Military health care – Medic Buzz Sat, 18 Sep 2021 01:24:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Military health care – Medic Buzz 32 32 JBER leaders declare public health emergency, urge staff to avoid areas without masks or distancing Sat, 18 Sep 2021 00:12:59 +0000

Military chiefs at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson declared a public health emergency on Friday and urged staff to avoid areas off the base that do not require masks or social distancing, given the growing number High COVID-19 cases and strained hospital capacity in south-central Alaska.

“This statement reflects the continuing reality that JBER is experiencing sustained community transmission of COVID-19,” said Air Force Col. Kirsten Aguilar, 673d Air Base Wing and Commander JBER, in a prepared statement. “It will remain in effect for 30 days, but can be extended or shortened depending on conditions.”

The base moved to Bravo health protection condition. The change means Aguilar has more authority to take action that would protect the base against COVID-19.

“If the situation continues to worsen, additional measures to protect the force will be implemented, including restricting access to off-base establishments,” JBER officials said in a statement.

In a letter sent to staff on Friday, Lt. Gen. David Krumm, a senior military commander responsible for the air force in Alaska and the homeland defense mission for the state, said most exposures to the virus among the military occur off JBER.

“Unfortunately, the lack of off-base mitigation has resulted in alarming rates of infection, hospitalizations and deaths in our community,” Krumm wrote. “The current cases of COVID on JBER have not yet reached the point of compromising our preparedness, but they are increasing, and our data indicates that off-base exposure is the primary source of infection for our military personnel and their families. “

Although the base does not apply any immediate restrictions, Krumm said he is asking service members and families to avoid facilities that do not require masks, physical distancing and other mitigation measures.

At this time, neither Anchorage nor the Mat-Su have in place mask requirements or capacity restrictions for businesses or gatherings. In Anchorage, Mayor Dave Bronson continued to refuse to take such action.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Anchorage and statewide have risen sharply in an outbreak brought on by the highly contagious delta variant. Alaska recorded the nation’s third-highest COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people in the past two weeks on Friday.

[Alaska is now 3rd in the nation for highest case rate as state reports nearly 900 cases and 1 death Friday]

The situation has become so dire that the state’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, this week began rationing care under crisis care protocols. Other hospitals in the city and state are reporting similar levels of stress on staff and capacity.

The Department of Defense and federal facilities like JBER require masking and social distancing at all indoor facilities if they are located in a high transmission area, Krumm said.

Krumm said restrictions, like those adopted by JBER in October 2020 that prevented service members from visiting certain off-base facilities, could be enacted if there is no improvement soon.

“It’s a message to our military and their families that we should be doing it on purpose just to help our community and help the force,” Krumm said in an interview on Friday. “Also, to let them know that if the situation worsens, we will do absolutely everything in our power to protect the force.”

All members of the Department of Defense departments are required to receive the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, and Krumm said in an interview that the Air Force unit on JBER is approaching 95% vaccine coverage.

“We always encourage everyone who is eligible for the vaccine to take it as soon as possible,” Krumm said. “We have a lot of vaccines available. And we have an open door policy for anyone here on base to come in and get the shot. “

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Afghans face delays in the United States Fri, 17 Sep 2021 09:23:39 +0000

WASHINGTON – Weeks after their dramatic escape from Kabul, tens of thousands of Afghans hoping to be resettled in the United States remain on military bases across the country and abroad as medical and security checks slow the process.

A small but worrisome measles outbreak has contributed to the delays, causing evacuation flights to halt as federal officials scramble to contain cases and vaccinate new arrivals against disease and other illnesses, including the coronavirus .

As of Tuesday, approximately 64,000 evacuees from Afghanistan had arrived in the United States. The vast majority were in danger under the Taliban after the United States withdrew from the country last month. Nearly 49,000 people live on eight national military bases, awaiting relocation to the United States, according to an internal federal document obtained by The New York Times. Around 18,000 are on bases abroad, mainly in Germany. Some go away in a few weeks, but most stay longer.

The projections, which involve an array of federal agencies, follow a condensed and frenzied evacuation effort last month shortly before the United States completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan. About 100 Americans who want to leave and an unknown number of vulnerable Afghans remain in the country.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the Biden administration’s evacuation operation for hours of testimony in Congress this week, which included calls from critical Republican officials for his resignation and accusations that the administration failed had not adequately planned for the collapse of the Afghan government against the Taliban.

Blinken said there was no deadline to get the locals out and that “in the end, we completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with 124,000 people evacuated instead. sure”.

As Afghan evacuees escaped the Taliban, their lives remain in limbo, with children restless and little to do on bases across the United States, including Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, where more than 12,700 people were hosted last week, and Fort Bliss in Texas, which received more than 9,700.

“We’ll be here a month or more,” said Milad Darwesh, who arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey on Saturday after traveling for days to reach the United States. There are nearly 8,000 evacuees at the base.

