COVID Daily Update

May 19, 2020


Top Stories

There’s a new housing assistance website for Americans who have been impacted by COVID-19. The Department of Veterans Affairs teamed up with several other agencies to launch the website to ensure that veterans and service members with a VA home loan and other homeowners with federally backed mortgages have relief options if they have been financially impacted by COVID-19. VA is continuing to provide home loan services to those who have earned those benefits during the pandemic. The agency is working with lenders, servicers, and appraisers on temporary measures to assist in processing and servicing VA home loans.

Facing growing criticism, the Department of Veterans Affairs said that it will not halt use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19 but that fewer of its patients are now taking it. In responses provided to Congress, the VA said it never “encouraged or discouraged” its government-run hospitals to use hydroxychloroquine on patients even as President Donald Trump heavily promoted the drug for months without scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

Veterans advocates still are waiting for a report by a White House task force established last year that was charged with developing a national roadmap to boost mental health care and stem persistently high suicide numbers among veterans, who have been hard hit in the pandemic.

Key Developments

VA researching prostate cancer drug as potential coronavirus cure

Hospital ship Mercy departs Los Angeles for San Diego

13 Theodore Roosevelt sailors re-test positive for coronavirus


COVID Infection Summary

There’s some good news in the quest for a coronavirus vaccine: The biotech company Moderna says volunteers who got its Covid-19 vaccine had positive early results.

Trial participants developed neutralizing antibodies to the virus that sometimes surpassed levels seen in people who’ve naturally recovered from Covid-19. Neutralizing antibodies bind to the virus, disabling it from attacking human cells. But it’s still not clear whether natural infection confers immunity to reinfection, and so it’s also not clear whether vaccination confers immunity.

The trial was very small, and the results haven’t been peer-reviewed, but Moderna’s chief medical officer says if future studies go well, the vaccine could be available to the public as early as January.

Worldwide Cases

Nationwide Cases **CDC

Veteran Affairs Cases

Nationally, as of May 19, 2020, VA is tracking the following Veteran patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. This is a rapidly evolving situation and VA will provide updated information as it becomes available and verified.

https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary

DoD Positive Cases


If you don’t have emergent medical needs, our recommendation, stay out of medical facilities. VA wants to ‘pause’ the Mission Act for 90 days to slow or limit non-urgent medical referrals to community care providers to prevent further risk of infection. 

As you can see the Coronavirus is growing exponentially as are deaths. Please stay safe. Also, social distancing does not mean social isolation. Please reach out to your fellow vets via facetime or phone calls. Calls to the VA crisis line are up during this difficult and stressful time.

Let’s all be part of the solution here.

The Veterans Crisis Line is open. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide daily updates and monitor the situation specific to veterans.

Register for COVID-19: Emerging Considerations Regarding the Care for Women Veterans for Clinicians and Researchers, a cyberseminar presenting information for clinicians and researchers about the current (and evolving) state of knowledge on a mix of topics relevant to care for women Veterans in the COVID-19 era. Tuesday, April 7, 2020 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST.


AMVETS In The News

American Veterans Organization Cancels Convention

With its members’ safety and well-being in mind, AMVETS (American Veterans) canceled its annual meeting over public-health concerns, ongoing restrictions and uncertainties related to the global COVID-19 pandemic.


VA, veterans groups brace for surge in mental health needs

“I just don’t want them to oversell telemedicine. We had it before when veteran suicide became an issue, and it wasn’t a fix.”


Coronavirus can lead some veterans down into more despair

‘Whether it means placing a call, connecting through social media, or providing moral and financial support to a veteran who is struggling, it is our collective responsibility to figure out how to mitigate the risk, even as we face the shared battle against a pandemic. Many of these veterans would not face those personal battles, about which many of us know nothing, but for their willingness to fight the battles we did not fight ourselves.’

Sherman Gillums Jr., Chief Advocacy Officer, AMVETS

VA, Treasury still working to get stimulus checks to potentially overlooked veterans

“This good move to begin assisting non-filers but should not be considered the complete fix. There will still be wounded, injured and ill #veterans left out even though they qualify. That is simply not acceptable.”

