Back to Top Skip to main content

Air Force takes steps to assure ‘unblinking’ operations, readiness and capabilities amid pandemic

Air Force medics and health personnel around the globe are resolutely following and ensuring compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg. Air Force medics and health personnel around the globe are resolutely following and ensuring compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention according to Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

How do you stand “shoulder to shoulder” in a time of COVID-19? For the United States Air and Space Forces, and indeed the entire United States military, this is no small question. It is so pressing, in fact, that the Air Force’s medical staff, in collaboration with experts nationwide, have been working nearly around the clock to answer it.

It’s not hard to understand why.

The critical responsibilities and missions of our 685,000 total force active duty Guard and Reserve Airmen do not fade even during a pandemic. Across a worldwide enterprise, our Airmen must remain healthy so they can maintain full readiness and the capability to protect our nation’s security and interests.

Achieving those goals often demands Airmen work literally “shoulder to shoulder” in tight spaces over long hours. You can find it with crews aboard our aircraft, maintenance personnel on the ground, analysts at remote radar stations, recruits at training centers, and of course, at every Air Force barracks. Even within the sprawling Pentagon, thousands of active duty and civilian staff work in tightly bunched cubicles.

With the coronavirus’s arrival, those arrangements must be modified to ensure not only the health and safety of all personnel but to assure the Air Force’s unblinking ability to complete all missions.

Air Force medics and health personnel around the globe are resolutely following and ensuring compliance with guidelines issued by the Department of Defense and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s why leaders at each of our bases are working closely with local public health officials to actively monitor the health of Airmen and their families, as well as to monitor those who have been stricken by COVID-19. By now, most Americans know that safety demands maintaining a social distance beyond which the virus can spread. It means being alert to symptoms including low-grade fever, respiratory distress and body aches.

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, DoD has enacted travel restrictions, including the halt of domestic travel for service members. The goal is to “flatten the disease curve” by slowing the spread of the virus and preventing medical systems from being overwhelmed.

Within the Air Force, our medics are executing all available measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in accordance with CDC and force health protection guidelines, and remain aligned with state and local public health organizations.

It demands ingenuity and flexibility. In Europe and Asia, where the outbreak has been severe, we have adjusted health procedures to account for the threat and continue to safely fly fighter and bomber missions to deter aggression. And across the globe, our airlift forces have continued their missions apace, refueling U.S. aircraft and delivering vital cargo. It is in the best tradition of our service, echoing the work of those who flew during the Berlin Airlift and other global crises.

We are reminding – and reminding again – commanders and senior non-commissioned officers about best practices such as avoiding contact with those who are sick, washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Our Airmen have always displayed such agility, adaptability and resiliency.

Although it is easy to forget the military’s long history in the fight against infectious diseases, that history informs our actions and decisions today. The Office of Malaria Control in War Areas was established in 1942 and charged with protecting soldiers from malaria and other vector-borne diseases, such as typhus. It is the direct forbearer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s worth remembering, especially now, that military physicians and researchers played important roles in developing vaccines against smallpox, yellow fever, influenza and typhoid.

We do not yet know how COVID-19 will evolve, how many Americans will be infected or die. What we do know is that the Air Force will take the actions necessary to protect our Airmen while also protecting the nation.

You also may be interested in...

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2

Infographic
6/5/2020
Infographic describing how DoD was able to conduct genome sequencing on the COVID-19 virus

Genetic sequence data for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes #COVID19, plays a vital role in force health protection efforts within the DoD. To jumpstart sequencing efforts, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch's Global Emerging Infections Surveillance and Response applied a collaborative approach to sequencing capabilities. Resulting sequence data will provide critical information about transmission patterns, track diagnostic effectiveness, and guide the development and evaluation of medical countermeasures.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Coronavirus | Global Emerging Infections Surveillance

Mononucleosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Mononucleosis

A specimen is tested for mononucleosis at the medical clinic on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Influenza

Infographic
7/1/2019
Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Zika

Infographic
7/1/2019
Zika

Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Psittacosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Psittacosis

Green-winged Macaw. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Norovirus

Infographic
6/1/2019
Norovirus

Norovirus Outbreak in Army Service Members, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 2018 In May 2018, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses due to norovirus occurred at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The outbreak lasted 14 days, and a total of 91 cases, of which 8 were laboratory confirmed and 83 were suspected, were identified.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Cyclosporiasis

Infographic
6/1/2019
Cyclosporiasis

Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in a U.S. Air Force Training Population, Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, 2018 While bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks, 2 Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)– Lackland, TX, training populations experienced an outbreak of diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis in June and July 2018. Cases were identified from outpatient medical records and responses to patient questionnaires.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Female infertility

Infographic
6/1/2019
Female infertility

Female infertility, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2018 This report presents the incidence and prevalence of diagnosed female infertility among active component service women. During 2013–2018, 8,744 active component women of childbearing potential were diagnosed with infertility for the first time, resulting in an overall incidence of 79.3 cases per 10,000 person-years (p-yrs).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Ambulatory Visits

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and characteristics of ambulatory healthcare visits of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens

Infographic
5/1/2019
Absolute and relative morbidity burdens

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable To Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This annual summary uses a standard disease classification system (modified for use among U.S. military members) and several healthcare burden measures to quantify the impacts of various illnesses and injuries among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and distributions of hospitalizations of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during calendar year 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various Illnesses and Injuries, Non-Service Member Beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Morbidity Burdens

The current report represents an update and provides a summary of care provided to non-service members in the MHS during calendar year 2018. Healthcare burden estimates are stratified by direct versus outsourced care and across 4 age groups of healthcare recipients.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Heat Illness

Infographic
4/1/2019
Heat Illness

This report summarizes reportable medical events of heat illness as well as heat illness-related hospitalizations and ambulatory visits among active component service members during 2018 and compares them to the previous 4 years. Episodes of heat stroke and heat exhaustion are summarized separately.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Hyponatremia

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Hyponatremia

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

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.