Darwesh said he and his family narrowly escaped in Kabul on a grueling journey with the Taliban at their heels to the airport gates. They spent four days in Doha, Qatar, along with thousands of other evacuees, with little water to drink or wash. He and his family were then transported to an aircraft hangar at a base in Italy before finally making their way to Fort Dix.

“It’s good here,” said Darwesh, a former military translator who has been waiting two years for his visa to be processed. “We now have our own room.”

Many evacuees have arrived at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, and state hospitals have complained to the federal government of being overwhelmed by Afghans in need of medical attention. Healthcare providers have asked for financial help, and Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both Democrats, sent a letter to officials in the Biden administration calling for better coordination.

“Virginia ambulances and hospitals, already busy with the regular needs of patients and coping with the added stress of covid-19, have done a remarkable job of partnering with the federal agencies managing this treatment effort and ensuring that the emergency health needs of our Afghan partners are being met, “said Katie Stuntz, spokesperson for Kaine. “Healthcare providers deserve reimbursement for this work, and Senator Kaine is working with all stakeholders to make sure this happens.”

Refugee groups rushed for weeks to prepare to welcome large numbers of Afghan refugees, but so far have seen only a small number of people ready for resettlement.

“In the past few weeks, we have served over 100 people,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a resettlement agency that has branches in 22 states. “Some come with little more than a backpack. We know the importance of an orderly system that treats and prepares these new Afghan arrivals, helping them make informed decisions about where they ultimately want to relocate. . “

[RESETTLING EVACUEES: Map of the United States not appearing above? Click here »]

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, said Wednesday that the administration was trying to move evacuees out of military bases “as quickly and efficiently as possible.”


The United States should not accept Afghan refugees, including translators and others who helped the United States military during the 20 Years War, said Republican Senate candidate Jim Lamon, taking a tough stance against a a group of immigrants who received broad support. of both parties.

Rather than bringing them back to their homeland, the United States should help Afghans who participated in the war flee the Taliban and resettle in the Middle East, Lamon told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

“They should go to countries that are friends with them and with us,” Lamon said. “We cannot continue to be the refugee camp of the world.

Lamon shows up in a crowded Republican primary to take on Democratic Senator Mark Kelly.

His stance on refugees comes as GOP candidates across the country wonder how to balance grassroots skepticism about immigration with broad public support to provide refuge for Afghans who have risked their lives. helping the United States.

While many Republicans questioned whether the refugees were sufficiently controlled or suggested that the United States was accepting too many Afghans, few said that even those who helped American troops the most should be excluded.

His position puts him at odds with others in the GOP who say that accepting refugees is in line with Christian teachings.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona House President Rusty Bowers, both Republicans, issued a joint statement last month hailing the “fair share” of Arizona refugees and pledging that the Refugee Resettlement Office of the state would help them settle.

“They helped our military in their country, and now we are ready to help them in ours,” said Ducey and Bowers.

Lamon said the United States has spent billions of dollars in the Middle East, including Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, and these countries “must have brought them and helped us in this regard.”

“What I would have suggested is that those who helped us, we help them move to neighboring countries,” Lamon said.


Refugee and human rights groups on Thursday called on the European Union to step up aid to those trying to flee Afghanistan, accusing the bloc of not doing enough to help those living in fear of the Taliban regime.

More than 100,000 people were airlifted out of Kabul in a chaotic exodus late last month after President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops and the Taliban took control of Afghanistan torn apart by conflict in just a few weeks. Thousands of other Afghans want to leave.

In new figures released on Thursday, the EU’s asylum agency said asylum claims from Afghans numbered 7,300 in July – before the government fell – an increase of 21% from June and the fifth consecutive monthly increase. Almost 1,200 were unaccompanied minors, the European Asylum Support Office reported. More than half of Afghan asylum claims in Europe are rejected.

“The EU should share, rather than shirk, the responsibility to provide them with protection,” said the 24 non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, Caritas Europa, the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam and the Red Cross, in a statement.

The groups have warned that 18 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, nearly half of the population. More than 630,000 people have been driven from their homes this year due to violence and drought.

There was no immediate reaction from the European Union.

Meanwhile, Dutch Foreign Minister Sigrid Kaag resigned Thursday after the lower house of parliament passed a motion of no-confidence against the government for its handling of evacuations from Afghanistan as part of the takeover of Taliban.

During a parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, Kaag acknowledged that the government’s slow or confused response to warnings about the situation in Afghanistan meant that some local staff and people who had worked as translators for Dutch troops in the country no had not been evacuated.

After the motion was passed on Thursday, Kaag immediately announced that she would submit her resignation, saying Parliament had ruled “the Cabinet had acted irresponsibly.”

“I can only accept the consequences of this judgment as the minister with the ultimate responsibility,” she added.

Information for this article was provided by Jennifer Steinhauer and Eileen Sullivan of the New York Times; and by Jonathan J. Cooper, Lorne Cook and Mike Corder of the Associated Press.

