This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, June 5. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.
The Department of Defense (DoD), along with the rest of the United States, is easing restrictions imposed at the beginning of the pandemic. Carrier strikes groups are deploying after requisite isolation periods and the stop-movement order is being lifted in a phased approach.
However, new DoD cases of Covid-19 have also been rising as the 7-day average this past Saturday rose to 281 new cases. DoD new case numbers had been previously declining since the end of April after coming down from mid-April highs when the average new cases peaked at 366. This is a concerning uptick that accompanies DoD attempts to resume normal operations.
DoD has stopped providing data on troop deployments related to the pandemic. The last available data showed that deployments were declining and publicly released information indicates that those declines are likely continuing.
Global deployments by Navy and Coast Guard ships continue; Marine deployments have restarted. Army deployments are planned but still pending.
- June 5: USS Harry Truman carrier is finally returning to Norfolk, VA, ending its deployment. The ship had been at sea in the Atlantic since April after its homecoming was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- June 5: The Navy is extending indefinitely its practice of having all new recruits go through a two week, off-base isolation period before beginning basic training. Navy plans to spend $3.4 million to house new recruits in area hotels for the two-week quarantine.
- June 8: The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups are beginning deployments to the Pacific, after having completed new isolation and social distancing measures to prevent spread of Covid-19. These are the first operational carrier deployments since implementing these measures.
- June 8: The CDC releases a new study on the USS Theodore Roosevelt outbreak, finding that that 60 percent of the tested sailors had reactive antibodies and that social distancing measures, even aboard the ship, did reduced infection rates. The carrier is now back at sea after being sidelined in Guam for ten weeks.
- June 8: DoD lifts travel restrictions for five host countries and 39 states as part of its phased approach to increase personnel movement and allow reassignments.
- June 9: The Navy’s large BALTOPS 2020 military exercise proceeds this week in the Baltic Sea as an exclusively maritime drill, removing its Marine Corps amphibious landing component.
Military Cases of Covid-19
As of Friday, June 12, there have been 18,284 confirmed cases of coronavirus within DoD. Of the current cases, 7,675 were military service members, 1,251 dependents, 1,727 civilians, and 786 contractors. 496 cases required hospitalization, and there have been 36 deaths. 6,809 have recovered. 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 totals are divided across the weekends since DoD Covid-19 updates are only released during the work week 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.
Covid-19 Response: Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Personnel Trends
Army Corps of Engineers: Covid-19 Mission and Personnel Trends
FEMA Mission Assignments: 5 open. 59 of these missions are now closed.
Alternate Care Facilities (ACFs): 38 contracts awarded, of which 36 are complete.
This weekly update is made possible by the International Security Program at CSIS. The authors particularly thank Nidal Morrison for her contributions to the update.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)