The TAPS Daily - April 29, 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.
- Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over NYC to honor front-line workers
The U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, aka the Thunderbirds, and the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, commonly known as the Blue Angels, honored COVID-19 responders and essential workers with formation flights over New York City, Newark, Trenton and Philadelphia on Tuesday.
- Sesame Workshop Expands Free Content for COVID-19 Coping Skills
The “Sesame Street” Muppets are stepping up to help America’s families deal with life under the COVID-19 health emergency.
- DODEA gives students on military bases a break on grades due to coronavirus woes
(Stars and Stripes)
Students on U.S. military bases will get the higher grade from the last two quarters of the school year to help those struggling with home studies and other difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic, the organization that oversees the schools says.
- A Former VA Secretary Volunteered to Return As a Doctor. No One’s Called Him Back
During his tenure as Veterans Affairs secretary, Dr. David Shulkin spent about a weekend a month treating patients at the VA medical center in Manhattan. When the VA asked retired VA health care professionals to return to support the COVID-19 pandemic response, Shulkin responded. He hasn’t heard back.
- Chris Cuomo Stresses the Importance of Taking Mental Health and Depression Seriously Amid Coronavirus Crisis
The CNN newsman is still dedicated to addressing what he feels is the less talked-about aspects of the pandemic -- specifically, the mental and emotional impact of COVID-19.
- Ryan Zimmerman Interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci
World Series Champion Ryan Zimmerman interviews Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Washington Nationals have partnered with TAPS to provide meaningful experiences for families of the fallen through TAPS Sports & Entertainment program.
TAPS In the News
- VA Groups: Families of National Guard, Reserve Who Die Fighting Virus Deserve Benefits
Representatives from the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors sent a letter on Friday to the House and Senates on Veteran's Affairs meant to help get benefits coverage for the service members around the country who are helping to combat coronavirus.
- 'Unfinished' funerals: Veteran ceremonies postponed in pandemic
Funeral Homes, Cemeteries Are Working Within State Orders To Social Distance And Limit Gatherings To Give Proper Send-offs. Melinda Kane, a Gold Star Mother, works closely with TAPS.
- Advocacy group wants survivor benefits for all military families who lose a service member to coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit and advocacy group for families of fallen service members, is looking to get the remainder of National Guard troops on federal status and to backdate it to help families of fallen receive federal benefits, such as monthly survivor compensation, education benefits or a death gratuity.
- NFL celebrates the life of Reco Peevy during 2020 Draft
The NFL Draft is a celebration for prospects achieving their dreams and fans excited for the future of their organization, but prior to the Las Vegas Raiders' No. 80 overall pick, the NFL dedicated a special moment to one TAPS family.
- Iowa mom makes facemasks to cope with loss of son in Afghanistan war
(Des Moines Register)
TAPS Family in Iowa shares how grief at loss of their own fallen hero was motivation to help others during coronavirus pandemic.
- Here's what grieving military families can teach civilians dealing with coronavirus tragedy
TAPS families of the fallen are no strangers to isolation after loss. TAPS President and Founder Bonnie Carroll shares how their experience is helping others dealing with COVID-19.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Ranking Member Roe, Chairman Takano Applaud Signing of Student Veteran Coronavirus Act of 2020
(House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs)
New legislation will help minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student veterans as schools and universities take proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
- Bipartisan group of lawmakers seeks COVID-19 mental health funds
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling, in a letter provided first to CQ Roll Call, for an emergency infusion of mental health and addiction funding to be added to the next COVID-19 economic stimulus package.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.
- Here Are 2 Ways to Get Free Online Military Counseling
School is online, church is online and now some medical appointments are available online. But how do you continue -- or start -- counseling when you can’t even get an appointment for a referral? Welcome to the world of telehealth.
- Fed signals it will likely hold rates near zero for months
(Stars and Stripes)
The Federal Reserve is signaling that it will keep its key short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future as part of its extraordinary efforts to bolster an economy that is sinking into its worst crisis since the 1930s.
- Navy Expands Sea Duty Pay As Deployed Ships Battle Virus Outbreaks
The Navy is throwing extra money at some sailors willing to extend their time at sea or head back earlier than planned -- all while the service struggles to control coronavirus outbreaks on ships.
- FDA to authorize emergency use of new coronavirus treatment
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will grant emergency use authorization for remdesivir after early results from a clinical trial showed the drug’s promise in treating COVID-19 patients, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- World's First App That Checks Mental Health Launched on Global App Stores
The world's first app that checks mental health and well-being has been launched by The Better App Company on the Google Play and Apple app stores.
- Mental health hotlines available during the coronavirus pandemic
Resources to help ease the mental and emotional damage as millions of Americans struggle with losing loved ones and dealing with the economic impact of strict stay-at-home orders.
- 7 ways to help your family cope with the anxiety of coronavirus
(We Are The Mighty)
Our children take their cues on how to react to this isolation from us. There are steps we can take to combat anxiety in ourselves that will benefit them.
- How Mourning Loved Ones Can Alleviate Extra Grief During Coronavirus Distancing
Emotional support for those mourning loved ones is critical now more than ever. Grief is exacerbated by current anti-gathering restrictions.
- 10 ways to process grief after death during a global pandemic
The impact of this pandemic on the grief process, and how we can better manage our grief when the usual rites of passage are not possible.
- Psychological Trauma Is the Next Crisis for Coronavirus Health Workers
Health care workers are not just treating a flood of critically ill patients during the pandemic. They are risking their own health, witnessing higher rates of death and experiencing breakdowns of protocol and support. These acute stresses could lead to mental health issues, yet therapeutic support is lacking.
- Need mental health help during COVID-19? This website aims to help.
A new website launched Tuesday by the Pandemic Crisis Services Coalition aims to make mental health support a click away for people who are struggling with their emotional and mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Sports and mental health: Simone Biles, other elite athletes face the pandemic
From the Olympics to the major pro leagues, athletes are finding different ways to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
- 17 mental health quotes to help you through tough times
We've rounded up our pick of the best mental health quotes to help you through those low moments.
- U.S. Coast Guard Academy hosting virtual graduation for largest class in 144 -year history
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy plans on hosting a virtual graduation ceremony on May 20 as a measure to accommodate current social distancing practices implemented in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Troops to receive Purple Hearts for injuries during Iranian missile barrage on al-Asad airbase in Iraq
There will be Purple Hearts awarded to troops injured during the Jan. 8 Iranian missile barrage on the al-Asad airbase in Iraq, a defense official told Military Times.
- 43-Year-Old Former Marine Infantry Battalion Commander Dies After Sudden Illness
The former commander of the Marines' legendary "Dark Horse" battalion has died after a short illness, the Marine Corps announced Tuesday. Geoffry M. Hollopeter, 43, died April 3 in San Diego. He had been set to take charge at the Marines' Infantry Officer Course at Quantico, Virginia this summer.
- Could service members take a 'pause' from military careers? Pentagon exploring ways to make it possible
The Pentagon is exploring ways to allow service members to take “pauses” in their military careers before returning to active-duty.
- Slowed increase of DoD coronavirus cases hints at a flattened curve
The Defense Department’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has slowed to its lowest pace since the beginning of the month, as diagnoses in non-service members began to diminish.
- Pentagon Fires Back After Senators Slam Military's Coronavirus Response
A group of 10 Senate Democrats has joined a growing chorus of critics challenging Defense Secretary Mark Esper's leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Defense Department, however, hotly disputes what it calls "cherry-picked" and false allegations.
- Third order effects of coronavirus on military recruiting and retention
The COVID-19 pandemic will have yet-to-be-seen effects on military recruitment and retention in the short- and long-term. Every month during which recruiting is paused or slowed has ripple effects on force readiness down the line.
- Army Offers Support to Reservist Under Attack from Coronavirus Conspiracy Theorists
A U.S. Army reservist who competed in the 2019 Military World Games in Wuhan, China last fall, has become the target of conspiracy theorists spreading claims that she is "patient zero" for the coronavirus pandemic. And now, the Army has stepped up to support her.
- US base in Djibouti to lock down after second contractor tests positive for coronavirus
(Stars and Stripes)
U.S. military officials in Djibouti were preparing Tuesday to lock down Camp Lemonnier indefinitely after a second contractor tested positive for the coronavirus and was evacuated from the East African country.
- Dozens test positive for COVID-19 at San Diego boot camp
Nearly four dozen recruits within Bravo company aboard the recruit depot in San Diego, California, have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Marine official.
- Navy Orders Deeper Investigation into Crozier Firing Over 'Unanswered Questions'
The new acting Navy secretary has ordered a deeper look into the controversial firing of Capt. Brett Crozier, delaying his possible return to command and potentially opening other leaders up to scrutiny.
- Chairman Takano Hosts First Live, Entirely Virtual, Bipartisan Congressional Forum
(House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs)
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held Congress' first ever live, entirely virtual, bipartisan forum yesterday. Committee Members discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting veterans experiencing homelessness. Watch the full meeting here.
- Veterans Exposed To Burn Pits May Face Greater Risk Of Getting Sick, And Many Aren’t Being Helped
(The Veterans Site)
Legislators are now calling in the Department of Veterans Affairs to reach out to the 3.5 million veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and provide them with the care they need.
- Veterans Affairs COVID-19 Public Health Resource Page
Keep up-to-date with VA information as it becomes available to maintain your health. VA's coronavirus web page has the most current information.
- Coronavirus Scotland: Ex-soldier on island in splendid isolation
A former paratrooper is spending lockdown on Hildasay, a tiny uninhabited island in the North Atlantic that forms part of the rugged Shetland archipelago.
- More Than 2,000 VA Employees Now Have COVID-19
The number of confirmed COVID-19 coronavirus cases among Department of Veterans Affairs employees rose to 2,153 as of Tuesday, an 11% increase in less than a week. But the number of deaths remains unchanged, at 20, a bit of good news for employees at the nation's largest health care system.
- Nearly 70 dead in 'horrific' outbreak at veterans home in Massachusetts
Nearly 70 residents sickened with the coronavirus have died at a Massachusetts home for aging veterans, as state and federal officials try to figure out what went wrong in the deadliest known outbreak at a long-term care facility in the U.S.
- Duluth man uses stay at home to transcribe nearly 1,000 letters mailed by dad during WWII
Stuck at home during COVID-19, a Duluth man is traveling back to WWII. Typing with two fingers, Joe Westerberg is transcribing nearly 1,000, mostly handwritten, letters his dad Allen Westerberg sent home to Dassel during and after the war.
- VA Clinic renamed in honor of two World War II Veterans
(We Are The Mighty)
A Bataan POW and a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient were being honored with clinics in their name in Billings, Montana.
Military Family News
- Purple Up To Step Up: 46 Ways Kids Can Help Others During COVID-19
(National Military Family Association)
We are living in extraordinary times and it calls for extraordinary measures. Let’s encourage a month for our kids to step up like their parents do, help those who need it the most, protect and uplift the vulnerable by acts of kindness and service.
- Why dandelions are the official flower of military kids
(We Are The Mighty)
If you compare a dandelion and a military child the similarities are uncanny - beautiful, tough, and adaptable.
Across the TAPS Family
- National Response to COVID-19
As a national convener, the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance)—the nation’s public-private partnership—is mobilizing diverse sectors to collectively lead a coordinated mental health and suicide prevention response effort during and in the aftermath of COVID-19. TAPS is on the Executive Committee for the Action Alliance.
- 2-year-old greeting UPS driver is her weekly highlight in quarantine
(Good Morning America)
A toddler and UPS driver have developed a weekly routine of waving to each other at a safe distance. UPS is a supporter of TAPS and the annual TAPS National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp.
- How to reframe the difficult coronavirus lockdown period as 'one of the greatest opportunities of our lives'
TAPS Advisory Board member, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, provides insight on making the most of quarantine. “Now that the routines of our daily lives have been disrupted, many of us are finding ourselves with more time for mindful presence. Instead of doing, doing, doing, we can simply be.”
- Building Connections in Grief with your Children
Join us for our TAPS Talk on Thursday, April 30 as we explore ways to create family grief connections at home. We will discuss how to create a safe space for grief conversations with kids and teens . The goal is to increase our comfort as we find opportunities and tools to talk to kids about change, loss and grief.
Other Coronavirus News
- Two months after becoming a Super Bowl champ, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif joins front lines of coronavirus fight as a doctor
10 weeks ago he was in one of the biggest games in sports. Now he’s back home putting his medical degree to use again by providing care to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Dogs are being trained to sniff out coronavirus cases
(Stars and Stripes)
Eight Labrador retrievers — and their powerful noses — are the first trainees in a research project to determine whether canines can detect an odor associated with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- A Dutch flower farm spelled out a special message for tourists missing the annual tulip blooms
A Dutch family flower farm and a travel blog teamed up to create a special message for those sad about missing the flowers this year.
- Google makes Meet, its Zoom and Skype competitor, free for everyone
Free-to-use Zoom and Skype are getting some competition: Meet, which is Google's premium video conferencing tool, is now free for everyone.
- Employees Face 'Really Tough Choice' as States Say Return to Work or Lose Unemployment Benefits
Americans worried about contracting the coronavirus at work are facing the tough choice of having to decide whether to return to their jobs or risk losing their unemployment benefits as states start to reopen.
- Fauci: 'We're not ready' for sports to return
Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week that the country is “not ready” for sports to make a return amid the coronavirus pandemic and indicated that leagues should be ready to “go without this sport for this season.”
- Coronavirus: Pandemic front-line workers depicted as action figures
Health care workers and other essential personnel on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic are considered heroes. Now Mattel is making it official with a new line of action figures and toys.
- 9 Ways to Make Household Chores Fun
Here’s some fun ways to make your kids excited to help with chores while stuck at home during COVID-19.
- Costco will start requiring customers to wear masks Monday
Costco is the largest US retailer to enact a rule requiring face coverings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.