Defense secretary lauds military readiness amid coronavirus environment, ignores setbacks

Despite nearly 50,000 coronavirus infections, the U.S. military has suffered only one active-duty COVID-19 death, a point that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper drove home Thursday in underscoring the armed forces’ capacity to maintain readiness amid a global pandemic.

“We’re going to get infections. They will happen out there,” Esper said at a discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

“The department has been quick to minimize its impact on our forces by taking immediate action going back to January to stem the spread of the virus in our ranks,” he added. “Our infection rates were much lower than the American people.”

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