An Army Reserve soldier became the third U.S. service member to die of complications from a coronavirus infection, the Army said Tuesday, as the number of cases among American troops passed 6,100 worldwide.

It was not clear where the soldier died or whether the soldier had been mobilized as part of the Pentagon’s effort to combat the pandemic. An Army Reserve spokesman did not immediately provide more information.

It has been six weeks since the last service member died of coronavirus complications.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a sailor assigned to the virus-stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt, died in a naval hospital in Guam in April. Douglas Hickok, a captain in the New Jersey Army National Guard, died in a civilian hospital in March before his unit was mobilized to assist with the pandemic response.

There have been a total of 35 coronavirus-linked deaths associated with the Defense Department, the agency’s data shows. Most of those deaths, 18, occurred among the civilian employee ranks. Nine contractors have died, along with five military dependents.

The Pentagon data shows that 165 service members required hospitalization because of virus complications.

The relatively low number of deaths and hospitalizations among the military’s roughly 1.4 million service members, compared with cases among the rest of the U.S. population, could be related to age and health. Epidemiologists have suggested those factors may have contributed to a high percentage of asymptomatic transmission aboard the Theodore Roosevelt.

Still, the pandemic has reshaped how the military recruits, disrupted boot camp and crippled the Theodore Roosevelt, one of the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers.

More than 55,000 service members are responding to the pandemic, the Pentagon said, including 46,000 mobilized through the National Guard and 3,000 in the Army Reserve.

The Trump administration set many mobilizations to end on June 24, which at 89 days is one day shy of the threshold needed for some guardsmen to accrue education and retirement benefits. The timing of those orders did not appear to be coincidental, critics and lawmakers have said.

“You think they just pulled 89 out of a hat?” Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., a combat veteran and guardsman, told Politico. “No. This isn’t a coincidence. We’re not idiots. This is spitting at our soldiers who have done the right thing.”

The National Guard Bureau has said it is working with the Defense Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to “determine the best ways to care for our Guard men and women in this unprecedented response.”


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