The TAPS Daily - April 22, 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.
- IRS backtracks on coronavirus checks deadline, but warns veterans must act quickly
Treasury Department officials backtracked on a previously announced Wednesday deadline for disabled veterans who missed their coronavirus stimulus checks to register with the Internal Revenue Service, but said those households still could miss out on the money this year if they don’t reach out soon.
- Lawmakers pass second emergency package to protect student veterans from coronavirus losses
Congress on Tuesday finalized a second GI Bill fix for student veterans whose studies were upended by the coronavirus pandemic, sending the package to the White House to be signed into law in coming days. TAPS has been working with the Congress to fix GI Bill benefits for both student veterans and surviving military family members.
- First Service Member to Get Coronavirus Wasn't Scared Until Wife, Toddler Got Infected
Army Spc. Deontae Chappel, the first U.S. service member to test positive for the coronavirus, was "shocked" but not overly worried when he found out he had the respiratory disease in late February. But then the 23-year-old network systems clerk learned his wife and toddler also had been infected.
- The West Point Band and the USMA Corps of Cadets Share a Global Message of Hope
Members of the West Point Band along with West Point Cadets present a virtual performance of The Beatles “Let It Be” to send a global message of hope, community, and solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Former Marine, Brass Shop Owner Plays Taps for NY Neighbors, Playing Tribute for Lives Lost
(NBC New York)
Josh Landress has been playing Taps, a bugle melody typically played at military funerals, every night after 7 p.m. at his apartment in Queens. He says he wanted to pay tribute for the lives lost to COVID-19 in addition to clapping for healthcare workers.
- Auburn superstar is expected to be a Top 10 NFL Draft pick. He's also an Army brat.
(We Are The Mighty)
In this year's NFL Virtual Draft, there's no one we're more excited to watch than Army brat Derrick Brown. TAPS is a partner with many teams across the NFL and NCAA through the TAPS Sports & Entertainment program.
TAPS In the News
- Birdland Community heroes continuing to serve amid pandemic
TAPS Bonnie Carroll among those honored by the Baltimore Orioles for their commitment to lending a hand to improve our community, and even a step further, selflessly caring for others in need.
- Waiting out a pandemic that feels like war: Insights from an Iraq War veteran
Army veteran Matt Mabe, TAPS Director of Strategic Operations for Suicide Prevention and Postvention, poignantly shares his thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic.
- TAPS helping National Guard troops and families impacted by COVID-19
(New York Times)
As the National Guard responds to the coronavirus pandemic, TAPS is working to ensure personnel and their families are eligible for active duty benefits.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Here's When Coronavirus Checks Will Arrive if You Get Social Security, SSI
IRS is processing payments automatically for Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients and those who didn't file a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
- New Agreement Will Make it Easier for Doctors to Access Military, Veteran Health Records
The Defense Department has joined the Department of Veterans Affairs on an agreement that increases their ability to share patient medical information and access data from more than 54,000 civilian hospitals, clinics pharmacies and laboratories. TAPS is part of the task force providing critical input on behalf of surviving military families for health record electronic upgrades.
- Veterans on Burn Pit Registry May Be at Greater Risk for COVID-19, Lawmakers Say
Veterans advocates and lawmakers are stepping up pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to increase outreach and services for thousands of veterans thought to be at-risk for life-threatening cases of coronavirus: former troops exposed to burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
- New Podcast Details How to File VA Claims for Veterans With Mesothelioma
More than one-third of mesothelioma patients are veterans of the United States military. They are widely considered the group most affected by this disease — because they were so often exposed to asbestos during their service time.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Finding Strength and Healing in the Outdoors
At TAPS, we have witnessed over and over the healing power of connecting to the Earth and all of its wonder as part of our journeys of grief.
- Connected by Shared Experiences, Bound by Love
A group of TAPS survivors traveled to East Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Although on different journeys, they are all connected.
- One Air Force spouse's take on suicide, depression and mental health concerns in the military
My husband battles persistent depression and suicidal ideation. As many are acutely aware, suicide and depression is at an all-time high among our military men and women, and unfortunately, my husband is not an exception.
