WASHINGTON — A Pentagon memo that says a COVID-19 diagnosis “permanently” disqualifies recruits from joining the military is actually “interim guidance” and recruits who have recovered from the disease may still be able to get a waiver that lets them sign up, according a defense official.
The official did not say how long the interim guidance would be in place.
The memo from the U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command says that a “history of COVID-19, confirmed by either a laboratory test or clinician diagnosis, is permanently disqualifying.” The memo was issued Wednesday and was first reported by The Military Times.
According to the defense official, anyone who has been hospitalized would be “medically disqualified and would need a service waiver to join the military.”
The Defense Department has a list of medically disqualifying conditions that require a waiver for a would-be recruit to become a service member. Waivers for such conditions are not uncommon.
The memo also says that an applicant who may have had the coronavirus but has not had official confirmation via diagnosis or a test may be eligible to sign up for the military after a two-week wait.