Tuesday, August 25, 2020

We had a staff meeting...


and voted overwhelmingly (one NO vote, one Abstention) to take a break prior to our medical procedure next week. We'll be back 
as soon as we can. Keep the peace.

Film at Eleven...

 Getting hosed in Vietnam...



August 24, 2020

The House and Senate Armed Services committee will soon meet to reconcile legislative differences in the House (H.R. 6395) and Senate (S.4049) version of the FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) recently passed in both chambers.

Vietnam Veterans of America joins Congressman Josh Harder (D-10th-CA) in his push to conferees--the Honorable Adam Smith, Chairman, Armed Services Committee; Mac Thornberry, Ranking member, House Armed Services Committee; Senator James Inhofe, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee; and Jack Reed, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee--to retain the bipartisan Harder/Tester amendment that would add three diseases, bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism as service-connected conditions.

Each of these diseases has met the scientific threshold of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, to be credibly linked to Agent Orange. What remains is the addition of these conditions to the list of Agent Orange-presumptive diseases.

Our Vietnam veterans should not have to wait any longer for the recognition they deserve and the benefits they are owed. Ensuring this bipartisan and bicameral amendment remains in the final NDAA bill will mean that thousands of veterans will finally get the support they need for putting on the uniform and honorably defending this great nation

S. 4166, Ensuring Survivors Benefits during COVID-19 Act of 2020



2d Session

S. 4166

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to secure medical opinions for veterans with service-connected disabilities who die from COVID–19 to determine whether their service-connected disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death, and for other purposes.


July 2, 2020

Ms. Sinema (for herself and Mr. Tillis) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs


To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to secure medical opinions for veterans with service-connected disabilities who die from COVID–19 to determine whether their service-connected disabilities were the principal or contributory cases of death, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the “Ensuring Survivors Benefits during COVID–19 Act of 2020”.

High levels of dioxins and PCBs in meat, fat and livers of free ranging pigs, goats, sheep and cows from the island of Curaçao



Samples of adipose tissue, meat and livers from pigs, cows, sheep and goats from Curaçao were analysed for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), and dioxin-like (dl-) and non-dioxin-like (ndl-) PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Levels in many samples of adipose tissue were higher than the EU maximum levels (MLs) for PCDD/Fs and the sum of PCDD/Fs and dl-PCBs (sum-TEQ), indicating unusually high levels. Median sum-TEQ (Toxic Equivalents) levels for pigs, cows, sheep and goats were 0.9 (range 0.3-35), 3.0 (0.5-14), 5.7 (0.3-28) and 6.5 (0.5-134) pg TEQ g-1 fat. For most samples, the congener pattern pointed to the burning of waste as the major source, in line with the fact that most animals forage outside. MLs for ndl-PCBs were also exceeded in some of the samples, indicating that some areas are additionally contaminated with PCBs. Meat levels showed similar lipid based levels as adipose tissue, contrary to liver levels, which were much higher in most animals. Pigs showed liver sequestration at lower levels in adipose tissue than the ruminants. The relatively high levels observed in this study are likely to result in high exposure of consumers and measures should be taken to reduce the contamination of areas where animals forage.


US Postal Service delays force Department of Veterans Affairs to shift prescription delivery methods


(CNN)The Department of Veterans Affairs has been forced to find alternative ways to ship mail-order prescriptions for patients whose medication is delivered by the United States Postal Service, including FedEx and UPS, CNN has learned.

The VA acknowledged the change in an email to a veterans group called Disabled Vets of America after it raised the issue on behalf of patients who had reported significant delays in receiving medication from USPS in recent weeks amid a nationwide slowdown, according to a copy of the correspondence reviewed by CNN.

"The VA has now confirmed to us that the United States Postal Service (USPS), which is responsible for delivering about 90% of all VA mail order prescriptions, has indeed been delayed in delivering these critical medications by an average of almost 25% over the past year, with many locations experiencing much more significant delays," the group's national commander, Stephen Whitehead, said in a statement Monday.

"To help mitigate these postal delays, the VA has been forced to switch to alternative delivery services in a number of areas across the country and is taking other actions to expedite processing and delivery of prescriptions," Whitehead added.

Those areas include Detroit, parts of New York and New Jersey, which were identified as hotspots with delivery delays, according to the VA email to veterans group, which was reviewed by CNN.

