More than 20,000 troops have contracted COVID-19, as numbers continue to rise

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Coronavirus cases are up more than 20 percent in service members this week, to 20,212, as the military’s battle against the pandemic continues to mirror the challenges civilian leaders are facing across the country.

Defense officials have pointed to local spikes in states like California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida, all home to multiple military installations, as a possible reason for the increase. After numbers of new cases stabilized in May, the Defense Department has seen a steady increase going back to June, when “re-opening” plans began to roll out across the U.S.

“While we are seeing some upticks in the same places there are upticks in the civilian sector, again, that is not necessarily overly surprising, in that we have been doing more testing,” assistant defense secretary for health affairs Tom McCaffery told reporters July 2. “And we have been doing testing of those who are asymptomatic.”

California and Florida have remained on the no-go list for non-essential travel, though other states have remained green.

The infection rate in the services has risen to 0.9 percent, more than twice what it was in April, the month that had until now shown the biggest surges. The infection rate among U.S. residents passed 1 percent this week, bringing troops to nearly on par with the general population, where they had been seeing roughly half the general infection rate during the spring.

Of those infected, three have died, 425 have been hospitalized and 8,421 have recovered, leaving 11,791 active cases.

From the first soldier diagnosed in South Korea at the end of February, it took until early June for the military to see 10,000 cases. The next 10,000 cases took six weeks.

The department has so far not been able to provide a breakdown of symptomatic vs. asymptomatic positives. Nor did McCaffery, in his July 2 press conference, respond to the question of why, if the services began their asymptomatic testing program in late April, did numbers stabilize in the following weeks, then begin to dramatically spike come June.

 

Source: militarytimes

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