Nurses to Protest Outside White House to Demand Adequate Personal Protective Equipment

Nurses are set to protest outside the White House on Tuesday to demand adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) as they continue to fight on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic.

National Nurses United (NNU), the largest union of registered nurses in the county, said its members will be protesting in front of the White House from 9.30 a.m. to "call attention to the tens of thousands of health care workers who have become infected with COVID-19" due to the lack of PPE.

In a press release, the union said protesters— who will be practicing social distancing—will read aloud the names of nurses who are known to have have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Press Release: Nurses to Protest at White House to Demand OSHA Standard and Mass Production of PPE for Health Care Workers

Nurses demand Congress include a mandatory OSHA emergency standard in its next #COVID19 legislative package.https://t.co/YZJDDy1wdG #ProtectNurses pic.twitter.com/VoCT4X0IGB

— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) April 20, 2020

The union is calling for President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order the mass production of PPE, including N95 respirators, face shields, gowns, gloves and shoe coverings.

They are also calling for funding for the mass production of PPE to be provided in the next coronavirus stimulus package.

"With no federal health and safety standard, nurses and other health care workers in many hospitals across the country have not been provided with adequate PPE to protect them from exposure to the virus," NNU said in the release.

"Nurses point out that they require N95 respirators or a higher level or protection as well as other protective gear when taking care of patients who may be infected with COVID-19.

PPE protest
In a protest designed to adhere to social distancing, 1,000 pop-up signs were arranged on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building showing the faces of nurses and frontline healthcare workers pleading for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) on April 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi/Getty Images for MoveOn

"With the failure of the Trump administration to protect health care workers, NNU is demanding that Congress include a mandatory OSHA emergency standard in its next COVID-19 legislative package."

The group added: "NNU is calling on Congress to mandate the DPA's use to produce the equipment and supplies health care workers need to care for COVID-19 patients as well as to conduct mass testing that is required to control the spread of the virus."

Trump invoked the DPA last month to ramp up the manufacturing of much-needed ventilators. He also recently said he would use it to increase the production of swabs needed for coronavirus testing.

But he urged state governments and hospitals to source their own masks and other medical supplies—sparking criticism from some governors that it was leading to a bidding war.

Earlier in April, Trump tweeted that "massive" amounts of medical supplies were being delivered by the federal government, but some states and hospitals have "insatiable appetites" and are "never satisfied."

It was recently revealed that the U.S. Commerce Department pushed U.S. manufacturers to sell nearly $18 million worth of face masks and other personal protective equipment to China earlier this year, even as the virus began to take hold in the U.S.

But in recent weeks, when supplies in the U.S. dwindled as cases rose, the Trump administration made bulk orders for N95 masks from 3M and other third-party vendors, but paid a high premium, the Washington Post reported.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration struck a deal with mask manufacturer 3M to bring more than 166.5 million masks into the country over three months following a dispute between the president and the company over mask exports.

The U.S. has more than 787,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 42,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 73,000 people have recovered.

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the U.S. as of April 20.

Statista
This infographic shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the U.S. as of April 20. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.