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U.S. Army won’t require Army Combat Fitness Test scores in training

Oct. 7 (UPI) — The U.S. Army will suspend use of its new fitness test as a requirement for graduation from training programs, citing COVID-19 concerns, it said on Wednesday.

A new version of the six-event Army Combat Fitness Test went into effect last week. The Army will encourages taking and passing the strength and fitness test, but the requirement to successfully complete it will be delayed until at least September 2021, the end of the fiscal year, Army officials told Stars and Stripes.

Suspension of the use of the test comes as the Army acknowledged constraints on training and testing due to the quarantining, social distancing and other protections required during COVID-19 pandemic, Megan Reed, spokesperson for the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training at Fort Eustis, Va., told Army Times.

While the test, regarded since Oct. 1 as the Army’s physical test of record, will still be administered, its successful completion is not required to advance from Army enlisted, officer or warrant officer training, Reed said.

The new test supersedes the decades-old, three-event Army Physical Fitness Test. It tests recruits in the deadlift, the standing power throw, pushups, the sprint-drag-carry, the leg tuck and a two-mile run carrying full combat gear.

The change brings fitness test policy for initial trainees in accord with similar fitness policies throughout the Army.

The delay for completion of the new test applies to Basic Combat Training, Advanced Individual Training, One Station Unit Training, Warrant Officer Basic Course and the Basic Officer leader course.

While the new test won’t need to be completed, recruits in Basic Combat Training will still be required to pass an obstacle course, hand-to-hand combat training and a 10-mile march, Army officials said.

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Marines may waive combat fitness tests for service members at risk for coronavirus – U.S.

Marines may waive combat fitness tests for service members at risk for coronavirus


Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.


Marine Corps commanders may issue waivers for Marines, or even whole units, for semi-annual combat fitness tests if the testing sites cannot accommodate safety measures to protect against the coronavirus, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa said Monday.


The Corps is putting mitigating steps in place, such as screening Marines and taking their temperatures before the tests, disinfecting equipment and mandating face masks, said 1st Lt. Pawel Puczko by email to Stars and Stripes. He said Marines who are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus or share quarters with someone who is at a higher risk may apply for waivers.


In April, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered a halt to all fitness testing due to the coronavirus. Last month, the Corps announced it will resume its physical fitness and combat fitness tests despite the ongoing pandemic.


Marines will have until the end of December to complete both tests, according to a Sept. 21 memo.


Individual waivers will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Puczko said.


“The health and safety of our Marines is always a top priority,” he said. “Commands across III MEF have demonstrated their dedication to keeping Marines and families safe from COVID-19 through diligent planning and implementation of safety protocols.”


The allowance for commanders to issue both combat fitness test and physical fitness test waivers will extend across the Marine Corps, according to a Marine administrative order.


COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.


Social distancing may prove difficult during the combat fitness test, in which one event requires Marines to drag and carry each other to simulate maneuver under fire, according to the official Marine Corps website.


The Air Force in September postponed its physical fitness assessments until January 2021. Body composition measurements — waist, height and weight — are postponed until further notice, according to last month’s announcement.


All airmen will receive maximum points for the so-called “abdominal circumference” component as part of their official score, including those with exemptions to that waist measurement, the statement said.


“We know people are staying fit regardless, but we want to give our Airmen enough time to prepare,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in the statement.


The Navy also postponed sailors’ physical fitness tests until further notice in an administrative message in July.


“Although the Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020 has been excused, Sailors are reminded to make good choices for a healthy diet and are to continue a level of fitness to maintain Navy physical fitness standards,” the message said.


Thursday, the Army adopted its long-planned, six-event physical fitness

Marines may waive combat fitness tests for service members at risk for coronavirus – Pacific

Marines may waive combat fitness tests for service members at risk for coronavirus


Stars and Stripes is making stories on the coronavirus pandemic available free of charge. See other free reports here. Sign up for our daily coronavirus newsletter here. Please support our journalism with a subscription.


Marine Corps commanders may issue waivers for Marines, or even whole units, for semi-annual combat fitness tests if the testing sites cannot accommodate safety measures to protect against the coronavirus, a spokesman for III Marine Expeditionary Force on Okinawa said Monday.


