If you’ve been hospitalized for coronavirus at some point and want to join the military, you may have to jump through some extra hoops to get there or you might not be able to join at all.
The Defense Department released interim guidance yesterday putting people who have had severe COVID-19 on a list of those who will need medical waivers in order to join up.
They’ll be in good company with people who have asthma, diabetes, flat feet and many other ailments.
A Defense Department official told Federal News Network that the Pentagon is temporarily implementing the policy because the long-term effects — like the impact on the pulmonary system and organs — of COVID-19 are still unknown.
The memo does not bar anyone who has had coronavirus symptoms from joining the military.
Military entrance processing stations are required to do questionnaires, take temperatures and document symptoms of recruits.
Possible recruits who have a positive screening for symptoms upon starting the military entry process must return after two weeks and can only continue if they are symptom free. Anyone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus will have to wait 28 days after diagnoses to report to the station .
The military services have been optimistic about the coronavirus’ impact on accessions and keeping up with end strength numbers.
“Coronavirus has impacted our ability to bring people into the force,” Air Force Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services Gwen DeFilippi told Federal News Network. “We have reduced the number of people we are accessing into the Air Force, but we are at a manageable level.”
The services temporarily paused bringing people into basic training, but have sense started again. Recruits need to undergo a 14-day quarantine where they are monitored for symptoms before starting.