Coronavirus News: New Jersey National Guardsman becomes US military's 1st member to die of COVID-19

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
NJ National Guard

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The Pentagon announced on Monday the first U.S. Military service member death from COVID-19, a New Jersey Army National Guardsman.

The guardsman died on Saturday, but his passing was not announced until Monday by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy at a news conference.

Murphy sent the following tweet to express his condolences:

The individual had tested positive for coronavirus and had been hospitalized since March 21.

"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," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said.

A spokesman for the New Jersey National Guard, Lt. Col. Barbara Brown, confirmed that the guardsman who died was not on active duty when he contracted the disease.

There are currently 251 New Jersey National Guardsmen who have been activated to assist with the COVID-19 response.

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