Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: November 13-November 20

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, November 13. 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 rose dramatically this week with the 7-day average increasing by 59 percent over the previous week to 1,702. Not only are new DoD cases this Friday the highest they have ever been, but this Friday’s reported cases are more than twice the previously reported numbers released on Wednesday. DoD is again deploying medical personnel to assist civilian hospitals facing staff shortages. Deaths rose by seven this week to reach 119 as of this Friday, November 20.

Major Updates

  • November 16: The New York Times published an interactive article illustrating the life of Marine recruits in basic training during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • November 16: The Defense Department has stockpiled a four-month supply of personal protective equipment, as it anticipates a rise in Covid-19 cases.
  • November 19: A Covid-19 outbreak on the Navy’s USS Michael Murphy, a guided missile destroyer, has delayed its training schedule. Nearly a quarter of sailors assigned to the ship have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
  • November 19: 60 Air Force medical personnel have been deployed to North Dakota as the state faces a shortage of hospital staff amid a surging Covid-19 outbreak.
  • November 20: Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus after a top Pentagon civilian tested positive for Covid-19.
  • November 20: Vandenberg Air Force Base, California will receive doses of a Covid-19 vaccine next month.

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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Adam Saxton, Nidal Morrison and Mark Cancian, "Covid-19 Response Update: November 13-November 20," Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 20, 2020, last modified November 20, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-november-13-november-20/.