Coronavirus survivors will automatically be disqualified from joining the military, a memo from the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (MEPCOM) circulating on Twitter has revealed.
A Pentagon official confirmed that any potential service member who has suffered from Covid-19 will be ‘permanently disqualified’ from service, unless they obtain a waiver.
The new protocol comes amid a lack of understanding as to the ‘long-term’ effects of the virus, a US defense official told CNN.
The memo has sparked confusion after stating that even those who had recovered from the virus would not be eligible for service.
Coronavirus survivors could automatically be disqualified from joining the US military, a MEPCOM memo circulating on Twitter has revealed. Above, members of the Massachusetts National Guard wear protective face gear
‘During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying…’ the note reads
‘During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying…’ the note reads.
In setting out the new protocol for military recruitment in light of the pandemic, the note says that new recruits will have their temperature taken and be asked questions about symptoms and potential exposure with those who were infected with the virus.
All 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) around the country will implement the new guidelines to determine the medical status of enlisting recruits.
The memo states: ‘During the screening process, a reported history of confirmed COVID-19 will be annotated ‘Considered disqualifying”.
It is not clear why new recruits who have recovered from coronavirus could be disqualified from joining the military, but the memo comes as the US Defense Department continues to navigate its way through the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to the Military Times that the memo was authentic.
An official told CNN that it was possible for a potential recruit who had contracted the virus to obtain a waiver from the military service they wanted to sign up to.
They added that the Defense Department were concerned recruits who had been hospitalized due to Covid-19 could require further medical assessments in the future.
In setting out the new protocol for military recruitment in light of the pandemic, the note also says that new recruits will have their temperature taken and be asked questions about symptoms and potential exposure with those who were infected with the virus. Above, a soldier from the Massachusetts National Guard wears a face mask
There remains much unknown about the coronavirus, including if it can cause any permanent damage to the lungs, and whether reinfection is more likely after having contracted the virus previously.
One confused Twitter user wrote: ‘Those who have tested positive for #COVID-19 are no longer eligible for military service EVEN AFTER THEY COMPLETELY RECOVER??’
Another said: ‘I don’t understand the reasoning on this at all.’
Over 1,500 U.S. service members have so far tested positive for coronavirus, according to military publication Stars and Stripes.
The Navy was found to be the hardest hit of the Defense Department’s military services, with 431 of the 1,435 active coronavirus cases reported among service members.
It comes after former USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier broke protocol to send a memo urging the Navy to respond more quickly to a coronavirus outbreak on board a Naval aircraft carrier in late March, which was housing over 5,000 sailors in shared bunks off the coast of Guam.
Former USS Theodore Roosevelt Captain Brett Crozier reportedly knew he’d be sacked when he broke protocol and sent a memo urging the Navy to respond more quickly to a coronavirus outbreak onboard, but he’d reached ‘breaking point’ and feared for the lives of his crew members
As reported by The New York Times, Cozier is said to have watched on helplessly as COVID-19 ravaged through the narrow corridors of Naval aircraft carrier (shown above) in late March, which was housing over 5,000 sailors in shared bunks
Having been warned by doctors that more than 50 sailors aboard the vessel would die without drastic intervention, Crozier pleaded with his superiors to evacuate the boat but they eschewed his appeals, believing the measure to be too drastic.
Nearly 80 percent of the ship’s crew of 4,000 have been evacuated from the ship. There have been 585 positive cases on board the air carrier.
Crozier was controversially fired by acting Navy secretary Thomas B. Modly after the email he sent to 20 Navy personnel in the Pacific leaked.