The TAPS Daily - April 13, 2020
Welcome to The TAPS Daily. Your source for some of the latest news, resources, and thought pieces from across the military and veteran community during the COVID-19 response.
TAPS COVID-19 Response
Find resources, services, and support provided 24/7 by TAPS to surviving military families navigating the challenges of COVID-19.
- Sailor from Theodore Roosevelt has died of COVID-19 complications
A sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt died after being admitted to an intensive care unit in Guam last week for coronavirus complications — the first such death of a sailor from the vessel.
- Naval Academy cancels Class of 2020 commissioning events over COVID-19 concerns
The U.S. Naval Academy has officially canceled all of this year’s Commissioning Week events amid concern over the COVID-19 pandemic, the academy announced.
- Veterans' remote mental health appointments skyrocket amid coronavirus outbreak
Remote mental health care use among Veterans Affairs patients jumped dramatically last month as normal medical care appointments were disrupted and veterans were forced into self-isolation because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Coronavirus: Boy Scout plays taps outside veterans home hit hard
13-year old Boy Scout plays taps each day outside New Jersey Veterans' Home to honor the 37 military veterans who have died there in the past two weeks. At least 10 of the deaths were from the coronavirus.
TAPS In the News
- LISTEN: Lonestar's 'Love Lives On' Honors Fallen Military Heroes
(Taste of Country)
John Rich, Billy Ray Cyrus, Pam Tilllis, Larry Gatlin and Andy Griggs are a few more of the artists involved with the full Love Lives On album. Each of the 10 songs features surviving family members of someone killed while serving our country as a co-writer. The songs tell their stories in hopes of letting people know there's help out there.
- Unit Stabilization After Suicide Loss
Learn how to apply safe messaging and the TAPS postvention model to help stabilize your military unit and foster a culture that better supports suicide prevention, mental health, and wellness in PsychArmor’s new course “Unit Stabilization After Suicide Loss.”
- COVID-19: Pandemic, Grief, Loss and Suicidality
TAPS Vice President, Kim Ruocco, Suicide Prevention and Postvention took part in a 60 minute panel hosted by the Association for Deathology Education and Counseling on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 Key Updates
- Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 8)
This memorandum provides guidance focusing on the prevention of coronavirus in workplaces.
- COVID-19: U.S. at a Glance
Total cases: 554,849 Total deaths: 21,942
- Second service member dies of COVID-19 as cases among troops surge to over 2,500
To date, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of an aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt sailor and a New Jersey Army National Guardsmen, along with 13 others, according to the latest Defense Department data. Among those are six civilians, two dependents and five contractors, holding DoD’s mortality rate at 0.3 percent compared to the overall U.S. rate of 4 percent.
- VA reports 200th death from coronavirus
Since Veterans Affairs leaders reported the first death of a VA patient from coronavirus in mid-March, the number of positive cases — and fatalities — in the department’s health system has risen dramatically.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Millions of veterans to get letters this week on potential reimbursements for medical costs
Starting today, department staffers will send letters to tens of thousands of veterans who were rejected for financial relief in recent years for bills they received for non-department emergency medical care. That move comes over VA objections concerning an ongoing lawsuit over the issue, which could add billions in new costs to the department’s budget.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Lacking physical touch, hospital chaplains get creative to offer spiritual care during pandemic
(The Cap Times)
Small routines are among many changes hospitals have made to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, as chaplains have adapted to calling instead of visiting rooms, physically distancing from patients and not being able to hold their hands.
- Processing Grief During a Pandemic, When Nothing Is Normal
For those losing loved ones to COVID-19 — and those who lost friends and family in the months before the pandemic — mourning has become a whole new kind of challenge
- We’re Not Ready for This Kind of Grief
The coronavirus pandemic will leave lasting emotional scars.
- How to cope with grief during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered everyone’s daily lives, including how people grieve the loss of a loved one.
- What Acts of Kindness Have You Heard About or Participated In During Coronavirus?
(New York Times)
During this crisis people and groups have delivered free groceries, canceled rent for tenants and called to check in on seniors. How might helping others also benefit oneself?