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Independence Fund and Loyal Source launch call center in Afghanistan | Thu, 16 Sep 2021 22:58:00 +0000

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, September 16, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today, The Independence Fund and Loyal Source launched the Independence Line, a call center designed to help US veterans, Afghans, their friends and family resolve issues with the Afghanistan Withdrawal. This call center will be staffed with highly trained and highly trained clinicians, to provide assistance to both Afghans currently in United States who have served side by side with our American servicemen and the American veterans themselves who may struggle in these difficult times.

The “Independence Line” to help American veterans, Afghans, their friends and family.

“With tens of thousands of Afghan men, women and children arriving in the United States,” noted the CEO of The Independence Fund, Sarah verardo, “It is absolutely necessary to help these refugees navigate the complex United States refugee and asylum systems and ensure that American veterans get the care and benefits they need, where and when they need it. need. “

This call center will sort through incoming requests for help related to housing, food, mental health, healthcare, clothing, legal aid and a host of other matters. The call center will do full assessments and work with our case management team to find the best and fastest services to fill the gaps in the current system and The Independence Line will not turn anyone away.

Sarah verardo, CEO, The Independence Fund, also pointed out that, “We want Veterans, Afghans, their families and friends to know that the Independence Fund is there for them. We recognize your service and are ready to help you navigate a complex system to get the care and service you need.

Brian moore, CEO, Loyal Source, stressed the importance of providing assistance to Afghans, their friends and family: “We are delighted to partner with the Independence Fund in this crucial mission. The call center is a natural progression of our existing work with refugees across the country. “

The Independence Line toll-free number is 1-855-341-5456 and will start taking calls on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

In August, The Independence Fund, along with the Mighty Oaks Foundation, formed the Save Our Allies Coalition, dedicated to saving our Afghan allies who served side-by-side with the U.S. armed forces and ensuring our veterans receive the care they deserve. they need after courageously serving our nation. As Save Our Allies settles into Phase 2, the partnership between The Independence Fund and Loyal Source was created as the next step in the holistic approach to helping US veterans and Afghans.

The Independence Fund:

Founded in 2007, the Independence Fund is committed to empowering our nation’s catastrophic, injured and ill veterans to overcome the physical, mental and emotional injuries suffered in the line of duty. We are committed to improving the lives of our Veterans and their families. Thanks to our Mobility, Caregiver, Advocacy, Case work, Operation RESILIENCE, [email protected] and family programs, the Independence Fund works to bridge the gap in the unmet needs of Veterans and their caregivers. Prior to joining the coalition, The Independence Fund had programs in place to include Afghan SIVs and their families in its programming, including Operation RESILIENCE, a veteran mental health-focused retreat to combat veteran suicide. by bringing together combat units that have served and fought together and includes their performers living in United States through the Afghan Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program.

Faithful Source:

Loyal Source, founded in 2009, is a comprehensive workforce solutions provider providing medical, behavioral health, rapid response and technical solutions to military, civilian and private customers in all 50 states and the ‘foreigner. We pride ourselves on supporting our clients’ most difficult and urgent missions, helping military members, military families, veterans, law enforcement, refugees and underserved populations. Loyal Source also provides military readiness services for all branches of the military and has a travel nursing division that has been instrumental in the current COVID response.

Media contacts:

Lexie rock, communication director

[email protected]

(980) 254-2295

Ashley skinner, Communication manager

[email protected]

(704) 712-5380

View original content:–loyal-source-launch-afghanistan-call-center-301379203.html

SOURCE The Independence Fund

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Idaho, Western hospitals facing wave of Covid, struggle to transfer patients Thu, 16 Sep 2021 12:23:35 +0000

Hospitals in Idaho are so overwhelmed by the upsurge in coronavirus cases that doctors and nurses have to contact dozens of regional hospitals across the West in hopes of finding places to transfer individual critical patients.

Kootenai Health, a hospital in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has already converted a conference room into a Covid overflow unit, started paying itinerant nurses $ 250 an hour, brought in a military medical unit, and has received state authorization to ration care. All of this in response to the wave of Covid that has swept through much of Idaho in recent weeks – a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

“It’s just about continually trying to find a placement for these patients and the care they need,” said Brian Whitlock, president and CEO of the Idaho Hospital Association, who noted that hospitals in the state were grappling with the same problem. “It’s really a minute-by-minute assessment of where the beds are open and hospitals saying we don’t know where we’re going to put the next one.”

US Army Captain Corrine Brown, an intensive care nurse, administers an antiviral drug to a Covid-19 patient at the Kootenai Health Regional Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on September 6, 2021.Michael H. Lehman / DVIDS via AP

The need for intensive care beds affects a range of patients: those suffering from Covid, as well as people who have had heart attacks or strokes or who have been involved in accidents, for example.

