Lessons Learned From a Prospective Observational Study of U.S. Marine Recruits During a Supervised Quarantine, Spring‒Fall 2020

Andrew G. Letizia, Carl W. Goforth, Yongchao Ge, Michael S. Termini, Megan A. Schilling, Victor A. Sugiharto, Hua Wei Chen, Irene Ramos, Stuart C. Sealfon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Quarantining is commonly used to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. However, questions remain regarding what specific interventions are most effective. Methods: After a 2-week home quarantine, U.S. Marine Corps recruits underwent a supervised 2-week quarantine at a hotel from August 11 to September 21, 2020. All recruits were assessed for symptoms through oral questioning and had their temperatures checked daily. Study participants answered a written clinical questionnaire and were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction shortly after arrival in quarantine and on Days 7 and 14. The results were compared with those of a previously reported Marine-supervised quarantine at a college campus from May until July 2020 utilizing the same study, laboratory, and statistical procedures. Results: A total of 1,401 of 1,514 eligible recruits (92.5%) enrolled in the study, 93.1% of whom were male. At the time of enrollment, 12 of 1,401 (0.9%) participants were polymerase chain reaction positive for SARS-CoV-2, 9 of 1,376 (0.7%) were positive on Day 7, and 1 of 1,358 (0.1%) was positive on Day 14. Only 12 of 22 (54.5%) participants endorsed any symptoms on a study questionnaire, and none of the participants had an elevated temperature or endorsed symptoms during daily screening for SARS-CoV-2. Participation rate (92%) was much greater than the approximately 58.8% (1,848 of 3,143) rate observed in the previous Marine-supervised college campus quarantine, suggesting the changing attitudes of recruits during the pandemic (p<0.001). Approximately 1% of participants were quantitative polymerase chain reaction positive after self-quarantine in both studies. Conclusions: Key findings include the shifting attitudes of young adults during the pandemic, the limitations of self-quarantine, and the ineffectiveness of daily temperature and symptom screening to identify SARS-CoV-2‒positive recruits.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100003
JournalAJPM Focus
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Quarantine
  • SARS-CoV-2 modeling
  • SARS-CoV-2 screening
  • recruits
  • temperature screening
  • young adults


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