After spiking through June and July, military COVID-19 cases level off

The last week in July showed a sizeable slowdown in the increase of coronavirus cases among service members, from a peak of more than 4,000 cases in one week earlier in the month.

With a total of 27,536 infections as of Friday morning, Defense Department officials have attributed the rapid rise in cases to increased testing and community transmission in states like California, Arizona, Texas and Florida, which set records for new numbers of cases throughout the month.

“We’ve not seen any widespread evidence that what’s occurring in the 18-to-24 demographic is because they’re not following the rules,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff surgeon said Thursday, announcing that young people in the military were showing a slightly higher infection rate than American young adults.

The services saw a 15-percent rise in cases in the last week, or 3,593 new diagnoses. The leveling off came after July 24′s numbers showed major increases of the rate of new infections in the Air Force (58 percent), Marine Corps (55 percent) and National Guard (41 percent).

Those increases corresponded to surges within states with large numbers of those troops, namely Florida, Texas and California. In addition to local governments relaxing stay-at-home orders in those states, the services have also opened up non-essential travel in Texas, though Florida, Michigan and California remain the only closed states.

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Author: Dian Welle