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NURSES and other US health professionals have increased their calls for protective equipment.
Unions are demanding that President Donald Trump acts urgently to force companies to switch production from consumer goods to masks, gloves and gowns.
The National Nurses United union (NNU) called on Mr Trump to invoke the Defence Production Act in a bid to tackle the severe shortage of PPE facing health workers, but so far their pleas have been ignored.
The US president reluctantly used the Act earlier this month to pressure General Motors into switching production at its plants from vehicles to ventilators, although it has not yet complied with the order.
On Tuesday NNU members protested outside the White House where they read out the names of the 50 nurses who have died so far as a result of Covid-19.
They placed the blame for the deaths squarely on Mr Trump’s inaction and failures over PPE and on his blame-shifting and disastrous response to the pandemic.
Nearly 820,000 people in the US have been infected with coronavirus and more than 45,000 have died.
The NNU condemned a lack of federal health-and-safety standards from the government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requiring hospitals and other healthcare facilities to implement plans to protect workers.
It blasted Mr Trump for stopping the work of the OSHA as it was preparing to issue such guidance in 2017 – leaving nurses “to fend for themselves.”
“They cannot get the PPE to protect themselves while caring for their patients,” the union added, warning that the government had consistently weakened worker protections.
Mr Trump’s disastrous handling of the pandemic hit a new low today when he suggested that people could recover from Covid-19 by injecting themselves with disinfectant.
Affiliate assistant professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Dr Vin Gupta branded the suggestion “irresponsible and dangerous,” pointing out that it was “a common method that people utilise when they want to kill themselves.”
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