Virus hospitalization is new barrier to military enlistment

Any applicant who has survived the COVID-19 coronavirus will be barred from enrolling in the United States military, unless they can obtain a waiver from the branch they would like to join, according to a tweeted Pentagon memo.

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Specifically, it states that if an applicant fails screening, they won't be tested, but they can return in 14 days if they're symptom-free, according to the Military Times, which first reported on the new policy.

All 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) around the country will implement the new guidelines to determine the medical status of enlisting recruits.

A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to the outlet that the memo is authentic but declined to explain why a CCP virus diagnosis would be permanently disqualifying, compared to other viral, non-chronic illnesses that do not preclude military service. Currently, all entrants to MEPS receive a temperature check and answer a questionnaire about symptoms and any contact with anyone confirmed with the coronavirus. The new requirement adds COVID-19 hospitalization to a long list of medical conditions - such as asthma - that require waivers.

Anyone diagnosed with the virus, will be forced to wait 28 days after the diagnosis date before they can report back to MEPS.

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California is now in Stage 1, ABC 7 reports , with the general public staying at home and all "nonessential" businesses shut down. That number, Newsom said, shows improvement in testing with more than 650,000 conducted since the outbreak began.


The coronavirus pandemic has claimed a new population of victims: would-be military recruits.

Some patients hospitalized with the virus have suffered lung damage.

Over 1,500 USA service members have so far tested positive for coronavirus, according to military publication Stars and Stripes.

A Department of Defense memo posted on social media announced the change, which was confirmed by officials to multiple media outlets.

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. There have been 585 positive cases on board the air carrier.

  • Sonia Alvarado