49 service members across all four Defense Department branches have tested positive for COVID-19, according to latest reports.
Airborne Virus Hits Military
Earlier today, MilitaryTimes reported that as of Wednesday (today), at least 49 service members have tested positive for COVID-19, the coronavirus. This is a jump from 36 cases on Tuesday. 7 have made a fully recovery and just 3 are hospitalized.
The Department of Veterans Affairs reported its first coronavirus death over the weekend. On Saturday, a 70-year-old veteran died from the disease while hospitalized at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Earlier this week, the Department of Defense banned local and international travel for service members in hopes of stopping the spread of the virus within the military. The number of infected persons are not just troops, although troops make up half the count. According to the data, 14 civilians, 19 dependents and 7 contractors are also infected with the virus.
“What we’re trying very hard to do is not scare people by saying everybody is at risk, because that’s not true,” Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon, told reporters on March 4. “It’s just not true.”
While the DoD placed a travel ban on service members and their family, "some are looking to the Pentagon to take action on the civilian side as well," according to MilitaryTimes.
The DoD has also canceled or postponed military exercises, as well as turned away families from graduation ceremonies.
West Point and the Air Force Academy in Colorado has sent students home and told them not to return after spring break - no word of a return date.