Veterans organizations across the United States have been working with diminished staff resources, but the diminished workforce poses new threats to older veterans in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, CNN reports.

According to the news network’s website, the Department of Veterans Affairs currently has 49,000 unfilled positions as of last August, and, according to one VA official quoted in the report, “it could end up killing people” as a significant rise in patients is expected in tandem with the spread of the coronavirus.

Another VA official echoed the sentiment, saying “What demographic uses VA the most and who is most at risk? Elderly people. Where are those people located? The same places where the system is already overwhelmed.”

Read more about how Veterans Affairs workers are meeting the needs of patients during the pandemic here.