Before the pandemic, experts said the lines between states in the region were blurred when it came to patient care. While many states are known for their stunning landscapes and large open grounds, accessing essential medical care can be difficult for the small rural towns that dot its landscape. The easiest access to medical treatment might be across a border, rather than within a state’s borders.

Those state lines, however, have become a bit sharper as hospitals struggle to keep beds open for patients in their own state.

Washington state health officials have said they are trying to help their neighboring states, but are keeping a close watch on their own beds.

“We had to initiate patient placement committees with physicians from our different hospitals to really assess and prioritize – in conversation with those establishments that want to be transferred – to really identify who is most at risk for a higher level of care. and what can be managed where they are and what cannot be managed where they are, ”said Peg Currie, COO of Providence Health Care in Spokane, Wash., who is located at 40 minutes drive to Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai Health.

It has become an ethical challenge, as Washington has been aggressive in its Covid security measures while Idaho heads of state have done little to deal with the latest wave.

It doesn’t matter what you think about Covid right now: what matters is that our healthcare system is at full capacity.

dr. david pate says idaho

Dr Doug White, director of the Ethics and Decision-Making in Critical Illness program at the University of Pittsburgh, said that while Washington health departments may feel a moral obligation to help, the need to It is the responsibility of the Idaho state government to act.

“Medical practice is regulated at the state level, public health interventions come at the state level, and so in an emergency like this, I think state boundaries become very important because what we are seeing are these very stark differences between how Washington State has responded to the pandemic and how Idaho has responded to the pandemic, ”he said, noting that the security measures Washington’s aggressive moves have come at a cost to the state.

But the relationships between these hospitals run deep.

Dr David Pate, a member of the Idaho Coronavirus Task Force and former CEO of the St. Luke Health System in Boise, said that due to the distance between cities in Idaho and metropolitan areas, it was common before the pandemic for doctors to send their patients to cities like Spokane, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and other remote towns in the region. This often required the transport of patients by plane or helicopter and close coordination between medical facilities.

Now, he said, doctors are forced to call 30 or more hospitals in multiple states to find a single patient bed in hospitals they have little or no connection with. Some Idaho doctors have called as far south as Texas and as far east as Georgia.

“You take seven to eight hours to call a bunch of hospitals to see if any of them will pick up your patient who might be facing an urgent emergency,” Pate said. “Seven to eight hours could mean the patient won’t survive.”

The transfer challenge has also prompted Idaho to allow its hospitals to set standards for crisis care, meaning doctors can triage patients based on bed availability and health workers without specific training can. be required to work in intensive care.

For Idaho health leaders, the number of hospital transfers that Kootenai Health has had to cut due to the Covid outbreak has crystallized the need to change standards of care.

A regional transfer center for patients in urgent need of intensive care – typically things like car crashes, heart attacks and strokes – Kootenai Health had to turn down 392 patient transfer requests in August due to their number of Covid patients. From July to the end of September last year, they refused 18 patient transfers.

Kootenai Health isn’t the only hospital setting these new standards of care, and northern Idaho isn’t the only part of the state implementing them.

When Idaho said it would ration care in its northern region last week, state health and welfare director Dave Jeppesen called it a “last resort.”

He said crisis care standards are “imminent” for hospitals across the state as Idaho continues to set new records for hospitalizations and patients in the intensive care unit and on fans due to Covid.

“The numbers are increasing at an alarming rate and we do not see a peak in sight,” he said in a briefing Tuesday.

As part of critical care standards, the state allows healthcare providers to make tough decisions about how to allocate and use scarce medical resources, allowing them to triage patients when necessary.

Idaho is not alone in pursuing this type of care.

The Billings Clinic, a 300-bed hospital in Montana, plans to adopt crisis care standards as its intensive care unit reaches 150 percent of capacity. Alaska’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, said Tuesday that due to its number of patients, they had been “forced into our hospital to implement standards of crisis care. “.

Meanwhile, Wyoming hospitals are not normally equipped with pediatric beds.

Eric Boley, president of the state hospital association, said they generally depend on neighboring states to care for critically ill children.

“We really don’t have pediatric beds in our state, so we’re relying on the surrounding states to help us with those,” he said. “And we are currently seeing a sharp increase in pediatric cases.”

It’s a frustration for health leaders across the West as they struggle to bring this latest surge under control.

With few signs that it will shut down anytime soon, the region’s health systems could be stretched to their breaking point in an area of ​​the country that remains highly skeptical of Covid vaccines and warrants mask.

“It doesn’t matter what you think about Covid right now. What matters is that our health care system is at full capacity,” said Pate, of the Idaho Coronavirus Task Force. “I’m just asking people, work with us for a month, six weeks – do us a favor. Be careful, don’t get in a big crowd, wear a mask and please consider getting vaccinated. “

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Defense and National Security Overnight – Details of Trump’s Final Days Quickly Call for Milley to Be Fired Tue, 14 Sep 2021 23:13:58 +0000

It’s Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nighttime guide to the latest developments in the Pentagon, Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here:

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley has reportedly decided to limit former President Trump’s ability to call for a military strike or launch nuclear weapons days after the deadly Jan.6 riot on Capitol Hill, as the tells an upcoming book on the end of Trump’s presidency.

