Video: Nurses read names of dead colleagues at White House protest

  • Powerful video taken during a protest at the White House on Tuesday shows nurses reading out a list of names of their colleagues killed on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
  • According to National Nurses United, at least 48 nurses in the US have already lost their lives to COVID-19.
  • Nurses from the union gathered in front of the White House on Tuesday and called on the Trump administration to supply hospitals with more personal protective equipment like masks and gowns so they can safely treat coronavirus patients.
  • “Listen to their names and take action so more nurses don’t get sick and die,” the nurse said before reading out the names.
  • On Tuesday, the Senate passed a $480 billion aid package, which included $75 billion in aid to healthcare providers “that provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID–19.” The measure has to be passed in the House and then signed into law by the president.
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Powerful video taken during a protest at the White House on Tuesday shows nurses reading out a list of names of their colleagues killed on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The nurses, from the National Nurses United union, were calling on the Trump administration to supply hospitals with more personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gowns so they can safely treat coronavirus patients. As of Tuesday evening, the US has recorded over 823,000 cases and more than 44,000 deaths.

“If you don’t protect us, we can’t protect our patients,” one nurse said.

During the protest, one of the nurses began to read out the names of nurses across the US killed in the line of duty.

“We remember the thousands of nurses and other healthcare workers that have become infected with COVID-19, and those who have died,” she said.

“We are demanding that the Trump administration and the US Congress listen to these names, all dedicated nurses, who have left families, friends, and colleagues behind,” she continued.

“Listen to their names and take action so more nurses don’t get sick and die,” the nurse said before reading out the names. Several nurses, complying with social distancing measures, stood behind her while holding photos of those who have died from the disease.

Video from the event was shared by actress and activist Alyssa Milano.

According to National Nurses United, at least 48 nurses in the US have already lost their lives to COVID-19.

In a press release, the union said the protests comes in response to “failure” by the Trump administration to protect the safety of healthcare workers battling the virus.

“With the failure of the Trump administration to protect health care workers, NNU is demanding that Congress include a mandatory Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency standard in its next COVID-19 legislative package,” the union said in a statement. “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.”

The union said nurses were also demanding that Trump use his presidential authority to order mass productions of PPE and other medical equipment like ventilators and testing kits under the Defense Production Act, which is a wartime powers act that allows the White House to demand assistance from private industry in times of crisis.

“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,” they added.

Trump has used the DPA to order General Motors to produce ventilators for US hospitals. He also said on Monday that he would use the powers to give a medical supply company in Main federal funding so it could increase the production of swabs needed for testing.

The protest comes after the New York State Nurses Association filed three lawsuits against the New York State Department of Health and two hospitals, Montefiore Medical Center and Westchester Medical Center, alleging that they were given “grossly inadequate and negligent protections.”

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a $480 billion aid package, which included $25 billion in funding to expand the country’s testing capabilities and $75 billion in aid to healthcare providers “that provide diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID–19.” The measure has to be passed in the House and then signed into law by the president.

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