Analysis / Forces

Covid-19 Response Update: September 4-September 11

Combating Covid-19 Series

This is CSIS’s weekly roundup of major updates on the military and the novel coronavirus since Friday, September 4. It explores what the military has done to combat Covid-19 and how the military has in turn been affected by the virus.

New DoD cases of Covid-19 continued to steadily decline this week, with the 7-day average falling by 9 percent since last Friday to 339 new cases. Deaths rose by two to 90 as of this Friday, September 11.  

Major Updates

  • September 5: Multiple US geographic combatant commands have donated millions of dollars in supplies including field hospitals, personal protective equipment, and medical gear to support Covid-19 relief efforts in partner nations.
  • September 8: The US military has reopened “quality of life” facilities at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti six months after they were closed due to Covid-19 concerns. Although a small number of contractors tested positive for Covid-19 in Djibouti, the military has not reported any cases among service members.
  • September 9: Ellen Lord, the DOD acquisition chief, announced that DOD will need $20 billion to reimburse defense firms for lost work hours due to the pandemic, up from the $11 billion that was previously stated.  However, there is no money for DOD in either the House or Senate versions of the next pandemic supplemental bill.
  • September 9: Referring to the decrease in new Covid-19 cases, the US military loosened restrictions, including reopening DoD schools, on personnel stationed in Tokyo and Okinawa.
  • September 9: According to a recent Military Times poll, about half of troops view the coronavirus as a major threat to military readiness and operations, with roughly 48 percent saying they do not believe their chain of command has taken appropriate action to address the pandemic. 

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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Mark Cancian, Adam Saxton and Nidal Morrison, "Covid-19 Response Update: September 4-September 11," Center for Strategic and International Studies, September 11, 2020, last modified September 11, 2020, https://defense360.csis.org/covid-19-response-update-september-4-september-11/.