WASHINGTON - The Pentagon said Thursday cases of the novel coronavirus have quadrupled in the U.S. military since last week, with more than 280 service members now infected around the world.
Fox News has learned that as of Thursday, 280 members of the military, 62 contractors, 134 Defense Department civilians and 98 military dependents had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the latest numbers, 24 American troops have recovered and 15 remain in the hospital fighting complications of the virus.
The new numbers come after the Pentagon reported last Friday that 67 service members had tested positive.
Also on Thursday, acting Secretary of the U.S. Navy Thomas Modly announced that all 5,000 sailors aboard aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt will be tested for COVID-19, after eight sailors aboard the ship initially tested positive. Those who tested positive were flown off the ship earlier this week and are only showing “mild symptoms,” according to Modly.
A senior U.S. Navy official told Fox News Thursday that there are now 23 sailors onboard the Roosevelt who tested positive for COVID-19.
The Roosevelt is now in a port in Guam, the official said. All sailors will remain onboard the ship and all 5,000 sailors are slated to be tested; however, Roosevelt only has 800 testing kits onboard and limited testing capacity.
Modly also said 104 Navy sailors and 31 U.S. Marines have tested positive around the world.
"We are trending higher," Modly said, regarding the Navy accounting for roughly one-third of all U.S. military positive cases.
Top Pentagon officials have warned that the pandemic is showing no signs of letting up, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley estimating that the outbreak will last in the U.S. for at least the next “three months.”
Later, President Trump suggested reopening parts of the U.S. economy by Easter, which falls on April 12 this year, and argued he doesn’t want “to turn the country off” and see a continued economic downfall from the pandemic.
But on Wednesday, Air Force Brig. Gen. Dr. Paul Friedrichs, a top Pentagon doctor, said that the potential easing of restrictions by a predetermined date could potentially “make this worse.”
"We're going to continue to see this – no surprise – continue to grow," Friedrichs told reporters.
When asked by Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin if it was wise to ease restrictions by Easter, Friedrichs said he did not think there was a “great deal of value in speculating a particular date.”
“What I would ask for everyone’s help with is worry about today,” he said. “Because if we stop doing the right thing today because we think something’s going to happen in four weeks, we will make this worse.”
He added: "I don't think it matters what day things start to get better. What matters is what we're doing right now to mitigate this outbreak. I'm not sure how to say it any more clearly than that.”
As of Thursday morning, the U.S. reported more than 69,100 positive cases of COVID-19. Late Wednesday night, the death toll in the country exceeded 1,000.
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin and Frank Miles contributed to this report.