First US service member dies from coronavirus

First US service member dies from coronavirus
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A New Jersey National Guardsman died over the weekend after testing positive for the coronavirus, the Pentagon announced on Monday, the first U.S. service member to die from COVID-19.

Army Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, a physician assistant, died on Saturday in Pennsylvania after having been hospitalized since March 21, National Guard Bureau Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel wrote on Twitter.

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Hickok had lived in New Jersey from 1997 to 2009, then moved to Maryland to work as a civilian physician’s assistant at Andrews Air Force Base. Since 2017, he had lived in Pennsylvania, where he worked as an orthopedic physician assistant.

“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community,” Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief defends Milley after Trump book criticism | Addresses critical race theory | Top general says Taliban has 'strategic momentum' in war The Biden administration and Tunisia: Off to a good start Overnight Defense: Navy pulls plug on 0 million railgun effort | Esper defends Milley after Trump attacks | Navy vet charged in Jan. 6 riot wants trial moved MORE said in a statement. 

“The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19,” he added.

Currently, 569 active-duty service members have contracted the illness, as have 220 civilian personnel, 190 family members and 64 contractors. A contractor and a dependent died earlier this month from the virus. 

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Those numbers are expected to increase as more tests become available and as service members are increasingly being asked to help with the outbreak.

State governors have mobilized more than 10,000 Guardsmen across the United States, and President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE on Friday signed an executive order that allows the Pentagon to recall up to 1 million reserve members to help supplement troops already being used to combat the illness.

In addition, the Defense Department has dispatched two Navy hospital ships to New York and Los Angeles, sent Army field hospitals to both the east and west coasts, and identified 114 sites that could be converted to hospitals during the pandemic.

--This report was updated on April 1 at 10:33 p.m.