After Army takes lead for most COVID-19 cases, leadership warns troops to 'stay vigilant'

Elizabeth Howe
June 26, 2020 - 8:00 am
McConville

DVIDS

The Army has taken the lead as the branch with the most COVID-19 cases among its active-duty component. Army leadership advised "vigilance" and "discipline."

"I am sending this message to remind you that we must STAY VIGILANT and not lose the progress we have made in flattening the curve and reducing the spread of COVID-19," Chief of Staff of the Army James McConville wrote in a memo to Army leadership. 

At the moment, the Army's COVID-19 curve is far from flattened. 

"Our ability to BE DISCIPLINED and continue to follow the latest public health guidance from the CDC is essential to sustainment of our force," McConville's memo continues. He goes on to remind Army leadership of the importance of measures such as social distancing, wearing a mask and staying home if you feel sick. 

During a Thursday press briefing at the Pentagon, McConville told reporters that the COVID-19 numbers the Army is currently tracking "do not show any uptick" or identify any "clusters" at any specific installation. The Army has declined to describe the recent COVID-19 outbreak at Fort Benning as an "outbreak."

8 days after quarantine and testing negative, 142 Fort Benning soldiers test positive for COVID-19

McConville's memo did concede that the Army is experiencing a "spike in new COVID-19 cases." The Army's active-duty COVID-19 cases surpassed that of the Navy as of Friday. More than a third of the Navy's total cases were a result of the widely publicized outbreak on the USS Theodore Roosevelt that eventually resulted in the dismissal of the ship's captain after his pleas for help leaked.

Fired USS TR captain didn't 'do enough soon enough' to protect crew, Pentagon leaders say

"You are the Army's greatest strength," McConville's memo closes. "Stay vigilant and be disciplined as we continue to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

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