The Marine Corps is canceling fitness test requirements for the rest of the year — less than three months after bringing them back — as coronavirus cases hit never-before-seen levels across the country.
Marines who haven’t yet completed their Combat Fitness Test will be allowed to skip it, service leaders announced Friday. The decision was made as the U.S. sees record-setting cases of COVID-19.
More than 2,800 Americans died from the virus on Thursday. The Marine Corps has also seen an increase in coronavirus cases in recent months, leading the service’s top general to waive the CFT requirement, said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a Training and Education Command spokesman.
“All Marines who have not yet conducted the Combat Fitness Test will not do so this year due to the current nationwide #COVID19 environment,” the Marine Corps tweeted.
Marines who already took their CFT this year will retain their score, according to a service-wide message following the announcement. The test will still be required at boot camp, Officer Candidate School, The Basic School and any other formal schools.
Marines’ participation in the CFT has not been linked to any confirmed coronavirus cases, Stephenson said. More than half of the force — 51% — had already completed the test as of Nov. 27.
Marines are still required to maintain physical fitness, body composition and military appearance standards at all times, he said. Physical Fitness Test requirements, which begin in January, are so far not affected by the change.
This is the second time the Marine Corps has halted fitness tests during the global pandemic. Earlier this year, Marines got the OK to skip their PFT. Marines take two fitness tests annually: the PFT in the first part of the year and the CFT in the later months.
All Marines were supposed to complete their CFT requirement by Dec. 31.
Navy leaders last month postponed their service’s fitness requirements through March. Sailors are facing the biggest changes to their fitness test in decades as leaders swap curl-ups, or sit-ups, for a forearm plank to better assess core strength.
More than 83,500 troops have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Defense Department data. Thirteen service members have died of the illness and more than 800 have been hospitalized.
The Marine Corps has seen more than 10,000 COVID-19 cases across its force, including civilians, dependents and contractors.
— Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional details from the Marine Corps.
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