The VA "proactively converted from USPS to United Parcel Service (UPS) 2nd day air for those areas until service levels could be returned," the email says. The department also identified a "delivery service issue with UPS in the Arizona area and converted to Fed-Ex for roughly 5-weeks until service levels were restored with UPS," it adds.


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A message from our staff

You have probably noticed a different look to the posts on AOZ lately.

This is due to a change in the way the service we use to create this magnificent, world-class, quintessential Agent Orange Zone has changed the way it presents the material.

Change. The giant booger in life.

We'll get by, we'll survive.

Water district demands ‘risk analysis for dioxin in water’


GLENDALE – Warning that a potentially contaminated Glendale site could pose a threat to drinking water, the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District is demanding that a state agency “adequately investigate” the risk of dioxin migration.

​A July 23 letter from the district’s contracted legal firm, Thomas Law Group, to officials from the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) states that the agency “has failed to make aggressive remediation a priority, despite the site’s proximity to the Mad River, the district’s drinking water supply, and private wells.”

​The district’s concern lingers after the Planning Commission’s approval last September of four cannabis-related development permits on a Glendale Drive parcel just east of the Route 299 Exit 4 on ramp and off ramp.

The project site was used for lumber storage by the former McNamara and Peepe Lumber Mill, whose main operations were conducted on an adjacent parcel. By the time the mill changed ownership in 1986 and became Blue Lake Forest Products, use of the toxic wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP) had been banned.

But contamination remained and in the mid-1990s, the state ordered remedial actions, including capping at the main operations site.

​As of 2003, the former mill’s storage and main operation sites were deemed to be free of contaminants. But in late 2018, the DTSC declared that contaminants in the soil beneath the capped area had seeped into groundwater whose levels had risen.


Documentary recalls Elmira’s “dramatic” role in producing Agent Orange


ELMIRA — Ron Harpelle says there are over 22,000 toxic sites in Canada, but the one in Elmira “happens to be very dramatic.”

Harpelle and Kelly Saxberg are filmmakers from Thunder Bay with a production company called ShebaFilms. Their documentary, “Toxic Time Bomb,” is about Elmira’s notorious Uniroyal debacle: the irresponsible disposal of chemical waste into Canagagigue Creek.

The waste was produced from making Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide containing dioxin that was sprayed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War to clear foliage.

Along with Agent Orange, the plant also made DDT, NDMA and other harmful, cancer- and deformation-causing chemicals from 1948 to 1970.

The documentary received its premiere earlier this month at a livestreamed Vietnamese-French film festival within a larger arts and discussion event, bringing attention to the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. The event is also focusing on the continuing suffering and negative health effects still happening today.

“If you ask the average Canadian, they have no idea of our role. They think the Vietnam War was someone else’s war. We did participate because we manufactured Agent Orange,” said Harpelle. “There is a Canadian connection and Canadians should be aware of it.”

As a result, Elmira’s aquifer, the source of its drinking water, was poisoned and rendered undrinkable. Elmira’s water is now piped in from Waterloo. The Canagagigue Creek, which drains into the Grand River, was also poisoned.

“Toxic Time Bomb” is also a documentary about the decades-long struggle of activists in the area to advocate for the cleanup of the chemicals, said Saxberg.


ANZAC Portal - Sharing Australia's military and service history through the experiences of our veterans

CONNECT HERE - Background

The distant origins of the Vietnam War lie in the nineteenth-century colonisation of Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam) by France. French rule lasted until 1940 when the Japanese, embarking on a series of conquests in Southeast Asia and eventually war against Western powers, occupied Vietnam. Japan's defeat in 1945 saw France seeking to regain control of her erstwhile colonies. Establishing the state of Vietnam, France installed the former emperor, Bao Dai, as head of state. For many Vietnamese, however, the end of the Japanese occupation meant the chance for independence, duly proclaimed by Ho Chi Minh, leader of Vietnam's Communist Party, in September 1945.

France refused to accept the declaration, and eight years of war followed, ending with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The peace settlement, known as the Geneva Accords, divided the country; the North under the communist Ho Chi Minh, and the South under President Ngo Dinh Diem who had deposed Bao Dai and proclaimed the Republic of Vietnam in October 1955.

