The U.S. military will not be accepting new applicants who have recovered from the CCP virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, according to new guidance from a memo sent by the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command.
The memo, which was published on Twitter, said that “during the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying.”
Specifically, it states that if an applicant fails screening, they won’t be tested, but they can return in 14 days if they’re symptom-free, according to the Military Times, which first reported on the new policy. Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will have to wait until 28 days after diagnosis to report to Military Entrance Processing Command.
After returning, a COVID-19 diagnosis will be marked “permanently disqualifying,” according to the memo. Recruits will be allowed to apply for waivers for all permanently disqualifying conditions, but without further guidance for exceptions dealing with COVID-19, a review authority would not have justification to grant a waiver, the Military Times noted.
A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to the outlet that the memo is authentic but declined to explain why a CCP virus diagnosis would be permanently disqualifying, compared to other viral, non-chronic illnesses that do not preclude military service.
A defense official also confirmed to CNN that the Pentagon is considering banning new recruits from joining the military if they have been hospitalized for the CCP virus, telling the outlet that the guidance is being put in place due to little understanding of the “long-term” effects of the virus and concern that potential recruits who have been hospitalized may need further medical assessments.
The total number of service members who have tested positive for COVID-19 hit 5,019 on Wednesday morning, according to the latest Defense Department data, including 105 who have been hospitalized and 1,887 who have recovered. Adding in civilians, dependents, and contractors, Wednesday’s report said there have been a total of 7,604 CCP virus cases related to the Pentagon.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that the department would randomly test groups of people “to understand how many asymptomatic or carriers are maybe out there.”
“One of the challenges that we know is asymptomatic transmission of the disease. It’s something we have known for quite a while but what we didn’t really appreciate … was the fact we are experiencing very high rates in the military,” Esper said during an online Brookings Institution event on Monday.
As of May 7, more than 1.2 million Americans have tested positive for the CCP virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, in December last year, while 74,807 have died from the disease.