Coronavirus outbreak strikes Marine Corps recruit Depot at Paris Island

AP/Houston Chronicle:
A coronavirus outbreak has infected dozens of Marine recruits and staff members at the service's East Coast recruit training center, prompting the suspension of additional arrivals for the foreseeable future, defense officials said Monday.

The cases at Parris Island, South Carolina, emerged following a "wave in testing" over the weekend, a defense official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. One official said there are at least 20 positive cases, and another said there are believed to be a few dozen but fewer than 50.

The outbreak could mark the Defense Department's largest yet. Defense officials have said that dozens of sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for the virus while on deployment in the Pacific, forcing a stop last week for treatment in Guam.

The Marine Corps acknowledged the suspension of new recruits arriving at Parris Island on Monday but did not detail how many cases have emerged following a Pentagon decision last week to not provide specific information about coronavirus cases from individual bases and units.

Marine officials said in a statement that the service is taking steps to "protect its recruits, recruit training personnel, their families and the communities where they live and serve by temporarily suspending the shipping of new recruits" to Parris Island.

"The preservation of our Marines, recruits and their families is the highest priority for Marine Corps Recruiting during this national emergency," Gen. David Berger, the service's commandant, said in a written statement. "With that in mind, we've paused this week's shipping of new recruits to Parris Island and will revise our overall shipping plan to ensure we are able to meet the Nation's needs while protecting its next generation of Marines."
Squad bays for recruits are not designed for "social distancing."  They can have 50 or more men in one room and the toilets and showers are not designed for privacy.  This virus will be a challenge for the military to deal with in many ways.


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