Top Pentagon leaders have estimated that the coronavirus outbreak could last months, as the number of military service members with confirmed cases continues to climb.
“I think we need to plan for this to be a few months long, at least, and we’re taking all precautionary measures to do that,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said during a virtual town hall meeting at the Pentagon.
“I’m fully confident that at the end of the day, in a period of months, we will get through this.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley estimated that it might be as late as July before the crisis abates.
“Call it three months, based on what we know from other countries,” Milley said alongside Esper. “We’re going to do this as long as the mission takes.”
The predictions from military officials came the same week that President Trump signaled he would soon work to loosen guidelines for certain areas of the United States, a move that some worry would undercut much of the advice from medical experts about steps needed to contain the spread of the virus. Trump on Tuesday said he hopes to reopen the economy by Easter.