Back to Top Skip to main content

Pentagon leaders brief department's COVID-19 response to reporters

Three men sit at blue table with American Flag and Pentagon symbol behind them. Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (left) briefs reporters about DoD response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic. Also participating were Lernes Hebert, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, and Thomas Muir, director of Washington Headquarters Services. (Department of Defense photo)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 has presented local leaders and commanders in the Department of Defense with unprecedented decision-making challenges in the past few months. Thomas McCaffery, assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, voiced confidence in the response of these leaders who are using Military Health System data to make decisions about COVID-19 for their commands. McCaffery made his remarks during a July 1 press briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. 

“Decision-making is very much tied to what is happening in their local community,” McCaffery said. “[The MHS] tracks [COVID-19] cases and get reports on a daily basis, and that information is shared with the commanders on the ground to make well-informed decisions about what to do.”

McCaffery was joined in the briefing by Thomas Muir, director of Washington Headquarters Services, and Lernes Hebert, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy. The officials described how the Military Health System is supporting community leaders across the nation facing pandemic re-opening decisions by offering timely data and sharing information. The leaders also noted the vast system of medical specialties, professions, and research that informs the total effort to give commanders the medical resources they need.

The officials said the COVID-19 pandemic affects each population center differently and at different times. As the country experiences “hot spots” of pandemic activity, community leaders and military commanders together decide protocols for public safety on a case-by-case basis, backed by Pentagon and CDC guidance and updated health surveillance data. 

“The installation commanders are following local public health guidance and making sure that we have a well-informed force, as evidenced by the behavior they’ve exhibited throughout this pandemic,” Hebert said.

MHS gathers and analyzes data on the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 largely through the Defense Health Agency’s Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. AFHSB monitors the spread of the virus and other emerging pathogens that may threaten the safety of U. S. service members. 

The Washington Headquarters Service’s Muir shared how the Pentagon uses the most current medical surveillance data as employees slowly return to the office.

“We look at the same data from authoritative sources,” Muir said. “We are fortunate in the DC area that [COVID-19 cases] are all trending downward. Working with local public health authorities and our Public Health Office here in the Pentagon drove us to make the decision to move into Phase 2 of our resilience plan, so we’re seeing a return of the workforce.” 

Signs are posted all over the Pentagon, Muir said, to encourage employees to social distance in the workplace when possible and wear cloth face coverings. Face coverings are provided to employees arriving without one at the building. Muir reported strong compliance with the new procedures, complimenting the workforce for their flexibility. 

“We’re seeing great behaviors from a well-educated and informed workforce,” Muir said. “They know what they need to do to protect themselves and their families.”

MHS redoubled military medicine’s research and development efforts to focus on diagnostic testing and has previously announced a $75 million investment in vaccine research candidates. McCaffery noted that DoD is supporting Operation Warp Speed, the whole-of-government initiative to deliver 300 million doses of an effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021.

“It’s natural that we do research on vaccines because we want to make sure if our troops are deployed somewhere that they have protection against infectious diseases,” McCaffery said. “So some of the research that we have been doing for military purposes on several vaccine and therapeutic treatments is a part of the all-government effort to meet that Operation Warp Speed goal.”

For more information on how MHS is contributing to DoD coronavirus efforts, visit the coronavirus page on the Military Health System website.

 

You also may be interested in...

The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Video
9/4/2020
The Military Health System Celebrates Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the American workforce. This year, we pay tribute to the Military Health System Workforce.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS Minute: A Call to Action for Convalescent Plasma Donation

Video
8/24/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

Have you recovered from COVID-19, or tested positive for antibodies? Consider donating convalescent plasma. For eligibility requirements, and to find a donor center near you, go to https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/Donors/COVID-19andBloodDonation.aspx

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Convalescent Plasma Donation PSA featuring Lt. General Place

Video
7/10/2020
Image of Lt. Gen Place

Lt. Gen Place asks servicemembers DoD-wide to consider dontating plasma in the fight against COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

MHS Minute: DoD Focused on COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

Video
6/25/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

Have you recovered from COVID-19, or tested positive for antibodies? Consider donating convalescent plasma. To learn how, go to https://www.militaryblood.dod.mil/

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

MHS Minute: Military Leading the Charge on COVID-19 Research

Video
5/28/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

The military continues to serve on the front lines of research and treatment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Transport Vent Tutorial (ParaPAC) (March 25, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Transport Vent Tutorial - ParaPAC

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Multi-Dimensional Approach To Intubation In The Setting Of COVID-19 (April 1, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

In this video, a doctor and nurse will talk you through preparing to intubate a patient. At the end of the video we highlight some special considerations for intubation in the context of COVID.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Airway Pressure Release Ventilation (APRV) (April 17, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video will explain the basics of Airway Pressure Release Ventilation, an option for mechanical ventilation, that is helpful as an oxygen salvage therapy for patients with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Sedation and Analgesia in the ICU during COVID-19 (March 31, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video is intended to assist healthcare providers with the care of critically ill patients only. It is to be used as a guide ONLY for patients who have breathing tubes and are mechanically ventilated (on breathing machines). It will introduce you to sedative and analgesic medications that are used in the intensive care unit setting only. It will provide recommendations for use of sedation and analgesia in standard settings, but it will also provide recommendations for use in resource limited

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Shock Basics for the Non-Intensivist...in the age of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Ventilator Basics - Part 2 (ACPC and PS) (March 25, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video is an introduction to pressure control and pressure support ventilator settings. If you have not yet viewed 'Vent Basics for Non-Intensivists (ACVC/VAC)", please watch that video first. This video is not intended to be all encompassing. It is intended to educate non-intensivists on basic vent settings and vent mechanics.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Lecture (April 10, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

In this lecture, the topic or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome is reviewed. Specific discussion on diagnosis and treatment including lung protective strategies are discussed.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

IV Vasoactive Medication Basics for the Non Intensivist (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

This video provides a refresher/introduction to the basics of inotropes and vasopressors that may be helpful in the context of treating COVID-19 patients. It is not intended to be all-encompassing.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Ventilator Basics (ACVC) (March 19, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Ventilator basics (one mode) for non-intensivists

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Ventilator Tutorial V500/PB840 Drager (April 10, 2020)

Video
5/11/2020
DHA Seal

Ventilator assembly and input of settings for two common ICU ventilators.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.