First, it was Veterans Administration requiring the vaccines of all employees who deal with clients. Then it was the Department of Homeland Security mask mandate, which went into effect Wednesday.
Now it’s the Department of Defense, arguably the most vaccinated population in the federal workforce, requiring all personnel, regardless of their Covid-19 vaccination status, to wear masks while indoors on Defense property. The instructions from the Deputy Secretary of Defense makes no allowance for children or infants in base housing.
Media reports from Washington, D.C. also advise that on Thursday President Joe Biden will widen the mask mandates to all federal agencies.
“In accordance with the updated guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on ‘Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People,’ issued July 27, 2021 , the Pentagon memo reads, beginning July 28:
- In areas of substantial or high community transmission, DoD requires all service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in an indoor setting in installations and other facilities owned, leased ,or controlled by DoD.
- Service members, federal employees, onsite contractor employees, and visitors who are not fully vaccinated also need to continue to physically distance consistent with applicable CDC and DoD Force Health Protection guidance.
- DoD installations, other facilities, and worksites shall, as soon as possible, post signs and post information on their websites clarifying what masking requirements apply in each installation, other facility, and worksite.
Statistics released by the Air Force show that as of July 26, the Air Force has had 58,214 case of Covid-19, including military, civilian, dependents, and contractors. There have been 93 deaths attributed to Covid-19, and 56,528 have recovered from it. Only one was the death of a military member.
Air Force has about an 81 percent vaccination rate, the highest of any branch, followed by the Navy at 79% vaccinated, Army at 71 percent, and the Marines with the lowest percent of vaccinated — 57 percent.
The U.S. Navy reports that 10 sailors have died from Covid-19, the most of any branch.