Coronavirus survivors could be barred from joining the military under new Department of Defense guidelines.
A past case of coronavirus would be “permanently disqualifying,” according to a U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command memo circulating on social media and first confirmed as authentic by the Military Times.
“During the medical history interview or examination, a history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or a clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying …” the memo reads.
“During the screening process, a reported history of confirmed COVID-19 will be annotated ‘Considered disqualifying’“ pic.twitter.com/ZKx91AUbXo
— Free (@Nathaniel_Free) May 4, 2020
The measures are meant to serve as interim guidance and don’t necessarily mean that a potential recruit would be barred from service, an anonymous official told McClatchy.
Instead applicants would have to obtain a medical waiver to move forward with enlisting — like they would for other conditions deemed “permanently disqualifying” like a surgery or a history of depression.
The guidelines are meant to force an additional review of the applicant not outright disqualify them, the official told McClatchy.
Though it is unclear how effective the measures will be, considering growing evidence that there is likely a large asymptomatic and untested population, and that many antibody tests have been considered inaccurate.
The memo outlines how staff should deal with confirmed or potential cases at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
During screenings, applicants are to have their temperature taken and answer questions about potential symptoms or contacts.
It’s unclear if this interim guideline for recruits could expand to those currently serving in the military and looking to re-enlist. The coronavirus has already spread to at least 5,000 service members.