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U.S. military nears 50,000 positive COVID-19 cases

A fifth service member, an Army soldier, died earlier this week.

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Army soldier has now become the fifth American service member to die from COVID-19, according to Department of Defense information published on Wednesday. The Pentagon did not release any specific information about the individual or details about the death.

Overall, the numbers are staggering.

Unfortunately, everyone remembers all too well the sad case earlier this year of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and its more than 1,100 sailors who tested positive for the coronavirus, and the one chief from the ship who died.

Sadly in the armed forces, the TR is not alone when it comes to grappling with the pandemic.

49,778 people associated with the Department of Defense -- including service members, dependents, civilian employees, and contractors -- have tested positive. Of those, 75 have died, including five service members, 47 civilian DoD employees, seven dependents, and 16 military contractors.

Here's the breakdown of cases in the military, by branch:

  • Army: 11,915 cases.
  • Navy: 8,208 cases.
  • Air Force; 5.399 cases.
  • National Guard: 4,430 cases.
  • Marine Corps: 4,323 cases.
  • D.o.D Agencies:  309 cases.

In addition to trying to protect its own members, the military is also working to help the civilian population deal with COVID. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Ellen Lord spoke about some of those efforts at a news conference Thursday at the Pentagon.

She said, "Since the outbreak, DoD has partnered with (Health and Human Services) to invest nearly $630 million on expanding the domestic industrial base for medical response supplies."

According to Pentagon officials, the average rate of positive cases among active-duty personnel has remained fairly steady at 5.3 percent, which is well below the 8.7 percent of positive tests recorded nationwide last week, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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