The Geneva Accords mandated that a Vietnam-wide election, aimed at reunifying the divided country, be held in 1956. Diem claimed that the people of the North could not vote freely, and with the backing of the United States, he refused to participate. Relations between the two Vietnams grew increasingly tense and in 1960 the North, aiming to overthrow Diem and reunite the country under communist rule, proclaimed the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam.


Friday, August 14, 2020

C-123 Airplanes and Agent Orange Residue


Some Air Force Reservists who were crew members on C-123 Provider aircraft, formerly used to spray Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, have raised health concerns about exposure to residual amounts of herbicides on plane surfaces.

Responding to these concerns, VA asked the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) (formally known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to study possible exposure and increase in adverse health effects in C-123 crew members.

HMD's scientific report on C-123 contaminated aircraft

HMD released its report, Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange-Contaminated C-123 Aircraft, Jan. 9, 2015. According to the report, from 1972 to 1982, approximately 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force Reserve personnel trained and worked on C-123 aircraft that previously had been used to spray herbicides, including Agent Orange, in Vietnam. Those aircraft were used for military airlift, medical transport, and cargo transport operations in the United States and internationally.

HMD found that Reservists who served as flight crew (pilot, navigator, flight engineer, and loadmaster), ground maintenance crew, and aero-medical personnel had regular contact with the aircraft, and would have experienced some exposure to chemicals from herbicide residue. The report determined that it is possible that this exposure contributed to some adverse health effects.


Agent Orange Awareness Day

from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) Twitter feed...watch the video

VVMF staffers laid orange candles at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site for our first-ever Agent Orange Awareness Day. Thank you for helping us “bring light” to the suffering Agent Orange has spread since its first use on August 10th, 1961. We couldn't have done this without you!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Agent Orange Day, August 10th

It marks the day in 1961 when the U.S. began aerial spraying of toxic herbicides over Vietnam. This year, Agent Orange Day will take on a special significance as it marks the 50th anniversary of that fateful day.
In honor of those who have been affected by Agent Orange, we are calling on concerned individuals across the world to post the Agent Orange Badge to their Facebook walls and change their profile pictures. Together we can raise awareness of this tragic legacy and send a powerful message: You are not alone.
Stand with the men, women and children affected by Agent Orange: Post the Agent Orange Badge and change your Facebook profile picture

Millions of people in Vietnam, the United States and other countries continue to suffer from the effects of Agent Orange. This is a chance for diverse communities – from American veterans, to young Vietnamese, to family members of those whose lives were lost – to come together in support of all those who continue to suffer from the effects of Agent Orange.
Our goal is 1000 badges posted by Agent Orange Day. Help us get there by posting the Agent Orange Badge today » 
Thank you for your support,

How the VA is failing to track veterans burn pit claims

Just 10,588 burn-pit claims have been filed since Sept. 11, 2001, Veterans Affairs said in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a veterans advocacy group.
But that’s only a fraction of what veterans advocates say they expected to see. Veterans have filed 98,017 claims for “environmental claims” since 9/11, and at least 200,000 people have signed up for VA’s burn-pit registry, according to VA. That means burn-pit claims make up slightly less than 10% of VA’s total number of environmental exposure claims for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
That makes it difficult for experts and researchers to track veterans to look for trends, for legislators to watch so they can properly fund VA and provide legislation for benefits, and for veterans service organizations to learn from as they determine how best to help veterans file claims.
Kerry Baker, who helps veterans appeal VA disability claims and who previously worked for VA’s Veterans Benefits Administration, said he has been personally involved to some extent with more than 1,000 burn-pit claims. “There’s no way I’ve been involved with 10% of the nation’s burn pit claims,” he said. “So I want to know how they are getting these numbers.”
The military burned as much as 250 tons of trash a day at Joint Base Balad alone, as well as tons more in open pits in Iraq and Afghanistan—as close as one mile away from service members’ living quarters. (Juneau, Alaska, produces about 83 tons of trash a day.) In 2006, an Air Force bioenvironmental engineer called the pit at Joint Base Balad an “acute health hazard” and worried people on base would face chronic health problems.
Most large bases in Iraq and Afghanistan had burn pits, and the military burned everything from Styrofoam from the dining facilities to petroleum products to paints and solvents, releasing contaminants, including benzene, an aircraft fuel known to cause leukemia; arsenic; Freon; ethylbenzene; formaldehyde; hydrogen cyanide; nitrogen dioxide; sulfuric acid; and xylene.
The biggest issue? Dioxin, which is the same chemical that was used to make Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. It has been linked to cancers, diabetes, and birth defects. It also can interfere with the immune system. The Environmental Protection Agency explains that dioxin is a byproduct of burning materials—including wood, which is why burning trash in the backyard is banned in most cities.

