Analysis / Covid-19

Covid-19 Response Update: October 16-October 23

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, October 16. 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 98 percent to 731 over the previous week. This near doubling of new DoD cases is a sharp spike compared to the previous week’s slight decline in cases and shows that DoD is following a third wave of Covid-19 in the national population. Deaths rose by three this week to reach 103 as of this Friday, October 23.

Major Updates

  • October 16: Two sailors tested positive for Covid-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, just six months after the ship experienced a massive outbreak that captured national attention and led to the abrupt firing of its captain.
  • October 20: In accordance with the Defense Department’s new health precautions, a number of personnel deployed in the northern Pacific ocean with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit are in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
  • October 20: To mitigate the inconvenience of pre-deployment quarantines, the Navy is working with lawmakers to change when sailors receive their Family Separation Allowance. Normally, sailors receive up to $250 a month with the FSA after they have deployed for 30 days. But Navy officials are working to change the law so the FSA kicks in once sailors enter the mandatory pre-deployment quarantine period.

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

Mark Cancian, Adam Saxton and Nidal Morrison, "Covid-19 Response Update: October 16-October 23," Center for Strategic and International Studies, October 23, 2020, last modified October 23, 2020,