- Here Are Some Mental Health Support Groups, Workshops, and Resources You Can Access Virtually
A variety of mental health support groups have started meeting virtually, and some organizations have posted mental health resources online. While these aren’t a replacement for individualized medical care, they can provide a support network or guidance during this time.
- Medical Workers' Looming Mental-Health Crisis
(New York Magazine)
Doctors and nurses spend years developing the mental fortitude to avoid internalizing patients’ suffering as their own. Yet for many, the unique stresses of the coronavirus pandemic are causing those boundaries to fragment.
- Nature. It’s Amazing Out There.
The 50th anniversary of Earth Day provides a unique opportunity during quarantine to focus on the natural environment that sustains us each and every day.
- Invisible Wounds at Home: Substance Use Disorder What Family Members Can Do
In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, PsychArmor is highlighting their online courses that help alleviate the strain imposed by substance-use disorders. "Invisible Wounds at Home: Substance Use Disorder What Family Members Can Do" discusses one of the invisible wounds of military service -- substance use disorder.
- Elmo's Dad's Video Message For Self-Isolating Parents
Sesame Street applauded moms and dads for their tireless efforts to keep their kids healthy, safe, and entertained, but acknowledged this time can be "overwhelming."
- A family lost its 7-year-old son before the coronavirus lockdown. Now it mourns in isolation. | Maria Panaritis
(The Philadelphia Inquirer)
“There’s moments when you wake up and you forget for a brief moment. Then you open your eyes and the pain is just this sharp pain in your chest and you realize it’s all happening. And there’s no way to get him back.”
- COVID-19 and military readiness: Preparing for the long game
How will we keep our military combat-ready, and thus fully capable of deterrence globally, until a vaccine is available to our troops?
- The Military Can Help Win the Fight Against Pandemics
Admiral (Ret). James Stavridis discusses the national security challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the U.S. military can play a valuable role in helping to fight future pandemics.
- 'Exhaustion' and 'attrition' in military medical response to coronavirus
The military is sending reinforcements across the US for medical personnel lost to 'exhaustion,' 'attrition'.
- Goldfein says the Air Force is preparing for a long-term 'new abnormal'
(Stars and Stripes)
The Air Force’s top general said he believes the coronavirus will impart a long-term “new abnormal” on the U.S. military as the outbreak is unlikely to subside totally until a vaccine is widely available.
- DoD's coronavirus death toll rises to 25
Two Defense Department civilians and one dependent were reported deceased of COVID-19 complications on Tuesday, bringing DoD’s overall deaths to 25 and its mortality rate to more than 4 percent, according to the latest data.
- The National Guard Built a Vermont Hospital in Four Days
A few weeks ago, the state's Guardsmen got an impossible assignment. And then they pulled it off. TAPS continues to work to ensure National Guard members activated under state orders in support of COVID -19 receive the appropriate benefits.
- Voluntary extensions are targeting soldiers on their way out during the pandemic
Soldiers with separation dates on the horizon can voluntarily extend their service contracts for three months to a year, commitments much shorter than typically offered and intended to retain valuable troops during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Out of 27,000, the Army has whittled down its voluntary recall to about 400 former soldiers so far
Of the roughly 27,000 people who responded to the Army’s call for volunteers during the coronavirus pandemic, less than 6,000 came from medical backgrounds that the service needed. After being vetted for certifications by Army human resources specialists, and told what coming back to serve could entail, that number has fallen into the hundreds.
- COVID-19: Army To Test All New Recruits
Training bases are now taking new recruits after a two-week pause.
- Navy hospital ship sent to NYC for outbreak no longer needed, says Cuomo
A Navy hospital ship deployed to New York City to help fight the coronavirus outbreak is no longer needed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, expressing confidence that stresses on the hospital system are easing.
- Sailors keep testing positive on aircraft carrier, despite 2-week isolation
The Navy is delaying plans to begin moving sailors back onboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt after crew members continued to test positive for the coronavirus after isolation, according to Navy officials.