We’ll share details of Milley’s behind-the-scenes moves in Trump’s final days and the Congressional backlash sparked by the reports.

For The Hill, we are Ellen Mitchell and Rebecca Kheel. Email us with tips: and

Let’s go.

Milley decided to limit Trump’s military strike, book says

Worried that President TrumpDonald Trump Biden opposes Newsom on eve of recall: “Nation’s eyes are on California” On The Money: House Democrats cut tax hikes Biden Abortion providers warn the “chaos” if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade MORE could ‘go rogue’, following the deadly January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley has decided to limit the former Commander-in-Chief’s ability to call for a military strike or to launch nuclear weapons, according to “Peril,” an upcoming book on the end of Trump’s presidency written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of the Washington Post.

According to the two reporters, Milley “was certain that Trump had entered a serious mental decline as a result of the election, with Trump now almost manic, yelling at officials and building his own alternate reality on endless election conspiracies.”

Secret Meeting: Due to this perceived “decline”, Woodward and Costa wrote that Milley called a secret meeting at the Pentagon on January 8 to review the process of military actions. According to the CNN report, Milley ordered senior military officials not to take orders from anyone unless they were involved.

“No matter what you are told, you do the procedure. You do the process. And I’m part of that procedure,” he reportedly said.

Previous experience: Milley’s fear of the president going “thug” was apparently based on previous experience. According to “Peril,” Trump issued a military order to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan on January 15, five days before he left office.

As Woodward and Costa wrote, Milley “had no absolute certainty that the military could control or trust Trump and believed it was his job as a senior military officer to think the unthinkable and to take all necessary precautions “.

Other details: Woodward and Costa also wrote that Milley called Chinese officials in the final weeks of Trump’s tenure to assure them the United States was under control despite the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.


After the news about Milley was released, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) On Tuesday called on President Biden to sack the four-star general for what he called “contemplation” of a leak of classified information to China.

Rubio also criticized Milley for undermining former Trump with reported communications with China.

“I write with grave concern about recent reports that the General Marc MilleyMark MilleyBlinken to defend Biden on Afghanistan in hearing of Bidens and former presidents on 9/11 anniversary Defense and national security: Air Force report reveals gender disparities and the breeds PLUSChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, worked to actively undermine the Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces and envisioned a betrayed leak of classified information to the Communist Party of China ahead of a potential armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “reads Rubio’s letter.

Learn more about the letter here.

Senate lawmakers let frustration over Blinken show

Democrats and Senate Republicans on Tuesday blurted out their frustrations with the Biden administration’s handling of the US exit from Afghanistan, giving Secretary of State Antony Blinken an ear.

Republicans have called President Biden responsible for what they called a colossal failure in Afghanistan, which jeopardized America’s position while empowering adversaries like Russia and China.

“I supported a responsible end to the war in Afghanistan,” Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during the hearing with the secretary. “No American thinks we should have left this way.”

Where is the fault? : Democrats have largely blamed the failures in Afghanistan on the presidents of both parties and Congress.

But Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), chairman of the panel, criticized the Biden administration for its handling of the situation and threatened to withhold Pentagon candidates and subpoena Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for failing to not appearing at Tuesday’s hearing.

Blinken Response: Blinken defended the Biden administration’s withdrawal operation, saying the president had a choice “between ending the war or escalating it”. Keeping the US military in Afghanistan beyond August 31, he said, would have triggered Taliban attacks on US forces and deeper military engagement.

The Taliban had halted attacks on U.S. personnel following a deal with the former Trump administration, which pledged to evacuate the entire U.S. military by May 1. Blinken said the Biden administration took the risk of extending that deadline until August depending on the needs of the military. to complete its drawdown.

Learn more about the audience here.

Army sets June 2022 deadline for COVID-19 vaccine

The military has set June 30, 2022 as the deadline for all of its military personnel to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with active-duty troops due to receive the vaccine even earlier, according to new guidelines released on Tuesday.

All active-duty army troops are to be fully immunized by Dec. 15, while National Guard and Reserve members have until later, the service said in a statement.

The original mandate: The new guidelines follow an order from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in late August for all service members to “start immediately” receiving the COVID-19 vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s version of the shot. Vaccination was previously available under emergency use authorization, preventing the Pentagon from making it mandatory.

Austin did not give a timeline for when the military should be vaccinated, instead ordering secretaries at service branches to “impose ambitious timelines for implementation.”

Other service deadlines: On August 30, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro sent a message to the force giving active duty sailors and Marines 90 days to be fully immunized and reservists 120 days. This gives these servicemen a deadline of November 28 and December 28, respectively.

