Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: March 5-March 12

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, March 5. 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 slightly over the past week, with the 7-day average falling by 5 percent to 583 new cases as of March 12. New DoD cases have been in decline for the past three weeks, which remains largely consistent with the declining trend of cases in the broader U.S. population. Deaths rose by 3 this past week, reaching 306 as of Friday, March 12.  

Major Updates

  • March 8: DoD has authorized another 1,000 troops to assist with distributing Covid-19 vaccines as part of 10 additional teams to help with vaccination centers. This will bring the authorized number of teams up to 40, including a total of 6,235 active-duty personnel. Of these, 17 teams and 2,200 personnel have been currently deployed.
  • March 10: Military Times reports that there has been a rise in Covid-19 cases in CENTCOM’s area of operations, both in host nations and in U.S. military installations. DoD does not release base specific case numbers, so it is difficult to objectively compare rates across military bases.
  • March 12: During this past year of the pandemic, the Air Force’s flight hours for manned aircraft have fallen to their lowest levels since 2011. While serious mishaps involving manned aircraft were also down, the mishap rate actually increased given the drop in flight hours.

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)