US: Military’s Covid-19 Cases Growing at Twice the Nationwide Rate

Foreign Affairs

Washington: More than 4,100 US service members have tested positive for Coronavirus since July 1, according to the Defense Department’s latest statistics, a rise of about 33 per cent in the last 10 days. That is more than twice the rate of growth nationwide during the same period, 16 per cent as the US more than once broke its daily records for new cases.

There were three new deaths, all of contractors or civilians, during this period as well.

Defence officials have attributed the recent rise in military cases both to increased testing and to the lifting of shelter-in-place orders in some force concentration areas, while expressing faith that local commanders are enforcing protective measures like social distancing and face covering for their troops.

The infection rate among service members is now 0.8 per cent, compared to 0.9 nationwide. That is the closest, the military’s infection rate has come to the general public’s in the US, and double what it was in mid-June.

“In general we are doing more testing, which can lead to more positive cases, which prompts more testing,” said Air Force spokesman Lt Col Malinda Singleton.

Once boasting the lowest-per-capita infection rate among the services, the Air Force’s recent rise in cases has brought it more into proportion with the size of the service. The Marine Corps too, which had infections in the hundreds well into June, saw a 41-per cent increase in its cases since July 1, for a current total of 1,770.

The Navy, which for months had the majority of the military’s cases, grew by 25 per cent in the past week-and-a-half, to total 4,591. The Army, with more than twice the personnel of the Navy and Air Force, has reported 5,311 infection, a 38-per cent increase since July 1.

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