- Hundreds of National Guard soldiers have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, according to a Politico report.
- More than 25,000 National Guard troops were activated and deployed to Washington, DC following the January 6 assault on Capitol Hill.
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Hundreds of National Guard soldiers among the thousands who have deployed to the nation’s capital after violent riots earlier this month have tested positive for COVID-19 or are in quarantine, Politico reported Friday.
More than 25,000 National Guard troops were activated and deployed to Washington, DC following the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol for a security mission that took place during President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday . The National Guard announced Thursday that the process of returning troops home was already underway.
Since the start of their mission, numerous photos of members of the National Guard have been collected in various parts of the Capitol complex, including nearby parking lots. Politico reports that a garage had 5,000 soldiers inside with only one bathroom.
More than 100 National Guard soldiers have reportedly tested positive for the virus, and a few hundred other Guard members are currently in quarantine.
A member of the National Guard told Politico the troops had not been tested for COVID-19 until they arrived in Washington. “Right after the holidays, they gathered us like sardines in buses and rooms for it,” said the member of the Guard.
WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 13: Members of the National Guard rest in the United States Capitol January 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. Security was tightened across Washington following the breach in the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday and until the presidential inauguration.
Stefani Reynolds / Getty Images
Another member of the Guard told the outlet that anti-virus countermeasures were not being effectively implemented. In many cases, the Guard only looked at temperatures and asked the troops about possible symptoms.
Another soldier said social distancing was “almost impossible” on Capitol Hill.
One of the National Guard troops on Capitol Hill told Politico that there were plans to test all troops on arrival and departure, but those plans apparently did not go through as planned. The distribution of vaccines has also been sporadic and uneven.
Neither the National Guard Bureau nor the Defense Ministry have commented on reported COVID-19 cases among members of the Guard. Instead, Insider was reported to the ministry’s COVID-19 totals, which show the total number of cases among service members since the start of the pandemic.
The National Guard is currently working to return thousands of Guard members home. The National Guard Bureau said around 7,000 people will likely be on duty and provide security assistance until the end of the month.
Seventeen service members, the majority of them on reserve status, have died with COVID-19. The rate of hospitalizations of troops is still low compared to civilians, according to the Military time.
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