Worldometer is a provider of global COVID-19 statistics for many people around the world. It is run by an international team of developers, researchers, and volunteers. They have no political, governmental, or corporate affiliation. It has no investors, donors, grants, or backers of any type. They are completely independent and self-financed through automated advertising sold on multiple ad exchanges Their data is trusted and used by the UK Government, Johns Hopkins CCSE, Financial Times, The New York Times, Business Insider, BBC, and others.
The Department of Defense reports its COVID-19 data Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week. Worldometer reported a total of 46,322 cases of COVID-19, (including 73 deaths) for the US Military on August 12, 2020. The DOD reported the same data broken down into the following figures for the same date. Military 32,299; Civilian 6,824; Dependent 4,289; and Contractor 2,920. Worldometer also reported 44,164 COVID-19 cases for Veteran Affairs (including 2,353 deaths).
If the US Military was a State, it would be 31st out of 50 in cases. If Veteran Affairs was a State, it would be 17th in deaths. The sudden rise in cases is reported to be an increase in testing, along with a rise pointing towards Civilian hotspots in Florida, Texas, and Arizona where military installations are located. On July 10th, the Military Times reported the infection rate among service members was 0.8 percent, compared to 0.9 nationwide.
The United States spends more on their defense budget than China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan combined. The estimated US Military budget for the current fiscal year is 934 billion dollars. Clearly, money is not an issue. Travel restrictions have been lifted for bases in South Korea, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the UK as of August 3rd, by the DOD. All travel to these areas bears the orange level of caution due to terrorism and COVID-19 for civilians by the State Department on August 10th. It would appear that these countries are not too excited about having US Military personnel inside their borders.
The DOD has issued the standard CDC guidelines to service members for protection against COVID-19: Wash your hands often; If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol; Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; Social distance using the 6ft. rule; Cover your mouth and nose with a mask around others; Clean and disinfect surfaces daily; Monitor your health daily and take your temperature if symptoms develop.
The big question on why our Military is having large numbers of cases and deaths, along with Veterans Affairs personnel, is not an easy one to answer. The data indicates the Military is now tracking almost identically with the civilian population. Service members historically follow instructions from their superiors to the letter. Personally, it’s my belief that the typical tough leadership on safety is not apparent in correlation to COVID-19. The President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff need to rethink enforcement of the correct CDC COVID-19 personal safety measures. This story does not receive a strong backlash from the public or the news media. Is it an embarrassment to our perceived American exceptionalism, our strength? Politicians are not speaking up about it.
That must change. Our Military members fight extremely hard to protect our country. We need to fight just as hard to protect their health and lives.