Updated Oct 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Top military leaders in quarantine after possible COVID-19 exposure

In this image, several men in formal military dress sit next to each other at a long table while facing the same direction
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf, meet with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz at the Pentagon on Sept. 22. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The No. 2 Marine general, Gary Thomas, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, a day after he and other senior military leaders began quarantining due to possible exposure to the virus.

Driving the news: Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior military leaders, including Thomas, entered quarantine after Adm. Charles Ray, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, per the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

  • Thomas, the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the Marine Corps said in a statement. He was experiencing mild symptoms and would remain in quarantine, the statement said.

The big picture: Republican senators, top White House aides and many of those closest to Trump in the administration have tested positive for the coronavirus following the president's diagnosis last Friday.

What they're saying: "We are aware that Vice Commandant Ray has tested positive for COVID-19 and that he was at the Pentagon last week for meetings with other senior military leaders," Defense Department spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement, per the Times.

  • "Out of an abundance of caution, all potential close contacts from these meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning," he said.
  • "No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that Thomas has tested positive.

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