Stars & Stripes

AMVETS Post 44 hosts food bank for Veterans

On Saturday, AMVETS Post 44 in (Struthers, OH) pitched in with a food giveaway to local veterans impacted by the Coronavirus.

WFMJ

AVP – Stimulus Checks & Haircut Regulations

On today’s American Veterans Podcast, we discuss the conversation around service member haircut regulations and our concerns regarding non-tax-filing veterans and stimulus checks. We also include a soundbite regarding Rolling To Remember updates, which include the introduction of the Rolling To Remember Challenge.

Sign up for the challenge: a.rever.co/challenges/141
Rolling To Remember gear: www.oscarmike.org/pages/amvets
AMVETS daily COVID Updates: amvets.org/covid-update/

AMVETS National Headquarters

Answering the call: Donors help Red Cross restock blood supply with Sherwood Mall drive

In hopes of restocking its blood inventory, the American Red Cross hosted a blood drive, sponsored by AMVETS Richard A. Pittman Post #1947 (Stockton, CA), Saturday with all proceeds going to hospitals for COVID-19 relief.

Recordnet.com

Free AMVETS service keeps local veterans fed

The post is preparing meals for any veteran in need along with their spouse, or a widow or widower of a veteran, regardless of whether they’re AMVETS members.

The Courier

AMVETS Issues ‘Rolling To Remember’ Challenge

For 32 years every Memorial Day, action has been taken to raise awareness for the critical issues facing our nation’s veterans. In 2020, we will continue the tradition through the Rolling to Remember Challenge.

AMVETS National Headquarters

Statement from AMVETS Chief Medical Executive on VA’s Efforts to Confront COVID-19

“I am deeply moved by the demonstrations of courage and commitment among clinicians we are seeing at VA medical centers across the nation, as well as those veterans who are stepping up to serve in uniform once again to answer the nation’s call. In Iraq and Afghanistan, I had served alongside many of these men and women as running toward the sound of danger to heal the fallen became our routine. For that reason, it is no surprise to see them volunteer without hesitation. It makes me proud to be a veteran, a nurse, and an American.”

Cherissa Jackson, Chief Medical Executive, AMVETS

AMVETS Calls on Full Support to Execute Veterans Affairs’ “Fourth Mission”

‘There will be ample time for criticism and hindsight reflections on what they could have done better. But it is those in the arena today, who are doing what few of us are being asked to do and deserve our silence to the extent it does not save lives.”


AMVETS’ Social Efforts

Morning message (042630): Gary Sallade

Sunday morning message from AMVETS National Chaplain Gary Sallade:

Posted by AMVETS National Headquarters on Sunday, 26 April 2020
On today’s American Veterans Podcast, we discuss the conversation around service member haircut regulations and our concerns regarding non-tax-filing veterans and stimulus checks. We also include a soundbite regarding Rolling To Remember updates, which include the introduction of the Rolling To Remember Challenge.

Rolling To Remember gear: www.oscarmike.org/pages/amvets
AMVETS daily COVID Updates: amvets.org/covid-update/

AMVETS Post 21 in Findlay has been delivering hot meals five days a week (Monday-Friday) between 11 and 2 p.m. for…

Posted by Department of Ohio Amvets on Tuesday, 7 April 2020

What should Veterans do?

Any Veteran with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to call before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility.

Alternatively, Veterans can sign into My HealtheVet to send a secure message to VA or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.

Upon arriving at VA, all patients will be screened for flu-like symptoms before they enter in order to protect other patients and staff. A VA health care professional will assist you with next steps once this screening process is complete.

At this time, VA is urging all visitors who do not feel well to please postpone their visits to VA facilities.

How to protect yourself:


Resources

https://amvets.org/coronavirus/

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: REAL-TIME INTERACTIVE DASHBOARD CREATED BY JOHN HOPKINS UNIV.

CDC

FREE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM THE NY TIMES

TAKE THE HEAL PROGRAM SUICIDE PREVENTION COURSE

CONTACT THE HEAL PROGRAM: VETERANS CRISIS LINE

vetheal@amvets.org / 1-833-838-4325 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)

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