Covid-19 Response Update: May 15-May 22
Combating Covid-19 Series
This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, May 15. 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’s (DoD) national role in fighting the pandemic is on the decline as civilian medical facilities can generally handle the load. Active duty and reserve deployments continue to drop from their early April highs. Deployed active duty personnel are down 40 percent to 9,600 from the peak of 16,000 and reserve personnel are down 80 percent to 820 from a peak of 4,500. National Guard activations have plateaued at about 46,000. Army Corps of Engineers is down to 26 FEMA missions (from a high of 51), is finishing planned temporary facilities, and its deployed personnel have dropped 70 percent from its peak of 2,100 to 605.
Global deployments by Navy and Coast Guard ships continue; deployments by Marine and Army units are planned but still pending.
Defense industry is returning to normal operations but with a few facilities still closed and widespread absenteeism.
- May 15: USNS Mercy left Los Angeles, ending hospital ship support in the fight against the pandemic. 61 medical treatment facility staff stayed behind to support local healthcare providers.
- May 18: President Trump named Army General Gustave Perna as co-lead of Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine against Covid-19. Specifics on what this means are to be released soon.
- May 19: A Navy support ship, USNS Leroy Grumman, suffered extensive infection resulting in accusations that the Navy did not act fast enough to protect the crew.
- May 19: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper disseminated guidance on installations reopening based on 5 levels of health protection conditions, from severe to normal. Commanders have discretion based on local conditions and in consultation with their medical leadership.
- May 19: National Guard personnel are facing deactivation in mid-June based on the 89-day orders most were activated under. These orders limit some benefits, that include early retirement and education. DoD and the White House are now in discussions about extending the orders for those facing time limits.
- May 20: USS Roosevelt finally got underway after a difficult struggle with the virus on Guam. The ship conducts workups to return to its regular deployment.
- May 20: Lockheed Martin indicated that Covid-19 related supplier delays will reduce deliveries of F-35 aircraft in 2020 by approximately 15 percent.
- May 20: Defense industry groups are reportedly grappling with the complexity of new CARES Act guidance released by DoD.
- May 22: Huntington Ingalls indicated that significant added costs resulting from Covid-19 and CARES Act paid leave will result in increased DoD costs for major weapon programs.
Military Cases of Covid-19
As of Friday, May 22, there have been 13,693 confirmed cases of coronavirus within DoD. Of the current cases, 5,959 were military service members, 1,029 dependents, 1,411 civilians, and 551 contractors. 400 of these cases required hospitalization, and there have been 32 deaths. 4,711 have recovered. How DoD cases have been trending over time is broken down below, by total cases; active cases in the DoD; and across the military services.
Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Covid-19 Personnel Trends
Army Corps of Engineers: Covid-19 Mission and Personnel Trends
FEMA Mission Assignments: 27 open (down from a high of 51). 37 of these missions are now closed.
Alternate Care Facilities (ACFs): 37 contracts awarded, of which 32 are complete.
This weekly update is made possible by the International Security Program at CSIS.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)