fewer Army personnel have been able to perform operational testing on new network equipment as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • July 28: The new Republican Senate Covid-19 relief bill includes $2.2 billion for Navy shipbuilding, of which $1.45 billion would be dedicated to procuring four smaller hospital ships. These new ships would be based on the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel.

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 24-July 31," Center for Strategic and International Studies, July 31, 2020, last modified July 31, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-july-24-july-31/.