Suicides and other mental health issues, as well as general deaths, went up during the pandemic in 2020 and veterans were not excluded. But they fared better than the general population, which is good news for Veteran's Day.

In this century, it is no longer fashionable for anti-military groups to be overt so they instead became subversively pro-military; promoting the idea that being in the army is going to cause mental health problems and suicide so they cared about troops more than everyone else. That narrative is set back a little because veterans actually had nearly 50 percent fewer increased deaths during the pandemic than the general population, which saw a spike of 23 percent compared to 16 percent for former military personnel. If being in the army meant greater risk of suicide, and social isolation during the pandemic did as well, it would follow that deaths would have risen sharply. 

That didn't happen. Data on 11.4 million enrolees during 2016-2020 showed the did better than the general public - only 51,436 more deaths than would have happened without COVID-19. That number includes senior citizens who may have fought as far back as World War II.

Yet the paper draws a spurious conclusion despite the good news. They claim that military veterans should have died in greater numbers and that they did not because of VA hospitals, when data show that government-run hospitals are instead poor performers compared to private sector counterparts. It's free, and the people who work there, often mean well, but it ain't great. It's an odd conclusion for the authors to make, but they used VA data and the Department of Veterans Affairs funded the study, so everyone has good news today.