Officials have expected global cases would spread. On Tuesday, the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) raised the Risk of Pandemic warning. It went from WATCHCON 2, a probable crisis, to WATCHCON 1, an imminent crisis, due to sustained human-to-human transmission outside of China, according to a report summary obtained by Newsweek.
COVID-19 has touched every inhabitable continent, infecting more than 82,000 people worldwide since it was first identified last December, including potentially 65 people in the United States. Of the cases in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed two were of unknown origin, indicating the possibility of community spread. Then on Saturday, a woman in Washington state became the first death in America.
As COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, the risk to DoD members deployed throughout the world increases, and one service member has already tested positive. United States Forces Korea (USFK) confirmed Tuesday that a 23-year-old soldier stationed at Camp Carroll, located in Waegwan, South Korea, was the first service member known to have the virus and his wife tested positive on Saturday.
“The DoD is concerned not only the impact COVID-19 has on mission readiness, but the risk to inadvertently spread the virus to the U.S. by returning members who may have been exposed,” a senior Pentagon official told Newsweek.