According to a leaked Pentagon memo, the Defense Department should prepare for a coronavirus resurgence until a vaccine comes by “at least the summer of 2021.”

“We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19,” the memo by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper read. 

“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.”

The draft included a framework for the U.S. military’s reopening. It includes resumptions of training exercises, increased operational tempo, and the repositioning of forces and supplies to fight the global pandemic.

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A Pentagon spokesperson said the memo was outdated, but did not offer any additional information. 

The memo was drafted by assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security Kenneth Rapuano on Esper’s behalf. 

“All indications suggest we will be operating in a globally-persistent COVID-19 environment in the months ahead,” the memo reads. “This will likely continue until there is wide-scale immunity, through immunization, and some immunity post-recovery from the virus.

The memo has yet to be released by the Pentagon and may undergo changes before it does. 

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