The United States military has 1.3 million personnel deployed worldwide, spread over 150 countries. As many as 165,000 are assigned permanently in foreign countries, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center.
Esper’s claim contradicts the Department of Defense’s official listings. On its website, it says there have been eight military deaths due to COVID-19.
Other metrics, like worldometers, claim that number might actually be as high as 100. Worldometers has tracked coronavirus infections and deaths worldwide as well as in each state in the U.S.
Fox News reached out the Department of Defense for context or comment on Esper’s claim but has not yet heard back.
Peter Aitken is a New York born-and-raised reporter with a focus on national and global news.