Military | May 8, 2020 11:04 am

The U.S. Military Has Banned Coronavirus Survivors From Enlisting

The reasons for a permanent disqualification are vague

Military recruits with any coronavirus diagnosis are being permanently disqualified
Hirurg / Getty Images

Apparently the best way to serve your country right now is by staying home — because if you’ve been infected with the coronavirus, you’re currently banned from joining the military.

A memo by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, as shared on Twitter and reported by the Military Times, states the following: “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 Pentagon confirmed the memo’s existence to the Times.

The disqualification seems to apply only to potential recruits who have a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis; like any conditions, waivers are available, but there are currently no guidelines concerning surviving coronavirus patients. “A review authority would have no justification to grant a waiver,” as the Times notes.

Although this seems unusually cruel, there are a few reasons the military might be taking a hardline here  — clusters of infections have already popped up at entry training installations, and the science on COVID-19 is incomplete. As of now, no one is sure about possible permanent respiratory damage, flare-ups, immunity or a number of other unknowns. As of now over 1500 service members have tested positive for coronavirus.

Hopefully, as the science improves, recruits with prior coronavirus diagnoses will get a fair chance to join the military, as the “permanent” part of these disqualifications seems like an overreaction.

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