Vietnam turns Danang stadium into field hospital amid virus outbreak

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam is close to completing the conversion of a sports stadium into a 1,000-bed field hospital in its new coronavirus epicentre Danang, the health ministry said on Thursday, as it battles an outbreak that has spread to at least 11 locations.
Aggressive contact-tracing, targeted testing and strict quarantining had helped Vietnam halt an earlier contagion, but it is now racing to control infections in the central city and beyond after a new outbreak ended a run of more than three months without domestic transmission.
Danang’s Tien Son Sports Palace will from Saturday be used to treat an overflow of infected patients should the city’s hospitals become overwhelmed, said the company behind the project, Sun Group.
Danang has reported more than 200 cases since the virus reappeared there on July 25. Authorities have said the situation was “under control” and the outbreak would likely peak in the next 10 days.
If infection numbers stabilise, the facility would be used to isolate people who were in direct contact with a positive case, as part of Vietnam’s centralised quarantine programme, Sun Group said.
The health ministry reported 34 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, taking Vietnam’s total cases to 747, with 10 deaths.

Senators introduce bill to aid veterans who were exposed to cancer-causing toxins at 'K2'

WASHINGTON — A group of senators introduced legislation Tuesday that would kickstart medical studies of veterans who served at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, known as K2, and were exposed to multiple cancer-causing toxins.
Veterans assigned to the post in southeastern Uzbekistan described a toxic environment there in the early 2000s, with pond water that glowed green and black sludge that oozed from the ground. Some veterans assigned to K2 testified to Congress in February, saying they were aware of hundreds of cases of cancer among K2 veterans. Thirty people have died, they said. 
The Defense Department shared documents with Congress in July that revealed the Pentagon knew troops there were exposed to hazards. The Soviet base contained chemical weapons, enriched uranium and soil saturated with fuels and other solvents that formed a “black goo,” documents from 2001, 2002 and 2004 show.
Though there is mounting evidence to prove toxic exposure, the veterans remain ineligible for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits. 
Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., who introduced the bill, said their legislation is the first step toward securing benefits.
The bill “lays the groundwork for ensuring that service members who were deployed to K2 in Uzbekistan are covered and compensated for exposure to toxic substances at the base,” Baldwin said.  

Major women veterans' care bill heads to Senate floor after key committee vote

What could be the most significant legislation for women veterans so far this Congress now heads to the Senate floor for a vote after passing a key committee on Wednesday and a House vote late last year.
The Deborah Sampson Act is an omnibus bill intended to remove barriers and improve women veterans’ care and is in major part the effort of the House Women Veterans Task Force.
The Deborah Sampson Act includes measures to:
  1. Provide gender-specific healthcare equipment such as mammography machines at each VA;
  2. Mandate a VA-wide sexual harassment and assault policy, including training for employees;
  3. Ensure women veterans' primary care is available during regular VA business hours;
  4. Establish an Office of Women's Health;
  5. Improve communications of women veterans' services;
  6. Establish and improve care standards;
  7. Provide more funding for women veteran programs;
  8. Permanently authorize PTSD counseling for women veterans in retreat settings;
  9. Expand eligibility for military sexual trauma counseling;
  10. Provide extended care for newborns;
  11. Require reporting on women veterans' services and benefits.

Multi-national chemical firm Corteva closing manufacturing operation at New Plymouth site

As a young man Brian Zimmerman worked at one of New Plymouth’s largest and most controversial industrial sites – now the 62-year-old lives less than 100 metres away and can’t wait to see it close.
On Tuesday Corteva announced it was closing its crop protection manufacturing operations in New Plymouth.
Manufacturing at the Paritutu facility would stop over the next six to 12 months. The decision impacts 35 employees.
In a media statement the company said there was no decision on how the site and land would be used in the future, but it would work closely with local authorities to ensure the appropriate management of the site.
The decision could bring an end to chemical manufacturing at the site, which has been an industrial facility for decades.
Between 1962 and 1987, the site was used by Ivon Watkins, later Ivon Watkins Dow, which made most of the herbicide 2,4,5-T used in New Zealand.
A byproduct of 2,4,5-T is dioxin, a known cause of cancer.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Better-Fitting Prosthetics for Female Veterans Funded in $241 Billion VA Proposal