- 'We Carry That Burden.' Medical Workers Fighting COVID-19 Are Facing a Mental Health Crisis
In hospitals around the world, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers are fighting an enemy that has already killed thousands. And as with any war, the fight against COVID-19 will result not just in direct casualties, but also take a terrible toll on the minds of many of those who survive.
- Mental health challenges during the coronavirus pandemic
(60 Minutes - CBS News)
Even if they haven't been infected with the coronavirus, hundreds of millions of Americans have had their lives upended by the pandemic. John Dickerson reports on the toll the virus has taken on our mental health.
- “It’s going to be tragic.” W.Va. addiction experts predict a crisis on top of a crisis.
(The Fayette Tribune)
West Virginia experts on addiction say another crisis looms over the COVID-19 pandemic as people in isolation turn to alcohol and drugs to cope, mental health care and substance use disorder treatment providers aren’t equipped to handle an increase in overdoses and new patients seeking help.
- Veterans Voice: Vietnam vets urged to be counted on Agent Orange Registry
Organizers of the Agent Orange Town Hall, canceled due to coronavirus, want to encourage Vietnam veterans to join the Agent Orange Registry and familiarize themselves with benefits available to those who have presumptive exposure.
- Soldier praised for his actions during El Paso shooting found dead
A 23-year-old soldier who was praised for his actions during the August 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, died this week.
- Latest Guard cornavirus update: Troop count back up to more than 29,000; more states on 31-day Title 32 orders.
There are now more than 29,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.
- National Guard, Active-Duty Troops Are Assisting with Body Removals in NYC
About 170 National Guard troops and 49 active-duty soldiers have taken on the grim task of assisting New York City with the removal of the growing number of bodies of those who die alone during the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to Guard officials.
- Army Deploys Medical Task Forces to Help Hard-Hit Communities
The Army has mobilized eight Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces to the East Coast to support the coronavirus relief efforts and curb the spread of disease, senior Army leaders said.
- Air Force evacuates coronavirus patients from Afghanistan in first use of isolation system
(Stars and Stripes)
The Air Force has used an infectious diseases containment unit first developed during the 2014 Ebola outbreak to evacuate three U.S. government contractors who tested positive for the coronavirus from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
- Air Force Recruits Who Get COVID-19 Won't Have to Start Training Over, General Says
Air Force leaders are determining how new recruits at Basic Military Training who test positive for coronavirus will rejoin their flight ranks after they have recovered, the top general of the service's training command said Friday.
Military Survivor News
- Gold Star wife driven to shape policy, give back
How one Gold Star wife, Ursula Palmer persevered through the pain and is determined to be a voice for all service members, veterans, and military families.
- Editorial: Deterring veteran suicide remains a Virginia priority
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and members of the General Assembly Military and Veterans Caucus are taking promising steps to deal with the tough problem of suicide among veterans.
- Leo DiPalma, Who Guarded Infamous Nazis at Nuremberg Trials, Brought Down by COVID-19
World War II veteran who gained notoriety for his role as a guard during the historic Nuremberg Trials is among the veterans at Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts who have died from COVID-19.
Across the TAPS Family
- Use your TAPS gear to create masks for our troops and healthcare providers
The CDC has strongly encouraged all Americans to wear a cloth facemask when out of their homes. Masks are in short supply so we’re encouraging you to lend a hand by making masks and sharing them with military families, veterans, your loved ones, and healthcare providers. Share your creations on social media by tagging @taps.org and use #TAPS.
- Responding to coronavirus: TAPS Extends Virtual Services for Families Grieving Deaths of a Military Loved One
To provide ongoing support during this national emergency to survivors grieving the death of a loved one who served in the military, TAPS is extending its online capabilities, adding more opportunities for survivors to connect and receive support as needed.
- USAA to return $520 million to members.
USAA is returning $520 million to their members with auto policies during the COVID-19 crisis. President of USAA Life Company and USAA Investment Management Company, Brandon Carter, serves on the TAPS Board of Directors and USAA is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- Battelle advising government's COVID-19 strategy.
Battelle has developed cutting edge technology to decontaminate PPEs and allow for multiple uses. Battelle CEO Lou VonThaer serves on the TAPS Board of Directors and Battelle is a strong supporter of TAPS.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.