- The Washington Times
Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Pentagon will have to adapt to the “new normal” caused by coronavirus restrictions until a vaccine is created, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by the Brookings Institute in Washington, Mr. Esper explained that, like other states across the country that are starting to reopen, the Pentagon will do so in phases.

“There will be a new normal that we will have to adapt to for an extended period of time at least until we have a vaccine that we’re confident in,” he told the audience, adding that he has been “pleasantly surprised” by the level of productivity amid the changes.

But he said there is currently planning underway by the chief management officer to reopen the military headquarters.

As of Tuesday, there are 7,526 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the military, with the bulk of the cases among active duty service members at 4,967.

At least 2,937 people among active duty troops, civilian service members, dependents and contractors have been hospitalized, according to Pentagon data, and 27 have died.

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