After an outbreak, the Marine Corps stops sending new recruits to its boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
The Marine Corps has stopped sending new recruits to its boot camp at Parris Island, S.C., for the foreseeable future after a coronavirus outbreak there infected more than 20 recruits.
The incident at Parris Island, one of the Corps’ two training depots, is serious for the Marine Corps. As the smallest branch in the military, with around 185,000 people, and a high turnover rate (roughly 36,000 Marines leave each year), stopping the supply of new recruits, even temporarily, will have long-lasting effects, Marine officials have said in the past.
The spike in cases, said Capt. Bryan McDonnell, a spokesman for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, is believed to have started with two recruits who were brought on for training and quickly infected others. Until Monday, new recruits were screened upon their arrival, so, Captain McDonnell said, it is believed the two were asymptomatic. They have since been quarantined.
Basic training has continued in the other military branches, with an increased emphasis on screening and testing before training begins. But shared living spaces, communal showers and close contact in recruit barracks nearly ensures that any outbreak of the virus will mushroom in days.
In a statement Monday, the Marine Corps said that the move to stop sending recruits to Parris Island was “out of an abundance of caution” and that “recruit training for individuals already at the Depot will continue as planned, with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing.”
Reporting was contributed by Jason M. Bailey, Raymond Zhong, Michael Cooper, Richard Pérez-Peña, Karen Zraick, Nick Fandos, Mihir Zaveri, Jonathan Martin, Maggie Haberman, Sarah Mervosh, Patricia Mazzei, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Eileen Sullivan, Elisabetta Povoledo, Raphael Minder, Melissa Eddy, Mary M. Chapman, Julie Bosman, John Eligon, Elian Peltier, Isabel Kershner, Ali Watkins, Stephen Castle, Marc Santora, Mark Landler, David M. Halbfinger, Michael D. Shear, Thomas Fuller, Megan Specia, Austin Ramzy, Neil Vigdor, Kate Taylor, Vivian Yee, Mike Baker, Rick Rojas, Sapna Maheshwari, Vanessa Swales, Michael Levenson, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Stanley Reed, Knvul Sheikh and Kai Schultz.