Florida-Based Soldier ID'd as 5th US Service Member to Die of COVID-19

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Army Master Sgt. Brian Tolliver (Department of Defense)
Army Master Sgt. Brian Tolliver (Department of Defense)

A Memphis native and member of the Army Reserve Medical Command in Pinellas Park, Florida, has been identified as the fifth U.S. service member to die from COVID-19.

Master Sgt. Brian Tolliver, 46, served as command paralegal for the unit's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment. He tested positive for the coronavirus July 10 and died Monday after a five-week fight at Largo Medical Center in Largo, Florida.

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Tolliver is the fourth soldier and member of the Reserve or National Guard to die of the virus. Only one service member on active duty -- Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Charles Thacker, 41, a sailor who served on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt -- has died from the pandemic.

To date, 34,584 service members have tested positive for COVID-19; more than 19,000 have been declared "recovered," according to Defense Department data.

Tolliver served in the Army for 25 years, including 12 on active duty and 13 in the Reserve. According to Lt. Col. Simon Flake, chief of media relations for the U.S. Army Reserve, Tolliver served honorably and had earned a Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with silver oak leaf cluster, the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters, and Army Good Conduct Medal with two bronze loops.

Nearly 50,000 people affiliated with the DoD have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the outbreak, including service members, dependents, civilian employees and contractors.

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

Among U.S. military personnel, a young and generally fit population, the case fatality rate (the number of deaths among confirmed cases) is significantly lower than in the U.S. population -- less than a tenth of 1%, compared with 3.13%.

Nonetheless, cases in the U.S. military population continue to rise, up more than 7,000 in less than three weeks. U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan have stepped up precautions following a spike in cases in that region, while up to 80 cases have been reported at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

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. 19.

Roughly 7,400 civilian DoD employees, 4,612 military family members and 3,173 contractors working for the department have contracted the virus since the first case was confirmed within the DoD in February. Of those, 47 employees, 16 contractors and seven dependents have died.

The other service members who have lost their lives to the illness include Army National Guard Capt. Douglas Hickok, 57; Army Reserve Spc. Curtis Lamar Fort, 61; and Army Reserve Sgt. Simon Zamudio, 34.

Across the U.S., there have been more than 5.5 million cases and 173,193 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide, more than 22.2 million cases have been recorded, with 788,356 confirmed deaths.

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

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