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Nursing unions blasts US government for failing to provide protective equipment

President Donald Trump’s administration has asked health workers to wear bandannas and scarves instead

NURSING unions in the US have launched a scathing social-media campaign blasting the government’s failure to provide protective equipment for health workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nurses have been asked by President Donald Trump’s administration to wear bandannas and scarves over their faces if they cannot find masks and respirators while testing and treating patients with Covid-19.

The US faces an extreme shortage of the protective equipment needed to stop the spread of the disease, despite the country becoming the new epicentre of the global pandemic with more than 55,000 confirmed cases.

But instead of addressing the problem, Mr Trump insisted that the country would be “open for business” by Easter –— just a few weeks away.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio accused Mr Trump of “not lifting a finger” to help, warning that people will die unnecessarily because of his inaction.

National Nurses United (NNU) said that the government had failed to take preventative action and build up supplies of protective equipment.

“This is dire,” the union warned as it opened its social-media onslaught on the government’s advice to use bandannas and scarves – “despite proof they provide almost no effective protection against the virus.”

“These recommendations are putting our nurses, frontline health care workers, and patients at extreme risk.”

Supporters of the campaign have been asked to post selfies while wearing a bandanna, scarf or even a dishcloth holding a sign saying “this is not protection” and demand the government “protects frontline nurses immediately.”

As the Trump administration stood by, unions responded to the crisis: Building Trades Unions president Sean McGarvey said that his 13-union federation were donating masks and respirators to the NNU and other nursing organisations.

A petition can be signed at ProtectNurses.org and tweets sent to @NationalNurses @NNUBonnie @StefRoberson using the hashtag #ProtectNurses.

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