A $241 billion Department of Veterans Affairs funding bill passed by the House on Friday requires VA to buy prosthetics designed to fit women veterans and conduct research on medical devices more suitable for the female frame.
The issue has been a priority for Reps. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who sponsored legislation to solve the issue of female veterans who have encountered pain and mobility limitations by being fitted with prostheses made for men.
“The face of our military has changed, and so have the needs of the VA,” Pappas said in introducing his original legislation. “It is incumbent upon us to ensure that women that have answered the call to service have access to the same quality care as their male counterparts.”
The proposed legislation includes $840 million for medical research that must also address military toxic exposures such as burn pits, radiation, depleted uranium, chemicals and cancer-causing agents. At $241 billion, it would give VA the second largest pot of discretionary spending funds of any federal government organization.
“This year's Military Construction and Veterans Affairs funding bill makes critical and serious investments in veterans and military families and reinforces our national security infrastructure," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies subcommittee.
The VA funding bill, which must be reconciled with the Senate before it moves to President Donald Trump for signature, includes other provisions to improve the lives of former service members, including funding to ensure that veterans unable to have children as the result of severe combat injuries have access to adoption services or advanced reproductive technologies.

'I do not care': Report says VA doctor rejected suicidal patient, who died 6 days later

Department of Veterans Affairs hospital staff dismissed a suicidal patient who died six days after a visit in which a doctor shouted that the patient "can go shoot (themself). I do not care,” a new report finds.
The patient in their 60s had a history of panic attacks and addiction to opioids and tranquilizers and sought treatment at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., but was released before being given required suicide prevention planning, the department's inspector general said in the report released Tuesday. The patient, who isn't identified by name or gender, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
In a statement, the medical center's director, Mike Heimall, called the instance an isolated incident that "does not represent the quality health care tens of thousands of D.C.-area veterans have come to expect from our facilities." He said the center "grieves the loss of this veteran."
The hospital, Heimall said, has made improvements that include random audits of 20% of suicide-related emergency room visits to make sure staff followed policy and checking that staff monitors emergency-room patients who express suicidal thoughts.

"We love our vets." - After 8-year struggle for benefits, VA tells Hudson veteran there’s no end in sight to his wait

HUDSON, Fla. (WFLA) — Nearly a year ago, a Board of Veterans Appeals judge told 69-year-old Air Force Veteran Bill Davis of Hudson that he needed a letter from a doctor stating his illnesses are service-related.
He received two. But what he hasn’t received is a decision from that judge about his claim for disability benefits.
In 1972, the Air Force shipped Davis, then just 21 years old, to Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand.
Air Force Veteran Bill Davis worked with carcinogenic chemicals and was exposed to toxic herbicide while in Southeast Asia
Davis maintained OV-10s, fighters designed to photograph the enemy, destroy them or call in airstrikes.
“When I was in there, I gave them everything I had,” he explained.
When and if the time came, Davis only hoped the government would do the same for him.
Davis followed orders. He never asked about a weed killer sprayed on the flight line where he worked and the nearby base perimeter.
Bill Davis says he gave the Air Force everything he had while serving
“At that point in time, everyday, I was on that flight line, I was exposed to Agent Orange,” he claimed.
He never questioned – until his lungs later filled with tumors – cleaning fighter jet engine parts with Trichloroethylene.
“You filled the sink up with it and then you stuck your hands in there to move the parts around,” he recalled.
And never for a minute did Davis consider that when the Air Force sent the OV-10s, along with Davis, to Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon, it would be left off his military record.
In 2012, Davis connected the dots linking Agent Orange and carcinogenic cleaners to his heart disease and Sarcoidosis of the lungs. The VA said none of that is service-connected.
“I put a claim in and they denied it,” Davis said.
The VA even told him with no record of him in Vietnam, he wasn’t exposed to Agent Orange.
“They just disgrace you,” he explained.

Are You an Alaska Native Vietnam War Era Veteran? If So, You May be Entitled to up to 160 Acres of Land.

