As you know we are facing an unprecedented challenge for our Nation with the spread of COVID-19. Frankly, we are at a race against time to blunt the community transmission of this virus and need all Soldiers and our Soldiers for Life to focus on this mission. We have taken monumental steps to protect our force while maintaining the ability to protect our Nation against any threat as only the Army can.
Recently, HQDA has directed the stop move for CONUS and OCONUS PCS and Travel restricting movement of our forces. Each of these orders were made to counter the threat of the virus with the sole intent to protect our Soldiers, DA Civilians, and their Families. It is imperative that our great retired General Officers understand the gravity of the situation we are facing and communicate to our Soldiers, DA Civilians, their Families and our communities about the need to stop their movements in order to protect our force.
Our Army has the best and brightest across our nation, both uniformed and civilian, working to develop test kits and a vaccine for COVID-19. These men and women are the leading experts in their field and have been on the forefront of medical discovery for years. The Secretary and CSA have resourced this team to move as quickly as they can to develop test kits for our Army and the Nation while at the same time producing a vaccine and therapy for treatment. A multi-component effort to augment the total government response to COVID-19 is also underway, and we are proud of each and every one of our Soldiers!
Please see some basic information below concerning COVID-19, particularly on safeguarding yourselves and others, and be mindful of the people you may know who are more susceptible to the most serious effects of the virus.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Military Health System, and the U.S. Army Public Health Center are closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus. Cases have been identified in a growing number of international locations, including in the United States, and transmission has occurred in communities near OCONUS U.S. installations. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.
Human coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
- the air by coughing and sneezing
- close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
- touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
How to protect yourself and others:
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. To reduce your risk of infection or transmitting the virus to others:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick; and stay home while you are sick
Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses, like the common cold. Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives. These illnesses usually only last for a short amount of time. Symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- General feeling of being unwell
Human coronaviruses can sometimes cause lower-respiratory tract illnesses, such as pneumonia. This is more common in people with cardiopulmonary disease, people with weakened immune systems, infants, and older adults.
If you have symptoms and have had recent travel to the affected geographic areas identified by the CDC, or been in direct contact with a person known to be infected with the virus, contact your local healthcare treatment facility and follow their instruction. Your healthcare provider will order appropriate tests, if needed, and determine if additional precautions should be taken.
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses. Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. Medications for pain and fever can help relieve symptoms. If you are mildly ill, drink plenty of fluids, stay home, and rest. If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should contact your healthcare provider.
For additional information on the current outbreak, visit the CDC and APHC websites:
General Joseph M. Martin, 37th VCSA