The TAPS Daily - April 16, 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.
- Marines Sprint Down NYC Pier to Deliver Oxygen Tanks to Dying Coronavirus Patients
Marines from Camp Lejeune are credited with helping save the lives of coronavirus patients while in transit to the USNS Comfort in New York City.
- At Arlington National Cemetery, military funeral includes social distance, face masks
A sign of the times at Arlington National Cemetery, as soldiers are now wearing face coverings during military funerals.
- A husband and wife may have helped solve the hospital mask shortage
A dinner table chat between husband and wife led to a new system that can decontaminate 80,000 masks a day.
- 8 Ways Veterans Are Particularly at Risk from the Coronavirus Pandemic
Veterans are particularly susceptible to both health and economic threats from the COVID-19 pandemic. These veterans face homelessness, lack of health care, delays in receiving financial support and even death.
- College Board cancels SAT exams slated for June
(Stars and Stripes)
The College Board has canceled all the SAT tests scheduled for June 6. The June date was set to replace dates in March canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus. The SAT is one of the two college admissions exams taken by high school seniors and rising juniors.
- 5 New skills you'll learn during the pandemic
(We Are the Mighty)
In all of the craziness at hand, chances are you're learning some new skills along the way. Take a look at these hard-earned abilities that you didn't realize you were adding to your resume!
TAPS In the News
- LISTEN: Lonestar, Vince Gill Team With TAPS Foundation for 'Love Lives On'
Lonestar, Vince Gill and an all-star lineup of friends came together to create “Love Lives On,” the first single from an album of the same name. The project is a collaboration between songwriters and military families who have lost a loved one and want to tell their stories.
COVID-19 Key Updates
- Defense Department’s COVID-19 cases pass 5,000
The Defense Department’s total overall COVID-19 cases hit 5,088 on Wednesday, continuing an upward trend of hundreds of cases as day a Pentagon leadership continues to try to stem the spread of coronavirus in the force.
- Veterans Affairs patient deaths from coronavirus have increased five-fold since April 1
The official tally of coronavirus cases in the Veterans Affairs’ health system topped 4,400 on Wednesday, and the death count rose to 272.
Government Relations / Benefits
- VA, Treasury still working to get stimulus checks to potentially overlooked veterans and surviving families
(Stars and Stripes)
Lawmakers and veterans organizations urged the departments to find a solution Wednesday, over a week since they first alerted the VA and Treasury that a “significant” number of disabled veterans and surviving family members may never receive the direct payments.
- Video: A Conversation with the VA about Managing Benefits During this Challenging Time
Learn about veterans benefits with experts from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- It Just Got Easier for Veterans Who Don't File Taxes to Get a Coronavirus Check
The IRS has released a feature on its website that will get you your coronavirus relief check faster if you aren't required to file a tax return.
- Should GI Bill benefits be extended to civilian medical workers fighting coronavirus?
White House officials are considering extending the military’s GI Bill benefits to front-line civilian health care workers responding to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a conservative radio host with ties to the administration.
- Congressman Kim Leads Bipartisan Effort to Lower Prescription Drugs Costs for Veterans During Coronavirus Crisis
(Insider New Jersey)
Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) led a bipartisan call to Congressional leadership to lower prescription drug costs for TRICARE beneficiaries by eliminating copays on mail order prescription drugs through the next Coronavirus relief package. TAPS is working with Rep. Kim and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) to advance this legislation.
- Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19
The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Train Your Brain for Better Sleep
The following tips come from the manual on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), and can be found in summary, for free on the VA’s CBT-I sleep coach app.
- Experts warn of urgent need for COVID-19 mental health research
Mental health and brain research must be a higher priority in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, scientists have said, warning that the crisis could have a "profound" and "pervasive impact" on global mental health now and in the future.
- Coronavirus is causing a mental health crisis. Here’s how to fight it.
COVID-19 patients and those caring for them could be especially at risk for anxiety, depression, and other conditions.
- Americans Say COVID-19 Hurting Mental Health Most
As social distancing directives persist and school and business shutdowns wear on, Americans indicate their mental health will suffer before their physical or financial health does.
- Coping with grief during the coronavirus pandemic
More than 133,000 people across the world and 27,000 people in the United States have died due to COVID-19 as of April 15. But restrictions in place to safeguard public health have also made traditional mourning impossible.
