US service members are seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Defense.
The Assistant Defense Secretary for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson, said COVID-19 spikes in the military are mirroring the spikes seen among civilians in Florida, Texas, and parts of California.
Military COVID-19 cases rose in June, with troops seeing a 27% increase in infections this past week, according to the Military Times.
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As of Thursday, 6,493 active service members have coronavirus, the Department of Defense said. Of the 12,521 total military cases, three have resulted in death. The Army has been the hardest hit among military branches with 3,836 cases.
“All services should be adopting the strictest possible protections,” said Navy veteran Shawn Vandiver, who led a pandemic response training team.
All the branches of the military say they are following sanitary and social distancing guidelines, with the Navy going as far as prohibiting anyone from going to non-essential businesses.
The Marine Corps told NBC 7 that while thousands of Marines and sailors are conducting large-scale training exercises through July, “throughout the training, extensive COVID-19 mitigation efforts have been enacted.”
“If there is an incident with national security implications, are people able to address the incident?" VanDiver wonders.
NBC 7 reached out to the DOD to get a breakdown of the coronavirus cases by region and base, but was told that although they are keeping a close eye on the cases, it isn’t releasing those numbers. It says that info could reveal a weakness in readiness that could be exploited by adversaries.