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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here's something to think about on Veterans Day: As tough as the pandemic has been on most Americans, it has hit many U.S. veterans especially hard and made their struggles with mental health even tougher.

The big picture: Isolation during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in increased instances of depression and suicide among veterans as coronavirus cases spike all over the country.

  • "Sleep problems, post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression are the top reported problems for the injured veteran population, and these are some of the challenges that are being exacerbated by COVID-19," said Melanie Mousseau, vice president of program operations and partnerships at the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • "Not only is this a population that struggles with, day after day, working through those challenges — now this is being amplified."

Driving the news: A number of recent studies highlight the problems facing veterans as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

  • According to one recent survey of 30,000 veterans wounded after 9/11, 52% said their mental health has gotten worse and 49% said their physical health has become worse since they started social distancing during the pandemic.
  • Sixty-one percent said they felt more disconnected from friends, family and community, according to the survey by the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Veterans are delaying doctors' appointments too, with 70% reporting having in-person appointments canceled or postponed. And 40% noted employment difficulties.
  • The Associated Press reported in September that military suicides have gone up as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019.
  • A study by the Bob Woodruff Foundation this spring said emergent trauma, loneliness due to social isolation, and unplanned job losses creates a "perfect storm" threatening the mental health of veterans.

By the numbers: Beyond the stress caused by the pandemic, coronavirus cases are up among veterans, too. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there have been 83,383 cases among VA hospitals with 4,223 known deaths.

The bottom line: As the pandemic spreads — and gets even worse during the winter months — don't forget the unique damage it's inflicting on those who have served our country.

Go deeper

Updated Mar 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet tracker: Which nominees have been confirmed

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All of President Biden's Cabinet nominees have now been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The big picture: Biden now has known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

Treasury sanctions cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware transactions

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen during a congressional hearing in June 2021. Photo: Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of the Treasury announced Tuesday it will sanction cryptocurrency exchange SUEX for allegedly facilitating financial transactions for multiple ransomware actors.

Why it matters: The sanctions, the first against a cryptocurrency exchange platform, are a part of the Biden administration's crackdown on ransomware in response to several high-profile cyberattacks this year.

Biden pledges to double U.S. climate funding to developing nations

U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 21, 2021. (Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images)

Staring down a "borderless climate crisis," President Biden told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the U.S. will double public financial assistance to developing countries, including money to help them adapt to present-day climate impacts.

Why it matters: The failure of industrialized nations to fulfill a 2009 pledge to devote $100 billion annually to developing countries is a major impediment to a successful UN Climate Summit in Glasgow, which starts next month.