The novel coronovirus disease, now officially designated COVID-19, doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Who knows how it began in China, but militaries around the world - including the U.S. military - are preparing to deal with the disease in case of a "potential pandemic."
The Military Times is reporting that Navy and Marine Corps "service-wide messages" were issued this week instructing U.S. Northern Command and geographic combatant commanders "to initiate pandemic plans.
According to the Times:
The Navy and Marine Corps messages, issued Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, reference an executive order directing U.S. Northern Command to implement the Department of Defense Global Campaign plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13.
The document serves as the Pentagon’s blueprint for planning and preparing for widespread dispersion of influenza and previously unknown diseases.
U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday it was directed the Joint Staff Feb. 1 to commence “prudent planning” in their assigned role synchronizing the department’s plans for pandemic flu and disease.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Hatfield said in a statement that just because there are plans in place doesn't necessarily indicate that a pandemic is imminent.
"We coordinate with other combatant commands to assess potential impacts in the event of a pandemic and we ensure the U.S. military is poised to respond as required,” Hatfield said. “The military profession fosters a culture of planning, and the fact that we are coordinating planning efforts across the geographical combatant commands is consistent with how we prepare to respond, if directed."
The Marine Corps issued a "DISEASE CONTAINMENT PREPAREDNESS PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR 2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS" on Wednesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has been keeping track of the number of people affected by COVID-19 both globally and in China. The overwhelming majority of cases have been reported in China. WHO is reporting that, as of February 12th, there have been 45,171 cases reported globally, with 44,730 of those originating in China. In the last 24 hours alone, China has reported 2,022 "new cases." The rest of the world has reported 46 new cases in the last 24 hours.
ABC News reported on Thursday that the total number of cases has now reached over 60,000. For that report, watch below: