COVID-19 Rips Through Marine Boot Camp, Dozens Of New Infections

We previously reported on the growing controversy over US defense readiness as relates to continuing US armed services boot camps across the country. 

Top Pentagon brass last month said keeping entry-level recruit training operational is essential to national security amid growing concerns the COVID-19 pandemic could spread at the military training centers:

The Pentagon has decided that keeping all the services' entry-level training camps up and running is critical to national security. The decision was reportedly at odds with what some service leaders recommended: a temporary pause on recruit shipping until the threat of the coronavirus lessened.

Defense Department officials overrode the recommendations from senior military leaders to halt training for 30 daysThe Washington Post reported March 16.

Recruits and drill instructors wearing face masks at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. Image source: US Marine Corps/Marine Corps Times.

However, beginning early this month the main military branches, starting with the Army and Marines, began "pausing" the shipping of new incoming recruits to boot camps on the East and West coasts. 

But current ongoing boot camps would continue on, according to the late March decision, with the Pentagon saying it would frequently revisit the "pause" in additional trainees. Since then, the national Marine boot camps in San Diego and Parris Island, South Carolina have resumed receiving new Marine recruits, but with a mandatory 14-day isolation period upon arrival

But as military analysis news site Connecting Vets Radio reports, COVID-19 has now hit Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego hard:  

Almost four dozen recruits in San Diego have tested positive for the virus and have been quarantined for two weeks, according to the Marine Corps.

The increase in COVID-19 positive recruits is related to the Marine Corps conducting more testing for the virus.  

"We are experiencing challenging and unprecedented times...," a video message from the Marine Corps top command said.

All new COVID-19 cases are in one Marine "company" but training has still been halted broadly, nor is there a current pause in new incoming recruits, making for an increasingly dangerous and tense situation concerning the potentially deadly disease.

Spokesman for the recruit depot, Capt. Martin Harris told Marine Corps Times, “While these positive cases are currently isolated to one company and in quarantine, the increase of asymptomatic positive tests has prompted the testing of all personnel in quarantine and all recruits that arrive on the depot in the future, whether or not they present symptoms,” he explained.