Military Covid-19 infections nearly doubled over the weekend.
Photo by Senior Airman Wil Acosta
Drivers line up at the entrance of Montgomery County's first mass coronavirus test center in Upper Dublin Township on March 20, 2020. Approximately 80 Pennsylvania National Guard members worked with local, state and federal authorities to open a drive-through testing location at Temple University’s Ambler Campus.
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The U.S. military hit a somber benchmark this weekend, with positive cases of COVID-19 nearly doubling. The jump happened over just the weekend, spiking from 978 on Friday to 1,435 as of Monday. The military reported just 569 cases a week ago. The death count related to COVID-19 in the military now stands at six.

Military COVID-19 Infections Spike Over Weekend

The Navy contributed heavily to the numbers, the outbreak on the Theodore Roosevelt now the most famous case. As of yesterday, the Navy counted 431 sailors positive, while 334 soldiers, 281 airmen and 86 Marines contracted the virus. Meanwhile, the National Guard, serving in America’s communities mostly, count 303 cases as of Monday, according to militarytimes.com.

The overall number totals much higher, with 2,528 cases within DoD. The total includes 398 civilians, 336 dependents and 177 contractors, according to militarytimes.com. So far, 23 DoD patients recovered from the virus. For now, 44 remain hospitalized.

But while military infection numbers seem to be ramping up, the Defense Department ensured recently operations would continue. However, mission accomplishment and mission readiness likely compromise social distancing mandates.

“And it seems to be this belief that the best way for the Department of Defense to defeat COVID-19 is for us to stand down and stop operations around the world,” said Jonathan Hoffman, Pentagon spokesman, to reporters Friday. “One, that’s not going to happen. Two, we don’t believe that’s necessary. So, the Secretary has given extensive guidance to the force. We’ve done a number of Force Health Protection Guidance.  I think we’re on our either fourth or fifth iteration.

“And the way the Department works is we’ve got millions of people around the world,” Hoffman continued. “We’re in 400 bases in 150 countries and 50 states. Each have different missions. What may work in – in a training base or in an airlift base may not work on a sub, may not work in a bomber wing, may not work in a missile silo.”

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