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Pentagon confirms first US service member to die from coronavirus

U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper speaks during the joint press conference with Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford (not in the picture) on August 28, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia.

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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon confirmed Monday that a U.S. service member who tested positive for coronavirus has died.

The New Jersey Army National Guardsman was hospitalized on March 21 and died a week later on Saturday from the virus.

“Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member – active, reserve or Guard – to coronavirus,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement. “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.”

The death of the New Jersey Guardsman is the third loss within the Department of Defense. Earlier this month, a contractor who worked at the Defense Security Cooperation Agency died as well as a military dependent.

Since the coronavirus emerged, the Pentagon has reported a total of 1,087 cases.

Of the 1,087 cases, 569 are active-duty military, 220 are civilians, 190 dependents and 64 contractors. These figures include 42 recoveries and 2 deaths across the entire department.

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