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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.

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

In the final week before Election Day, new coronavirus infections have soared to an all-time high — virtually guaranteeing that the pandemic will be the most prominent issue in America as voters prepare to choose the next president.

The big picture: Cases are surging and local hospitals are straining at the very moment that voters are choosing between President Trump, who continues to insist that the pandemic is almost over, and Joe Biden, who has made the crisis a centerpiece of his campaign.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Oct 28, 2020 - Health

MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test

Justin Turner (front center) and the Los Angeles Dodgers pose for a photo after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays to win the World Series. Photo: Ronald Martinez via Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner will be investigated after he left isolation to celebrate with the team on the field, the MLB said in a statement on Wednesday. Turner’s case is the first positive of the playoffs, which closed with the Dodgers’ 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the Dodgers’ first World Series title since 1988, and it now threatens to be overshadowed by the possibility of an outbreak. Outbreaks sidelined at least two teams before the MLB announced that the playoffs would adhere to the "bubble" concept adopted by other leagues.