The TAPS Daily - April 14, 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.
- ‘We're both fighting battles’ — Tables turned as deployed soldiers worry about COVID-19 at home
(Task & Purpose)
For the nearly 700 Minnesota National Guard soldiers on a yearlong deployment in the Middle East with the 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, the past month has been a disorienting experience. From afar they watch life back home turn into a slow-moving nightmare, a new normal they can't fully grasp from their posts in the desert.
- 'Such a simple thing to do': Why positioning COVID-19 patients on their stomachs can save lives
Doctors are finding that placing the sickest coronavirus patients on their stomachs -- called prone positioning - helps increase the amount of oxygen that's getting to their lungs.
- Parenting Support During the Coronavirus: An Ongoing Webinar Series
PEP continues to offer free weekly webinars on relevant topics to support parents during the evolving COVID-19 crisis. The webinars will be held on Thursdays at 12 noon Eastern.
- Military Childcare During COVID-19
If child care issues are on top of your list right now, Military OneSource is here to help you find the answers you need.
- Find Meals on Wheels Near You During COVID-19
(Meals on Wheels America)
Concerned about older family members or friends during the coronavirus pandemic? Meals on Wheels continues to provide healthy nourishment during the COVID-19 pandemic to isolated seniors in need.
TAPS In the News
- A special honor for a fallen young veteran amid COVID-19 restrictions
With no military funeral possible, veterans found others ways to honor one of their own.
- Healing After Suicide Loss Conference
The American Association of Suicidology (AAS), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) host the 32nd International Healing After Suicide Loss Conference online Saturday, April 25. Registration is free and all are invited to share hope, healing, and support.
COVID-19 Key Updates
- U.N. Chief Targets 'Dangerous Epidemic Of Misinformation' On Coronavirus
With COVID-19 now responsible for more than 120,000 deaths and nearly 2 million cases worldwide, the U.N. is creating a special communications project to combat misinformation about the virus, the secretary general said.
- 'Any Way You Cut It, This Is Going to Be Bad:' VA Official Sounded Early COVID-19 Warning
A Department of Veterans Affairs health adviser has emerged as a key sentinel among federal and academic infectious disease experts to sound an alarm on the COVID-19 pandemic, according to emails published Saturday by the New York Times.
- VA reports big increases in coronavirus deaths, employee cases over the weekend
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
- The military has been averaging more than 100 new troops a day with COVID-19
For the past week, between 100 and 200 troops have come up positive for coronavirus, according to the latest Defense Department numbers.
- Coronavirus could change where students go to college, FAFSA financial aid
Thousands of students are rethinking their fall 2020 college decision – or wondering whether they’ll be able to go to college this fall at all. Their reasons, according to surveys by college advisory groups, include a desire to be closer to home, disrupted financial situations and concerns that another semester may go digital-only.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Defense Health Agency to Beneficiaries: Stop Taking Zantac
Defense Health Agency officials on Monday advised military beneficiaries who take Zantac, also known as ranitidine, for heartburn, ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease, to speak with their doctors to switch prescriptions. Those using an over-the-counter version should stop taking it.
- How millions of veterans could miss out on coronavirus stimulus checks
The IRS requires eligible households to file a tax return in order to receive their money. But many veterans and their survivors who rely solely on government benefits do not typically have to submit a return. This year, that means they could also fall through the cracks of the stimulus program.
- Start Simple with MyPlate: Food Planning During the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Department of Agriculture has provided a useful online source to help you take precautions on food planning, including what to buy, how much to buy, and preparation tips during the coronavirus pandemic.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Five Practical Tips to Reduce Anxiety, Calm Fear
Loss naturally makes us fearful because it disrupts our feelings of stability. TAPS Advisory Board member, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, has tips to help you deal with anxiety and fear.
- Virtual grieving: Is there closure if there is no goodbye?
(San Francisco Chronicle)
Hospitals and other facilities are not allowing family members and loved ones to be present at the deathbed for fear of exposure. A virtual goodbye is now one of the “new norms” we have adapted to in a pandemic world. It prompts the question, is there closure in virtual goodbyes?
