There are currently around 25,000 active cases of Covid-19 in the ranks, and 44,390 other members of the service have recovered from the virus, according to the Pentagon. The number of military cases has increased in recent weeks as the number of cases has increased in the general population.
A US defense official told CNN that the US military has a 6.8% positivity rate. This compares to around 10% among civilians who take coronavirus tests. The military has claimed since the start of the pandemic that it can maintain a lower positivity rate because the military has a younger, healthier population. It can also more easily impose restrictions than civil authorities.
It comes as several military bases across the country have once again had to tighten sanitary measures to protect the force and military families. Since last week, 10 Air Force installations have instituted stricter measures at Charlie’s health protection level, just a notch below the more stringent level.
While commanders can make detailed decisions on their bases, depending on the Charlie measures, schools, daycares and community activities can be canceled. It also introduces travel restrictions and more staff may be forced to work from home. Additionally, family activities may be limited to homes for an extended period.
One of the affected facilities is Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, home to what the Air Force calls “the world’s largest and most demanding forward combat training mission.”
In the Navy, 37 facilities around the world are now at the next level of health protection. They include some of the Navy’s largest bases, including those in Norfolk, Virginia; San Diego, California; and the joint base with the Air Force at Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Three installations in Europe are also included.
The military now says that as of the start of the month, 59 facilities are at the highest level of protection with Fort Gordon, Ga., Just added to the list on Wednesday. At Fort Bliss, Texas in the hard-hit El Paso area, strict new measures are now in place for troops and families, including keeping 10 feet away while exercising or running and a cover -fire from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Marine Corps says it currently has no base at the higher protection level.