Hickok had been hospitalized since March 21.
“Today is a sad day for the Department of Defense as we have lost our first American service member — active, reserve or Guard — to Coronavirus,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in the statement, which was released before Lengyel identified Hickok.
“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community. The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
News of Hickok’s death comes as coronavirus cases within the US military continue to mount, surpassing 600 as of Monday morning. Twenty-six of those cases required hospitalization, according to the Defense Department. Thirty-four service members have recovered from their illness.
A US military dependent and defense contractor had died as a result of the virus, and the total number of cases involving the Department of Defense surpassed 1,000 on Monday.
The surging cases are the latest signs that the virus has become a national security challenge.
Still, the Department of Defense stressed in a news release Monday that it has “adopted dramatic mitigation measures to protect service members, civilian employees, contractors and their families from Coronavirus.”
“These include mandating social distancing, termination of certain work and training activities and providing testing and care for our community members.”
“Mitigation measures taken by the Army to blunt the spread of COVID-19 have proven insufficient,” the internal order said.
This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.
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