Coronavirus company news summary – Pentagon diverted portions of Covid-19 funding to buy military equipment

23 September 2020 (Last Updated September 23rd, 2020 10:38)

23 September

The US Military is using commercial wearable devices that use artificial intelligence and machine learning for early detection of a possible Covid-19 infection. Known as Rapid Analysis of Threat Exposure (RATE), the technology has been applied to consumer commercial-of-the-shelf wearables by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). The user receives early warning of infection up to 48 hours before becoming symptomatic. Over the next few weeks, the US Defense Department will manage an extensive rollout of RATE devices to nearly 5,000 people. The devices have already been handed over to the Navy, Office of the Secretary of Defense and DTRA and DIU personnel. US Northern Command and the US Military Academy will also soon received the RATE devices.

US Forces Korea (USFK) has decided to relax coronavirus restrictions as Covid-19 cases decline in South Korea, reported Stars and Stripes. According to USFK, nonofficial travel to Seoul and surrounding cities still remains suspended and wearing masks is mandatory. Troops, family members and civilian employees are now allowed to go to restaurants and hold other recreational events offbase.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has used portions of the $1bn Covid-19 funding to buy military equipment such as jet engine parts, body armour and dress uniforms, reported The Washington Post. The funding was meant to manufacture coronavirus medical supplies. Following the report, two House democrats Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) have called for a full investigation on Pentagon’s decision for not using the money as intended.