The Air Force, meanwhile, demanded that its active-duty personnel be fully immunized by November 2 and that all Air National Guard and Reserve personnel be fully immunized by December 2.

Address reluctance: Yet some soldiers remained reluctant to be vaccinated, which the military addresses in its new guidelines.

Soldiers who refuse the vaccine will first be counseled by their chain of command and medical providers, but “continued non-compliance could result in administrative or non-judicial sanctions – including discharge from duty or discharge.”

Read the rest here.

Afghan evacuation flights to the United States remain suspended indefinitely

The Biden administration added another case to the small measles outbreak responsible for temporarily halting Afghan evacuee flights to the United States, leaving thousands of people waiting at bases overseas until that they can resume their operations.

“Out of caution and in accordance with CDC guidelines, we recently temporarily halted flights to the United States due to six diagnosed cases of measles among Afghan nationals recently arrived in the United States,” said a senior official at the United States. administration during a call. with journalists.

“We are approaching this situation with the utmost caution and caution as we have a responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who is part of this mission,” they said, a group which includes Afghans as well. as government employees.

Earlier: The Associated Press first reported on Friday that the United States halted evacuee flights to the United States after confirming a few cases of measles among a group that had just landed on American soil .

“When the first confirmed case returned, we took steps to stop the thefts. This then allowed us to contact the trace, to put in place measures to isolate the individuals, ”said the official.

An uncertain future: But it’s unclear how long the small outbreak will keep flights on the ground – leaving Afghan evacuees scattered by the thousands at bases across the world.

Read the rest here.



That’s all for today. Check out The Hill’s Defense and National Security pages for the latest coverage. See you on Wednesday.

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Fauci on federal vaccine mandate Sat, 11 Sep 2021 01:08:02 +0000

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) – On Thursday, Dr Anthony Fauci shared his thoughts on the new vaccination strategy outlined by President Joe Biden and the delta variant during an interview with KARK of Nexstar in Arkansas.

The strategy, part of which calls for new Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules ordering companies with 100 or more employees to require weekly COVID-19 vaccinations or tests, has drawn strong opposition from federal and state GOP leaders.

Fauci said he would call on those lawmakers to think about why the president is making such a proposal, noting that we are currently experiencing an “unvaccinated pandemic” and saying the government has taken many steps to overcome vaccine hesitations.

“We have tried everything to get people to be vaccinated voluntarily. We made it as easy as possible, ”he said. “It’s available, it’s convenient, it’s safe, it works and it’s free, and yet there are still approximately 75 million people in the United States who are eligible to be vaccinated and who do not. have not been. “

He also said he hoped lawmakers in states such as Arkansas, where warrants came under immediate criticism, “would understand and appreciate” the steps Biden was taking to “keep the citizens of the country. ‘Arkansas safe not only for themselves but for their families and for their entire careers.

Fauci noted how part of the recently announced plan by the Biden administration to deal with the burgeoning pandemic would involve military medical response teams to help healthcare workers facing extreme burnout to be on the front lines. of this fight over the past 18 months.

One of the major changes with the delta variant of COVID-19 has been the increase in deaths and hospitalizations among young people. Arkansas set a new record this week for the number of school districts listed in high infection areas, with neighboring Mississippi having more than 18,800 positive cases among schoolchildren since the start of the year in August, officials say. health, a number higher than last year’s totals. . In states like Florida and Texas, school districts wanting to make masks mandatory to protect children and teachers are facing opposition from local politicians seeking to ban any mask directives.

Fauci said the challenges faced by local leaders regarding returning to school were difficult, but added that the best way to protect children when they return to class is to surround them with people who have been vaccinated. like teachers, school staff and older students.

Finally, Fauci was asked this week about a report claiming funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provided federal funding to test for the coronavirus in a Wuhan lab.

“The research that was done was to be able to get information to help us protect ourselves from future pandemics as this was done as a result of SARS CoV-1, which you will recall was a pandemic. in 2002, ”Fauci said.

Fauci said the research was well regulated and had nothing to do with SARS CoV-2.

“People are inappropriately trying to connect with each other,” Fauci said, calling the report “misleading”.

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BGI prenatal genetic test under surveillance for Chinese military links Tue, 07 Sep 2021 21:38:00 +0000

September 6 (Reuters) – Health regulators in five countries are examining prenatal test that collects DNA from women and fetuses for research, while some doctors who have promoted it and clinics selling it say that they were unaware that the company that produces it is also conducting research with the Chinese military.

The test, carried out by the Shenzhen-based BGI group and marketed under the NIFTY brand, is sold in at least 52 countries. It screens for Down syndrome and over 80 other genetic diseases, and has been used by 8.4 million women worldwide.

Regulators’ concerns, raised in response to a Reuters report, highlight the challenges of regulatory oversight when genetic data is sent from one country to another. Canada’s Privacy Commissioner said the report raised important questions about “highly sensitive” information and was addressing the issue. Two European regulators – in Slovenia and Germany – have said they are reviewing the test in light of European Union data protection rules.

