The TAPS Daily - May 28, 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.
- COVID-19 has become one of the biggest killers of 2020
The first known death from COVID-19 occurred on January 9 in China. Since then more than 235,000 lives have been lost to the disease, making it more deadly than the SARS, H1N1, MERS, and Ebola epidemics combined. But it is also killing more people than other, more familiar, causes of death.
- Minneapolis Mayor Frey asking for Minnesota National Guard assistance with protest response
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is asking the governor to deploy the Minnesota National Guard to help with the response to the George Floyd protests, according to an official with the mayor's office.
- VIDEO: Message from the U.S. Surgeon General in wake of 100,000 deaths to COVID-19
(U.S. Surgeon General Twitter)
Today we passed 100,000 U.S. lives lost to COVID-19. Each life lost is a tragedy, and this is certainly a somber milestone. Please help slow the spread with good hand hygiene, physical distancing, and choosing to wear a face covering in public.
- Trump signs executive order to rein in protections for social media platforms
The order comes after the president escalated his attacks against Big Tech in recent days — specifically Twitter, which fact-checked him for the first time this week over an unsubstantiated claim that mail-in voting drives voter fraud.
- Burn pit bill to be named in honor of late veteran
Heath Robinson died of an illness that he blamed on exposure to toxic smoke from open-burning trash pits in the Middle East. A bill named in his honor to increase the government’s accountability toward similarly affected veterans will be introduced in Congress.
- NASA's SpaceX launch scrubbed due to weather, next chance on Saturday
The historic mission to return astronauts to space from U.S. soil for the first time since 2011 is now set for Saturday afternoon.
- CNN and 'Sesame Street' to host a second special coronavirus town hall for kids and parents this Saturday
REMINDER: “The ABCs of COVID-19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents" will air on Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. ET and tackle issues such as summer safety, play dates, schooling and how kids and families around the world are creatively coping during these challenging times.
TAPS In the News
- Video: TAPS President and founder Bonnie Carroll Shares new resources for the American Public on CNN
Bonnie Carroll speaks with CNN's John King from Fort McHenry that TAPS is still here for survivors 24/7 and recently launched a new resource page for the American Public.
- Video: Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
On Memorial Day, CNN's Brianna Keilar remembers the service members and veterans who died by suicide inextricably linked to their service in the military.
- They didn't die in combat, but they lived heroic lives. Remembering military heroes who died by suicide
Are we decently honoring those who have given their all for us, if we’re focused on clinching the deal of a lifetime or grilling those burgers to perfection?
- Video: Dodgers Honor Fallen Heroes With Memorial Day Lights Display at Dodger Stadium
The Dodgers partnered with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) to create a Fallen Heroes Lights display in honor of Memorial Day. The thousands of red, white and blue lights in the Dodger Stadium outfield represent the families of these fallen heroes that are supported by TAPS in California.
- Foundation Backs Child Bereavement Outreach Effort With PDF Click Comp
The New York Life Foundation is using a donation-per-download model to promote an effort to support children who are coping with the loss of a loved one.
Government Relations / Benefits
- Trump extends Guard coronavirus missions until mid-August
President Donald Trump announced Thursday he will extend National Guard orders authorizing domestic coronavirus response missions through mid-August, after controversy surrounding the problematic end date next month for their work.
- Cost-of-living boost for veterans benefits next year passes House
House lawmakers on Thursday easily passed legislation ensuring veterans will see a cost-of-living boost next year if Social Security officials approve one for their recipients.
- Troops could receive hazard pay, awards for service in coronavirus relief efforts
(Stars and Stripes)
Thousands of troops who have deployed to help battle the coronavirus pandemic could soon receive hazard pay and awards to recognize their service, the military’s top general said Thursday.
- Lawmakers Raise Alarms Over Trump's 'Salute to America' Plans
Members of Congress want to know how the public will be kept safe as the White House moves ahead with plans to hold another military-themed Fourth of July event in the nation's capital during the coronavirus crisis.
- Veterans Affairs Secretary Defends Virus Response
Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie defended his agency's coronavirus pandemic response to Capitol Hill lawmakers on Thursday. It marked the first time a cabinet-level official attended a House hearing since the Capitol complex was locked down in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Veterans Denied Benefits When VA Canceled Exams During COVID
Veterans have been denied benefits during the coronavirus pandemic because their compensation and pension exams at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been canceled, advocates told Congress Wednesday.
- VA resumes in-person Compensation and Pension exams at select locations
VA has announced today that it will resume in-person Compensation and Pension (C&P) medical disability examinations in select locations across the United States.
- How Veterans preference can help boost your VA application
(We Are The Mighty)
Veterans preference can help you move ahead of non-Veterans in the job application process.
Grief / Trauma / Mental Health
- Redefining Self-Care in the age of COVID-19
Instead of self-care as self-indulgence or avoidance, perhaps it is as any activity that forces us to participate in our emotions, our lives and our bodies.
- The unbearable grief of Black mothers
Between COVID-19 and police brutality, the burden of grief is yet another risk to Black mothers’ health.
- Coronavirus and kids' mental health: Understanding a child's eye view
Interviews with dozens of parents and children across the country show the extent of the strain and difficulty for children during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The full toll of COVID-19 on children's mental health won't be known for years
In the midst of a global pandemic with a rising death toll, these vague symptoms, experienced by children without the ability to verbalize or advocate for themselves, can be easily overlooked in the country's response. But to overlook the mental health of children and teens would have devastating consequences for years to come.
- Mental health care isn’t one-and-done — like any journey, you have to commit
(Task and Purpose)
Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
- Supporting the mental health of military families
Many are coping well during the global pandemic as we’ve had years of training that prepared us for the fear and unpredictability that many civilians are experiencing for the first time. But others are having a difficult time.
- Isolation hotel residents drained by “crippling” solitude
For some veterans recovering from addiction and being trapped in quarantine is a nightmare worse than combat.
- Give yourself permission to NOT use this time to be as productive as possible
(We Are The Mighty)
It's okay not to do anything. Right now, we're living through history, which is both unpredictable and stressful. It's also turning out to be a time when everyone feels pressure to do something more than what they're doing.
- How to manage mental health during stressful times
“Emotional Agility” book author Dr. Susan David tells TODAY’s Craig Melvin her tips for managing mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. She recommends focusing on what you can control, being compassionate to yourself and more.
- Leading Through Anxiety
(Harvard Business Review)
Inspiring others when you’re struggling yourself.
- U.S. Troop Pullout from Afghanistan Ahead of Schedule
The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan is considerably ahead of schedule, an official told AFP on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump reiterated calls for the Pentagon to bring troops home.
- Military virus aid could look different if 2nd wave hits
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that as the U.S. military prepares for another potential wave of the coronavirus, it may do things a bit differently, providing more targeted aid for cities and states and possibly shorter quarantine times for troops.
- Are you a service member who survived COVID? Your leadership may ask you to 'raise your arm'
The services have moved out on a tiered plan to test troops for coronavirus based on their job descriptions and their unit deployment plans. And as part of that plan, Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley said Thursday, some of those who test positive could end up helping others, through donating plasma rich in COVID-19 antibodies.
- Army Surgeon General commissions 130 new med professionals
Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle commissioned more than 130 new medical professionals into the service in a virtual ceremony last week. The commissioners hailed from more than 100 different colleges, medical schools and dental schools and were commissioned as surgeons, physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, veterinarians and more.
- This teen lost nearly 200 pounds to join the Marine Corps
(Marine Corps Times)
Gabriel Ramirez’s high school classmates viewed him as “Meatball.” But not Staff Sgt. Anna Rodrigues. She saw a future Marine.
- Building a better boot camp: How to make Marines during a pandemic, and beyond
After an uptick in COVID-19 cases during March first forced social distancing aboard the base, there have been a lot of changes.
- Police: Fort Leavenworth soldier saved lives by stopping shooter on bridge
A soldier stationed in Kansas saved “countless lives” Wednesday when he hit a man with his car as the man was shooting randomly at people on a bridge near an Army base, a police chief said.
- Marine Corps to Shut Down, Cut Back 7 MOSs as the Force Prepares for Change
Marines in several jobs will need to move into new fields -- or even other branches of the military -- as the service begins its first phase of ending or curbing long-standing missions in a force-wide reorganization to take on new threats.
- Search under way for Fort Bragg soldier missing since Memorial Day weekend
(Task and Purpose)
Fort Bragg officials have confirmed that a search is under way for a soldier who was reported missing since Memorial Day weekend.