The Corps is putting mitigating steps in place, such as screening Marines and taking their temperatures before the tests, disinfecting equipment and mandating face masks, said 1st Lt. Pawel Puczko by email to Stars and Stripes. He said Marines who are at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus or share quarters with someone who is at a higher risk may apply for waivers.


In April, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered a halt to all fitness testing due to the coronavirus. Last month, the Corps announced it will resume its physical fitness and combat fitness tests despite the ongoing pandemic.


Marines will have until the end of December to complete both tests, according to a Sept. 21 memo.


Individual waivers will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, Puckzo said.


“The health and safety of our Marines is always a top priority,” he said. “Commands across III MEF have demonstrated their dedication to keeping Marines and families safe from COVID-19 through diligent planning and implementation of safety protocols.”


The allowance for commanders to issue both combat fitness test and physical fitness test waivers will extend across the Marine Corps, according to a Marine administrative order.


COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.


Social distancing may prove difficult during the combat fitness test, in which one event requires Marines to drag and carry each other to simulate maneuver under fire, according to the official Marine Corps website.


The Air Force in September postponed its physical fitness assessments until January 2021. Body composition measurements — waist, height and weight — are postponed until further notice, according to last month’s announcement.


All airmen will receive maximum points for the so-called “abdominal circumference” component as part of their official score, including those with exemptions to that waist measurement, the statement said.


“We know people are staying fit regardless, but we want to give our Airmen enough time to prepare,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in the statement.


The Navy also postponed sailors’ physical fitness tests until further notice in an administrative message in July.


“Although the Navy PFA Cycle 2, 2020 has been excused, Sailors are reminded to make good choices for a healthy diet and are to continue a level of fitness to maintain Navy physical fitness standards,” the message said.


Thursday, the Army adopted its long-planned, six-event physical fitness

Early Flu Tx, Vaccine Can Combat COVID/Flu ‘Twin-Demic’

With COVID-19 set to complicate this year’s influenza season, treating flu early remains important for vulnerable groups, and flu vaccination is more important this year than ever, experts said on Thursday.

In a press conference hosted by the National Federation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and the CDC, NFID medical director William Schaffner, MD, said it will be hard for physicians and other healthcare professionals to tell the difference between flu and COVID-19 based on symptoms alone during the approaching “twin-demic,” since many overlap.

“This is going to be an area of diagnostic confusion this entire winter season, with these two respiratory viruses and other respiratory viruses out there,” he said. “Testing will be important, but it has its limitations and challenges.”

Keynote speaker Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, emphasized the importance of treating flu early among patients with underlying conditions, even while waiting for COVID test results. He discussed a scenario where you “give someone Tamiflu thinking it’s influenza when it’s really the beginning of a COVID-type infection.”

Fauci said it was more important for the patient to “start on an influenza drug and not wait for a period of time” because it’s “best to get treated within 24-48 hours” of influenza symptoms.

“We need to get the right diagnosis and eliminate what we can eliminate,” he said.

Schaffner added that he wouldn’t be surprised to see healthcare professionals treating especially high-risk patients “empirically” with an influenza antiviral while waiting for COVID test results, especially “if influenza is present extensively in one’s community.”

While the flu can be treated with antivirals if caught early, the most important prevention tool remains vaccination. Schaffner shared results of a recent NFID survey in which 28% of adults said they were more likely to get flu shots due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet only 59% overall said they intend to get vaccinated.

Healthcare providers will play a critical role in ensuring patients get vaccinated this year, especially patients with underlying medical conditions. Federico Asch, MD, of Georgetown University, offered his perspective as a cardiologist, having worked in a cardiac intensive care unit for many years and seeing flu complications such as myocarditis.

Risk of heart attack jumps sixfold within a week of flu infection, he said, and adults with diabetes are three times more likely to die if they contract flu.

Asch pointed out that it’s not just older adults who face greater risk of hospitalization and severe complications. Younger adults with chronic health conditions do as well, and only 44% of people ages 18-49 with chronic health conditions reported being vaccinated during the previous flu season.

The NFID survey found 22% of higher risk patients said they were not planning on getting a flu shot this year. Asch said healthcare professionals still have “a lot of work to do” when it comes to ensuring this population receives their flu shots.

“Flu vaccine must be part of disease management for older adults and patients with chronic