The data privacy regulator in Slovenia, where one of BGI’s regional partners is based, said it was concerned about exporting data from BGI tests and would look into data protection issues. But he added that Slovenia has not yet adopted changes to its national laws to make the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fully applicable, so that it cannot impose fines in GDPR violation.

Reuters reported in July that more than a dozen scientific studies – including clinical trials – showed that BGI had developed and improved the test in collaboration with People’s Liberation Army hospitals. BGI uses genetic data from pregnant women for population trait research. It also collaborates with the PLA in other areas of research.

BGI rejects any suggestion that it developed the NIFTY test in collaboration with the military and says working with military hospitals is not equivalent. He said he works with thousands of health care providers, other prenatal testing providers in China work with military hospitals, and many companies around the world work with the military. He said he takes data privacy seriously, complies with applicable laws and regulations, and that only 5% of his NIFTY tests have been performed on women overseas.

Consent forms signed by women outside of China ask for permission to send their blood samples and genetic data overseas to BGI and use them for research. The privacy policy on the test’s website also says data may be shared for national security purposes in China – although BGI says it has never been asked to do so.

Regulators in Germany, Australia, Estonia and Canada have called for transparency in BGI’s use of women’s genetic data, and said that even though the data is sent overseas, BGI’s local providers are responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of data. The European Data Protection Supervisor said he was monitoring the situation.

“It is essential that the patient receives clear information,” said Beverley Rowbotham, chair of the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council of Australia.

An Ontario regulator told Reuters it is now advising women to seek testing from vendors in Canada, or in places where data security is “comparable” to protections mandated in Canada. Quebec’s regulatory body has said prenatal testing – like consumer genetic testing – can lead to loss of control over their genetic information. Canadian privacy and genetic disclosure laws can impose fines of up to C $ 250,000 to C $ 1 million for violations and establish strict conditions for exemptions for scientific research.

“DNA information is not only valuable for traders and data brokers, but also for foreign states and cybercriminals,” the Information and Privacy Commission Office told Reuters. Ontario.

Fertility Partners, a network of clinics in Canada, said it had no prior knowledge of BGI’s work with the APL and stopped selling NIFTY through its clinics in April for unrelated reasons.

Reuters previously reported that BGI’s joint research with PLA medical institutes is wide ranging, from efforts to protect soldiers from altitude sickness to mass testing for pathogens. U.S. government advisers warned in March that a vast genomic database that BGI is amassing and analyzing with artificial intelligence could give China a path to economic and military advantage. Read more

The same military hospital that conducted clinical trials for NIFTY also worked with BGI to send pathogens into space as part of a military equipment research program, according to 12 scientific papers, which did not previously reported. BGI did not respond to a request for additional information on this research program.

In the UK, where NIFTY tests are only sold in private clinics, the government said BGI would have to register its test by September 1 to continue selling them. BGI told Reuters it submitted a voluntary registration to the UK medical regulator in August. The UK Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) told Reuters it had received registration from BGI, but said the request had not yet been validated and a review of the data by the regulator’s recording and software team. Read more

NIFTY tests are sold overseas through three business models: local clinics collect blood samples to send to BGI in Hong Kong; the laboratories sequence the DNA of blood samples locally and share the data with BGI in Hong Kong where it is stored for five years; where laboratories complete the entire process locally using BGI technology.

Laboratories in Spain and Slovenia each told Reuters that a client’s genetic data had been used by BGI in mainland China for research purposes, with informed consent.

Slovenia-based GenePlanet, which says it sells the NIFTY tests across Europe and also offers its own test using BGI technology, said the Slovenian customer had agreed to a “research test”.

GenePlanet says it operates under EU regulations and has an agreement with BGI that “none of the GenePlanet patient data generated by (the) NIFTY process will go to mainland China.”

Data on Slovenian and Spanish women were among those for 542 women stored in China’s national bank of GeneBank, which BGI also manages. BGI said the data from the 542 women had not been used for other purposes and that its “scientific research only uses anonymized data.”

Eluthia GmbH, a German laboratory that sells BGI’s test, said its transfer of female blood and patient data to BGI has been suspended by the Hessian region data protection regulator while it investigates to find out if the rules had been violated read more.

Eluthia said she did not know when she could resume sending tests to BGI. Its chief executive, Ramon Enriquez Schaefer, said doctors called the suspension “excessive” since patients “expressly consented to the shipment to Hong Kong.” He also said Eluthia had not been able to make “concrete progress” on the regulator’s concerns about BGI’s military collaboration.

BGI told Reuters it was providing information to Eluthia and relevant government authorities to demonstrate that it complies with data protection laws.


A British doctor who promoted the BGI test in an online video when it first became available said he would now advise women not to take the BGI test, due to privacy concerns.

