A leaked Pentagon memo predicts that the coronavirus pandemic will stretch into the summer of 2021, Task & Purpose reports.
The memo, written to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, warns that a vaccine will not be available until “at least the summer” of next year.
"We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19," the memo warned. "Therefore, we must now re-focus our attention on resuming critical missions, increasing levels of activity, and making necessary preparations should a significant resurgence of COVID-19 occur later this year."
A Pentagon spokeswoman told the outlet that the memo was “outdated” but did not provide any further specifics.
It is unclear if Esper had seen the memo.
Pentagon says no end until vaccine:
“All indications suggest we will be operating in a globally-persistent COVID-19 environment in the months ahead,” the memo says. “This will likely continue until there is wide-scale immunity, through immunization, and some immunity post-recovery from the virus.”
More waves will occur in “clusters” that will coincide with the flu season, the memo says, and testing “will not provide 100% assurance of the absence” of the virus.
The memo lays out the framework for the military’s reopening, which calls for added testing ,surveillance, contact tracing, and a registry to “track and closely monitor outcomes of those infected with COVID-19.”
Memo undercuts administration optimism:
The memo undercuts Esper’s claim on Friday that the Pentagon would "deliver by the end of this year a vaccine at scale to treat the American people and our partners abroad."
"We'd love to see if we can do it prior to the end of the year," said President Donald Trump. "We think we're going to have some very good results coming out very quickly."