5th US Service Member Dies of COVID-19

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The U.S. flag sits atop a case containing remains on March 31, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)
The U.S. flag sits atop a case containing remains on March 31, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jamarius Fortson)

A U.S. Army soldier has become the fifth American service member to die from COVID-19, according to Pentagon data published Wednesday.

The Defense Department did not release any information about the individual or details of the death, which was noted in a case count the department releases every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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Officials referred questions to the Army, which did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

Nearly 50,000 people associated with the DoD have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began, including service members, dependents, civilian employees and contractors.

Of those, 75 have died, including the five service members, 47 civilian DoD employees, seven dependents and 16 military contractors.

Deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus remain rare among U.S. troops. The first to lose his life to the illness was New Jersey Army National Guard Capt. Douglas Hickok, 57, a physician assistant who died in late March. The other three service members fatalities are Army Reserve Spc. Curtis Lamar Fort, 61, who died July 30; Army Reserve Sgt. Simon Zamudio, 34, who died May 22; and Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Charles Thacker, 41, a sailor who served on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.

The number of cases among military personnel has risen to 34,584, up more than 7,000 from the start of this month. Roughly 540 troops are currently hospitalized.

According to Pentagon officials, the average rate of positive cases among active-duty personnel has remained fairly steady at 5.3% -- well below the 8.7% of positive tests recorded nationwide last week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among service members, 11,915 soldiers, 4,323 Marines, 8,208 sailors, 5,399 airmen and 4,430 Air and Army National Guardsmen have had COVID-19 since the pandemic began, according to Pentagon data through Aug. 18.

Across the U.S., there have been more than 5.5 million cases and 172,667 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 22.2 million cases have been recorded, with 783,525 deaths.

This story will be updated

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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