Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: March 12-March 19

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, March 12. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.

New Department of Defense (DoD) cases of Covid-19 decreased sharply over the past week, with the 7-day average falling by 30 percent to 409 new cases as of March 19. DoD new cases have been in decline for the past four weeks, which remains largely consistent with the declining trend of cases in the broader U.S. population. Deaths rose by 13 this past week, reaching 319 as of Friday, March 19. 

Major Updates

  • March 15: The Pentagon released guidelines that would permit civilians and service members to travel freely between bases conditional on the removal of local travel restrictions, availability of essential services, assurance capacity for moving, and “Favorable Health Protection Conditions” (operating below HPCON C).
  • March 17: DoD announced the creation of “MassVax,” a new electronic health record system to facilitate rapid vaccine administration and track vaccinated DoD patients.
  • March 18: Military Times reports that active coronavirus cases among Veterans Affairs patients hit its lowest total since early October, which is down by over 78 percent in the last two months.
  • March 19: U.S. Army scientists are collaborating with DARPA to build a sensor that detects Covid-19 proteins in the air as DARPA works to optimize airflow circulation in military aircraft.

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)


Cite this Page

William Healzer, Adam Saxton and Mark Cancian, "Covid-19 Response Update: March 12-March 19," Center for Strategic and International Studies, March 19, 2021, last modified March 19, 2021,