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Coronavirus Update: VA Programs, DoD Response, Surgery Delays, and More

Coronavirus Update: VA Programs, DoD Response, Surgery Delays, and More
A National Guard soldier stops traffic as fellow troops distribute food to local residents in New Rochelle, N.Y. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 threat has prompted frequent policy changes, updated guidance, and multiple event cancellations as federal and local agencies of all types attempt to contain the virus. Below, you'll find links to some of these updates, as well as fact sheets and other related materials.

 

[LATEST NEWS AND UPDATES: MOAA.org/coronavirus]

 

Please note: These materials were compiled by MOAA on March 25; expect some of them to be overcome by events in the near future. For the latest information, and for details on what you should do if you suspect you've been exposed to the virus, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 website.

 

VA Updates

The VA continues to roll out online resources for veterans who may be affected by the virus. Among some of the latest materials:

 

Also, check out a breakdown of the $20 billion veterans will receive as part of the pandemic response, courtesy of Military.com. The funds will be used, in part, to support and expand telehealth operations, as well as give the VA the option to provide monetary benefits to veterans or family members even if income levels would exclude them from relief earmarked for the rest of the population. (Here's a piece from Military Times covering both DoD and VA funds.)

 

DoD Updates

Medical services on hold. Non-emergency surgeries, as well as dental procedures, will stop throughout the military medical system from March 31 through the end of may, per a Military Times report.

 

Navy's special challenges. The good: Hospital ships are either en route or undergoing preparations to assist cities on both coasts in dealing with the pandemic. The bad: The service is the hardest hit within DoD and is dealing with its first case aboard a deployed warship.  

 

From the top: Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, along with Gen. Mark Milley, USA, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ramón ''CZ'' Colón-López, USAF, conducted a March 24 virtual town hall on DoD's response to the pandemic. Read more (and watch) here.

Coronavirus Resources

Notes to Know

This Army lieutenant is on the front line of the vaccine fight. ... Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie penned a commentary for Military Times about his department's repsonse to the pandemic. ... From DoD, a recap of National Guard deployments in response to COVID-19: Already 10,000 servicemembers, with more expected soon. An update from Stars and Stripes about a 90-day pause to the VA's community care program.

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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and MOAA.org. Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley