A U.S. Navy medical officer and a reservist died from complications due to COVID-19 in the past week, the military branch confirmed to FOX Television Stations Wednesday.
Active duty U.S. Navy Capt. Corby Ropp died on July 23 at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
Ropp, 48, was assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Camp Lejeune as the department head of ophthalmology and refractive surgery.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our shipmate and ophthalmologist Capt. Ropp," said NMRTC Camp Lejeune's Commanding Officer, Capt. Reginald Ewing III. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Capt. Ropp's family, coworkers, and friends during this extremely difficult time."
Just three days later, Master-at-Arms First Class Allen Hillman died July 26, while hospitalized due to complications associated with the virus.
Hillman, 47, of Boise, Idaho, was assigned to Navy Reserve Volunteer Training Unit.
MAY 31: A member of the Honor Guard stands with the peaked cap of the US Navy during a Memorial Day ceremony in the Fort Knox Main Post Cemetery on May 31, 2021 in Fort Knox, Kentucky.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and shipmate MA1 Hillman. He was a big part of our community here in Boise. We will continue to support his family and shipmates during this difficult time." said Megan Fine, commanding officer of the Navy Operational Support Center in Boise.
According to the Navy Times, officials said 10 sailors have died of COVID-19.
The Navy members’ deaths come as the delta coronavirus variant fuels a surge of COVID-19 infections across the United States. More than 70,000 new COVID cases were reported in a single day Tuesday.
According to the latest data compiled Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University, there were 70,740 new cases on Tuesday and 462 deaths. Meanwhile, the nation is now averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 24,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
And as cases continue to increase, new studies show there are no signs of the hyper-contagious variant slowing down.
Projections released last week by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub show a continued and accelerated increase in cases and deaths, with numbers peaking in mid-October to around 60,000 cases and around 850 deaths per day in the most likely scenario.
Cases continue to rise daily, particularly in areas with lower vaccination rates, and as a result, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in areas where the variant is prevalent.
Citing medical privacy laws, Navy officials declined to say whether either man was vaccinated.
By May, the Navy had administered more than 1,000,000 COVID-19 vaccines to sailors, Marines, Department of Defense civilians and beneficiaries at 65 medical and 13 operational Navy sites around the world. At that time, over half of active-duty Navy personnel had been fully immunized.