The Alaska Native Veterans Program of 2019 allows Alaska Native veterans who served in the Vietnam era, or an heir of theirs, to claim between 2.5 and 160 acres of land in Alaska. The BLM website hosts information about the program, including contact information, proposed rules for the program, a link to available lands, answers to frequently asked questions, and video from virtual public meetings about the program. Potentially eligible veterans should update their contact information with the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Realty Tribal Service Provider and with BLM.

Lax VA Oversight Led to Coronavirus Outbreaks at State Veterans Homes, House Lawmakers Say

WASHINGTON — House lawmakers criticized the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday for its lax oversight of state veterans homes, arguing the department was partially to blame for deadly outbreaks of the coronavirus at some facilities.
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said during a hearing on the matter that the epidemic exposed a “critical shortage of oversight” at state veterans homes.
State veterans homes receive some funding from the VA and undergo yearly inspections by the department. However, they’re operated by state governments. About 20,000 veterans reside in 157 state veterans homes nationwide. The homes receive about $1 billion total in federal funding.
The Government Accountability Office investigated the VA’s oversight of state veterans homes in 2019. The GAO found, in some cases, the VA was the only federal entity to inspect the homes to see whether they met standards of care.
The department contracted with a third party to perform all of its inspections in 2018, said Sharon Silas, who is with the GAO. The VA allowed contractors to ignore some deficiencies at the homes, and in some cases contractors permitted leaders of state veterans homes to fix problems during inspections to avoid being cited. The VA still has not completed all of the recommendations that the GAO made in 2019 to improve inspections, Silas said Wednesday.
“As it stands now, I have to wonder how many lives could’ve been saved at state veterans homes during this pandemic if there had been stronger, more consistent oversight on the part of the VA,” Takano said.

After 99 days of success, virus returns to haunt Vietnam

HANOI, Vietnam -- For 99 days, Vietnam seemed to have defeated the coronavirus. There wasn’t a single reported case of community transmission. Not a single death. A handful of cases were caught and isolated at the border, but otherwise people were returning to their normal lives. The country of 96 million people was hailed globally as a standout success.
But then a week ago, an outbreak began that has now grown to 48 cases in six parts of the country, including three of the largest cities, and forced authorities to reimpose restrictions many thought they had put behind them. And experts worry the outbreak could be much larger than currently known.
The outbreak began last Thursday in the picturesque coastal city of Da Nang, where thousands of tourists were taking their summer vacations on golden beaches. A 57-year-old man was hospitalized with a fever and tested positive. His condition soon worsened and he was put on a ventilator.
Health authorities swung into action. But the man’s case was puzzling. He hadn’t left his hometown for over a month and tests on his family and 100 other possible contacts all came back negative.
Then health workers found three other infections in Da Nang over the weekend. And then on Monday, another 11. All of those were other patients or health workers at the Da Nang Hospital, where the man remains in critical condition.

Sick K2 veterans left out of Senate NDAA bill

Post-9/11 veterans sickened by toxic chemicals and radiation at an Uzbek airbase used for staging the war in Afghanistan are again absent from must-pass defense legislation, Senate aides told the Washington Examiner.
“There was no comparable amendment offered to the Senate NDAA by any senators,” a Senate Armed Services Committee aide told the Washington Examiner of the $740.5 billion legislation.
The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act included an amendment requiring the Department of Defense to study the effects of contaminants that were present at the airbase known as K2, where some 10,000 veterans served between 2001 and 2005.
“A study will show what we already know: People are dead, dying, and chronically ill at rates several factors higher than similar populations,” said K2 veteran and retired Army Staff Sgt. Mark Jackson, who has chronic thyroid and gastrointestinal problems. “It is a start.”
As violence flares in Afghanistan, Pentagon watchdog denied data on Taliban attacks
The amendment was sponsored by Reps. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Mark Green, a Tennessee Republican, himself a veteran of the contaminated Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan.
“The House-passed version would require the Department of Defense to conduct an epidemiological study of health effects and exposures at K2,” Lynch told the Washington Examiner.

More than 2,000 Veterans Affairs patients have now died from coronavirus

The Department of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday passed 2,000 patient deaths from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, even as the number of seriously ill cases at their hospitals continued to decline.
More than 2,040 VA patients have died from complications related to the virus since early March, when the first death at a department medical center was reported. That total translates into about 17 patient deaths a day for the last four months.
Despite recent increases in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona, VA hospitals in New York and New Jersey have still seen the most patient deaths from the fast-spreading illness.