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Pentagon reports 12th military COVID-19 death

Pentagon reports 12th military COVID-19 death
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The Defense Department has reported a 12th service member killed by the coronavirus, the fourth such military death reported this month.

The latest fatality was included in Monday’s update of the online chart the Pentagon maintains of COVID-19 connected to the department.

The death noted in the chart is linked to a North Dakota National Guardsman who died Tuesday, though the North Dakota National Guard is not confirming that he died of COVID-19.

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North Dakota National Guard spokesman Bill Prokopyk confirmed that Master Sgt. Robert Thomas Lawson, 48, died in a hospital last week but said he could not confirm Lawson’s cause of death since a medical examiner has not yet issued a death certificate.

Four other guardsmen have died from the disease, as have six reservists.

Lawson would be the fourth service member killed by COVID-19 this month after a Texas National Guardsman, a Hawaii National Guardsman and a Florida-based reservist.

One active-duty service member has died from the coronavirus: Navy Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr., a 41-year-old aviation ordnanceman. He died in April after being one of more than 1,000 sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier who contracted the virus.

The Pentagon has been grappling with a spike in virus cases in recent weeks amid the nationwide surge of the pandemic. 

In total, the Pentagon has reported 117,736 cases of COVID-19 connected to the department, according to Monday’s update of the online chart, an increase of more than 6,700 from the last update of the data a week ago. 

Monday’s figures include 79,020 cases among service members. The military cases include 48,615 service members who have recovered and 832 who have been hospitalized over the course of the pandemic.

There have also been 19,770 cases among civilians, 11,721 cases among dependents and 7,225 cases among contractors. There have been 78 civilian deaths, eight dependent deaths and 31 contractor deaths, according to Monday’s chart.