- 6 ways to help loved ones grieving deaths during the coronavirus pandemic
Coronavirus is disrupting mourning rituals everywhere, with many states banning gatherings of more than 10 people. Grieving, already a tumultuous and lonely affair, has become even more solitary. Insights into ways to support a grieving loved one during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Grief support systems have been wrecked by COVID-19
Funerals are for the living. They’re an occasion for a community to recognize a loss and gather support for those who remain. But the novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted these much-needed mourning rituals.
- Learning how to mourn during a pandemic
On top of everything else, the novel coronavirus has interrupted our traditions of mourning.
- Why we all need to pay attention to how we’re spending our time
(We Are The Mighty)
Time can be wasted or it can be a powerful force multiplier. We can either focus on the fatalistic aspect of time, or we can use this awareness to motivate ourselves into doing something with the time we are given.
- For essential retail workers, the need for mental health care may outlast coronavirus pandemic
For grocery store and pharmacy workers across the U.S., stocking shelves and checking out customers have become anxiety-inducing tasks with the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. And returning home means a chance of transmitting a potentially deadly illness to a spouse or family member.
- First US service member to contract coronavirus has recovered in South Korea, military says
(Stars and Stripes)
The first U.S. service member to test positive for coronavirus has recovered and been released after 49 days in isolation in South Korea, the military said Thursday.
- COVID-19 outbreak on Theodore Roosevelt sparked by flight crews, officials believe
Navy officials now believe the outbreak on the carrier Roosevelt was initiated by the ship’s routine flight operations.
- Most sailors testing positive for COVID-19 on the USS Theodore Roosevelt showed no symptoms of infection
(Task & Purpose)
The possibility that the coronavirus spreads in a mostly stealthy mode among a population of largely young, healthy people showing no symptoms could have major implications for U.S. policy-makers, who are considering how and when to reopen the economy.
- The Navy has disinfected 80 percent of the USS Theodore Roosevelt in a 'bleach-a-palooza'
(Task & Purpose)
A Navy team has cleaned 80 percent of the coronavirus-stricken aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, the officer leading the effort said Wednesday in a service press release.
- Coast Guard Continues PCS Moves with Some Restrictions amid Pandemic
Members of the Coast Guard with orders to new duty stations this year will proceed under adaptations that include a longer moving season and restrictions on travel and house-hunting trips, according to a message sent to personnel last week.
- 2 American Sailors Among 668 in French Strike Group to Test Positive for Coronavirus
Two U.S. sailors are among the 668 crew members assigned to a French navy strike group who have tested positive for coronavirus. The U.S. sailors were embedded on the French aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle as part of the Navy's personnel exchange program.
- Military sees no quick exit from ‘new world’ of coronavirus
The U.S. military is bracing for a months-long struggle against the coronavirus, looking for novel ways to maintain a defensive crouch that sustains troops' health without breaking their morale — while still protecting the nation.
Military Survivor News
- Private Jackson graduates from Marine boot camp | Our Community
Gold Star brother is among recent graduates of USMC Boot Camp, Parris Island.
- Two more Holyoke Soldiers Home vets die of COVID-19, bringing total to 38
(Task & Purpose)
A total of 65% of the veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home have now contracted the coronavirus and at least 38 have died of the virus in the past three weeks.
- In Locked-Down New York City, VA Workers Seek Out Isolated Veterans in Crisis
Mobile Vet Centers are being deployed by the VA during the coronavirus pandemic to help reach those who may not otherwise seek VA services for counseling and mental health support.
- WWII Veteran, Wife of 78 Years Die on Same Day, Hours Apart
A World War II veteran and his wife of nearly eight decades, who had tested positive for COVID-19, died together on the same day.
Across the TAPS Family
- Wheels Up Launches 'Meals Up' COVID-19 Response
Wheels Up, a private aviation company that created a camo plane earlier this year to benefit TAPS, is now teaming up with celebrities to bring meals to those who might face food insecurity due to COVID-19.
- Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert M. Belch's Funeral, April 14, 2020
Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Robert M. Belch was laid to rest with full military funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery. CSM Belch served in the Army for 26 years and was among the first 192 Soldiers to wear the rank of Command Sergeant Major when it was created. CSM Belch’s grandson-in-law, Captain John Rhoten, is a long time TAPS Good Grief Camp Senior Mentor.
- TAPS Facebook Live on April 22 Featuring Chef Robert Irvine
Calling our TAPS foodies and chefs of all levels! We are excited to announce our next Facebook Live event — a TAPS Spotlight with Chef Robert Irvine on Wednesday, April 22!
- TAPS Magazine Spring Edition 2020
TAPS Magazine is published quarterly for the loved ones of those who served in our nation’s armed forces and died.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.