COVID-19 cases continue to soar in the military, outpacing the spread of coronavirus in the general U.S. population in the past 24 hours.
There are 893 positive-testing service members, according to the Defense Department’s Thursday update, out of 1,550 current cases, which include civilians dependents and contractors. The military reported 122 new cases since Wednesday more than the other three groups combined.
“Part of what we may be seeing is the increasing availability of testing,” Air Force Gen. Paul Friedrichs said, the Joint Staff Surgeon, told Military Times March 25, as cases began to spike."
For example, there has been an increase in testing aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt this week, where an outbreak of at least 100 cases has forced much of the ship’s crew into self-isolation in Guam.
Among troops, the infection rate is 425-per-million, compared to the general U.S. population at 569-per-million.
Broken down, DoD has 893 cases among active duty and reserve component troops, as well as 306 civilians, 256 dependents and 95 contractors. Of those, 35 service members, 34 civilians, 12 dependents and 4 contractors are hospitalized.
Of DoD’s 1638 total cases, which includes those who have recovered, the numbers show varying recovery rates. More than 6 percent of service members have survived COVID-19, versus about 3 percent of civilians, 5 percent of dependents and just 1 percent of contractors.
Five personnel have died to date, including two civilians, one New Jersey National Guardsman, one Army spouse and a Washington, D.C.-area contractor.
The National Guard continues to play a growing role in efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, with more than 17.250 troops mobilized in that fight.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.