- Top Marine suspends PFT
(Marine Corps Times)
Less than 24-hours after the Marine Corps said there would be no Corps-wide suspension of the Physical Fitness Test, the top Marine announced the semi-annual fitness test for the current period is canceled.
- Touching photo shows nurse saluting a fellow veteran who died of COVID-19
(Task & Purpose)
A former Air Force flight nurse who now works at a Florida hospital recently paid his respects to a fellow veteran who died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Veterans Affairs coronavirus testing has quadrupled since April 1, cases top 5,700
As of Wednesday morning, 5,735 veterans in VA medical care have tested positive for the virus and 373 have died. Both of those numbers have climbed steadily since mid-March.
- U.S. veterans turn to technology for medical care amid coronavirus pandemic
Healthcare for U.S. military veterans has changed amid the coronavirus pandemic. Veterans must now rely on technology to communicate with their doctors and providers. For many of them, the new normal means virtual appointments and in-home visits.
- A New York hospital needed more beds and providers. They called in Special Forces.
(We Are The Mighty)
Special operations veterans from across the country came together on a week's notice to help at field hospital in coronavirus pandemic.
- Honors in store for 99-year-old veteran who raised millions for UK health service
(Stars and Stripes)
A 99-year-old World War II veteran who has raised more than $34.5 million for Britain's health service during the coronavirus pandemic has been invited to perform one of British sport's quaintest traditions once the crisis is over.
- This USAF veteran and physician exposes what’s really happening to our nation’s ER staff
(We Are The Mighty)
Emergency physician and Air Force veteran was knee-deep in flu season in Texas when the initial reports of coronavirus began surfacing.
- ‘It's out of control’: VA nurses demand more protection against coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
VA nurses express worries that the rationing of personal protective equipment is creating a dangerous environment for them and other medical workers.
- Timeline on how VA prepared for COVID-19 outbreak, continues to keep Veterans safe
Here’s a look back at how VA prepared for this unprecedented event to protect veterans and non-veterans, and how VA continues to work to ensure the safety of millions of veterans and their families.
Military Survivor News
- Chattanooga family hopes to find keepsake military quilt blown away by tornado
(Chattanooga Times Free Press)
Surviving spouse kept her husband's military quilt stored in a protective plastic pouch inside her dresser, but that protection was no match for Easter Sunday's EF3 tornado, so she's asking for the public's help in locating the quilt.
Across the TAPS Family
- Going through Crisis - Survive and Thrive | April 23 2 p.m. Eastern TAPS Talks
Former National Football League quarterback Eric Hipple will share his strategies for building resilience and offer tips (like the ones he shares with current Lions' players) for staying mentally and physically healthy during these challenging times. Join live April 23 at 2pm ET or watch after on demand.
- Registration Open for Marine Corps Marathon, Army Ten-Miler with Team TAPS
Sign up to run premier fall races with Team TAPS in honor of our fallen heroes and to support surviving families.
- Registration Open: TAPS Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program
This Memorial Day, TAPS will be presenting a VIRTUAL National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program as an online event available to everyone, at no cost, with all of the resources, care and love we can offer, coming to you in the comfort of your home.
- Healing Your Grieving Heart
Ideas from the book “Healing Your Grieving Heart After A Military Death – 100 Practical Ideas for Families and Friends” written by TAPS Founder and President, Bonnie Carroll, and TAPS Advisory Board member, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
Other Coronavirus News
- First American coronavirus deaths took place weeks before initially thought
First US coronavirus death occurred weeks earlier than once believed, medical examiner reveals.
- Coronavirus vaccine: When will we have one?
As coronavirus continues to spread, medical researchers worldwide are working hard to find a vaccine against its disease, COVID19. But how close are we to a vaccine, what's the science behind it, and who would get it first?
- Denver opened up in 1918 pandemic to deadly results
It was 1918 and Denver Mayor William Fitz Randolph Mills bowed to business leaders and decided to back off social distancing during the influenza pandemic. The results were deadly.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.