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Marine Corps Assistant Commandant tests positive for COVID-19

Official Photo of the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Gary L. Thomas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Hailey D. Clay)
October 10, 2020

The Assistant Commandant for the Marine Corps recently tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the second senior military leader to contract the illness.

Four-star Gen. Gary Thomas had been in self-quarantine since Tuesday, October 6 after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. One day after starting his quarantine, the general tested positive himself, according to an official Marine Corps statement on Wednesday.

“The Marine Corps is following established policies for COVID, per CDC guidelines, to include quarantine and contact tracing,” the statement read. “According to CDC guidelines, any Marine Corps personnel who were in close contact with the general will also quarantine.”

Thomas, 58, will remain in quarantine at his home, where he is “experiencing mild symptoms, but otherwise is feeling well.”

The Marine Corps has been following CDC and DOD guidelines on temperature testing, social distancing, and masks since April. Despite the precautions, the Marine Corps “remains operationally ready to answer the Nation’s call,” the statement read.

Thomas had reportedly attended a meeting at the Pentagon last Friday in place of Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger. Following Thomas’ diagnosis, the Pentagon announced all senior officers who attended the meeting were quarantining in their homes as a precaution.

The senior officers included General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Hyten, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Nakasone, who runs both U.S. Cyber Command and the NSA, as well as other senior generals and admiral in charge of the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, and Space Force, ABC News reported.

All of the senior officers were tested on Tuesday and none had contracted the illness as of Wednesday evening, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

“We are aware of Gen. Thomas’ positive test for COVID-19,” Hoffman said. “We will continue to follow CDC guidance for self-quarantining and contract tracing.”

The Marine Corps isn’t the only branch with a senior leader in quarantine. Earlier this week, the Coast Guard’s second-highest-ranking officer tested positive for the virus.

Admiral Charles Ray was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, October 5. He is the most senior military official to test positive for the virus to date. Officials with the Coast Guard said it is not clear where Ray contracted the virus.

President Trump, the Commander in Chief, recently overcame his own COVID-19 diagnosis. The president called his treatment a “blessing from God” in a video posted to his Twitter account after being released from Walter Reid National Military Medical Center on Monday.

“I spent four days [at Walter Reid Medical Center]…I went in there and I wasn’t feeling so hot. Within a very short period of time they gave me Regeneron. It was unbelievable,” President Trump said in the video. “I felt good immediately. We’re trying to get [Regeneron] on an emergency basis. I’ve authorized it. We’re going to work it so you get [Regeneron] and you get it free…especially if you’re a senior. We have hundreds of thousands of doses that are just about ready. You’re going to get better…you’re going to get better really fast.”