Leaked Pentagon memo undercuts Trump's COVID-19 happy talk -- and projects no vaccine until next summer
President Donald J. Trump speaks during a Full Honors Welcome Ceremony for Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark T. Esper, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., July 25, 2019. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

A leaked Department of Defense memo undercuts some of the Trump administration's rosy projections about the coronavirus pandemic, including President Donald Trump's declaration that there will be a vaccine for the disease by the end of the year.


The memo, which was obtained by Task and Purpose, warns that America's armed forces face "a long path ahead" to resuming normal operations, especially given "the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19" in the coming months.

This runs counter to the president's prediction that the United States is unlikely to see a new wave of COVID-19 in the fall.

Additionally, the memo says that the military needs to prepare to run operations without a viable vaccine for the disease "at least the summer of 2021," which would be well past the president's goal of having a vaccine ready within the next six months.

"All indications suggest we will be operating in a globally-persistent COVID-19 environment in the months ahead,” the memo states. “This will likely continue until there is wide-scale immunity, through immunization, and some immunity post-recovery from the virus.”

Sources tell Task and Purpose that the memo is "outdated," although they declined to provide specifics on how things have changed since it was originally drafted.