The Pentagon on Wednesday reported its largest 24-hour jump in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among service members, bringing the force-wide total to nearly 2,000, a number that has doubled in the past week.
Officials reported 178 new cases Wednesday, bringing the total to 1,975 among service members.
The infection rate among active duty and reserve component troops now stands at 940-per-million, for the first time starting to close the gap with the general U.S. population, which sits at 1,144-per-million ― or just over 0.1 percent of all residents, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Navy continues to outpace the other services in its day-over-day growth of diagnoses, largely due to an outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. At last count, over 200 sailors had come up positive, with just over half of the 4,800-sailor crew tested. The Navy reports 513 cases overall.
Meanwhile the Army has 470, Air Force 351, Marine Corps 140 and the National Guard 249.
Wednesday’s totals bring the DoD’s coronavirus case load to 3,160 overall. Of those, 1,975 have been service members, 61 of whom are currently hospitalized, with 144 recovered; 422 civilians, with 45 hospitalized and 34 recovered; 347 dependents, with 15 hospitalized and 35 recovered; and 184 contractors, 15 of whom are hospitalized, with 11 recovered.
Tuesday added another death to the overall toll, a contractor who worked at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.
“We are saddened by the loss of an Air Force Life Cycle Management Center contract team mate,” said installation commander Col. Brian Moore. “This is a difficult time for all as this virus increasingly affects the base and community.”
The contractor had been teleworking since mid-March the release said.
“We are taking all measures to flatten the curve on the virus, and it is imperative to follow all of the precautions set forth by the CDC — social distancing, use of a face cloths, proper hygiene and seeking medical help if symptoms are detected,” Moore said, echoing the guidance that has been pushed down from the Pentagon in the past month.
So far, five civilians, two contractors and one service member have died from COVID-19 complications. DoD’s overall death rate is now 0.3 percent, compared to the overall U.S. 3.2 percent.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.