Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: July 31-August 7

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Thursday, July 31. 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 continuing to decline this week with the 7-day average falling by 21 percent since last Friday to 578 new cases. Deaths rose to 72, a 9 percent increase over the last week, which is a significantly slower rate than last week’s 22 percent increase from the previous Friday.

There have also been some signs that the recent uptick in US cases may hinder some aspects of military cooperation with allied and partner states. One recent development this week is that Thailand cancelled plans for future joint exercises with the U.S. military as a result of several of their officers testing positive for Covid-19 after training in Hawaii.

Major Updates:

  • July 30: Kathy Warden, chief executive of Northrop Grumman, said she chose not to sign recent letters signed by eight defense contractors sent to Capitol Hill calling for coronavirus relief funding because Northrop Grumman had not been as seriously affected.
  • July 31: After a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Army completed a test of its battle command system intended to control air and missile defense shooters and sensors.
  • August 2: Thailand has cancelled plans for joint training with the US after nine Thai officers tested positive for Covid-19 during the Lightning Forge 2020 training exercise in Hawaii.
  • August 4: National Guard deployments for coronavirus support missions will continue until 2021, but the federal government will only cover 75 percent of the associated costs. Texas and Florida will be exceptions, receiving full federal funding for extended National Guard deployments for coronavirus relief missions. This has engendered criticism that the White House is showing favoritism for political reasons.
  • August 4: US European Command staff will now need special approval to travel to Spain and Belgium in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases in both countries.

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 31-August 7," Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 7, 2020, last modified August 7, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-july-31-august-7/.