- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Army officials are incorporating the coronavirus into the directives for Defender Europe 2020, one of the largest and most sweeping military maneuvers in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

About 20,000 troops based in the U.S. are being sent to the continent to take part in the drills, even as the coronavirus continues to spread.

“We are working and war-gaming public health and medical support plans to identify any shortfall we might have and we are addressing those shortfalls and requirements with each individual host nation,” said Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe, according to Stars and Stripes.

To date, no U.S. troops, family members or Department of Defense civilian employees in Europe have been affected by the virus.

An Army soldier based in Korea remains the sole military member to test positive. His wife and their child are all being treated at a military hospital there, said Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs, the staff surgeon on the Joint Chiefs.

“Those are small numbers. As this evolves, we’ll have to adapt and learn from it.” Brig. Gen. Friedrichs said.

Scientists are trying to find out which demographic is the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. For example, officials said, is it a 40-year-old man with pulmonary disease or a 35-year-old with asthma?

“What we’re not seeing is people under the age of 20 really getting sick over this regardless of what else they might have,” Brig. Gen. Friedrichs said.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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