- 'Tsunami of Grief' to Hit as More Loved Ones Die
The U.S. epidemic has the potential to translate into such a high number of people losing a parent or grandparent -- not to mention other relations, friends, or neighbors.
- 'It’s grief upon grief': the harsh reality of funerals in lockdown
Absence of normal rituals to say goodbye to loved ones can have a profound impact.
- The lonely reality of grieving online during social isolation
(MIT Technology Review)
COVID-19 is forcing people to confront death while simultaneously upending all the usual ways we process loss.
- Michigan launches mental health hotline for people dealing with trauma from COVID-19
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) launched a statewide mental health hotline for Michigan residents Monday. The hotline, or as the state calls it "warmline" will connect individuals with certified peer support specialists who have lived experiences of behavioral health issues, trauma or personal crises, and are trained to support and empower the callers.
- Pandemic Causes High School Seniors to Reassess College Decisions
As all sectors of society grapple with life under COVID-19, high school seniors planning to attend college in the fall are not only concerned about staying healthy, they’re now faced with numerous uncertainties about if, when and how classes will begin.
- Latest National Guard coronavirus update: Troop count tops 30,000 mark for the first time
The number of Guard troops mobilized in the effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic has increased, for the first time passing the 30,000 mark. That’s an increase since Monday of about 1,000 Air and Army National Guard professionals supporting the COVID-19 crisis response at the direction of their governors.
- ‘We took care of our people’ — How the Coast Guard nipped a COVID-19 outbreak in the bud
(Task & Purpose)
As fallout continues from the outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt — with nearly 600 infected and one crew member dead — the Coast Guard appears to have had a close call, but that’s all, with the virus on the Honolulu-based cutter Midgett.
- Zoom for official use is no longer an option for DOD personnel, report says
(Stars and Stripes)
The Defense Department is banning the use of a popular video conferencing application for official business due to questions about its security, a Pentagon spokesman told a military news site.
- 2nd Sailor from the Carrier Roosevelt with COVID-19 Admitted to ICU
Another sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt has been admitted to the intensive care unit over shortness of breath, the Navy announced on Tuesday.
- Navy Will Allow Some Officers to Delay Retirement Due to Coronavirus
The Navy is offering lower-ranking officers being forced into retirement a chance to remain on active duty a little longer as part of the service's all-out response to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Navy Battling Growing COVID-19 Outbreak on Hospital Ship Mercy as 7 Test Positive
Naval health officials are fighting an outbreak of COVID-19 among the crew of the hospital ship Mercy, where four more sailors tested positive for the virus over the weekend, bringing the total cases among the crew to seven.
- Army Deploys Reserve Medical Specialists to Aid Overwhelmed City Hospitals
(Task & Purpose)
The U.S. Army has mobilized 1,275 Reserve medical specialists to reinforce civilian hospitals in areas of the country that are struggling to handle novel coronavirus cases.
Military Survivor News
- WWII, Vietnam veteran shares powerful message of hope
Navy veteran and Gold Star Father offers message of hope during coronavirus pandemic.
- How a 62-Year-Old Marine Corps Veteran is Winning Facebook Live
Veteran’s boot camp is thriving and inspiring others with exercise and humor as it adapts to use of online technology during COVID-19.
- Marine Corps veteran recovers from coronavirus after eight days on ventilator
(Stars and Stripes)
54-year old USMC veteran is now recovering at home after a long, perilous fight against coronavirus.
- ‘A battle going on inside your body’ - Army vet describes what it’s like to survive COVID-19
(Task & Purpose)
Survivors of the COVID-19 virus face two battles: one of physical health and one of loneliness. Army veteran Yvette Paz has become well-acquainted with this war on both fronts since she was diagnosed with COVID-19 early last month.
Across the TAPS Family
- USAA increases aid for COVID-19 response by $2.3 million
(San Antonio Express News)
San Antonio’s USAA and the USAA Foundation announced they will give a total of $2.3 million to military-related and national nonprofits to aid in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. 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.
- 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.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.