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2 more US service members die from COVID-19, bringing military deaths to 17

U.S. Army Pfc. Audrey Robles administers a COVID-19 test.(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Eddie Siguenza)
January 22, 2021

Two more U.S. military members died this month from COVID-19, increasing the total number of troops who have died from the virus to 17.

According to the Department of Defense website, where the new deaths were first reported, there have been 130,484 cases of COVID-19 among military personnel.

The Hill reported that one of the recent deaths was a 52-year-old Navy reservist from Georgia. A reservist assigned to the Navy Operational Support Center in Columbus, Ohio, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Abdigafar Warsame, passed away in a civilian hospital on January 8, Cmdr. Ben Tisdale, Navy Reserves spokesperson, said in a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and coworkers of the sailor during this extremely difficult time,” Tisdale said. “We ask all sailors to continue to practice COVID-19 mitigation protocols, and report any symptoms immediately to their chain of command and local medical providers.”

The other service member to pass away from COVID-19 was a member of the New York Air National Guard, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.

In total, nine reservists and five National Guardsmen died from coronavirus, in addition to three active-duty service members: two soldiers in the Army and one Navy sailor.

As of January 22, the Department of Defense listed a total of 202,720 reported cases of coronavirus, including military, civilian, dependent and contractor personnel. At least 3,119 have been hospitalized due to the virus, and 124,994 have fully recovered.

The total cases on the DOD’s website include 130,484 in the military, 38,301 among civilians, 21,072 among dependents and 12,863 among contractors.

Within the military cases, 1,277 service members have been hospitalized during the pandemic, with 83,196 recovering.

Pentagon data also showed that there have been 144 civilian deaths, nine dependent deaths and 48 contractor deaths, in addition to the 17 military personnel deaths.

After Joe Biden was sworn in as President of the United States on Wednesday, NBC News reported over 4,100 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. in one day. Biden unveiled his pandemic strategy on Thursday, including invoking the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase manufacturing of testing and supplies needed to fight the virus.

“The team will work with the states and the manufacturers to ensure that we’re using the DPA as aggressively as needed to accelerate the supply of the vaccine,” said Bechara Choucair, Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine coordinator.

“More people, more places, more supply. That’s what this boils down to,” Choucair said. 

Former President Trump also used the DPA to help fight the coronavirus, particularly in producing ventilators, masks and other supplies.