Published: Fri, March 27, 2020
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

'It's Unprecedented': COVID-19 Begins To Take A Toll On US Military

'It's Unprecedented': COVID-19 Begins To Take A Toll On US Military

Military labs have still not conducted a single coronavirus test on a civilian more than a week after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper offered to help test civilians for the coronavirus, despite widespread complaints about a lack of adequate testing across the US. As of Wednesday morning, the Pentagon said there were 435 current and recovered COVID-19 cases among military personnel, civilians, contractors and their families.

In an interview with Reuters, Esper said the new measure would affect forces around the world, with the exception of the troop withdrawal already underway in Afghanistan.

Esper said in an interview that the order applied to all USA troops, civilian personnel and families, but noted that there would be some exceptions.

The United States has said it is committed to reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 from 13,000 within 135 days of signing the deal with the Taliban last month. The statement said Esper's order "is not expected to impact" the drawdown of some 4,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan targeted to be completed within 135 days of the February 29 peace pact with the Taliban.

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The U.S. Military has come to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The stop-movement order also demonstrates growing concern from the Pentagon about the pandemic.

In a statement, the Pentagon confirmed that a US marine stationed at the Department of Defense has contracted the disease and the workplace has been fully sanitized.

So far, the military has said that it was preparing to deploy field hospitals to Seattle and NY, and has put additional units on prepare-to-deploy orders.

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