“My personal view now would be to advise anyone not to use the BGI NIFTY test – not from a clinical point of view – but because the resulting data could be misappropriated or used for reasons that neither the clinician nor the patient would ever have imagined, ”said Bryan Beattie, consultant in fetal medicine.

Reuters contacted Beattie and two other British doctors who also promoted the test on BGI’s YouTube channels in 2014 for their feedback. Medics said they were not aware of BGI’s military ties. BGI said doctors were not paid to participate and told them the videos were for educational and marketing purposes.

The NIFTY test captures more genetic information about the mother and fetus than the results patients see, said Beattie, which has previously been reported by Reuters and BGI has confirmed.

“If you could relate that to a lot of patients in a foreign country, you would have a pretty good idea of ​​their health profile over the next 20 or 30 years,” Beattie said.

Beattie said he had supported the relatively new technology because it was an improvement over previous methods, but his clinic had switched to another provider for reasons unrelated to privacy.

An Estonian scientist who turned down an offer from BGI in 2020 to replace a test developed by his lab with NIFTY said he was concerned that European health services, which he declined to name, would choose the BGI test because of its lower cost and do not take into account data security. .

“It’s a stupidly easy way to make money taking a blood sample,” said Kaarel Krjutskov, who heads the Estonian lab.

BGI has refused to sell its lab a DNA sequencer unless it also starts selling NIFTY, an email correspondence seen by Reuters showed.

BGI’s marketing material promotes its gene sequencing as the lowest cost in the industry. BGI told Reuters it “is always working to make our NIFTY fares even more affordable”, without providing further details.

Reporting by Clare Baldwin in Hong Kong and Kirsty Needham in Sydney Additional reporting by Allison Martell in Toronto, Allison Lampert in Montreal, Douglas Busvine in Berlin, Tarmo Virki in Tallinn, Alistair Smout and Tom Bergin in London, Krisztina Than in Budapest, Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka in Prague, Radu Marinas in Bucharest, Nathan Allen in Madrid, Joanna Plucinska and Alicja Ptak in Warsaw, Ludwig Berger in Frankfurt, Foo Yun Chee in Brussels, Michael Martina in Washington and Antoni Slodkowski in Tokyo Edited by Sara Ledwith, Kevin Krolicki and Bill Rigby

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Iraq War Veteran Wins Fifth Paralympic Medal, Tokyo’s First Gold Fri, 03 Sep 2021 22:55:00 +0000

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – U.S. Army Staff Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marks is already a legend among military athletes. The swimmer befriended Prince Harry and won titles at many suitable sporting events – the Invictus Games and the Military World Games. After the challenges she faced in Iraq and later at Papworth Hospital in Britain, winning Paralympic gold (also in world record mode) isn’t that difficult.

In Friday’s women’s 100m backstroke final – S6 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Sgt. Marks got a head start from the start, which she kept throughout the race. Even as she reached halfway as the only swimmer needing visual assistance, the Queen Creek, Ariz. Native was on her way to victory with a world record of 1:19, 57. (Note: Paralympic swimmers compete with others with similar degrees of impairment). With this victory, she now has a medal for every stroke played on the international stage.

Friday’s gold was Marks’ third medal this summer and the fifth of his career. Last Wednesday, Marks opened the Games with a silver medal in the S6 50m freestyle. Days later, the army veteran won bronze in the 50m butterfly.

At age 17, Marks joined the United States Army in 2008 and continued to serve as a healthcare specialist. In 2010, she suffered bilateral hip injuries and would need several surgeries as a result. She will soon turn to swimming as a form of therapy. Sgt. Marks became a part of the Army’s world-class athlete program and continued to serve as a combat medic.

One of her biggest challenges came in 2014, when she contracted a severe respiratory infection while preparing for the 2014 Invictus Games in London. She was then placed on life support and the infection caused visual and pulmonary complications, which still exist today. Although Marks, known as “Ellie”, was slowly recovering, she suffered from chronic pain during her competitions, including the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where she established herself as an elite swimmer by winning gold in the 100m breaststroke SB7, as well as a bronze medal in the 4x100m medley relay.

In 2017, she chose to have her left leg amputated, a decision she considers the one that saved her life. Since then, she has won gold at the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships in London, in the S6 100m backstroke, the same stroke that earned her gold on Friday.

The swimming portion of the Tokyo Paralympic Games is officially over. The Summer Games, which end with the closing ceremony on Sunday, are available on NBC’s various platforms. Weekend specials will air on KCBD-TV, starting at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Copyright 2021 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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LA County pledges support for Afghan refugees, returning military personnel – Daily News Tue, 31 Aug 2021 23:45:47 +0000


The Los Angeles County Supervisory Board voted Tuesday, Aug.31, to welcome and support returning Afghan refugees and military personnel with a range of services, including jobs and housing.

The vote was 4-0 as supervisor Sheila Kuehl was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.