Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: June 19-June 26

Combating Covid-19 Series

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

Department of Defense (DoD) new cases of Covid-19 are continuing to increase at a disconcerting rate if not quite as aggressive as last week. DoD’s new case seven-day average increased by 15 percent to 426, up from 370 last Friday. This is significantly higher than DoD’s mid-April average high of 366 cases, but this week did not have nearly as large an increase as last week’s 40 percent jump. Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, briefed reporters on Monday about DoD’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, but DoD has not offered context explaining the large growth in cases.  

Global deployments of troops and training rotations continue, with various delays as arriving forces quarantine for two-week periods.  

Major Updates

  • June 19: The Navy will not reinstate Captain Brett Crozier as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Captain Crozier was dismissed after his letter asking for more help in responding to a Covid-19 outbreak aboard the ship was leaked to the media.
  • June 22: US Army officials in Europe, encouraged by the recent Allied Spirit exercise in Poland, hope to resume their regular training schedule despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • June 22: The second wave of Marines who arrived in Australia for the Marine Corps’ annual training rotation will be quarantined for two weeks. The fate of the annual training rotation was jeopardized by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic but will now continue after a two-month delay and a significant reduction in the number of Marines involved.
  • June 22: After experiencing a major spike in coronavirus cases, officials at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam are investigating whether any airmen violated quarantine measures.
  • June 22: A recent study of about 200 soldiers who were diagnosed with Covid-19 found that most of the active-duty soldiers with severe Covid-19 cases had underlying health conditions, such as obesity or high blood pressure. 
  • June 22: Upon arrival at Osan Air Base in South Korea, a U.S. airman was sent to a quarantine facility after testing positive for the coronavirus.
  • June 22: A member of the US military community in Kaiserslauten, Germany tested positive for the coronavirus, which is the area’s first confirmed case of the virus among defense personnel in more than a month.
  • June 22: As hurricane season begins, states are preparing to deploy thousands of National Guard personnel in support of natural disaster relief, in addition to the thousands they’ve already activated for both the coronavirus response and local law enforcement after the killing of George Floyd.
  • June 25: U.S. Army Japan identified its first case of Covid-19 since April among its ranks. The new case came from an individual who only arrived this past Monday and likely was asymptomatic with the virus before arrival.

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: June 19-June 26," Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 26, 2020, last modified June 26, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-june-19-june-26/.