- VA patient deaths from coronavirus hit 1,200, but leaders see progress
Veterans Affairs leaders declared that their coronavirus response in recent months has been a “great success,” with active case numbers falling and department hospitals beginning to resume normal operations.
- 2 Top Officials Suspended at Veterans Nursing Home Hit by 37 COVID-19 Deaths
The head of the Pennsylvania-run Southeastern Veterans' Center and a senior staffer there were placed on indefinite suspension Tuesday amid an investigation into operations at the nursing home, where dozens have died from the novel coronavirus, according to a state senator and sources at the facility.
- Gary Sinise Foundation donates 20,000 meals to VA hospital staff during coronavirus pandemic
The namesake foundation of actor Gary Sinise is donating 20,000 meals to Veterans Affairs' (VA) health care and frontline workers battling the coronavirus pandemic, the VA announced Wednesday. Gary Sinise and the Gary Sinise Foundation is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- Army vet rallies celebrities to create PSA to help frontline nurses in the fight against COVID-19
(We Are The Mighty)
The stay-at-home orders didn't stop some celebrities from collaborating on a viral video to thank medical workers, at the direction of Army veteran Ian Truitner.
- Sam Johnson, ex-Texas GOP congressman and Vietnam POW, dies
(Air Force Times)
Former Texas Rep. Sam Johnson, a military pilot who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam before serving more than two decades in Congress, died Wednesday at age 89.
- One of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen has died at 101
(Task and Purpose)
One of the last remaining Tuskegee Airmen, whose heroic acts helped change the course of World War II died on Memorial Day at the age of 101.
- Army Private's Medal of Honor Sold for More than $15,000 by German Auction House
A Medal of Honor awarded to an Army infantryman for heroism during the Spanish-American War has been sold for $14,000 euros, or nearly $15,500, a Munich-based auction house confirmed Thursday.
- Why the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joe Dunford drank from a fountain in France
(We Are The Mighty)
That's not just any fountain.
- This Tom Selleck National Guard video is glorious
(We Are The Mighty)
The Magnum P.I. and Blue Bloods star may be best known for Hawaiian shirts and the Gatling gun of mustaches, but did you know he also served in the Guard?
Military Family News
- Are Grocery Delivery and Pickup Good Options for Military Families?
Should you be using grocery delivery and pickup options?
- Why It Is Awesome to Be an Artist in a Military Family
(Good Men Project)
Do you want to know what artists and the military have in common? They want to influence the world, and make it a better place.
Other Coronavirus News
- Face masks and the coronavirus - Masks probably slow the spread of COVID-19
In America, masks have become the latest aspect of the culture war that has emerged over how to deal with COVID-19.
- School surprises 7-year-old girl with a photo of her service dog in the yearbook
Hadley Jo Lange has epilepsy and relies on her beloved service dog, Ariel, to keep her safe wherever she goes. Last week, the 7-year-old's school surprised her and her family by including Ariel's photo next to Lange in the kindergarten yearbook.
- 7-year-old boy creates "mini prom" for his graduating babysitter
A 7-year-old boy from Raleigh, North Carolina created a mini prom for his beloved babysitter, since the high school senior had to miss out this year. He even had a "promposal" to ask her to attend the big night with him.
- Antibody Tests Point To Lower Death Rate For The Coronavirus Than First Thought
Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself.
- Questions about COVID-19 test accuracy raised across the testing spectrum
Diagnostic tests are no longer in short supply, but questions about their accuracy are growing.
- 5 Home improvement tasks to take on during COVID-19
(We Are The Mighty)
You're stuck at home, mail is at the ready, so why not get rolling on some home improvement projects that have long since been pushed to the backburner? After all, you finally have the time! Put this quarantine to good use!
- Care Packages Delivered to Frontline Workers at Newark Hospitals
(Tap Into Newark)
Jumbo Care Packages containing handwritten letters of appreciation from grateful Americans -- including those from more than 100 Prudential Financial employees and their families -- were delivered to frontline healthcare workers at hospitals in Newark and the surrounding community. Prudential is a strong supporter of TAPS.
- Centene Donates $500,000 To National Domestic Violence Hotline
Centene Corporation announced today that it has donated $500,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which aims to support and advocate for those affected by relationship abuse. The shelter-in-place orders across the country during the COVID-19 crisis have led to an increase in incidents of domestic violence. Centene is a strong supporter of TAPS.
Banner photo courtesy of the School of Advanced International Studies | John Hopkins University.