A Top Coast Guard Official Has the Coronavirus. Other Military Leaders Are in Quarantine.

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Admiral Charles Ray, the vice commandant of the Coast Guard, tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to quarantine at home, the Coast Guard announced Monday.

Ray, who is the second-highest-ranking military official in the Coast Guard, tested positive on Monday “after feeling mild symptoms over the weekend,” a spokesperson said. It is not clear if his diagnosis was related to the apparent super-spreader event at the White House on Saturday, September 26, which was held to honor Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. At least 11 attendees, including President Donald Trump, have since tested positive for the coronavirus, but the White House has declined to conduct contact tracing that would help establish the source of the infections. Ray was at the White House a day after the Barrett event. He “began feeling unwell” on Friday, October 2, and eventually tested positive three days later, according to Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin. 

Ray’s diagnosis has already had a sprawling impact on the military. Several senior officials were in close contact with Ray, including Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and they are now quarantining, CNN reported

More military leaders could be affected. After news of Ray’s diagnosis broke Tuesday afternoon, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said Ray was in meetings with “other Service Chiefs” at the Pentagon last week. “Out of abundance of caution, all potential close contacts from these meetings are self-quarantining and have been tested this morning,” Hoffman said. “No Pentagon contacts have exhibited symptoms and we have no additional positive tests to report at this time.”

Already some of the names of Ray’s contacts have trickled out:

The United States faces a presidential election in less than a month, and its two highest-ranking military officers—not to mention the commander-in-chief himself—are in quarantine.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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