This is a roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.
- All services were directed to develop a mandate plan to have all service members vaccinated. Being fully vaccinated is defined DoD-wide as the second approved vaccine dose plus 14 days. The deadlines for the Air Force are November 2 for active duty and December 2 for Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard personnel. The Department of the Navy (US Navy and US Marine Corps) has set a November 28 for active duty and December 28 for all reservists. The Army has set December 15 for active duty and June 30, 2022, for Army Reservists and National Guard personnel. DOD has not explained why the deadlines are so different.
- The DoDs vaccination mandate is being challenged in court by two service members who want to create an exemption for service members who have already contracted COVID. However, because data shows that the vaccines are more effective at preventing retransmission than simply having had the virus before, this may be a difficult argument to sustain.
- To date, there have been 62 deaths among active-duty personnel, with all the deaths being unvaccinated service members.
- It took the first year of the pandemic to cause 26 active-duty deaths; it only took two months for the next 26, showing the increased potency of delta variant.
- The National Guard has been used to fill critical infrastructure in places with labor shortages, for example this shortage of bus drivers in MA.